WHAT IS MAKING THE HEADLINES?

AMERCIAN HOLIDAYS INVESTS IN THE FUTURE OF ITS BELFAST BASE

AMERCIAN HOLIDAYS INVESTS IN THE FUTURE OF ITS BELFAST BASE

Northern Ireland’s US Travel Specialist, American Holidays opens the doors on its brand-new premises in Belfast City Centre, following a significant investment and a renewed strategy to grow its operations locally.

Whilst remaining in Lombard Street, American Holidays will now occupy the old Ulster Bank site that has lay vacant for several years. This new space will allow for the expansion of its retail shop and call centre for its trade partners, with a larger dedicated Belfast team in place to answer every call.

The new retail shop will be a relaxed and comfortable environment for both staff and customers. Planning a holiday to the USA can be daunting at times; therefore it is reassuring to speak directly with a specialist to receive expert advice – something American Holidays continues to see a demand for from customers.

Speaking on the continued success of American Holidays, Karen Sheals Hoy, Manager says: “We pride ourselves in offering a seamless and dedicated customer journey delivered through exceptional service. It is this passion shown by the team that resonates with our customers and gives them confidence in the services we offer. Today American Holidays has over 50 staff based in Belfast, Dublin and Leeds and we are proud to be part of the world’s largest collection of specialist travel brands.

“American Holidays has developed longstanding relationships across the industry, and we continue to forge new associations. American Holidays prides itself in having a dedicated team in place to negotiate and secure the best prices for our customers, so we can remain competitive in the marketplace.”

Starting as an independently owned company in Lombard Street 27 years ago, the business has gone from strength to strength. American Holidays opened its Belfast branch in 1991 and this new level of investment into the branch signals confidence in the local market and the continued demand for this specialist travel offering.

The larger premises will now allow for a new dedicated training room to be housed onsite, enabling American Holidays to host regular training sessions for their staff and the Northern Ireland Travel Trade with partnered airlines, hotels, destination team specialists and suppliers.

Karen says: “As specialists in our field we can share the expertise we have at our fingertips with those who support us and to better develop everyone’s knowledge, especially of the lesser known areas of the USA and Canada”.

Astrid Bell, Cruise Product Manager, Belfast and Dublin adds: “American Holidays’ biggest strength is our team. We know North America inside and out, upside and down and have a great heritage as a specialist North American Tour Operator. We go the extra mile and know that it’s often the little things that make a big difference. Our sales staff have collectively visited almost every state, so we have the USA and Canada covered.

“We understand the need to invest in education and training for our staff and work very closely with training partners to develop training programmes for all.”

American Holidays is part of Travelopia, the world’s largest collection of Specialist Travel Brands. It is always working to develop and grow new products to the USA & Canada – next year will be no different. 2020 will see a new 148-page North America brochure and a 100-page Escorted Touring brochure including Cruise and Canada. The new brochures will offer some new exciting experiences while also offering some old favourites. The new brochures will hit the shelves November 2019.

American Holidays is summed up in its tagline, Possibilities Unlimited!

END

GLENS COASTAL TOURISM INITIATIVE CREATES 58 NEW JOBS

GLENS COASTAL TOURISM INITIATIVE CREATES 58 NEW JOBS

Carrickfergus Enterprise has announced that results of its recent tourism initiative, ‘Glens Coastal Hub’ has exceeded expectations, boosting sales, local visitor expenditure, jobs, and visitor numbers.

Funded by the Coastal Communities Fund and following on from the huge success of its East Antrim Coastal Hub pilot in 2015, this new initiative has had a direct impact on the number of visitors and expenditure in the East Antrim Coastal Way route. Ambitious targets were in place from the outset, yet these have been surpassed significantly with the creation of 58 full time, part time and casual jobs and over 22,000 new visitors to the region, resulting in over £3million generated in additional expenditure.

