Better Business Winter 2021

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S U P P O R T I N G E N T R E P R E N E U R S | VA L U I N G S M A L L B U S I N E S S | R E W A R D I N G R I S K TA K E R S | W I N T E R 2 0 2 1

BUSINESS BACKING LOCAL

TAKING

CARE OF US BETTER BUSINESS WINTER 2021

ALL RISE FOR CHAMPION GREEN

INNOVATION IS AT THE HEART OF IRELAND’S HEALTHCARE COMPANIES

TRUST YOUR GUT BUSTING THE MYTHS AROUND GUT-RELATED ILLNESS

Delivery,

guaranteed DHL EXPRESS IRELAND’S

772009 911007 9

GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER FINANCIAL PREPAREDNESS FOR 2022

ON WHY SMALL FIRMS ARE AT THE HEART OF THE COMPANY

2.70 04

BERNARD MCCARTHY

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E-COMMERCE. IT’S BE FAST OR BE LAST. AND WE DON’T DO LAST. Half of all shoppers will pay for express delivery. In fact a third will actively choose a merchant who offers a premium service, keeping sales growing 24/7, 365. We offer flexible delivery options so shoppers can choose where, when and how fast they receive their package. We’ll help your business keep up with the clicks. Learn how -> dhl.com/ecommerce

KEEP UP WITH THE CLICKS

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S U P P O R T I N G E N T R E P R E N E U R S | VA L U I N G S M A L L B U S I N E S S | R E W A R D I N G R I S K TA K E R S | W I N T E R 2 0 2 1

WELCOME WINTER 2021

BUSINESS BACKING LOCAL

TAKING

CARE OF US BETTER BUSINESS WINTER 2021

ALL RISE FOR CHAMPION GREEN

INNOVATION IS AT THE HEART OF IRELAND’S HEALTHCARE COMPANIES

TRUST YOUR GUT BUSTING THE MYTHS AROUND GUT-RELATED ILLNESS

Delivery,

guaranteed DHL EXPRESS IRELAND’S

04

a2.70

9

GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER FINANCIAL PREPAREDNESS FOR 2022

ON WHY SMALL FIRMS ARE AT THE HEART OF THE COMPANY

772009 911007

BERNARD MCCARTHY

On the cover: Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director, DHL Express Ireland Photography: Jason Clarke

Editor: Denise Maguire Creative Director: Jane Matthews Designers: Alan McArthur Neasa Daly Production Executive: Nicole Ennis Managing Director: Gerry Tynan Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon Email: info@ashville.com or write to: Better Business, Ashville Media, Unit 55, Park West Road, Park West Industrial Estate, Dublin 12, D12 X9F9. Tel: (01) 432 2200 All rights reserved. Every care has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is accurate. The publishers cannot, however, accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Reproduction by any means in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. © Ashville Media Group 2021. All discounts, promotions and competitions contained in this magazine are run independently of Better Business. The promoter/advertiser is responsible for honouring the prize. ISSN 2009-9118 SFA is a trading name of Ibec.

Welcome to Better Business, a magazine dedicated to the small business community. We are in a time of year that is vital for many businesses – the Christmas period. For many businesses, this time of year is when the lion’s share of their trading is done. This year, many of those businesses find themselves still under some form of public health restrictions. Continued Government support is extremely important and we are glad to see that the Government has taken the calls from the small business community on board and extended the EWSS into 2022. In this edition, our sector spotlight delves into how support from Champion Green is allowing small Irish businesses to thrive, despite the challenges posed by Covid. The HR pages provide guidance on managing heath and safety in the workplace and employee retention. Elsewhere in these pages, you will meet DHL Ireland MD Bernard McCarthy, who talks to Better Business about navigating Covid, why small firms are at the heart of the company and how DHL Express Ireland is on a mission to provide customers with the very best support and guidance. We also showcase our highly successful SFA Awards finalists, who come from all sectors of the economy, showcasing the best of small business. This magazine contains stories that inform, inspire and entertain. It showcases and celebrates the achievements of small companies, provides advice to help you in your business and keeps you up to date on the latest trends at home and abroad. Ireland is a nation of small businesses. Of over 267,000 businesses in the country, 99% have less than 50 employees (small) and 92% have less than 10 (micro). These companies can be seen in every city, town and village in the country and together they provide employment to half of the private sector workforce. The SFA proudly represents a diverse membership of businesses with less than 50 employees: homegrown and spanning every sector of our economy. Our members can be found in every town and every city in Ireland. We want to make Ireland the most vibrant small business community in the world – an environment that supports entrepreneurship, values small business and rewards risk takers. Better Business is the magazine of the small business community. We welcome your feedback, suggestions and ideas to info@sfa.ie or on Twitter @SFA_Irl. Sven Spollen-Behrens Director, Small Firms Association

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CONTENTS WINTER 2021

04 10 12

Big News for Small Business News, views and profiles from SFA members and small businesses in Ireland

Financial Recovery How small firms can best prepare for 2022 from a financial perspective

Events Take a look back at the networking and educational events held in 2021

14 20 24

Sector Spotlight Support from Champion Green is allowing small Irish businesses to thrive

Cover Story Bernard McCarthy, MD at DHL Express Ireland, on navigating Covid in 2021

Health & Wellness The Gut Experts talk to Better Business about all things gut-related

31 36 48

Entrepreneurs We meet three healthcare leaders to talk about Covid and planning for expansion

Trading Places Architect Angela Brady talks about standing up for what she believes in

Sustainability SEAI helps small businesses to better manage their energy use

Arts and Culture Joe McGucken on his slowburn success and what’s on the cards for 2022

Travel Take a trip to Belfast and experience its vibrant culture and jaw-dropping scenery

The Big Read Fintan O’Toole recounts an Ireland that has changed significantly since 1958

54 58 62

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Winter 2021  Contents

FROM TOP LEFT: Ambr Eyewear on winning Champion Green’s ‘Retail Opportunity’ competition and plans for expansion, page 14 //

Bernard McCarthy, MD at DHL Express Ireland, explains why small firms are at the heart of the company, page 20 // Professor Barbara Ryan from The Gut Experts shares her tips on maintaining a healthy gut, page 24 // ‘We Don’t Know Ourselves’ by Fintan O’Toole examines an Ireland that has changed significantly since 1958 to present times, page 62

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Updates  News

SMALL FIRMS ASSOCIATION ELECTS NEW NATIONAL COUNCIL MEMBERS

SFA MEMBERS IF YOUR BUSINESS HAS SOME NEWS TO SHARE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE FEATURED IN THE NEXT EDITION OF BETTER BUSINESS, CONTACT STEPHEN BROWNE ON (01) 6051626 OR STEPHEN. BROWNE@SFA.IE

Shane Ryan, Founder, Fiid

FOOD

The members of the Small Firms Association gathered at its virtual AGM to elect new members to the governing body of the association, the National Council. Graham Byrne, SFA Chairperson and CEO of Flender said: “The Small Firms Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Aisling Hurley, founder of The Business Fairy, to the SFA National Council. Her appointment means that over 50% of the SFA National Council are female business leaders, marking an important milestone that is increasingly reflective of the broader SME community’s effort in addressing gender balance in the Irish business model.”. Re-elected to the Council were Frederika Sheppard of Voltedge Management and Geraldine Lavin of 3rd i Consulting. Mr. Byrne added: “We also bid a fond farewell to a mainstay of the Small Firms Association National Council, Brendan Newsome of Wireropes. Brendan has been an invaluable source of help and advice to the SFA over the years. We wish him well as he steps back from the Council and thank him for all his work with the SFA over many years.”

BIG NEWS FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Plant-based food brand receives B Corp certification

Irish plant-based food brand fiid has received B Corp certification, becoming the fourth Irish food brand to achieve the status. B Corps are a collection of companies around the world that balance people, planet and profit and that use business as a force for good. Companies are thoroughly assessed in areas of governance, workers, community, environment and customers and certification is only awarded to companies that meet the highest standards across these areas. “Since day one, we have donated meals to children in the developing world through our ongoing partnership with Mary’s Meals. We are committed to fighting food waste and most recently, became the world’s first carbon neutral ready meal. Achieving B Corp status brings all of our efforts and actions together in an internationally recognised certification, gaining trust and advocacy from consumers,” said founder Shane Ryan. Other Irish B Corps include Strongroots, Cully & Sully and Danone Dairy Ireland. International examples include Patagonia, Innocent Drinks and Tony’s Chocolonely.

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News  Updates

COVID Contact the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Business Support Call Centre for information on the government supports available to businesses and enterprises affected by COVID-19. Tel: +353 1 631 2002 Email: infobusinesssupport @dbei.gov.ie

MENTORSWORK FOR NEW YEAR SMALL BUSINESS PLANNING

CLIMATE ACTION

TÁNAISTE AND MINISTER RYAN LAUNCH NEW WEBSITE TO HELP SMES DECARBONISE The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, have launched the Government’s new website to help businesses get started in taking climate action. climatetoolkit4business.gov.ie allows SMEs to input some simple information and get an estimate of their carbon footprint and a personalised action plan to reduce it. Each tailored action plan will include straightforward, practical instructions and highlights the relevant help that is available from Government, through agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The Climate Toolkit 4 Business was developed jointly by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications with detailed input from Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, SEAI, the Local Enterprise Offices, Skillnet Ireland, Ibec, Chambers Ireland, Irish Water and others. Further information here: climatetoolkit4business.gov.ie/about

Nearly 1,000 small businesses around Ireland have benefitted from the MentorsWork initiative in the past 18 months, providing free mentoring and business development tools for SMEs. The Small Firms Association (SFA) encourages business owners and managers to avail of the independent professional business planning supports. Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director, says MentorsWork is an excellent resource to help critically evaluate business performance and develop original solutions to market challenges. “Few small businesses were unaffected by the pandemic. Some adapted and some grew, but many simply survived. 2022 is about the return to proactive planning and expansion, as we continue to adjust operations and budgets to a postpandemic business environment.” Places on the 12-week MentorsWork programme are available to SME owner-managers and leadership teams across all industries. Any private sector business with between five and 250 employees is eligible to apply at https://mentorswork.ie/ Mentors help with business analysis, sales and marketing strategies and finance and operational planning. Many participating companies have devised online and digital sales strategies, as well as completing root and branch reviews of operations, successfully identifying expansion opportunities and cost-savings. The free programme works on the basis of one-to-one mentoring from an independent professional mentor, usually experienced in the particular business area, as well as masterclasses and peer workshops. Learning supports address four areas - People, Business Processes, Finance and Growth and Digitalisation and Automation. The ultimate objective is to support businesses in developing a six-month strategic business improvement plan. Free resources include a self-paced learning portal and online diagnostic tools providing insights that help business owners identify skills and development needs. MentorsWork is backed by a €1.2 million Government fund for SME business development and is provided by the Small Firms Association (SFA) in partnership with Skillnet Ireland. The scheme has supported businesses in various sectors including professional services, trades and manufacturing, lifestyle, hair and beauty, childcare, technology, retail, marketing services and recruitment. Small manufacturing operations have been largely represented, with 97% of participating businesses reporting that the programme was transformational. Business owners and managers can apply to be part of MentorsWork at mentorswork.ie/

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Updates  News

Barry Prost, Managing Partner, Yala

AWARDS SEASON AT RECRUITMENT SERVICES FIRM YALA Yala has been shortlisted for three awards by the Employment & Recruitment Federation in Ireland including “Best New Agency”, “Agency of the Year” and “Best in Innovation”. The firm, providing recruitment services on a monthly subscription basis, also made the national shortlist for the National Start-Up Awards in December 2021. Co-Founder Barry Prost said: “We are delighted to be recognised by our industry peers in the ERF and alongside other fast growing start-ups across multiple high growth sectors like technology and med tech at the national Start Up Awards. It’s an exciting time for the business – we have grown annual turnover to over €3 million in under three years and plan to double our headcount in 2022.”

ENHANCING HYBRID AND REMOTE WORKING WITH CLEVERSHARE With over 30 years’ experience in the business of Audio Visual installations, Fitting Image AV Sales Ltd is embracing the ongoing technological evolution, ensuring they bring the most effective solutions to their broad range of clients. Fitting Image uses Clevertouch, aligning its technology with Fitting Image installations for their client, Trinity College Dublin. As hybrid working becomes the new norm, Clevertouch’s Clevershare technology is an ideal way to enhance hybrid and remote working. Any device can download the free Clevershare app, which is compatible with Android, Windows, iOS and Chrome devices. Clevershare allows up to 50 devices to connect to share images, video and audio directly to their Clevertouch screen. Users can connect instantly with unique code access on the Clevertouch screen and utilise the Clevershare dongle to share content without any need to download apps, enabling users to collaborate with ease.

With Yala’s Rent A Recruiter ondemand model, employers’ hiring budgets go further with set monthly pricing. www.yala.ie

BREXIT Supports remain available to help your business manage the new trading arrangements with the UK from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Visit Getting Business Brexit Ready to view the many supports and resources available to your business.

“This legislation, also known as examinership light, is good news for small businesses who find themselves in distress. It’s important to small firms as it has similar outcomes to the examinership process but can be done at a lower cost, avoiding unnecessary and onerous administration and regulation.” Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director, SFA

“The response to the awards programme reminds us that Irish small companies are resilient. We also feature five of the best Emerging New Businesses (less than two years established) and given the quality of the businesses represented this year, entrepreneurship is alive and well in Ireland.” Sue O’Neill, Chair of the Judging Panel, SFA National Small Business Awards 2021

“The Small Firms Association has announced the appointment of Aisling Hurley, founder of The Business Fairy, to the SFA National Council. Her appointment means that over 50% of the SFA National Council are female business leaders, reflective of the SME community’s effort in addressing gender balance in the Irish business model.” Graham Byrne, SFA Chairperson, CEO of Flender

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News  Updates

TOP TWEETS @SFA_Irl

As you continue your Christmas shopping this weekend, remember to #SupportLocal and visit http:// championgreen.ie for ways you can get involved and support your local community

@ChampionGreenie Michael O’Hara, Group Managing Director, DataSolutions

@SBCIreland

If #Brexit has an impact on your #business and/or your #supplychain, the SBCI Brexit Impact Loan Scheme can help you! visit http://sbci.gov.ie

@Microfinanceire

Are you thinking of starting your own business? We are here to help. We offer small business loans at 5.5% APR. Check out our loan calculator and see how Microfinance Ireland can help you get off the ground. https:// microfinanceireland. ie/loan-calculator

@ibec 2021 certainly

packed a punch in terms of employment legislation! In this episode of Work Talks, Ibec’s Maeve McElwee sits down with @ kierancuddihy to give an overview of these developments and what’s in store for the year ahead. Listen here: https:// ibec.ie/employer-hub/ work-talks

@SFA_IRL

43% OF IRISH COMPANIES HAVE FIRM PLANS TO BE CARBON-NEUTRAL OR ACHIEVE NET ZERO DataSolutions, the specialist distributor of innovative IT and security solutions, has announced the results of a survey which found that 43% of Irish companies have firm plans to be carbon-neutral or achieve net zero – 65% of which expect to achieve same by 2030. The research, conducted by Mediateam and involving 105 IT leaders*, also revealed that 38% of organisations don’t have a sustainability or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy. Furthermore, 36% don’t believe that their organisation is doing a good enough job when it comes to environmental and social sustainability. The top hurdles to becoming carbon neutral were cited as a lack of green alternatives (47%), more of a focus on near-term issues (42%) and it is too expensive (40%). Respondents also revealed the most likely consequences on their company as a result of sustainability or climate change issues. Reputational damage ranked highest (54%), followed by cost of climate change mitigation (48%) and customer-driven pressure (38%). Some 34% said exclusion from customer or tender opportunities was a likely consequence. The research also found that 62% of IT leaders believe the tech industry is not sustainable enough and needs to change quickly, while 71% think technology will play a positive role in the war against global warming. Almost a third (31%) of those surveyed see sustainability as being crucial to economic recovery post-Covid. People working in the IT sales channel were also surveyed and went even further, with 34% viewing sustainability as a growth driver for the organisation in the next 12 months (to some or a great extent). The channel was also asked about the benefits of being a sustainable business, the most popular one being that it is better for the planet. The other leading advantages were found to be that it improves brand reputation and recognition, customer satisfaction and reduction of operational costs. Speaking about the findings, Michael O’Hara, Group Managing Director of DataSolutions and Co-Founder of Techies Go Green, said: “There’s no denying it – climate change is the most pressing and urgent issue of our time. The time for people and businesses to act is right now. Worryingly, there is still a disjoint between the desire to be carbonneutral or more sustainable and actually putting into place the solutions and strategies to achieve this goal. Having an ESG strategy is no longer aspirational but absolutely crucial, not only from a brand perspective but a growth and costs perspective. Every organisation needs to be reducing their CO2 footprint by 50% by 2030 and achieving carbon zero by 2050 at the very latest. Going green makes sense for both the world and business. However, companies will need to wade through the mountain of information and negative commentary around climate change, educating themselves and producing a plan that will have a real impact.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 7

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Updates  News

Andrea Manning, Founder, CyberPie

AWARDS

CYBERPIE TAKES SILVER AT NATIONAL STARTUP AWARDS 2021 Cybersecurity startup CyberPie scooped a Silver for Early Stage Startup at the National Startup Awards Ireland 2021. Founders Andrea Manning and Alison McMurtrie said achieving this recognition is key to creating awareness around the problem of cybersecurity for the micro-business sector. CyberPie was one of several winners on the night, which was live streamed on 2 December. This year marked the 10th year of the National Startup Awards. The event was sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Microfinance Ireland, Sage, Cronin Accountants and McCann FitzGerald. Launched in early 2021, the CyberPie platform provides a weekly one-minute video demonstrating ways that a microbusiness’s tech system could be threatened and offers simple DIY fixes. It also provides tips, tricks and updates on what businesses are required to do by law in relation to GDPR and cybersecurity. In addition, the company sends a small task to users each week that will help improve their cybersecurity.

