Business diary: Events coming up

Your weekly round-up of conferences, dinners and seminars

Business diary
Announcing details of the 2024 Women in Business All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference, taking place in Belfast’s Europa Hotel on June 6, are Roisin Keenan (left), head of business banking at event sponsors AIB, and Women in Business managing director Lorraine Acheson


The 2024 Women in Business All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference, sponsored by AIB, takes place on June 6 in Belfast’s Europa Hotel.

It will focus on the theme of ‘Grit and Growth’ with Gráinne Mullins, head chocolatier and founder of Grá Chocolates, recently added to the line-up of leading female founders who have defied odds and showcased unwavering perseverance in the face of business challenges.

The event will feature engaging panel sessions and breakout masterclasses with leading business advisors from AIB, InterTradeIreland, Invest NI, Enterprise Ireland and Innovate UK Business Growth in the room.

Representatives from each organisation will share their knowledge in a bespoke marketplace covering innovative export strategies and sustainable growth ideas so that attendees can challenge themselves and learn from others best practice to enhance their business acumen and personal growth.

Roisin Keenan, head of business banking at AIB, said, “We are committed to enabling women entrepreneurs to sustain and grow their business from the ground up. We’re proud to support Women in Business in delivering this premier event which showcases enterprising women on an island-wide scale.”

Lorraine Acheson, managing director at Women in Business, said: “The full conference agenda for this year’s All-Island Conference promises a diverse range of topics catered to the evolving needs of female entrepreneurs with the event set to be the cornerstone of inspiration, empowerment, and connection for over 300 women-led business owners across the island.”

To find out more about the event and to book your tickets visit

Business Diary
Launching the search for 'Ireland's Next Top Chef' at the Balmoral Hotel are Tourism Ireland’s chief executive Alice Mansergh, Belfast lord mayor Ryan Murphy, and competition judges Joris Minne and Kerry Roper


Aspiring chefs from across the island of Ireland are being encouraged to test their culinary skills in this year search for Ireland’s Next Top Chef.

Coordinated by the Balmoral Hotel, Ireland’s Next Top Chef was established in 2023 to identify and nurture culinary talent aimed at safeguarding the future of the local hospitality industry.

It provides talented chefs with an exciting opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight and showcase their talent to some of Ireland’s top industry-recognised chefs and experts aiming to be crowned the island’s next culinary sensation.”

The competition is open to professional chefs and home cooks. Contestants are required to submit their signature three-course menu by the closing date of Friday June 7 to qualify for the live knock-out stages.

The grand finale will take place on Thursday August 1 at the Balmoral Hotel in Belfast, with the top three chefs competing against each other in a thrilling live cookery showdown to claim the coveted title of ‘Ireland’s Next Top Chef’.

The winner will receive the opportunity to undertake an all-expenses-paid mentorship to cook and train with a leading culinary team at a prestigious two-star Michelin-starred restaurant of their choice; Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London or Chapter One by Mickael Viljanen in Dublin.

Contestants can submit their applications and find out additional information at


Entrepreneurs and business leaders are being invited to attend Northern Ireland’s Biggest Business Breakfast on Thursday May 30, where they can discover the wealth of business support and funding available to them through Northern Ireland’s six Further Education Colleges.

Taking place simultaneously across each Further Education College in Northern Ireland, the breakfast event aims to empower entrepreneurs, small business owners, and industry leaders by highlighting the diverse range of free support initiatives offered by local FE Colleges. Business can register for Northern Ireland’s biggest business breakfast at or via their local College’s website.

Business diary
Martin Flynn, chief executive of the OCN, launches this year's Learning Endeavour Awards, which take place in Titanic Belfast on Tuesday June 25 (DARREN KIDD)


Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN) has revealed the shortlist for its sixth Learning Endeavour Awards, which will take place at Titanic Belfast on Tuesday June 25.

OCN is an educational charity and awarding body that advances education by developing qualifications for adults and young people throughout NI.

The awards shortlist includes nominees from all over Northern Ireland and covers eight categories: Third Sector Learner of the Year, Further Education Learner of the Year, Health and Wellbeing Learner of the Year, Schools Learner of the Year, Advancing Learning Through Innovation, Essential Skills Learner of the Year, Provider of the Year, Inspiring Tutor/Teacher of the Year and new for 2024, we have added the additional category - Traineeship/Apprenticeship Learner of the Year – to reflect the growing importance of this segment of learning.

For more information visit


University graduates from across the north are gearing up for an exciting opportunity to be matched with their perfect job as the annual NI Graduate Recruitment Fair returns for 2024.

Organised in partnership by Ulster University and Queen’s University Belfast, the event will take place at Ulster University’s new campus in Belfast, for the first time, on June 4.

From 11am to 3pm, at the UU campus on York Street, attendees will have the chance to explore a range of career opportunities by establishing valuable connections and gaining insights from industry professionals as they take strides towards seeking job possibilities that align with their passions and career goals.

To find our more go to