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MARGARET HEFFERNAN ON EXPERIMENTATION MENTORS SERIES PROF AND THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIPS

InBUSINESS USINESS CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

AUTUMN

2020

NERVES

OF STEEL KIERNAN STRUCTURAL STEEL BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

InBUSINESS AUTUMN 2020

FINTECH FLURRY INNOVATION-DRIVEN ACTIVITY ON THE RISE

CROSS-BORDER

CHAMPION DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS SERVICES, INTERTRADEIRELAND

SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT:

ON BREXIT AND COVID-19 SUPPORTS

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How Workvivo is expanding amid Covid-19

MARGARET HEARTY

05/11/2020 08:49


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Editor: Sorcha Corcoran Art Director: Alan McArthur Editorial Assistant: Kiah Townsend (Chambers Ireland) Designers: James Moore Anna Wesolowska Front Cover Photography: Aurora Photography

COVER STORY

Photography: iStock Photo

CROSSBORDER CHAMPION

Infographics: www.flaticon.com Production Executive: Nicole Ennis Sales Director: Diarmaid Lennon

As an uncertain Brexit looms and Covid-19 restrictions intensify in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, InterTradeIreland is on hand to provide essential supports and advice while continuing to foster crossborder cooperation.

Managing Director: Gerry Tynan

All articles © Ashville Media Group 2020. 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

Margaret Hearty, Director of Business Services, InterTradeIreland

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InBUSINESS | AUTUMN WINTER 2019 2020

COVER STORY:

Crossborder Champion

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

Entrepreneur

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Q: Why did you and Joe Lennon decide to set up Workvivo three years ago? JG: Both Joe and I had both came from human resources (HR) and payroll software provider CoreHR, so had earned our stripes in the sector. The combination of our commercial and technical experience was instrumental in getting Workvivo off the ground in the very early stages. We already had extensive firsthand experience in creating successful HR technology and had come to see the very real challenges and opportunities evident in employee engagement. In 2017, we founded Workvivo with the sole mission to build a different

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Industry

Home food delivery as an imperative for restaurants due to Covid-19 Words: Sorcha Corcoran

Our Local Government InBUSINESS supplement continues to look at the 99 important role played by local authorities in Irish enterprise Page

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Leitrim receives a55k under Town and Village Scheme and joins Covid-19 EU research project, while Sligo is allocated a200k under Historic Towns Initiative

ULSTER

LEINSTER

MUNSTER

Cork SMEs receive support under new Scale Cork programme, while Limerick City and County Council is shortlisted for major international marketing awards

CONNAUGHT

Significant threeyear investment programme for Fingal, while Meath sees opening of new Civil Defence HQ and shares joint Migrant Integration Strategy with Louth

Donegal receives a59k funding for archaeological monuments and a45k for heritage initiatives, while Cavan gets a216k in Community Covid adaption funds

Begin Together 2020 award win

for Ballina

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

Social Engagement

Frank and Dolores Kiernan, Co-founders of Kiernan Structural Steel, a family business moving forward

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InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

InBUSINESS speaks to Margaret Hearty, Director of Business Services, InterTradeIreland on Brexit and Covid-19 supports

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InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

ess than three months before the UK is set to leave the EU, now is the time for crossborder traders to seek help and examine where their risks are as a business – they simply cannot afford to wait until the end of December to take action. This is one of the key messages from cross-border trade body InterTradeIreland to businesses north and south of the border. “In the event of a deal being reached, the Northern Ireland protocol protects the cross-border trade of goods to a certain degree, in that it means goods will not need to be checked on the border. However, there are other inherent risks that companies need to be aware of,” says Margaret Hearty, Director of Business Services at InterTradeIreland.

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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

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Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

2019 WAS OUR BUSIEST YEAR TO DATE. WE ENGAGED WITH A WIDE RANGE OF BUSINESSES RIGHT ACROSS THE ISLAND AND HAD A RECORD NUMBER OF COMPANIES PARTICIPATING IN OUR PROGRAMMES. THIS TREND HAS CONTINUED IN 2020.

Founded three years ago in Cork by John Goulding (CEO) and Joe Lennon (CTO), employee communications platform Workvivo is in expansion mode further to raising US$16m in Series A funding in May.

employee communication platform geared to increasing employee engagement. The company quickly moved to official launch after significant joint effort with a number of client companies to develop and validate our communication platform capabilities. We have grown quickly since then, with the addition of a Corkbased, cross-functional team that includes software developers, account management, operational leadership, marketing and sales.

Q: What is different and compelling about Workvivo’s offering? JG: Most communication technologies in use are transactional. They enable the efficient transfer of information between people. Such solutions are not designed to truly connect and engage people. For that, you need to create a more social experience. We have uniquely designed our communication platform using ways people are familiar with when interacting outside

of the workplace, and then brought that into a business context. Like many social media platforms out there, Workvivo enables users to read and post content to an activity feed – to like, share and comment – but they can also recognise others through shout-outs, link posts to company goals and values, create community spaces and publish company articles and events. The result is a business-optimised communications experience that employees actually want to use, and a powerful way for businesses to align employees to company goals and cultural values.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

Q: How have you grown and developed the business? JG: With 35 employees currently in Cork, Dublin and San Francisco, we have grown the team steadily over the past 12 months, hiring a Chief Marketing Officer and Sales Vice President in the US as well as more software developers and customer success managers. Our plan is to continue this growth rate, hiring in both Ireland and the US. Netgear, Cubic Telecom, Telus International and A+E Networks are among the companies now using our platform. Q: What impact has Covid-19 had on Workvivo and its growth? JG: Actually it’s been very positive. Because of the nature of what we do (connecting employees socially), we’ve seen an increase both in demand for our platform and in the employee interactions on the platform. We are very much on track to reach 1 million users in 2021, with 40% of our current customer base brought on during lockdown. Several of our customers have said they appreciated having Workvivo in place from the outset of the restrictions and afterwards, since many employees continue to work remotely. It has also provided senior leadership with the facility to communicate with furloughed employees who don’t have a corporate email address. A major positive change we would not have

envisioned has occurred over the past few months. Now that remote working is more acceptable, we have access to a much larger talent pool, so Workvivo is able to compete from Ireland on a more equal footing with companies that are based in, say, Silicon Valley or elsewhere. This levelling of the playing field presents a huge opportunity for companies based in Ireland to compete on the biggest stage. Q: How significant is securing US$16m led by Tiger Global and how do you plan to use the funding? JG: The Series A funding was a major milestone in the journey of the business, as was the prior investment by Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan. Tiger Global is a highly reputable investor, so the decision to put its investment dollars and trust in us is a major validation that we’re doing something right. The funding enables us to really put our foot down now and focus on driving growth. We intend to accelerate our product development plans and our commercial footprint, especially in the US. Q: What challenges do you face as a small business in the current environment? JG: Given the nature of what we do and how we use Workvivo ourselves, we are fortunate to have navigated the Covid-19 period so