FAKE IRISH FIRMS: HOW TO PROTECT DIRECTORS FROM ID THEFT Andrew Lambe from Company Bureau outlines ways that company directors can protect themselves from identity theft. He said: “It is strongly advised that company directors take steps to ensure accurate information is maintained for all entities that they are involved in.” An ongoing investigation by the Irish Independent has revealed that international fraudsters are stealing the identities of company directors in Ireland to set up fake firms. These dodgy companies have filed for registration using false details with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) and they have obtained incorporation numbers so they appear to be legitimate. Directors and presenters should take the following necessary steps to protect their identities. ompanies should be set up in CORE as watched companies; this can C also be done via a search provider. Regularly monitor the use of registered office and business addresses, particularly when operating out of a shared building. Use a company search facility to monitor director names that match (or are very similar) to your name. If you discover your identity is being incorrectly used, it should be reported immediately as fraud to An Garda Siochana. The Company Bureau team would be happy to review the compliance of any Irish entities you are involved with to ensure all necessary steps have been taken.

“IT IS STRONGLY ADVISED THAT COMPANY DIRECTORS TAKE STEPS TO ENSURE ACCURATE INFORMATION IS MAINTAINED FOR ALL ENTITIES THAT THEY ARE INVOLVED IN.”

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Skills to Advance Make skills work for you

Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism Boost the retention and development of key talent Avail of highly subsidised training for enterprise Contact your local Education and Training Board or visit skillstoadvance.ie

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Finance  Financial Recovery

Recovery IN

Sight

FLENDER CEO GRAHAM BYRNE OFFERS SOME ADVICE ON HOW SMALL FIRMS CAN BEST PREPARE FOR 2022 FROM A FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVE

The Graham Byrne, SFA Chairperson and CEO, Flender

resilience shown by the small business community in Ireland over the past two years has been inspiring, says Flender CEO Graham Byrne. Despite numerous lockdowns, harsh restrictions and a challenging trading environment, small firms have pivoted, diversified and proved their mettle in these unprecedented times. With Covid cases showing no sign of abating, it looks like we’re not out of the woods just yet. “I think we’re currently in the throes of our fourth recovery and rebound. To say that the past almost 24 months have been challenging for small businesses would be an understatement. I think the key to those recovering whilst managing to rebound is engagement with key stakeholders within business’

individual industries. I would expect that any financial supports or grants that are available from the Government will continue into 2022 to enable this critical recovery to happen.” Small business should avail of any financial assistance that’s available to them. “In saying that, I think there needs to be a greater level of awareness of the supports that are out there, whether that’s access to finance, access to training or assisting firms with their transition to digital. I think awareness of the supports that are out there has fallen off the radar somewhat but right now, we’re in a critical period so it’s imperative that small businesses gather the facts so they can access the help that’s out there.” In an earlier issue of Better Business, Graham talked about the slow take-up of the Credit Guarantee Scheme (CGS). It’s widely agreed that the CGS is an attractive option for small firms, but the challenge lies around how small firms are accessing it. “The low level of applications to draw down the €2 billion facility continued throughout 2021. Again, I think it goes back to a lack of awareness about the scheme and also a lack of awareness about who’s actually facilitating the scheme. There are over 15 funding support structures currently available to small

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Financial Recovery  Finance

firms, of which the CGS is only one. So there may be some confusion when it comes to identifying the scheme. There also seems to be confusion around who is actually distributing it and how small firms qualify for the scheme.” More education about the scheme and indeed about all the schemes and supports available to small businesses needs to be pushed out into the marketplace through intermediate groups like accountancy and advisory firms, says Graham. That will encourage people and give them the confidence to move forward with their applications. “A very substantial number of schemes were also launched at the same time and that’s likely adding to the confusion. Very little emphasis has been put on the extension or top-up nature of these schemes, which is crucial information for small businesses. People think that the schemes are full or that they’re not in a position to apply. Quite a lot of small firms have told me they didn’t even know that a particular scheme was still open.” As we move forward, the single biggest issue for the economy is the extreme contraction of our banking market and the supports available to the SME community. “Before the credit crisis, we had 11 operating institutional banks servicing the SME space. Now, we effectively only have two. With that contraction comes huge issues; as you can imagine, there’s a reluctance from banking institutions to do business with customers from competing banks so if you’re looking for additional supports, you generally have to approach your own bank. That’s creating a very uncompetitive environment from an SME perspective.” In his 15 years of non-bank funding to the SME market, Graham has found that the biggest challenge for funders is the lack of financial sophistication within small business. “Small firms need a huge amount of support when it comes to implementing structures to facilitate financial training for employees. External stakeholders such as lending institutions must be able to access a business’ financial information in a straightforward, coherent way.” Financial sophistication for small business has always been an issue, says Graham. “It was an issue before the credit crisis and because it was completely

ignored, it became an even bigger problem after the credit crisis. It’s an issue that continues to unfold now and is presenting small firms with additional challenges.” Skillnet Ireland is an excellent resource for small business, says Graham, providing firms with business advice, consultancy, access to finance and training. “Skillnet also provides financial sophistication training for financial managers within small businesses, along with advice on how to actually manoeuvre around the pandemic as it unfolds. Small firms are exactly that – small. They usually have a tightknit, small number of employees and it’s usually the business owner that’s trying to be the best salesperson and promoter of that business. The aim of any small business is to generate revenue; the sticking point is around what happens to that revenue down the line. I would really urge small firms to access the Skillnet resource and equip themselves with the financial sophistication training they need in order to access the supports that will help them to survive the pandemic.” It’s not just Covid that’s impacting small firms. Supply chain issues, the likes of which haven’t been seen in several years, are creating additional obstacles for small firms to overcome. “For small firms, supply chain issues are leading to a delay in the payment cycle, both to suppliers and from debtors. Effective planning around these gaps in the supply chain can go some way in mitigating these issues. Small firms should try negotiating with their suppliers and customers and come to an agreement over terms that actually map the new environment that they’re in. That way, they can offset some of those issues.” Going into 2022, there are measures that small firms can take to protect themselves from the consequences of Covid and the other issues challenging the SME environment. “I think small firms need to have a lot more sophistication when it comes to planning the reboot and recovery of their business. Maintaining strong employee engagement is also key; employees are a business’s best asset and therefore most likely to help and assist small firms as they recover and stabilise and hopefully, return to profitability.”

“SMALL FIRMS NEED A HUGE AMOUNT OF SUPPORT WHEN IT COMES TO IMPLEMENTING STRUCTURES TO FACILITATE FINANCIAL TRAINING FOR EMPLOYEES. EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS SUCH AS LENDING INSTITUTIONS MUST BE ABLE TO ACCESS A BUSINESS’ FINANCIAL INFORMATION IN A STRAIGHTFORWARD, COHERENT WAY.”

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Events  The Year In Review

THE YEAR IN REVIEW THANKS TO ALL OUR VIRTUAL PLATFORMS, THE SFA STILL HAD A SUCCESSFUL AND BUSY 2021. HERE’S A LOOK BACK ON THE INCREDIBLE NETWORKING AND EDUCATIONAL EVENTS WE HELD THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

n Business Connect 11 February 2021

On 11 February 2021, the SFA brought together over 200 small and large businesses virtually for our annual Business Connect conference. This annual marketplace event provides a platform for small businesses to learn how they can win contracts with larger companies and how to position themselves correctly to deliver value. Our keynote speaker was Psychoanalytical Psychotherapist Dr Colman Noctor. Dr Colman opened the conference with ‘Re-setting the Dial for 2021’, focusing on reboarding post Covid-19 and developing digital resilience in an era of technology and anxiety, which was followed by a Q&A with Richard Curran. Delegates then got to hear from representatives from Luzern, Inspiration and Cisco, discussing how to adapt for business in a virtual world. This was followed by ‘Winning with Big Business’ with Musgrave, Green Angel, Oriel Sea Salt, Lily’s Tea and Borrisoleigh Bottling. Finally, Eoin McGee from ‘How to be Good with Money’ wrapped up the day, covering the do’s and don’ts when applying to finance and was joined by SBCI, Enterprise Ireland, Microfinance Ireland and Permanent TSB. As well as plenty of virtual networking opportunities available on the day, delegates got to see the best in small business from the SFA National Small Business Awards 2021, which exhibited along with awards sponsors and partners. 12 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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The Year In Review

 Events SFA EVENTS TO REGISTER,

VISIT WWW.SFA.IE/EVENTS DATES AND KEEP AN EYE ON MORE UPCOMING FOR YOUR EVENTS    DIARY 2022

n 17 February Business Connect n Late April SFA National Small Business Awards Gala n Early September Launch of the SFA National Small Business Awards 2022 n 11 November SFA Annual Lunch n 8 December SFA Christmas Members Evening

n SFA National Small Business Awards Gala

30 April 2021 The 17th annual SFA National Small Business Awards Gala took place behind closed doors at a virtual event on 30 April, celebrating the best small businesses in Ireland, where our overall winner TopForm Ltd along with the other nine category winners were announced. Although the Gala was held virtually for a second year, there was a fantastic social media response from our finalists and winners. A full list of 2021 winners can be found at www.SFAAwards.ie

n Boosting Business Success Conference

May 2021 The SFA and MentorsWork Boosting Business Success Conference was a half-day virtual conference aimed at supporting small business owners not only to do business in the current challenging environment, but to take the next steps forward and grow their business, identify new opportunities and become even more successful whilst improving productivity. We were joined by industry experts to cover various topics from people, finance and growth, and business processes to digitalisation and automation. Speakers included Anton Savage, Broadcaster and Journalist, Gordon Newman, Go To Market Director of Lifestyle Sports as well as AIB, Flender, Yala and more.

n Launch of 2021 Awards

16 September 2021 In September, we launched the 18th Annual SFA National Small Business Awards with the help of An Taoiseach Micheál Martin at Government Buildings. We are delighted to announce our finalists for the 2021 Awards programme; you can find the full list of companies at www.SFAAwards.ie

n Webinars and

Virtual Seminars Thanks to all of the virtual platforms available, we have been able to continue to host a great deal of educational webinars such as all of our Employment Law Seminars and webinar series with SEAI, Cisco and more. You can view some of these past webinars on our website at www.sfa.ie/Events

Make sure you keep an eye on our schedule of SFA events at www.sfa.ie/events and keep up with us on Twitter @SFA_Irl SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 13

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Sector Spotlight  Champion Green Sector Spotlight  Champion Green

ALL

RISE SUPPORT FROM CHAMPION GREEN IS ALLOWING SMALL IRISH BUSINESSES TO THRIVE, DESPITE THE CHALLENGES POSED BY COVID 14 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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Champion Green

 Sector Spotlight

Champion Green, a movement dedicated to driving local communities and reinvigorating local enterprise, was officially launched in September 2020. It was founded by Kilkenny Design and is supported by the Small Firms Association, Retail Excellence, VISA, AIB Merchant Services, Maxol and Aviva. Spearheaded by Kilkenny Design Chairperson Marian O’Gorman, it’s an initiative that has taken off since Covid hit, encouraging the public to shop locally to help businesses in the community bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus.

The idea for Champion Green has its roots in ‘Green Friday’, another initiative developed by Kilkenny Design. Two years ago, the team were trying to figure out a way to redirect business back into local communities on Black Friday, as opposed to having it leave the country and ending up in the pockets of the bigger multinationals. “Out of that conversation came the idea of turning Black Friday ‘Green’ and convincing people to spend more with their local businesses on the run up to Christmas. From day one, we were very clear that this wasn’t about Kilkenny Design, it was about all small and medium sized businesses working together

“SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSES WERE FACED WITH AN EXTREMELY CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENT. WE FELT THERE WAS MORE OF A ROLE THAT WE COULD PLAY IN SUPPORTING BUSINESS TO SURVIVE THE PANDEMIC AND HEIGHTENING AWARENESS AROUND THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORTING LOCAL.”

Damien English TD, Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail , Evelyn Moynihan, CEO Kilkenny Group and Sven Spollen-Behrens of the Small Firms Association (SFA)

to promote the great products, services and talents that we have in Ireland,” said Evelyn Moynihan, CEO at Kilkenny Group. Two years ago, the amount of money staying in Ireland over the ‘Green Friday’ weekend was about 28%; that climbed to 39% last year. the impact of Covid and the pervading ‘doom and gloom’ environment encouraged Kilkenny Design to take a wider view of the initiative. “Small and medium sized businesses were faced with an extremely challenging environment. We felt there was more of a role that we could play in supporting business to survive the pandemic and heightening awareness around the importance of supporting local.” Champion Green was the result, symbolised by the green butterfly, representing beauty, resilience and the ability to change.

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Sector Spotlight  Champion Green

Supporting local retail and producers is a ‘no-brainer’, according to economist Jim Power who holds an advisory role in Champion Green. The retail sector endured more pressures and financial pain than many sectors of the economy but despite fears that the supply chain would break down, the Irish retail sector proved its worth to society and the economy. Jim urges consumers to choose local as much as possible. “When I go into a local shop, I am supporting the producers of the products, employment in the shop and the businesses and services they in turn spend their wages with down the chain. It is estimated that every €1 spent in Irish retail generates up to €2.50 in the economy.”

Dan Nugent and Sacha Cahill, Ambr Eyewear

“SINCE LAUNCHING, WE’VE DONE ABOUT €2 MILLION WORTH OF BUSINESS, WHICH IS PRETTY GOOD FOR A TEAM THAT’S JUST MYSELF, SACHA AND A COUPLE OF PARTTIME STAFF. THE PRODUCT HAS BEEN REALLY WELL RECEIVED, ESPECIALLY IN IRELAND WHERE WE DO ABOUT 80% OF OUR SALES.”