The overall goal of the scheme was to develop the capacity and confidence of local businesses within the area, that are often considered the ‘hidden gems’ of the region but are not necessarily on the typical tourist routes.

The Glens Coastal Hub was devised to increase sales, enhance visitor experiences and fully take advantage of the huge opportunities’ tourism can offer for the local area. 30 businesses signed up to take part and avail of support services such as business mentoring, ICT support, WorldHost training, mystery shopping and a joint marketing campaign which included a visitor map and website.

Kelli Bagchus, Manager of Carrickfergus Enterprise, said: “The success of our East Antrim Coastal Hub and tourism map set the precedent for what could be achieved in the tourism sector within the area. It was therefore the right time to request further funding to create a larger spectrum of support. With the local interest high and the strong proposition already existing it made sense for us to build on this momentum.

“This programme has enabled us to showcase our diverse range of tourism attractions from across Ballygally to Ballycastle/Rathlin, that include the Ossian’s Grave, Layde Church, Dark Hedges Estate, the Ballygally Castle Hotel, Cranny Falls and Glenariff Forest Park; whilst empowering the businesses across these areas to capitalise on the buoyant tourism industry.

“With tourism at the fore of Northern Ireland’s economy, it is in our interest to support the lesser known locations, to keep history and heritage alive as well as helping the launch of new tourism businesses in the area.”

Speaking on his involvement in the programme, Gary O’Loughlin from Laragh Lodge said: “The programme has been really successful and has definitely brought us more business. We attended various workshops including social media training which was very helpful. The publicity from the programme put a spotlight on us and being located beside the Glenariff Waterfall has brought even more tourists to us.”

The project is funded by Coastal Communities Fund which is funded by the government with income from the Crown Estate Marine Assets. It is delivered by Big Lottery on behalf of the UK Government.

Sarah Daly, Funding Officer from The National Lottery Community Fund said: “We are delighted that Coastal Communities Fund has been able to support the Glens Coastal Hub Programme. It enables smaller businesses to develop their capacity, enabling them to capitalise on the growing tourism industry in Northern Ireland. It also helps to highlight what Northern Ireland has to offer beyond the major tourism sites. Thus, encouraging longer stays and contributing to and increased visitor spend.”

Carrickfergus Enterprise has created a successful model specialising in supporting tourism and hospitality businesses where it will seek opportunities to further support even more businesses to sustain and grow the future of this industry.

ENDS

JONZARA SECURES THE FUTURE OF ‘GERRY WEBER’ IN UK & IRELAND

JONZARA SECURES THE FUTURE OF ‘GERRY WEBER’ IN UK & IRELAND

Popular German fashion brand Gerry Weber announced last month it will close its UK store estate by October 2019, but have chosen to award its sole franchise in the UK and Ireland to local family business Jonzara.

Last year, Jonzara took over the Gerry Weber store in Newtownards and this announcement means it will continue to offer the popular brand to shoppers across the UK & Ireland. Since then the team has worked hard to grow demand for the Gerry Weber range via its online platform and store provision.

The independent retailer, which began trading in 2008, specialises in contemporary women’s clothing and remains steadfast despite the ongoing high street closures. Along with its Gerry Weber store, Jonzara has two stores in Newtownards and Lisburn. The business invested £150,000 in its 3300sq.ft Lisburn premises in 2017 with further development plans in the pipeline. It currently employs 26 local people across all three stores, with more recruitment underway.

Reflecting on Gerry Weber’s decision to cement its franchise contract with Jonzara, Director Jonathan McCann says:

“This is fantastic news and recognition of our proactive approach to growing Gerry Weber’s loyal customer base. Growth in store and online is equally matched. Now that we are going to be the sole Gerry Weber store in the UK and Ireland, this makes our offering even more exclusive for our customers.

“By showcasing a variety of designer brands in a range of sizes to suit any occasion and combining this with exceptional service, we have had the opportunity to grow.”

