Ireland’s largest business networking event, CORKMEET 2010, draws to a close today following an extremely busy and successful three days of intensive business networking at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Little Island, Co. Cork.

The event concludes at lunchtime today following a half-day Conference entitled: “Connecting with Your Customer”. Newstalk’s George Hook opened the event this morning with a rousing and highly entertaining address to the assembled delegates. George’s address was followed by presentations from guest speakers Sheila Gilroy Collins, Commercial Marketing Manager of Donegal Creameries and Gerard Tannam, Entrepreneur and branding expert. Newstalk’s Jonathan Healy also chaired a lively question and answer session which was thoroughly enjoyable!

George Hook delivered a highly entertaining and thought provoking opening address. He said: “Strong Management and high standards make business work and it’s tough to be a manager these days”. He also referenced three top tips for business success: “The first principle of success is pride. The second is setting high standards and maintaining them and the third is excellent communication”. George noted that the more advanced our technological improvements become, the worse we seem to get at communicating. This point was well illustrated with reference to two people sitting alongside each other at work emailing back and forth rather than speaking to each other!

The highlight of today’s Conference was a motivational keynote address delivered by Sean Gallagher, star of RTE’s Dragon’s Den. Sean’s speech focused on the crucial role that small and medium Irish businesses must play in the recovery of the Irish economy and future job creation.

“In times of crisis, it’s not sufficient to simply manage your business well. We need to become leaders”, said Mr. Gallagher. “Management is about doing things right, leadership is about doing the right things. Irish entrepreneurs will now become the heroes for the next decade due to their critical role in creating jobs and providing economic recovery”, he continued.

“Crucial to that is developing essential networks that allow us to learn new strategies, collaborate on new initiatives and learn from the success of what others are doing right. Success definitely leaves clues! Notwithstanding the importance of foreign direct investment, the future of the Irish economy will depend on our ability to identify, grow and nurture indigenous Irish businesses”, Mr. Gallagher concluded.

CORKMEET 2010 is modelled on the internationally successful Futurallia concept of business networking. This year’s event proved highly successful with more than 3,500 personalised 20 minute one-to-one meetings arranged for participants. More than 400 delegates took part this year, representing over 350 local, national and international businesses from a variety of business sectors, including agri-food & beverages, pharmaceutical & health, construction, engineering, craft & textiles, IT, energy supply, alternative energies, tourism, hospitality, transport and logistics.

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