Champion Green was, says Evelyn, a very positive voice for small business through the very dark days of lockdown. “We hosted webinars to give inspiration and expertise around improving your presence online and helping businesses to pivot. Small companies invested in their omnichannels and as a result, I think we’re all going to emerge stronger out of the pandemic.” As we slowly inch our way out of Covid, it’s important that people continue to support local. “If that support doesn’t continue, small business won’t survive. People need to remember what they discovered on their doorstep during lockdown and who was there for them in our time of need.” Champion Green is all about getting behind Irish brands and businesses and using local services to create jobs and national prosperity. Ambr Eyewear is one Irish brand that has benefitted from the huge efforts made by Champion Green since it launched two years ago. Earlier this year, the small business won Champion Greens’ ‘€50,000 Retail Opportunity’ competition, which includes a free six-month lease on an outlet in Blackrock, Co Dublin. Run by Sacha Cahill and Dan Nugent, the prize has given the pair an opportunity to take the business global. After a few too many headaches and sleepless nights caused by long hours staring at a computer screen, the idea for Ambr Eyewear started to take shape. “Myself and my partner Sacha were both in tech-related jobs. We both suffered very badly from eyestrain and headaches and the kind of discomfort you get after a day at work. After doing a bit of research, we came across blue light glasses, traditionally known as gamer glasses, for people who spend a long time looking at screens. The problem was, they were ugly, poorly designed, bad quality glasses, something I discovered after buying a pair,” said Dan. However, they did wonders for his eyestrain. “It was something of a eureka moment. We noticed a gap in the market for a high quality, high fashion range of blue light glasses and so over the course of a few months, we set about prototyping and designing a range and building a website. We ended up getting our first batch of stock manufactured and didn’t really think of it as more than just a side project, a bit of fun.” Once the glasses hit the market, the reaction was instantaneous. “Within a week, we had media attention and influencers posting about them. We sold out the first batch of stock and then ended up with a six week waiting list for reorders. That funded another run of manufacture and basically, it went from there.” Today, Ambr Eyewear boasts a line of 66

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Champion Green

original frames with a range of different lenses available, whether that’s sunglasses, transition lenses, prescription lenses and the blue light lenses, the company’s most popular product. Their glasses are sold in over 80 countries and stocked in Brown Thomas. “Since launching, we’ve done about €2 million worth of business, which is pretty good for a team that’s just myself, Sacha and a couple of part-time staff. The product has been really well received, especially in Ireland where we do about 80% of our sales.” Future plans include more retail outlets around the country and an expanded product line. “We’re starting to collaborate with well-known Irish artists on products and first up will be street art collective SUBSET. We’re hoping to launch a range of frames with them next year. We also want to expand our sales overseas, we’re definitely seeing demand from those markets. I think there’s a real gap in the market in Ireland for an indigenous contemporary eyewear brand. We’re both really confident about the future of the business.” Ireland’s small and medium businesses employ 65% of people in Ireland. They form the backbone of the economy and help local communities prosper and thrive. Thanks to supports and services from Champion Green, businesses like K Kajoux Jewels have managed to weather the Covid storm while building a successful online presence. Kay Lyng, owner of K Kajoux Jewels, began making her own jewellery several years ago. In 2018, it went from a hobby and side hustle to a full-time job. “I had been working for a financial services company for a number of years, but I had two children by then. I wanted to work more flexibility into my life, but I also felt that my jewellery business had potential and that I just needed to give it a full time focus to see if I could grow it.” The prospect of leaving a well-paid job to run her own business, without a supporting wage to prop it up, was a daunting one. “I think the biggest challenge for any business in those early days is cashflow, without a doubt. It’s a constant number crunching exercise to ensure you stay afloat, stay paid and keep the wheels moving forward. Small businesses need as much support as they can get; it’s very easy to see how you can run out of road in terms of cash very quickly. It just takes one or two things to go wrong.” Support and assistance from her Local Enterprise Office has provided Kay with the tools she needs to run a successful business. “I’ve been lucky enough to have received trading online vouchers, various mentoring supports and I’ve been involved with business expansion schemes. LEO has helped me with cashflow and with mentoring around social media, specifically on ads. That’s an area that can

 Sector Spotlight

Kay Lyng, owner, K Kajoux Jewels

“I THINK COVID FORCED ME TO DEVELOP THE E-COMMERCE SIDE OF MY BUSINESS THAT OTHERWISE MIGHT HAVE TAKEN ANOTHER COUPLE OF YEARS.”

change quickly, so you have to be able to adapt. I really couldn’t speak more highly of my local LEO, they’ve been an amazing support to me.” Covid forced Kay to up her game around e-commerce and social media. “I was lucky in that I’d already spent a lot of time and money on establishing my website so when Covid hit, I had something to work with. I think Covid forced me to develop the e-commerce side of my business that otherwise might have taken another couple of years. Customer engagement has ramped up and I expect the Christmas period to be busy.” Champion Green has also provided Kay with a much-needed support system, particularly throughout Covid. “I’ve attended a few really helpful webinars through Champion Green. It’s been amazing to listen to experts from different industry sectors and get their take on a variety of issues. Last year, I was able to ask the head of An Post about rates for small businesses and I got a very direct and clear answer. it’s not often that you get that kind of opportunity.” Kay doesn’t regret going out on her own. “I’m really enjoying the flexibility of running my own business. There’s a great thrill in watching it grow and figuring out each challenge. We’re starting to grow our team and we’ve lots of growth plans in the pipeline. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they evolve.”

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Advice  Wise Guys

WISE GUYS

SIX INDUSTRY EXPERTS SHARE ONE PERSONAL NUGGET OF ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS.

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Publishing Kristin Jensen

Publisher, Nine Bean Rows Books The big advantages of a Kickstarter were that I was able to test the market for the idea and create a buzz about the books. I wouldn’t have been able to do either of those things if I’d just gone to the bank for a business loan. I hope our success with Kickstarter inspires other people to consider crowdfunding as a viable option.

2

Talent Management Barry Prost Co-Founder, Yala

When hiring, entrepreneurs should fill in the gaps where they are weak. It’s important to identify your weaknesses and surround yourself with people whose strengths counterbalance these. It’s also essential to resist the common bias in the recruitment process to hire likeminded people. Our first senior hire was a natural communicator who listens to the team and ensures they feel a sense of purpose.

3

PR Joanne Byrne Director, Presence PR

Say thank you. Acknowledge when someone goes out of their way to help you. Never underestimate the power of a well written note; in the world we live in now, receiving a piece of snail mail that isn’t an invoice is rare! Try and push yourself and indeed your team out of your collective comfort zone – there is no point and little reward being last to the party.

There are many definitions, but there’s one thing that all great business leaders agree on, and that’s how success can only come by persevering despite failure.

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Wise Guys  Advice

“Always work hard and have fun in what you do because I think that’s when you’re more successful. You have to choose to do it.”

4

Baker Luke Creighan

Owner, The Natural Bakery Determination in business is the key! Believe in what you do! There will be ups and downs, but if you are surrounded with people you can trust, you will always have someone to talk to. Be able to adapt, as there are events which you can’t predict. Never doubt yourself or your team. Never be afraid to ask for help.

If you are a business leader

5

Training Geraldine Lavin Director, 3rd i

Do you know what skills are needed to enable your business for the future? All too often, businesses focus solely on their current skills gap rather than identifying skills needed for emerging business opportunities. Take time to research your sector to find out what your customers will want in five years’ time. If you need assistance, contact your local ETB and Regional Skills Forum.

Simone Biles, Olympic winning gymnast

6

Energy Enda Gunnell CEO, Pinergy

I think you’ve got to enjoy what you are doing. You must find a purpose that you believe in and be motivated for the journey. There will be good days and some bad ones along the way. We are a purpose-led brand focused on empowering our customers to create a sustainable energy future. That’s what I enjoy about our journey and keeps me focused.

and you feel you have some words of wisdom to share with he small business community please email info@sfa.ie

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Cover Story  DHL Express Express Ireland Ireland

“WE’RE COMMITTED TO PROVIDING SMALL BUSINESSES WITH THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO GROW AND EXPAND. THE ADVICE AND SUPPORT THAT’S AVAILABLE FROM OUR LOCAL ACCOUNT MANAGERS AND THROUGH OUR NEW DHL GUIDE SHOWS THAT WE ARE HERE FOR OUR SMALLER CUSTOMERS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE INTO THE FUTURE.”

Bernard McCarthy, MD, DHL Express Ireland

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DHL DHL Express Express Ireland  Cover Story

Delivery, DHL EXPRESS IRELAND IS ON A MISSION TO PROVIDE CUSTOMERS WITH THE VERY BEST SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE. MD BERNARD MCCARTHY TALKS TO BETTER BUSINESS ABOUT NAVIGATING COVID AND WHY SMALL FIRMS ARE AT THE HEART OF THE COMPANY

Jason Clarke

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Cover Story  DHL Express Ireland

It just so happens to be Black Friday when I catch up with Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director at DHL Express Ireland for this issue of Better Business. There is, he says, a huge amount of additional inbound and outbound volume being handled by the company on that particular day, a trend that’s expected to continue in the run-up to Christmas. In fact since Covid hit, DHL has experienced huge surges in business although at the very beginning of the pandemic, it was a different story. “For a short period at the start of Covid, there was a lull in activity. Like lots of businesses, we were hit and our export and import volume slowed significantly. But very quickly, volumes rebounded and we haven’t really stopped since April 2020,” said Bernard. That surge in activity can be partly attributed to a lack of availability in the more traditional supply chain services. “At DHL Express Ireland, our business revolves around international express transportation. A large amount of airfreight moves on passenger commercial airlines but with Covid, those passenger fleets were effectively grounded from March last year. It didn’t take long for the express industry to pick up the slack.” The past 20 months have, says Bernard, been a rollercoaster. “Online shopping has increased hugely since March 2020. Our outbound (export) volumes have grown strongly but inbound (import) volumes have increased even more so. Primarily the increases have been driven by online shopping and our total volume position is now very significantly above where we had been pre-Covid.”

Playing their part during Covid Bernard says that while this growth creates many challenges, it’s a positive challenge and “as a business we are privileged to have been very busy during a period when many companies have been negatively impacted by Covid.” DHL also takes pride in the fact that it has played a part in battling the pandemic. “In the early days of the crisis, there was a huge requirement for PPE and with very limited uplift available out of China and the Far East, we moved many tonnes of critical supplies into Ireland on the DHL Express air network.” This work has continued throughout the last 20 months and as of September 2021, a key milestone was reached when over one billion vaccines were delivered by DHL Express to 160 countries. DHL was in a unique position to be able to support the logistical requirements during the crisis and the increased demand on its network as a result of Covid, thanks to its own dedicated global network. To run its business efficiently, DHL operates over 300 dedicated aircraft globally, with

110,000 staff and over 40,000 vehicles – figures that were added to considerably throughout 2020 and 2021. “With the surge in volume since the pandemic hit, we have added additional flights and capacity on a daily basis into and out of Dublin and Shannon. A significant number of extra courier drivers have also been hired to handle this volume. We have added resources across all areas of our business since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Back then we were already in ‘Brexit planning mode’ and were ramping up our customs clearance teams. So with Brexit occurring in the middle of the pandemic and during a period of disruption to global supply chains, you could say it was a perfect storm, bringing unprecedented challenges to the logistics industry.”

The Brexit issue While Brexit has been well managed by the company, it still creates its own challenges. Despite the complexities that Brexit presents, in volume terms the UK is still DHL Express Ireland’s largest trade lane, but the trading terms have changed and unfortunately, not all buyers are fully informed of these changes. “One of the biggest issues we have today is that there are still consumers who purchase online from UK websites without realising that their shipment must be customs cleared into Ireland with the likelihood that a VAT and Duty charge will occur. On a daily basis, we’re dealing with unhappy customers who have bought from a website where the information on taxes and charges hasn’t been transparent.” In addition to the Brexit change, since July 1st this year, the rules around customs charges on items purchased outside the EU have changed. “Previously, if you were importing an item that cost less than €22, it could be cleared without any taxes or charges. Now, this low-value limit no longer applies and irrespective of the value of the item, we must apply the relevant duties and taxes. That has been a major change to our business.” The savvy online shopper understands the process, says Bernard, but there are many who don’t. Some websites will automatically calculate the charges and add them to the final cost at checkout; but others do not and when that happens, DHL is obliged to pay the charges to Revenue on the customer’s behalf. “We then require those charges to be paid by the customer before delivery can be made. If they refuse to pay, we have no other option but to return the shipment and lodge a customs amendment with Revenue to reclaim the VAT and Duties we have already paid.”

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DHL Express Ireland  Cover Story

Bernard McCarthy, MD, DHL Express Ireland

Jason Clarke

The importance of small business DHL Express Ireland deals with thousands of small firms every month who are exporting and importing. “They’re at the heart of our company; without them, we don’t have a business. I think what differentiates us from our competitors is that we have a very strong local presence and it’s central to our business strategy not to outsource or off-shore customer facing activities. When a customer rings our customer services centre, they’re speaking to a local person who understands our service proposition and can provide appropriate advice and support. However if they ring one of our competitors and if they manage to get through, they could be speaking to a person in India or Lithuania who simply doesn’t have the local knowledge specific to Ireland to provide the required support.” DHL is also on hand to provide small firms with support and guidance around customs paperwork and other queries pertaining to importing or exporting. “Recently, we launched our DHL Guide (www.dhlguide.ie) which has been designed for small businesses who may be new to international shipping. It’s full of practical, user-friendly information and includes links and contact details for DHL support staff who can provide help and guidance. For a small firm, exporting to a new overseas market may seem like a daunting prospect but actually, it’s not as complex as it first appears and with the support of the right carrier it’s all very do-able.” The DHL Guide isn’t a marketing ploy, says Bernard. “It’s a genuine attempt to provide support and advice; but we’re also aware that by helping these companies now and supporting them on their international trading journey, they’re more likely to remember us and hopefully grow their business and become a loyal customer in the future.”

Future ambitions Safety First As an essential services provider, DHL Express Ireland has operated right throughout the Covid crisis, without missing a day’s operation. Like all companies, it has adapted to Covid requirements; non-contact delivery has replaced customer signature while office-based staff have switched to working from home. “Continuity of service and the safety of both our staff and our customers are our top priorities. Our ‘Safety First’ approach has ensured that we haven’t had any significant outbreaks of positive cases in any of our operational facilities. This is thanks to the diligence and resilience of our Operations teams. We’ve really reinforced to staff that if they have any Covid symptoms, they should do the right thing and stay at home. In recent weeks, we have extended our Safety First approach and distributed antigen tests to all Operations team members and requested that they self-test twice a week. It’s in everyone’s interest to stay safe and the initiative has been very well received.”

Looking ahead to 2022, the aim at DHL Express Ireland is to continue on the current growth path. “We have very significant investment plans for the next couple of years. We have a brand new facility due to open in Cork early in 2022 – with other new facilities in the pipeline thereafter.” Sustainability is also a huge focus area and Electric Vehicles (EV’s) are a major part of this. “Over the next three to four years, we intend to replace our van delivery fleet with EV’s. The first phase of this plan is already underway, which involves installing the required EV charging infrastructure into all our facilities across Ireland. Thereafter, it will be a case of ramping up our EV fleet and I would expect we would have a fleet of 200 EV’s on the road within a three year period.” In 2022, customer service will remain at the heart of what DHL do. “We are committed to providing small businesses with the tools that they need to grow and expand. The advice and support that is available from our local account managers and through our DHL Guide shows that we are here for our smaller customers and will continue to be into the future.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 23

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Health & Wellness  The Gut Experts

THE GUT EXPERTS, AKA ELAINE MCGOWAN AND BARBARA RYAN, TALK TO BETTER BUSINESS ABOUT ALL THINGS GUT-RELATED

gut TRUST YOUR

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The Gut Experts

During the first lockdown of 2020, Registered Dietitian Elaine McGowan joined forces with Consultant Gastroenterologist Professor Barbara Ryan to create The Gut Experts, a health and wellness platform that aims to help women ‘find a healthier, happier gut’. It’s a resource that’s badly needed; it may seem like there’s lots of information out there about digestive conditions, but how much of it is coming from social media ‘influencers’ rather than actual experts? “We were concerned by the amount of misinformation that’s out there and by the lack of specialists or experts communicating with the public about the different digestive conditions that people can suffer from. We hear from people all the time that have been advised to go down extreme routes when it comes to their diet. There is also quite a lot of stigma around these conditions and so we felt that we were in a position to help break down some of those negative attitudes,” said Barbara. Through a combined medical and dietary approach, The Gut Experts is all about giving people the tools to live with conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Functional Dyspepsia. The platform is primarily aimed at women as approximately 70% of the world’s IBS sufferers are female. Although it’s a condition that’s prevalent in women, it’s also one that women quite often presume they have through self-diagnosis. A visit to your GP and a correct diagnosis is key, says Barbara. “After that, we want to help people become informed, educated and empowered to look after their own conditions. In our respective practices, Elaine and I have met so many women who have limited their career ambitions and lifestyle due to the impact of their symptoms. When it comes to IBS in particular, female patients are quite often told they’re under too much stress or it’s all in their head. We’re working to dispel those myths around the hysterical female and equip people with the factual, correct information they need to live with these conditions,” said Barbara.

