The Business Bulletin - Issue 266 - 29th September 2014


Spring has sprung in NZ

While the summer back in Belfast is drawing to a close with the usual Indian summer that comes with the back to school rush, down under the winter months now look to be behind us and Spring is in the air.

Temperatures’ soaring north of 15 degrees see’s this Irishman head to the beach in shorts and t-shirt only to be met with kiwi’s still in coats and scarfs as if they were on Falcarragh beach on a November day – I will learn one day!

Another sign of spring is the almost overnight appearance of lots of new born Lambs in the fields of New Zealand.   During a walk through Cornwall park, a large parkland domain in one of Auckland’s suburbs I counted over 300 in one another and on a trip to Hobbiton earlier this year learned that the site that was home to Frodo and Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings films, is really the Alexander Farm and home to over 10,000 sheep.

Like the All Blacks, Kiwis, and Lorde – Sheep and Lambs are something that many people back in Europe associate with NZ.  As a landscape it often feels like Ireland and like Ireland agriculture and sheep in particular are pretty crucial to the NZ economy. 

In 2013 there were an estimated 31 million sheep in NZ, almost 7 for every 1 human, compared to a ratio of just over 1 to 1 in Northern Ireland.  NZ exported over 255,000 tonnes of lamb in 2013/14, over 100,000 tonnes of which went to Europe and in July 2014 Wool exports were valued at c$55m. 

But the common view is that NZ is at capacity in terms of its primary resource production and cannot churn out much more.

So the agri-food sector has looked to improved methodologies and focused on new technology to increase productivity.  The Bowen Technique is world renowned sheering technique, No8 wire led to the world’s first electric fence and a recently a modest device called Perkinz Sheep flow has revolutionised dipping races. 

Such innovations have ensured NZ has remained competitive in this space and has seen the industry create a global niche for itself as an agricultural and agri-tech world leader, which the West is keen to deal with and emerging economies wish to learn from.

So next time you sit down to a leg of lamb on a Sunday or get held up by a flock of sheep on a Donegal road, think of New Zealand and the role its had in shaping how Irish farmers work and putting food on Irish tables… and the likelihood that I may be stuck behind a flock of 10,000 sheep!


Each week Nick O' Shiel, Chief Executive, Omagh Enterprise Company, blogs on issues related to enterprise, technology and the economy. This week Nick discusses the importance of learning.

It was only in the 1800’s that the standard of living for many people began to improve with any degree of significance. Until then the food people ate, the houses they lived in and the clothes they wore were concerned with survival. It was only the rich that could afford luxuries.

From the late 1900’s onwards a better standard of living was enjoyed by greater numbers of people in Europe and the United States. And in the twentieth century, it spread to people in Australia and large parts of Asia.

The effect of such improvements was significant, as people began to spend less time and less of their income on basic items and more on leisure and the pursuit of pleasure.

Many reasons (capital investment, technological investment, higher productivity) are given for the progress made during the period but one key element was the level and rate of learning that took place.

The ability of entrepreneurs and businesses to learn to do things faster, better and more efficiently was instrumental in improving the lives of families and communities.

The growth of accelerated learning increased levels of investment, technical know-how and innovation and was an important driver of economic and business growth.

Learning didn’t happen in isolation, as a range of business, charitable, education, government, voluntary and support organisations contributed to the process.

Even though it spread across many areas and improved the lives and living standards of people from all backgrounds, learning didn’t happened uniformly or to everyone.

The ability to learn and learn quickly continues to be an important ingredient in any successful society, not least to ensure the inclusion and engagement of everyone.

Technology and innovation help improve living standards but the ability to learn and the speed at which we learn has the greatest impact and makes the biggest difference.

Similarly, our ability to share and spread what we know to ensure learning takes place across all sectors of society will determine our individual and collective futures.

Many factors have influenced the economic progress made in recent centuries but there is little doubt that a key factor has been our desire to learn.

SO, if learning plays such an important role in the success we enjoy is it time to revisit and reinvent how we do it?

What do you think?

Is learning important?

Why not join the conversation and leave a comment.

Nick O'Shiel,
Omagh Enterprise
Great Northern Road, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, BT78 5LU
Tel: +44 (0) 28 8224 9494  Fax: +44 (0) 28 8224 9451



Belfast City Sightseeing birthday celebrations

On Thursday past we were delighted to celebrate our birthday and throw a party for everyone who has helped us and worked with us since we established our business. We were joined by friends and colleagues from throughout the tourism industry and beyond and the Belfast Barge provided a fine setting.


Belfast City Sightseeing Director Paul Cunningham saw the party as a way of demonstrating our gratitude to those we have worked with over the past number of years ” We have been very fortunate to have been helped by such a wide variety of people and groups throughout Belfast and beyond.