John Goulding, CEO and Joe Lennon, CTO of Workvivo

far without it negatively impacting the business. In fact, it allowed us to showcase the best of what we offer. During what has been an extraordinarily difficult time for people, I’m proud that we were able to alleviate some of the pressures and play our part in keeping people connected in a very meaningful sense. The biggest challenge we currently face as a tech company is brand awareness. We are competing on a global stage with some larger brands in a heavily contested space, so we need to be known in order to have a seat at the table. Building that awareness is a major priority for us as we enter 2021. Q: How do you deal with competition? JG: We are the only employee communication platform provider that has

been able to connect and engage employees using a social experience. Our platform and mobile app are ridiculously easy to use and our customer success team is like an extension to our customers’ internal communications function. The combination of these factors means we typically beat the competition when we go head-to-head. Competition is not a significant problem for us; being known in order to compete is a bigger priority. Q: Any other news or expansion plans you can share with us? JG: We recently announced plans to create 100 new jobs over the next three years with support from Enterprise Ireland. We plan to continue to invest in both Ireland and the US over the coming months.

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InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

30 Social Engagement SMALL BUSINESS

Employee communications platform Workvivo is in expansion mode with plans to create 100 jobs

MONUMENT FUNDING

In Association with

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Covid-19

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enterprise-ireland.com/covid

50% now available as a non-repayable grant of up to €200,000 Funding of between €100,000 and €800,000 available

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No repayments for the first 3 years

29/10/2020 09/10/2020 12:01 14:12


PROF MARGARET HEFFERNAN ON EXPERIMENTATION MENTORS SERIES AND THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIPS

InBUSINESS USINESS CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

AUTUMN

2020

NERVES

OF STEEL KIERNAN STRUCTURAL STEEL BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE

InBUSINESS AUTUMN 2020

FINTECH FLURRY INNOVATION-DRIVEN ACTIVITY ON THE RISE

CROSS-BORDER

CHAMPION

Contents

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS SERVICES, INTERTRADEIRELAND

SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT:

MARGARET HEARTY

ON BREXIT AND COVID-19 SUPPORTS

03

9

772009 393018

a2.70

How Workvivo is expanding amid Covid-19

Go to chambers.ie for the online edition

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MENTORS:

Prof Margaret Heffernan

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TED Talks presenter, author and academic Prof Margaret Heffernan on building resilience through experimentation and relationships Words: Sorcha Corcoran

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Skills & Talent [LIFESTYLE] 112 INNOVATION Latest products for home entertainment 114 PODCASTS DJ and broadcaster Tara Stewart’s podcast Dirty Laundry which looks at sustainable fashion 115 BOOKS Reinvention and addressing the big questions posed by the pandemic

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Fostering entrepreneurial skills among university students

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Innovation & Tech Driven by a high level of innovation, Irish fintech companies are in demand and growing

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Book Extract

An extract from Shorter: How Working Less Will Revolutionise the Way Your Company Gets Things Done by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

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34 MEDIA & MARKETING:

Fighting spirit

Oisin Davis, Founder and Director of Great Irish Beverages, on Irish drinks brands adapting to the closure of pubs

[REGULARS] 5 Business News 9 Opportunity Ireland 10 Movers & Shakers 12 Start-Up Central 42 Snapchat 43 Chambers Catch Up 116 The IB Index

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03/11/2020 14:42


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24/08/2020 15:59 29/10/2020 29/09/2020 12:02 11:43


NE WS CLEAR CUSTOMS PROGRAMME NOW AVAILABLE

S

killnet Ireland, in conjunction with the Government’s ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ campaign, has launched Clear Customs, a free online training programme to support Irish businesses in dealing with increased customs requirements as a result of Brexit. Developed in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), the initiative will be delivered through a new mobile app and virtual classroom training sessions. “Brexit poses serious challenges for many businesses and they will need to ensure as soon as possible that they have the skills and tools to respond,” says Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland.

BUSINESS NEWS

Left to right: Niall O’Connor, Aldi, Ian Logan, Tesco, Eamonn Quinn, Food Waste Retail Action Group, Iseult Ward, FoodCloud, Malachy Hanberry, Eurospar and JP Scally, Lidl

NEW INITIATIVE FROM FOODCLOUD Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Eurospar came together in September to support ‘Food for Ireland’, a new initiative by FoodCloud to help meet the demand for its services from charities and communities across Ireland affected by Covid-19. FoodCloud has experienced a doubling in demand for its food redistribution services in recent months. Between March and June this year, 968 tonnes of food, equating to 2.3 million meals, was distributed through retail partners and FoodCloud’s three hubs. The environmental charity has been working with the food industry to redistribute its surplus food across Ireland since 2013.

SECOND ‘ENTER THE EUROZONE’ PROGRAMME Enterprise Ireland has launched a second ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme for Irish business, designed to accelerate Irish export growth to the eurozone as a key response to Brexit. Exports to the Eurozone grew by 15% to €5.6bn in 2019, making the region the second-largest export market for Enterprise Ireland client companies. Delivered in partnership with the European School of Management and Technology, Berlin and Galway-based IMS Marketing, the programme gives each company access to key industry experts who will act as business advisors. Objectives for participants include developing a market entry plan and targeting a first significant contract win in a eurozone market.

