Sunday, April 23, 2017

Expo 2017: 'You shouldn't miss it'.

Scoil Bhride Principal Anne Flanagan, Expo 2017 committee member Noel Clare, Martin Murphy of Murphy Design & Build, and Markus Pedersen of Markus Landscape & Gardening.
“I’ve lived in Kilcullen all my life and my business is here, but at last year’s Expo I met local businesses that I never knew existed, and made new clients who are still clients today.”

In one sentence, Martin Murphy of Murphy Design & Build summed up what the Kilcullen Expo of 2016 had meant to him, writes Brian Byrne. Speaking at the recent launch of Expo 2017, which takes place on Saturday 6 May, he said to any business that hadn’t been there last year, they shouldn’t miss it for 2017. “I think it’s very important that local businesses work together, because that makes us all stronger, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Ballymore representatives Elizabeth Deegan, Sherri Brennan, Sean Fogarety, Kerry Anne Sullivan, and Samantha Doyle.
The launch evening in Kilcullen Town Hall was well attended, and included this time some delegates from Ballymore Eustace, which is being included in this year’s Kilcullen event. Sponsored by Bank of Ireland as part of its Enterprise Town initiative, more than 100 businesses, sports and social organisations, and school groups took part last year. Some 70 of the total were small businesses.

Bank of Ireland Kilcullen manager Jo McMahon with The Signmaker, Michal Uhruskis.
The launch event was also addressed by Kilcullen BofI manager Jo McMahon, who said the next Expo is a ‘fantastic’ opportunity to showcase what Kilcullen and Ballymore have to offer.

Expo 2017 organising committee member Noel Clare there had been a ‘fantastic buzz’ at last year’s event and that the interaction between people and between the businesses themselves had been ‘extremely positive’. “What was a real eye-opener was to see the range of businesses that were in Kilcullen,” he added. “Especially the smaller ones that are operating maybe from people’s homes, and even if they had been there for some years, we wouldn’t have heard of them without the Expo.”

He also commented on the presentations from the local schools, including the group which had won the Scoil Bhride ‘Bizworld’ enterprise competition.and that the committee had been really amazed at the response from the entire community. “It was networking at its best, people talking to people. It is one thing knowing that a business exists, but I think that when you get to know the people who are behind it, that makes it all much stronger.”

Anne Flanagan, the Principal of Scoil Bhride where the Expo takes place, said the event had also allowed them to showcase the new school and all the activities that went on there. “People found out about many things which they didn’t know, and we found out about local businesses whose services we know use ourselves.”

She said the schools today foster entrepreneurial talent though programmes like ‘Bizworld’, and that when the children move on to second level they will likely get involved in similar mini-business programmes there. “We can’t underestimate the effects that these events have on our children going forward — who knows, maybe we have the next Bill Gates in a classroom at the moment?”

(This article was first published on the Kilcullen Page of the Kildare Nationalist.)