The West of Ireland’s largest business networking event, MEETWEST, took place last Thursday and Friday in Mayo with hundreds of delegates attending.
Returning for its 6th year, the 2-day business networking forum brought together a wide range of companies from the West of Ireland and further afield offering delegates an invaluable opportunity to meet, connect and do business with each other. This year’s event was hosted by Mayo County Council at the Mc William Park Hotel Claremorris.
The event kicked off with a technology driven registration process where every delegate was required to download a QR app to use during the event to save selected delegate contact details and to view their meeting schedules through their phones/tablets.
The conference entitled “Finding Opportunities to Grow” included speakers Niall O’ Donnellan, Enterprise Ireland; Jo Collins, Managing Director of SalesPerformance.ie; and Fergal O’Connor, CEO & Founder at Happy Marketing & Media who gave their perspective on opportunities and challenges for businesses in changing times, dealing with topics including BREXIT, understanding and looking after your customer and social media. Take home quote of the afternoon cited by Niall O’ Donnellan was “It is not the strongest of the species that survives but the most adaptable” (Charles Darwin).
Master of Ceremonies of the conference was Noel Davidson of The Entrepreneurs Academy who facilitated the afternoon in an engaging and energetic manner.
The networking reception and dinner featured guest speaker David McWilliams. One of Ireland’s leading economic commentators, and described as “colourful, stimulating and provocative”, David engaged the audience in an hour long entertaining yet thought provoking account of where we are today and what the future may hold. One of the key messages was be confident, stand out from the crowd and get noticed – think unconventionally and do not be corralled by mainstream thinking.
Thousands of one-to-one business networking meetings between delegates took place on Day 2. In addition, returning by popular demand, there were a number of 10 to 1 meetings where delegates met with larger businesses in a group format.
Collaboration was a common theme throughout the event. Peter Hynes, Chief Executive of Mayo County Council stated “MEETWEST is one of the most important practical examples of how Local Authorities, state development agencies and businesses can collaborate to promote the economic development of the West Region. Employment, Enterprise, Investment and Growth remain key priorities for the West and in times of continuing and accelerating economic and social change, it is important that public and private sectors collaborate to create and maintain a sustainable regional economy and take advantage of all the opportunities that can arise out of change.” Furthermore he offered to take the burden of development from Dublin to the west where we have cheaper housing, uncongested transport routes and quality of life.
Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, Al Mc Donnell, highlighted the importance of networking and communication to enable businesses to grow and thrive in today’s economic climate.
MeetWest is a partner approach initiative that includes Mayo County Council, Galway County Council, Galway City Council, Roscommon County Council, Mayo Local Enterprise Office, Galway Local Enterprise Office, Roscommon Local Enterprise Office, Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Western Development Commission, SCCUL Enterprises and supported by Enterprise Ireland and IDA.
Photo: David McWilliams at MEETWEST 2016, Co. Mayo