€16M INVESTMENT AT MUNICH RE Munich Re Automation Solutions plans to invest around €16m in ‘Horizons’, a research and development programme, which will evolve the business from “a product to a platform company”. In light of this, the company is to recruit a large new team of skilled people to complement its existing team in Dublin and accelerate the development of new cloud-based products and services. It is expected that up to 60 positions will be filled over the coming 24 months. Since its acquisition by Munich Re in 2007, the Irish subsidiary has grown to become one of the most successful providers of automated life insurance solutions globally. Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland and Mick Curran, CEO, CILT

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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BUSINESS NEWS

LAW SCHOLARSHIP FOR NUI GALWAY Global law firm DLA Piper has launched the Terence O’Malley DLA Piper Scholarship in partnership with NUI Galway School of Law, which is expected to support around eight students over the next eight years. Named after Terry O’Malley, Chairman Emeritus (US) and Chair of DLA Piper’s Asia Committee, the scholarship will provide over €100,000 in funding and support to students in financial need. A separate €1,500 annual Terence O’Malley DLA Piper bursary will be awarded to the student achieving the highest grade in the university’s new Law and Innovation module.

LINKEDIN STORIES

INTRODUCED IN IRELAND Professional network LinkedIn has launched its LinkedIn Stories feature in Ireland. This allows the country’s two million LinkedIn members to share photos and videos up to 20 seconds long using the mobile app, which will be visible on their profiles for 24 hours. Stories can be personalised with text and themed stickers, or start a conversation through ‘Question of the Day’ prompts. The blurring of professional and personal lives in recent months has changed the way people use LinkedIn. There has been a 55% year-on-year increase in conversations among connections and a 60% rise in content creation on the platform.

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PICTURE

THIS

Enda Gunnell, CEO of Pinergy, which has partnered with Ohme to launch new smart technology to help Irish customers to find the best electric vehicle charging tariff available to them.

Business

BITES

SUPPORTING CHARITIES Customers of Liberty Insurance have donated €1.8m to Alone, Barnardos and Pieta as part of the insurer’s Covid-19 relief strategy.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY A CONCERN A nationwide survey has revealed that 53% of respondents rate their indoor air quality and ventilation as poor or average. “This is very worrying, not just from a Covid-19 perspective but also in terms of an individual’s wellbeing,” says Bernard Yore, Group CEO, Eirdata and ESS. The survey was among Eirdata client companies and the 24,000 members of Engineers Ireland. Bernard Yore, Group CEO, Eirdata and ESS and Nearly all (98%) respondents Tommy Rice, General Manager, Eirdata agreed that the air they breathe affects their productivity, concentration and general wellbeing. And 93% agreed that indoor air quality sensors are useful devices to help assess whether adequate ventilation is being provided.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

29/10/2020 15:08


BUSINESS NEWS

REGENERON RAMPS UP IN LIMERICK

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iopharma company Regeneron is adding more than 400 new jobs at its Industrial Operations and Product Supply (IPOS) campus in the Limerick area, bringing total headcount there to over 1,400. The new jobs will support the production of Regeneron’s existing medicines. Meanwhile, the company is maximising manufacturing capacity at its New York facility for REGN-COV2, its investigational two-antibody combination being developed for the potential treatment and prevention of Covid-19. “In order to make space in our New York facilities to accommodate our Covid-19 efforts, we needed to ramp up capacity here in Limerick,” says Dan Van Plew, Executive Vice President & General Manager of IOPS at Regeneron.

Niall O’Leary, Vice President & Site Head, IOPS Limerick, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Mary Buckley, Executive Director, IDA Ireland

IMPACT ON PUBS

DEMAND FOR WELLNESS

REMOTE WORKING

Over €60m worth of stock has been written off by pubs as a result of the ‘stop-start’ approach to reopening the hospitality sector, says the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland.

For 67% of Irish consumers, wellness is now considered an essential element of a brand’s strategy, accord to the Ogilvy Wellness Gap report.

89% of people who are working from home say their household expenses have and will increase as a result, the latest Taxback. com Consumer Sentiment Survey reveals.

STUDY HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO

STEP UP ONLINE

A new study from PayPal has revealed that one in four Irish consumers used or bought online services for the first time during the pandemic. Conducted by Ipsos among 2,000 consumers, the study found that 76% bought products online while 33% plan to buy more products or services online going forward. “Irish businesses Maeve Dorman, VP Merchant need to step up and ensure that they are able to Operations, deliver an online offering equipped with a simple PayPal EMEA checkout process and secure payment options, otherwise they will fail to capitalise on the opportunity,” says Maeve Dorman, VP Merchant Operations, PayPal EMEA.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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“With all of the different Brexit deadlines, businesses feel they will march to the top of the hill and then things change. But it is critical for them to take action now.” Margaret Hearty, Director of Business Services, InterTradeIreland

COVER STORY

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BUSINESS NEWS

R&D EXPANSION FOR TRACO POWER SOLUTIONS

NATURGY RECEIVES 100% GREEN CERTIFICATION

B

usiness energy supplier Naturgy has been confirmed as supplying 100% renewable electricity to its customers, according to the Commission for Regulations of Utilities’ Fuel Mix Report Ross McConnell, Head of for 2019. Naturgy’s Pathway to Greenness initiative Renewables, helps businesses create and execute a plan to Naturgy Ireland become more sustainable in line with internationally recognised best-practice protocols. “Naturgy was the first supplier in Ireland to achieve a 100% green electricity rating for our customers back in 2013,” says Ross McConnell, Head of Renewables at Naturgy Ireland. In addition to this, Naturgy was also the first company to provide ‘green gas’, or biomethane, in Ireland, to its customer Tesco.

Traco Power Solutions in Co Wexford is expanding its product line to design and develop customised highvoltage or high-power supply solutions for the European market. Established in Co Wexford 31 years ago, the company is recruiting for seven new roles at its facility at Whitemills Industrial Estate – the only research and development site within the Traco Power Group. “This decision by our parent company to support our product portfolio expansion here in Wexford is a great show of confidence in the Irish site where some of these products will also be manufactured,” says Managing Director of Traco Power Solutions, Luis De Sousa. 

THE DEAN CORK

SIGNS OF OPTIMISM

DETERMINED TO OPEN The Dean Cork

IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

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lmost two thirds of financial services firms forecast a bounceback in recruitment in the sector next year, according Michael to a survey by the Association of Kavanagh, CEO, Compliance Officers of Ireland (ACOI). The survey of ACOI 300 ACOI member organisations showed that more than half say they haven’t had to implement pay cuts and are not expecting to experience any in the near future. “Research has found that the financial services sector has emerged as one of the areas of industry least affected by Covid-19. Overall, the sector has remained relatively stable throughout the pandemic,” says Michael Kavanagh, CEO of ACOI.

