Over 150 SMEs from Donegal gather in Letterkenny for Facebook event

" We want to help businesses unlock their potential"

Over 150 SMEs from Donegal gather in Letterkenny for  Facebook event

Enjoying the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny were local business Patrica Greene, The Web Club and Sharon Hearty, Lough Derg. Picture: Clive Wasson

Over 150 Irish small and medium sized businesses Donegal and the surrounding counties gathered at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny, on Friday for the Boost with Facebook event.

They received one to one training and advice from both like minded-business owners and Facebook experts on how to use Facebook’s tools to grow their business.

Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event were local business owner, Amanda Clarke, Travel Donegal and Donon Harvey, Cathedrial Quarter

Entrepreneurs participated in breakout sessions and talks which provided training on how to build effective online advertising strategies, create engaging ads for mobile and find new customers on Instagram.

As highlighted in a recent Seanad report on Small and Medium Sized Businesses in Ireland (published in May 2019), the SME sector is vibrant and diverse, accounting for 99% of active enterprises and 65% of all employment in Ireland – in excess of one million people nationwide and over 75,000 in the North West alone.

Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event were Brian Higgins, ABC School Supplies, Toni Forrester, chief executive, Letterkenny Chamber, Mark Bundschu, ABC Schools Supplies and Patrica Hill, Stateside Resturant

This shows the huge importance of SMEs to regional economies. The same report notes, however, that SMEs have not yet fully embraced digital technologies with just 30% of SMBs selling products and services online.

At the event Helen Smyth, head of Ireland, Global Business Group at Facebook highlighted the benefits of adopting digital technologies like Facebook and Instagram into businesses.

“There are 46 million people around the world connected to a business in Ireland on Facebook. Through Facebook, small businesses now have access to affordable marketing tools to grow their business and strengthen their communities.

"Through events like this, we want to help businesses unlock the potential of the global market and understand how tools like international Lookalike Audiences and multi-city targeting can enable them to connect with new customers, grow awareness of their brand, drive new sales and see their business flourish,” she said.

Pictured at the Boost with Facebook business training event at the Station House Hotel, Letterkenny are local business owner Louis Boyce, Begin Coding, Anna Campbell, Bogman Beanie and Michael MacGinty Mean IT

Demonstrating how Donegal businesses can be successful online, panelists from Magee 1866 and I Do WoW Weddings shared their experiences and practical advice on how they have leveraged Facebook and its tools to grow their businesses on a local, national and international stage.

Lisa Boyle, business owner at I Do WoW Weddings, told attendees how integral Facebook has been to the success of her business.

“Facebook has provided me with a platform to reach new customers and to showcase my work. I set up the company in Donegal over two years ago, initially as a side venture. However, the business grew so quickly I left my role as a solicitor to focus on the business full time.

"I have always had a passion for creativity and was often told I had a talent for decorating. 90% of my client base is Facebook sourced and managed. With over 7,400 followers on Facebook and Instagram, my followers engage with me on a daily basis, by commenting, liking, sharing posts and leaving positive reviews. If it wasn't for Facebook my business wouldn't have grown the way it has," she added.

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