From the community and voluntary sector, to hotels, other tour providers and so many others – we just wanted to say thanks in our own way”

Director George Grimley detailed the remarkable growth of the business from foundation and outlined the extensive investment that has been made to date. A donation was made on the night to the nominated charity ‘ Workforce ‘ who help young people get a start in their professional lives.

Director Aidan McCormack added ” We at Belfast City Sightseeing are very fortunate in that we get to showcase what is best about Belfast to visitors. The best asset that this city has are its people and we simply provide a platform for that.”

Free Breakfast Seminar

How to rid your business of spreadsheets

Do you manage your business with spreadsheets? Do you have separate systems that run your business functions? Do you have multiple versions of customer and product data?

We’ve all been there. Spreadsheets are easy to create, easy to share. But they grow, and they spread, like weeds. Soon every manager has a spreadsheet for something. Even those that have tools like an Enterprise Resource Planner (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, end up exporting data to spreadsheets in order to get meaningful reports and analysis.

For growing manufacturers, expansion and profitability is restricted by poor information management and sharing.

These problems occur daily in many businesses, and at what cost?

Flowlens consultants have helped manufacturers reach the next level of efficiency and control, reducing dependence on spreadsheets, and introducing cost effective, reliable processes and reporting.

We're taking our experts on the road to host a series of seminars across Ireland

At these events you will learn how to

- identify processes and data duplication problems in your current business

- improve efficiency and effectiveness by connecting your business functions

- make your business more scalable by defining repeatable, efficient processes

- gain a single version of the truth for your business sales, operations and profitability reporting

If you need to increase effectiveness, reduce waste and strengthen your competitive edge, this seminar is for you.

To book your free place follow this link:

Belfast, 30th Sept - Flowlens Offices

Dungannon, 2nd Oct - Dungannon Enterprise Centre

Dublin, 7th Oct - Salmon Software Offices

Dundalk, 8th Oct - Crowne Plaza Hotel

Shannon, 15th Oct - Thormac Engineering Offices

Galway, 16th Oct - Clayton Hotel

Building a profitable consultancy business

Consultants and advisers rarely have the opportunity to reflect and review how best to develop their business.

IMCA is running a one-day workshop on 14 October which will provide the opportunity both to learn from one of the industry’s best known trainers and to share experiences with others in the same line of business.

The day will be led by Calvert Markham, who is well known to some of our members. Calvert founded and ran Elevation Learning which has for many years provided training for consultants around the world.

Elevation Learning was acquired by Cass Business School (part of City University in London) at the beginning of 2014. Calvert has been a visiting professor at the business school for many years and also lectures at other business schools.

Calvert was President of the UK Institute of Management Consultants in 2004 and until last year was Vice-Chairman of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes, of which IMCA is a member.

He has written several
books on management consultancy.

The day will include the following topics:

  • Building a compelling consulting proposition
  • Developing and running marketing programmes to attract new business
  • Using flexible selling approaches that match client maturity
  • Dealing with the challenges of delivery
  • Building corporate and personal capability in consulting

By the end of the day participants should expect to have a number of practical ideas that they can apply directly in their business.

The workshop costs €100 for members and €200 for non-members, including refreshments and lunch. Non-members who join IMCA will have the difference refunded.

Please register early to make sure of your place.


tick ‘Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities / management consulting activities’
When you reach this link, please tick ‘Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities / management consulting activities’

Network to get work
Local businesses invited to connect at Northern Ireland’s fastest growing networking conference
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) is inviting businesses from across Northern Ireland to join them for its Annual Networking Conference and Business Showcase supported by firmus energy.
The conference, which takes place on 8 October 2014 from 8.30am-1.30pm in the Europa Hotel Belfast, is designed to give businesses from across Northern Ireland the opportunity to meet, engage and participate in networking activities designed to create new business connections and opportunities.
Ann McGregor, Chief Executive at NI Chamber, said:
“Networking is a great way to market your business in a very informal environment.  Whether your aim is to increase your customer base, find new markets or create partnerships – networking is the key to unlocking potential growth.
“You can also gain worthwhile market information from other businesses as well as potential customers. Information gleaned from a conversation could help you to adapt your product or service, perhaps even to focus on a new opportunity.”
Michael Scott, Managing Director of firmus energy,
"Networking is important anywhere but particularly in Northern Ireland where more than 90% of businesses are SMEs or Micro companies.  Many people prefer to do business with someone they know or to whom they have been recommended and this is an ideal opportunity to make new contacts and find other organisations which complement what you do or perhaps provide a service or part that you can use.  This may then lead to an opportunity to work together which is good for both companies and gives a further boost to the local economy.
"Building an extensive network of contacts is vital to help you grow, develop or diversity your business.  You never know what doors a chance conversation might open and I would encourage everyone to come along to this Conference and Business Showcase and take advantage of this opportunity to meet other like-minded people."
Guests will also hear from keynote speaker Jyllene Miller, Senior Vice President for Concentrix, an inspirational salesperson who has won a number of global clients for the company including Go Daddy, ASOS, Channel 4 and Tourism Ireland.
This year’s event will also feature a large market place with over 60 companies exhibiting their products and services, to showcase the best of Northern Ireland business.
NI Chamber’s Annual Networking Conference is the largest and fastest growing networking conference in Northern Ireland with over 250 delegates attending last year’s event. Over 350 people are expected to attend the conference in Belfast next month.
Registrations can be made online at