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Despite Covid-19’s devastating impact on tourism businesses, The Dean Cork is still set to open later this year with construction ongoing on the Horgan’s Quay development in Cork City. Described as “daring and different”, The Dean Cork will have similar features to its Dublin equivalent, including rooftop views of the city skyline – but with a salute to its new Leeside home and tributes to its rebel heritage. It will have six floors, 114 rooms, three event spaces, a gym and leisure facilities.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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JOB CREATION COMPANY: CitySwift

COMPANY: ProSearch

SECTOR: Transport Data

LOCATION: Galway

ANNOUNCEMENT: CitySwift is creating 50 new jobs in Galway, further to securing 2m in funding. The roles wÕl be across software, data science, customer success, sales and marketing. In additŠn, CitySwift wÕl be moving to a bigger headquarters in Galway City Centre.

SECTOR: Discovery SolutŠns LOCATION: Dublin ANNOUNCEMENT: ProSearch is expanding its Dublin office, which was established in 2019. It expects to create 45 new roles in Ireland in the next three years in IT and data centre operatŠns, data privacy and security, forensics and other e-discovery services.

COMPANY: Simple But Needed SECTOR: Software LOCATION: KÕdare ANNOUNCEMENT: US developer of safety and risk management software systems Simple But Needed is setting up its European headquarters in KÕdare Town with plans to employ 20 people over three years in areas including product support, customer success and engineering sales.

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

COMPANY: Nulia SECTOR: Digital Technologies LOCATION: Dublin ANNOUNCEMENT: Based in Oregon in the US, Nulia has chosen Dublin for its EMEA headquarters and plans to employ 40 people there across sales, customer success, software engineering, data science and operatŠns.

COMPANY: NatŠnal Technologies SECTOR: Data centres LOCATION: Dublin

COMPANY: Eliatra

SECTOR: LOCATION: IT Sligo ANNOUNCEMENT: IT services and solutŠns company Eliatra is to locate its new product development and European headquarters in Sligo where it intends to hire 15 people over the next three years in product development, technical support and sales and marketing.

ANNOUNCEMENT: A US company that provides fibre optic and data centre installatŠn services, NatŠnal Technologies, is creating 52 jobs over the next three years with the opening of its EMEA headquarters in Park West, Dublin.

Jobs market showing resilience with 56% rise in vacancies There was a 56% increase in job vacancies in Ireland for the period July to September compared to the previous quarter, according to the latest Jobs Index from IrishJobs. ie. Vacancies are down by 23% on 2019 figures, but a number of sectors have seen both year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter growth. These include IT, construction and property, engineering and utilities, pharma and medicine and healthcare. “The 56% growth in job vacancies suggests businesses are adjusting to the backdrop of uncertainty. However, our Q3 data demonstrates a clear divergence between sectors dominated by large multinationals and those consisting of smaller indigenous SMEs,” says IrishJobs.ie General Manager Orla Moran.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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112% & 1,264% The quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year growth rates in vacancies for remote working roles, according to the Q3 Jobs Index from IrishJobs.ie

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MOVERS & SHAKERS

M vers

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY NATIONWIDE

SHAKERS

MOIRA GRASSICK

BRENDAN MCLOUGHLIN

TONY YANGXU

DAVID FOX

NEW TITLE: Managing Director EMPLOYER: Peninsula Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Associate Director of Commercial, Peninsula Ireland

NEW TITLE: Country Manager EMPLOYER: Mars Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Country Manager, Consumer Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson

NEW TITLE: CEO EMPLOYER: Huawei Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Sales Director, Huawei UK

NEW TITLE: Managing Director EMPLOYER: Sodexo Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: European Account Director, Sodexo client

Global employment law consultancy, Peninsula Group, has announced the appointment of Moira Grassick as Managing Director of Peninsula Ireland. Grassick joined the organisation in 2012 as a HR Consultant, and since that time her role has progressed significantly into a senior director position within the group. Alan Hickey has also been promoted to Services & Operations Director at Peninsula Ireland.

Brendan McLoughlin is replacing Bill Heague as Country Manager of Mars Ireland. A 17-year veteran of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and consumer healthcare industry, McLoughlin assumes leadership of the Mars business in Ireland, which incorporates brands including M&M’s, Dolmio and Wrigley’s Extra. McLoughlin began his FMCG career in Reckitt Benckiser as an account manager and joined Johnson & Johnson in 2008.

Tony Yangxu has been appointed as the new CEO of Huawei Ireland. His responsibilities will include overseeing Huawei’s roll-out of 5G infrastructure here. Until recently, Yanxu was Sales Director for the company in the UK. He joined the telecoms giant in 2006 and has held several senior positions, with responsibility for business strategy development, sales revenue and contributing to the growth of Huawei.

Facilities service provider Sodexo has appointed David Fox as Managing Director in Ireland, further to him holding several senior management roles within the organisation. His new role will focus on evolving the country strategy while incorporating the ‘Rise with Sodexo’ programme, which provides organisations with a systemic approach in adapting to the new normal and ensuring the safety of people.

TOP CAREER TIPS 10

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Since January 2018, Jason Hawkins has been Chief Executive Officer of Carbery Group, an internat÷nal manufacturer of speciality food ingredients, flavouring systems and an award-winning cheese producer. Headquartered in Ballineen, Co Cork, Carbery employs over 600 people across eight global locat÷ns. Hawkins’ prev÷us role was Chief Operating Officer with Dairy Farmers of America. Prev÷usly, he had a long career with Kerry Group, where he joined as a graduate accountant in 1999.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

03/11/2020 15:31


MOVERS & SHAKERS

NEW FASTWAY CEO MAKES STRATEGIC HIRES

MICK MCNEIL

MARIAN RYAN

NEW TITLE: Group Vice President for Business Development EMPLOYER: Logicalis PREVIOUS ROLE: Business development, Microsoft

NEW TITLE: Consumer Tax Manager EMPLOYER: Taxback.com PREVIOUS ROLE: Business development, Taxback.com

International IT solutions and managed services provider Logicalis has appointed Mick McNeil as Group Vice President for Business Development. In this role, McNeil will lead the evolution of Logicalis’ Digital Transformation offering, in line with the company’s strategic partnership with Microsoft. He is relocating from Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle in the US, where he held several global roles within Microsoft’s commercial partner organisation.

