Spring Business Summit
Building Better Businesses
‘Survival is not mandatory’ Energy Security is key theme of Westport Chamber’s Business Summit
Once again Westport Chamber of Commerce have their finger on the pulse of the challenges to local businesses recognising that energy security in particular is a pressing and urgent development challenge. Our Spring Business Summit entitled “Build Better Businesses” had three distinct themes each aimed at supporting business sustainability and resilience: Business & Infrastructure, Sustainable Hospitality and Energy Security – the Engine for Growth. Expert speakers on these themes comprised the morning session which was followed by individual 1:1 energy clinics.
“In planning the event we’ve really focused on addressing issues Westport businesses are currently facing”, said Graham Byrne of Krēm Gelateria and Café, President of Westport Chamber of Commerce, “this summit aims to provide practical advice on sustainability and help businesses make the changes needed in the most appropriate way for them. Survival in business is not mandatory but we want to ensure that our local businesses have the best chance possible of not only surviving but thriving”.
Under the Business & Infrastructure theme, Sinéad Flynn, Portwest Sustainability Programme Manager gives her businesses perspective on building a sustainable business. She is followed by a presentation by Laura Dixon from Mayo County Council’s Environment & Climate Change Department on the supports for decarbonising initiatives available from the council.
Westport is an established tourist destination and two speakers addressed this theme. Edel Healy, Wild Atlantic Way Project Officer, Fáilte Ireland discussed what is actually meant by ‘Sustainable Hospitality’ and whether Westport is well positioned to offer it to visitors. Donal Kearney of Lawler Sustainability takes Managing your Hospitality Infrastructure for Sustainability as his pertinent topic as it’s essential to have a climate breakdown overlay on any consideration of development.
Energy security is a hot topic at the moment and one which is causing a lot of confusion and misinformation. Keynote speaker Dr Ellen Diskin, Head of the National Network, Local Connections Programme at ESB Networks gives a practical overview of Energy Security, Business Planning and Participation
The morning sessions took place in Westport Town Hall Theatre and Irish sign language interpreters were present.
The afternoon 1:1 clinics, took place in the Leeson Enterprise Centre. These included a review of energy bills, discussion on specific business opportunities and signposting to appropriate supports.
In the afternoon SME Energy Clinics at the Leeson Enterprise Centre, Darren Madden of the Clew Bay Hotel presented his Clew Bay Hotel solar PV case study to provide context. Mel Gavin, Coordinator of the ATU Contract Research Unit (Sligo), Mentor & Technical Adviser to the SEAI Sustainable Energy Communities Programme reviewed energy bills, discussed specific business opportunities and signposted to appropriate supports.
“Build Better Businesses” was presented by The Westport Chamber in conjunction with Mayo County Council, Mayo LEO, Mayo North East Development Company (SICAP), South West Mayo Development Company (LEADER) and Destination Westport.