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Free events to support Belfast businesses this summer

Date: 05 Jun 2023

Exterior of sunny City Hall with people in the foreground.

Belfast City Council is giving local businesses and entrepreneurs the chance to boost their skills this summer with a range of free events and workshops.

The programme forms part of the council’s commitment to supporting small and medium enterprises and start-ups, and offers practical advice and guidance on online marketing, merchandising, business planning and more. 

• On Thursday 8 June (9.30am to 12 noon), there’s an introduction to paid online ads and how to get started with advertising your business on Google, Facebook and Instagram. 

Participants can sign up to get free help with selecting the right platform for your audience, and setting and managing online advertising budgets. 

Find out more about Introduction to Paid Online Ads

• Next up is Elevate U, a free half-day workshop on Monday 12 June (9.45am to 12.45pm) for those who have recently started up, or are thinking of starting up, their own hair or beauty enterprise.  

Led by professional make-up artist and beauty brand owner Grainne McCoy, it will feature insights and discussion from industry experts on making your cosmetics business stand out from the crowd. 

Grainne will highlight her own journey, including her time on hit BBC series The Apprentice, and be joined by a panel of business owners to talk about navigating the highs and lows of being your own boss in a growing sector. 

“The beauty industry is a thriving industry at the moment and, if I can inspire one person to change their mindset from thinking ‘that’s not something I can do’ and get them to ‘go for it’, then my job is done,” explains Grainne. 

“Elevate U is a really great opportunity for anyone who is interested in, or in the early stages of, considering going out on their own in the industry – there is plenty of help out there and you never know what coming along to these type of events can mean for you.”

Other speakers will include James Conway, award-winning tattoo artist and owners of Skull & Bones Tattoo Society, and hairdresser Joyce Wells, owner of Joyce Wells Hair & Beauty, who specialises in hair recovery treatments. 

Places for Elevate U, taking place at Merchant Square, 20 Wellington Place, are free, but must be booked in advance at 

  • Then, on Tuesday 13 June (9.30am to 12 noon), new and existing retailers can pick up tips and tricks for wowing their customers with strong visual merchandising. 

The session, at 2 Royal Avenue, will include advice on optimising your brand in both physical and online stores, as well as the chance to get hands on and put together your own visually impactful display. 

Find out more about the Visual Merchandising Masterclass

  • Finally, on Thursday 15 June (9.30am to 12 noon), businesses, social enterprises and co-operatives are invited online to gain insight into how to turn your business strategy into practical action. 

Industry experts will look at different business models and share step-by-step advice on putting together a strategy, covering everything from budget and resources to marketing and cashflow. 

Find out more about Introduction to Strategy and Business Planning

Further details of all upcoming workshops are available from or by calling the council’s Enterprise and Business Growth team on 028 9027 0482. 

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