ULSTER BANK has been instrumental in creating smallbusinesscan.com, an all- Ireland internet resource that allows businesspeople from all sectors and growth stage companies to come together and share insights, networks, and business tips to promote growth in their
respective companies. Using latest social media, the power of social learning and the desire amongst business people to help each other in these trying times, the site has become an open source and freely available platform where a roadmap for business growth is being created. At the same time the bank is putting its shoulder to the wheel of economic recovery which it believes will be led by SMEs.
Key SME Initiative
Within 8 weeks of its launch date smallbusinesscan was included as a key Irish SME initiative and included within the SME European Week 2009. Within three months the site had 30,000 visitors and business challenges and insights were being discussed by a broad cross section of the SME sector in Ireland.
By the end of 2009 the site has had 60,000 regular visitors with many business challenges being discussed. A library of approx 500 articles, templates and case studies under Money, Marketing, Management, and Motivation across the four stages of growth – start up, emerging, rapid growth and next level. Six offline networking events have been organised attended by 100s of businesspeople where issues were discussed and debated, contacts made and shared, war stories told and retold. 32 eZines have been created and circulated to a growing database of over 10,000 per month.
Key partners have put their shoulders to the wheel. Media partners such as Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Business Post, Business Plus and Newstalk carry smallbusinesscan stories every 4 weeks. The IFA and smallbusinesscan have created an alliance to promote growth amongst rural enterprises; the SFA is using the initiative as its social networking vehicle for its Better Business initiative; IMI and Intertrade Ireland also provide content to the site and promote it as a resource to its members.