By @SimonCocking

When is it on?

The SFA Annual Conference 2017 – ‘Better than best’ – will take place on Wednesday, 24 May from 8.30am to 1.30pm in the RDS Concert Hall, with support from One4all.

What was the inspiration to start it?

Starting up and running a business is hectic and entrepreneurs and owner-managers tend to wear many hats. It’s vital for them to step back from the day to day running of the business from time to time – to think about strategic issues, hear what’s working for other businesses and feel part of a community. That’s what the SFA Annual Conference is all about.

What exciting things can people look forward to for the 2017 version?

The overall theme this year is ‘Better than best’; looking at how successful business leaders stay hungry year after year and continuously push themselves and their firms forward. RTE’s Bryan Dobson will be the MC and the speakers include the likes of Niamh Briggs, International Rugby Player and Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

The ‘Innovation booster’ session is shaping up to be one of the most exciting of the day. It will explore how to go in pursuit of innovation without taking your eye off your core business activities. Participants will find out what innovation means for small businesses and hear stories from business people who have embraced innovation. Speakers include Hugh Henry, Director of Innovation at Bord na Móna and author of ‘Everyday Innovation’ and Gillian Maxwell, who brought the Tiger Retail brand to Ireland.

What opportunities are on offer for people/startups / investors and companies attending?

The conference is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and start ups to get guidance from expert speakers and learn from successful businesses. In the exhibition area, participants will have chance to speak one-on-one with government departments and agencies, as well as private companies in insurance and other key business areas. The SFA Annual Conference is also a chance to network with a wide range of businesses from across all sectors; this is a great opportunity to make connections and even do some business.

What tips would you give to people attending to get the most out of it?

Be ready to network! Read the SFA’s networking tips here.

How can people book tickets / when does it usually sell out?

Tickets are available at The early bird offer is running until 15 May – that gives 2 tickets for the price of 1. The rate for SFA members is €95 + VAT and non-members is €150 + VAT.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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