16th Nov 2012
Going for gold at home and scientific success abroad
GRADUATE FOCUS FROM AROUND THE PROVINCE
Queen's University is this week exploring alternative funding options for local companies.
The University's successful venture spin-out company, QUBIS Ltd, and The Chief Executives' Club at Queen's, have organised the - Why settle for Bronze, when the Gold is out there? event to allow business leaders to learn from funding specialists, and each other, about the range of options currently available to fund business growth strategy.
As well as hearing about alternative sources of capital, including private equity, venture capital, and listing on the public markets, senior managers will also hear from two experienced business leaders who have successfully led their own companies in overcoming funding challenges to realise their ambitions for growth.
Frank Bryan, Chief Executive of QUBIS Ltd said: "Since its creation, QUBIS has leveraged some £68.5 million from external investors, and Queen's remains one of the top universities in the UK for the level of revenue generated by its spin-out companies."
"We know there are some great companies in Northern Ireland being held back from reaching their potential simply because of the lack of readily available finance, and so Queen's wants to do all it can to facilitate an exchange of experience and expertise from across the business community."
"In order to strengthen and grow our economy, it is essential that local SMEs are able to access the funding they need to develop and expand. In recent years the banks, their traditional first port of call, have not always been able to provide the financial solutions that local businesses require."
"Queen's has organised this event so that speakers from leading organisations including CBI, Shore Capital Stockbrokers, The London Stock Exchange and Deloitte can offer an insight into the funding options available to businesses. Local companies, Cirdan Imaging and Aepona, will also share their experience of securing capital."
"We hope this event will fuel the debate on the funding options that are essential to business growth, and generate fresh ideas on how to access finance and boost the bottom line."
Speakers also include Michael Black, Chief Financial Officer of Aepona Holdings Ltd, a Belfast company and global market leader in monetizing cloud and network services, who said: "Raising capital for a high potential venture is undoubtedly a challenge, and not one unique to Northern Ireland based businesses."
"This challenge, however, can be overcome through a focused effort to target investors, both private and institutional, located both here and further afield, with a well thought through 'win-win' proposition."
UNIVERSTITY OF ULSTER
University of Ulster research in human nutrition is helping to shape health policies at home and abroad.
Professor Sean Strain, who is Professor of Human Nutrition and Director of the Northern Ireland Centre for Food & Health (NICHE) at Ulster's Coleraine campus, has just returned from China where he delivered two keynote addresses as part of the 'World Famous Scientists' Lectures in Hubei" at the Hubei Normal University in Hubei Province, Central China.'
During his visit, Professor Strain was appointed as an Honorary Professor of Hubei Normal University and his visit underlines the strong research links between the University of Ulster and China. He was invited to China under the auspices of Confucius Institute of the University of Ulster (CIUU) which was established in September 2011 to forge academic, cultural, economic and social ties between Northern Ireland and China.
Professor Strain is the current President of the Nutrition Society, the largest learned society for nutrition in Europe. His specific research interests are in three key areas: the role of riboflavin (vitamin B2) in reducing a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke; the nutritional benefits of vitamin D and the risk benefits of fish consumption during pregnancy.
Professor Strain's lectures in Hubei were entitled "Vitamins and blood pressure control: a novel gene-nutrient interaction" and "European Approaches to the substantiation of health claims on foodÂ?."
High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and heart disease which, together, are responsible for about one-third of all deaths in Northern Ireland.
Professor Strain said that one in ten people in Northern Ireland, depending on their genes, could significantly lower their blood pressure and, in turn, their risk of heart disease and stroke by increasing their intake of vitamin B2.
"Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, which is found in dairy products can reduce high blood pressure in people with a particular genetic factor which is found in about 10% of the population in Northern Ireland."