Business diary: Events coming up

Your weekly run-down of business conferences and awards

Business diary
Announcing the Health Innovation Research Alliance Northern Ireland (HIRANI) conference are (from left) Simon Grattan, funding & government affairs manager at Almac Group; Professor Judy Bradley, director of iREACH Health and NICRF; Joann Rhodes, chief executive of Health Innovation Research Alliance NI; Dr Stephen McCabe QUB project lead for Momentum 1.0; and David Ribeiro, chief operating officer of ARC Regulatory (Nigel McDowell)


The two-day Health Tech Spring conference, hosted by the Health Innovation and Research Alliance NI (HIRANI) and with Queen’s University as its headline sponsor, will take place in Belfast on April 29 & 30.

Following on from a sold-out summit last year, the event will include a “Life Sciences, Life Support” event for businesses who provide support services to the life science industry. With innovation zones and pitching events, global keynotes and local thought leaders, Health Tech Spring promises to be an iconic conference hosted in the Titanic Building.

Keynote speakers include Economy Minister Conor Murphy along with Professor Tony Young, Hakim Yadi OBE, Victoria Manax, Rahul Kapoor as well as other members of US Life Sciences Advisory Panel

Themes will include cultural and operational shifts in clinical trials; precision medicine – is it all just about the data?; and save the health service, save the planet.

HIRANI chief executive Joann Rhodes said “The pace of convergence of technologies for healthcare is astonishing, but we are still only in the foothills of what is possible. Northern Ireland’s distinctive capabilities in diagnostics, precision medicine and digital health, our goldilocks’ size and positioning between EU, UK with strong links to our US friends makes us the perfect place to explore and drive forward health-academic-industry partnerships for health and prosperity; and scale globally.

“We are excited to have expanded our conference this year over two-days which reflects the significant growth of the sector and the strides that have been made in integration of medical technology into the healthcare landscape.”

Business diary
Laura Bonner from the Muff Liquor Company, who will address the All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference on June 6


Women in Business will host its highly anticipated All-Island Female Entrepreneurs Conference on June 6 in Belfast’s Europa Hotel.

The only all-island conference on the entrepreneurial scene is set to be the cornerstone of inspiration, empowerment, and connection for over 300 women-led business owners across the island.

Themed around ‘Grit and Growth’, the conference is hosted by entrepreneur and founder of the Digg podcast Caroline O’Neill, and will spotlight the remarkable journeys of leading female founders who have defied odds, showcased unwavering perseverance and resilience in the face of business challenges.

The event will feature engaging panel sessions, break-out masterclasses, and keynote address from Laura Bonner, chief executive and founder of the Muff Liquor Company, who’s investors and supporters include actor Russell Crowe, comedian Jimmy Carr and singer Ed Sheeran.

Laura will share the grit and growth of her business journey, spanning from Inishowen in Donegal to Australia, with plans for expansion into the USA.

The event (more details at will feature an on-the-day pitching competition, sponsored by IntertradeIreland, where attendees will witness live pitches from new and aspiring entrepreneurs, and have the power to crown the best pitch. The winners of the TechStart Female Founders grant competition in partnership with Women in Business will also be announced at the conference.

Business diary
Councillor Valerie Harte, chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, with Maeve Finnegan from MiTSO Marketing at the launch of the Newry Business Masterclasses on April 15 & 16 (Colum Lynch)


Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Labour Market Partnership (LMP) is hosting two free business masterclasses offering expert practical guidance and advice to businesses in Newry and Downpatrick.

All businesses who wish to avail of tips and advice to support business growth are welcome to attend. Key themes which will be covered include brand awareness, visual merchandising, digital marketing, upselling, online selling, customer service and employment retention.

LMPs are funded by the Department for Communities and create targeted employment action plans for council areas, allowing for collaboration at local and regional level to support people towards and into work.

The first masterclass will take place on Monday April 15 in the Canal Court Hotel in Newry while the location for the second masterclass on Tuesday April 16 at Denvir’s Hotel in Downpatrick.

Irish News business editor Gary McDonald will host an ‘In Conversation with’ session with Pete Boyle, chief executive of Argento at the Downpatrick event and with Clare Vallely, creative director, Kukoon at the Newry event. Pete will share his business recovery journey in the wake of the Primark fire in Belfast and how they overcame particular challenges, while Clare will be talking about their business growth and how they have adapted since the floods in Newry.

There will be three presentations from local business experts Maeve Finnegan from MiTSO Marketing, who will share her views on branding, marketing, and digital presence; Siobhan Walsh, Retail Consultant, will be talking about visual merchandising, upselling and customer service; while Bronagh Lennon, Lennon Employment Services will provide an overview on employee retention, culture and looking after your team.

Both events take place from 5.30pm to 8pm, and a light supper will be served. Spaces are limited for both events. To book a free ticket please log onto Eventbrite and search for Business Masterclass - Newry/Downpatrick.

Business diary
SSE Renewables will host a free to attend webinar on Wednesday April 17 at 10am


New renewables contract and tender opportunities which can benefit local supply chain companies are set to be unveiled at an event hosted by renewable energy developer and operator SSE Renewables.

The company, which is progressing a pipeline of up to 1.5 GW of new onshore renewable energy developments in Ireland across wind, solar and battery technologies, will host a virtual Meet the Buyer event on Wednesday April 17 for businesses eager to learn more about its upcoming contract and tender opportunities linked to the company’s development portfolio in the market.

The free-to-attend webinar event begins at 10am. Attendees will hear about supply chain opportunities linked to SSE Renewables’ portfolio across the island of Ireland, and how firms of all sizes can take part in the tendering process. Suppliers looking to attend should register in advance by visiting the online registration portal here.

Senior representatives from SSE Renewables will participate in the event, presenting detailed information on procurement opportunities including civil and electrical balance of plant framework, environmental services, control and instrumentation and engineering requirements, among others.