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Showcasing Business Engagement: the Ulster Business Festival

Professor Jackie McCoy

The University of Ulster next week hosts the Ulster Business festival – a three-day programme of business-related events showcasing how the university can help businesses start, grow and prosper.

The inaugural Festival will take place on May 8-10 across the University's four campuses, with events scheduled at all four of the University’s campuses – Belfast, Jordanstown, Magee and Coleraine, including:

• growing your business in the digital economy – how Ulster businesses can up their game

• opportunities in construction retrofitting offered by the coming energy crisis

• opportunities for social enterprise – and how the University can help startups

• healthcare technology: the market opportunities offered by new tools and techniques for helping care for elderly and ill people in their own homes

• how language skills and cultural awareness can boost international trade for local businesses.

The Festival kicks off on Wednesday 8th in Belfast, with an expert panel discussion bringing together analysts from business, academia and politics to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the Northern Ireland economy, followed by an exploration of how the local construction sector can grasp the enormous business opportunities opening up in the field of creating a sustainable built environment.

At Coleraine, the Festival will see the launch of Venture Causeway, a new £100,000 business startup competition funded by 10 local business champions, while at Jordanstown the campus will host the Placement Employer of the Year Awards, recognising the engagement and commitment of local employers to working with the University of Ulster.

There will also be a showcase event highlighting student enterprise, with a host of business ideas from the next generation of Ulster entrepreneurs.

Later in the week, a Café Symposium at Ulster’s Belfast campus will explore how the University can work with local businesses on workforce development, social enterprise, internships, research collaborations and knowledge transfer partnerships, while at Magee the focus will be on the creative industries and the digital economy as a growth sector for the north-west.

Ulster Business Festival Chair Professor Jackie McCoy of the Ulster Business School at the University (pictured) said:

“This is a very exciting programme, bringing together business-related project and people from across the University’s four campuses to spotlight the many ways in which the University of Ulster works with and adds value for Northern Ireland’s business community.

“This is the inaugural Festival, and we intend to make it a major annual event in Northern Ireland’s business calendar. The University touches the business world not only in our research and teaching activities, but also through knowledge transfer, Fusion programmes, placements, internships, expert consultants and much more.

Our people, capabilities, facilities, programmes and networks – both national and international – are a major resource for the local business community.

“The Festival wants to celebrate those links — and encourage more businesses to work with us, and find out what we can do to help them grow.
“There will be real-time Twitter feeds sharing insights and highlights from the Festival events: find them on Twitter at #UlsterBizFest — and join the conversation!”

For more info and details of other events in the Ulster Business Festival, check the full Ulster Business festival programme at:

http://www.ulster.ac.uk/ulsterbusinessfestival

Event organisers have recorded a series of short info videos: see them here:http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqmRjQ7tesNvrtV8tEdP_8bO3wC5Baj4V