Mid Term Report: Entrepreneurs Do It Themselves; the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Stifled for Years in Northern Ireland, Is Now Emerging as an Exciting Dynamic in the Economy. PAUL McKILLION Reports on the Increase in Start Up Businesses and the Rise of the Internet Entrepreneurs
McKILLION, Paul, The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
THERE ARE now degree courses in entrepreneurship, the Prince's Trust has its own business start-up unit and business sponsorship for young go-getters has been around for a while.
The popular image of the entrepreneur - Richard Branson, Del Boy et al - maybe one of the extrovert chancer but in Northern Ireland there are an increasing number if new businesses based on innovative ideas, especially within the IT and telecommunications industry.
Over the last few years two University of Ulster graduates have transformed an idea discussed while at college into one of Northern Irelands premier web design and e-commerce companies.
BizNet Solutions was founded by Adrian Bradley and Daryl Fullerton with assistance from the Prince's Trust and Ledu in November 1997.
Now, the young innovative business with a staff of 11 people ranging form web designers, software programmers and e-business strategists have offices on the Lisburn Road and in Enniskillen.
"It is a rapidly growing business engaged in developing business focused web sites, devising corporate internet strategies and manageable e-commerce solutions for both SME's and larger corporate clients,'' said Daryl.
"So far we have developed over 150 internet sites for companies in Northern Ireland. The e-business team at BizNet have developed over 20 on-line reservation systems for hotels like the Killyhevlin hotel and Silverbirch hotel and cruise companies including Manor Marine,'' he added.
While the tourism sector is benefiting greatly from the internet revolution, BizNet have also developed a significant amount of on-line product catalogues for companies and are currently developing an advanced e-commerce application for Boston based Standard Business Systems.
As part of the promotion of e-business within Northern Ireland, Daryl said the company was working closely with Ledu on their new internet strategy.
"This involves the design and development of their new internet site and also the training of all Ledu client executives on issues of e-business for SMEs. We are also working with councils on new ways of promoting business on a world wide scale through the use of Virtual Business Parks,'' he said.
Eamon Mulvenna of Ledu, which helped BizNet get off the ground, said they had seen an increase in the number of budding entrepreneurs.
''During the first six months of 1999, over 4,000 people expressed an interest in starting their own business as a result of our television advertising campaign,'' he said. …