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March - April 2012

At the end of March VERLING CONSULTING undertook the delivery of Meath Partnership's 'Maximise Your Creative Business' Programme. The programme specifically designed for creative businesses in County Meath will run through to July and includes training, mentoring, guest speakers and a field trip to a creative Hub in the North East. Businesses participating on the programme  are drawn from a wide range of creative disciplines including: jewellery, wood turning, textiles, blacksmithing, ceramics, photography and visual arts. Network development forms a key focus of the programme, contributing to the development of a craft hub in Kells over the coming months / years. The first guest speaker Sarah Daly - Business Development Manager, Louth Craftmark www.louthcraftmark.com and Creative Spark - www.creativespark.ie spoke in April.  


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January 2012


VERLING CONSULTING is delighted to announce the commencement of a new programme which it will be delivering in 2012 with Meath Partnership www.meathpartnership.ie - 'Maximise Your Creative Business'. Meath Partnership will be running this twenty week training and mentoring programme for Creative Businesses which starts in March 2012. The programme will be delivered by VERLING CONSULTING's Francis Verling and will focus on providing creative entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge to build and grow sustainable creative businesses. To book a place on the programme contact Aine Duffy or Emma Land at Meath Partnership - aine.duffy@meathpartnership.ie, emma.land@meathpartnership.ie

Since September 2011 the 'Accelerate - Driving Your Business Forward' programme which VERLING CONSULTING has been delivering for Cavan County Enterprise Board has been building the knowledge and skills for twelve Cavan based businesses. This Management Development programme developed by Enterprise Ireland is a seven month programme combining seven monthly one-day training workshops and monthly one-to-one mentoring. This programme is the first of its kind, being piloted in seven County & City Enterprise Boards in Ireland. An evaluation of the pilot programme will be conducted in March 2012 with a roll-out of the programme to follow thereafter.


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August - September 2011

In August VERLING CONSULTING was selected to InterTradeIreland's 'Elevate'- Sales Development Programme business mentor panel as 'Trade/Marketing Expert' and Industry Expert  www.intertradeireland.com/elevate/ .

InterTradeIreland say about the Elevate Programme 'Industry and Trade/Marketing experts will work with you on a one-to-one basis to develop and implement a sales plan for your business, kick-start your sales and help you to get on the fast track to cross-border trading.'

The programme consists of two stages:

  • An assessment of your readiness to enter the new market
  • Practical assistance towards winning sales

The following type of support is likely to be available:

  • Identification of Sales leads
  • Sales Negotiations
  • Market Research
  • Advice on the Development of Marketing Materials – (excluding printing costs).

It is 100% funded by InterTradeIreland and the application process is very simple.

All you have to do is complete a short application form and we will fund up to £10k/€11K worth of advice and assistance from your chosen industry or trade/marketing expert.


  • Work with an industry or trade/marketing expert to develop your winning sales plan;
  • Identify new customers and markets across the island;
  • Increase your sales.

Accelerate - Driving Your Business Forward, Management development programme pilot started recruiting in August 2011 with lots of interest from micro enterprises in Cavan. Following the successful recruitment of twelve business to the programme Module #1 - 'Why am I in Business' was delivered over two days in September - 15th and 29th. The Programme will run from September 2011 to March 2012 with training modules and one-to-one mentoring each month. Participating businesses cover a wide number of sectors including: Construction & Construction Services, ITC, Fashion Design & Retailing, Language Tuition, On-line Services, Manufacturing, Engineering and Event Management.

VERLING CONSULTING delivered Module #8 - 'Creative Business Planning & Strategy' for Craft Northern Ireland's, making it '09 Business Development Programme on the 14th September in Belfast's Ulster Museum  www.nmni.com/um . The guest speaker for the event along with Francis Verling was Rachel Smart of Rachel Smart Ltd. www.rachelsmart.com/ who provided great insights into her experience of business plan development for creative businesses. The next phase of the making it programme making it'11 is due to commence in November 2011.

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June - July 2011

Accelerate - Driving Your Business Forward, Management Development ProgrammeVERLING CONSULTING was selected to deliver this innovative pilot management development programme for Cavan County Enterprise Board beginning in August 2011. VERLING CONSULTING was one of only seven Management Consulting Training & Mentoring practices in the Republic of Ireland chosen, following a rigorous tendering process. The Programme is an initiative of the CEB network following recommendations of a Best Practice tri-partite group comprising the CEB Network, Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment. The Programme which will run from August 2011 to March 2012 is comprised of six training modules, one-to-one mentoring and Peer Review Action Learning. Cavan County Enterprise Board is presently at the recruitment stage, interested companies should visit http://www.cavanenterprise.ie/training_supports/management_development_programmes.113.html.

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April - May 2011

The craft development programme - 'Expanding our Craft Horizons' which VERLING CONSULTING is engaged on, started in April. The programme, which is being run in the SEED area of Northern Ireland and coordinated through Ards Borough Council  www.ards-council.gov.uk will begin recruitment of craft businesses in June / July. The programme will seek to assist craft businesses in developing and realising greater levels of innovation and commercialisation.

In April, Module #6 -  'Creative Studio & Resources Management',  of Craft NI's www.craftni.org Business Development Programme - making it '09 took place in Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Craigavon. The training module, delivered by Francis Verling was well attended with guest speaker Ellen O'Hara from Cockpit Arts in London providing an excellent talk on her role as Business Development Manager and the facilities and supports available to craft businesses in Cockpit Arts www.cockpitarts.com

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February - March 2011
February and March have been busy months with training and mentoring continuing at pace. Module #5 - 'Innovation through Design' in the Business Support Programme for CraftNI was well attended at the Ulster Museum, our guest speaker Angela O'Kelly www.angelaokelly.com provided a fantasstic talk on her work, inspiration and plans for the future. Module #6 - 'Creative Studio & Resources Management' will take place on the 20th April. For more details on this visit www.craftni.org. Other upcoming training courses include 'Completing an Application' for West Cavan West Fermanagh Regeneration Project in Blacklion on the 7th April see www.westcavanwestfermanaghproject.com.

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Dec 2010 - Jan 2011
Happy New Year from VERLING CONSULTING.  2011 has started well, with Christmas and the snows of December already a distant memory. The first training course of the year 'Maximising Tradeshow Exhibitions' was delivered for Louth County Enterprise Board on the 11th of January. Those attending the course were able to implement their training immediately through exhibitng at Showcase 2011. The early feedback from Showcase 2011 has been positive, with many businesses recording high numbers of enquiries for follow-up and healthy orders especially in 2011 Year of Craft www.craftinireland.com.  Looking forward to February and March 2011, VERLING CONSULTING's next training programme will be 'Marketing for Small Business' starting on the 22nd of February at Monaghan County Enterprise Board http://www.mceb.ie/html/training_schedule2011.asp , followed by Craft NI's Business Support Programme module No. 5  'Innovation Through Design' on the 23rd February in Belfast's Ulster Museum - www.craftni.org. As we move into March and April a new craft development programme ' Expanding Our Craft Horizons' for the SEED area in Northern Ireland, championed through Ards Borough Council will be starting - further information to follow. Best wishes to all for 2011.

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October - November 2010
The autumn has proved a busy time for VERLING CONSULTING. Training programmes for Cavan County Enterprise Board - 'Practical Marketing for Small Business' and 'Pricing & Costing your Product/Service ' and 'Selling Skills' workshops for Louth County Enterprise Board were delivered over the period. The Tradelinks2 Programme continues with new companies joining the programme both in Louth, Monaghan and Cavan. VERLING CONSULTING has been engaged by Louth County Enteprise Board and Meath County Enterprise Board on a number of sales and marketing mentoring assignments with a variety of businesses in Electrical Contracting, Building Design, Simulation, Retail, Cosmetics, Furniture, Illustration, Food and Consultancy Services. VERLING CONSULTING delivered training for Crafts Council of Ireland in Galway during November as part of it's Business Development Progrmme. Looking ahead to 2011- tradeshow exhibition training with Louth County Enterprise Board is planned for 11th January and Module 5 of Craft Northern Ireland's Business Development programme -  'Innovation through Design' on the 16th February, venue tbc.   

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September 2010
With the onset of autumn VERLING CONSULTING was busy preparing for the development and delivery of a number of training programmes including the very successful 'Practical Marketing For Small Business' Programme with Cavan County Enterprise Board. The Practical Marketing Programme kicked off on the 27th September and runs until the 8th November. Also in September VERLING CONSULTING delivered the 4th Module: Creative Selling, in Craft Northern Ireland' Business Support Programme. The session was held in Oxford Island Co. Armagh and introduced guest speakers - Angela Mann and Annemarie Franey from the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair  in Manchester. Towards the end of September VERLING CONSULTING delivered a one day training course in Sales - 'Practical Seling & Sales Skills' for Monaghan County Enteprise Board. 