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For Northern Ireland specific contracts, there are a number of sources of information specifically for contracts within Northern Ireland. The Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) handles contracts for a number of government departments. You can find a list of current tender opportunities on the CPD website. Again, there is no email alert facility that we can find which makes the content difficult to adapt to the Bulletin format.

Please see for the current list of Northern Ireland opportunities.

Supply of Chemical Analysis Software
RM3697 - L0480; MSP Wandsworth ASC - Invitation to Tender
Financial analysis and recovery plan consulting services
Sexually Harmful Behaviour Evidence Review and Economic Analysis
Provision of Camping Cabins at Lee Valley Caravan Park, Dobbs Weir
Research on Birmingham Public Services Hub
RE140184AHRC Analysis of the Economic Impact of AHRC funded Research at a Regional, City and/or Local Level
An In-situ FT-IR Spectrometer and Probe at Lancaster University
Roofing Repairs and Maintenance
GB-Spalding: SHDC Housing Property Asset Management System
Synthetic Bone Graft
Repairs to Countywide Custody Suites (SDHP3)
Provision of Community Based Minor Eye Conditions (MEC) Service
British High Commission Wuhan, China Office Fit-out
Events content to promote Superfast Broadband Business Engagement in the West Midlands (Part funded by ERDF)
Telemarketing to promote Superfast Broadband Engagement to ERDF eligible SMEs in the West Midlands
Local Air Quality Management Services
Information Technology Advisory Services for Superfast Broadband SME Business Engagement in the West Midlands
Berwick Dental Practice - NHS England, Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne & Wear Area Team
Supply of Chemical Analysis Software
GB-Spalding: SHDC Housing Property Asset Management System
United Kingdom-Preston: Health and social work services
United Kingdom-London: System quality assurance planning services
United Kingdom-Hull: Monitoring and control services
United Kingdom-Haverfordwest: Industry specific software package
United Kingdom-Preston: Content management software package
United Kingdom-St Albans: Business intelligence software development services
United Kingdom-Exeter: Weather-forecasting services
United Kingdom-Dalkeith: Project management consultancy services
Web Content Management system, form builder and web application
United Kingdom-Motherwell: Time accounting or human resources software package
United Kingdom-Cardiff: Helpdesk and support services
United Kingdom-Edinburgh: IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
United Kingdom-London: Information systems
United Kingdom-Stoke-on-Trent: Imaging equipment for medical, dental and veterinary use
United Kingdom-Lincoln: Project management software package
United Kingdom-Livingston: Industry specific software package
High Performance Computing cluster for Finite Element modelling
United Kingdom-Cambridge: Research and development services and related consultancy services
Provision of Camping Cabins at Lee Valley Caravan Park, Dobbs Weir
Roofing Repairs and Maintenance
Repairs to Countywide Custody Suites (SDHP3)
Pine Court Housing Association External and Internal Wall Insulation Project
United Kingdom-Swansea: Asbestos-removal work
Norway-Lillehammer: Prefabricated buildings
Norway-Roa: Construction work for subsidised residential accommodation
United Kingdom-Elgin: Building construction work
Norway-Oslo: Electrical wiring and fitting work
United Kingdom-Glenrothes: Research and testing facilities construction work
United Kingdom-Manchester: Construction work
United Kingdom-Liverpool: Services related to water pollution
United Kingdom-Liverpool: Painting and glazing work
United Kingdom-Preston: Construction work for highways
Norway-Oslo: Painting and glazing work
United Kingdom-Sunderland: Generator units
Norway-Oslo: Fire-detection systems
Norway-Oslo: Plumbing and sanitary works
Norway-Oslo: Carpentry installation work

Belfast City Council Tenders are available at

First Edition Publications, The Technology Centre,
Townsend Enterprise Park, Townsend St., BELFAST BT13 2ES 

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