Business Development Programme 2015-16

Business Development Programme 2015-16

Craft NI's new two-year Business Development Programme (2015 to November 2016) is made up of eight free half-day modules over the course of 18 months, and is facilitated by Francis Verling, Verling Consulting, and includes a range of guest speakers.

Are you an NI-based craft professional wanting to develop your business and looking for guidance which is specially tailored to the craft industry? If yes, then Craft NI’s FREE 18-month business development programme is for you.

The programme is made up of eight half-day modules over the course of 18 months – June 2015 to November 2016 – and covers a range of business-related topics including innovative design, price setting and marketing.

The programme is facilitated by Francis Verling of Verling Consulting, who has a long track record of supporting the development of craft businesses (short bio below). The programme will also include a range of guest speakers specifically chosen to demonstrate good practice in their own craft businesses.

The Business Development Programme dovetails with the business development support aspect of making it programme – Craft NI’s 2-year start-up programme for craft businesses which also includes mentoring and studio space for making it participants. The Business Development Programme is funded by Invest Northern Ireland as part of the making it programme.

How to book

The Business Development Programme 2015/2016 is FREE to attend – and will only involve a half day (morning) for each module. The benefit is the opportunity to gain business development skills tailored to suit craft business under the direction of a business consultant experienced in working to support craft enterprises

The Business Development Programme 2015/2016 will run as a coherent programme where modules build on what has been learned in previous modules - so attending all sessions is likely to be most beneficial. However, Craft NI will be taking bookings for each session separately, welcoming attendance from designer-makers interested in individual modules on specific topics. 

The below is an outline with dates and locations of the Business Development Programme 2015/2016. Book to participate on the programme on Eventbrite (booking will open about a month in advance of individual sessions).

Business Development Programme Schedule 2015

30th June 2015 – Programme Induction (guest speaker textile lighting designer Rachel O'Neill
Module 1 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

29th September 2015 – Innovation Through Design (guest speaker Barry Archer of design-collective Wedge)
Module 2 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

24th November 2015 – Finding Craft Customers: Market Research & Planning (guest speaker ceramicist Derek Wilson)
Module 3 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)


23rd February 2016 – Financial Management & Planning

9.30am-1pm, NRC, Newtownabbey campus. Guest speaker Anna Collette Hunt. Module 4 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

26th April 2016 – Creative Marketing & Promotion

9.30am-1pm, Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick. Guest speaker Brona Spencer-Steenson. Module 5 complete: read/download the presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

28th June 2016 – Being a Creative Business

9.30am-1pm, Fashion & Textile Design Centre, Derry. Guest speaker Emily Jo Gibbs. Module 6 complete: read/download presentation slides HERE (.pdf)

27th September 2016 – Creative Selling Skills & Pricing

9.30am-1pm, Belfast Metropolitan College, Belfast. Guest Speaker Stephen Farnan. Module 7 complete: read/download presentation slides HERE (.pdf)    

28th November 2016 – Creative Business Management & Planning  

9.30am-1pm, Belfast Metropolitan College, Belfast. Guest Speaker CJ O'Neill.

About Francis Verling

Francis Verling – Founder VERLING CONSULTING. Francis Verling is the founder of VERLING CONSULTING a management consulting practice based in Blackrock, Co. Louth (est. Feb. 2007). VERLING CONSULTING provides a range of management consulting services to its clients including, business training, mentoring, coaching and planning. Francis is the lead consultant at VERLING CONSULTING and has over twenty two years’ experience in business and eleven years in working with creative lead businesses, micro-enterprises and ‘owner-manager’ businesses on all aspects of business development. Francis is an experienced trainer in the areas of Marketing, Sales, Business Planning, Presentation and Selling Skills, Innovation and New Product Development and Project Management.

Over the past ten years Francis has been working closely with the craft sector in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland through his work with the Crafts Council of Ireland through its Professional Development Programme and Mentoring Service and with Craft Northern Ireland on two of its leading business initiatives – the Business Development Programme and the making it programmes.

Image: 6 Porcelain Mugs by Derek Wilson