Bizfest 2015 – Entrepreneurial Innovators Networking Event #bizfest2015

A free event called ‘Bizfest’ aimed at helping Irish companies to develop their networks and expand their business in 2016 is being hosted in Carlow on 12th November 2015.

Now in its third year Bizfest 2015 hosted by the Carlow , Tipperary & Kilkenny County Councils – Local Enterprise Offices  in association Bank of Ireland , Netwatch , Connect Ireland & Carlow Chamber will be held on 12th November 2015 in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel , Kilkenny Road , Carlow.

Bizfest aims to provide an opportunity for owners managers and their key staff across Ireland to make connections while immersing themselves in the experience, entrepreneurial spirit and stories of entrepreneurs like David Walsh of Netwatch ,Conor Mulhall of the Little Milk Company , Terry Clune of , Michael Dawson – Founder of the Gift Voucher Shop / One for All , Mags Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm & Linda Nolan MD of Mybio winner of the National Enterprise Awards 2015.

The event is hosted by Dragons Den presenter Richard Curran and was attended by over 300 businesses in 2014. 

At Launch of Bizfest 2015: Kieran Comerford – Local Enterprise Office (Carlow County Council) Eilish Corcoran – CEO – Carlow Chamber Ita Horan – Local Enterprise Office (Tipperary County Council) Fiona Deegan – Local Enterprise Office (Kilkenny County Council) Joanna Murphy – CEO – Connect Ireland Anna Byrne – Local Enterprise Office (Carlow County Council) David Walsh – CEO – Netwatch Iain Hastie – Bank of Ireland

At Launch of Bizfest 2015:
Kieran Comerford – Local Enterprise Office (Carlow County Council)
Eilish Corcoran – CEO – Carlow Chamber
Ita Horan – Local Enterprise Office (Tipperary County Council)
Fiona Deegan – Local Enterprise Office (Kilkenny County Council)
Joanna Murphy – CEO – Connect Ireland
Anna Byrne – Local Enterprise Office (Carlow County Council)
David Walsh – CEO – Netwatch
Iain Hastie – Bank of Ireland

Launching the event, Minister Bruton said: “Two thirds of all new jobs come from start-ups and we have put in place a range of measures through the Action Plan for Jobs and through the recent Budget to provide supports for entrepreneurs.  My Department set up which aims at providing information in relation to all Government supports available for business.  Making connections is an essential part of doing business in Ireland, learning from one another and getting support for business is crucial for successful businesses and I would encourage Ireland’s enterprise community to attend Bizfest, a great event for businesses in the region which is designed as part of the ongoing supports of the Local Enterprise Offices across the country”.

Speaking about the event Kathleen Holohan, Chief Executive of Carlow County Council said “The Local Enterprise Office Networking Events are popular and lively events which generate much interest from businesses and help make connections happen which in turn develop key relationships, boost revenues and help maintain and create jobs”.  Holohan said “Bizfest is designed to help bridge the gap between SME’s and large companies and this proved to be a successful model in 2014.  We are delighted that this enterprise development initiative has in fact been shortlisted for a Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Award”.

Panelist and event partner David Walsh, Group CEO of Netwatch said “Outside mentors and experienced people were a huge driver for Netwatch, not only in the start-up phase but still today”. “The more advice and experience you can bring to the company, the better equipped you will be to deal with the obstacles when they are presented.”

Bizfest 2015  is co-hosted by Bank of Ireland and Derek Shannon – Manager in Carlow said : “We would encourage all businesses to participate in Bizfest 2015 as the event provides businesses with an opportunity to make connections, not just with us as a bank, but also with their peers across the country who will attend this event”

For further information on the event go to or e-mail

What is Bizfest?

Bizfest was born out of a desire to connect business people together to assist in developing a business like yours in 2015. Bizfest is a business networking event featuring a panel of unique business people who have experience on the local, national and international stage. Now in its second year the 2014 event attracted over 300 business people from across Ireland.

Bizfest has 3 elements. The first element is the exhibition area which introduces you to products and services which may benefit your business; the second is the panel event which gives you the opportunity to hear from industry experts about how to energize your business into 2016; third is networking over lunch in the award winning Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Carlow.


Event Partners:

Carlow County Council  -Local Enterprise Office

Netwatch Systems

Bank of Ireland

Kilkenny County Council – Local Enterprise Office

Tipperary County Council – Local Enterprise Office

Connect Ireland



11.30 am    Registration Opens / Exhibition Area

12.30 am Panel Event

1.30 pm Lunch & Networking

3.00 pm Close


Event is FREE of charge to attend


To register for this event: e-mail or call 059 912 9783


Bookings close: 6th November 2015



MC for the event  – Richard Curran

Richard Curran has been a business journalist, broadcaster, author and commentator on business for two decades. He was previously a columnist with The Sunday Business Post, and before that was deputy editor of that newspaper. In a distinguished career in journalism, Richard has been business editor of the Irish Independent, business correspondent with RTE and assistant editor of The Sunday Tribune, he is the author of a number of books. As a regular contributor to TV and radio he is best known to many as the presenter of RTE’s business show Dragon’s Den. His 2007 documentary, “Future Shock – Property Crash”, predicted the catastrophic effects of the end of the property bubble.