In her new role as Consumer Tax Manager at Taxback.com, Marian Ryan will be responsible for business development across all functions that sustain the strategic objectives of the company in Ireland, the UK, Europe and Australia. She will also be involved in expanding the company’s client base and service offering from a B2C model to a B2B model, while also streamlining internal procedures.

1.

The most impactful thing a good leader can do is buŸd a great team around them, learn from these people and empower them.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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2.

Clear communicat÷n up and down the organisat÷n – to your employees and your team – and listening to their views are essential.

Recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of Fastway Couriers (Ireland) Danny Hughes has announced a number of strategic hires to the business. Mark Van Niekerk of Fastway South Africa has been appointed as Head of Franchising and Nigel Kane, formerly of Holland & Barrett, as Head of Logistics & Transport. This follows on from the recent addit÷n of four other sen÷r executives across finance, technology, sales and HR. For Hughes, these latest hires provide the right mix of talent to deliver further growth for the business as customers increasingly embrace e-commerce. Fastway recently secured a contract extens÷n with UK home delivery giant Yodel along with simŸar renewals of existing service agreements with fast growing UK e-commerce retaŸ group Boohoo. This comes in parallel to seeing an increase of over 50% in domestic clients since January this year, as well as an increase in couriers of 44% and warehousing footprint by 35% to meet demand.

3.

Be clear on why your organisat÷n exists. You can make the right decis÷ns for the long-term based on that purpose.

11

03/11/2020 15:32


START-UPS

Start-Up Central

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

The number of new start-up companies recorded in Ireland in the first half of 2020, representing a five-year low, according to CRIF Vision-Net.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

THIRD CALL FOR DTIF LAUNCHED Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar launched the third call for applications to the €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) on 24 September. The DTIF Call 3 is about funding collaborations that demonstrate technology-based disruptive innovation, specifically collaborations that can: alter markets; alter the way business operates; or involve new products or the emergence of new business models. The deadline for receipt of applications is 17 December.

MIKE BRASILE

PRODUCT DIRECTOR, CADOO What is the background to Cadoo?

Our company began in 2003 as an SMS gateway, Neon SMS, but the mobile communications landscape then quickly changed dramatically. We adapted our business model accordingly and have added significant capabilities over time, including the Cadoo messaging app.

Mike Brasile

What’s the best advice you were given?

I’ve always been mindful of the mantra ‘Stay within your swim lane’. For businesses and individuals alike, I believe it is important to hone in on your core strengths and accentuate those strengths through measured action.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting out? Always listen to clients’ needs. By tailoring solutions to customer needs, businesses can achieve high customer satisfaction ratings and ultimately expand their client base.

Your biggest make or break moment?

I would say the critical success factor was finding the right team to work with. Our people are dedicated, hard-working professionals who feel a sense of pride in the work we do.

Would you change anything in hindsight?

It would probably be to place more of a focus on market research in the early days. However, by responding directly to client needs, our company has managed to grow from humble beginnings to the robust business model we have today. Company: Cadoo Location: Eastgate House, Eastgate Business Park, Little Island, Co Cork with a presence in Dublin and the UK Product:

Mobile communication solutions

Staff:

10

Website:

www.cadoo.com

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MENTALLY FIT FRANCHISE ARRIVES IN IRELAND Irish Olympian and international hockey player Shane O’Donoghue along with coach and mentor Graham Merriman have brought the first-ever franchise of Mentally Fit to Ireland. Belgian company Mentally Fit was originally founded in 1996 by Alain Goudsmet as an international coaching institute specialising in human energy management for individuals, teams and organisations. The programme delivers coaching and workshops inspired by top sports, validated by science and applied to the corporate world. Since 1996, Mentally Fit has worked with a range of global companies including Nike, Adidas, Deloitte, Heineken, PwC, and Subway.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

14/10/2020 09:04


START-UPS

Niamh Sterling, HBAN, and Aonghus Shortt, Co-founder and CEO, FoodMarble

Left to right: Dr Manus Rogan, Chairman and co-founding investor, Dr Matt Cooper, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Prof Luke O’Neill, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer and Dr Jeremy Skillington, Vice President, Business Development, Inflazome

INFLAZOME SNAPPED UP FOR €380M

ID-PAL RAISES €1M IN FUNDING

Dublin-based ID-Pal recently raised €1m in funding to fuel the company’s continuing expansion. Founded in 2016 and already used in over 43 countries, ID-Pal has developed innovative technology that enables businesses to verify the identity of customers in real time, easily and securely. The funding round includes investment from Act Venture Capital along with a number of additional private investors. “This funding will help us to continue to develop our product offering and the technology behind it, which we can then deliver to new and existing customers in a flexible and bespoke manner, making sure their compliance and customer needs are easily addressed,” says Colum Lyons, Founder and CEO of ID-Pal.

Founder and Chief Executive Colum Lyons, Chief Marketing Officer Shelley McKinney, Chief Business Officer James O’Toole, Director of Operations Simon Montgomery and Chief Technology Officer Rob O’Farrell, ID-Pal

NE TO WATCH: FOODMARBLE

Dublin-based biotech start-up Inflazome has been acquired by Swiss healthcare multinational Roche for €380m. A leader in the development of inflammasome inhibitors, Inflazome was founded in 2016 by Prof Matt Cooper of the University of Queensland in Australia and Prof Luke O’Neill of Trinity College Dublin. Inflammasomes are understood to drive many chronic inflammatory conditions, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. “With Inflazome now part of the Roche organisation, Inflazome’s pioneering molecules are well positioned to be developed quickly and effectively so they can help patients suffering from debilitating diseases,” says Cooper. Inflazome has raised €55m in venture capital financing from leading investors Forbion, Longitude Capital, Fountain Healthcare Partners and Novartis Venture Fund.

