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Over 500 Irish SMEs gather in Dublin at Facebook's Boost Your Business event

Exporting and GDPR Compliance Emerge as Key Themes at the Event

Newly-appointed Tánaiste Simon Coveney spoke about Ireland's Brexit negotiations and the impact for small business

Over 500 Irish SMEs gathered at The Point Village, Dublin, this morning for Boost Your Business, run by Facebook Ireland. At the event, SMEs heard from Facebook’s small and medium business team on industry insights and latest trends. Business owners also participated in workshops to help them grow brand awareness, drive sales and find new customers.

In a fireside chat with RTÉ broadcaster and event host Richard Curran, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D. spoke about Brexit and its potential impact on Irish businesses. Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen T.D., addressed the audience on another challenge facing SMEs next year - the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will take effect in May 2018. The new regulation which will increase the obligations and responsibilities for organisations and businesses in how they collect, use and protect personal data.

Panelists from Magee of Donegal, Burren Perfumery and Boutique Bake shared their experiences and practical advice on how they have achieved growth and success through Facebook and mobile marketing.

Speaking at the Boost Your Business event, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., said, “Brexit is my first priority as Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. And, as a Government, we are resolutely focused on ensuring businesses are as prepared as possible. This morning’s event is a great opportunity to outline what those preparations entail, as well as to hear the concerns of our business-women and men first-hand. I am also delighted to see so many Irish businesses embracing the potential of digital platforms, such as Facebook, to build relationships and drive growth.”

Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD said, “As Minister with responsibility for business, I am acutely aware of the importance of the micro, small and medium sector to Ireland’s economic well-being. Digitisation is increasing on a vast scale and is providing huge economic opportunities for SMEs - across all regions - that are positioned to take advantage. I very much welcome Facebook’s Boost Your Business initiative which will continue to help SMEs create and deploy digital strategies to allow them grow, flourish and further contribute to Ireland’s reputation as one of Europe’s digital frontrunners.”

Olivia Leonard, Director, SMB EMEA for Facebook emphasised the critical importance of having a mobile strategy: “Christmas 2016 was the first time we saw global mobile conversions overtake desktop on Facebook, with mobile-first shoppers increasing each year. As a small medium business, you need be available and accessible where people spend the majority of their time and that is on mobile. In Ireland, there are approximatively 2.7 million people using Facebook on their mobiles and we want to help businesses reach these potential customers.

“In addition to this, there are 46 million around the world connected to a business in Ireland on Facebook and expanding into new countries has become easier. 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 reach new audiences abroad.”

Ends

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Ken Waters / James Ringland

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Karin O’Conor

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