 Health & Wellness

Understanding the Gut-Brain Axis Your brain is connected to every part of your body, so what’s so special about the connection between your gut and your brain? It turns out that your gut enjoys a particularly intimate relationship with your brain, compared to the other organs in your body, so much so, that your gut has been called your ‘second brain’. We now know that there is a constant and complex twoway conversation and flow of information taking place between your gut and your brain. This means that what is happening in your brain (if you are happy, sad, anxious or tired for example) can have a big effect on what is happening in your gut. And importantly, what is happening in your gut can also affect what is happening in your brain. Think of the feeling of ‘butterflies in your stomach’ you may have got before an exam, or the need to dash to the bathroom when something nerve racking is about to happen. All those feelings are due to the Gut-Brain axis.

Professor Barbara Ryan, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Elaine McGowan, Registered Dietitian, The Gut Experts

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Health & Wellness

 The Gut Experts

As a Dietician with over 30 years’ experience, Elaine says she has never seen so much online misinformation around nutrition and medicine. People are taking advice from non-professionals and are in some cases, adopting restrictive diets. “The dietary misinformation that’s out there can be very convincing and that’s the problem. It’s leading to huge confusion for people who may think they’re switching to a healthy diet but in reality, are adopting an extreme way of eating.” A prime example is ‘clean eating’, a food movement that rose to prominence a few years ago. People who follow a ‘clean’ diet forego everything processed, opting instead for ‘whole’ foods. It has since been debunked and attacked by critics as an incitement to eating disorders. Unfortunately, it’s still perceived by many as a healthy way to live. “We’ve seen people reducing the amount of sugary foods they eat and then reducing another food group; they can become fixated within a very quick period. We would rather see people adopt a more varied diet, such as the Mediterranean diet which has lots of variety.” Eliminating whole food groups from your diet is also touted on social media as a way of fixing your gut conditions. “That’s very much not the solution. Most of the time, it’s the quantity of these foods that we’re eating that’s the problem. For example, we’re consuming far more wheat today than we ever did before and much of it is quite processed. Rather than eliminating entire food groups from our diet, we need to take a look at the amounts we’re eating,” says Elaine. Orthorexia, an unhealthy focus on eating in a healthy way, has become prevalent amongst young women, says Barbara. “It’s known as the third eating disorder alongside bulimia and anorexia and can actually bring on IBS symptoms. Suddenly people go from enjoying a moderate diet to eating vast amounts of vegetables, fruit and whole foods.” During consultations at The Gut Experts, a lot of time is spent debunking these misinformed, false narratives around healthy eating. “We’re also seeing people adopting vegetarian and vegan diets to quite an extreme level. Some of our patients are eating too healthy and reaching in excess of 50g of fibre a day, which is almost double the daily recommendation. This can cause

“WE WERE CONCERNED BY THE AMOUNT OF MISINFORMATION THAT’S OUT THERE AND BY THE LACK OF SPECIALISTS OR EXPERTS COMMUNICATING WITH THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE DIFFERENT DIGESTIVE CONDITIONS THAT PEOPLE CAN SUFFER FROM. WE HEAR FROM PEOPLE ALL THE TIME THAT HAVE BEEN ADVISED TO GO DOWN EXTREME ROUTES WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR DIET.”

Two-way Conversation

In addition to brain factors affecting gut function, there is also evidence that events happening within the gut can affect the pain sensors and pathways in the gut itself and that this is relayed back to the brain. It is easy to see how this can lead to a vicious cycle:

PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESSORS

CHANGES IN GUT FUNCTION

INCREASED PAIN IN THE GUT

INCREASED SENSITIVITY OF PAIN PATHWAYS

REDUCED PAIN THRESHOLD

INCREASED STRESS AND ANXIETY IN THE BRAIN, ETC. In addition we now know that the GM also has a two-way conversation with the enteric neurones in the gut, such that people now refer to the Gut-Brainmicrobiota axis.

bloating and loose bowels and can lead to a range of digestive issues.” With some businesses returning to the office, it’s important that employers understand and take into account the difficulties that some staff might be facing when it comes to gut health and the impact that stress can have on this. “When you’re at home, you’re close to the bathroom but that may not be the case in the office so adequate bathroom facilities are vital. We’re very much all about taking a holistic approach to the gut and the brain and believe that meditation, mindfulness, yoga and pilates are very important for the gut brain axis. Anything that employers can do to reduce the stigma would be a big help.” Finding the time to run The Gut Experts while in full-time practice can’t be easy. A new book is also due out next year. “We didn’t watch much Netflix during lockdown! With the book though, we’ve got something to show for it. The idea behind the new book is to share some of the information we’ve gathered over the past 30 years and help people navigate the right path when it comes to gut health.” Evidence-based educational resources are also on the cards for 2022, says Elaine. “With the website, the book and other educational resources that will hopefully come on stream next year, we’re aiming to cut through the noise, give women expert science-based information and reduce the stigma that surrounds so many gut problems.” You can follow The Gut Experts on Instagram and Facebook @thegutexperts and learn more at thegutexperts.com

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Expert Tips  InterTradeIreland

y d a e r t Ge for the l a m r o new n

As

1

THE IMPORTANCE OF ONLINE

The pandemic accelerated the shift to online and during this time, online sales grew exponentially. OFCOM reveals that online retail increased by 48% to £113 billion in 2020, compared to 13% in previous years. According to the Central Bank of Ireland, eCommerce card purchases are increasing annually by 25% and the total value of payment transactions increased by 52% in 2020. For small business owners, Covid-19 highlighted the importance of being online and with this trend set to continue, it’s worth thinking how you can expand and improve your user experience. InterTradeIreland’s E-Merge programme – started during the pandemic to help small businesses improve their online presence – has supported over 1000 companies. One firm that benefited was artisan food company Filligans, Co. Donegal who were able to bring their products online, giving access to their customers during Covid-19.

we approach the end of 2021 and look forward to the New Year, change has certainly become our new norm. The past 18 months saw firms trying to survive, pivot and improvise and as businesses exit survival mode, it’s important to invest in new skills and technologies to aid recovery and growth says Margaret Hearty, Chief Executive Officer of InterTradeIreland. 2022 will bring both challenges and opportunities and in order to succeed, firms should arm themselves with knowledge of upcoming key trends.

Willie Cremen, Director, Filligans

Paul McGuckin

AS THE NEW YEAR DAWNS, MARGARET HEARTY AT INTERTRADEIRELAND OFFERS SOME ADVICE TO BUSINESSES EAGER TO GET A HEAD START IN 2022

Ma d rga an ret Irel e Hear d Tra ty, C hief Execut e Officer, Inter iv

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InterTradeIreland

2

INNOVATION HAS BEEN CHALLENGED

Covid-19 caused a fragmented organisational structure for many firms who may now be removed from their colleagues and customer base. As a result, the opportunity to collaborate has been affected. However, despite businesses struggling in the past 18 months, the Global Innovation report reveals that investment in innovation has been resilient in 2020 and in some sectors has exceeded expectations with software, health and wellbeing and biotechnology all positively affected. In 2022, the green economy is forecasted to dominate the agenda and become a key driver of growth and opportunity. Breakthroughs in science and technology will be needed to achieve these goals and cross-border collaboration will be crucial. Through our Synergy Programme, InterTradeIreland has committed to this by funding projects such as the Irish Bioeconomy Foundation to develop an all-island biomap. Additionally, we can fund cross-border collaborative R&D projects to fast-track innovative ideas and partnerships. Our Innovation Boost programme helps fund a high calibre science, engineering or technology graduate and partner you with a third level institution, with specific expertise.

“2022 WILL BRING CHALLENGES BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR FIRMS ACROSS THE ISLAND OF IRELAND. FOR COMPANIES WHO WISH TO RE-ENTER PRODUCTIVE GROWTH PHASES, ‘NEW NORMAL’ BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES ARE READY TO BE EXPLORED AND INTERTRADEIRELAND IS HERE TO HELP.”

3

CROSS-BORDER TRADE SHOULD BE PART OF YOUR GROWTH STRATEGY

Cross-border trade is vital to economic recovery. In the last economic downturn, exporting proved a huge factor for driving growth and recovery. The latest figures from InterTradeIreland show that the value of trading to the opposite jurisdiction is at an all-time high, reaching £7.4 billion. For firms who wish to increase their sales and grow their business, it should be a logical step for the New Year. The statistics speak for themselves and despite economic challenges in the past year, InterTradeIreland has helped companies generate more than £90.1 million in business development value through its Trade and Innovation programmes, with a total jobs impact of 1,626. Both North and South economies hold a number of advantages for businesses and for those who need assistance, InterTradeIreland has supports available, including our post-Brexit advice. We can also help firms gain the knowledge and skills to win new business through our sales development programmes, such as the Trade Accelerator Voucher, Elevate and Acumen.

 Expert Tips

4

BOOST SALES AND FUNDING

Going forward, your business strategy should reflect how you can increase your sales and funding. The public procurement market on the island of Ireland is currently valued in excess of £11 billion per annum, with £7.6 billion in Ireland and approximately £3.5 billion in Northern Ireland, presenting a wealth of opportunities for businesses. InterTradeIreland can help SMEs win public sector contracts through our Go-2-Tender programme and Supplier Engagement events can help you gain unique access to key public sector buyers. For early-stage companies, InterTradeIreland can assist with funding for growth opportunities. Our annual Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition mirrors the real life investment process and companies can receive real feedback. Established firms can also gain advice and expertise on finance, through our Equity Advisory and Funding Advisory services.

LOOKING FORWARD 2022 will bring challenges but more importantly, new opportunities for firms across the island of Ireland. For companies who wish to re-enter productive growth phases, ‘new normal’ business opportunities are ready to be explored and InterTradeIreland is here to help.

To get in touch about InterTradeIreland supports, you can call 028 3083 4100 or visit www.intertradeireland.com

SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 29

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Maintaining Standards

 Tips

Aisling Hurley Founder and CEO, The Business Fairy

o t k c i t S

s d r a d n a t s r you

AISLING HURLEY, FOUNDER AND CEO OF THE BUSINESS FAIRY, OUTLINES HOW BUSINESSES CAN MAINTAIN THEIR STANDARDS AS THEY SCALE UP

Being the founder (and co-founder) of three businesses has taught me a lot over the years. The first lesson I’ve learned is that people are the same the world over and people do business with people, not corporations. A lot of businesses seem to forget that when they scale. I truly believe that ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are the two most underestimated words in the world of business. Whatever initially drove the founder to start naturally filters down through the business but as you grow and scale, how do you replicate yourself, or ensure standards remain the same from that online interaction to the first telephone call?

1

STANDARDISE COMMUNICATIONS

Your brand experience is your most valuable asset and you need to make every interaction and customer touchpoint count. Your digital content needs to accurately represent the business and help you stand out instantly. Small businesses tend to underestimate the power of investing in a strong online brand identity, with a set of brand guidelines for their staff to refer to. They tend to stop once they have the website built.

3

KNOW YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION

If you compete in a crowded marketplace, you need to be clear about your proposition. It’s worth taking time to use a tool like the Value Proposition Canvas to understand what your customer wants and whether your product or service actually has a match. You may have identified that there’s a gap in the market, but is there a market in the gap? This tool is a great way to help identify and finetune your offering.

2

ASSESS THE IMPACT OF YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

At TBF, we are frequently called in to develop strategies for clients. We start by analysing the organisation’s current footprint within the geographic location. We then analyse the competitors and identify gaps that allow our clients to gain competitive advantage. The online competitive landscape is completely different to the offline marketplace, so it’s worth investing to help you develop an online strategy that works.

4

MANAGE CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS

If you have a fantastic business experience offline, make sure this is replicated online. At a basic level, customers expect accuracy and availability. There are many digital tools to help with this. Just by setting up the Facebook chatbot correctly can have a positive effect on your customer’s brand experience. Use reviews and testimonials to highlight positive customer experiences and case studies. This will be an indicator to potential clients as to what they can expect when they buy from you.

STAND FOR SOMETHING

Research shows that consumers are looking for an emotional connection to a brand. They want to engage with businesses that make them feel something. We’re noticing that CSR, Corporate Governance and diversity – at boardroom level, not just on the ground – are becoming key influencers in the purchasing decision.

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Healthcare  Entrepreneurs

Taking CARE OF

US

IRELAND BOASTS SOME OF THE MOST INNOVATIVE HEALTHCARE COMPANIES IN THE WORLD. BETTER BUSINESS MEETS THREE LEADERS IN THE HEALTHCARE SPACE TO TALK ABOUT COVID, TAKING RISKS AND THEIR PLANS FOR EXPANSION

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Entrepreneurs  Healthcare

DAVID ALLEN

P

eople who don’t have private health insurance or don’t qualify for medical card support now have an alternative option when it comes to funding their treatments. Set up by former director of finance at the National Treatment Purchase Fund David Allen and former director at Vhi John Looney, Letsbuyhealthcare offers members the chance to buy €50 healthcare vouchers (Healthcare Coins), which can be redeemed for treatments by GPs and in hospitals and clinics. “That cohort of people who don’t qualify for a medical card or don’t have

private insurance makes up about 20% of the population, so it’s a significant group of people,” said David Allen. Inspiration for the idea struck when David’s own mother needed to access medical treatment. “She didn’t have health insurance so I told her I would get a quote for the procedure that she needed. Getting that price was a nightmare; trying to get information about costs from the various hospitals was a complex, arduous process.” Today, members of Letsbuyhealthcare can simply login to their account, click on the hospital of their choosing and select a procedure. Information on costs is readily accessible. “Our ‘Healthcare Coins’ product is a new concept and is, we think, quite innovative.” Members are effectively opting to self-pay for treatments and building up a healthcare fund in their name. “70% of people on public hospital surgical waiting lists are day cases. Those cases cost anything between €500 and €4000. So if you had a fund built up over time, chances are you could cover most of the treatment.” The Healthcare Coins will be of particular interest to small businesses, says David. “Small firms can use the Small Benefits Exemption for vouchers as gifts or awards for employees up to €500 a year, thus benefitting from that tax break.” David and his partner John are also currently in talks with retailers in relation to incorporating the health vouchers into a loyalty scheme. “That way, families could build up their own health care fund, potentially get contributions from their employer but also potentially get contributions from retailers.” Irish Life’s ILP Pension Trustees will oversee the operation

“70% OF PEOPLE ON PUBLIC HOSPITAL SURGICAL WAITING LISTS ARE DAY CASES. THOSE CASES COST ANYTHING BETWEEN €500 AND €4000. SO IF YOU HAD A FUND BUILT UP OVER TIME, CHANCES ARE YOU COULD COVER MOST OF THE TREATMENT.” of the funds, which will be operated as a health co-op. “It’s a way for people to prepare for the future costs of their healthcare. We’ve had great feedback already; people think it’s a fantastic idea. We’ve had enquiries from the USA, Poland, the UK, Portugal and Scotland. It’s such a simple idea but there’s nothing like it out there.” 32 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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Healthcare  Entrepreneurs

With

offices in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Sligo, Medmark is one of only a handful of specialist occupational health providers in Ireland. Founded in 1987 by partners Dr Paul Gueret and Dr Patricia Holland who were later joined by Dr Robert Ryan, Dr Jacintha More O’Ferrall and Dr David Madden, Medmark offers advice on a wide range of issues such as health and work, disability, travel health, vaccinations, ergonomics, stress management and absence management. Dr Robert Ryan joined Medmark in 1995. An initial interest in commerce segued into a career in medicine but thanks to his role in Medmark, he’s been able to combine the two interests over recent years. “About 10 years ago, I took on the role of Managing Partner in the practice and completed a Diploma in Business Development and a Master’s in Management in the IMI (Irish Management Institute). That dilemma of having to choose between commerce and medicine has been resolved and I’m thankful that I can do both.” Businesses that engage with occupational health providers like Medmark are safeguarding the health and wellbeing of their staff. “Occupational health ensures that staff are fit to do the work that they’re being asked to do. They’re working in environments where the risks associated with that work have been assessed and quantified and measures have been put in place to ensure there’s no adverse health outcome for the employee.” Over the past two years, the teams at Medmark have been working tirelessly to support their clients in managing Covid. “Mental health issues, caused by the generalised anxiety associated with restrictions and the changing

“I THINK MOST SMALL BUSINESSES FACE SIMILAR CHALLENGES AND THAT’S SOMETHING I REALISED WHEN I DID THE BUSINESS COURSE IN THE IMI. I’M LUCKY IN THAT THERE’S AN INNATE PLEASURE AND SATISFACTION IN BEING ABLE TO PRACTICE MEDICINE, BUT ALSO BUILD AND GROW THE BUSINESS.”

