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Strabane BID and Chamber of Commerce host first breakfast networking meetings

26 October 2017

Strabane Business Improvement District (BID) and Strabane Chamber of Commerce have joined up to launch a series of business networking breakfast meetings.

The regular meetings, the first of which was held yesterday morning at Caffe Fresco in the Pavilion Retail Park in Strabane, will take place on the last Wednesday of every month, from 8am until 9am, with a change of location for each month.

They are open to all businesses in the locality and will give owners and managers the opportunity to meet informally with fellow businesses and also improve their links with the Public Sector. 

They will begin with the host briefly sharing some observations about the current business climate affecting the town and update on current business initiatives being undertaken by either the BID, the Chamber of Commerce or Derry City and Strabane District Council.
Attendees are then invited to enjoy more conversation while being served breakfast, during which the organisers may invite a guest speaker to speak on a relevant topic. 

Guest speaker for the morning was Mark Sterritt from Inter Trade Ireland, who gave timely advice on its Brexit Advisory Service.  This bespoke service offers help and assistance for SMEs including a £2,000 Brexit Start Planning Voucher, which allows individual firms to work with an approved panel of experts to devise a tailored action plan to deal with the challenges of Brexit.

Attendees were also informed that InterTradeIreland has developed a comprehensive database of all goods traded cross-Border on the island of Ireland, covering thousands of individual product categories, and information on what the possible tariffs could be on these products if certain customs duties were to be introduced.

The local Crime Prevention Officer from the PSNI then followed with some advice on how to prevent businesses becoming a victim of crime, whether robbery, shop lifting or corporate fraud and what to do in the event of a crime.  The local Sergeant and Inspector were also in attendance to greet local businesses and discuss any issues they may be experiencing. 

Catherine Collins, BID Manager said, “We hope that this event will be the beginning of a constructive debate on the development of the town centre for the businesses who operate here and we’d love to see these meetings grow every month.

“These meetings are also a great opportunity to connect - or reconnect - with other business representatives, discover a new business and make new contacts”.

Martin Gallen, President of Strabane Chamber of Commerce, added: “We are delighted to join up with our colleagues at BID to host these meetings which offer the perfect opportunity for the business community in our area to come together regularly and discuss topics of mutual interest.

“I would urge local businesses to take ownership of this process by attending the meetings, giving their input and helping Strabane fulfil its commercial potential.”

One attendee was David Arbuckle, of AGL Chartered Accountants, who added: “It’s great to be able to mix with like-minded business people, enabling us to discuss a wide range of topics and issues that face us all, so I am really looking forward to these events growing in the future.”

The BID and the Chamber would like to thank Caffe Fresco for making their premises available for the first meeting and the Derry Strabane Policing & Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) for sponsoring refreshments.

For further information about the breakfast meetings, contact the Catherine Collins, BID Manager on 02871 253253, or Leona Gallen, Strabane Chamber of Commerce on Mobile: 07592155531.