Profitnet is an innovative learning business network designed to enable businesses to learn from each other through expertly facilitated group meetings.
Profitnet is an innovative learning business network designed to enable businesses to learn from each other through expertly facilitated confidential group sessions.
The programme consists of monthly meetings over an average of 18 months which include:
• Development of your company strategy
• Peer to peer action learning, real life challenges.
• Problem solving your challenges through Action Learning
• Opportunity to reflect, plan and commit to an action plan
• Support business growth and development.
• Access to business support services of LEO.
A group of between 15-20 businesses attend meetings which last for up to 3 hours. At the start of the programme, the businesses develop a code of conduct which the must sign up to and agree to the terms of a confidentiality agreement.
Monthly meetings are structured into three parts:
1. Presentation of individual business plans with feedback from other members as per agreed schedule.
2. Action Learning - discussion of common business issues and agreed actions.
3. Creativity session – external speakers on agreed topics which have been identified by the group members at the first two meetings.
4. Actions noted and circulated.
A key challenge for business owners can be the lack of accountability in delivering upon actions that are needed to develop or sustain the business. Profitnet creates a collective sense of accountability with businesses agreeing to key actions at each meeting and being asked to update the grou

Resources needed

• Trained independent Group Facilitator @ rate of €600 per meeting.
• Budget – estimated at €10,800 from LEO supported by ERDF.
• Internal staff member to manage programme.
• Potential consultant for diagnostic and report
• Nominated Venue and “set date” used every month

Evidence of success

The Donegal County Enterprise Board Commissioned an Evaluation of the ProfitNet between 2008-2010. 33 businesses participated in the evaluation. The results indicated:
• 52% increase in turnover.
• 67% increase in Gross Profit.
• 78% increase/maintenance of employment.
Participants reported enhanced business skills i.e. 82% business networking, 76% business strategy and 73% problem solving

Difficulties encountered

• Trust and importance of confidentiality
• Format of group – Multi Sectoral or Sectoral – both can formats can work
• Lifecycle of the business – New Vs Established. Best suited to Established
• Recruitment and Commitment of the businesses

Potential for learning or transfer

The ProfitNet model can be adopted by any other region or industry sector provided the resources and commitment from businesses is evident. Coordinating body and facilitator is key to sustaining a productive ProfitNet group.

The programme framework has proven to improve the capacity and mindset of those participating in the programme, as they collectively drive each other forward, dealing with business issues as they progress to be more stronger and more sustainable.

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Project
Main institution
Donegal County Council (Local Enterprise Office Donegal)
Location
Border, Midland and Western, Ireland (Éire)
Start Date
September 2008
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

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