The panel event was the highlight of our 2014 event with a host of panelists who have experience at local, national and international level. Panelists confirmed to date include:


David Walsh is Co-founder and Group CEO of award-winning remote visual surveillance company, Netwatch. Founded in 2003 by Walsh and Niall Kelly, Netwatch are game changers, responsible for pioneering some of the greatest advances in security technology. Netwatch’s unique technology allows highly trained Intervention Specialists in the Netwatch Communication Hub to monitor their clients’ properties and ensure their assets are securely protected. Netwatch visually confirms if a criminal is on-site, detects them before they reach their intended target and intervenes through live personalised audio warnings. Employing 160 staff, Netwatch has to-date prevented in excess of 40,000 crimes across four continents. A visionary and vocal advocate of entrepreneurship, David has supported and mentored many emerging entrepreneurs and served as President of County Carlow Chamber of Commerce for two years. A graduate of UCD, DCU and Stanford University, Walsh has also been a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of Year in 2007.


Conor Mulhall is the Managing Director of The Little Milk Company, an organic dairy co-operative made of ten family owned organic farms based around Munster and Leinster. The Little Milk Company has been operating since 2011 and we set up to enable the farmers to get a better price for their organic milk, but to then they had been selling their organically produced product into the conventional dairy market. The farmers send their organic milk to some of Irelands best cheese makers and turn it into their award winning organic cheeses. The Little Milk Company sold their first batch of cheese in 2013 and now produce 7 types of organic cheese and are in over 150 major retailers in Ireland along with stores in countries such as France Germany and the United States. Conor maintains the company’s success is down to selling a high quality product, produced by people with a real passion for what they do. “ The success of The Little Milk Company is down to the farmers being passionate  what they do well which is farming, our cheesemakers are wonderful at what they do and very experienced and then this allows us to get on with the day to day business of selling the cheese, it all works very well together.”


Terry Clune founded Taxback Group while studying business at Trinity College. His company now employs over 1,000 staff in 20 countries. He is a former winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the HSBC European Entrepreneur Award. Taxback’s software integrates into leading ERP systems to identify and recover reclaimable taxes paid by companies while on business overseas. Terry is also founder of several early stage companies such as Transfermate, which is building a global network of payment institution licences, and Sales-Promotions, whose technology manages international loyalty rebate programs.


In 2012, Terry launched ConnectIreland, a government & IDA backed program which gives everybody the chance to help attract companies & jobs to Ireland. Simply, if you hear about a company that’s expanding to Europe, tell ConnectIreland. Their team will help that company learn the benefits of locating in Ireland, and you could earn a major financial reward. 54 new companies have already established in Ireland through the program.  Terry lives in Kilkenny with his wife Kate and their 4 children.

Iain Hastie is a Senior Manager with Bank of Ireland Business Banking and has almost 29 years’ Banking experience in retail, business banking and corporate banking levels. He has extensive experience in dealing with SME’s from early stage to large Irish SME’s across many sectors. Recent roles have included working with the Bank’s Enterprise Ireland Relationship Team. Iain is a graduate of Dublin City University and a Chartered Management Accountant.


Linda Nolan is Managing Director of MyBio. A graduate of Waterford Institute of Technology, Linda completed her Ph.D. and for a number of years, she worked in various sales roles within the Life Science Research market.  In that time and having worked on both sides of the bench, she identified how the business could become more innovative and proactive. In 2005, Linda took the plunge and registered as a sole trader, her first success was in bringing Bioline to the Irish market. In 2009 she set up MyBio, has grown the business and has built a complementary portfolio of suppliers with 5 exclusive contracts.

Linda built the business with a clear vision of where she wanted it to go and continually pushed the boundaries and challenged how traditional distributor style businesses in the sector operated. Linda comes for a family of entrepreneurs and from a very early age was involved in the family business. It proved to be the foundations on which her ambition, drive, business acumen, business management and successful leadership were built.  


Mag Kirwan was born into an enterprising horse business in Co. Kilkenny. She went on to study Biochemistry in UCD where she met her husband Gerard. She eventually gave into her heart and married into The Trout business and 24 years later they have 4 kids and have grown the company to be a real force in Irish Freshwater Aquaculture here in Ireland. Innovation and sustainability are at the heart of what they do. They were the first company to produce Irish trout caviar, to produce a smoked Irish trout in a tin and they now look to the export market to expand their business.


Michael Dawson is Founder and CEO of The Gift Voucher Shop. An entrepreneur his entire life, Michael has made an impact and left his entrepreneurial mark across a diverse range of career paths, including youth work, politics, lottery, to the business he heads up today. With The Gift Voucher Shop, Michael has led the business in the development of unique pre-paid products and innovative distribution markets within the gifting and corporate incentives space across markets in Ireland, The U.K. and Malta. Since 2006 he has moved his core technology focus from secure paper to electronic card products enabling the business to expand into the savings and loyalty businesses. In 2009, The Gift Voucher Shop won an Ulster Bank Business Achievers Award under the category of Business Going International, and won the Marketing in Innovation category at the AIM Awards in both 2009 and 2010. Most recently One4all has been recognised on the world stage having won three major awards at The World Prepaid Awards, including ‘Best Overall Gift Card Programme’.


Michael was one of 2007’s finalists in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year programme and was named Fingal Business Person of the Year at the Business Excellence Awards 2010. Michael is a Director of the Fingal County Enterprise Board, Fingal Tourism, Soul of Haiti Foundation and represents the SFA on the European Union Policy Committee with I.B.E.C..Michael has served on the national judging panel of both the Inter-trade Ireland All-island Seedcorn Competition and the Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards on many previous occasions.


Most recently, Michael has become involved with the Junior Entrepreneur Programme (JEP) as Partner for the North County Dublin/Fingal area. JEP is an entrepreneurial awareness and skills enhancement Programme for 5th and 6th class Primary School pupils. The innovative and accomplished programme makes entrepreneurial education available to every primary school in the area, free of charge as a result of the sponsorship from Michael and One4all.

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