DR ROBERT RYAN

pattern of our daily life, are definitely emerging. Historically, people had all sorts of habits to promote their wellbeing, but those social activities have been taken away. Today, I’m seeing people whose mental health is frayed and that’s an issue that’s going to surface in the workplace.” Medmark provides a bespoke wellness offering to clients which can include a health and wellbeing digital platform, presentations to staff addressing particular issues or counselling services. “We’re seeing huge demand for that service at the moment, which I think is set to grow.” Running the business side of the practice is something Robert takes great pride in. “I think most small businesses face similar challenges and that’s something I realised when I did the business course in the IMI. I’m lucky in that there’s an innate pleasure and satisfaction in being able to practice medicine, but also build and grow the business.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 33

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Entrepreneurs  Healthcare

CONOR O’DALY E

arlier this year, Kora Healthcare was named ‘Exporter of the Year’ at the SFA National Small Business Awards. CEO Conor O’Daly attributes the win to the company’s export orientated outlook. “I think businesses in the healthcare sector need to export as the Irish market is so small. Approximately 4% of our turnover comes from Ireland so for us, exporting

was a given. We perform well in the UK, continental Europe and Southeast Asia; we have a presence in about 29 countries at the moment and that figure is set to increase.” Conor took over as CEO of Kora Healthcare in 2016. His involvement with the business stretches back to 2008 so he’s well placed to lead the team today. The company has chosen to focus on niche therapeutic areas, or what they call ‘supportive care’. “We try to follow the patient’s unmet needs in relation to longterm chronic illnesses. So where some of the large pharma companies are going after therapies like oncology and diabetes, we focus on the secondary conditions that arise from those diseases and impact on quality of life.” Growth is steady says Conor and although it may not be as fast as he’d like, an ethos of ‘start small and think big’ is setting the family company on the right track. “It’s important to scale intelligently. When you’re faced with challenges like Brexit and Covid, taking stock and assessing where you stand is crucial.” Kora Healthcare’s response to Brexit was immediate; a UK division of

the company, Kora Healthcare UK, was set up pretty much straight away. That quick thinking has been applauded by Enterprise Ireland and by other healthcare companies operating in Ireland as a quick-thinking, smart move. “We established an office in the University of York. Setting up a very real and tangible operational footprint has actually allowed us to grow a little closer to the UK but at the same time, we’re diversifying away from the UK by investing resources into European continents and North America.” Just a few weeks ago, the company set up a new entity and acquired a small business in Canada. “The UK remains an important market for us but making that leap into Europe and further afield is helping us to diversify and grow the business.” If you’re not building a culture of innovation says Conor, you’re not building for the future. “That future includes scaling up; we’re about halfway through our 5-year strategic plan which is focused on international growth and the development of our product portfolio. We’re very much building the company at the moment and we’re feeling very confident for the future.”

“THAT FUTURE INCLUDES SCALING UP; WE’RE ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH OUR 5-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN WHICH IS FOCUSED ON INTERNATIONAL GROWTH AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR PRODUCT PORTFOLIO. WE’RE VERY MUCH BUILDING THE COMPANY AT THE MOMENT AND WE’RE FEELING VERY CONFIDENT FOR THE FUTURE.” 34 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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CONGRATULATIONS TO THE IRISH LAW AWARDS 2021 WINNERS PROPERTY LAW FIRM/TEAM /LAWYER OF THE YEAR

MACSWEENEY & COMPANY SPONSORED BY WESTCORE INTERNATIONAL

IN-HOUSE (NON-CIVIL SERVICE/PUBLIC SECTOR) LEGAL TEAM/LAWYER OF THE YEAR

ICON PLC - ICON LEGAL

PRO BONO/COMMUNITY LAW FIRM/ LAWYER OF THE YEAR

AONGHUS KELLY, IRISH RULE OF LAW

LEGAL EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

BARRY BRADY, MICHAEL BOYLAN LITIGATION LAW FIRM FAMILY LAW FIRM/TEAM/ LAWYER OF THE YEAR

KEITH WALSH S.C., KEITH WALSH SOLICITORS SPONSORED BY BREWIN DOLPHIN

EXCELLENCE IN MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

TRACEY SOLICITORS

SPONSORED BY FINANCIAL TIMES

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR

MATHESON

SOLE PRINCIPAL OF THE YEAR

DONNACHA T. ANHOLD, CARTER ANHOLD & CO

LAW SCHOOL OF THE YEAR

SCHOOL OF LAW AND GOVERNMENT, DUBLIN CITY UNIVERSITY

LAW BOOK OF THE YEAR

THE SPECIAL CRIMINAL COURT: PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE, ALICE HARRISON PERSONAL INJURY/MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE LAW FIRM/TEAM/LAWYER OF THE YEAR

CALLAN TANSEY SOLICITORS SPONSORED BY MEDLAW

CORPORATE/COMMERCIAL LAW TEAM/ LAWYER OF THE YEAR

PHILIP LEE

EMPLOYMENT LAW FIRM/TEAM/ LAWYER OF THE YEAR

ANNE O’ CONNELL SOLICITORS SPONSORED BY BUSINESS POST

LAW STUDENT OF THE YEAR

CASSIE RODDY-MULLINEAUX SPONSORED BY BLOOMSBURY

LAW FIRM INNOVATION AWARD

LISA MCKENNA, MCKENNA AND CO SOLICITORS SPONSORED BY LEAP

PUBLIC SECTOR / CIVIL SERVICE IN-HOUSE LEGAL TEAM/LAWYER OF THE YEAR

CRIMINAL ASSETS SECTION, CHIEF STATE SOLICITORS OFFICE SOLE PRACTITIONER OF THE YEAR

LISA MCKENNA, MCKENNA AND CO SOLICITORS SERVICE PROVIDER TO THE LEGAL PROFESSION

ORMOND MEETING ROOMS LITIGATION LAW FIRM/LAWYER OF THE YEAR

DAVID CURRAN, FLYNN O’ DRISCOLL

CRIMINAL LAW FIRM/LAWYER OF THE YEAR

MICHAEL HENNESSY SOLICITORS EXCELLENCE & INNOVATION IN CLIENT SERVICE

RICHARD GROGAN & ASSOCIATES SOLICITORS SPONSORED BY ORMOND MEETING ROOMS

LAWYER OF THE YEAR

BILL HOLOHAN S.C. HOLOHAN LANE LLP PROBATE LAW FIRM/TEAM/ LAWYER OF THE YEAR

P. CONNOR & SON

SPONSORED BY CURRENCIES DIRECT

LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR

REDDY CHARLTON LLP LAW FIRM WEBSITE OF THE YEAR ( 1-3 SOLICITORS)

CONOR MCLAUGHLIN & ASSOCIATES SPORTS LAWYER OF THE YEAR

STUART GILHOOLY S.C., H.J. WARD & COMPANY SOLICITORS LLP INTERNATIONAL LAW FIRM (IRELAND) OF THE YEAR

HATSTONE (IRELAND) LLP AVIATION LEASING LAWYER/ LEGAL TEAM OF THE YEAR

FLYNN O’ DRISCOLL, AVIATION LEGAL TEAM

LIFE TIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

MR. JUSTICE MICHAEL PEART SPECIAL MERIT AWARD

KEN MURPHY

SPECIAL MERIT AWARD

PATRICK MANN

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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Trading Places  Angela Brady

life A

Y R

S A S N I E L D R O

CELEBRATED ARCHITECT ANGELA BRADY TALKS TO BETTER BUSINESS ABOUT STANDING UP FOR WHAT SHE BELIEVES IN AND NEVER TAKING NO FOR AN ANSWER

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Angela Brady

 Trading Places

Angela Brady OBE has been campaigning all of her professional life. Whether it’s for women’s rights, diversity within architecture or for the Irish diaspora working overseas, she’s not shy about standing up for her beliefs. When she first moved to London as a young graduate architect in the mid 1980’s, she led a campaign to get architectural qualifications from DIT Bolton Street (now TU Dublin) recognised by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), the professional registration body for architects practising in the UK. Irish architects who studied in UCD had historic recognition of their course via the RIBA education board and were automatically able to sit the Part 3 exam and register as architects. Architects from Bolton Street could not, even though their DIT course was recognised in the EU. “There were a lot of Irish architects in the UK around this time as there were no jobs in Ireland, so this was a big issue. We formed a group called IAGO (Irish Architects Graduates Overseas) and the first open meeting in 1988 was organised on a party boat going from the Thames pier,” said Angela. An invitation went out to “all architectural grads working in London to meet at the pier”, along with Arthur Gibney who was the President of the RIAI (Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland) at the time and John Graby, CEO of RIAI. “Aer Lingus sponsored their flights as we had no funds. We expected about 40 people to turn up but amazingly, over 200 people arrived.” A pressure group had been formed and although it took another 18 months for ARB to formally recognise qualifications from Bolton Street, the wheels were set firmly in motion. “IAGO became the RIAI London Forum, which is still going strong today. It’s always been my belief that you’ve got to fight injustice with a positive message and keep going against the odds.” Born in Dublin, Angela has lived in London for over three decades. A successful architect, she has held a variety of roles including RIBA President, RIAI London Forum Chair, Chair of Women in Architecture and Design Council Ambassador. In 2017, she was awarded the Irish President’s Distinguished Services Award for architecture design and in 2015, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). She is also a broadcaster, TV presenter and writer; to say she’s a ‘doer’ type of person would be an understatement. As a pupil at an all-girl’s school in Co Dublin, she was told

Angela Brady OBE

“AS AN IRISH PERSON WITH A HUGE NETWORK, I’VE MANAGED TO BUILD UP REALLY GOOD CONTACTS OVER THE YEARS. THESE ARE PEOPLE THAT I TRUST AND THEY’RE THE ONES THAT HELP GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS. IN WHATEVER YOU DO, COLLABORATION AND RESPECT IS THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL LIFE.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 37

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Trading Places  Angela Brady

Angela Brady in the ‘Drop the Ban’ campaign dress

that a career in architecture wasn’t a possibility. “At my career talk, I was told that architecture isn’t for women, it’s a man’s job and that I should be thinking about interior design. That was the first time somebody was trying to stop me from doing what I wanted to do. My mother, who’s a great artist, said to me, women have got to fight harder than men to get to the same place. That gave me the determination to really go for it.” After completing the degree and diploma in architecture in Bolton Street, Angela worked in Dublin, Canada, Denmark and London. A couple of years later, she met Robin Mallalieu who would later become her husband and in

“IT WAS LOVELY THAT PEOPLE WERE SO READY AND WILLING TO CELEBRATE WOMEN IN ARCHITECTURE AND WERE SO WELCOMING OF DIVERSITY.” 1987, they set up Brady Mallalieu Architects, a practice with a “social conscience”. Early projects include St Catherine’s Foyer and Sports Centre in Dublin, a pilot project for Dublin City Council that provided accommodation and training for young people aged 18-25 and acted as a stepping stone to independent living. It was, says Angela, the first time she became aware of the importance of helping the local community as an architect. “It’s so fantastic to think that we’ve been able to help local people through the design of a building, through its many uses and the way it’s laid out. The sociability of spaces for people to enjoy has always been an important element of our work; with this project, we thought about who would be living there, what they would need and how they could best interact with each other.” Alongside the day job, Angela continued to campaign against social injustice in the profession. In 2000, she co-founded ‘Architects for Change’, a RIBA group that campaigned for greater involvement in architecture by women

Angela with Asif Khan, creator of the Coke pavilion at London 2012

and ethnic minorities. As the chair of Women In Architecture, she curated “DiverseCity”, an exhibition celebrating women and BAME architects which soon went global, literally. “Diversity was hardly mentioned in 2000, so we were ahead of the game. RIBA immediately backed the ‘DiverseCity’ exhibition and a month later I got a call from RIBA USA saying, hey we heard about your exhibition, would you bring it over to Los Angeles? From there, it rapidly expanded; it went to 34 cities over six years including China, India, Australia, Palestine and Dublin. It was lovely that people were so keen to join the exhibition and celebrate diversity in architecture.” The role of RIBA President, which Angela held from 2011 to 2013, wasn’t a calculated move to further her career. She was very much a campaigning President who now had a voice on the international architecture stage and wasn’t afraid to use it. That voice was put to good use during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, when it came to light that architects and engineers who designed buildings for the Games were unable to promote their work due to a marketing agreement with the event organisers. The ‘Drop the Ban’ campaign saw Angela, along with two other industry professionals, hang a banner down the facade of the RIBA headquarters in London listing all of those involved, under the slogan “The Architects and Engineers who designed and built London 2012”. “Those architects should have been championed for the amazing work they had produced for the most sustainable Games to date, not silenced. As well as the banner at the RIBA HQ, I attended a Paralympics lunch where I wore a dress I made that had all the architects’ and designers names and buildings on it. My dress is now in the Museum of London as a protest dress in the fashion department.” It wasn’t long before the ban was lifted. “It’s so important not to take no for an answer. We felt like we absolutely had to pressurise the government to stand up for our designers and say, this isn’t good enough.” Today, Angela’s campaigning life continues. Just recently, she spoke at London Build 2021 on the topic of ‘Retrofitting the Nation’. “Retrofitting is one of the most important things we can do when it comes to Climate Action. Right now, we’re on a knife edge of survival on our planet. We’ve all got to realise that climate action is the fight that all of us must take on in our daily lives.” She attributes her success thus far to a belief in herself, a supportive partner in Robin, supportive family and colleagues and a determination to never give up. “As an Irish person with a huge network, we’ve managed to build up really good contacts over the years. These are people that we trust and they’re the ones that help get your message across. In whatever you do, I believe that collaboration and respect is the key to a successful life.”

38 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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what’s on your

You’re not alone when it ComeS to CopinG www.turn2me.org

Forums, Group Support, 1to1 Counselling, iphone enabled

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Partner Profile  J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway

Cairnes Building NUI Galway

TEACHING BUSINESS TO MAKE A TRANSFORMATIVE IMPACT IN ITS NEW STRATEGY, J.E. CAIRNES SCHOOL OF BUSINESS & ECONOMICS AT NUI GALWAY SETS OUT ITS AMBITION TO BE A SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD.

The environs of J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway— a combination of an historic listed building which used to be a friary, and a state-of-the-art new building—could act as a metaphor for the direction the School is headed in. It is building upon the traditional disciplines of Business

and Economics, looking to the future, with sustainability and society in mind. The new Strategic Plan 2021-25 sets out its ambitions for the next chapter in the School’s development, one which sees it committing to making a transformative impact through its teaching, research and collaboration with business.

