InBUSINESS Winter 2021

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MENTORS SERIES WINTER

2021

CARMEL OWENS, CEO OF SIDERO, ON DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION GAINING PACE

CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

EXPERIENCE COUNTS Customer centricity is key

InBUSINESS WINTER 2021

A CALL TO ORDER The rise of tech in food service

INSIDE JOB

Modubuild’s growth from the ground up

€2.70

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Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy on the journey to net zero

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Available in SMALL,

MENTORS SERIES

MEDIUM

WINTER

2021

MENTORS SERIES

CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

CARMEL OWENS, CEO OF SIDERO, ON DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION GAINING PACE

CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

WINTER

and

CARMEL OWENS, CEO OF SIDERO, ON DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION GAINING PACE

2021

EXPERIENCE COUNTS

LARGE

Customer centricity is key

EXPERIENCE COUNTS

A CALL TO ORDER

Customer centricity is key

InBUSINESS WINTER 2021

InBUSINESS WINTER 2021

A CALL TO ORDER The rise of tech in food service

INSIDE JOB

The rise of tech in food service

INSIDE JOB

Modubuild’s growth from the ground up

Modubuild’s growth from the ground up

€2.70

NATURAL PROGRESSION

NATURAL PROGRESSION

Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy on the journey to net zero

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€2.70

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Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy on the journey to net zero

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MENTORS SERIES WINTER

2021

22/12/2021 11:10

CARMEL OWENS, CEO OF SIDERO, ON DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION GAINING PACE

CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

EXPERIENCE COUNTS Customer centricity is key

InBUSINESS WINTER 2021

A CALL TO ORDER The rise of tech in food service

INSIDE JOB

Modubuild’s growth from the ground up

€2.70

NATURAL PROGRESSION 03

9

Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy on the journey to net zero

772009 393018

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Ashville Media’s online digital publications are now available to view our website

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Editor: Sorcha Corcoran Creative Director: Jane Matthews Editorial Assistant: Jonathan Baxter (Chambers Ireland) Designer: Lenny Rooney Neasa Daly

Contents

Photography: iStock Photo Infographics: www.flaticon.com Production Executive: Nicole Ennis Sales Director: Diarmaid Lennon Managing Director: Gerry Tynan Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

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Published by: Ashville Media Group, Unit 55 Park West Road, Park West Industrial Park, D12 X9F9 Tel: +353 1 432 2200 Email: info@ashville.com Web: www.ashville.com On behalf of: Chambers Ireland, 11 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 FY84 Tel: +353 1 400 4300 Email: info@chambers.ie Web: www.chambers.ie All articles © Ashville Media Group 2021. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. Opinion and comments expressed herein are not necessarily those of Ashville Media or Chambers Ireland. ISSN 20093934

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NATURAL PROGRESSION

InBUSINESS speaks to Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy on its transformation to reach net-zero emissions

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EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist Kevin Brennan, Managing Director of Modubuild

Tech companies dedicated to increasing efficiencies in food service Words: Eithne Dunne

Industry

Entrepreneur

14 Our Local Government InBUSINESS supplement continues to look at the important role played by local authorities in Irish enterprise

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

COVER STORY:

In Association with

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Support local to lift us all

AllAll Rise Rise ChampionGreen.ie

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MENTORS SERIES

CARMEL OWENS, CEO OF SIDERO, ON DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION GAINING PACE

CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

WINTER

2021

EXPERIENCE COUNTS Customer centricity is key

InBUSINESS WINTER 2021

A CALL TO ORDER

The rise of tech in food service

INSIDE JOB

Modubuild’s growth from the ground up

Contents

26

€2.70

NATURAL PROGRESSION 03

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Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy on the journey to net zero

772009 393018

Go to chambers.ie for the online edition

SMALL BUSINESS

In good shape Shape My Plan has come up with a novel approach to weight loss online

SKILLS AND TALENT

80 PODCASTS The Changemakers with Clare McKenna

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EXPERIENCE 32 COUNTS

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Business News

7

SnapChat

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The Hot Topic

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Start-up Central

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Keen on Green

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Opportunity Ireland

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Chambers Catch Up

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, customer experience is coming to the fore as a key way for brands to truly differentiate themselves – but it has to be seamless and consistent across channels, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

W

ho among us doesn’t have a tale of being stuck on the phone for an hour or more trying to sort out a problem with a service provider, or being told one thing by a chatbot and another by someone in a contact centre or store? Recent research published by Gartner predicted that, throughout 2022, 50% of large organisations will have failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in a disjointed and siloed customer experience (CX) that lacks context. To remedy this, Gartner’s

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SKILLS & TALENT How medtech start-up OrthoXel went about building exporting capability

“Having the export process run smoothly was business-critical for us. A lot that came out of the workshop was the foundation for us to build to where we are now.”

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MEDIA & MARKETING

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rthoXel was founded in 2014 by a diverse leadership team of four people with significant experience in orthopaedics, biomechanics, entrepreneurship and the medical device industry. Engineers Pat O’Connor and Charles Daly partnered with Prof James Harty from Cork University Hospital and Hannah Dailey of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in the US to develop a novel solution for treating tibial and femoral fractures. The Cork-based company has introduced the world’s first intramedullary nail with controlled micromotion fixation, which a pilot clinical study has shown to result in a 20% reduction in healing time when compared to a standard nail in static

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For over three years, Alanna Carty, Commercial Director at OrthoXel, has been instrumental in developing the medical device company’s exporting capability to the point where its devices have made it onto the US market.

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LEG UP

Chief Executive Officer of Sidero Carmel Owens shares her insights into making digital transformation effective.

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CONNECTIONS AND INSIGHTS Making key connections has been important for Carty in developing her exporting knowhow. “Barry Skillington, Chief Commercial Officer of Atlantia Clinical Trials in Cork, was part of the senior executive Q&A session in our first exporting workshop. I have stayed in touch with him ever since and he advised me on how to go about setting up an office in the US. At another Enterprise Ireland event I met a vice president for supply chain from one of the big group purchasing organisations. Staying connected with people you come in contact with at events is really beneficial if you make the most of it.” After the workshops, Carty undertook a project with American life sciences consulting firm Strategy Inc. This involved working with 22 orthopaedic surgeons to gain an understanding of how they related to the technology within the OrthoXel nail, whether they could see the benefits and would be willing to pay a premium for that. At the same time, the project gave OrthoXel access to 20 healthcare economics people to gain insight into purchasing decisions and value analysis within hospitals. “Maximising margins and reducing overheads are hugely influencing factors in what new technologies get adopted. Everything is about helping the bottom line,” Carty notes. OrthoXel’s two products, the Apex Tibial Nailing System and the Apex Femoral Nailing System, are now approved for use in the US and Ireland. It secured its first contract in the US at the end of 2019 with a hospital in New Jersey and is in negotiations with another American hospital. In Ireland, the systems have been approved for use at Cork University Hospital. OrthoXel’s nails are manufactured in Switzerland and are CEmarked. “A surgeon at the New Jersey hospital had a professional relationship with Hannah, having worked on research projects with her, so that led to our initial meeting there. It took almost two years of discussions to get to a purchasing agreement and the nail being used by him,” says Carty. OrthoXel recently increased its team from nine to 13 people. “We are expanding rapidly. I am still mainly responsible for making sure exports go smoothly, but our new Head of Supply Chain and Finance Manager will be significant in progressing our capability further,” says Carty.

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SKILLS & &&TALENT

locking mode. Its flagship tibial and femoral products grew out of five years of research and development in the Medical Engineering Design and Innovation Centre at Cork Institute of Technology. While the innovativeness and costeffectiveness of OrthoXel’s solutions were clear, there was a gap in the co-founders’ joint knowledge and experience: how to manage the export process. Commercial Director Alanna Carty joined OrthoXel in 2018, and since then has spearheaded the acquisition of this important capability for the company. She has extensive directorlevel experience in marketing roles in the US and EMEA regions, including in the life sciences industry. “I did a huge amount of analysis of average selling prices for medical devices across 36 countries, with the support of Enterprise Ireland’s Market Discovery Fund and Market Research Grant. From this, it looked like the US should be our primary market because of its pricing structure, business model and common language,” she explains. In 2019, Carty attended two Enterprise Ireland workshops – Essentials of Exporting (now called Export Compass) followed by Exporter Development a couple of months later. “The first one was really useful in figuring out what we needed to do to actually get our devices into the hands of surgeons,” she says. “It provided a roadmap in terms of how to use data to position ourselves, obtain the best pricing and open doors.” CEO Pat O’Connor went with Carty to the second workshop, which was more in-depth. “Having the export process run smoothly was business-critical for us. A lot that went on and came out of that workshop was the foundation for us to build to where we are now.” This included getting to grips with the incredibly complicated regulatory requirements associated with importing a medical device into the US as well as understanding how the hospital payment system works there. “We learned that it’s a federal requirement that a company with a physical office in the US is registered as a device initial importer. We have appointed GlobalMed Logistix as our device initial importer and are working on having them as our third-party logistics partner for the US,” says Carty. “There can be a 90-day window from the time we ship products to the US to getting paid. This became crucial information and had to be taken into consideration as part of our exporting business plan.”

MEDIA & MARKETING Cathy Summers, CEO of The CX Company, on getting the balance right between digital and human

Cathy Summers, CEO, The CX Company

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BUSINESS NEWS

Denise Sidhu, Partner, Kernel Capital, Leo Clancy, Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland, Dr Tara Dalton, CEO, Altratech and Cyril Maguire, Managing Director, Infinity Capital

€5m investment for Altratech in Cork

“With our new brand positioning, ‘Imagine a better way’, we intend to become the most significant provider of innovative net-zero transition products and services in Ireland.”

Cutting-edge health research company Altratech has completed a €5m investment round led by The Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Growth Fund and Infinity Capital – each investing €1.5m – with Enterprise Ireland investing €500,000 and Claret Capital providing a €1.5m venture debt facility. “Our team of 20 scientists and engineers have been developing our next generation molecular detection since 2016 and have built an expansive patent portfolio,” said Tara Dalton, CEO, Altratech. “Key patents were granted during 2020 in the US and EU. A further seven patents are pending in China, Japan, Europe and the US, including a patent jointly filed with the National Institutes of Health in the US.”

CYBER THREAT

COVER STORY PAGE 18

Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy

Irish SME owners believe their business would only survive on average 4.8 days without any access to their systems after a successful cyber attack, a Typetec survey reveals.

Irish breast cancer test goes global

Prof William Gallagher, Co-founder, OncoMark and CSO, OncoAssure

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American molecular diagnostics company Cepheid has formally announced its acquisition of OncoMark, a UCD spin-out company, for an undisclosed sum. Co-founded by Prof William Gallagher and Steve Penney, OncoMark has developed a novel test for earlystage breast cancer that has the potential to reduce the number of breast cancer patients receiving unnecessary chemotherapy. The test was CE-marked in preparation for launch in EU markets. With the acquisition of OncoMark by Cepheid, the test will now be launched on Cepheid’s world-leading GeneXpert Platform in global markets. Subsequent to the sale of OncoMark, a new company, OncoAssure, was established with all former OncoMark staff moving across to continue the development of biomarkers in other cancers.

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BUSINESS NEWS

Towards the modern workplace Auxilion, an IT provider headquartered in Dublin, has launched its ‘Auxilion Modern Workplace’ division with a €2m investment. Through this new division, the company plans to build out its portfolio of cloud, business enablement and governance solutions to innovate for customers, support the modern workplace and empower workforces. Underpinned by technologies including artificial intelligence, these products and services will help businesses to streamline operations and be more compliant by enhancing visibility and security, according to CEO Philip Maguire. “It’s critical that businesses understand the preferred employee experience for the future. Ultimately, they need to develop a technology roadmap to align business needs and employee expectations,” he said.

FINANCIAL PLANNING

A survey of global senior financial leaders by Tata Consultancy Services has found that, on average, 43% of their financial planning and forecasting relies on intuition instead of analytics.

Dublin-based LetsGetChecked was announced as the fastestgrowing technology company in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Technology Awards in December with a growth rate of 18,663% over the past four years. Pictured are Peter Foley, LetsGetChecked Founder and CEO, and David Shanahan, Partner, Deloitte.

PICTURE

THIS WASTE LAWS

Hotel mini toiletries, single sugar sachets and wet wipes could all be banned under recommendations from TDs and senators. They also want space for refillable products in supermarkets.

SALARY HIKES

Irish-based tech and finance salaries have increased by up to 20% in 12 months, according to the Hays Ireland Salary & Recruiting Trends Guide 2022.

BEAUTY AND WELLNESS UPGRADE AT BOOTS

Stephen Watkins, Managing Director, Boots Ireland

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Boots Ireland is upgrading beauty and wellness halls in six stores across the country as part of a €5m investment and expansion. The new-look stores in Liffey Valley, Swords, Dundrum, Blanchardstown, Shop Street in Galway and Half Moon Street in Cork now offer exclusive new brands, innovative experiences and access to expert advice. The revamp of the 22,000 sq ft store in Liffey Valley represents one of the single largest investments made by Boots Ireland since arriving in the market in 1996. “Since we opened our first Boots store in Jervis Centre, we have consistently invested in building our footprint in Ireland and now have 91 stores nationwide, employing over 2,200 people,” said Stephen Watkins, Managing Director, Boots Ireland.

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FEATURE

Jason Day, Head of Location Intelligence Solutions for EMEA, Gamma

“Driven by the best-in-class data, we are enabling and empowering businesses to make better-informed decisions around location – something which is more important than ever in the retail sector as the economy continues to open up and businesses look to recover following the pandemic.”

Having achieved success with its Storecast Sentry offering in Ireland, location intelligence services provider Gamma is launching the retail network optimisation platform in the UK and expects it to drive €1.3m in recurring revenue by 2023. A cloud-based, customisable platform, Storecast Sentry gives businesses access to dozens of spatial datasets and statistics, including anonymised data on 3 billion annual credit card transactions – which translates to around 90% of all UK credit card spend. The analytics platform enables retailers, distributors, sales teams and outdoor media owners to understand their brand performance, assess their store and site portfolios, measure omnichannel activity and plan their networks through the visualisation of data insights.

“Whether the aim is to determine which stores to close or to attract more customers, this solution delivers invaluable insights and visualises location data to help drive innovation and growth in the sector.”

We help to solve spatial data challenges for organisations of all shapes and sizes. In Ireland, InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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Storecast is being used by two of the top three financial institutions and four of the top 10 retailers, with projects for other sectors including outdoor advertising currently underway. With an office in Manchester, Gamma has already built a presence in the UK, having launched our Perilfinder solution in the insurance market in 2019. This platform helps underwriters to reduce their risk portfolio by better managing accumulation of polices and assessing hazards including flood, subsidence and crime.

We have plans to expand beyond the UK and roll out our solutions in other markets over the next two years. To support these ambitions, Gamma will be increasing its employee headcount from 18 to 21 in 2022. We already have an office in Bilbao, Spain.

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TOP TRENDS

UNTAPPED POTENTIAL

THE HOT TOPIC

The Microsoft report ‘Digital Ireland

Digital Drive

– Inclusive Recovery’ published in December shows that the share of Irish organisations expecting to use cloud for all, or almost all, of their requirements in three years’ time will be 22% higher than today. However, less than 30% of senior leaders said they are using digital technologies to engage customers through connected experiences or to empower employees. Additionally, 47% of technology leaders say their people are reluctant to embrace digitalisation and 41% admit that their customers are ahead of them when it comes to demand for digitalised services and solutions. On top of this, 59% of technology leaders say they don’t do enough with their organisation’s data.

Commentary and findings on the latest digital transformation trends impacting Irish businesses

“Long before Covid-19, digital transformation was already on the agenda for many companies. But from our experience, even the most dynamic, innovative IT departments were facing pushback from their boards of management because they didn’t value, or understand, the role digital played in business success. All of that has changed. Organisations have learned that digital was not only critical to survival during the pandemic, but in the aftermath too. Our research finds that success in transformation is reliant on boldness of vision across all levels of an organisation. Only then can businesses equip themselves with the necessary resources to affect better outcomes and a brighter future.”

Phil Codd, Managing Director, Expleo Ireland

Phil Codd, Managing Director, Expleo Ireland, on the publication of its Business Transformation Index 2022, which shows that 53% of Irish organisations face problems implementing a ‘digital first’ culture

Digitalisation Voucher roll-out According to the OECD, digital firms perform better and are more dynamic: they have higher labour productivity, grow faster and have better management practices. With this in mind, Enterprise Ireland has introduced range of new supports to enable Irish companies to develop and implement a digital roadmap for their business. One which it has been promoting in recent weeks is the Digitalisation Voucher, which covers either technical or advisory services related to the operations of the business from an approved service provider up to a value of €9,000. The objective of the voucher is to help companies prepare a plan for the adoption of digital tools and techniques across the business in order to remain competitive post Covid-19.

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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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START-UPS

MORE SPACE FOR START-UPS AT GEC

NEWS, VIEWS AND PROFILES ON THE LATEST START-UPS IN IRELAND

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Increase in net employment achieved by the 56 participants in the latest Going for Growth female entrepreneurs programme. Their combined turnover increased by 8.8% to reach over €176m.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

LOUELLA MORTON and SHEENA BAILEY, CO-FOUNDERS, TESTREACH What problem are you solving with TestReach?

Until this technology was developed, there was no way to provide professional online invigilation combined with assessment delivery, all within one single application.

What’s the best advice you were given?

Always plan for things to take longer than you expect and build in contingency. This advice has proven invaluable across so many different areas, from hiring staff to closing deals.

What has been the most important lesson you have learned?

The people in a company are by far its biggest asset and it’s really important that everyone enjoys a positive work environment, in which they feel valued as a contributor.

Your biggest make or break moment?

The Covid-19 pandemic certainly represented a pivotal moment for TestReach. Almost overnight there was huge demand to run exams remotely as test centre networks shut down globally. Although it was a huge opportunity for us, scaling so quickly was challenging.

Is there anything you would change in hindsight?

We would probably be a bit more protective of our time and more selective about making commitments. When you’re starting out, there is a tendency to say “yes” to everything without fully understanding the impact it may have.

Company: TestReach, founded in 2014 Location: NexusUCD, University College Dublin Product: End-to-end, cloud-based solution for exams Staff: 70 Website: www.testreach.com

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Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) launched its new 100,000 sq ft space in November as part of an €11m expansion project. Due to strong demand, GEC has already committed 80% of its additional capacity to start-ups and expects to be at full capacity by early 2022. The expansion consists of two additional floors at the GEC’s home in Dublin’s Liberties and is resulting in a 75% increase in net floor space with capacity for 762 start-up employees. Collectively, the investment will enable the GEC to support 150 resident companies, up from 85. The facility can accommodate 220 co-working companies, up from 160.

END-OF-LIFE PLANNING SERVICE LAUNCHES Dara O’Shea and Louise O’Brien have launched RHEA, describing it as “Ireland’s first dedicated, end-of-life event planning company”. With over 30 years’ event planning and management experience between them, O’Shea and O’Brien have worked on events of all sizes, including the visit of the Prince of Wales to University College Cork in 2018. “Our unique service was born out of personal experience of loss, and seeing firsthand the burden of work that falls on families during the most difficult days of a death,” said O’Shea. Based in Cork, RHEA provides a full suite of bespoke memorial event design and planning services.

