Not all PR companies rip you off

As a PR consultant, I was very annoyed to receive the notice on an upcoming PR course for business owners. I have no objection at all to the course itself and I am happy to see that business owners are being given the opportunity to ‘Uncover the Secrets of PR’  (Perhaps they will run another course soon on how to ‘Uncover the Secrets of Making a Million.’ ).  Those attending the course will also learn how they can generate PR for themselves and make enough money so that they can go one to hire one of the expensive PR firms – nice one!

What is irksome is the innuendo that all PR is excessively expensive and outside the budget of SME’s.  As a service provider, you would be surprised how much PR expertise and free publicity some SME’s do get for €100 – the subsidized price of the course.

The benefit of  experienced PR generates real value for businesses.  Not all PR companies are expensive, there are many of us out there working hard,  providing value and good customer care.

The guided walking tour season is beginning to warm up

Visitors to Cobh enjoy a spring day on the Titanic Trail

Guided walking tours of Cobh with Michael Martin
Michael Martin on the Titanic Trail

The Titanic Trail guided walking tours take place throughout the year. However, during the winter months there are not soo many visitors to the town of Cobh so the tours are not so busy.

Local historian, Michael Martin, the creator of the tours is looking forward to a busy season in 2011. This weekend saw several visitors taking part in this fascinating historic tour that recounts the story of the ill fated HMS Titanic.

CONNECT – Linking Business to the Cork ARC Cancer Support House

Plans are well underway for the 2nd Connect Event, which will take place on 31st March in aid of Cork ARC Cancer Support House. The event will be a business speed networking event, hosted by the River Lee Hotel on the Western Road and close to the Cork ARC Cancer Support House.

‘Connect – Linking Business & Charity’ is a unique initiative that was launched in the autumn of 2010. It provides a platform for interaction and communication between commercial interests and fundraising organisations, helping charities create a strong awareness of their cause, while businesses can support the charities and get something in return through effective business networking.

“We are delighted to be able to support such a worthy cause,” noted Gwenda Hughes, spokesperson for Connect. “Our team were delighted with the positive response to our first event last November. We have now decided to develop the concept further and include a much broader insight of the great work that our nominated charity, Cork ARC, provides for the City and County. On this occasion, should they wish, businesses attending the speed networking event will also have the opportunity to visit the Cork ARC Cancer Support House at the end of the proceedings.”

Cork ARC Cancer Support House provides emotional and practical support to people with cancer and their families.  With one in three people diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, almost every family will be touched by the disease at some time.  Cork ARC has been designed as a safe and tranquil place in which people can talk in confidence or avail of a range of therapies designed to make a difference in their lives.  Counselling, therapeutic massage, reflexology, stress management, art therapy, yoga and tai chi are a sample of the options open to visitors.  All services are provided free of charge to patients and relatives and are supported solely through fundraising.

Other key team players of the upcoming Connect event include Margot Mulcahy, of MDMpr, Allan Cuthbert, of Financial Wellbeing and well known Cork photographer, Diane Cusack. “Registration for the speed networking is open to all businesses in Cork and there is no pre-requisite for membership,” noted Margot. “The evening activities will commence at 5.45 with open networking followed by a presentation from Cork ARC. Similar to our first event, five business cards will be drawn from the registration table, giving winners the opportunity for a one minute elevator pitch. The speed sessions will then take place for 40 minutes.  Finally, after following up on business leads, anyone who would like a tour of the Cork ARC Cancer Support House will be taken on a short walk to view the facilities.”

Cork ARC Cancer Support House
Connect - supporting Cork ARC Cancer Support

Karen Colgan, Director of Development with Cork ARC, thanked ‘Connect’ for their interest and support, saying “Raising awareness of our services and reaching out to families affected by cancer is always our key priority.  We are dependent on the goodwill and generosity of the people of Cork who have always been so supportive.  This is a great opportunity to open the doors of ARC to the business community, introducing them to our services and giving insight into how we are helping people with cancer in our community.”

“The aim of Connect is to unite business and charity in a meaningful way,” noted Allan Cuthbert. “Connect works both online and offline and you can join the group on LinkedIn , follow our Blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.” Allan went on the note, “We would also like to specially thank, PJ Coogan, the well known Cork presenter and journalist, for all his help and support, and the River Lee Hotel, who are very generously hosting this event on the 31st March.”

Register now for the event by email to:

Please include your name, business and full contact details. Registration will be managed on a FCFS basis.The fee for participation, which will be your donation to Cork ARC Cancer Support House, is just €20

Further details can be obtained from Margot Mulcahy, MDMpr or email tel. 021 4812382/ 086 8045468

Local Cork business nominated for regional final of the Ulster Bank Social Entrepreneurship Award

There has been great excitement in the East Cork village of Aghada since Brandy Ahern, MD of SavieCard, recently announced that SavieCard had been nominated for the regional final of the Social Entrepreneurship Award in the Ulster Bank Business Achiever Awards. SavieCard is a community card, which raises funds in local areas for sporting and community projects, supports and promotes local businesses while making significant savings on family expenditure.

The Munster finals took place this week at Thomond Park in Limerick. “We were absolutely delighted to be nominated for the regional finals,” said Brandy on returning from Limerick. “There are eight categories in the Ulster Bank Business Achiever Awards and the Social Entrepreneurship Award is for businesses addressing social based challenges. Not motivated by profit, the entrepreneurs involved in this category have a strong social conscience and are inspired by achieving wider community objectives.”

In today’s environment, the challenges facing fundraisers are significant and SavieCard has focused on addressing those needs. This community card gives back to its supporter’s by providing exclusive discounts and offers in all participating Irish businesses.  It operates in a simple manner; SavieCard works with an organisation that wishes to raise money and helps them develop a strategic plan to help them reach their fundraising goals.  The organisations then receive customized cards which they sell for €20 each. The fundraisers make €10 on every card sold, so if volunteers sell 1000 cards, the organization earns €10,000. SavieCard pays all costs including VAT and provides all promotional materials for the organisation. In addition, it guarantees that if the card is used properly, cardholders can save literally hundreds of euro in their favourite shops, restaurants and on products and services. The SavieCard means that the community is supporting local businesses, cardholders are saving money, and community organisations are receiving much-needed funding!

Fundraising for the community in Cork
Shop Save and Support with SavieCard

Shop Save and Support with SavieCard

Of the three semi finalists for the regional Ulster Bank Social Entrepreneurship Award, Clonmel Chamber was the fortunate one to make it through to the national finals, which will be held in the Mansion House in Dublin. Their project is an innovative scheme to identify technology start-ups. “We were disappointed not to be the organisation selected to make it through to the national final,” said Brandy Ahern, “However, as they say at the Oscars, even being nominated for such a prestigious award was an amazing accomplishment and we are very proud and committed to our ongoing contribution to local communities and local businesses.”

For more information on SavieCard:  visit