Founded in 2018 by Aonghus Shortt, FoodMarble is a personal digestive breath analyser, which helps people who suffer with digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome to identify what foods they should avoid to prevent symptoms. Linked to a smartphone app, it detects and tracks in real time what foods impact a user’s levels of bacterial fermentation. To date more than 15,000 devices have been sold worldwide, and in 2019, the Dublin-based start-up’s sales topped 1m. In September it secured 1.2m in a funding round which included HBAN business angels and Enterprise Ireland. This will support the company’s ongoing research and development, along with expansion into the US and Canada. “We are continually innovating to ensure that we retain our position as a market leader for personal breath testing devices. With the support and advice of our business angels, we are well on target to achieve sales of 4m by the end of 2021,” says Shortt.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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14/10/2020 09:04


ENTREPRENEUR

Q: Would you say you have always had heads for business? DK: We are both from families who were in business. Frank’s

ENTREPRENEURS: FRANK AND DOLORES KIERNAN

parents had a herd of dairy cows and I came from a country shop and pub, which included hardware, funeral undertakers and general merchants. When we started out neither of us would have considered ourselves as having heads for business, but necessity is the mother of invention. We went into business not anxious, but positive. Q: What would you say has been the secret to the success of KSSL? FK: Hard work! We started out manufacturing agricultural sheds,

Husband and wife Frank and Dolores Kiernan are shortlisted for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020, having established Kiernan Structural Steel (KSSL) over 30 years ago. The family business has grown from humble beginnings in Co Longford to serving multiple clients in the construction sector in both Ireland and the UK.

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and gradually broadened out the range of services we provide to include design engineering, steel fabrication, steel erection and fire protection painting. Despite recessions, we have managed to maintain growth over the years and have always had outstanding, loyal and trustworthy staff. Our year-on-year profit growth rate has generally been in double digits. We have not always reached that but in the good years we prepare for the bad. We continue to reinvest our profits back into the business to make it strong and we have grown with this strategy. Q: How important is the UK market and how are exports going? DK: The UK market is very important to us. We have friends

in the ex-pat community who have helped us to secure projects there. We entered the UK and German markets in 2010 as there simply was no work happening in Ireland. This led to us opening an office in Perivale, West London and securing a storage yard outside Uxbridge where our son Frank Junior lives. Due to Brexit we have closed the UK branch of the company and opened an independent company based in London. We have several projects ongoing in the UK and we hope to secure a number of UK-based projects in the coming months which should keep our exports up for 2020.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

29/10/2020 16:12


ENTREPRENEUR

Dolores and Frank Kiernan, Co-founders, Kiernan Structural Steel

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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29/10/2020 16:12


ENTREPRENEUR

Over time, as the company grew we ensured our long-serving staff got payment increases as we could afford them. At present we employ over 210 people directly and through subcontractors. New faces are constantly appearing. In the past 18 months two long-serving members have retired and they are greatly missed. Q: Can you highlight some recent key

achievements? FK:In 2019, KSSL won the UK &

The Kiernan family

SIN BEAM MANUFACTURE In recent years, KSSL invested in an automated robotic machine to manufacture SIN Beams – lightweight plate girders with thin, sinusoidal, corrugated webs with thicknesses varying from 1.5mm to 3mm. KSSL has secured exclusive rights from the machine manufacturers for SIN Beam manufacture and distribution for Ireland and the UK. SIN Beams are perfect for long-span roof structures by easily giving open spans of up to 60 metres. This is ideal for structures such as warehouses, industrial buildings, shopping centres, sports halls and pedestrian foot bridges. Particularly efficient when compared against traditional roof truss structures, SIN beams can provide significant savings for clients with weight savings of 20-35% compared with traditional design methods. “The steel industry is no different to any other industry; it must fully utilise new technology to ensure competitiveness,” notes Frank Kiernan, Managing Director, KSSL.

Q: What is your reaction to the latest developments with Brexit? FK: Worried but very positive. We see many potential opportunities that

we’re currently working hard on. The new rules will take a while to get used to but with our leadership and staff in the UK I feel in two years’ time we will see green shoots. We will be 100% ready to exploit these and work with our customers just as we did before Brexit. However, we are concerned that in the event of a ‘no-deal’ scenario there will be tariffs on steel, which is our main cost on any project. Q: What are the positives of being a family-owned business in your sector? DK: There are many ups and downs to a family business. The big positive

is that clients have a face to the business and generally feel very comfortable when they meet a member of the family on a project. In our opinion, this has led to many great relationships and repeat work on a continual basis. We try to treat our employees as an extension of the family, and with fairness and respect. This comes from the fact that all employees regularly meet a member of the family who they can talk with. We have many employees with us over 20 years as a result. Q: What other factors have influenced this employee loyalty? DK: When we started, employment in the area was very low. If the money was

not good the soup and sandwiches and chat at lunchtime were. This enabled us to get to know our staff and their families just as they got to know us. 16

014 InBUSINESS Autumn 2020_Entrepreneur_V1_REV.indd 16

Ireland Tekla award in the Sports & Recreation category for The Curragh Racecourse main grandstand roof structure. As a result, KSSL has been automatically nominated into the 2020 Tekla worldwide competition for this project. We were responsible for the design, detailing, fabricating, fire painting and erection of the roof structure, which incorporates the very first 45-metre cantilever in Ireland. Also in 2019, KSSL won a NISO Safety Award and was a winner at the Energia Family Business Awards. Q: How important would you say

your location in Co Longford is? FK and DK: Having lived here for

the past 39 years, as far as we are concerned, Longford is the centre of the universe. Our family grew up in Longford and attended school here, leaving for a short while to be educated, work and get experience but in the end they have returned. Longford is geographically in a great position in the middle of the country supported by road and rail infrastructure. This is very important for us in terms of our staff getting to and from work but also for deliveries coming and going from the factory. Most of our factory workers are from the area. Q: Where would you like to be with

KSSL in five years’ time? FK: We would like to see the business

expand by continuing to invest in different methods of working and also diversifying into different markets both inside and outside of construction. Also, we would love to expand our horizons in the UK and into the continent of Europe. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

29/10/2020 16:12


Relax / Dine / Savour

R

Benefits for Ireland, Benefits for You

The RDS supports Irish agriculture, enterprise, the arts, science education and equestrianism through its Foundation work programme.