40 SFA | BETTER BUSINESS

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J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI Galway  Partner Profile

Key Milestones

During the duration of the previous strategic plan, some of the School’s key successes include attaining the world-leading Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation, providing global recognition for excellence in business and economics education. The appointment of Prof Alma McCarthy as Head of School was another significant moment. Appointed at the beginning of 2021, Prof McCarthy joined the NUI Galway in 2002 as a lecturer and researcher in the Discipline of Management and has previously served as the Head of the Management Discipline at NUI Galway, and as Programme Director for the MBA. Recently, research on remote working, led by Prof McCarthy, was used by the government to develop the new National Remote Working Strategy.

“OUR NEW STRATEGIC PLAN IS CENTRED AROUND FOUR KEY STRATEGIC PRIORITY AREAS OF RESEARCH AND IMPACT, TEACHING AND LEARNING, EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT AND INTERNATIONALISATION.” for all University activity throughout the pandemic, but also the new opportunities provided, including leveraging innovations in online and blended teaching. Developed at a time when everyone was re-examining taken-for-granted assumptions

Growth and Expansion

Public Good

The School is carving out a niche for itself as a School of Business and Economics for the public good, that is focusing on making a transformative impact for students, society and business, guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Energised by its regional edge on the west coast of Ireland, it is set in a globally significant hub for technology, innovation and creativity providing a unique blend of regional context and global outlook. The vision of the School’s new four-year strategy is to make a global impact for the public good by addressing grand challenges through its teaching, research and influence on public policy. These grand challenges include digitalisation; global and economic development, innovation, accountability and governance; health and well-being; social inclusion and equality; sustainability, climate and environment.

Strategic Priorities

Developed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the new strategy addresses the significant challenges

partnerships and create value and impact beyond academia; act as a catalyst for the business and entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region; and provide a globally diverse and culturally rich learning and working experiences, embracing internationalisation in its activities.

Professor Alma McCarthy Head of J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics

about the way we work, the strategy harnesses learnings from the pandemic to ensure the School retains innovations in teaching and learning to design and deliver an engaging and high-quality student experience in a changing external environment. The School looks to engage in research that positively impacts society, business and public policy; invest in and engage with external stakeholders to develop collaborative

The School has grown substantially in recent years with over 2,800 students and 120 staff. Expansion of the programme offerings, student body and academic staff continues, with further recruitment of 16 academics to be hired in Q1 of 2022. Theses roles span across the five Disciplines in the School—Accountancy & Finance, Business Information Systems, Economics, Management, and Marketing—to support its new strategic vision and ambitions. “Our school is committed to delivering value to all of our stakeholders and especially to students, external business, industry and policy partners, community and society. We are committed to attracting, retaining and developing globally talented academic staff in areas aligned with our strategic priorities,” says Prof McCarthy. Across the broad range of roles, from Lecturer in Business Analytics and Society to a Lecturer in Economics: Health and Well-being, all are guided by the adherence to the School’s mission and values, as well as the UN SDGs. “Our staff are our most important resource, and their skills, expertise, commitment and motivation will be the engine that will drive the achievement of the School’s 2021–2025 Strategic Plan.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 41

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Congratulations to all finalists. We would like to congratulate all of the following companies who have succeeded as finalists in the SFA National Small Business Awards 2022. All category winners and the overall winner will be presented with their awards at the SFA Awards Gala Ceremony in April 2022. FOOD AND DRINK

INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

Achill Island Sea Salt Goodness Grains Gluten Free Bakery Kinnegar Brewing Oishii Foods VITHIT Drinks Woodfire & Wings

Aalto Bio Reagents Campion Pumps Ecovolt Phonovation VivaGreen One Agency Recruitment

MANUFACTURING

OUTSTANDING SMALL BUSINESS

• • • • •

• • • • • •

AFT Distribution Bevcraft Group Blanco Niño Clover Hill Food Ingredients Thorn Environmental

Ballykilcavan Brewing Company Blackthorn Hill Stud One Agency Recruitment Velvet Cloud Equine MediRecord Miena’s Handmade Nougat

SERVICES

EXPORTER OF THE YEAR

• • • • • •

• • • • •

CALX Instrumentation Services Campion Pumps Carlingford Adventure Centre Commsec Communications & Security OSENG Phonovation

Aalto Bio Reagents ASBA Meats Blanco Niño Giftsdirect.com/TheIrishStore.com Goodness Grains Gluten Free Bakery

RETAIL

SUSTAINABILITY

• • • • • •

• • • • • •

Giftsdirect.com/TheIrishStore.com Air Impact Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy Monica Tolin, The Skin Experts Reflect Auto-Care Verve Boutique

Bread 41 Chocolatey Clare ROCTEL Ballykilcavan Brewing Company Tiller & Grain Packaging Laundry

WORKPLACE WELLBEING

EMERGING NEW BUSINESS

• • • • •

• • • • •

Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy ZOMA Clear Strategy Duke McCaffrey Consulting Zinon IT Solutions

Coopman Search and Selection Craft Cocktails Lakeland Kayaks BiaSol Sea Green Health

PRESENTED BY

PARTNERS

sfa.ie/awards #SFAAwards2022

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Wellbeing  Health

IT’S NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT FOR EMPLOYERS TO PROMOTE A POSITIVE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH CULTURE IN THE WORKPLACE ■ Share accurate and timely

Care Staff of

■ Train managers on how to

■ How can businesses support

employee wellbeing in the workplace? When considering employee mental health and wellbeing, an employer should do everything that is reasonably practical to provide care and support. As businesses are being given the go-ahead to reopen or operate more extensively, it is important that employers adhere to public health guidelines and ensure worker health and safety. While this phased return to work involves operational and logistical planning, it is critical that the emotional and psychological as well as the physical health and welfare of workers is fully considered and safeguarded.

support employees Managers will bear much of the responsibility for ensuring employees have a safe work environment, where positive physical and mental health is promoted. They should therefore familiarise themselves with the warning signs of emotional distress, to engage with staff and learn how to resolve immediate issues which can mitigate long term problems.

It is inevitable that some, if not many, employees will be anxious about workplace re-entry. Employers must create a cohesive and inclusive environment and provide support and guidance to help manage and reduce workplace re-entry anxiety. This may include facilitating blended working, reinduction and retraining in the workplace.

information The extensive lay off or reduction of working hours of employees during the pandemic has undoubtedly adversely impacted many, causing feelings of isolation, anxiety and stress. For businesses that had to adjust to a hybrid working environment, the changed work patterns and practices caused in many instances, a blurring of the boundaries between work and home. Regular and timely communication from management is key to supporting employees and their wellbeing. Businesses that have regular engagement and keep all employees well-informed and updated on plans and activities will empower workers and ensure inclusivity.

■ Employee support

It is important that employers create an open, inclusive and safe environment to encourage employees in poor mental health to reach out in confidence. An employee assistance programme (EAP) is a confidential counselling programme which operates primarily within the workplace to identify and address employee concerns. While it may not always be feasible for small businesses to provide an internal EAP, support can be sought externally through outsourced support services such as WorkPositive Tool and Turn2me. The continued support and promotion of employee health and wellbeing is paramount to maintaining a business’s most valuable resource and ensure its success going forward. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 43

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SFA HR  Employee Retention

Keep your

Top

1. Effective management

talent

Managers should be well coached and trained in their role. An effective manager should build relationships with employees and reward and acknowledge their accomplishments. In addition, it can also have a highly detrimental effect if a manager is seen to tolerate poor performance by other employees. This can have a negative impact on morale and can disengage the top performers in a business.

NOW MORE THAN EVER, IT’S CRUCIAL THAT FIRMS HAVE MEASURES IN PLACE TO RETAIN THEIR BEST-PERFORMING EMPLOYEES

Against the backdrop of Covid-related uncertainty, one of the main objectives of a business is to ensure that they are retaining their high performing employees. Having quality and experienced employees ensures that a company is in a position to defend itself against competitors. With this in mind, it’s crucial that companies review their employee management strategies to support the retention of their top talent. There are five key areas employers can consider:

MANAGING H&S IN THE WORKPLACE

Employers have a duty to ensure the workplace is safe and is not a danger to the health of workers or others

2. Recruitment As it is more efficient to retain a quality employee than to recruit, train and orient a replacement employee of the same quality, it is important to identify the right candidate during the recruitment process. A business should have a thorough and effective hiring process in place. Recruitment practices can strongly influence turnover; by presenting applicants with a realistic job preview during the recruitment process, it can have a positive effect on retention of those new hires.

3. Workplace flexibility A business is rewarded by employee commitment when they adopt a flexible approach to working. Employers should review roles within their business and seek

Optimal workplace safety should be a standard for any company, large or small. Whether or not a company has a designated Health and Safety manager, the responsibility of health and safety should be assigned to a person or committee inside the company. This person/s should play an essential, vigilant role in dealing with new concepts and new circumstances regarding employee and workplace safety. Companies should consider the following points in relation to health and safety in the workplace.

Policy

It is vital that a company has a health and safety policy in place. This should set out the programme for safeguarding employees and the company’s commitment to comply with the terms of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and relevant and associated legislation. The policy should cover three key areas: Commitment to managing health and safety Responsibilities of management Practical arrangements (e.g., safety procedures and staff training)

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Health & Safety  SFA HR

to identify any areas where more flexibility could be added. It is often the case that employees work best when they can balance their work responsibilities with their personal life. Aside from your legal obligations, an exhausted employee will be stressed, unproductive and less engaged with your business. While workplace flexibility may not be practical for all small businesses, its important that firms try to facilitate flexibility in some capacity (e.g., working from home when applicable, term time, career breaks etc.)

4. Communication A business should aim to be open and transparent with employees as much as possible and this should be reinforced by the overall business culture. Any uncertainty about the company’s direction may lead to stress, which undermines teamwork. Openness and ongoing communication is key. A business should ensure they meet with any resigning employee to discuss their reasons for leaving. This information will be of great benefit to the business as it will provide the employer with an insight into the employee experience, which could help the employer remedy any issues and improve employee retention.

5. Investment In order for employees to feel valued and engaged, it is important that the business is willing to invest in their development. Regular meetings should be held with employees to discuss their performance and career goals. The knowledge gathered from the meetings will assist the company to arrange for training in line with their career goals. Companies should encourage employees to undertake additional courses of study that are relevant to their role and should contribute towards course fees and/or provide study leave. A business that has a culture of continuous

professional development shows employees that they are willing to invest in them. It is likely that employees will remain engaged and committed to the business for the long term. It is essential in any successful talent management approach that employees are central to the success of the business. All employees have the potential to add value and a business should be committed to providing them with the opportunity to make it happen. By adopting this five-step approach, the employer is not only investing in their employees, but also investing in the long-term success of their business.

Employers should ensure that employees fully understand the policy and procedures.

This will act as a reminder to workers and give access to safety information when and where they need it.

Risk Assessment

Management Commitment

Risk cannot be fully eliminated, but it can be managed by identifying hazards and taking steps towards harm reduction. Risk assessments (RA) allows one to pinpoint the hazards that have potential to cause harm and to put control measures in place to reduce the likelihood of anyone being harmed.

Training

Adequate training is essential to avoid or mitigate risk to accidents and injury. Safety training, including manual handling, first aid, fire drills and ergonomic assessments will reduce risk of causing injury or illness to an employee/s. To maintain the safest environment for everyone, ensure all workers are trained on new procedures, new equipment and other potential dangers. In addition, post signs and safety procedures throughout the office (e.g., lift techniques posted in a warehouse).

While a risk assessment can identify risk of injury and illness, the controls implemented must be fully supported by everyone in the company, particularly management. If there is poor commitment and prioritisation towards safety health and welfare in the workplace, the workers are less likely to adhere to the health and safety controls (eg if management do not wear safety goggles and hard hat, workers are less likely to wear the correct protective gear). A company is more likely to benefit from an enhanced buy-in by management and by all staff in this area. It is important to ensure that appropriate channels of communication are in place to facilitate effective and regular consultation and communication with staff and those who are affected by the activities of business. This will promote a positive safety culture through enabling staff to contribute to the decision-making process. It will also empower staff to promote and act as leaders in relation to the management of safety, health and welfare in the workplace.

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SFA Policy  Deposit Return Scheme

A NEW FRONTIER IN WASTE MANAGEMENT THE NEW DRS SCHEME IS SET TO STRENGTHEN IRELAND’S REPUTATION AS A COUNTRY AT THE FOREFRONT OF WASTE MANAGEMENT For those who can remember, there has always been a system whereby consumers could bring their used plastic bottles and cans back to a shop or depot in return for a few pence. This was phased out a number of years ago, but now the scheme is coming back. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about low carbon and circular economies and a lot of this talk has been off the back of Budget 2021, where significant rises in carbon tax were announced. A lot of the discourse around the green economy has not always been optimistic or positive, but this new DRS scheme isn’t just a transformative programme, it’s a positive one. Contained in the Programme for Government, the development of a DRS scheme for Ireland is an ambitious one, with the programme aiming to have a collection point in any outlet that sells the nominated cartons. In the case of the Irish scheme, this means plastic PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and aluminium cans. The scheme has been developed by the affected industries in conjunction with Minister Eamon Ryan’s Department of Environment, Climate and Communications. In late 2020, an industry working group was formed with representatives from the Department, the retail and beverage industry and also environmental NGOs. The aim of the scheme is to create a truly circular economy for plastic bottles and cans. A retail space selling these containers will be obliged by

legislation to accept the return of empty bottles and cans and in return, the consumer will receive monetary compensation. The retailer will also receive compensation from the scheme for accepting the return. Many retailers will host large reverse vending machines in their premises; these are the machines that most of us will recognise from across Europe. You place you container in a chute, it swallows the container and a receipt containing your compensation is produced. Other smaller retailers are also getting in on the act; the Department was cognisant of the vital role that the corner shop plays in the life of a community and wants these small businesses to be a central cog in the scheme. These small businesses will of course have the option of having their own reverse vending machines (RVMs), but they will also have the option of other smaller and more convenient ways to receive containers, such as discreet bins or plastic bags that will be collected by waste management. Ireland has always been at the forefront of waste management and the circular economy from a packaging aspect, with the likes of Repak being an excellent example. Now with the development of DRS, Ireland will be well on its way to reaching its key targets on PET and aluminium cans under the European Circular Economy Directive. Even though this is a State programme, it has been developed by industry for industry and will be truly transformative in they way we deal with waste.

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20/12/2021 11:30


Statutory Sick Pay  SFA Policy

STATUTORY SICK PAY LEGISLATION PUBLISHED

THE SFA MADE A SUBMISSION, RAISING CONCERNS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENTERPRISE, TRADE AND EMPLOYMENT PUBLIC CONSULTATION, ON THE INTRODUCTION OF A STATUTORY SICK PAY SCHEME. IT INCLUDED “THAT THE INTRODUCTION OF STATUTORY SICK PAY WOULD BE FINANCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE AND UNSUSTAINABLE FOR EMPLOYERS.”

The Government has published the proposed Sick Leave Bill 2021, which commenced legislative scrutiny on the 10th of November 2021. The Statutory Sick Leave Bill will provide for an entitlement to a minimum period of paid sick leave for all employees (both full and part time) in the event that they fall ill or sustain an injury which prevents them from being able to work. Initially, an employee will be entitled to up to three statutory sick leave days per year, but the Bill provides that employees will eventually be entitled to 10 days of sick pay per year. This will be in addition to any other leave such as annual leave, parental leave, or maternity and paternity leave. It will initially be paid at 70% of regular earnings up to €110 per day, from the first day of illness, and this can be varied by ministerial order. An employer may apply to the Labour Court to be made exempt from the payment of Statutory Sick Leave (Section 10) if they can show agreement with employees, either directly or through representation, or if they demonstrate the business is experiencing financial difficulties. The Regulatory Impact Assessment sets out that there will be no compensation scheme introduced for employers to assist them with costs of sick pay, nor will there be a top up of salary from the State. The employer is to deduct the taxes in the normal way, stating that it should “provide for a seamless transition to State supported Illness Benefit, if the worker applies for it on day four.” To benefit from

the entitlement to statutory sick leave days, the Bill sets out that an employee must have completed 13 weeks continuous service with his or her employer. That differs from the six months continuous service proposed in the General Scheme of the Sick Leave Bill. The employee must also provide his or her employer with a medical certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner for each statutory sick day, stating that the employee named in the certificate is unable to work. The SFA made a submission, raising concerns to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Public Consultation, on the introduction of a Statutory Sick Pay Scheme. It included “that the introduction of statutory sick pay would be financially irresponsible and unsustainable for employers.” SFA advised that the manner in which it is currently drafted lacks guidance and information for employers. SFA is currently preparing a submission for public consultation on the introduction of a statutory right to paid sick leave for the Department of Trade Enterprise and Employment. There are several significant policy challenges for employers to be considered around the framework and timing of the proposed introduction of a Statutory Sick Pay Scheme, not least the fact that many businesses still find themselves under public health restrictions and in receipt of Government supports. The need for the Government to be measured in relation to this scheme cannot be understated.