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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START-UPS

Dr Lyn Markey, Co-founder, XTremedy Medical and Enterprise Ireland Executive Director Stephen Creaner

XTremedy shines at Big Ideas event

EV charging innovation a winner A start-up which is developing a novel electrical vehicle (EV) charging system scooped the 2021 University College Dublin Start-Up of the Year Award in December. Go Eve is focused on commercialising a patentpending ‘DockChain’ technology for charging EVs at scale. The DockChain innovation allows multiple parking spaces to be rapidly ‘electrified’ from one base power source with a daisy chain of inexpensive and simple charging points. The technology can significantly reduce the costs involved with charging large numbers of EVs. “We currently plan to run three pilot programmes with three customers during 2022 and are seeking to secure seed investment of €3m,” said CEO and CO-founder Hugh Sheehy.

Hugh Sheehy, Co-founder and CEO, Go Eve

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Julian Eberle, Dr Martin O’Reilly and Dr Darragh Whelan, Co-founders, Output Sports

NE TO WATCH: OUTPUT SPORTS

Dr Lyn Markey, Co-founder of XTremedy Medical, won the ‘One to Watch’ award at Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas event in November, beating 11 other investor-ready start-ups in the pitching competition. In the process of spinning out from NUI Galway, XTremedy is focused on tackling the serious problem of deep tissue and bone infections. It has developed a surgical device that delivers electrical signals through the wound, treating both the surface and below to zap any residual infection and prevent unnecessary amputations. The Xtremedy platform has scope to expand into the wider chronic wounds, trauma and surgical-site infection markets. Other pitches at Big Ideas 2021 included for innovations to prevent chemo-induced hair loss and wearable therapy to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Founded in 2018, sports tech company Output Sports has added three world-renowned sports practitioners to its board – Jo Clubb, Nic Gill and Les Spellman. A performance science consultant, Clubb has worked with English Premier League teams and American sports teams. Gill has been the strength and conditioning coach for the New Zealand All Blacks for the past 14 years, while Spellman is one of the US’s elite speed performance coaches. “We are driven to merge state-of-the art R&D with a simple and efficient user experience for exercise testing and monitoring. Our world-class board will ensure our system development will always match the needs of practitioners and athletes at all levels of sport,” said Cofounder Dr Martin O’Reilly. In February 2020 Output Sports launched Output Capture, which uses advanced signal processing and machine learning techniques to test and track athletic performance. With clients in more than 18 countries, the company is currently looking to raise a scaling round of over €3m.

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SUSTAINABILITY

InBUSINESS Chef Cúán Greene shooting the first episode of ‘Sussed’

SUSSED ON SOCIAL MEDIA Clean energy supplier Pinergy launched a new online show called ‘Sussed’ in December with the aim of highlighting businesses and individuals leading the charge in helping Ireland transition to a more sustainable future. Run across social media platforms, the first episode featured Irish chef Cúán Greene, who explored the steps that three business founders working in the food and drinks industry are taking. Amongst other things, Karl Purdy, Founder of Coffeeangel, discussed his choice to use recyclable rather than biodegradable cups. Fergus Halpin, Founder and CEO of Harvest Day, explained his zero-waste business model in bringing local and organic produce to subscribers all over Ireland. Meanwhile, Shane Murphy, Co-owner of Neighbourhood Wines, spoke about changes he has noticed in the wine industry, such as the acceptance of wine in alternative packaging and a growing preference for local wines with a lower carbon footprint.

McDonald’s has launched a free guide designed to help its customers understand the most confusing climate change terminology. It follows research that revealed that 60% of people think the amount of jargon being used to describe climate change is increasing, while 19% say they’d be more likely to do something to protect the environment if simpler, less confusing language were used.

First B Corp in recruitment

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Coopman Search & Selection has become the first recruitment company headquartered in Ireland to become a Certified B Corporation (B Corp). Established in 2019 by Andrew Murphy and Mark Fallon, it is just one of seven other companies – Danone Dairy Ireland, Strong Roots, Cully & Sully, Earth’s Edge, Urban Volt and Vagabond Tours – to achieve the certification in Ireland. B Corps are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to use business as a force for good. Coopman Search & Selection is a partner of the Irish Youth Foundation and supports One Tree Planted, planting trees for every placement made in financial services (around 400 trees planted to date). “Our aim in establishing Coopman is to build a sustainable business with sound frameworks that has a positive impact for our clients, partners and employees,” said Murphy.

Co-Founder Christine Jones and Director Mark Fallon of Coopman Search & Selection

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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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ENTREPRENEUR

INSIDEJOB ENTREPRENEUR: KEVIN BRENNAN

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ENTREPRENEUR

Modubuild has gone from being a small business on the side to manufacturing entire turnkey buildings for data centre and biopharma clients in its factory in Co Kilkenny. Co-founder and Managing Director Kevin Brennan was an EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 finalist.

Q: How did things start out for Modubuild as a business? Kevin Brennan (KB): I set up the business in 2006 with John Comerford primarily to focus on the opportunity we identified in modular construction. At the time, we were both working as directors for another company, Asgard Cleanroom Solutions, and we could see that the construction industry had not evolved as much as others in terms of modernisation. Our vision was to apply manufacturing efficiencies to the construction industry and work on high-tech projects. The recession hit when Modubuild was in its infancy. But, we managed to bootstrap the business and things ticked over in the early years without me taking a salary. We started picking up projects, growing organically and reinvesting back into the business. Q: What was the turning point in terms of international expansion? KB: From an early stage we knew that to grow a significant company we would need to look internationally and work in multiple countries. Our first data centre job in Ireland was in 2012 and in 2015 we won our first international contract – a data centre project in the Netherlands for the same client.

Kevin Brennan, Co-founder and Managing Director, Modubuild

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ENTREPRENEUR

From there, we dipped our toe in different countries, doing a few smaller projects in Denmark and Finland. But the main thrust of our strategy has been to follow our customers as they expand across Europe. We built up a reputation for being able to fast-track and deliver high-tech, hyper-scale projects, which has meant we keep winning repeat business. To date, we have delivered projects for global biopharma and technology companies across 11 countries and have regional offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Sweden, Finland and Spain. We have trebled our turnover in the past three years, along with achieving an average of 50% year-on-year growth over the past six years and expect to reach €50m in turnover within the next year. Q: What would you say is the secret to the success and growth of Modubuild? KB: Our main competition is the traditional way of constructing. We can take a project right through from design to a commissioned and operational building, whereas the traditional approach would involve several different parties and contractors. What makes us unique as a design and engineering business is our specialist subject-matter experts who can design technically complex buildings – combined with the fact that we own and control one of the largest offsite manufacturing facilities in Europe, which we purchased in 2015. Inside our 140,000 sq ft state-of-the-art factory in Castlecomer, we are actually constructing entire buildings fitted out internally with all the required systems. The technology inside buildings such as data centres or laboratories is where the real value-add is. Everything from ventilation systems to incubators is installed in our factory. Other companies in Ireland do the design and contracting part of modular construction, but we are the only ones doing the internal fit-out. The big thing for our clients is that our approach de-risks their projects, the outcomes are more predictable and the timeline is on average 50% quicker than with traditional methods. Q: How important have skills and talent been in building the business? KB: Recruiting great people has been a key part of our growth strategy. In 2015 we had 12 full-time staff and a small number of contract staff. Today we have 110 direct staff and 350 contract staff. We recently announced plans to recruit at least 100 additional staff across all parts of the business over the next two years as part of our plan to grow capacity to meet client demands. The roles will be in design,

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ACCELERATED PROJECT DELIVERY

Modubuild delivered a multimillion euro vaccine laboratory for Chinese biopharma company WuXi in eight months during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. The entire two-storey biosafety vaccine laboratory facility was designed and constructed inside Modubuild’s Castlecomer factory at the same time that planning permission and site preparations were happening. The building was then shipped to the site in Dundalk, Co Louth in large modules and assembled in nine days. “Biopharma clients producing life-saving drugs put real value on service, product and certainty of outcome. Using Modubuild meant WuXi could bring a vaccine to market two years earlier than it could have done otherwise,” says Modubuild Managing Director Kevin Brennan. The project was named as the Large Pharma Project of the Year at the Pharma Industry Awards 2020.

“THE BIG THING FOR OUR CLIENTS IS THAT OUR APPROACH DE-RISKS THEIR PROJECTS, THE OUTCOMES ARE MORE PREDICTABLE AND THE TIMELINE IS ON AVERAGE 50% QUICKER THAN WITH TRADITIONAL METHODS.” engineering, project management, IT, research and development, trades and support roles. While the market is very competitive, so far we have managed to attract the best of talent as people see an exciting change from the norm in what we’re doing, they like the international footprint and Kilkenny is a nice place to live. Last July, we launched our first-ever apprenticeship programme for manufacturing technicians and look forward to bringing on more apprentices across all departments into the future. Q: Looking ahead, what potential do you see for Modubuild? KB: We expect to achieve €100m in turnover within the next three years and to be on two other continents within the next two years. We’re looking at South East Asia at the moment. We are still a small player in a very big market and are confident the opportunities are there. The large biopharma industry is spending €1bn a year on building projects while upwards of €20bn is being invested in data centres in any one year. The combination of design and engineering expertise and people, our own manufacturing facility and international footprint means we can demonstrate future capacity. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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JOB CREATION COMPANY: Starcircle COMPANY: Legato SECTOR: Health technologies

SECTOR: Talent sourcing

LOCATION: Cork

ANNOUNCEMENT: Talent sourcing technology provider Starcircle is to create 100 jobs to cater for the surge in demand for its revolutionary approach to talent acquisition. With clients including Marvel, Facebook, Amazon and PayPal, Starcircle helps companies to source and engage with hidden talent.

COMPANY: ClickUp SECTOR: Technology

LOCATION: Limerick

LOCATION: Dublin

ANNOUNCEMENT: Legato Health Technologies is to double its Irish workforce to 120 by mid-2022 further to officially opening its R&D hub in the National Technology Park, Limerick. With 20,000 employees outside of Ireland, Legato is committed to transforming healthcare through operational excellence, innovation and digital transformation.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Productivity platform ClickUp is to open its European HQ in Dublin early in 2022, with plans to create 200 jobs there within two years. Roles are across sales, customer success, marketing, support, finance and HR. ClickUp raised US$400m in Series C funding in November.

OpportunityIRELAND INBUSINESS highlights some of the companies that are expanding operations and generating new employment opportunities across the country.

COMPANY: Intercom SECTOR: Technology

COMPANY: BD

LOCATION: Dublin ANNOUNCEMENT: Customer communications platform Intercom plans to hire around 150 people in Ireland to bring local headcount to over 400 by the end of 2022. With offices in San Francisco, London, Chicago and Sydney, it expects to reach around 1,000 people globally by the end of next year.

SECTOR: Medtech LOCATION: Limerick and Drogheda COMPANY: Infosys BPM

SECTOR: Services

ANNOUNCEMENT: Infosys BPM, the business process management arm of Infosys, is expanding its presence in Ireland, creating 250 jobs with the development of a new delivery centre in Waterford. The new centre will provide voice support, customer service and technical support operations for large global enterprises.

Skills shortages taking a toll on employers A Hays Ireland report has revealed that 91% of Irish-based employers have experienced recruitment challenges in the past year. A total of 50% of those questioned claim ongoing skills shortages have had a negative impact on organisational productivity, 39% say it has undermined their ability to deliver key projects and 30% claim it has stalled their plans for expansion. One in five employers suggested recruitment challenges were impacting their profitability and revenues. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021 InBUSINESS

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LOCATION: Waterford

ANNOUNCEMENT: BD has announced plans to create more than 130 new jobs and invest €70m over five years in its R&D centre of excellence in Limerick. The facility is a hub for the development of connected health and infection monitoring solutions. BD is also creating 100 jobs in Drogheda.

“It is telling that nearly two in five Irish employers are more likely to make counter-offers to resigning staff than they were pre-pandemic. This development points to employers’ acute awareness of the ongoing competition for talent.” Maureen Lynch, Director at Hays Ireland

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COVER STORY

COVER STORY

Bord Gáis Energy is playing a leading role in the transition to net-zero greenhouse emissions by re-imagining the use of energy with the help of innovative products and services.

NATURAL PROGRESSION ord Gáis Energy recently announced a new partnership with French renewable energy producer Neoen on three solar farms that will provide electricity to the national grid in 2022. Under an agreement running until the end of 2037, Bord Gáis Energy will be the sole offtaker of the electricity produced from facilities in Co Meath and Co Wicklow. The three solar farms are already under construction and will have a capacity of 58MWp, the production of which will be enough to power around 12,700 homes a year. This is the latest development in Bord Gáis Energy’s transformation to support the journey to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland no later than 2050 as outlined in the Government’s Climate Action Plan published in November. “We’re facing a hugely challenging yet exciting time for Ireland’s energy industry as we look to decarbonise the electricity system. At Bord Gáis Energy, we fully support the Government’s target of reaching 80% renewable energy by 2030,” says Dave Kirwan, Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy. “Our current renewable supply portfolio is in excess of

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COVER STORY

“We’re facing a hugely challenging yet exciting time for Ireland’s energy industry as we look to decarbonise the electricity system. At Bord Gáis Energy, we fully support the Government’s target of reaching 80% renewable energy by 2030.”

Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy

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“As an organisation, our investment focus is moving away from purely selling commodities – our measure of success is not the number of kilowatt hours we sell, but the number of products, services and solutions we provide customers with so that they can use less energy.”

220MW, which powers around 73,000 homes. We aim to treble this by 2025.” Earlier this year, Bord Gáis Energy announced a partnership with Obton, powered by Shannon Energy, to manage 118MWp of power from 11 solar farms, powering approximately 20,000 homes across Ireland. It also recently entered into a partnership with the Irish Farmers’ Association to facilitate and progress solar photovoltaic installations on Irish farms. “We have been buying our energy from Irish wind developers for a number of years, further to pivoting the organisation more towards renewables. The partnerships with Obton and Neoen take us into solar power and we will be working with the Government to look at what we need to do to decarbonise electricity generated from natural gas post-2025. As good as wind and solar power are, they can be intermittent. Together with our parent company Centrica we will be looking at the potential of unlocking hydrogen as a solution after 2035.” Increasingly investing in where it sources power from is a key part of Bord Gáis Energy’s five-year strategy, which is focused on helping home and business owners to make better energy-use choices, helping the environment while supporting the lowcarbon ambition of the Programme for Government.

A MEASURED APPROACH “Climate Action Plan 2021 is the most ambitious of its kind we’ve ever had in this country. For years we had

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aspirational climate policies, but this plan incorporates measurable targets and clear commitments. What gets measured gets done and as a country we are going to do this. The other aspect of the plan that’s different is that it is integrated. We can’t achieve our goals as a nation if we don’t have joined-up thinking on energy, heating, transport, buildings, industry and agriculture. There is little point in transport going off in isolation and electrifying, for example, unless the system can accommodate the level of penetration required,” says Kirwan. “Our strategy is very much in support of this plan as we continue to progress to help customers become less reliant on fossil fuels. As an organisation, our investment focus is moving away from purely selling commodities – our measure of success is not the number of kilowatt hours we sell, but the number of products, services and solutions we provide customers with so that they can use less energy.” In operation since 1976, Bord Gáis

Energy provides gas, electricity and home-care services to over 700,000 residential and business customers throughout the country. It owns a state-of-the-art 445MW energyefficient power generation plant in Whitegate, Co Cork, which can power up to 400,000 homes. In 2014, Bord Gáis Energy became part of Centrica, the parent company of British Gas. “Bord Gáis Energy is very proud to be the original supplier of natural gas to Irish homes and businesses. We still have the largest market share in gas, as well as a substantial share in electricity supply. To make sure we always have enough energy to go around, our energy trading team buys gas and electricity on the international wholesale markets. When we generate more energy than we need, we sell and trade it and it is used to power homes, businesses and communities,” says Kirwan. “With our new brand positioning, ‘Imagine a better way’, what we now intend to do is become the most significant provider of innovative netInBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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COVER STORY

zero transition products and services, providing competitive energy that is increasingly green.”

GREEN AND SMART Last June, Bord Gáis Energy launched the first in a series of new green energy propositions for homeowners. These pioneering offerings include a duelfuel plan with 100% green electricity plus 10% gas, both from renewable sources. There is also a 100% green electricity-only option. Earlier in 2021, the company announced flexible smart energy plans to help customers make the most of their smart meters. ESB has been responsible for the rollout of smart meters across the country for the past two years. “We are supporting the smart meter rollout project by engaging with customers to get a product from us which gives them savings and allows them to use energy more efficiently. We currently have about 120,000 customers with smart meters installed and recently launched an electric vehicle [EV] and smart meter tariff, encouraging customers to charge EVs using green power when peak demand is lowest,” notes Kirwan. “Smart meters are the way forward. Increasingly, people are seeing the

benefits of managing energy usage at certain points in time in their homes. We have installed products around Ireland for our business customers that give that kind of information [see panel] and can see the technology coming into the home very quickly. Our Hive Active Heating product allows customers to control their heating and lighting from a smartphone and this will be extended to other smart domestic appliances including EV chargers. Hive can also be voice-activated using Amazon Echo Dot.

PARTNERSHIPS AND KNOWHOW In an effort to encourage the uptake of EVs in Ireland, Bord Gáis Energy is the preferred EV charger installation partner for Volkswagen, Seat, Škoda, and Ford and has developed a strategic partnership with CarCharger.ie, a leading provider of EV charging facilities. The partnership allows Bord Gáis Energy to offer EV charger installations to its existing customers and the wider market through its Local Heroes platform, which gives customers access to local tradespeople. Meanwhile, its partnership with Energlaze Home Energy Upgrades is enabling Bord Gáis Energy to participate in the

Government’s pilot scheme to scale up retrofitting in the coming years. Bord Gáis Energy has a commitment to reduce its own emissions by 35% by 2025 and, as part of this, is currently transitioning its service engineers to EVs. “Our engineers service boilers in 65,000 homes a year. Over the past 18 months or so, we have been looking at how to transform those visits into advice to customers on how to use less fossil fuel – this could be by converting a boiler to run on reusable gas, installing heat pumps and/or insulating their homes. It’s a logical extension of the service,” Kirwan explains. “Investing in the training and capability of our engineers will be a key part of our strategy in the next 24 months. We will be working on this with British Gas, which is developing its own in-house academies to up-skill engineers and hiring apprentices. Bord Gáis Energy already plans to hire an additional 15 engineers this year. “In addition to this, we are looking at expanding our Local Heroes service within the next two years by investing in a new app where people can get a quote for different technologies and an engineer will be with them in a matter of hours. That is our vision.”

INNOVATIVE INTERFACE Centrica Business Solutions, sister company of Bord Gáis Energy, launched in 2018 and offers a range of innovative solutions to help businesses deliver improvements in operational performance, strengthen resilience, create opportunities for growth and reduce energy spend. Among these is an energy insights solution which, using sensor technology, provides users with realtime visibility of their energy usage, from overall site level down to device level. “This clever data-collection technology plugs into a business’s control systems, giving a read-out of what amount of energy is being used where and enabling them to make decisions on how to optimise their energy usage,” explains Dave Kirwan, Managing Director, Bord Gáis Energy. In 2020, Bord Gáis Energy launched its Demand Side Management technology, which enables businesses to monitor and manage energy usage in real time. It automatically controls how a business uses energy and optimises that against grid demand. “Increasingly, the Irish electricity system is rewarding businesses that use energy less at certain times and maximise the value from offshore and solar energy. Our products and services help businesses to do that automatically. We act as an interface between the grid and industry users,” says Kirwan.

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

a call to

ORDER Ireland has no shortage of players in the burgeoning food-tech field, all of whom have literally made it their business to tackle the most pressing problems for their food services clients, writes EITHNE DUNNE.

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

Co-founders of Unify Ordering (left to right) Louis Williams, Barry McNerney and Paul Lawless

G

iven the colossal challenges the food services sector has had to face over the past two years, it needs all the help it can get. And at least some of that help will come in the form of software that will boost efficiency, cut down on unnecessary time and expense, and therefore improve the all-important bottom line. From the customer’s perspective, the restaurant and takeaway business is pretty sophisticated from a tech point of view; you can order via an app or online and it’s generally pretty seamless. Not so, however, for those running the business, as Barry McNerney, CEO of Unify Ordering, explains: “In most restaurants the chefs and managers are still compiling orders using paper and pen and either phoning them in to a supplier’s answering machine or emailing them,” he says. It’s not hard to figure out that this ‘system’ can lead to all kinds of errors and misunderstandings with food orders. This translates into operational problems for the restaurant, not to mention waste. Unify’s software allows restaurant staff to compile orders throughout the day, collaborate on them and then send them through to suppliers – all electronically, leaving far less room for mistakes. All the order details, ie what was ordered, at what

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price and by whom, are there for managers to peruse later. As soon as Unify had tackled the problem from the restaurants’ perspective, the wholesalers – frustrated with the laborious and error-ridden job of processing orders – also wanted a piece of the action. So Unify digitised their product brochures, allowing them to communicate new products and special offers to customers at the same time. “This helped them to eliminate mistakes, reduce costs and increase sales,” says McNerney. Of course, these wholesalers could have each developed their own apps to digitise their ordering process but that, says McNerney, wasn’t particularly appealing. “Firstly it could cost them €100,000 to get someone to develop it,” he says. “And a chef is not going to open 10 different apps to order from 10 different suppliers. They want all that information in one place, and that’s why this has been so successful.” There are over 3,000 restaurants around Ireland using Unify’s app to order from 400 of Ireland’s leading suppliers. Given that it is the only company offering this kind of solution to ordering problems, Unify is in prime position. It is already doing about six times the level of business it was

“A chef is not going to open 10 different apps to order from 10 different suppliers. They want all that information in one place, and that’s why this has been so successful.”

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

Charlie and Claire Scanlan, Co-founders, Jump Juice Bars and Amy Hughes, Sales Manager, Envisage

“When we met Corrib it had six people in a room taking the delivery dockets and invoices from all of its shops and manually going through each. By the end, it had just two people doing the same task.”

doing pre-pandemic, says McNerney, and 2022 is looking promising. Currently finalising a fundraising round, Unify will next year add the finishing touches to its product development and pricing model, after which its sights are firmly set on cracking the UK market. By all accounts With most convenience-store chains now stocking a mind-boggling array of products – as well as preparing meal options – the administration involved in keeping track of purchases and sales can be nothing short of a logistical nightmare. This is precisely the problem that Irish Sage solution specialists Envisage sought to solve. It began with six months of thorough market research. “We met store owners, bookkeepers, accountants, managers and point-of-sale system providers,” says Ray Ryan, Managing Director of the company, which employs 36 people. This unearthed the key issues facing most players in the franchise convenience store sector – the main one being the sheer amount of product they were handling. “Buying and selling the thousands of products in each store was an administrative nightmare,” says

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Ryan. “The bookkeepers were getting sales figures from one system via a sheet of paper and keying them into another. Then they had to deal with supplier invoices. So the bookkeepers’ load was really big, and accountants were literally dealing with shoeboxes of paper.” Envisage set out to reduce this administrative burden by getting selling information, broken down by department, across to the nominal ledger quickly and accurately. All the client has to do is review these figures and hit a button to post directly into Sage. In addition, Envisage wanted to tackle the cost/ supply side, which was just as onerous for clients. For this, a similar approach meant deliveries could be logged electronically, with any anomalies highlighted and queried quickly and efficiently. Its convenience-chain customers have been voting with their feet; 450 stores are using the firm’s software, and it has already made inroads into the UK. One of its earliest adopters in Ireland was Corrib Oil, which had 16 forecourt stores at the time. “When we met Corrib it had six people in a room taking the delivery dockets and invoices from all of its shops and manually going through each,” recalls Ryan. Envisage worked with the business for three months and, by the end, Corrib had just two people doing the same task. The company subsequently added six stores without adding any more people, and with its acquisition of H2 Group, now has 32 stores. This rate of growth, says Ryan, simply InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

wouldn’t have been feasible otherwise. More recently, Envisage worked with juice and smoothie chain Jump Juice Bars, which is undergoing major expansion. It is adding six new stores bringing its total to 30 in Ireland in the next three years. With Envisage’s software increasing the automation of the chain’s back-office systems, Jump Juice Bars will be able to generate management accounts in one week instead of four. The New Year will see Envisage fine-tune its offering; for example, it plans to introduce a scanning solution to handle direct supplier invoices. It will also finalise its app’s move to the cloud, with the Mr Price Group to be the first users to go live on its cloud retail module in January. Stock-in-trade The seeds of Galway-based software provider DigiTally were sown way back when its CEO Patrick McDermott ran a business called Stocktaking.ie. Providing a service that put teams into client premises to scan barcodes and stocktake, this gave McDermott first-hand knowledge of the amount of work involved in the process – as well as the problems that arose most often. He says businesses began to really run into trouble when they started to increase the size of their deli/bakery sections. “Fresh food has no barcodes, so the only way to report on it is to manually write down figures and put them into an Excel spreadsheet, which is quite inefficient,” he says. “If a café or deli buys a bottle of Coca Cola, they sell a bottle of Coca Cola, but with fresh food they essentially buy ingredients and sell recipes.” With DigiTally’s software, these businesses can do their reporting on the same day as they do their

The DigiTally solution

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stocktake, which means they can react much faster if profitability is being eroded. “With food being perishable, there’s no point coming back next week and saying you didn’t have good results. Factors like food waste and portion control contribute to poor margins, which means the business is not optimised.” The food-tech company got its first customer in January 2018 and is now in over 200 sites around Ireland. These span the hospitality, deli and contract catering sectors and include clients such as Spar and Compass Group. The company now also has a member of staff in the UK to start getting customers on board there. According to McDermott, DigiTally’s software is unique in that it offers a comprehensive solution as opposed to the more piecemeal solutions available elsewhere. For example, while there are apps to help with food waste and others to look at pricing and margins, DigiTally combines these elements into the one dashboard. It goes without saying that the past two years have not been the easiest of times to win business in the hospitality sector, given that so much of it has been either closed or undertrading. However, says McDermott, the requirement to manage profit doesn’t go away. “Our tool helps staff to be more productive, with the key benefits being increased margins, a reduction in food waste and a boost in operational efficiency.” The company has received feedback from some customers saying that the software is saving them 25 hours per site per month. “They see a really tangible difference,” says McDermott. “It’s not just a piece of software that’s a ‘nice to have’, but rather an important part of the business’s operation.”

“Our tool helps staff to be more productive, with the key benefits being increased margins, a reduction in food waste and a boost in operational efficiency.”

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IN GOOD

SHAPE

Sisters Marie Duffy and Edel Littleton seem to be onto something with their meal planner concept aimed at gyms and individuals. A purely online business founded in 2018, Shape My Plan has built up a sense of community among members along with forging strategic alliances with Irish brands. Q: How did you come up with the idea for Shape My Plan? Marie Duffy (MD): When I joined a gym with Edel a few years ago we realised there was a distinct lack of family-friendly meal plans available for people like me who wanted to lose weight. Having an interest in nutrition, Edel worked out how many calories I should be eating and shared ideas and recipes with me (she has since qualified as a health and nutrition coach). I have over 18 years’ experience in retail, including as marketing manager for a large pharmacy group. Together we could see we had stumbled on a gap in the market for a ready-made meal plan solution for the fitness industry and individuals. We hired digital marketing agency Webbiz to develop a website and got busy creating recipes, working out the exact calories and macros for each one – this took us months at our kitchen tables. The result was ShapeMyplan.com, an easy-to-use online meal planner with over 4,000 simple, family-friendly recipes, all tailored to the user’s goals. Q: How have you developed the business since it launched? MD: A year after launching, we carried out research amongst our audience and identified features they wanted to see on the site. In addition to the core meal plan service, we added new features such as shopping lists, progression logs and a search-by-recipe facility. As finalists in the Irish Fitness Industry Awards in 2019, we got to meet lots of gym owners and tell

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them our story, which led to sign-ups. The gym side of the business was growing prior to the pandemic and we had signed up a number of large gym chains with a few more in the pipeline. When the gyms closed they paused or cancelled their subscriptions so we pivoted our attention to sell directly to individual clients – a strategy that has reaped rewards. We welcomed the 12,000th member to our online meal plan in November 2021. Seeing that our Facebook members page was strengthening and a sense of community evolving, we wanted to enhance this and really offer our members their own unique platform. During lockdown, we developed our own app where we run a six-week Health Kick programme launched last May. Q: What has happened since with the gyms side of the business? MD: As gyms began to refocus their business to online workouts due to the pandemic we saw them signing up again. The bigger gym groups that had to close their doors have mostly returned to us and we have won new gym business too. There are currently over 100 gyms providing our platform to their clients. Feedback from the gym owners was that they were seeing their existing clients talking about shifting the “Covid stone” as people’s relationship with food seems to have been on a rollercoaster throughout the pandemic. Their clients needed to eat better as well as exercise. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

Q: What would you say you are doing that is compelling and different? MD: Our aim was always to provide a meal plan for people that was healthy, family-friendly, flexible and made up of ingredients that are readily available in your local supermarket – something non-restrictive that you can really stick to so it becomes part of a healthy lifestyle for the long term. The six-week Health Kick programme delivered through our app educates our members on many aspects of health – from food, mindset and exercise to sleep and stress management. This is all reinforced with daily accountability and unlimited one-to-one support from us. Q: What role has strategic alliances with partner brands played? MD: At the beginning, we picked a couple of businesses that we wanted associated with us on the site, such as Chopped, to give us credibility and have more ‘on the go’ options for our clients. From there, we developed partnerships with numerous Irish brands that feature their recipes in our meal plans such as Dublin Meat Company, Avonmore Protein Milk, Cali Cali, Fulfil bars and Manhattan Popcorn. This is quite unusual as most meal planners would use generic ingredients, but we wanted to support Irish and offer options for clients who needed to pull into a garage to grab a snack, for example, and still stay within their goals. Shape My Plan members can also avail of special offers from a range of fitness-related partner brands such as Skechers and Peachy Lean.

Q: What potential do you see for the business going forward? MD: The app has allowed us to really get to know our members and to support and guide them as they start to make changes to their health. This is one area we really want to develop. Now that we’re growing in size, we would like to be in a position to scale the business and look at hiring health coaches to help deliver our programmes via our app. Since we launched the app during Covid-19 we now feel we can offer corporates a package that is perfect for those working from home or the office. The companies we have worked “When the gyms with so far – Permanent TSB, closed they paused Queally Group and BWG or cancelled their – all approached us. Before subscriptions so we Covid-19, we went to their pivoted our premises and talked about attention to sell my weight-loss journey and directly to individual provided hints and tips for clients – a strategy employees juggling home and that has reaped work struggles. rewards.” The corporate programme we have now designed offers employees a social connection through a virtual hub, where they can communicate with and encourage each other. They can do step challenges on the app for some healthy competition, check in daily with their goals, share what they cooked for lunch/dinner and have one-to-one support from us if they need it.

Edel Littleton and Marie Duffy, Co-founders, Shape My Plan

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MENTORS

MENTOR: CARMEL OWENS

Carmel Owens, Chief Executive Officer, Sidero

MISSION CRITICAL Appointed Chief Executive Officer of Athlone-based company Sidero in March 2021 after a long career in technology, Carmel Owens is at the coalface of the accelerating digital transformation trend and what it means to different types of businesses.

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With over 20 years’ experience in the technology sector having held numerous senior executive roles at the likes of Version 1, Dell EMC and Sungard Availability Services, Carmel Owens has observed dramatic changes in technology adoption throughout her career. “I was working for Horizon Open Systems in 1997/98 when it built

the first SMS server for Eircell and around 2001 I remember talking about the opportunity that existed for wireless application protocol [WAP] services and mobile phones. It’s incredible to reflect on how far we’ve come since then,” she says. “It’s no secret that there has been a huge increase in technology adoption in the past two years as Covid-19 forced us overnight to work from home and deliver services remotely to our customers. At this point the focus is more on the fact that what digital offers companies is agility. There was a lot of talk about cloud before the pandemic, but really it has proved the business model once and for all – it’s not all about saving money, but being able to respond better to customers’ needs.” In 2021, Sidero published an insights report which found that Irish companies planned to spend on average €560,000 on cloud and digital services, technologies and investments last year InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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MENTORS

CARMEL OWENS ON… TECH IN THE BOARDROOM “Businesses used to see technology as an aside and a cost. Now it’s very much on the C-suite agenda as it’s viewed as an enabler for competition. Senior leaders understand that and put projects and budgets in place much more readily.” RESOURCES CHALLENGE “Our research has found that the cost of IT skills shortages to the average Irish business in 2020 was €295,000. For 36% of organisations across the island, lacking the required skills and resources is hampering their digital transformation.” WOMEN IN STEM “You don’t have to be a coder to work in the tech sector. There are so many other options. I studied computer science but quickly realised I wouldn’t be a programmer. I moved into pre-sales and consulting and from there to sales and it’s been a fantastic career choice.”

with 86% of the 119 IT leaders surveyed intending to move more applications and workloads to the cloud. Entitled ‘The Future of Work is Agile’, the report revealed that 61% of respondents were planning to increase levels of digital transformation in 2021. “The big emphasis now is all around data and what companies can get from it to help drive their understanding of customer requirements. At the end of the day it’s about stealing the march on the competition – €560,000 is a huge investment, but companies are InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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only going to spend an amount like that if they feel they are going to gain competitive advantage,” says Owens. “We have seen companies execute this really well, for example in fintech, but it has been difficult for some in traditional industries with large legacy platforms, which have had to push harder to catch up with new market entrants.” DEMAND-DRIVEN GROWTH Last November, Sidero announced the creation of 75 jobs at its Athlone, Co Roscommon base over the next two years, following an investment of €4.5m, as a direct response to growing customer demand for digital transformation services. Founded in 2013, the software, cloud and digital transformation specialist currently employs 150 people there and builds mission-critical software for large Irish and global clients, primarily in the financial services, utilities and public sectors. One of the traditional businesses Sidero has helped to transform is Capital Water, which delivers monitoring and management services to clients in the water and wastewater industry across Ireland. Manual processes were required to identify and remedy incorrect data points, which were both time-consuming and prone to errors. “We worked with Capital Water to develop a web-based platform that can manage data feeds from the sensors doing the monitoring. This telemetric hosting system provides its clients with up-to-date, live diagnostics of their project,” Owens explains. “The centralised collection and collation of all telemetry data allows Capital Water to reduce the manual overhead of reporting by up to 75%. Our future-proofed solution is

“In devising digital strategies, organisations need to incorporate a cloud and digital focus that allows greater efficiencies, economies of scale and ultimately better business outcomes.”

enabling Capital Water to deliver faster, more accurate and more transparent results to clients. It also provides the organisation with a scalable platform for sustained growth.” Owens is keen to point out that there isn’t one-size-fits-all when it comes to digital transformation and the benefits that result from it will depend on each individual business. “It all starts with devising a digital strategy and what you’re trying to achieve. In devising these strategies, organisations need to incorporate a cloud and digital focus that allows greater efficiencies, economies of scale and ultimately better business outcomes,” she says. “Sometimes the benefits come from the efficiencies achieved by deploying technologies which enable companies to roll out new product or services offerings more quickly. A big area at the moment is upgrading systems to give customers the ability to self-serve and switch on to new services. In retail in particular, we have seen how cloud services give businesses the ability to cope with sharp peaks and troughs in demand,” she says. Sidero recently helped UK software company FormPak to move to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. A provider of solutions to companies in the formulation and ingredients sectors, FormPak was facing challenges in terms of scaling up and adding new customers. “The deployment of an SaaS application saved FormPak an initial capital investment and enables a fully remote model with no physical infrastructure or maintenance required. Through the use of templates and automation, the on-boarding of new clients is completed within 15-20 minutes instead of two to three weeks,” says Owens.

Carmel Owens, Chief Executive Officer, Sidero

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SKILLS & &&TALENT

GE T TI

NG A

LEG UP

For over three years, Alanna Carty, Commercial Director at OrthoXel, has been instrumental in developing the medical device company’s exporting capability to the point where its devices have made it onto the US market.

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rthoXel was founded in 2014 by a diverse leadership team of four people with significant experience in orthopaedics, biomechanics, entrepreneurship and the medical device industry. Engineers Pat O’Connor and Charles Daly partnered with Prof James Harty from Cork University Hospital and Hannah Dailey of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania in the US to develop a novel solution for treating tibial and femoral fractures. The Cork-based company has introduced the world’s first intramedullary nail with controlled micromotion fixation, which a pilot clinical study has shown to result in a 20% reduction in healing time when compared to a standard nail in static InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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SKILLS AND TALENT

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CONNECTIONS AND INSIGHTS Making key connections has been important for Carty in developing her exporting knowhow. “Barry Skillington, Chief Commercial Officer of Atlantia Clinical Trials in Cork, was part of the senior executive Q&A session in our first exporting workshop. I have stayed in touch with him ever since and he advised me on how to go about setting up an office in the US. At another Enterprise Ireland event I met a vice president for supply chain from one of the big group purchasing organisations. Staying connected with people you come in contact with at events is really beneficial if you make the most of it.” After the workshops, Carty undertook a project with American life sciences consulting firm Strategy Inc. This involved working with 22 orthopaedic surgeons to gain an understanding of how they related to the technology within the OrthoXel nail, whether they could see the benefits and would be willing to pay a premium for that. At the same time, the project gave OrthoXel access to 20 healthcare economics people to gain insight into purchasing decisions and value analysis within hospitals. “Maximising margins and reducing overheads are hugely influencing factors in what new technologies get adopted. Everything is about helping the bottom line,” Carty notes. OrthoXel’s two products, the Apex Tibial Nailing System and the Apex Femoral Nailing System, are now approved for use in the US and Ireland. It secured its first contract in the US at the end of 2019 with a hospital in New Jersey and is in negotiations with another American hospital. In Ireland, the systems have been approved for use at Cork University Hospital. OrthoXel’s nails are manufactured in Switzerland and are CEmarked. “A surgeon at the New Jersey hospital had a professional relationship with Hannah, having worked on research projects with her, so that led to our initial meeting there. It took almost two years of discussions to get to a purchasing agreement and the nail being used by him,” says Carty. OrthoXel recently increased its team from nine to 13 people. “We are expanding rapidly. I am still mainly responsible for making sure exports go smoothly, but our new Head of Supply Chain and Finance Manager will be significant in progressing our capability further,” says Carty.

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locking mode. Its flagship tibial and femoral products grew out of five years of research and development in the Medical Engineering Design and Innovation Centre at Cork Institute of Technology. While the innovativeness and costeffectiveness of OrthoXel’s solutions were clear, there was a gap in the co-founders’ joint knowledge and experience: how to manage the export process. Commercial Director Alanna Carty joined OrthoXel in 2018, and since then has spearheaded the acquisition of this important capability for the company. She has extensive directorlevel experience in marketing roles in the US and EMEA regions, including in the life sciences industry. “I did a huge amount of analysis of average selling prices for medical devices across 36 countries, with the support of Enterprise Ireland’s Market Discovery Fund and Market Research Grant. From this, it looked like the US should be our primary market because of its pricing structure, business model and common language,” she explains. In 2019, Carty attended two Enterprise Ireland workshops – Essentials of Exporting (now called Export Compass) followed by Exporter Development a couple of months later. “The first one was really useful in figuring out what we needed to do to actually get our devices into the hands of surgeons,” she says. “It provided a roadmap in terms of how to use data to position ourselves, obtain the best pricing and open doors.” CEO Pat O’Connor went with Carty to the second workshop, which was more in-depth. “Having the export process run smoothly was business-critical for us. A lot that went on and came out of that workshop was the foundation for us to build to where we are now.” This included getting to grips with the incredibly complicated regulatory requirements associated with importing a medical device into the US as well as understanding how the hospital payment system works there. “We learned that it’s a federal requirement that a company with a physical office in the US is registered as a device initial importer. We have appointed GlobalMed Logistix as our device initial importer and are working on having them as our third-party logistics partner for the US,” says Carty. “There can be a 90-day window from the time we ship products to the US to getting paid. This became crucial information and had to be taken into consideration as part of our exporting business plan.”

“Having the export process run smoothly was business-critical for us. A lot that came out of the workshop was the foundation for us to build to where we are now.”

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MEDIA & MARKETING

EXPERIENCE COUNTS In an increasingly competitive marketplace, customer experience is coming to the fore as a key way for brands to truly differentiate themselves – but it has to be seamless and consistent across channels, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

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ho among us doesn’t have a tale of being stuck on the phone for an hour or more trying to sort out a problem with a service provider, or being told one thing by a chatbot and another by someone in a contact centre or store? Recent research published by Gartner predicted that, throughout 2022, 50% of large organisations will have failed to unify engagement channels, resulting in a disjointed and siloed customer experience (CX) that lacks context. To remedy this, Gartner’s

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Cathy Summers, CEO, The CX Company

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MEDIA & MARKETING

Digital Commerce for Marketing Leaders 2021 study advises that organisations should deliver “frictionless omnichannel experiences to create more connected experiences for customers and further drive digital commerce”. This is something which Cathy Summers, CEO of The CX Company, also advocates, having observed in the past two years in particular how the growth of digital interactions can have a negative impact on CX. “Digital is here to stay and customers want to do lots of things online in their own time without having to speak to anyone. But when they have an issue or complex query they really need the human support to help them,” she says. “There has been a huge investment in digital over the past number of years but in many cases it has been driven by the needs of the company, ie to save costs, than the needs of the customer. It ends up being a false economy because customers get frustrated and annoyed when they can’t use the technology or have an issue.” Founded by Chairman Michael Killeen in 2015, The CX Company conducts an annual survey of around 2,500 Irish consumers, rating their experiences with brands across numerous different sectors. “Our 2021 survey of 151 brands revealed an overall decline in CX of 4.4%, the biggest drop year-on-year since the survey began. Ireland’s CX performance is now at a seven-year low, having recorded a cumulative decline of 10.8% since 2015. Part of that is caused by not getting the balance right between digital and human,” says Summers. “Whereas customers cut companies some slack during Covid-19 as they struggled to adapt to new processes and procedures, that goodwill is fading fast and people have a lot less tolerance for failure now. We have observed too that customers aged over 55 are less tolerant than younger people. They are more irritated by having to change their behaviours because a brand imposes it on them.” BEST PRACTICE LEADERS The one thing all of the brands in The CX Company’s top ten for 2021 have in common is a continued focus on customers and building everything they do around them. “These brands listen to what their customers say and act upon it, adapting processes accordingly. The ability to fix issues and put customers back in the position they were in, or better, is a huge factor in their success,” notes Summers. “There is no one thing or silver bullet that will improve CX. It has a lot to do with getting the little things right – using a customer’s name, smiling at them, keeping them updated on an order. Being able to identify and remove pain points is key. This can be done through customer journey mapping – literally walking through every step a customer takes with you and capturing and listening to their feedback.” With this in mind, a challenge with digital is that most online interactions are purely transactional – there is no opportunity to make the emotional connections required to build strong customer relationships, she adds. “Companies need to recognise where humans are best used in the process. Making sure they are educated, empowered and enabled to InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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“Whereas customers cut companies some slack during Covid-19 as they struggled to adapt, that goodwill is fading fast and people have a lot less tolerance for failure now.”

deliver the right experience for customers is key to CX success. “One of the reasons An Post Money jumped 40 places to Number 20 in our league table was the ability to go into an outlet and speak to someone about financial matters. This is also why the Irish Credit Union has maintained its Number 1 position for years and that there are five pharmacies in the top ten for 2021 – it’s that personal touch and the fact that these brands have done a great job in embedding themselves in communities. They reassured customers during a difficult time and exceeded their expectations by going the extra mile.” Smyths Toys was the top retail brand in 2021, jumping 30 places to come in second overall. “Being one of only 13% of brands that improved their overall CX score in 2021, Smyths Toys was extremely agile during Covid-19. It was able to adapt its online offering and provide the right levels of support to help its customers when they were unable to come into the store,” says Summers. “CX is one of the fastest-growing business disciplines now because companies around the globe recognise that it is the only way they can truly differentiate from competitors when both product and price are similar. Indeed, a 2020 study by experience management firm Walker found that CX will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Research has consistently shown that companies that excel at CX grow revenues above their market and are financially more successful than those that are laggards. “Companies must ensure that whatever they’re promising they can deliver on. Consistent, clear messaging is very important. Customers and CX must be a core part of a company’s overall strategy and all departments need to work together to plan and deliver on CX activities – it’s not a project, it’s how you conduct your business and believing that doing the right thing for the customer will result in business benefits.”

TOP TEN IRISH BRANDS BY CX SCORE • Irish Credit Union • Smyths Toys • Hickey’s Pharmacy • Butlers Chocolates • McCabes Pharmacy • LloydsPharmacy • Nespresso • McCauley Health and Beauty • Boots • Shaws Department Stores/Aldi Source: The CX Company CXi Survey 2021

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EXPERT ADVICE

Beyond Security: Cisco Meraki MV Smart Cameras The power of the cloud underpins an innovative security camera management system that cuts through complexity, offers business insights and efficiency, says Joe Weiss, WW Leader – IoT and Edge Intelligence, Cisco Meraki.

Cisco Meraki MV2 Indoor Flex Camera

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ome of the best innovations come from solving a problem. When Meraki, the cloud networking division of Cisco, had a break-in at their office, staff found it incredibly complicated to access the video evidence from CCTV cameras to provide it to the police. Joe Weiss, WW Leader – IoT and Edge Intelligence, Cisco Meraki, recalls, “Two of our engineers got really frustrated with it and they said, ‘We can do better than that. We have an amazing cloud that we can use to centrally manage devices. Why don’t we build a better version of a security camera to solve our problems?’” And that’s exactly what they did, with Meraki’s cloud networking service underpinning the workspace for managing, deploying and leveraging security devices, such as cameras and sensors, with dedicated mobile and web apps. Now, instead of travelling to a site to extract information, and wading through hours of grainy CCTV footage, Meraki MV smart cameras and the Meraki cloud-first platform offer a smart and flexible solution to business security. “Many of our small business customers had been buying a consumer product and trying to put that in their business space. And what ends up happening is, if it’s not fit for

Joe Weiss, WW Leader – IoT and Edge Intelligence Cisco Meraki

purpose, it ends up costing them an awful lot more,” states Weiss. “When you think of Cisco, you probably think ‘Those are the guys that built the internet, they might be too big for my business’. In fact, when it comes to our cameras and sensors, more than half of my customer base are small business customers.” BUSINESS INSIGHTS While the Meraki cameras do the job of a security camera, as you would expect, there is much functionality to offer. Ease of use and access to footage is of course the main problem that the Meraki engineers set out to solve, and the dashboard allows you to log in, quickly select a site, camera and day and time, find the footage you want, export and share it. However, with artificial intelligence and business insights the use cases are evolving along with the technology. “Every one of the smart cameras, when you plug them in, will tell you when a person has entered a room, how many people are in the space, and will track those people across spaces and give you heat maps, but all of this in a very privacy-focused way. There is no facial recognition in our platform by design.” This data-rich output allows retailers to see what areas of the shop customers are drawn to and gives insights into how successful merchandising is and empowers

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EXPERT ADVICE

restaurateurs to see when they are busiest and allocate staff accordingly. “They’re using the cameras to understand trends and flows of people, and they’re using the heat maps that come out of the box to understand where people actually go.” Now, with Covid-19 restrictions, the system can be used to ensure space is allocated safely with social distancing, and alert employers to which areas have been used and require cleaning. TRUSTED SECURITY Meraki also worked with governments around the world on the vaccine rollout, coming up with a solution using sensors on storage fridge doors in tandem with cameras, to keep track of entry and access to fridges, and ensure precious vaccine supplies were not spoilt: “If the fridge was left ajar for more than 10 seconds, a text message is sent to the team, so they can go to investigate and close the fridge.” Business customers can rest assured that with Cisco they are buying into one of the most trusted names in the business. Weiss underlines, “Anytime you buy a product from Cisco, you know that it’s secure. All our products are backed by Cisco Talos, the largest private threat intelligence and research team in the world. “We’ve been in this space for 35 years. When we build a product, whether it is cloud managed or on premises, and we put that Cisco badge on it, that means something to our customers.” ECONOMIC IMPACT Not only does the Meraki MV smart camera offer data and insights beyond a traditional security system, but, according to a study on the economic impact, conducted by Forrester Consulting, Meraki MVs deliver: ● A three-year 43% return on investment (ROI) with a payback period of ten months

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EVERY ONE OF THE SMART CAMERAS, WHEN YOU PLUG THEM IN, WILL TELL YOU WHEN A PERSON HAS ENTERED A ROOM, HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN THE SPACE. ● Up to 75% savings in maintenance costs: maintain hardware, software, firmware, and configuration updates ● Up to 60% reduction of video storage costs compared to legacy on-premises video surveillance systems ● Up to 98% time savings to access and share video footage compared to their previous traditional system A 50% time decrease for managers who were able to delegate to staff With a 5-year hardware warranty and 24/7 phone and email support, Weiss concludes, the advantage of choosing Cisco Meraki is being able to plug it in and not have to worry about it any further. “They’re just going to work, and they’re going to be secure. That’s what we bring to the table at Cisco that’s

differentiated—that holistic view.” It’s a timely solution when, in the rest of our daily lives, we are surrounded by high-quality video footage from the television we stream to the social media channels we create content on. With the Meraki MV system, security has levelled up to operate more efficiently, eliminate complexity, and respond to new challenges. Meraki’s innovative solutions are not only bringing security systems up to date with easily accessible footage but opening up new horizons with fresh business insights. To learn more about Meraki MV, see meraki.cisco.com/m/ physical-security/overview/ or exertis.ie/cisco-info For enquiries email Ireland.Cisco@exertis.com

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EXPERT ADVICE

TIPS:

How businesses can get ahead in 2022 Top Tips:

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s we 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 but as they exit survival mode, Margaret Hearty, Chief Executive Officer of InterTradeIreland advises, “It’s important to invest in new skills and technologies to aid recovery and growth.”

Margaret Hearty, Chief Executive Officer, InterTradeIreland

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.

1. BEING ONLINE The pandemic accelerated the shift to online and during this time, online sales grew exponentially. 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, which started during the pandemic to help small businesses improve their online presence, has supported over 1,000 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.

2. INNOVATION CHALLENGES Covid-19 has meant that firms may now be removed from their colleagues/customer base and collaboration has been affected. Despite businesses struggling, investment in innovation has been resilient in 2021 and in some sectors has exceeded expectations. In 2022, the green economy is forecasted to dominate the agenda and become a key driver of growth. 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 development To find out more about of an all-island biomap InterTradeIreland supports, by the Irish Bioeconomy call 028 3083 4100 or visit Foundation.

www.intertradeireland.com

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3. 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 €8.6bn. For firms who wish to increase their sales and grow their business cross-border trade should be a logical step for the New Year. In addition to our Post-Brexit advice we can help firms gain the knowledge to win new business through our sales development programmes, such as the Trade Accelerator Voucher, Elevate and Acumen. 4. BOOST SALES Your business strategy should reflect how you can increase your sales and funding. The public procurement market on the island is currently valued at €13bn PA, with €9bn in Ireland. 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 or for more established firms, we can offer advice and expertise through our Equity Advisory and Funding Advisory services. This year will bring challenges but more importantly, new opportunities for firms across Ireland. For businesses who are ready to explore these, InterTradeIreland is here to help.

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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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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Seizing the New Everyday Secure connectivity is helping colleagues collaborate better and allowing for more seamless interactions with customers, empowering businesses to operate in a hybrid working world.

T

he traditional model of work has transformed in front of our eyes into a hybrid working world and adapting to these changes means not only altering how we work, but also how we live. The vast shift in dynamic that we have all experienced as we move toward remote working is forcing businesses to reassess past methods and to think about the future of work, as well as highlighting areas which could be improved upon. It is also prompting questions such as ‘What can we do better?’

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and ‘Do we want to go back to the old ways?’ With these questions in mind, businesses across Ireland are looking forward to the future and reimagining what can be done in the years and decades to come. Virgin Media are helping businesses and employees across Ireland to get ready to seize their new everyday and move into the unknown beyond. Underpinning any future advancements will be digital technology, in particular, the sort of hybrid working technology which has already become essential for many businesses.

DRIVING PROGRESS With Ireland’s fastest broadband network delivering speeds of up to 1Gb, and recently awarded with Chambers Recognition Award for Best Business Broadband Provider for 2021, Virgin Media can help to support this reimagining of the future by providing access to the best connectivity. Network infrastructure has the power to drive progress, but it also has the ability to hold it back, so in order to keep up with the rapid pace of change occurring at present, it’s important to have a network which allows for that. Virgin Media’s networks pave the way for flexible work, while still ensuring security and efficiency. The network is also adaptable, allowing businesses to make any necessary changes, such as scaling up and down, quickly and painlessly. This means that no matter what new opportunities the future holds, you and your staff will always be connected and ready to adapt. Virgin Media are also looking to the future and the opportunities

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

it presents, with plans to invest €200 million to upgrade their broadband network to full fibre which could see speeds of up to 10Gbps delivered to homes and businesses across the country. PROTECT YOUR DATA Connectivity alone is not enough to make the most of the opportunities for businesses in the months and years to come, however Virgin Media can also provide advice and guidance on the tools and techniques that will help you succeed in taking this chance to rebuild even bigger and better than before. One area where businesses may require advice and guidance is around cybersecurity, with frequent and high-profile ransomware attacks over the last year putting it on the top of the agenda for many. The rise of remote working has also left some businesses at risk of attack, particularly if the right protections are not in place. Virgin Media can help shield your organisation from cybercrime, with a variety of defences for your network, your end-user apps, your devices and more. One of the ways Virgin Media can help to protect your data is through a next generation cloudbased solution, known as SD-WAN (software-defined networking in a wide area network). SD-WAN connects enterprise networks including across different sites and data centres with more open and flexible hardware. This allows larger organisations to access cloud data, applications and software-asa-service (SaaS)-based offerings from across multiple branch sites. SD-WAN provides businesses with the tools to monitor and control access to data and systems in real time based on people’s clearance levels. As it does not require any additional services or bandwidth to access the cloud-based application, SD-WAN is a quick and costeffective way for businesses to

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optimise and modernise their systems, ensuring they are staying up-to-date with internal and industry security standards. Not only does this ensure that customers and employees data is kept safe, but it also provides comfort to business owners who can relax knowing that their brand reputation and bottom line is not in danger despite the risks around working remotely. CULTURE OF EMPOWERMENT Working from home may raise some security concerns, but it also empowers your staff to do their job wherever they are, whenever it matters, in a way that works best for everyone. At Virgin Media, we know and have seen first-hand how empowerment starts with culture and leadership, yet we are also aware how important technology is in making it possible. The proper communication

VIRGIN MEDIA ARE HELPING BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYEES ACROSS IRELAND TO GET READY TO SEIZE THEIR NEW EVERYDAY AND MOVE INTO THE UNKNOWN BEYOND. platform, or mobile technology, when underpinned by our reliable and secure connectivity, can help colleagues collaborate better and can also allow for more seamless interactions with customers. This allows people to carry out their role within your business in a healthy and sustainable way in this new work environment, while also improving productivity be that at home, in the office, or anywhere else. Virgin Media can help you to adapt to changes, to define to your new everyday in a way that works for you, and to look beyond today to what is possible in years to come.

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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

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21/12/2021 14/12/2021 14:02 09:58


A ROUND-UP OF ALL THE NEWS AND EVENTS FROM THE CHAMBER NETWORK NATIONWIDE

CHAMBERS NEWS

Billy Walsh, Head Coach of USA Boxing (centre) with Lorcan Kinsella, Vice President, and Emma Dunphy, acting CEO, County Wexford Chamber

Boxing clever in Wexford World-champion boxing coach Billy Walsh was guest speaker at the Wexford County Chamber President’s Lunch, which was attended by business leaders from across the county in November. The theme of newly appointed Chamber President Brendan Crowley’s message was team spirit and Walsh spoke about five key lessons in relation to Olympic boxing success, one of which was about the need to get the culture right. “By fostering that pro-Wexford team spirit where agencies, businesses and individuals work to support each other, we can become a leading light as a sustainable, vibrant and productive economic area that supports business growth and employment,” said Crowley, who is Managing Director of Wexford Bus.

Budget briefing success in Dundalk

CHAMBER COMMENT

“A more appropriate and effective system of supporting businesses in the longer term will need to be devised early in the New Year. The rolling threat of a cliff-edge cut-off to supports in place for employers must end in 2022.” Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland on Covid-19 supports to businesses

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Sean Farrell, President, Dundalk Chamber

Dundalk Chamber held its annual Budget Breakfast on Zoom on 13 October. Sponsored by PayPal, the event was a huge success with over 140 local businesses logged on to the event. Attendees from financial and professional services and the wider business community came out early to hear speaker Nathan Doherty, Director, Tax & Law at Ernst & Young, unravel the complexities of Budget 2022. According to Sean Farrell, President, Dundalk Chamber, Doherty gave an excellent overview of the submissions made by organisations and the actual Budget itself.

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CHAMBERS NEWS

Sustainability push from DLR Chamber

Rosemary O’ Driscoll, WWETB, Edmond Connolly, SERSF, Oren Byrne, D&WW Chamber and Jason Ryan, Dungarvan College

Tackling the workforce shortage

Practical and collaborative solutions to the workforce and skills shortage in Co Waterford were outlined to large employers at a recent Dungarvan & West Waterford (D&WW) Chamber industry lunch. The Chamber is working with partners to future-proof employment for the area. At the lunch event, Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board outlined the education pathways offered in Dungarvan College and how the college proactively connects with local employers. South East Regional Skills Forum summarised the skills and training on offer to businesses and D&WW Chamber updated attendees on the multi-agency Tailored Employment Initiative.

In November, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown (DLR) Chamber introduced the Sustainability Leaders Programme, consisting of live mentoring and support workshops focused on providing real-world industry examples and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Funded by Skillnet Ireland, the programme has the dual target of developing trainee skills at an individual level and delivering tangible impacts at organisational level. The workshops cover understanding the UN Sustainability Development Goals, identifying sustainability priorities, defining sustainability goals and integrating sustainability into an organisation’s way of doing business. DLR Chamber also launched its ‘Sustainability 101 and Climate Strategy Training Programme 2022’ last November.

Water conservation leadership Shannon, Co Clare is the second town in Ireland to take part in Irish Water’s Sustainable Water Towns Initiative in partnership with Chambers Ireland. Irish Water invited businesses to attend a Shannon Chamber online masterclass in October entitled ‘Water Conservation for Business’. Those taking part were asked to take the ‘Water Conversation Pledge’, where they pledged to become water conservation champions, made a commitment to learn to identify and compare water waste or use water-efficient devices. “Enabling companies to monitor and reduce their water consumption is a very positive move both towards lowering operating costs and helping the environment,” said Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber.

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Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber and Duane O’Brien, Regional Operations Lead for Irish Water

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22/12/2021 10:17


CHAMBERS NEWS

CHAMBER COMMENT “This announcement marks a very positive step towards the regularisation of thousands of migrants who add immense value to our economy, local communities and society as a whole.” Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland on the scheme to regularise the undocumented

Johanna Murphy, President, Cobh & Harbour Chamber and Cormac Gebruers, Head of the National Maritime College of Ireland

Zooming in on breakfast briefings

Cobh & Harbour Chamber recently wrapped up a successful Breakfast Briefing Series for 2021, which was sponsored by the Port of Cork. Over 12 months, both members and non-members participated in the online series of thought leadership events. Highlights included a leadership panel event entitled ‘Cork Harbour – An International Energy Hub’ and ‘Marketing in the New Now’ and ‘Pandemic Funding Supports’ workshops. Developers of the Covid-19 vaccine Pfizer Ireland gave a presentation on operations in Ringaskiddy and Singapore in September and Head of the National Maritime College of Ireland Cormac Gebruers completed the series last October.

CHAMBER CAPTION

Mary McCarthy, Director, and Dyane Hanrahan, Marketing & Communications Manager, Crawford Art Gallery, which was named as Cork’s overall Digital Marketing Legend 2021 at the Cork Digital Marketing Awards held by Cork Chamber in October

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North Runway consultation welcomed Fingal Chamber has welcomed the Aircraft Noise Competent Authority’s 14-week public consultation process regarding nighttime restrictions on Dublin Airport’s new North Runway. Fingal Chamber CEO Anthony Cooney said that now, more than ever, it is critically important that the right decision is taken to enable Dublin Airport the operational flexibility to grow so that local and national businesses can build resilience and flourish. “Dublin Airport is the economic engine of Fingal, supporting more than 20,000 direct jobs on its campus. It is Ireland’s main international gateway providing vital connectivity across the globe, supporting Irish trade, tourism, and foreign direct investment,” he said.

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22/12/2021 10:18


CHAMBER CEO Q&A

Caroline Hofman, CEO, Laois Chamber

Onwards and upwards InBusiness caught up with Caroline Hofman, who took over as CEO of Laois Chamber in July 2021 as the youngest Chamber CEO in the country. Q: How have things been going since your appointment? A: The pandemic has shown the resilience and strength of businesses throughout Laois and the Chamber has continued to grow our membership since its re-establishment in 2019. We have continued to hold our monthly networking events, albeit online, but these have been really positive. We also held a virtual Budget 2022 event in collaboration with County Tipperary Chamber which was a great success. In November, we launched a Love Laois 2022 calendar in collaboration with Laois County Council and Laois Tourism, with all proceeds being donated to SOSAD Laois Branch. Q: What is the current business sentiment and outlook in Laois? A: I think the pandemic has made people become more aware of the fantastic businesses that we have here on our doorstep and the wonderful tourist attractions that Laois has to offer. It has also encouraged people to shop locally and support local businesses. I would hope that this continues on an upward trajectory into 2022. Q: Any developments in your region that should stimulate business growth? A: It was great to see the formal establishment of the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest in October and to see plans for the Technological University of the SouthEast being established in 2022. Laois is the ideal location for business, and with so many third-level campuses located within a short distance of the county, we have access to an excellent pool of talent. It has also been encouraging to see continued building and expansion of companies in J17

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“Laois is the ideal location for business, and with so many third-level campuses located within a short distance of the county, we have access to an excellent pool of talent.”

National Enterprise Park in Portlaoise and other sites throughout the county. We have excellent remote working facilities in the county, with a remote working hub located in every town in Laois. The benefits of using these hubs are far-reaching; they are increasing footfall in our towns, which in turn positively impacts retailers and local businesses. Q: What are your priorities as CEO going into 2022? A: I will continue lobbying on behalf of our members in all sectors on various issues and also ensure the correct Government supports are in place for businesses that have been most impacted by the pandemic. I am eager to see continued foreign direct investment in Laois and to build upon the recent establishment of IDA Ireland client companies N’Ware Technologies and Greenfield Global with further announcements of this scale. We are planning to hold the Laois Jobs Fair again in 2022, following the success of the February 2020 event which attracted 2,500 attendees. It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase businesses throughout Laois. We also have plans to hold our inaugural Laois Chamber Business Awards in October 2022. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

22/12/2021 10:41


CHAMBER FEATURE

COP26

– unfinished business The 26th Conference of the Parties in November was a chance to evaluate the extent to which countries are taking the actions needed to limit global warming by 1.5°C. Michaela Reilly, Policy and Research Executive at Chambers Ireland, discusses next steps.

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fter 12 days of hard-fought negotiations, the finalised Glasgow Climate Pact provides rules for a global carbon market and financial commitments to help countries to continue to adapt to climate change. With some good wins and some great losses, the most notable takeaways include that the world is definitely not on track to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C on the basis of national plans submitted to date.

In a scenario where all national climate pledges announced to date are achieved in full and on time, the International Energy Agency estimates that global warming could be kept to 1.8°C. However, the lack of firm plans for 2030 means the actual increase could be 2.4°C. Nonetheless, this still represents progress since Paris, where the world was heading for 3°C to 4°C of warming, and COP26 should be seen as part of that ongoing process that started nearly 30 years ago and now plans to continue indefinitely to tackle climate change. WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? Since the Paris Agreement, there has been a marked shift from ‘top-down’ reliance on governments taking the lead to ‘bottom-up’ action by businesses and non-governmental organisations. This was notable as beyond the political negotiations, the Glasgow gathering attracted many of the world’s top CEOs and leaders across industries, including finance, construction, aviation, agriculture, renewable energy and infrastructure. Business groups, including the International Chamber of Commerce, joined climate activists in expressing frustration that national governments were not moving aggressively enough to tackle climate change, after India and China posed last-minute objections halting a

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“For now, the business community will have to settle for a new Climate Pact that merely encourages countries to do much more to curb climate-warming carbon emissions.” commitment to end coal use and watered down the COP26 final agreement. Nonetheless, the raft of initiatives agreed during the summit did lead to some applaud. These included the ‘Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero’, the ‘H2Zero’ pledge to accelerate the use of decarbonised hydrogen, the ‘Glasgow Breakthroughs’ on technology innovation, and the establishment of a new International Sustainability Standards Board globally. Though the business community may have been looking for tangible solutions, for now, it will have to settle for a new Climate Pact that merely encourages countries to do much more to curb climate-warming carbon emissions. The ‘bottom-up’ approach will need to continue. One of the biggest messages businesses can take from the summit is that they should continue to reassess business strategies and carbon footprints to reap rewards, or lag and risk losses.

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22/12/2021 10:07


CHAMBER FEATURE

The Competitiveness Playbook

Michaela Reilly, Policy and Research Executive at Chambers Ireland, discusses the competitiveness playbook for Ireland and where we can go from here.

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reland remains a highly competitive economy by international standards, according to the latest European Semester Report. It also scores well on major World Bank and World Economic Forum competitiveness indicators, ranking among the highest economies across the globe. Ireland’s competitive and business-friendly environment can be attributed to several factors, including its highly educated and talented labour market; competitive corporation tax regime; proximity to mainland Europe and North America; common law judicial system; membership of the EU; and English as its main working language. Collectively, these make up the competitiveness playbook for Ireland. If we look at productivity, growth in this area continues to be strong. The foreign-owned multinational corporation (MNC) sector is the major driver of this, greatly improving overall competitiveness of the economy. Ireland’s main exporting industries – pharmaceuticals and electronics – are not in areas that would traditionally have been associated with Irish comparative advantages, but rather have emerged in the past number of decades stemming from foreign direct investment (FDI) in hightechnology firms where increasing returns are possible. International services also make an important contribution with over 56% of employment in foreign-owned enterprises in service jobs. This represents an increase of two-thirds in the share of employment within MNC service companies in Ireland over the past decade. With that being said, there are areas in this playbook that require reforms. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

22/12/2021 10:46


CHAMBER FEATURE

“Addressing this productivity gap and becoming more internationally focused through value-chain participation will provide huge opportunities for SMEs.” Facing the challenges The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) recently published ‘Ireland’s Competitiveness Challenge’ report highlighting the need for government to focus on ensuring the creation of a dynamic business environment that will increase the productivity of indigenous companies while progressing sustainable and inclusive business policies. Taking a closer look at the competitiveness challenges will enable the creation of far more effective strategies to counteract them. Inclusivity issue – Although improving, Ireland must address labour shortages by facilitating the access of women and vulnerable groups to the labour market, which remain relatively low. It is essential that everyone has the right to equal access to employment, training and development. A national flexible working policy is one of a number of ways that this can be addressed to ensure wider participation in the workplace among women, carers, people with disabilities and all those who experience difficulty in accessing the workplace. SME access to finance– The cost of credit for SMEs remains a concern for competitiveness. For smaller new loans to non-financial corporations (< €1m), Irish interest rates are the highest in the euro area. Weak competition in the market for SME loans is one of the main reasons for the high interest rates. Working capital also remains the most common reason for credit applications among SMEs and micro enterprises. This implies that high interest rates are likely to be deterring smaller firms, as well as those dependent on local funding sources, from applying for loans. Productivity gap – The most recent European Semester report for Ireland outlines that high productivity is based on the performance of a small number InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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of MNCs, concentrated in a few sectors, which invest large amounts in research and development. Micro enterprises can also be included in this picture of positive productivity. The NCPC, however, warns that Ireland’s economy is volatile because of this concentration of the performance of a small number of MNCs in a small number of sectors. The middle-ground SMEs have serious productivity issues, which is a cause for concern given that they make up almost 99% of active enterprises but only account for 36.6% of value added to the economy. A multitude of factors affect this, including skills and human capital, the capital stock of SMEs, access to markets, infrastructure, networks and clusters, the regulatory environment and FDI. Moreover, Irish SMEs are relatively unproductive because they do not form part of international value chains. Ireland has one of the lowest ratios of exporting SMEs in the EU – whereas SMEs that supply MNCs, either domestically or internationally, tend to be more productive, more innovative, increasingly likely to invest in their businesses, and so become more competitive relative to their peers that focus solely on the domestic market. Addressing this productivity gap and becoming more internationally focused through value-chain participation will provide huge opportunities for SMEs. This could be achieved through a targeted Action Plan for Trade for SMEs and grants to complement existing initiatives by Local Enterprise Offices. This diversification will lead to a greater diffusion of innovation, in addition to making our non-trading sectors more efficient as a result of utilising more productive inputs, and therefore help to make the economy less vulnerable to sector-specific shocks.

Digital skills shortage – The SME cohort also underperforms in digital skills, which has a negative impact on the advancement of the wider digital agenda. Digital skills are now as essential as basic numeracy and literacy skills – every business, every employee, needs digital skills enablement. Covid-19 has fundamentally restructured the world of work and accelerated the digital transformation. The challenge for Ireland is to restructure its learning model to address these challenges and use the opportunity to gain competitive advantage over European and global competitors. Ireland is currently in a strong position to capitalise on the knowledge economy and accelerate the adoption of digital skills to boost SME productivity. Increasing the share of funding dedicated to training for those in employment and financial support to workers undertaking postgraduate courses would be an excellent starting point. Building on the competitiveness playbook Ireland has enjoyed robust economic growth over the past number of years, but challenges remain. We also cannot ignore the fact that Brexit and the pandemic are still risks to the economy, as is the strong dependence on a single trading partner. Completing reforms in areas such as access to finance for SMEs, increasing diversity and inclusion across sectors, and reducing regional disparities will help underpin Ireland’s continued economic growth. Closing employmentrelated skills gaps and encouraging key social, environmental and productive investment could further provide the foundations for sustainable and inclusive growth in the years ahead. The wider issue of reducing public and private debt, as well as broadening the tax base, would also increase the economy’s resilience to external shocks. Though there is ample room for improvement, the largely competitive business environment in Ireland created over the past number of decades should act as a role model for other economies around the world.

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22/12/2021 10:46


CHAMBER FEATURE

Optimism for 2020 November saw the release of the results for the Eurochambres Economic Survey for 2022, which provides a forecast of what entrepreneurs in Europe expect moving into the New Year.

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urochambres (the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry) represents over 20 million enterprises in Europe – 98% of which are SMEs – through 45 national members and a European network of 1,700 regional and local Chambers. It has been conducting economic surveys continuously since 2002. The largest of its kind in Europe, the Eurochambres Economic Survey (EES) 2022 was based on the contribution of 52,000 companies and predicts growth across the EU this year. There has been a strong correlation between previous EES surveys and EU-level GDP growth. Although optimistic, the data also illustrates significant economic constraints that may limit growth this year. The lack of skilled workers, access to “Export growth affordable energy, and increasing as a source of national revenue labour costs are all cited as issues remains muted, that will present a challenge for though this is European businesses. largely related to For businesses In Ireland, the low number Covid-19 remains a major issue of SMEs which with supply chain disruption a engage in concern for 59% of respondents. international “Almost half of firms fear trade.” that further cycles of lockdown measures will negatively impact their growth, while 48% of respondents have recognised that shifts in consumer behaviour have created uncertainties for their businesses,” said Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, which managed the collection of data in Ireland.

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GENERAL BUSINESS SENTIMENT The survey shows that general business confidence here is high with 54% of firms expecting the business environment to be favourable in 2022, while only one in eight expects it to disimprove relative to 2021. According to Talbot, the data showed that “business sentiment has bounced back to preCovid levels of positivity” with 80% of firms seeing domestic sales volumes either holding steady or improving. On employment, 41% of respondents in Ireland foresee increasing employment levels in 2022, while 56% see their businesses holding steady at current levels. Additionally, with a surge in investments to accommodate business changes related to Covid-19, 56% of businesses expected to continue with current levels of investment into 2022, while another third expects to increase investment. “Export growth as a source of national revenue remains muted, though this is largely related to the low number of SMEs which engage in international trade,” Talbot said. Of those currently trading internationally, 54% expect revenue will increase in 2022, with only 20% expecting it to decrease. “The principle challenges to the Irish economy in 2022 are likely to mirror what Eurochambres has revealed at the European level. The chief concern is labour costs with two thirds of businesses foreseeing wage pressures increasing in 2022. Next is skills, with 52% of businesses identifying the shortage of skilled workers as a major challenge. The third factor our members highlighted is affordable access to energy and raw materials.” InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

22/12/2021 10:34


CHAMBER FEATURE

All-island leadership

Left to right: First Minister Paul Givan; Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland, Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, NI Chamber, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin; Martin Pibworth, Group Energy and Commercial Director, SEE, Paul Murnaghan, President, NI Chamber and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.

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head of COP26, Chambers Ireland and the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), in partnership with SSE Airtricity, hosted an all-island climate change event in October. The political leaders who took part included Taoiseach Micheál Martin, First Minister Paul Givan and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. A panel of business leaders from across the island also discussed what global agreement on climate action means for companies across the island and highlighted the ‘green’ opportunities which exist for local firms. “There is no more significant and common concern for us on this island, and across these islands, than meeting the generational challenge of climate change,” the Taoiseach said. “To be fully effective on climate action we need joined-up policy approaches and coordinated investment on a crossborder basis.” Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, said tackling the challenges presented by climate change will help to drive innovation and new technologies that will support Ireland’s communities and local economies. “Our shared island is likely to be one of the most significant beneficiaries of the new renewable energy technologies that are being developed. Technologies such as hydrogen and offshore wind and wave generation are set to transform energy supply on this island,” he said. “Businesses across the island will be central to delivering the projects that will apply this new scientific and technical InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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A recent joint Chamber event focused on collaboratively addressing climate change featured political and business leaders from across the island of Ireland.

knowledge to the real-world challenges that we are encountering, and there is enormous appetite globally for investing in these technologies. We have both the natural resources and available capital to transform this island into a net energy exporter.” President of NI Chamber Paul Murnaghan described the event as “an exciting opportunity to map out just where this island stands in the climate change fight-back, and to begin to chart a way forward which we can all sign up to – the business community, political representatives and wider civic society.” Givan spoke on the importance of a united approach to the issue of climate change and “Our shared island said he pledged to do all he could to preserve is likely to be one of the most Ireland as a home for future generations. “To make this a reality, and not just a wish, takes the significant beneficiaries of whole community. This involves government, the new businesses, civic society and people, young and renewable energy old.” technologies that O’Neill emphasised the critical nature of are being the climate crisis and said a response required developed." “emergency action”. — Ian Talbot, “We have a small window of opportunity to Chief Executive, do something. And we simply can’t afford to be Chambers Ireland outliers. It needs real leadership, from all parts of society,” she said. “The fact that the heads of government – north and south – are here today to discuss climate change is a mark of both the seriousness of the situation and also our commitment to tackling it.”

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22/12/2021 10:44


CHAMBER FEATURE

Big win for Cork City Council Cork City Council has been named Local Authority of the Year after it won three individual accolades at the Excellence in Local Government Awards 2021.

Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland, Lord Mayor Cllr Colm Kelleher, Conor Healy, Chief Executive, Cork Chamber and Brian Geaney, Assistant Chief Executive, Cork City Council

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osted by Chambers Ireland and sponsored by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Local Government Awards highlight the positive impact of local government across Ireland. In total, 2021 saw 90 projects from 20 local authorities shortlisted as finalists in 16 categories. Cork City Council was the winner of three awards: Health and Wellbeing, Enhancing the Urban Environment, and Heritage and Built Environment.

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The council’s winning projects included initiatives that allowed children to participate in sports during Covid-19 restrictions, transformed the city centre of Cork into a people-first amenity without cars, and provided nine sheltered housing apartments through the renovation of two derelict townhouses and the infill of a vacant site. “The range of work that was undertaken by Cork City Council and the impact it has achieved speaks to the central role of local authorities

in developing our communities and providing for the needs of their citizens. From the early days of the pandemic, it saw opportunity in creating a more people-focused city centre and undoubtedly inspired other local authorities and communities across Ireland. That is an achievement which all staff should be proud of,” said Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland Ian Talbot. “As we look back on this challenging period, we can say that we have seen InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

22/12/2021 12:26


CHAMBER FEATURE

Excellence in Local Government Awards Winners Local Authority of the Year 2021 Cork City Council

“The range of work that was undertaken by Cork City Council and the impact it has achieved speaks to the central role of local authorities in developing our communities and providing for the needs of their citizens.”

the very best of local authorities. Their commitment has delivered initiatives that improved both their communities and the lives of their inhabitants. For so many to have lived up to the standard of excellence is a very positive sign as we look to recovery and the long-term resilience of our towns and cities.” DILIGENCE AND PROFESSIONALISM Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD said: “Our local authorities have always served Ireland’s towns and cities with diligence and professionalism but the Covid-19 pandemic has tested them like nothing before. The range of work and scale of impact that I have witnessed speaks to their outstanding commitment towards the development of our communities and wellbeing of our citizens. They have delivered when they were needed most and I wish to thank them for their dedication. “I must also congratulate Cork City Council on being named Local Authority of the Year. These awards have demonstrated the high level of service provided by our local authorities and to claim this title reflects the extensive impact it has made in very difficult circumstances. This achievement is a credit to the staff who proudly serve Cork City each day by enacting initiatives that make a positive difference in the lives of its citizens.” InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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Supporting Sustainable Communities (Sponsored by EirGrid) Laois County Council Abbeyleix Community Climate Action Project Best Practice in Community Engagement (Sponsored by ESB Network) South Dublin County Council South Dublin County Council Development Plan (CDP) Public Consultation Health and Wellbeing (Sponsored by Healthy Ireland) Cork City Council Sports on the Green Supporting Tourism (Sponsored by Fáilte Ireland) Monaghan County Council The Patrick Kavanagh Centre and the branded Kavanagh Trail Promoting Economic Development (Sponsored by EirGrid) Donegal County Council #BuyDonegal Local Authority Innovation (Sponsored by TEKenable) Limerick City and County Council ‘Council Connect’ Staff app Sustainable Environment (Sponsored by European Recycling Platform Ireland) Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council dlr’s Coastal Mobility Route Best Library Service Meath County Council Laptops for Loan

Age Friendly Initiative (Sponsored by Waterford Crystal) South Dublin County Council Policy for Rightsizing and Allocation of Age Friendly Accommodation Festival of the Year (Sponsored by Fáilte Ireland) Monaghan County Council Cavan Monaghan Online Science Festival 2020 Initiative through the Municipal Districts (Sponsored by LGIU Ireland) Clare County Council Restructuring of Municipal Districts to improve community and economic outcomes Enhancing the Urban Environment (Sponsored by Ervia) Cork City Council Re-opening a More Resilient Cork City Centre Heritage and Built Environment (Sponsored by AIB Ireland) Cork City Council Infill Housing Conservation Project, 5-6 Shandon Street & JP Curran Street Disability Services Provision (Sponsored by EirGrid) Monaghan County Council My Right to Vote - General Election voter education Commemorations & Centenaries (Sponsored by An Post) Cavan County Council Bringing History to Life Despite the Odds

Sustaining the Arts (Sponsored by Zurich Ireland) Kildare County Council Kildare Covid Notebook Project

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CHAMBER FEATURE

Digital disruption and opportunity Co-organised by the International Chamber of Commerce and Dubai Chamber, the World Chambers Congress took place in Dubai from 23 to 25 November with the theme Next Generation: Chambers 4.0.

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lacing a key focus on digital disruption and innovation, the World Chambers Congress in November was the first hybrid event of its kind and examined how Chambers of Commerce around the world are rethinking their priorities and creating new solutions that can address existing challenges, remove trade barriers and drive global prosperity. Taking place since 1999, the event serves as an international forum for Chamber leaders and professionals to share best practices, exchange insights, develop networks, address the latest business issues and learn about new areas of innovation. The Dubai edition featured thought leaders from the world of tech, academia and politics who participated in panel discussions on how Chambers can set a global agenda and create a collaborative action plan to ensure they remain trusted and relevant leaders in the 21st century. Dublin Chamber was also among four finalists for the Best Climate Action Project at the World Chambers Competition, which took place during the congress. The competition is the only award programme of its kind to recognise innovative projects undertaken by Chambers from around the world. The Chamber’s Sustainability Academy, created in association with AIB, competed with projects from England, Turkey and Belgium. Following a pitching event, during which each finalist presented their project to the congress, East Lancashire

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Left to right: Mary Rose Burke, CEO of Dublin Chamber; Aebhric McGibney, Director of Public and International Affairs at Dublin Chamber; Catherine Moroney, Head of Business Banking Market at AIB and President of Dublin Chamber; Vincent Harrison, Managing Director at Dublin Airport and Vice President of Dublin Chamber; and Linda McNulty, Director of Operations at Dublin Chamber

Chamber of Commerce was declared the winner. Despite not taking home the award, the competition represented an important opportunity for a global Chamber audience to see some of the excellent work of Chambers in Ireland working with members to demonstrate leadership in promoting business sustainability. THEMES AND HIGHLIGHTS In its hybrid format, over 3,800 Chamber leaders, representatives and industry experts from 110 countries attended the congress. More than 80 speakers took part in 44 interactive sessions over the three days. Recurring themes included the importance of sustainability, how Chambers can become more collaborative and the disruptive role that Generation Z will play over the coming years. Other highlights of 12WCC were the launch of the Chamber Model Innovation framework for revamping Chamber services and embracing innovation, the latest edition of the Dubai Innovation Index analysing innovation input across 39 cities and the Digital Fitness Test designed for Chambers of Commerce to evaluate their digital capabilities. During the congress, Dubai Chamber also released a whitepaper titled ‘Generation Next: Chambers 4.0 - Transforming Disruption into Opportunity for Global Business’, which provided insights into the concept of Chambers 4.0 and how technology is reshaping global trade. The next World Chambers Congress will take place in 2023.

“The Dubai edition featured thought leaders from the world of tech, academia and politics who participated in panel discussions on how Chambers can set a global agenda and create a collaborative action plan.”

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

22/12/2021 20:12


CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

Sustainability driver An Post is celebrating major gains across its sustainability strategy, including being ranked the third most sustainable postal service across the globe by industry trade body the International Postal Corporation.

David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, announcing the rollout of the organisation’s EV fleet across Cork City, with a gathering of key dignitaries, elected representatives and members of the business community. Pictured are (left to right): Joan Lucey, Vibes and Scribes; Diarmuid Cogan, An Post; Councillor Colm Kelleher, Lord Mayor of Cork; David McRedmond, CEO of An Post; and Fiona Burke, An Post

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ast year, the International Postal Corporation ranked An Post as the thirteenth most sustainable postal service in the world. The rise to third place in 2021 is based on An Post’s world-leading rollout of electric vehicles (EVs); initiatives to support sustainable communities; and a broadly-based sustainability action plan. An Post also recently celebrated its emission-free delivery service in Cork, marking over 1,000 EVs driving emissionfree deliveries across the cities of Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny and Waterford. An Post is the first postal service in the world to deliver an emission-free postal service across five cities including the country’s capital city. The news was announced at events in Cork, Galway and Limerick.

TRUCK FLEET TRIAL In further developments to its climate change action plan, An Post announced the results of its carbon-cutting solutions for its InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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"To be third in the world in our industry for sustainability is a great achievement for An Post and for its owners and customers and the people of Ireland." heavy goods vehicle fleet. An Post is the first company in Ireland to trial the use of hydrotreated vegetable oil as truck fuel, which will yield an estimated full-year reduction in CO2 of 90% and save 265 tons of CO2 on estimated emissions of 295 tons using diesel. The trial took place across An Post’s entire Galway truck fleet over two months and it was announced in November that this is now being extended to its Waterford and Cork fleets. “The challenge to decarbonise our society is enormous and the public sector has a major role to play in leading by example and decarbonising our public services, while also enhancing the services they provide,” said

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan. “The responsibility An Post has shown towards its sustainability agenda highlights what is possible through strong and committed action. Through a commitment from its leadership, dedicated resources, structured approaches and planning and consistent investment, An Post has stepped up to embrace this challenge and is justifiably placed amongst the leaders in sustainability in Ireland today.” David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, said: “To be third in the world in our industry for sustainability is a great achievement for An Post and for its owners and customers and the people of Ireland. Our sustainability strategy has always been about delivering results and driving action across the length and breadth of Ireland – whether that is in carbon reduction, building sustainable communities or building a fair and equitable workplace. I’m proud of the staff at An Post who have achieved the transition to zero-emission fleets across all our cities.’’

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EMBASSY OF BRAZIL IN IRELAND PROFILE

Harnessing science for agricultural sustainability There is an opportunity for Ireland and Brazil to become partners in addressing the issue of matching global food and energy requirements to environmental imperatives, says the Ambassador of Brazil in Ireland Marcel Biato. Brazil's track record Previous articles in this publication have highlighted how Brazil went from being a food importer to one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products. Brazilian farmers’ entrepreneurship and government commitment to greater sustainability underpin the country's unique ability to balance two fundamental challenges facing our planet and its inhabitants: providing food for a growing population while at the same time preserving our planet’s increasingly threatened natural environment. The answer lies in a remarkable tale of technology-induced productivity growth. In the past 40 years, Brazil’s agricultural and livestock production methods have transformed dramatically. During this period, Brazilian agricultural production grew by 385%, while the land area under cultivation increased by only 32%. But Brazil is not resting on its laurels. The ever-growing worldwide demand for high-quality, protein-rich foodstuffs requires continuous efforts to increase food output. Just as critical are the worrisome trends in climate change recently reviewed at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, not least the rising levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including from agriculture. The challenge for agribusiness is to cease to be part of the problem and become a core component of the solution. This article will briefly review how Brazilian farmers are playing their part in increasing agricultural production in an environmentallyfriendly manner. It is called the Brazilian Agricultural Policy for Climate Adaptation and Low Carbon Emission (ABC+ Plan), a programme rooted in science-based technological innovation for sustainable food production that builds on Brazil's proven achievements. A blueprint for the future The ABC+ Plan aims to strengthen climate adaptation strategies already in place and encourage an integrated approach in food production. This involves promoting production systems that foster soil, water, and biodiversity conservation while at the same time contributing to greater control of GHG emissions. By combining these twin goals, certified low carbon emission agriproducts will be made available to national and international markets in the foreseeable future. Building on the first phase of the original ABC Plan, which was carried out between 2010 and 2020 and mitigated around 170 million tons of carbon dioxide, the ABC+ Plan commits the Brazilian farming sector to supporting global efforts to

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tackle climate change without constraining crop or herd output. As in the past, Brazil will continue to focus on technological innovation as a key driver in making food production sustainable in its economic, social and environmental dimensions. It is expected that by the end of the Plan's 2020-2030 implementation cycle, all Brazil's farms will be on the way to applying enhanced sustainable and resilient production systems. The ABC+ Plan rests on certain conceptual pillars. Firstly, management of farming areas should take into account the diversity of rural landscapes. In the past, farmers sought to expand production by bringing new land, often forested, under tillage, irrespective of its adequacy for agriculture. The result was often self-defeating for the farmer as well as the environment. Much of this land was soon abandoned given falling productivity and more virgin land was brought under the plough. Today, emphasis is placed on the efficient use of fields suitable for farming, with strong incentives to comply with environmental rules, to recognise the value of native landscapes, invest in genetic improvement and to recover and conserve soil, water, and biodiversity. Secondly, farmers are encouraged to reduce topsoil erosion; maintain crop residues on the soil surface; and diversify species, in rotation, intercropping and/or succession of cultures. These sustainable production practices ensure

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EMBASSY OF BRAZIL IN IRELAND PROFILE

efficiency and profitability, while promoting conservation of ecosystems and natural resources. To achieve these ambitious goals, which often require farmers giving up longstanding beliefs and traditions, the ABC+ Plan fosters innovative planting techniques, including integrated and no tillage systems; biological nitrogen fixation; planted forests; restoration of degraded pastures; and animal waste management. On-farm units test and validate new practices, enabling professionals to update technically as well as providing a source of research data. Digital technologies in the field and connectivity in farming areas will ensure that these benefits are shared widely. To encourage farmers to adopt best practices, an ample range of economic incentives and market instruments such as certification of origin and traceability will be made available. This, in turn, requires access to diversified financial and tax-related instruments, made available through both public and private financial agents. Finally, a new governance structure, supported by solid evaluation, monitoring, and reporting protocols, is already helping to improve information management by ensuring transparency and consistency.

“Today, emphasis is placed on the efficient use of fields suitable for farming, with strong incentives to comply with environmental rules, to recognise the value of native landscapes, invest in genetic improvement and to recover and conserve soil, water, and biodiversity.”

continuing to be a major force for global food and energy security. Ireland has undergone an equally dramatic transformation, leaving behind a history of famine. As it becomes a significant supplier of meat and dairy produce, Ireland faces the need to enact policies in line with its recently adopted ambitious Climate Action Plan, which makes large demands on Irish farmers. Matching global food and energy requirements to environmental imperatives provides an obvious opportunity for our two countries to join forces. One possible line of joint action was discussed at a recent webinar sponsored by the Embassy and Apex-Brazil*. It brought together international specialists in the field, including representatives from the Irish Bioenergy Association, and focused on how the experience of Brazil and other countries (Sweden) in blending biomasses (specifically, ethanol and biodiesel) into the national fuel mix can help Ireland bring down fuel prices while at the same time cutting emissions*. This is a partnership worth developing. All have much to gain, our planet foremost. *Available at https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=qlqBTbhdQ84

Common challenge Brazilian agribusiness is rising to the challenge of curbing emissions, while at the same time

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

Orla Bowers, Senior Product Manager, AIB Merchant Services

a free online tool from AIB Merchant Services, designed to help you understand more about your customers and competitors, providing local analysis that is not otherwise easily available to you. Derived from card data and using your precise business location, Main Street Insights provides anonymised approximations for where customers live and spend, how far they travel to your store and how often. It indicates customer demographic information in relation to spend trends, such as the age and gender of customers who spent the most in your store during a specific period. What’s more, you can compare your business against groups of similar businesses by analysing your store in relation to those in the same industry and vicinity. Data is aggregated and no individual customer or business can be identified when using the tool.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH ALL OF THIS DATA?

Big data for small business Orla Bowers, Senior Product Manager, AIB Merchant Services, discusses a new online tool called Main Street Insights, designed to support businesses with managing and understanding important data.

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s a Chamber member, you know that knowledge and insight can unlock new opportunities. One great strength that your business can demonstrate is a deep and thorough understanding of your customers – and your competitive landscape. Knowing this can help you make important decisions; on how your business can expand, where to best spend on marketing investment and how to grow loyalty among those who shop regularly with you. While getting this information can be timeconsuming, maintaining it is an even greater challenge, never mind having to crunch data and glean insights from it. To make the task much easier, however, Main Street Insights is

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Because Main Street Insights gives you a constantly evolving view of new and returning customer activity, you can easily assess the effectiveness of any marketing campaigns, promotions or product line changes.”

With social media acting as the primary marketing tool for many small businesses, Main Street Insights can help you to get the maximum return on advertising spend by helping you to precisely narrow down your target audience by age, gender and location. And with interactive maps, you can understand where your target customers are – either by seeing where your existing customers live or by seeing where you have an opportunity to find new customers. Multi-outlet chains can get on-the-ground information about individual stores and use this information to plan and chart marketing activity across the chain. Because Main Street Insights gives you a constantly evolving view of new and returning customer activity, you can easily assess the effectiveness of any marketing campaigns, promotions or product line changes. And with historic data available to view, you can use Main Street Insights to inform big, strategic business decisions such as expansion and investment. The data is crunched for you and presented clearly, so there is no need for experience in report building or data analysis. It’s available free of charge to all AIB Merchant Services customers in the Republic of Ireland. You can find out more about how to access Main Street Insights at www.aibms.com/ mainstreetinsights. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

A powerful blueprint EirGrid has a unique and challenging role to play in leading the radical transformation of the electricity sector to low-carbon, renewable energy.

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s the national electricity grid operator, EirGrid needs to add more energy from renewable sources to the power system over the next nine years. Doing so is necessary to meet the government target of at least 70% of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2030. This is an important step on the journey to 80% renewables and net zero by 2050. To assess how best to achieve the 2030 target, EirGrid embarked on a 14-week consultation process earlier this year, putting forward four approaches for developing the grid. The final roadmap contains a blended approach looking at grid development from an economic, technical, social acceptance and deliverability perspective and seeks to minimise impacts on communities, while still delivering on the renewable ambitions. The plan envisages 40 new grid infrastructure projects, representing a total investment of over €1bn. Throughout the ‘Shaping Our Electricity Future’ consultation, EirGrid held a range of engagement and participation activities, including six regional Chamber events and national industry forums. Speaking about the consultation, Head of Public Engagement, Sinead Dooley said: “EirGrid must transform the power system for future generations and we can only do this with public acceptance. This roadmap represents a blueprint for that transformation, with invaluable input from industry and the public.” The Shaping Our Electricity Future Roadmap was launched by EirGrid Chief Executive Mark Foley and Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport at the COP26 climate summit in November. FEEDBACK REFLECTED In terms of industry feedback reflected in the roadmap, there was favour for alternative and new technologies to be considered in any future network development. Similar to public feedback, there was no InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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Eamon Ryan, Minister for the Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport, EirGrid Chief Executive Mark Foley and Liam Ryan, EirGrid Chief Innovation and Planning Officer, unveiling the Shaping Our Electricity Future Roadmap at COP26

appetite for the price of electricity to rise because of the transition to a low-carbon electricity system. The need for electricity markets to evolve to support investment for new and existing market participants was highlighted and it was recognised that public acceptance is crucial for timely grid infrastructure delivery. On network reinforcements, industry responses showed support for the building of required network infrastructure to commence as quickly as possible to support renewables. For EirGrid, publication of this roadmap triggers the start of a multi-year journey to address emissions in the electricity industry and to support other sectors, such as heating and transport. The roadmap will be updated at least every two years, in response to the latest technology, economic, policy and system developments as EirGrid continues to work with stakeholders and the general public in making our energy system safe, affordable, secure, reliable and sustainable.

“EirGrid must transform the power system for future generations and we can only do this with public acceptance.”

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Spring in your step Whether you use a Waterford Crystal vase to display cut flowers from your garden, roses or a floral arrangement, it makes a stunning statement in your home as springtime approaches.

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aterford Crystal vases come in an amazing variety of shapes and sizes. From small bud vases that house a single flower to large vases for bouquets. Visitors can see our selection of vases in the 12,000 sq ft of crystal heaven in the largest retail and showcase of Waterford Crystal in the world.

