Launch of free online advice and networking forum for SMEs

17 Apr 2009

A new interactive online resource – has been created to help the 250,000 SMEs spanning the island of Ireland battle the recession.

The aim of is to help owner managers grow their enterprises by sharing knowledge, experience and contact networks. The website is open to all businesses and subscription is free.

With many small enterprises facing unforeseen challenges due to the recession, this website was set up in response to the challenges of the current economic environment. It has been in development for over 18 months.

The website is an independent one, which has been devised by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.

The brains behind are Greg Byrne, an author and lecturer on entrepreneurial marketing at the Irish Management Institute; Ron Immink, a specialist in start-up strategy and a consultant for the OECD and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development; and Fionan Murray, a finance and technology journalist and ex-CEO of software applications business.

As Byrne explained: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They make up 97pc of all companies on this island.

“To remain successful and respond well to challenges presented by the current environment, small businesses are telling us they need concrete, realistic and practical solutions for their day-to-day concerns.

“Already, visitors to the site are picking up valuable information on new markets, supplier contacts and cashflow management,” he added.

Referring to how businesses need practical answers and clear recovery plans, Byrne said is a forum for businesses to come up with solutions based not on theory, but on experience.

The website features advisory articles, podcasts and a networking room called Insights Xchange, where members can share their views.

The site’s central feature is a tool for businesses called RoadMap4Growth, which profiles the user’s business according to three growth stages, offering advice on money, management, and marketing appropriate to the individual business.

Already, over 1,400 businesspeople are visiting the site every day. is powered by Ulster Bank. Its resource partners include the Irish Management Institute, Newstalk and The Belfast Telegraph.

For further information, visit

By Carmel Doyle

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic