Brexit, government support, funding and skills were the hot topics of the night as audience members posed questions to leading business personalities Bill Wolsey, the entrepreneur behind the successful Merchant and Bullitt Hotels in Belfast, Diane Roberts from Xcell Partners and Colman Equity, Eleanor McEvoy, founder of Budget Energy and Caroline Wilson, Founder of Belfast Food Tour. Belfast attendees also got to avail of practical advice from industry experts at Google, Grant Thornton and Invest NI while networking and enjoying refreshments provided by local start-up companies; Copeland Gin, Prohibition Drinks and Bubbacue.
With decades of experience and success between them, Bill Wolsey, Eleanor McEvoy, Caroline Wilson and Diane Roberts shared the following advice:
Important traits for Entrepreneurs
I think the key traits needed for success are honesty, tenacity, stamina and luck. Lots of entrepreneurs want to be the best at what they do. When international hoteliers come to Belfast, I think I can compete with them and beat them, I don’t fear them. I started out with one pub, and now we’re one of the biggest hospitality groups in the 32 counties. I never thought that would have happened, but when you get good people working for you, they drive you on.
Bill Wolsey, Hotelier and Founder of the Beannchor Group
Learning Lessons and Facing Fears
I’ve built and sold two businesses and I’m on to my third now. Every day is like a school day and that never changes. The day you think you know everything is the day you’re going to sink. The bad days will help you survive. You have to look at them, learn from them and then put them to one side and move on. ‘Fear the fear and do it anyway’, because we all get scared in business, but we ignore it.
Eleanor McEvoy, CEO, Budget Energy