GUIDED FACTORY TOUR A luxury collection of the finest crystal continues to be made by skilled craftsmen at the House of Waterford Crystal factory situated in the heart of Waterford City. On the tour, visitors witness mould-making – a technique at Waterford that has remained unchanged throughout the centuries. Visitors enter the blowing department, watching glowing balls of crystal transformed into majestic shapes as they are put through the 1,400-degree furnace. While getting this behind-the-scenes sneak peek of this highly-skilled method of crystal manufacturing, visitors see the high standards that the House of Waterford Crystal maintains for each piece that leaves the factory. Visitors next witness the cutting department. Master cutters rely on their skill to judge the amount of pressure that is required to hold the crystal to the wheel; too much pressure will cause a cut through to the other side. The final stages of the tour are the engraving and sculpting departments. Master sculptors work three-dimensionally, using their skill to sculpt the desired piece from solid blocks of crystal. Days, weeks, and even months can pass before

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a sculpted piece is completed. The type of copper wheel engraving used at Waterford Crystal is called 'Intaglio', which means reverse.

RETAIL STORE, BRAND EXPERIENCE AND CAFÉ The retail store at Waterford represents everything we make in crystal, including a showcase on golf and sport, which is a major part of our international business. Our café serves sumptuous food, homemade sweet treats, and afternoon tea served in Wedgwood fine bone china. We use the best locally-sourced seasonal produce supporting as many Irish suppliers as possible.

CORPORATE AND SPORTS Our corporate and gift solutions cater to rewarding your employees or clients. We can customise a piece from our core range, which will allow you to create your

unique message or logo on an item. Our worldwide shipping service allows the flexibility to deliver 24/48 hours to Ireland, the UK or the US. Our dedicated Sales Manager Tom Walsh can be contacted at tom.walsh@fiskars.com or 087 120 9143. Go to waterfordvisitorcentre.com, email houseofwaterfordcrystal@fiskars.com or call 051 317000 for more information.

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Cork County Council signs up to All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, virtual reality initiative wins European award, Legato opens R&D hub in Plassey, and final section of Limerick Greenway opens

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Fingal businesses get free eCargo bikes, Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor Oversight Board is established, and Meath County Council sets a budget of €162m for 2022

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Donegal County Council adds electric vehicles to its transport fleet, €784,524 announced for Cavan outdoor adventure projects, and Avoniel opens in east Belfast following £8m redevelopment

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1,500th birthday of Colmcille marked with a global audience

Colmcille 1500 panel members Dr Brian Lacey (far left) and Christy Gillespie pictured at the Great Hall in Magee Campus at the University of Ulster along with Deirdre Harte, Project Manager (far right) and event host Áine Ní Bhreisleáin of Radio Na Gaeltachta. Photo by Lorcan Doherty.

A global audience tuned in to the Great Hall at Magee Campus at the University of Ulster in Derry to mark St Colmcille’s 1,500th birthday. Two hundred people from ten countries tuned in to the historic event co-hosted by Donegal County Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council. Colmcille 1500 is a year-long commemoration marking the anniversary of the birth of St Colmcille, who was born in Gartan, Co Donegal in either 520 or 521 AD. He died in Iona Scotland in 597. The virtual event combined video, dance, documentary, poetry and discussion with two expert panels taking part. The Irish panel was made up of Professor of Irish Malachy Ó Néill, Director of Regional Engagement at University of Ulster, Magee Campus; archaeologist and historian Dr Brian Lacey; and Christy Gillespie, author, historian and former principal of Scoil Cholmcille, Termon in the heart of Colmcille’s local area. Joining live from Scotland were Dr Alasdair Whyte, University of Glasgow; Brian Ó hEadhra, Partnerships and Funding Manager, Bòrd Na Gàidhlig; and Joy Dunlop, Gaelic singer and TV and radio presenter. This particular event charted Colmcille’s life’s journey from Gartan to Scotland and back to the Causeway Coast area before his return to Iona. Colmcille 1500 Project Manager Deirdre Harte described the event as building on a magnificent legacy: “We are so proud to have been able to include this event in a year-long series of celebratory occasions. There is so much history and now legacy between the North West and Scotland bound by our Colmcille connections.” Video contributions came from Donegal, Derry, Kells, Durrow, Sligo and Causeway Coast and Glens as well as Argyll, Iona and the Western Isles in Scotland. Ending the twohour event was a video from a new legacy project originating in Donegal called Slí Colmcille Camino. Described as an ambitious project, it is establishing a pilgrimage linking key sites related to St Colmcille from Donegal, Derry, the North Sperrins and the Bann to Argyll and eventually the island of Iona.

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SUSTAINABLE SWAPS IN FINGAL

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[ FINGAL ]

[ COUNTY MEATH ]

Meath County Council adopts €162m budget for 2022

Anthony from Altitude Coffee with this eCargo bike, Mayor of Fingal Seána Ó Rodaigh, and David Storey of Fingal County Council

Fingal County Council provides eCargo bikes to businesses As part of its commitment to climate action and providing sustainable travel alternatives, Fingal County Council provided free branded eCargo bikes, to replace the use of motor vehicles for local area deliveries, to The Village Garden Centre in Malahide, Altitude Coffee in Donabate, Jack the Bachelors Restaurant in Rush, and Goldfish Design in Blanchardstown for 12 months. Maintenance throughout the pilot will be handled by Bleeper. eCargo delivery bikes are one of several sustainable travel projects run by the Department of Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel. The council has in recent months worked with sports clubs on the Gear Up for Training cycling education initiative and is in the process of upgrading school cycling infrastructure across the county through the Safe Routes to School programme, as well as undertaking upgrade works on cycle lanes. This project further extends the reach of Active Travel to the business community for the first time. “Bike delivery is not a new concept. There was once a time when all local businesses delivered their goods in the basket of a bike. Today we can get back to basics by using pedal power and reap the benefits of this timeless solution,” says Mayor of Fingal Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh. “Throughout the next 12 months we will monitor how the bikes are used, what impact this switch to bike delivery has on how they do business and the impact on the environment compared to their usual delivery methods,” says David Storey, Director of Services for Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel.

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Meath County councillors have adopted the budget for 2022 which provides for expenditure of over €162m on local public services, an increase of €7.62m (4.9%) from 2021. “This is the largest budget ever presented to members, with a total increase of 38% since the current council was elected in 2019,” says Fiona Lawless, Head of Finance at Meath County Council. The largest spend in the county next year will be on transportation, taking up almost 30 per cent of the budget. This includes a new provision made for footpaths and footpath repairs in the order of €600,000. Budget 2022 will also facilitate an increase in the number of routes added to the Winter Gritting Plan. Housing will see a total increase of €2.6m, bringing the total expenditure for 2022 to €46,076,500. An ongoing challenge and something that will receive greater resources this year is the maintenance of the council’s social housing stock and estate management programme. The council will implement a new preventative maintenance, as well as the response maintenance programme totalling €6.1m, an additional provision of €1,006,785 on last year. As part of its commitment to climate action and in order to meet its energy usage reduction targets, the council will have a renewed focus on its energy consumption and improving its efficiency in 2022. An additional €100,000 is being made available to assist in the establishment of a regional energy bureau, which will provide energy management services to the council to help it meet its targets. A further €100,000 is provided for a new energy assessment of all council buildings and facilities, which will provide essential baseline data to assist in accessing SEAI grant funding for future works to improve energy performance.

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[ COUNTY DUBLIN ]

Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor Oversight Board established A new cross-border partnership established to foster economic growth along the key strategic route between Dublin and Belfast has announced its inaugural political leadership team, who will help drive employment opportunities, address barriers impacting trade and encourage the delivery of better transport infrastructure. Cllr Pete Byrne from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council in Northern Ireland was elected as Chair of the Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor (DBEC) Oversight Board, a body made up of councillors from the eight local authorities along the corridor. Mayor of Fingal Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh was named Deputy Chair. Speaking at DBEC’s first Oversight Board meeting, Ó Rodaigh said: “Alongside the obvious social and economic benefits of closer cross-border collaboration in order to develop the corridor, what we are looking to help drive is greater inward investment, the boosting of trade opportunities for local businesses, increased production in key sectors and higher employment. This will be increasingly important as the population along the corridor continues to grow.” “We have a real opportunity through the work of DBEC to deliver jobs and sustainable growth along what is a major economic pipeline for the whole of the island,” says new DBEC Chair Cllr Pete Byrne. The DBEC partnership has members coming from four councils on either side of the border. There are 24 councillors who sit on the Oversight Board, three each coming from the eight councils involved: Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council; Belfast City Council; Dublin City Council; Fingal County Council; Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council; Louth County Council; Meath County Council; and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. The partnership also includes Dublin City University and Ulster University, who collaborated to produce the report that led to the formation of the group in March 2021.

New DBEC Chair Cllr Pete Byrne and Deputy Chair Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh

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LEADER funding approved for rural Fingal projects

Work has commenced on the construction of a new €1.5m All-Weather Sports Pitch Facility at Ward River Valley Regional Park in Swords. The new third-generation, synthetic, all-weather pitch will be a full-sized GAA and soccer pitch. The new floodlight facility will be accompanied by car, coach and bicycle parking to service the needs of the pitch users as well as improving access to the park. It is anticipated that the facility will be completed by the second quarter of 2022.

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The Dublin Rural LEADER Local Action Group approved €230,748.76 in funding for five new projects in rural Fingal at its November meeting, bringing the number of projects approved during the LEADER Transition Programme to 15 since it began in April 2021, with a total value of €543,984.52. The approved projects are in the areas of Economic Development, Rural Environment and Social Inclusion.

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[ COUNTY CORK ]

Cork County Council signs up to All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

Pictured at the signing of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan are (from left) Valerie O’Sullivan, Divisional Manager, Cork County Council; Michael Lynch, Director of Services Planning, Cork County Council; Sharon Casey, Ecologist, Cork County Council; and Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council. Photo: Brian Lougheed.

Cork County Council has officially signed up to the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan – an ambitious five-year roadmap co-ordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, which aims to make farmland, public and private land pollinatorfriendly. The council is preparing five new Pollinator Plans for the towns of Youghal, Mitchelstown, Skibbereen, Dunmanway and Cobh with the intention to implement the new plans during 2022. There are already seven plans in place across the county – in Midleton, Macroom, Kinsale, Fermoy, Kanturk, Bantry and Carrigaline. The strategy for each town is being led by an ecologist and centres around identifying and protecting existing areas that are good for bees and insects as well as planting pollinator-friendly beds, trees and bulbs. The plans also focus on reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides and altering the frequency of grass cutting to allow more native plants to flower. “Pollination is essential for plant reproduction and sustaining healthy food as well as other important crops,” says Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Gillian Coughlan. “However, one-third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction because of the reduction in the amount of flowers and safe nesting sites. Bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies and butterflies need sufficient supplies of food in the form of a range of flowering plants. These insects also need nesting places in long grass, burrows and crevices in wood or old walls. Cork County Council is working hard to make progress in this area. I’m delighted to say that there will soon be 12 Pollinator Plans in place across Cork County.”

[ COUNTY LIMERICK ]

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funding for outdoor recreation projects in Limerick

Limerick received funding of €583,868.24 to develop a number of outdoor recreation projects across the county. Limerick City and County Council received the bulk of the funding totalling €545,100 with Ballyhoura Development and West Limerick Resources receiving €38,768 as part of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme operated by the Department of Rural and Community Development, as part of Our Rural Future.

[ COUNTY CORK ]

€372M budget for 2022 approved by Cork County Council

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Cork County Council approved an annual budget for 2022 of €372m, an increase of €24m on last year. Initiatives include additional funding for the maintenance and improvement of Local Authority Housing with provisions to refurbish more than 150 vacant properties; €1.2m for the Economic Development Fund and to address town regeneration issues; €8.2m for Libraries; and a fund of €150,000 for the Arts Programme for Creative Towns and Spaces. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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Legato opens R&D hub at the National Technology Park in Plassey, Limerick

Rajat Puri, President, Legato Health Technologies; Minister of State with responsibility for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins TD; and John Patrick Shaw, Country Head, Legato Health Technologies Ireland. Photo: True Media.

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Daniel Butler has welcomed the announcement by Legato Heath Technologies (Legato) that it will double its workforce to 120 by the middle of next year. The news was announced as Legato officially opened its R&D hub at the National Technology Park in Plassey, Limerick. Mayor Butler said the creation of 60 extra jobs follows the initial 60 jobs committed to in September by Legato and is testament to the strong available talent in Limerick in the health technologies sector. “I’m delighted that Legato has committed to additional jobs in Limerick to create and develop solutions that promote high value and access to healthcare. These highly-skilled new roles which include AI engineers and expert data scientists will enable the company to apply cutting-edge technologies to solve complex problems and I’m thrilled that this innovation will be centred in Limerick and that the company has signalled strong growth intentions for its operations in the MidWest.” Founded in 2017 as a fully-owned subsidiary of Anthem Inc, Legato Health Technologies is committed to transforming healthcare through operational excellence, innovation and digital transformation. With over 20,000 associates worldwide and growing, Legato has the scale to effectively implement global operating models and drive digital transformations that help health insurers reduce cost and improve service delivery.

[ COUNTY LIMERICK ] The final 3km section of the €10m, 40km Limerick Greenway from Abbeyfeale to the Kerry Border at Kilmorna opened to the public in November. “The completion of the Limerick Greenway from Abbeyfeale to the Kerry Border at Kilmorna marks an important milestone for this project and particularly for the town of Abbeyfeale,” says Cathaoirleach of Newcastle West Municipal District Cllr Liam Galvin. “With nearly 250,000 users on the Limerick Greenway since it opened on the 1st July, it indicates the opportunity we now have on our doorstep.” Kerry County Council is working to open the first section of the North Kerry Greenway, which will connect Listowel with the Limerick Greenway at Kilmorna, in Summer 2022. Photo: True Media.

Your life, your choice

A virtual reality initiative developed by Cork County Council, which simulates what it’s like to be a passenger in a fatal crash, has won a major European award. The council’s virtual reality Your Life – Your Choice education programme has received gold at the Excellence in Road Safety Awards 2021 in Brussels. Cork County Council began using VR headsets in late 2018 as a way of connecting with young drivers. The VR experience immerses the user in a 360-degree simulation of a fatal crash from the perspective of a front-seat passenger. The pilot programme involved 1,200 students from County Cork and was spearheaded by Cork County Council Road Safety Officer Caroline Casey, with assistance from West Cork Community Gardai and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue. The headsets were sponsored by Aviva Driving School and the programme has since been rolled out across the country, reaching over 10,000 students to date.

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[ COUNTY SLIGO ]

Contract signed for phase two of O’Connell Street Enhancement Project

[ COUNTY MAYO ]

€35K allocated to 31 Mayo sports clubs

Back row: Tom Kilfeather, Director of Services; Brian O’Rourke, Director (Consulting Engineer), O’Connor Sutton Cronin and Associates (OCSC); Colin Wilson, Associate, OCSC; Councillor Declan Bree; Niall McGrath, Senior Resident Engineer; Ken Murtagh, Site Technician; Tom Brennan, Senior Engineer; Paul O’Rourke, Project Engineer. Front row: Chief Executive, Martin Lydon; Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady; Mayor Councillor Arthur Gibbons; Finbar Fox, Director, Fox Building and Civil Ltd; David Minton, Director, Northern and Western Regional Assembly.

The contract for phase two of the O’Connell Street Enhancement Project has been awarded to Fox Building and Civil Ltd. It’s anticipated that the contract will commence in Q1 of 2022. Funding was confirmed by the Department of Housing under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) as part of Project 2040. This funding combined with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will facilitate the completion of this flagship project for Sligo City. Phase two will continue the design principles that have been applied in phase one and consists of approximately 180m of existing roadway and footpaths along O’Connell Street, Lower Knox Street, Hyde Bridge, Fish Quay and Wine Street in Sligo. “The next phase of the O’Connell Street project is welcomed by local businesses and their customers. In addition to enhancing the appearance of our town centre, it also provides improved safety measures for vulnerable road users,” says Mayor Councillor Arthur Gibbons. “Phase two will continue to incorporate innovation by providing substantial measures to cater for future smart technologies that may be employed for the exchange of data in the city area,” adds Director of Services Tom Kilfeather. “These include the provision for connection of WiFi on the street, gathering real-time environmental data, and monitoring pedestrian and traffic movements.” From left: Mayor Councillor Arthur Gibbons; Finbar Fox, Director, Fox Building and Civil Ltd; Chief Executive Martin Lydon; and David Minton, Director, Northern and Western Regional Assembly

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At a Mayo Sports Partnership committee meeting, 31 sports clubs and groups were allocated €35,000 under a second round of Covid-19 support funding. The scheme was targeted at organisations who weren’t in receipt of support in round one as well as indoor activities.

Free outdoor public WiFi goes live in Balla, Ballinrobe, Castlebar and Claremorris Mayo County Council was successful in securing €60,000 under the WiFi4EU initiative to provide free outdoor public WiFi in nine locations in the county. The European funding was match-funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development. The service is installed in public places such as main streets, public parks and other areas of high footfall. The official launch of Mayo’s WiFi4EU initiative took place on 16 December 2020 in Ballina, with the service also going live at that time in Belmullet, Crossmolina, Newport and Swinford. The service has now been expanded, going live in November 2021 in Balla, Ballinrobe, Castlebar and Claremorris.

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[ COUNTY MAYO ]

R312 Glenisland Bridge Scheme Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD officially opened the R312 Glenisland Bridge Scheme. The R312 is an important connection to the Erris region of Northwest Mayo, which serves a very large rural catchment area and is the largest Gaeltacht area in Mayo. It is of particular importance to the economical, tourism and regional development of the Erris region and is the main access from South Mayo and further afield. The purpose of this scheme was to replace a section of carriageway which was substandard in width and alignment and provide a new safer realigned section of carriageway. Minister Naughton and Cllr Martin McLoughlin, Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District, unveiled a plaque to commemorate the opening, while Fr Chris Brennan performed a blessing of the development. “This project is vital to the families, communities and businesses of the Erris region and I am confident it will provide for safer travel for all road users in the many years ahead,” says Minister Naughton.

€100K Town Centre First Plan funding awarded to Carrick-on-Shannon

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD announced €2.6m in funding to deliver the first ever Town Centre First Plans, which will be key to tackling dereliction and revitalising town centres. Carrick-on-Shannon is one of 26 towns selected nationally to be part of this initiative, with Leitrim County Council receiving €100,000 to support the development of a masterplan. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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Carrowkeel, Co Sligo

Minister Noonan endorses recommendations for new World Heritage Tentative List and includes Sligo Sligo County Council in partnership with the Sligo Neolithic Landscapes Group submitted an application to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage for The Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo to be placed on Ireland’s new Tentative List of World Heritage Properties. Sligo County Council welcomed the endorsement by Minister Malcolm Noonan of the findings of an Expert Advisory Group (EAG) appointed to review the applications made to Ireland’s new Tentative List of World Heritage Properties. The EAG was required to assess whether the applications demonstrated outstanding universal value (OUV) as well as stakeholder support. In respect of the Passage Tomb Landscape of County Sligo application, the EAG found that the potential OUV had been well illustrated and recommends the Passage Tombs of Sligo be placed on the Tentative List. “The passage tombs of County Sligo and their careful landscape settings are an extraordinary example of Neolithic architecture and ritual, with few if any international counterparts,” says Dr Stefan Bergh, School of Geography, Archaeology and Irish Studies, NUI Galway, and member of the Sligo Neolithic Landscape group. “They represent one of the greatest achievements of Sligo people and fully deserve UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition.” For many years, concerns have been raised over increased visitor pressure and the deteriorating condition of these sites. Many of these world-class monuments are under threat and require long-term management and conservation for the benefit of all and future generations. Engagement, consultation and partnership will be important in building support for a shared vision of how these sites can be sustainably managed into the future.