From €340 per year you can support this work and enjoy the benefits of RDS Membership

Exclusive access to the recently refurbished RDS Members’ Club Access to the beautifully appointed Library with hotdesk facilities Elegant and well-appointed meeting rooms with free Wi-Fi and complimentary hire up to three times per annum Access to rugby hospitality prior to all Leinster games and international home games Access to a superb programme of Members’ cultural and social events, practical business seminars Use of over 70 international reciprocal clubs (full list is on rds.ie/members/reciprocal-clubs ) Complimentary five-day general admission to the Dublin Horse Show Complimentary car parking in Ballsbridge

For more information or to arrange a tour of the Members’ Club, please email join@rds.ie or phone 01-2407280

1C_RDS_JM_InBus 13.03.indd 1

03/11/2020 13:56


COVER STORY

CROSSBORDER CHAMPION As an uncertain Brexit looms and Covid-19 restrictions intensify in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, InterTradeIreland is on hand to provide essential supports and advice while continuing to foster crossborder cooperation.

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018 InBusiness Autumn 2020_Cover Story_V1.indd 18

L

ess than three months before the UK is set to leave the EU, now is the time for crossborder traders to seek help and examine where their risks are as a business – they simply cannot afford to wait until the end of December to take action. This is one of the key messages from cross-border trade body InterTradeIreland to businesses north and south of the border. “In the event of a deal being reached, the Northern Ireland protocol protects the cross-border trade of goods to a certain degree, in that it means goods will not need to be checked on the border. However, there are other inherent risks that companies need to be aware of,” says Margaret Hearty, Director of Business Services at InterTradeIreland.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

03/11/2020 16:07


2019 WAS OUR BUSIEST YEAR TO DATE. WE ENGAGED WITH A WIDE RANGE OF BUSINESSES RIGHT ACROSS THE ISLAND AND HAD A RECORD NUMBER OF COMPANIES PARTICIPATING IN OUR PROGRAMMES. THIS TREND HAS CONTINUED IN 2020.

Margaret Hearty, Director of Business Services, InterTradeIreland

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN WINTER 2019 2020

018 InBusiness Autumn 2020_Cover Story_V1.indd 19

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03/11/2020 16:07


“This could be the sourcing of component parts off the island of Ireland for use in manufacturing. There are also many outstanding things that need to be agreed for services, which is a large and growing part of cross-border trade. In some cases businesses have been moving goods across the border, and there may be a service aspect to that such as maintenance or followup that they haven’t thought about.” There are plenty of supports ava²able through InterTradeIreland to help businesses navigate Brexit, whatever the outcome of negotiatÑns may be. Introduced in 2017, its Brexit Advisory service is a powerful resource for companies. With a dedicated team, it offers informatÑn and support – including funding to help companies develop a bespoke plan for Brexit. It also has informatÑn events and in-depth advice online which is easy to navigate. It’s a onestop shop for Brexit. Over 2,000 Brexit vouchers have been issued by InterTradeIreland to date. The voucher funding amount is £2,000/2,250 (including VAT) worth of professÑnal advice to help businesses to identify Brexit exposure and plan accordingly. There have also been 93,000 page views on www.brexit2020. intertradeireland.com, a website dedicated to specific advice on supply chain, customs and people. “Yes, the negotiatÑns are ongoing, but we w²l make all new informatÑn ava²able over the coming months. The Brexit voucher allows a business to get a risk assessment done, find out exactly where the risks lie and know what actÑn to take when this informatÑn becomes ava²able,” explains Hearty. There was a significant increase in applicatÑns for InterTradeIreland Brexit voucher support when businesses got back on track after the first wave of Covid-19. However, there is st²l a sense that a lot of companies haven’t done anything yet in preparatÑn for the UK’s departure from the EU, she adds. 20

018 InBusiness Autumn 2020_Cover Story_V1.indd 20

Margaret Hearty, Director of Business Services, InterTradeIreland

“With all of the different deadlines, businesses feel they w²l march to the top of the h²l and then things change. But it is critical for them to take actÑn now,” says Hearty. The most practical thing any business can do now is to ava² of InterTradeIreland’s 100% funded solutÑn to bring a professÑnal service provider in to help it understand its risks and optÑns, according to Hearty. For example, this could mean the need to employ a customs agent or train up staff internally to look after additÑnal customs paperwork. FACILITATING COLLABORATION AND RELATIONSHIPS One of InterTrade Ireland’s main objectives is to increase economic cooperatÑn across the island of Ireland by fac²itating and encouraging mutually-beneficial cross-border relatÑnships. It’s at the core of everything it does as an organisatÑn, from its cross-border cluster initiative Synergy to its FusÑn programme, which links companies in one jurisdictÑn with ideas for new product development with academic institutÑns in the other. “Everything we do is about sharing knowledge, best practice and informatÑn across the island. Our Funding for Growth research which looked at business angel activity led to the establishment of the Halo Business Angel Network as an all-island umbrella group,” says Hearty. “We also assist with wider all-island InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

03/11/2020 16:07


or cross-border cooperation, for example by supporting academics and businesses to partner across the island to access Horizon 2020 funding.” In the current phase of Horizon 2020, to March 2020, InterTradeIreland facilitated partners north and south to draw down significant funding across a broad range of research areas. One example was a partnership between Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network and Cancer Trials Ireland. Covid-19 struck a chord with businesses and academics right across the country and provided a unique opportunity for InterTradeIreland to showcase its strengths in cross-border collaboration. It worked with TechIreland, an organisation that identifies and works with emerging technology companies across the island, to create Covid-19 Bizmap. This digital platform allows businesses and academics to come together and share technology and ideas on how to help the fight against the new coronavirus. “So far, 178 healthcare solutions have been logged onto the map and there have been 62 funding calls and tenders relating to the emergency. Many of the partnerships got involved in manufacturing personal protective equipment, having never done this previously,” says Hearty. “The initiative has worked so effectively that it has been developed into a re-start business map, to encourage businesses to collaborate and come together in reinventing themselves in light of Covid-19.” As well as leveraging its existing programmes to respond to the crisis, InterTradeIreland introduced two dedicated Covid-19 supports – E-merge, a £2,500/a2,800 voucher to get businesses online by linking them up with a digital service provider and Emergency Business Solutions, which provides professional advice to the value of £2,000/a2,250 for cross-border companies to address key business challenges. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