Director Sarah McCann adds: “We have seen a lot of additional growth online, not just for the Gerry Weber range. Our website exports Jonzara brands to over 50 countries worldwide including USA, Canada and Australia. The great news for our customers is that our online expansion has enabled us to offer an ever-increasing range of products both instore and online.”

Jonzara boasts an impressive array of designer labels and a selection of occasion wear and mother of the bride outfits appealing to the increase in demand for more formal attire as well as smart workwear.

EMPOWERING RETAILERS AND CONSUMERS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FOOD WASTE

EMPOWERING RETAILERS AND CONSUMERS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FOOD WASTE

Food waste is a huge issue and has recently been described as an “environmental, economic and moral scandal” by Ben Elliott[1].  Recent Northern Ireland figures shows that in total, Northern Ireland’s councils collected 230,942 tonnes of LAC municipal waste between October and December 2018.[2]

To put that number into perspective, this amounts to approximately £200m of food waste and 1.4m tonnes of greenhouse gases emissions.

It is these hard-hitting facts that has driven the vision behind Gander, the worlds first mobile app empowering consumers to reduce food waste and save money on their weekly food bill.

“Everyone loves bagging a bargain at the supermarket and reduced priced food is a great way to achieve this whilst still eating great food.  Gander displays reduced price food on an app all in real time meaning you can see what yellow stickered items are available in real time, saving money on your weekly shop.” Enthuses Ashley Osborne, one of the creators behind Gander.

“Environmentally, food waste is a crisis and is one of today’s growing issues with forecasts indicating a substantial increase by 2030 unless serious action is taken.  Worst still, a significant proportion of this waste is completely avoidable.  A yellow label doesn’t mean the food lacks the same great taste and versality when it comes to cooking family favourite dishes.

“For retailers reduced food can cost them up to 7% of their turnover.  At a time when margins are being squeezed, this is revenue sitting on their shelves and that customers locally would love to buy, they just don’t know it is there”,

Ashley Osborne, is one of the team members behind this world’s first mobile platform, developed to connect available reduced price, (often “yellow stickered”) food produce at your nearest retail store, in real-time.

During his time living and working in London, Ashley would finish work most days close to the closing time (unfortunately!) of his local food store.  At this hour, the shelves were awash with yellow stickers, and he knew, given that it was closing in a few minutes time, the food was most probably going to surplus or in the bin.

Despite this, it wasn’t until he came across a supplement in a National Paper discussing how food waste and its impact on the environment is set to be one of the leading man-made crises of the next 20 years.

At this stage the solution seemed obvious and this is when Gander was born!

Supermarkets and convenience stores were already reducing a vast array of food products, only issues was no one knew about it.  If this information was made more accessible online and to thousands more people surely it would mean more of this food was bought and less became surplus.  It was a win win for the retailer and the customer.

The idea seemed simple, the technology not so and some of the initial digital agencies Gander worked with pushed them down the route of something that involved manually uploading these items as they were stickered.  Whilst this solution looked good it was not real time and was not reliable.

It was back to the drawing board and further research was done.  All the time during this, the recognition of food waste and its environmental impact was becoming more and more mainstream.

It was a discussion with their now Chief Technology Officer and a forward-thinking EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale) provider that they realised this solution was not just a possibility, it was achievable.  It required a clever system with several moving parts, which was subsequently built, and this is where Gander in its fully automated current guise was born.

Gander is unique for this industry and a world first in its category.  It displays reduced price food automatically.  This means there is absolutely no changes in-store, once integrated, Gander simply works.

Gander integrates with many Point of Sale (“POS”) systems (or other retailer data feeds) to push the reduced food products to the mobile app, usually when they are stickered in-store.  Similarly, when that item is sold it is automatically removed from the app, providing a real time feed of all reductions in-store at any time to the customers locally.

In addition, Gander has a detailed analytics platform, which gives retailers a 360-degree analysis of their reduction’s metrics and performance as well as interactions with their reductions.  Again, all in real time.