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[ COUNTY CAVAN ]

[ COUNTY DONEGAL ]

Donegal County Council adds electric vehicles to its transport fleet

784,524

announced for Cavan outdoor adventure projects

FROM LEFT: Cliodhna Campbell, Senior Engineer, Donegal County Council; Cathaoirleach Cllr Jack Murray; John McLaughlin, Chief Executive; Brendan O’Donnell, A/Director of Service, Roads and Transportation; Brian Campbell, Executive Engineer; and Cahal Moss, Senior Executive Engineer.

Donegal County Council recently added three new electric vehicles (EVs) to its fleet in an effort to promote sustainability and climate action. The council recognises the vital role the organisation has to play in relation to reducing energy, climate change mitigation and adaptation. The purchase of the three EVs is the start of the conversion of the council’s fleet, which the council will expand in the coming years. The vehicles were launched by Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Jack Murray at the council’s Machinery Yard, Lifford. “The new vehicles represent part of a range of sustainable transport initiatives including the provision of dedicated electric charging points and enhanced facilities for pedestrians and cyclists,” says Senior Executive Engineer Cahal Moss. “Donegal County Council is committed to progressively adding EVs within our transport fleet, showing a strong commitment to reducing emissions. With more council EVs on the road, it is hoped that others will follow the council’s example and make the switch to zero-emission electric vehicles.”

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD announced €15.5m in funding for 84 outdoor adventure projects nationally, with €784,524 going to projects throughout Co Cavan. The investment – a key part of Our Rural Future – will support rural economies and make rural Ireland a more attractive destination for adventure tourism. Projects include walking and cycling trails, cliffways, beaches, lakes, rivers, bogs, greenways, blueways and bridleways.

Buncrana Tidy Towns has won the National Tidy Towns Pollinator Award for the second time and the regional Tidy Towns Local Authority Pollinator Award for the North West and West Region in the Large Town Category for the fourth year in a row. The winners were announced online at the National Tidy Towns Awards in November. Pictured: George McDermott and Karl King from the Buncrana Tidy Towns Initiative discuss some of the pollinator-friendly measures the group has put in place in Buncrana with Dr Úna FitzPatrick from the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Photo courtesy of Buncrana Tidy Towns Initiative.

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[ COUNTY ANTRIM ]

Electric delivery bikes will be taking to Belfast City Centre streets following the launch of a zero-emissions delivery service by local company Streetdock. Funding for the new initiative comes from the Department for Infrastructure’s Sustainable and Active Travel elements of the Department for Communities’ Covid-19 Revitalisation Programme Fund, with Belfast City Council supporting project delivery. The pilot project, which will operate for one year, offers a sustainable delivery solution for city centre-based business-to-business deliveries. Pictured from left is Michael Stewart, President, Belfast Chamber; Ian Richardson from Streetdock; Lord Mayor of Belfast Kate Nicholl; David Kane from Streetdock; and Damien Corr, Manager, Cathedral Quarter BID.

New look Avoniel opens following £8m redevelopment Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl officially opened the new look Avoniel at an event showcasing the redeveloped site in east Belfast. The £8m transformation will address the lack of 3G pitches in the area, while also providing flexible indoor space for the community. It is the fifth of seven new and upgraded centres that make up Belfast City Council’s £105m Leisure Transformation Programme (LTP) – the biggest investment of its kind in the UK. New facilities at Avoniel include an intermediate standard 3G football pitch, 240 covered seats for spectators, three covered and two uncovered 3G five-a-side pitches, an outdoor 3G seven-a-side pitch, multi-purpose rooms, meeting rooms and changing facilities. “This is a stunning new state-of-the-art facility which will play a huge part in improving the health and wellbeing of the local community. Through our Leisure Transformation Programme, the council has proven its commitment to getting more people more active, more often across the city,” says Councillor Nicholl. “Our investment in new and upgraded leisure facilities in east Belfast alone totals £45m. With the opening of Avoniel, the restoration and expansion of historic Templemore Baths which will open next autumn, and the extremely successful Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre which opened in late 2019, this part of the city will be blessed with firstclass facilities catering for a wide range of users for years to come.”

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Nine-year-old Ezinne Nwosu, a pupil at Holy Family Primary School in north Belfast, who was serving as Lord Mayor of Belfast for one day, pictured with Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Kate Nicholl, and Belfast City Council’s Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie

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Informing you about the work of local authorities in supporting the business needs of their community... To tell us what your local council is doing for business email sorcha.corcoran@ashvillemediagroup.com

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22/12/2021 19:58


Pat McDonagh, Owner Supermac’s, Trócaire Supporter.

“ my business has helped children children go go to to

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Find out what your business can do by partnering with Trócaire: Please contact us on 00 353 1 629 3333 or visit trocaire.org Trócaire Head Office, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland Irish Charity No. CHY 5883

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

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.

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he 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 202125 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. 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

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by Prof McCarthy, was used by the government to develop the new National Remote Working Strategy. 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

OUR NEW STRATEGIC PLAN IS CENTRED AROUND FOUR KEY STRATEGIC PRIORITY AREAS OF RESEARCH AND IMPACT, TEACHING AND LEARNING, EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT AND INTERNATIONALISATION.

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 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 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.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Cairnes Building NUI Galway

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 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. GROWTH AND EXPANSION 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.

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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.

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

“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.”

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IB 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.

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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 www.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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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Putting the ‘life’ back into ‘work-life’ Grafter, Dublin’s newest workspace provider, partners with hospitality brand Press Up Group to provide a unique range of perks to members.

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rafter founder and CEO Emma Kennedy is bringing something unique to the market, with a fullyrounded approach to providing for all the elements on the work-life balance matrix. Motivated to create a work-lifestyle brand that put the ‘life’ back into ‘work-life’, she approached the leading hospitality group Press Up and with their backing created an offering that not only delivers top quality flexible workspaces, but offers the best membership perks in the market. Renting a Grafter workspace comes with an exclusive Membership Card which gives access to a range of unique meeting and event spaces, restaurants, bars, gyms, cinemas and more, from the Press Up Group’s portfolio. Imagine delivering a presentation in the iconic landmark Stella Cinema in Rathmines, stunningly restored with a decor reminiscent of the glamour of the 1920s. Ben Barclay, CEO, Press Up Hospitality Group, says, “We are delighted to provide Grafter with a truly unique offering for their clients across the Press Up Group portfolio. They can host presentations in the Stella, meetings in our event spaces, access the POWER Gym for a workout and enjoy catering from any of our 30-plus restaurants. Through this exclusive partnership, Grafter clients will have the Group’s venues at their fingertips.”

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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in a prime location adjacent to St Stephen’s Green, that will house 100 Grafter members. The second opening in the heart of Georgian Dublin, Ten Ely Place, is the former design studio of internationally renowned Irish Designer John Rocha. It has been refurbished to an exceptional standard, providing a mix of large period rooms suitable for open plan spaces, customised meeting rooms and executive offices.

CEO of Grafter, Emma Kennedy

HOST PRESENTATIONS IN THE STELLA, MEETINGS IN OUR EVENT SPACES, ACCESS THE POWER GYM FOR A WORKOUT AND ENJOY CATERING FROM ANY OF OUR 30-PLUS RESTAURANTS.” HEART OF DUBLIN Grafter’s first office location in Dublin, Forty-One Leeson Street has been sensitively restored with a €1.5m investment after laying vacant for 40 years. The beautiful Georgian building has been brought back to life with original period features conserved, to create 5,000 sq. ft of workspace

FIRST CLASS FACILITIES Emma Kennedy, CEO of Grafter, says, “There is constantly a wide variety of end users entering the Dublin market, so competition for the best quality office spaces is intense. Great care and attention to detail has been taken at design stage of both Forty-One Leeson Street and Ten Ely Place, to deliver what will be a new standard of Georgian office buildings.” Within the walls of heritage buildings, Grafter present the best of contemporary design and modern technology. The office spaces offer the most up-to-date facilities with hi-lo desks, which can be raised to standing desk level. Members can take advantage of unlimited tea and coffee, video conferencing and a professional onsite team to assist with all their business needs, whether it be a desk for a day, or an office suite for a team. For more see grafteroffices.com

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

25 Years of Making a Difference As the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation celebrate their 25th birthday, we take a closer look at this incredible Irish charity and the difference they have made to local families since 1997.

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he Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation was set up by Jonathan Irwin and his wife Mary Ann O’Brien, following the birth of their son Jack, who suffered a severe brain trauma. At that time there were no supports in place outside of the hospital. These pioneering parents brought their son home, with the care and support of local nurses, until he passed away aged 22 months. Jack’s parents vowed that no other families should have to walk this difficult care journey alone and so Jack’s care plan became the blueprint that is still going strong today. CARE MODEL Since 1997, almost 2,700 children and their families have been able to bring their special child home with the support of Jack & Jill’s highly skilled team of nurses who direct a fast and flexible, home-based care model that works. With hospitals under increased pressure, it is now more important than ever for Jack & Jill to keep going, with 402 VIP children under their wing today. The Jack & Jill service is an ongoing commitment up to the child’s sixth birthday and a bond that lasts forever. There is no waiting list or means test and this service operates seven days a week. “Our mission is to empower parents to care for their child at home, in communities across Ireland, because we really believe that there is no care like home care for a sick child,” says CEO Carmel Doyle.

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Liaison nurse Eilín Ní Mhurchú with Olivia Jennings from Cork.

OUR MISSION IS TO EMPOWER PARENTS TO CARE FOR THEIR CHILD AT HOME, IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS IRELAND, BECAUSE WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT THERE IS NO CARE LIKE HOME CARE FOR A SICK CHILD.

THE GIFT OF TIME Life is uncertain for these children. Their conditions are rare and prognosis uncertain. However, what we do know for sure is that they do better at home, where their family want them, for whatever time they have. These are ordinary parents, facing extraordinary demands and they can do it with support from Jack & Jill which is a ‘gift of time’—time to do the normal things like shopping, catching up with a friend, spending time with the other siblings, or simply having a nap to recharge— safe in the knowledge that their sick child is well cared for at home. A very important part of the

service is end-of-life support and that is provided to any child under six, regardless of the diagnosis. Jack & Jill nurses help the parents to bring their child home, even for just one night or one week, to pass away at home surrounded by their loved ones. The support of local business is more important than ever, and the money raised through the ‘County Champion’ programme is a real ‘Gift of Time’. A once-off donation of just €900 will sponsor a month’s nursing care for a local child. To find out more visit www.jackandjill.ie or contact Tina Priestley on 087-6487536.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Arts at the Heart of Drogheda The Droichead Arts Centre puts the arts at the heart of the local community across Drogheda, East Meath and Louth.

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roichead Arts Centre is a multidisciplinary arts centre in the heart of Drogheda Town, and a member of Drogheda Chamber. Housed over two buildings, we provide an extensive curated arts and cultural programme of theatre, music, film, visual arts, opera, dance, comedy, literature, family and children’s events, outreach and festivals. Our purpose is to put art at the heart of people’s lives and ambitions. Our mission is to be a creative hub, nurturing, presenting and promoting art of, by and for the many diverse communities across

Drogheda, East Meath and Louth. Droichead Arts Centre actively supports artists and arts organisations through residencies, bursaries and other bespoke supports, again with a focus on the North East Region. In line with government guidelines, we are slowly easing restrictions and increasing our capacity in a safe and considered way. Programmes include our Leanbh Children’s Festival, sponsored by Flogas; our Theatre Club featuring award-winning productions, and new works in progress, our First Solo Awards, and our current exhibition featuring ten artists from the Borrowed Ground

Collective. In partnership with Love Drogheda Business Improvement District Scheme and Louth County Council, and with funding from the Arts Council under In the Open | Faoin Spéir Initiative, we are producing DRAWDA, a curated multidisciplinary public arts programme taking place in Drogheda, since September 2021, running until April 2022. Drawing on Drogheda’s rich heritage, mythology and architecture, the first strand sees the creation of six murals in public spaces. For more info see droichead.com

press play...be inspired

COME & VISIT droichead.com | 041 98 33946

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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

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Enquiries: 066 7186525 | 087 6363003 Email: info@cpc.ie Untitled-4 1 251202_1C_CPC_CI Winter_ND_V1.indd 1

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

The Foundation actively engages and supports its network through peer-dialogue, 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.

Tony Hynes of CPC.ie

Best-In-Class Transport Training An Award-winning Year for Transport Training Company CPC.ie

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he 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 All-Ireland Business Foundation (AIBF), an autonomous national accreditation body tasked with enterprise development and the promotion of best-in-class in Irish business. It includes an adjudication panel chaired by Dr Briga Hynes of the University of Limerick, and CEO of the Global Institute of Logistics, Kieran Ring.

TO BE NAMED ALL-STAR TRANSPORT TRAINING COMPANY IS RECOGNITION OF THE HARD WORK THAT THE CPC.IE TEAM PUTS INTO PROVIDING A BEST-IN-CLASS SERVICE FOR OUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

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BEST IN CLASS 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 All-Star transport Training Company is recognition of the hard work that the CPC.ie team puts into providing a best-in-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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IB PARTNER PROFILE

DHL Express Ireland – Delivering Healthcare to the World Learnings from the logistics sector distributing key pandemic management equipment and medicines, will help us to be better prepared to handle future public health emergencies.

“MORE THAN 95% OF GLOBAL COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES ARE PRODUCED IN JUST EIGHT COUNTRIES AND NEED TO BE DELIVERED WORLDWIDE.” 78

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n the largest global health crisis for 100 years, logistics and supply chain management have played a vital role to ensure the availability and distribution of key pandemic management equipment, from PPE to vaccines. From the beginning, DHL was an essential part of the response strategy. In September 2021, a key milestone was achieved when 1 billion vaccine doses were delivered by DHL to more than 160 countries. The recently published DHL white paper, “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience”, sheds light on what the sector has learned from the race against COVID-19 in order to be better prepared to handle future public health emergencies. “Logistics and supply chain management play a key role in pandemic management. Keeping supply chains running and ensuring delivery for essential health supplies provided valuable lessons,” explains Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer, DHL. “We rolled out new dedicated services for the vaccine distribution at unprecedented speed. Now we need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes and maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come.” Achievements across R&D, production, and supply chain management are helping us get through the crisis as a global community, including developing a vaccine five times faster than any other vaccine in history and ramping up production in record time. Even with cold chain requirements of up to -70°C, logistics rolled out distribution three times faster than usual to get the life-saving vaccines to patients worldwide. The global vaccination campaign represents a crucial instrument in the fight

against the virus. To reach high immunisation levels, around 10 billion vaccine doses will be required worldwide by the end of 2021. Many countries and territories have less-developed infrastructure, making the rollout more difficult. To speed up vaccine distribution, the following areas need to be looked at: • Industries and nations must foster collaboration. • For safe inbound supply flows, proactive transport-capacity management and sustainable return flows for packaging are needed. This is particularly critical as more than 95% of global COVID-19 vaccine doses are produced in just eight countries and need to be delivered worldwide. • Locally tailored last-mile, ground distribution models with a focus on strategic location of warehouses, the synchronisation of vaccines and ancillaries flow as well as the number and location of vaccination points. In the coming years a further 7-9 billion doses of vaccines are necessary annually. Planning for the future it is essential to identify and prevent health crises early through active partnerships, expanded global warning systems, an integrated epidemic-preventions agenda and targeted R&D investments. To facilitate a speedy rollout of medication, governments and industries should employ ‘ever-warm’ manufacturing capacity, blueprint research, production, and procurement plans, as well as expand local deployment capabilities. If you would like to speak to one of our Life Sciences and Healthcare Experts to see how DHL can help your business and its supply chain, please contact Richard Pierce at Richard.Pierce@dhl.com or 086 0318638.

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

21/12/2021 14:38


When a child loses their home, they lose their entire world. There are almost 4,000 children homeless in Ireland. Donate now.

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EAR TO THE Could you tell us about Changemakers with Clare McKenna and why you created this podcast? Changemakers with Clare McKenna talks to people who stand up, speak out or challenge us to think a little differently. I’ve always been fascinated by people who don’t just think something, they actually get up and do it. There are so many incredible activists and advocates working on a range of worthy topics that deserve more airtime but I’m also very interested in the people themselves, what drives and motivates them and what led them to do what they do.

InBUSINESS SPOKE WITH TV AND RADIO PRESENTER CLARE MCKENNA, HOST OF THE CHANGEMAKERS WITH CLARE MCKENNA PODCAST, ABOUT BEING OPEN TO LEARNING AND HOW TO MAKE A BENEFICIAL CHANGE.

What is the message/goal of the Changemakers with Clare McKenna podcast? I don’t want it to preach at people or have people listen to it and feel less than, that they ‘should’ be doing more. ‘Should’ can be such a paralysing term. Sensitive topics provoke such polarising opinions and often the real stories at the heart get lost and people are afraid to ask questions and learn. I want the podcast to be a resource where they can learn. The podcast challenges your listeners to think differently. Have your own views and opinions changed during the making of the podcast? Sarah Sproule spoke about removing the stigma around sex education for children and families. She blew my mind when she made me see that it’s so much bigger than removing embarrassment around ‘the talk’ but raising future members of a society that is truly inclusive. That’s the blueprint for so many societal issues and what we can do to improve them. That was a massive learning for me. What is the first step your listeners can take to make a beneficial change? Have an open mind and empathy for others. You don’t have to agree with everyone but try to be open to another point of view, to learning and evolving your opinion. Clare McKenna

Changemakers with Clare McKenna is an Acast Media Production and is available to download online.

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What can we expect from Changemakers with Clare McKenna in the future? I want to speak to a diverse range of people. Quite often it can be the same type of person talking about a range of topics. I also wanted to cover topics people might never have heard of such as ethical porn, the role of art in activism and looking at parts of the world where positive change is happening to see how we can learn from this experience.

GROUND

InBUSINESS RECOMMENDS THREE PODCASTS TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS QUARTER.

MADE IN IRELAND

THE TWO NORRIES Hosted by Timmy Long and James Leonard, The Two Norries is a weekly podcast that focuses on trauma, mental health, addiction, prison systems, recovery and access to education.

NOT TO BE MISSED

THE MAKING OF A DETECTIVE What exactly happens on the hunt for a killer? Garda detective, Pat Marry provides an account of how justice was served, with interviews from victims’ friends and family, Marry’s former colleagues, and The Irish Sun’s Stephen Breen help tell these stories one by one.

THE BUSINESS PICK

THE DIARY OF A CEO Ex CEO of Social Chain Steven Bartlett shares his insights and deep, dark thoughts with guests from different backgrounds, experiences and learnings to give a behindthe-scenes view into being an entrepreneur.

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2021

22/12/2021 20:01


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Family Business Award - Today FM Print Ad.pdf

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