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Feature  Energy

Helping

SMEs

cut costs and grow

IN

SEAI PROVIDES SMALL BUSINESSES WITH AN EXTENSIVE SUITE OF SUPPORTS TO HELP THEM BETTER MANAGE THEIR ENERGY USE

recent years, uncertainty around energy supply, rising prices and the pressing issue of climate change has meant that Irish businesses have grown increasingly concerned about their energy use. Opportunities to make changes which can save money and support growth are more important than ever before for businesses to survive and thrive.

SEAI BUSINESS SUPPORTS The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) works to support businesses in their efforts to better understand and manage their energy use. This is achieved through a program of supports including educational resources such as the SEAI Energy Academy and Energy Management Workshops, all the way up to grants and financial supports for energy saving and renewable technologies. A full list of supports is available on the business page of SEAI’s website - www.seai.ie/business-and-publicsector/small-and-medium-business/supports/ financial-supports/

SEAI ENERGY ACADEMY: FREE E-LEARNING FOR SMES ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE The SEAI Energy Academy is an online e-learning platform designed to help businesses lower their energy bills by as much as 10% through shared awareness of energy efficiency and behaviour change. It’s the first step for any business starting an energy efficiency journey. Upskilling your team on energy in the workplace helps to create a common understanding of why energy efficiency is important and what you can do today to make a difference. Joining the SEAI Energy Academy allows users to learn about energy efficiency with short, interactive, animated modules and mobile-friendly access. Learners get access to modules on a variety of topics including how to read an electricity bill, what decarbonisation means for business and how electric vehicles work. To join the SEAI Energy Academy visit www.seai.ie/ energyacademy/auditor. This will enable you to prioritise actions that are going to be of most benefit to your business.

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Energy

 Feature

A SUPPORT SCHEME FOR ENERGY AUDITS SEAI is further encouraging Irish small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to take control of their energy use with the launch of the new Support Scheme for Energy Audits (SSEA). The scheme provides eligible businesses with a €2,000 voucher to cover the cost of an energy audit. An energy audit identifies tailored energy saving opportunities that can save businesses up to 30% on their energy bills and help to reduce their climate impact. The audit also assesses whether renewable energy technologies are a viable option for their business. Audits are delivered by SEAI Registered Energy Auditors, who adhere to a specified audit template that has been developed for the scheme. You are guaranteed to receive a high-quality audit from a well-qualified and experienced auditor. This will enable you to prioritise actions that are going to be of most benefit to your business.

THE AUDIT REPORT The SSEA audit report is easy to understand and outlines clearly what your business’s current and potential energy performance is. The report will list recommended measures that will improve your energy performance, from no-cost and low-cost options right through to major upgrades.

APPLICATION Application to the SSEA is quick and easy and approval is given immediately to eligible companies. You can apply through the website and you will receive your voucher via email. To find out more about the SEAI Support Scheme for Energy Audits and to apply visit www.seai.ie/sme/energyaudits

ELIGIBILITY The scheme is open to SMEs that spend at least €10,000 per year on energy. The company must be registered and located in Ireland and be able to provide a valid Companies Registration Office (CRO) number and proof of tax compliance. Please note that to qualify as an SME, companies must employ fewer than 250 employees and have either a turnover of less than €50 million or a balance sheet of less than €43 million.

For more information on how SEAI can assist you in becoming more energy efficient and to learn more about the supports mentioned in this article, visit www. seai.ie or contact the Business Team on business@seai.ie

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NSAI.ie/COVID-19

Here to help.

Resources from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) are here to help your organisation through the COVID-19 pandemic, including: Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide Consolidating the practical advice available on protecting employees and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retail Protection and Improvement Guide The retailer’s one-stop-shop guide to preventing, mitigating and recovering from the spread of illness. Shopping Centre Recovery and Protection Guide Guidelines for shopping centres restoring business operations following a closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidance on Manufacturing and Importing PPE and Medical Devices To ensure compliance with the EU legal framework during the COVID-19 pandemic. SWiFT 19:2020 Barrier Masks for consumers - requirements A consensus-based specification for non-medical and non-PPE masks (barrier masks) for the general public. Medical Equipment Standards The COVID-19 Response Package provides access to a set of Medical Supplies Standards at no cost.

1 Swift Square, Northwood, Santry, Dublin 9, D09 A0E4 + 353 1 807 3800 NSAI and the NSAI logo are registered trademarks of NSAI.

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NSAI  Partner Profile

OCCUPATIONAL H&S FOR SMES THE ISO/NSAI PRACTICAL GUIDE TO ISO 45001 WILL HELP SMALL BUSINESSES UNDERSTAND THE NEW STANDARD Occupational injuries and diseases place a substantial financial burden on firms and the wider economy, resulting in early retirements, employee absences and increased insurance rates. To address the issue, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) created a new standard, ISO 45001, for occupational health and safety management systems, which assists organisations in reducing this burden by providing a framework for improving employee safety, reducing workplace risks and creating better, safer working conditions globally. ISO 45001 is the globally accepted technique to “OH&S” for businesses around the world. Its systemised approach to occupational health and safety provides limitless benefits to businesses of all shapes, sizes and sectors; it can improve business performance, reduce financial risk and enhance reputation, in addition to its most important function of saving lives and protecting wellbeing. Maria McKeown, an NSAI Business Excellence auditor, has spent her whole career dealing with ISO 45001 standards. However, it wasn’t until the onset of the pandemic that she realised that organisations with the Standard’s stable support were substantially more nimble in times of extreme volatility. “In this pandemic, which is one of those emergency situations that happen once in a lifetime, organisations that had a structure around health and safety were better prepared and better able to implement any of the measures that were required. The Standard allowed them to have the infrastructure to try and get their business back [in action] in a short duration of time.” Clearly, many SMEs will benefit from implementing and obtaining ISO 45001 certification. However, for small firms who have never worked with Standards

“IN THIS PANDEMIC, WHICH IS ONE OF THOSE EMERGENCY SITUATIONS THAT HAPPEN ONCE IN A LIFETIME, ORGANISATIONS THAT HAD A STRUCTURE AROUND HEALTH AND SAFETY WERE BETTER PREPARED AND BETTER ABLE TO IMPLEMENT ANY OF THE MEASURES THAT WERE REQUIRED.” before, it can be a frightening procedure. “Standards, in general, can be a little bit intimidating for those who aren’t in the [Standards] industry,” says Noel Clarke, chairperson of NSAI TC028, NSAI’s Technical Committee for Occupational health and safety management systems. “Let’s be honest, they’re not the easiest thing in the world to read and it takes a while to get into the jargon, if you like.” Noel’s Technical Committee has prepared a practical guide for SMEs wishing to use ISO 45001 in their business to bridge the knowledge gap.

The Practical Guide, co-published by NSAI, the International Organization for Standardization and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, contains practical examples that will assist small businesses in implementing the ISO 45001 management system effectively and efficiently throughout their operations. Is your business just starting with the Occupational Health and Safety Standard? The ISO/NSAI Practical Guide to ISO 45001 may be the perfect first step and is available to purchase at shop.standards.ie

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17/12/2021 10:36 10:35


All-Star Transport Training Company Of The Year 2021 NOW OFFERING ONLINE COURSES

Transport Manager CPC

Weekend & Full-Time Courses available at: Dublin Full & P/T (Green Isle Hotel) Cork (Silver Springs Hotel) Limerick (Kilmurry Lodge Hotel) Galway (Connacht Hotel) Tutor: Tony Hynes - Transport Industry Business Person of the Year 2021

MBS, B.Comm.(Hons.), Chartered FCIPD & FCILT, FIITD

“This course changed my life” Gary D. “Tony made this course very easy” John O’B. “Outstanding course” Laura C.

Driver CPC

All Modules Available Weekends, Weekdays & Evenings

Book Online 24/7 at www.cpc.ie

Enquiries: 066 7186525 | 087 6363003 Email: info@cpc.ie 042_BB Winter 2021_Advert.indd 1 251202_1C_CPC_CI Winter_ND_V1.indd 1

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CPC.ie  Partner Profile

includes an adjudication panel chaired by Dr Briga Hynes of the University of Limerick, and CEO of the Global Institute of Logistics, Kieran Ring. The Foundation actively engages and supports its network through peerdialogue, collaboration, mentoring and enterprise development activities. Companies are qualified for accreditation by completing an enterprise audit and are identified by their use of the AIBF’s Business All-Star Marque.

Best in Class

Tony Hynes of CPC.ie

BEST-IN-CLASS TRANSPORT TRAINING AN AWARD-WINNING YEAR FOR TRANSPORT TRAINING COMPANY CPC.IE The last year has seen CPC.ie named All-Star Transport Training Company of the Year by the All-Ireland Business Foundation, then going on to pick up the Public Sector Magazine Excellence in Transport Training Award. Finally, founder and CEO Tony Hynes was awarded the All-Star Transport Business Person of the Year 2021. The company specialises exclusively in Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) training, with 30 training centres nationwide and more than 22,000 successful students trained every year. Having been in business for 30 years, CPC.ie has established itself as Ireland’s

largest CPC training provider, and has now officially been recognised for its conduct in the areas of performance, commitment, trust and customer-centricity.

All-Star Accreditation

Business All-Star Accreditation is an independently verified standard mark for indigenous businesses, based on rigorous selection criteria. It is overseen by the prestigious AllIreland Business Foundation (AIBF), an autonomous national accreditation body tasked with enterprise development and the promotion of best-in-class in Irish business. It

Speaking about the recognition as an All-Star company, CPC.ie founder and CEO Tony Hynes said: “On behalf of the CPC.ie team, I am delighted to receive this Accreditation from the All-Ireland Business Foundation. To be named AllStar transport Training Company is recognition of the hard work that the CPC.ie team puts into providing a bestin-class service for our loyal customers.” Kieran Ring, Deputy Chair on the adjudication board, also said of the announcement: “The Accreditation is in recognition of Tony’s outstanding contribution to the transport industry in Ireland. Furthermore, we wish to recognise Tony’s track record in establishing CPC.ie, Ireland’s leading CPC training company. Tony Hynes is hereby included in the AIBF Register of Irish Business Excellence.” All-Ireland Business Foundation MD Kapil Khanna said the accreditation, which is now held by more than 500 firms, is needed by the thousands of small and medium businesses operating to their own standards but with nothing to measure them by. “We evaluate a company’s background, trustworthiness and performance, and we speak to customers, employees and vendors,” he said. “We also anonymously approach the company as a customer and report back on the experience. The business goes through at least two interviews and is scored on every part of the process against set metrics.” To learn more about CPC.ie, visit their All-Star showcase page at aibf.ie/times/profile/cpc-ie/

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Arts and Culture  Joe McGucken

WITH ‘DARREN & JOE’S FREE GAFF’ BREAKING RECORDS ON THE RTE PLAYER, COMEDIAN AND ACTOR JOE MCGUCKEN TALKS TO BETTER BUSINESS ABOUT HIS SLOW-BURN SUCCESS AND WHAT’S ON THE CARDS FOR 2022

FUNNY IN

Joe McGucken

MAN

‘Darren & Joe’s Free Gaff ’, our titular heroes take the viewer on a surreal journey through the minds of two lads living in a Dublin gaff. Over the four 15 minute episodes, Darren and Joe take a trip down the back of the couch into no-man’s land, go trick or treating at Mad Frank’s house with devastating consequences and in one episode, Darren’s pal (comedian Killian Sunderland) shows exactly why a decomposing body makes for the best kind of fertiliser. It’s a bizarre, strange and totally hilarious show and not one you’d expect to come across on the RTE Player.

Written by Darren Conway and Joe McGucken, the show has proved a hit with viewers, becoming the most popular original series on the RTE online platform. “We’re really happy with the reaction that the series has gotten on the Player. I’d personally love to have another series that airs on TV; it’s longer form and there would be more of a budget. I’d also get my ma’s approval as she doesn’t know how to use the Player. She’s more impressed with the ads than with the show itself. If we were to get another series on the Player, that would of course be great but if they wanted to do something on a bigger scale for TV, we’d be well able for it. At the moment, we’re happy just to be making content.”

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Joe McGucken  Arts and Culture

Joe began collaborating with Darren about a year and a half ago, creating online sketches and content before RTE came knocking. He puts their chemistry down to similar childhoods, growing up on the northside of Dublin and sharing the same dry, often surreal sense of humour. Joe grew up in the Dunne Street flats in Summerhill, Dublin 1. About three years ago, he and his family moved to Coolock. “It felt like we were moving out to Rush or Lusk. If you have to get a bus into town, what’s the point?! I’d prefer to live in the inner city; I know the area well and I know the community, but it’s just

too expensive. Where we are now is great, it’s very suburban and quiet, but that can be boring at times. I miss the chaos and craziness of town. You walk to the shop and you have a story when you come back. There’s always something going on. When you’re raised in the inner city, it’s like being raised in a small village and I miss that sense of community.” An attention seeker at heart, Joe has always been interested in comedy and film-making. As a teenager, he was part of a film club (of which Irish actor Barry Keoghan was also a member) who spent their time making short sketches for YouTube. MTV, Tom Green and Jackass were their inspiration, “that crazy, loud, brash comedy that if I watched now, I would probably hate.” As an older teenager, US comedians like Kyle Mooney drew his attention and his own individual style began to emerge. “I wanted to do what they were doing and that’s how things started to develop.” Joe’s local youth club sent him on film courses where he learned the technical side of filmmaking. “I worked on a few community TV stations like DCTV back in the day. I then went on to do television production and operations in Ballyfermot College. It’s only in the last five or six years that I’ve stepped in front of the camera. I have a sketch group called the Windup Merchantz and at the start, we couldn’t find any cast members so it was easier for me to do it. It worked and now, I love it.” Alongside the Windup Merchantz, Joe hosts a podcast with Darren called ‘Stall It’. He’s also starring in a new Irish comedy horror that’s due out before the end of the year. Although his success is relatively recent, it’s been a long time coming. Was he surprised by his catapult to fame? “To an extent; I was surprised because I’ve been doing this for so long and nothing had happened, but on the other hand, I’m not surprised because I think the content that I’m creating is good enough to be recognised. There’s a SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 55

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Arts and Culture  Joe McGucken

“I’M SURPRISED BY MY RECENT SUCCESS BECAUSE I’VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR SO LONG AND NOTHING HAD HAPPENED. ON THE OTHER HAND, I’M NOT SURPRISED BECAUSE I THINK THE CONTENT I’M CREATING IS GOOD ENOUGH TO BE RECOGNISED. THERE’S A FEELING THERE OF JUSTIFICATION THAT THINGS ARE FINALLY HAPPENING. IT’S ABOUT TIME!”

feeling there of justification that things are finally happening. It’s about time!” Back in 2018, the Windup Merchantz made a sketch about the government lifting the ban on pubs opening on Good Friday. When the pubs reopened after Covid, the sketch was repackaged and seen by hundreds of millions of viewers. That viral video bumped Joe’s profile and got him a job, as a content creator for a betting company. He has since left that role and taken up comedy and film-making full-time and although the future looks bright, there’s a fear that the work could dry up. “When we finished shooting ‘Darren & Joe’s Free Gaff ’, there was about three weeks of complete radio silence. There was a bit of anxiety around that, but thankfully the work started to come in again. There will probably always be a bit of fear there, but I have confidence that it’ll work out.” The pressures of juggling a full-time job with two young children as well as his comedy and acting work had also started to take its toll. “That’s

another reason why I quit my job. It was affecting my mental health; there was no time just to sit and play the guitar for half an hour or to enjoy spending time with the kids. Finding the time to come up with new ideas for sketches was also really difficult so leaving the content creator role was the right thing to do, it was so liberating.” 2022 is shaping up to be a busy year for Joe. Another season of ‘Free Gaff ’ may be on the cards, ideally on a larger scale. He’s in talks to develop a pilot for a show that he has written and is keen to get back to the world of stand-up. “Myself and Darren are planning on doing live shows with the podcast next year. I also have an idea for a short film that I’d like to get made and do a screenwriting course. I became a member of the Writer’s Guild of Ireland this year so ideally, would like to lean on the writing side of things a bit more. When I say it all out loud, there’s actually loads going on! I’ve got big ambitions and am looking forward to the future.”