After reaching out to several EPOS providers with the view to integrating with their systems; Henderson’s Technology and EDGEPoS was one of the most progressive ones the Gander team had looked at.

The Henderson Group has a fantastic sustainability and CSR programme in place with a proactive focus on waste reduction. It is for this reason that the team chose to work with the group to launch Gander to market for the first time.

In addition to the partnership with the Henderson Group and its impressive technology offering, Northern Ireland became the launch pad for Gander particularly as Northern Ireland stores have a very large reliance on fresh food. A product especially date sensitive.  Gander’s proposition is completely different to anything on the market and the team is confident it will make a significant impact on supporting retailers and consumers alike in addressing food waste.

Gander is rolling out across the UK and ROI following the successful launch of the app in NI, to help drastically reduce waste at a National level.

See how the Gander app works here: http://bit.ly/2maYjoi

The Gander app can be downloaded now via the Apple or Android app stores – click here or just search ‘Gander’.

You can also follow @getgander on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/31/food-waste-chief-to-target-scandal-of-250m-binned-uk-meals

[2] https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/news/northern-ireland-local-authority-collected-municipal-waste-management-statistics-released-13

THE FIGHT AGAINST FOOD WASTE RAMPS UP WITH THE ARRIVAL OF GROUNDBREAKING NEW TECHNOLOGY DESIGNED TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE IT

THE FIGHT AGAINST FOOD WASTE RAMPS UP WITH THE ARRIVAL OF GROUNDBREAKING NEW TECHNOLOGY DESIGNED TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE IT

The world’s first real-time mobile app, developed to help food stores clear significantly more of its reduced to clear, often yellow labelled, food produce has launched in Northern Ireland.

In an industry first, Gander, a mobile platform that displays ‘reduced to clear’ food products, has partnered with Henderson Technology to bring this sustainable technology solution to life in stores supplied by the Henderson Group in Northern Ireland under the SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOxtra brands.

Gander is unique for this industry as it displays reduced to clear food automatically and in real-time, with Henderson Technology’s award winning EDGEPoS System pushing the reduced food products to the mobile app, as they are stickered in-store.  Similarly, when that item is sold it is automatically removed from the app, providing an instant feed of all reductions in-store at any time making it simple and effective for the shopper.

Food waste is a huge issue and has recently been described as an “environmental, economic and moral scandal” by Ben Elliott[1].  Recent Northern Ireland figures shows that in total, Northern Ireland’s councils collected 230,942 tonnes of LAC (local authority collected) municipal waste between October and December 2018, similar to the 232,012 tonnes collected during the same three months of 2017.[2]

Speaking on the launch of Gander into Northern Ireland, Ashley Osbourne, Founder of Gander says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Henderson Technology in Northern Ireland, to introduce this new technology to market in an industry first. The Henderson Group has a fantastic sustainability and CSR programme in place with a proactive focus on waste reduction. Together through this partnership, we can take significant strides towards giving retailers and shoppers alike the ability to have a more sustainable and mindful approach to food shopping.

“Environmentally, food waste is a crisis and is one of today’s growing issues and it is forecast to increase substantially by 2030 unless serious action is taken.  Worst yet, a significant proportion of this waste is completely avoidable. However, for retailers reduced food can cost them up to 7% of their turnover.  At a time when margins are being squeezed, this is revenue sitting on their shelves and that shoppers locally would love to buy, they just don’t know it is there”.

Darren Nickels, Head of Henderson Technology says: “As an innovative and forward-thinking technology supplier, we are committing to helping all our retailers to reduce food waste alongside tackling the problem in our own stores. We are excited to have partnered with Gander to bring this unique initiative to life in an industry first. As part of the Henderson Group, we believe that initiatives like this will help us tackle the moral and environmental problems associated with avoidable food waste. We are delighted to be the first POS provider in the U.K. to offer this with our EDGEPoS system.