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July - August 2010

July and August have seen a significant increase in Tradelinks Mentoring assignments coming through as more businesses join the programme in Cavan, Monaghan and Louth. VERLING CONSULTING has been undertaking Sales & Marketing assignments with these businesses, assisting with Joint Ventures, Licensing, Sales Strategies and Marketing & Promotion projects.  To find out more about the Tradelinks programme visit www.tradelinks2.com

Over the summer VERLING CONSULTING has been working with a number of established craft businesses on their business development plans through Craft Northern Ireland's Business Support Programme, specifically those businesses that have previously participated on the 'making it' Programme since 2005.

Looking forward to the autumn, the next module of the Business Support Programme - Module 4: Creative Selling, will take place on the 22nd of September in Oxford Island, Co. Armagh, see www.craftni.org for more information.

The very successful Practical Marketing Programme delivered by VERLING CONSULTING will commence again with Cavan County Enterprise Board on the Monday 27th September, for further information visit www.cavanenterprise.ie  

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June 2010

VERLING CONSULTING delivered Module #3 - Creative Distribution, of the Business Support Programme for Craft Northern Ireland at Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, in June. The session was attended by the making it '09 group of start-up craft businesses and a number of other designer makers including Susan Woods, Charlotte Horsley of Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen and Duncan Neil of We Like Soup, among others. Guest speaker Phillipa Prinsloo - Senior Designer Textiles at Habitat provided a facinating insight into the process of getting products to market within this global retailer and of her own backgrond as a textile designer. The next Module in the Business Support Programme will be on 'Creative Selling' and is scheduled for 22nd September in Oxford Island , Co. Armagh. Further information can be found on Craft NI's website www.craftni.org

At the end of June the Crafts Council of Ireland held its first of two Mentor Panel facilitated training and information days in Dublin. Francis Verling along with some of the fifty six CCoI approved mentors attended. The group of mentors was addresses by Una Parsons - CEO of CCoI, Emer Fearon Enterprise Development Programme Manager- CCoI and the day facilitated by Olive Fives- Management & Organisation Development consultant. Mentoring is expected to commence in July with the first group of successful applicants to the Mentoring Services programme. Further information on mentoring supports and the panel of mentors can be found on www.ccoi.ie

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May 2010

Tradelinks2 Programme - As the Tradelinks2 programme gets underway, VERLING CONSULTING has started a number of projects with businesses in Co. Cavan. The programme is designed for any micro-business located in Northern Ireland or the Border Counties of the Republic of Ireland. TRADELINKS is a partnership initiative between Enterprise NI, the network of local Enterprise Agencies, and the Border County Enterprise Boards and is funded by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme. For more information on the programme and how to apply visit www.tradelinks2.com

CNI Business Support Programme - VERLING CONSULTING will deliver this the 3rd module in the series - Module #3 - Creative Distribution. The workshop will be held on the 23rd of June in Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart. The session will focus on understandng the different channels to market available to craft designer makers and how to develop these to maximise sales and win new customers. The sessions guest speaker is Phillipa Prinsloo - Design Manager for Textiles at Habitat. The session starts at 9.30am and finishes at 1.00pm. contact www.craftni.org to book your place.

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April 2010
Craft NI Business Support Programme Module #2 of the Business Support Programme - Creative Marketing & Promotion, was held in Strule Arts Centre in Omagh in April. The training session delivered by VERLING CONSULTING was attended by participants on CNI making it '09 programme and a number of Omagh based designer makers. Guest speaker at the session was Claire Loder (ceramicist). Claire completed an MA in ceramics at University Wales before establishing her business. Claire has exhibited at Origin and Ceramic Art in London and embraced the opportunities of on-line marketing to promote her work through her blog and website- www.claireloder.co.uk.

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March 2010
VERLING CONSULTING kicks off Practical Marketing training Programme in Cavan. The latest phase of the very successful Practical Marketing for Small Business Programme started on the 22nd of March at Cavan County Enterprise Board's offices in the CITC in Cavan. The programme which will run through to the start of May will take participating businesses through the key principles in marketing and promoting their business including; prospecting, market segmentation, market research, designing the marketing mix, promotion, and strategic planning for business growth.    