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One4All  Partner Profile

SADDLE UP AND SAVE WITH CYCLESCHEME CYCLESCHEME OFFERS EMPLOYERS AND BIKE RETAILERS A FLUID ONLINE PLATFORM TO HELP EMPLOYEES GET CYCLING WITH EASE. A recent survey* reported that 85% of Irish adults are concerned about public transport due to the pandemic, while 89% of Irish adults agree that commuting on a bike would save money. Coupled with the government’s commitment to upgrading and installing new bikeways nationwide, it is evident that there is a real focus on encouraging people to start or return to cycling. It’s a perfect opportunity for businesses to ensure they have an efficient Cycle to Work Scheme in place to allow their employees to opt for a safe, cost-efficient commute. With Cyclescheme, employees can save up to 52% on the cost of their bike and equipment up to the value of €1,250,

and €1,500 for e-bikes and pedelecs. With over 300 participating retailers nationwide, Cyclescheme presents a fluid, online platform where employers using the scheme can track employee applications, review, and approve applications, and apply employee salary sacrifice agreements and payroll adjustments via a centralised software platform, MyScheme, with a participating business assigned its own unique URL. Additional features include a full suite of customisable marketing collateral for a business to tailor with its own logo, including posters and email templates. Bike retailers who join the 300 already participating in Cyclescheme will receive a

unique URL which allows for transparent reporting on bikes/pedelecs ordered and pending bike orders that have been lodged with their store, with visibility at any time on payments. When an employee applies for a quote with a bike retailer and submits the details via MyScheme, the transaction is confirmed against that retailer only, which guarantees the bike retailer that sale. Dedicated account managers are assigned to employers and retailers alike who join Cyclescheme. For more information, visit cyclescheme.ie *Survey commissioned by One4all Rewards and carried out by Coyne Research of 1,000 adults aged 18+ years, 2020.

Spread the cost of Christmas 2022 The One4all Employee Christmas Club is an employee benefit with real value for your staff. Allocate an agreed amount - deducted monthly from take-home salary Contributions are made via payroll – no queues, no hidden fees, no stress View balance online at any time – unique username and password One4all will add 2% top up on all savings Funds are released on 25th November or date agreed with Employer

Visit one4allrewards.ie for more information The One4all Gift Card is issued by GVS Prepaid (Europe) Ltd. GVS Prepaid (Europe) Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registration Number: C189313 Marketing Ref: GVSE21057

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11/11/2021 14:35

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Travel  Belfast

REDISCOVER éire

Beautiful

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Belfast TAKE A TRIP TO BELFAST AND EXPERIENCE ITS VIBRANT CULTURE, AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANTS AND JAW-DROPPING SCENERY

With its world-class museums, rich history, vibrant art scene and 5,000 acres of parkland, Belfast boasts a booming tourism industry that’s likely to recover rapidly from the effects of Covid. TV shows like Game of Thrones and Line of Duty bring thousands of visitors to the city each year, while the upcoming Kenneth Branagh film ‘Belfast’ is likely to further increase tourist footfall. Just recently, Belfast made the Top 20 official list of sustainable destinations in the world, securing its position as a city committed to sustainable development and growth. With tourists increasingly choosing destinations based on their eco-friendly credentials, Belfast’s status as a tourism hotspot shows no sign of wavering.

eat where to

Game of Thrones Tours

EIPIC Michael Deane’s Eipic was awarded a Michelin star only 18 months after opening. It’s the most sophisticated of the restaurants in the Deane portfolio, serving top quality local ingredients cooked to the highest standard. Standout dishes include lamb breast with garlic, soy and honey and langoustine with asparagus, endive and lardo. www.deaneseipic.com

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The world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, Titanic Belfast tells the story of the Titanic, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s through her construction and launch and finally, to its maiden voyage and subsequent place in history. The self-guided tour extends over nine interpretive and interactive galleries which explore the sights, sounds, smells and stories of RMS Titanic, as well as the city and people who made her.

WHERE TO STAY:

EXPERIENCE TITANIC BELFAST

Belfast  Travel

www.titanicbelfast.com

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THE HARRISON CHAMBERS OF DISTINCTION If you’re looking for something a bit different, this bohemian bolthole could be for you. The Harrison Chambers of Distinction recently scooped the ‘On the Money’ award in the National Geographic Traveller Hotel Awards 2021. W: www.chambersofdistinction.com

OUTDOORS GAME OF THRONES TOURS Some of the most memorable scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed in Mid and East Antrim. Game of Thrones Tours offer full day coach tours to GOT locations throughout NI; Stark Cloaks, Iron Island costumes and replica swords are all available on the tours, at no extra charge. Be prepared for a lot of trekking through forests and castles though and be sure to dress for unpredictable weather. Choose from the Winterfell Locations Trek where you’ll visit the home of the Starks and the Frey stronghold, or the Iron Islands and Giant’s Causeway where you’ll be able to explore Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site and explore scenes from the TV show.

TITANIC HOTEL Located on Belfast City’s famed waterfront, the Titanic Hotel was built in the former headquarters of Harland and Wolff, builders of the RMS Titanic. Several dining options will ensure all tastes are catered for. W: www.titanichotelbelfast.com

www.gameofthronestours.com

MOURNE SEAFOOD BAR Serving locally sourced mussels, oysters, langoustines and lots of other delicious marine morsels, with all shellfish sourced from its very own shellfish beds, Mourne’s aim is to serve fresh local seafood at an affordable price. Food is cooked traditional style or with a continental or Asian twist and if fish isn’t your thing, prime cuts of Irish chicken and sirloin are also available. www.mourneseafood.com/belfast

THE EUROPA HOTEL This year, Northern Ireland’s most famous hotel is celebrating its 50th birthday and to mark the occasion, a permanent lobby installation telling the story of Belfast was recently unveiled. The floor to ceiling display showcases artefacts including a letter from President Clinton and an interactive TV screen with video footage from the last 50 years. W: www.europahotelbelfast.com

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Travel Travel   Belfast Belfast

OUTDOORS THE GOBBINS Located on the Causeway Coastal Route, about a 35 minute drive from Belfast, The Gobbins has been described as the most dramatic coastal walk in Europe. On the Walking the Edge tour, you’ll find yourself standing on steel bridges above the churning waves, running your hand along the cool stone of the cliff face and enjoying up-close views of The Gobbins many sea birds. www.thegobbinscliffpath.com Divis Mountain

OUTDOORS DIVIS MOUNTAIN For panoramic views of the city, you can’t beat the top of Divis Mountain. Located in the heart of the Belfast Hills and reaching an impressive 478m, this mountain provides a beautiful backdrop to the city’s skyline. Explore the area’s rich, varied archaeological landscape and keep an eye out for red grouse, skylarks and peregrine falcons. On a clear day, you can see the Scottish, Cumbrian and Welsh uplands rising from the horizon. www.belfasthills.org

EXPERIENCE LINE OF DUTY EXPERIENCE

EXPERIENCE CRUMLIN ROAD GAOL

Fans of Line of Duty might be missing the action from Superintendent Hastings, Detective Inspector Arnott and DI Fleming, but now they’re sucking diesel with the Line of Duty Experience, which launched in Belfast last June. Hastings Hotels and McComb’s Coach Travel have joined forces to create the very first tour of locations from the hit series. It starts with lunch in Belfast’s Grand Central Hotel before taking in some of the most recognisable filming locations. The tour ends with an AC12 cocktail or Wee Donkey mocktail in the Grand Central. www.mccombscoaches.com www.grandcentralhotelbelfast.com /offers

A must-visit when you’re in Belfast, The Crumlin Road Gaol is a 19th century Grade A listed jail, open to the public for tours, concerts and events. Take a tour to experience all aspects of the Gaol, from the tunnel linking the courthouse on the other side of the Crumlin Road to the hanging cell, Governor’s office, hospital and graveyard. During its 150 years as a functioning prison, the Gaol has housed murderers, suffragettes and loyalist and republican prisoners. It has witnessed births, deaths and marriages and has been the home to executions, escapes, hunger-strikes and riots. Crumlin Road Gaol

www.crumlinroadgaol.com

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Digital Media Awards 2021

WINNERS ANNOUNCED Congratulations to all the winners at the Digital Media Awards audioXi

OMD Ireland

Bua Marketing

Orla Donworth, Limerick Institute of Technology

Carat Dentsu Ireland Edelman Havas Media Real People iProspect Ireland Irish Cancer Society

Smarts The National Lottery The National Lottery and Starcom, part of Core Wolfgang Digital

Kooba

Wolfgang Digital & Littlewoods Ireland

LADbible Ireland

Wolfgang Digital & Woodie’s

Life Style Sports

Yellow Path Productions Ltd.

Mediaworks, part of Core SEE ALL THE DETAILS AT WWW.DIGITALMEDIA.IE

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The Big Read  We Don’t Know Ourselves

Stranger THINGS

JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR FINTAN O’TOOLE RECOUNTS AN IRELAND THAT HAS CHANGED ALMOST OUT OF RECOGNITION FROM 1958 TO PRESENT TIMES

This is an extract from We Don’t Know Ourselves, by Fintan O’Toole, published by Head of Zeus.

In 1959, the year after I was born, and the first year of a radical programme to try to save Ireland by modernising its economy, the British astronomer Fred Hoyle published Ossian’s Ride. The novel is a strange mixture of science fiction and John Buchan-style adventure story. In it, it is now 1970. The narrator Thomas Sherwood, a young English mathematician, is summoned by British intelligence and sent on a mission to penetrate the headquarters of ICE, the Industrial Corporation of Éire, a fictionalized version of the actual IDA, the Industrial Development Authority which was given the task of attracting foreign investment to Ireland. The nature of ICE is explained to

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Fintan O’Toole

Sherwood: ‘ICE came into being some twelve years ago. A small group of very able scientists approached the government of Éire with what seemed an entirely straightforward proposition. The proposal was to establish an industry for the extraction of a range of chemicals from the organic material in peat – turf as the Irish call it… Within a short time, ICE was producing an amazing range of valuable chemicals ostensibly from turf as raw material, although whether this was really so is open to doubt.’

Benson Russell

We Don’t Know Ourselves  The Big Read

ICE, like the companies attracted by the real IDA, has been given a ten-year tax holiday by the Irish government. After its fourth year, however, it makes an immensely profitable breakthrough. It invents a contraceptive pill which it apparently manufactures from turf. After this ICE switches from chemistry to physics, and Ireland becomes an industrial, and potentially a military, superpower. The old world powers need to know what is going on and Sherwood is sent as a spy. When he asks why the Catholic Church didn’t stop the creation of the Pill, his handler replies, ‘Ridicule, my boy. If I may parody the poet Schiller: “Against laughter even the Hierarchy fights in vain.” Think of it, contraceptives from turf! For decades the church had fulminated against their use while all the time outside every cottage there’d been piled a whole mountain of the stuff.’ Sherwood, on his trip to the future Ireland sees, in Dublin, a city that is being ‘systematically demolished and rebuilt’. He witnesses the arrival of television and summarises remarkably well the impact that it would actually have in Ireland a few years after Hoyle’s book was published: ‘It seemed as if two different worlds had come into sharp conflict.’ Sherwood discovers that ICE has sealed off the south-west corner of Ireland – Kerry, West Cork and Limerick – as its own territory. Its holy of holies, the inner sanctum where the head scientists are based and from which they have organized their futuristic enterprise to make Ireland the centre of the modern world, is the Blasket island of Inishvicillaun. In 1959, when Hoyle was writing his fantasia, it was uninhabited, but later it was occupied as a holiday home by Charles Haughey, the corrupt Taoiseach of the 1980s and early 1990s, who saw himself as the great leader of Irish industrial modernity and father of the Celtic Tiger boom that followed him. The architects of ICE are, of course, aliens. Having taken human form, they came to the Blasket Islands from a distant imploding planet, bringing with them the knowledge accumulated by their vastly more advanced civilisation. For Hoyle’s original British readers there may have been a certain reassurance in knowing that the charming Irish scatterbrains Sherwood encounters couldn’t really work out all that complicated mathematics and technology on their own. Yet here too there was a metaphorical ring of truth. The transformation of Ireland over the last sixty years has sometimes felt as if a new world had landed from outer space on top of an old one. In 2004, the release of state papers from 1973 revealed that in that year an American rocket scientist, Gary Hudson, approached the Irish consul in Chicago with a detailed plan to build a space station on another of the Blaskets, Inishnabro. He intended to use it for the launching of a commercial space shuttle. He claimed to represent a group of scientists and investors, including an astronaut ‘who walked on the moon’ and ‘British astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle’. Civil servants in Dublin dismissed the idea as possibly ‘a gigantic leg-pull’. In fact, Hudson was a genuine pioneer in commercial space flight. And by the time his proposal was revealed in 2004, stranger things had happened in Ireland. SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 63

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Profile  Nuts About Business

A

DAY

LIFE in the

7AM Alarm goes off and after a few snoozy minutes, I get up and slowly get myself ready for the day. I’m a slow mover in the winter mornings. I glance at my emails so there are no surprises ahead of me. Building a brand and manufacturing business means no two days are the same! 8:15AM I take my 35 minute walk to work, which I treasure. I use the time to respond to friends and voice notes or play a work-related podcast. 8:50-11AM I get into work and take a ginger shot. Evie (my sister and Co-Founder) arrives around the same time and we have breakfast together and chat about the day ahead. I prepare some barley cup (I gave up coffee last year) and a bowl of porridge with a big dollop of NutShed peanut butter. Richard, our Materials Controller and Dispatch Manager, usually pops up to keep us in the loop with everything happening in the factory. Afterwards I tackle my inbox, which usually takes longer than I anticipate. 11AM I’ll usually nip down to the factory and check in with our team to make sure we’re on schedule to roll and roast and grind and pour for the days ahead. I respond to any online customer queries that may have come in over the day. I love having that connectivity with our customers. I’ll also try to touch base with our Sales Manager Sean. 1:15PM We sadly eat lunch at our desks these days. We’ve got some major projects going on at the moment so the second part of our day is meetings and decision-making. 3:30PM We’re doing some expansion work so there’s usually contractors to meet. I’ll do some admin, tackle some research and make a quick plan for the next day. 5:40PM We’re pretty strict on finishing up at this time. After several years of hard slog, we’ve worked hard to introduce some balance into our lives. 6:15PM In the evening, I spend some time with my dogs. I try to do 35 minutes of yoga, I light my diffuser and create a calm space before having a quick dinner. 8:00PM I respond to a few emails and then relax into some TV or a podcast, before an early night around 10pm. WWW.NUTSHED.IE

ELIZA WARD, NUTSHED CO-FOUNDER, DESCRIBES A TYPICAL DAY BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BRAND

Eliza Ward, Co-Founder, NutShed

“I RESPOND TO ANY ONLINE CUSTOMER QUERIES THAT MAY HAVE COME IN OVER THE DAY. I LOVE HAVING THAT CONNECTIVITY WITH OUR CUSTOMERS.”

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Action HR Services

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Family Business Award - Today FM Print Ad.pdf

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