“Through the retail partners we work with both here in the UK and across the globe, we know that many of our customers feel strongly about addressing this issue and feel confident that by introducing the Gander app we will encourage shoppers to purchase in a smarter, more sustainable way while also enjoying some great savings.”

Ashley adds: “Only 5% of a retailers existing shoppers purchase reduced to clear food.  Gander puts this information in the hands of significantly more motivated shoppers which in turn will increase sales of reduced product.  For a retailer, this will increase revenue otherwise lost to waste, increase footfall and reduce waste.  For the shoppers it will provide them with the ability to avail of local bargains and save money, whilst allowing them to feel they are positively addressing the problem of food wastage.  A win, win!

“Shoppers love reductions and offers with 32% shopping for offers according to IGD Shoppervista research.  Furthermore, there is a movement from shoppers towards companies with an environmental focus with 72% of Gen Z’ers shopping in stores with a positive social and environmental impact according to Nielsen.”

The Gander app can be downloaded via the Apple or Android app stores and used to locate reduced items at your nearest SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOxtra store.

Gander is rolling out across the UK and ROI following the successful launch of the app in NI, to help drastically reduce waste at a National level.

END

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/31/food-waste-chief-to-target-scandal-of-250m-binned-uk-meals

[2] https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/news/northern-ireland-local-authority-collected-municipal-waste-management-statistics-released-13

TIME FOR TEA AT WHITEHEAD RAILWAY MUSEUM

TIME FOR TEA AT WHITEHEAD RAILWAY MUSEUM

Whitehead Railway Museum is rolling out its cake-stands and best china for a new season of its popular Afternoon Tea after a sell-out year in 2018.

Having celebrated its most popular year with visitor numbers increasing by 50%, the award-winning Museum will welcome guests to step back in time and enjoy Afternoon Tea in a stationary historic railway carriage, located on the tracks within the Museum premises.

General Manager of Railway Preservation Society of Ireland Lisa Adair said: “We have had an extremely successful summer so far with speciality train rides, bespoke events, and our visitor numbers are continuing to rise. We were overwhelmed with the bookings we received for the Afternoon Tea last year and the start of this year so we know there is a big demand for this event. As we run a very busy summer schedule this offering finished in May, so we are really looking forward to kicking off our Autumn season and inviting people to experience the atmospheric carriage.

“Whitehead has always been a railway town and we want to make it a visitor spot that appeals to everyone, not just the railway enthusiast community, so having unique offerings such as Afternoon Tea brings visitors from near and far to the Museum.”

Operated by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI), the Museum also offers a gallery experience that weaves through the rich rail history of generations, from seaside trips to tales of smuggling butter across borders. Visitors can enjoy an array of steam and diesel locomotives plus heritage carriages, see work in progress in the restoration workshops, enjoy afternoon tea in the Edwardian Tea Room, and hear all about the social impact of the railways and Whitehead.

Bookings have now opened for this season’s Afternoon Tea and the first event takes place at Whitehead Railway Museum on Saturday 7th September. Book now via https://www.steamtrainsireland.com. Whitehead Railway Museum is open 10am to 4pm Thursday to Saturday, while the Edwardian Tea Room, which is admission-free, serves tea/coffee and freshly prepared lunches. Experienced RPSI members are on hand for conducted tours at 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm, with tours lasting just over an hour.

WE’RE HIRING!

WE’RE HIRING!

Rumour Mill Creative Communications is an award-winning creative, public relations, social and influencer relations agency looking for an experienced Client Director, Client Manager and Digital Client Executive to join its fast-growing team.

Each individual will play an integral role within this growing team, helping to develop campaign strategies and plan media outreach activity along with managing the implementation of agreed activity. They will help to manage and lead the team across day-to-day activity and will be responsible for building and maintaining client relationships. They will also be responsible for generating high quality coverage, online engagement and will be expected to liaise regularly with key media contacts.

Whilst we try not to take ourselves too seriously, we do take our client work seriously and take pride in the campaigns we deliver.