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February 2010
Francis Verling selected to Crafts Council of Ireland Mentor Panel. Following a tendering and selection process in January 2010, Francis Verling of Verling Consulting was selected to participate in the Crafts Council of Ireland's Mentor Panel. Full details of the operation of the panel are yet to be announced however it is expected that craft businesses will be able to apply to the Council for mentoring support with individaul mentors being assigned based on expertise. Francis said "I am looking forward to working further with the Crafts Council of Ireland as a mentor and assiting craft businesses in Ireland"

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January 2010
Continued success of highly rated 'Practical Marketing for Small Business Programme'. Cavan County Enterprise Board www.cavanenterprise.ie will run the very successful Practical Marketing for Small Business Programme again this year, (March - April '10). VERLING Consulting is delighted to have been awarded the commission to deliver its marketing programme for the Enterprise Board. This programme, now in its fourth wave, will run for 6 weeks and provide participants with a practical approach to marketing and promoting their business. Interested participants should contact the Enterprise Board directly - info@cceb.ie.

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November 2009
VERLING Consulting to deliver Craft NI's 'making it '09' Business Support Programme. In November VERLING Consulting was commissioned to deliver one of Craft NI's key business support interventions - 'making it '09'. The programme of support will include eight training modules over the two year programme and one-to-one mentoring. The training modules will focus on; Creative Income Generation, Creative Marketing and Promotion, Innovation, Channel Management, Selling, Packaging, Merchandising and Trade Fair Exhibiting, Managing Resources, Working with Galleries and Business Strategy. A complete list of modules, dates and venues is available on the Craft NI website at www.craftni.org

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October 2009
Idea Generation Workshop. Verling Consulting delivered an idea generation workshop at the recently held 'Cross Border Women's Networking & Information Event in the Slieve Russel Hotel, Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan. The event which was organised by Cavan County Enterprise Board and West Cavan West Fermanagh Regeneration Project was attended by over 95 women from Cavan and Fermanagh. The workshop focussed on the generation and development of ideas new businesses.

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July 2009
Craft Northern Ireland publish 'A Guide to Business Development' In July, Craft NI published 'A Guide to Business Development' to support craft makers and businesses in Northern Ireland in applying to the Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF). Francis Verling was the lead consultant in the writing of the Guide, drawing on his extensive experience in business development within creative businesses. The guide highlights some of the key areas which need to be addressed in order to run a successful and profitable craft business and is intended to spark ideas for projects which the fund might support. Craft businesses wishing to obtain a copy of the guide should contact Craft NI, on http://www.craftni.org or +44 (0)28 9032 3059. ISBN 978-0-9555926-1-4.

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February 2009

VERLING Consulting delivers IADT CREATE Programme Training

On February 24th Francis Verling delivered a training workshop entitled: Time, Project & Resource Management, to eight digital media companies in IADT's new business incubation facility - MediaCube http://www.mediacube.ie/. Participants on the programme included CREATE Programme (www.createireland.ie) participants and Mediacube tenant companies including - CR Entertainment - http://www.campbellryanproductions.com/, Websplash- http://www.websplash.ie/,  p3 http://www.p3.ie/,  Icap Media http://www.icapmedia.ie/,  eTailor http://www.etailor.ie/

Comments from participants included -

  • "An excellent session, strongly tailored to digital media sector and the trainer(francisVerling) was extremely helpful in applying this to our personal cases.
  • "Good use of activities, clear presenting, good space for participant experience."
  • "Found the mix of time management & business skills / funding an usual mix but well delivered."

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January 2009

Craft Northern Ireland launches Creative Industies Innovation Fund Business Advisor Programme.

Craft NI www.craftni.org has commissioned VERLING Consulting to provide Business Advisor support to the craft sector in their applying to the recently launched (October 2008) Creative Industries Innovation Fund (CIIF). This £5m fund, managed by the Arts Council Northern Ireland – www.artscouncil-ni.org will target 140 creative businesses across all creative industries sectors, over the coming 3 three years. Creative businesses can apply for funding for innovative projects up to £10,000- 100% funded or up to £75,000 – 75% funded. The closing date for the 2nd round applications to the CIIF is 5th Feb. 2009. A 3rd round for applications will open later this year on the 7th September with the deadline of 8th October 2009.

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October 2008

VERLING Consulting placed on the FAS/EI National Register of Trainers

VERLING Consulting's approved Training Programme 'Practical Marketing for Small Business' and Francis Verling -Trainer, have been placed on the FAS/EI National Register of Trainers. This highly acclaimed Practical Marketing Programme received FAS/EI approval in October 2008. Francis Verling said "I'm delighted to get this recognition from FAS/EI, both as a training organisation and as a trainer. There are clear customer benefits to this recognition in terms of partnering opportunities with FAS and delivering value for money to programme participants." To date the ‘Practical Marketing for Small Business’ programme has been delivered twice - in 2007 and 2008 through Cavan County Enterprise Board- www.cceb.ie and is due to run again in 2009.  

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