Cross-border conference highlights challenges and opportunities

A free conference for businesses in the North and the South entitled ‘Developing your Cross-Border Business’ held last week in county Monaghan has highlighted the challenges that lie ahead for businesses as well as the opportunities to move from a state of surviving to thriving. The conference also pointed out the challenges that face not only businesses, but also the banks and NAMA.

Organised by Border People in association with the IBEC-CBI Joint Business Council and supported by Morgan McManus Solicitors, this event attracted delegates from both the public and private sectors in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Cross-border trade has been occurring for years, but never has there been more of an economic need to trade North and South, for the benefit of both economies,” said Brian Morgan, solicitor and partner, Morgan McManus Solicitors. “We must increase that trade and businesses here today realise that they need to think outside the box and look at new opportunities in order to move from survival mode to thriving. There are many supports and resources available to businesses that are looking to new markets to sustain and grow their businesses.

Margaret Hearty, director of programme and business services at IntertradeIreland made the welcoming address and spoke of the need to increase trade on the island. In particular, she urged businesses to avail of the supports that are out there and to not be afraid to consider all-island public sector procurement projects which value currently at €21/£19 billion.

Other subject matters covered at the conference included Sourcing Bank Finance for a Cross-Border Business; Debt Collection; Accessing Business Grants in each Jurisdiction; Cross-Border Business Succession and related Tax Issues; Cross-Border Employment Law as well as challenges facing SMEs and Support Mechanisms.

Speakers included Joe Shiels, Project Manager at Border People, Rose Tierney, Tierney Tax Consultancy, Ruairi Martin and Feargal McCormack from FPM Accountants, Fergal McManus and Brian Morgan, partners at Morgan McManus Solicitors and Simon Murray, managing director of Universal Graphics who is successfully running his own cross-border business.

The ‘Developing Cross Border Business’ conference has provided valuable insights for individuals considering setting up their own businesses and those already in business and trading cross-border,” said Reg McCabe, chief executive, IBEC-CBI Joint Business Council. “Availing of opportunities cross-border to increase business will be vital for many companies in order to move forward and prosper. Continued co-operation cross-border between the different organisations set up under the Good Friday agreement will enable good knowledge sharing and help companies looking to move into new markets on the island and in to the UK. Knowledge is power and knowing what supports that are out there is vital. The Joint Business Council is continuing to organise conferences and events such as this one in order to support both economies on this island. Our next one will take place in the North west in September.