If you have experience of working in communications – either agency or in-house – and thrive in an ambitious, lively, challenging and fast-paced environment (oh and did we mention with donuts and peroni on tap) then we’d love to hear from you.

The deadline for all roles is Friday 20th September at 4pm. Please email your CV stating salary expectations to office@rumourmillcomms.com

We are looking forward to reading all about you and hopefully welcoming you onboard!

NEW HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ® OPENS IN DERRY~LONDONDERRY

NEW HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS ® OPENS IN DERRY~LONDONDERRY

The new Holiday Inn Express ® Derry – Londonderry has opened its doors in the bustling city centre, creating the second largest hotel for the city. The £7million investment will generate 44 new jobs, enhancing employment and business opportunities for service providers in the region.  The major multifaceted development plan is set to boost the Strand Road area.

The hotel which boasts 119 modern bedrooms will offer competitive rates, lending to the thriving tourism in the city, as the increased visitor rates have helped to achieve record occupancy levels and welcomed thousands of visitors year on year. Holiday Inn Express has introduced Next Generation – an innovation developed to meet the needs of today’s Smart Traveler and suited to the idea of ‘express travel’. It’s excellent central location is just a short 5-minute walk to popular attractions such as the historic 17th Century Walls, the Peace Bridge and Guildhall, as well as a range of retail outlets and the city’s vibrant bars and restaurants.

The hotel offers an Express Start™ Breakfast included in the rate for all guests. In addition, super connected bedrooms offer appealing amenities such as Smart TVs, blackout blinds and a choice of pillows. The hotel has two meeting rooms ideal for small board meetings, interviews or brainstorming sessions.

Phase one of the development will focus on the opening of the hotel, with plans to add another 31 bedrooms by the end of the year.  Phase two will elevate the hotel offering by introducing a brand-new bar and restaurant, whilst phase three will bring the development of 25 self-catering apartments in 2020, ideal for corporate events or longer stays.

General Manager Stephen Redden said, “We are delighted to open the doors of Holiday Inn Express, adding a fresh and exciting dimension to the city’s accommodation offering. We are proud to generate 44 local jobs, whilst greatly adding to the continued growth of the destination. To be based in the heart of Derry-Londonderry, we are confident that we will be adding to the great vibrancy of Strand Road, complimenting the many emerging and existing businesses.”

Foyle Cup team members are amongst the first guests to stay at the hotel. The tournament hosted in the city in July is one of the largest youth soccer events in the country, attracting thousands of visitors. Holiday Inn Express will welcome Glenavon FC, Barnsley FC and Beann Mhádagháin FC providing a central location for the duration of the tournament.

The hotel is part of the IHG ® (Intercontinental Hotels Group), one of the world’s leading hotel companies representing 17 hotel brands with over 5,600 partner hotels worldwide. IHG® Rewards Club gives guests the opportunity to build loyalty points with every stay and avail of exclusive member benefits including discounted or free hotel stays at any IHG property worldwide, free airmiles and discounted brand name merchandise.

ENDS

LIGHTS, CAMERA, NEON! #BHS AT CONNOR & COMPANY PHOTOSHOOT

LIGHTS, CAMERA, NEON! #BHS AT CONNOR & COMPANY PHOTOSHOOT

With edgy hairstyling from the creative Connor & Company team, vibrant make-up by beauty business queen Grainne McCoy, photography by expert Glenn Norwood and unique garments from talented Ulster University fashion graduates – last week’s photoshoot was a hub of exceptional collaboration and creativity.

The photoshoot comes as preparation to celebrate the imminent opening of Connor & Company, an all-new concept salon located in the heart of Derry, owned by our innovative client and champion hairdresser Connor Grant.

Taking place at 1G1 Studio, the team embraced the grungy industrial surroundings as well as injecting plenty of neon, colour and fun to create a one-of-a-kind theme – the most fitting way to showcase Connor & Company’s diverse abilities and clientele as well as compliment their branding.

The shoot saw everything from quirky 70’s corkscrew curls to silky straight do’s; from dramatic high ponytails to freshly-coloured silver hair, all of which were effortlessly modelled by Chloe Spence, Hannah Watson, Dearbhla MacFarland, Grainne McCoy, Nicky Irvine and Austin Cush.

We also welcomed a number of eclectic Ulster University fashion graduate collections by designers Matthew Tanner, Chloe Dougan and Chloe Elliott.

Matthew Tanner’s intricate gothic pieces brought a vampy element to the shoot, allowing Connor & Company hair stylists Aaron Hutchman, Becky Gallen and Aislinn Kelly to show off their skills.

Chloe Dougan’s extensive range bought us something for everyone; including bright tassels, delicate sheer and heavy-duty chain mail which excelled in all themes of the photoshoot.

Recent graduate Chloe Elliott’s signature embroidered and embellished colour-block blazers proved the perfect match for Connor & Company’s bold branding, which was built from conception in-house by Rumour Mill and That Clever Ghost.

Speaking on the day, Connor enthuses: “The day was fantastic and better than expected. The success of the day was all down to the creative people who worked together to produce something special and outside the box. This shoot allowed us to capture the vision of Connor & Company and showcase our ability to create iconic, stylish and head turning looks. I want to extend a very special thank you to Matthew, Chloe Dougan and Chloe Elliott for kindly supplying clothes for the shoot – as their incredible looks took the shoot to another level. I can’t wait to see the finish images and we are already looking forward to the next photoshoot!”

Stay tuned see the release of the professional photos as well as the grand opening of Connor & Company. Watch this space…

NEW BELFAST BNI® CHAPTER LAUNCHED TO GENERATE £3MILLION IN BUSINESS

NEW BELFAST BNI® CHAPTER LAUNCHED TO GENERATE £3MILLION IN BUSINESS

BNI® Northern Ireland, has expanded its referral marketing network with the launch of a new Belfast City Centre based Chapter – Cathedral. With five chapters across the province this latest addition brings its current membership base up to over 130 local business representatives, with the new chapter aiming to generate annually over £3million pounds worth of business.

Established over 30 years, BNI® is the world’s leading referral organisation with over 250,000 members in over 70 countries worldwide. It works by organising weekly referral meetings for groups of businesses. Groups, known as chapters, use their combined network of contacts to find business opportunities and referrals for one another, to a specific brief that members outline at every meeting.

This new chapter signals a change in the format of the meetings, starting at 10am rather than 7am. The Cathedral Chapter was specify launched with a new start time to cater for businesspeople keen to be part of BNI®, but who are unable to commit to early breakfast hour meetings that are the norm in other groups.

Speaking on this significant launch BNI Northern Ireland Director, Andrew Dobbin said: “This is a fantastic achievement and testament to the growing popularity of BNI as an effective way to grow your business network. Our members are business professionals who help each other grow their businesses through their commitment to our principal core value, Givers Gain®.

“Each week, in thousands of communities across the globe, members meet with other trusted business leaders to build and nurture lasting relationships and pass qualified business referrals.  Membership in BNI® offers access to business training, peer learning and opportunities to network and do business with hundreds of thousands of BNI® members around the world.

“Last year, BNI® members in this area generated over £3.3 million worth of business for each other. Each chapter has a personality of its own and finding where you fit best helps you to get connected.”

The Cathedral Chapter’s leadership team is headed up by Aaron Skinner, B4B group; Peter Bond, PMB Accountants and Casey Graham, Miskimmin Wealth.

BNI® Cathedral Chapter Director, Aaron Skinner adds: “I am thrilled to be at the helm of this new Chapter and format. As a start-up group, we have a whole load of popular slots open which is an exciting offering. We would welcome anyone who is either just interested in BNI® or who has been unable previously to join due to the early hours, or because their slot is filled in other groups, to get in touch and come along as a visitor.”