018 InBusiness Autumn 2020_Cover Story_V1.indd 21

RISING DEMAND IN FACE OF COVID-19 Before the pandemic, cross-border trade was at an all-time high, reaching a7.3bn in 2018 – the latest figures available from InterTradeIreland. This was split roughly 50:50 between goods and services, with agrifood one of the largest sectors of trade across the border. Early indications are that crossborder trade both ways has dropped by about 7.8% since Covid-19. “If there is no free trade agreement between the UK and the EU, agrifood would be significantly impacted and no agreement on services would be another potential impact. Most other sectors supply into those large categories, so we would see an impact right across the board,” says Hearty. “The fact that a large percentage of cross-border trade is made up of SMEs within the supply chain is also a cause for concern.” Against this backdrop, InterTradeIreland has never been busier in terms of the pipeline of applications and the demand for information, advice and financial assistance to trade cross-border has never been higher. “It is so encouraging to see this demand from businesses. In many cases, they have become smarter in terms of intelligence and data and know the specific opportunity they are going after,” notes Hearty. “Crossborder trade continues to be a natural first step when starting to export, particularly for smaller businesses, and it is crucial to protect and encourage it. Research has shown that of those companies which have taken that first step, 40% naturally go on to export off the island. Cross-border traders also tend to be more productive and innovative as businesses.” She adds: “2019 was our busiest year to date. We engaged with a wide range of businesses right across the island and had a record number of companies participating in our programmes. This trend has continued in 2020. We are very much open for business, with lots of supports to help companies navigate Brexit and Covid-19.”

CASE STUDY:

Polar IceTech Cork-based dry ice cleaning specialists Polar IceTech applied for InterTradeIreland’s Covid-19 supports, E-merge and Emergency Business Solutions, at the early stages of the pandemic. “We were approved within 24 hours and working with the consultant within days. It was a faultless process,” says Operations Director Máiréad O’Donnell. Both grants proved invaluable as they helped Polar IceTech to analyse what it does, how this looks to the outside world and, most importantly, pivot in a sustainable and positive way. “The E-merge grant offered us an insight into what works and what doesn’t from a digital perspective, while the Emergency Business Solutions grant helped us to look at all the service offerings and knowledge we have and how we can make them more accessible to a wider network of customers.” Polar IceTech has worked on a number of very successful projects with InterTradeIreland since 2016. For example, taking part in the Acumen programme was one of the key drivers behind the company’s expansion in Northern Ireland. “It allowed us to hire a sales person who focused solely on telling the industrial community in Northern Ireland all about how dry ice cleaning can help reduce downtime and increase the quality of their clean,” notes O’Donnell. “We continue to reap the rewards from the programme to this day and are working with some of the leading manufacturers in the North. Everything we have worked on with InterTradeIreland has had a significant impact on the business.”

Damien McDonnell, Managing Director and Máiréad O’Donnell, Operations Director, Polar IceTech

21

03/11/2020 16:08


INDUSTRY FEATURE

One of the most pronounced Covid-19 trends has been the increased demand for home delivery of meals, with foodservice providers having to think carefully about how to go about this while trying to keep their heads above water, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

STANDON

delivery 22

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InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

03/11/2020 16:19


INDUSTRY FEATURE

T HOME DELIVERY TRENDS Marketplace platform Deliveroo has identified the following changes in consumer behaviour driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. • Group ordering (ie more than two meals) overtook single orders (one meal) for the first time ever. Where single-meal orders used to make up over half of Deliveroo’s total orders in Ireland, they constituted just one third of the total during peak lockdown. • The Irish in general were eating earlier. Whereas average orders on a weekday would usually peak at around 7.30pm, this shifted to 20 minutes earlier in the day. • Fridays were the new Saturday: as people weren’t able to go out on a Friday night, Deliveroo saw Fridays overtake Saturdays as the most popular day of the weekend to order a takeaway. • Burritos and burgers continued to be the type of foods most in demand across the country.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

022 InBUSINESS Autumn 2020_Industry Feature_V2.indd 23

o deliver or not to deliver: that is the questÑn. However, unlike Shakespeare’s Hamlet, for restaurants in Ireland this has not been something to procrastinate about in recent months. The Covid-19 pandemic has made home delivery of meals more than an occasÑnal treat, but rather a part of routine living, and in many cases a necessity. The yo-yo nature of restrictÑns has forced restaurants which had never before even thought about home delivery to embark on this for the first time. During lockdown, thousands of closed restaurants pivoted from dine-in businesses to re-open as takeaway and delivery food businesses as over 60% of the Irish populatÑn ordered food from restaurants and takeaways. A Bord Bia White Paper published in May identified continued investment in off-premises/takeaway as a key trend which is likely to have a long-lasting impact on the food service industry. It stated that the crisis has shown that having any off-premises strategy to diversify is “a must”. For many restaurant owners, in cities at least, this has meant signing up to an aggregator platform such as Just Eat, Deliveroo or Uber Eats and outsourcing everything to that platform for home delivery. For example, since January this year, over 600 new Irish restaurant partners signed up to the Deliveroo platform, taking the total number of Deliveroo restaurant partners to 1,800 in Ireland. This represents 50% growth in the first half of 2020. Just over two-thirds of the new sign-ups were in Dublin with 11% in Cork, wh²e Galway and Limerick saw a 6% and 4% increase, respectively. “Deliveroo provides the logistical delivery service for restaurants. This means they don’t need to provide delivery services themselves, which would involve directly contracting with couriers, paying their fees as well as funding marketing campaigns and customer services,” a Deliveroo spokesperson explains. “All of this is covered by Deliveroo, meaning customers and restaurants get a superÑr service.” BALANCING ACT Maureen Gahan, Foodservice Specialist at Bord Bia, points out that marketplace delivery platforms can charge restaurants up to 30% per order, which represents a huge cut for smaller players in particular. This has meant varÑus different models for home delivery have emerged since the lockdown. 23

03/11/2020 16:20


INDUSTRY FEATURE

“Outside of the bigger cities, you w²l find restaurants using their own delivery people or accessing delivery drivers through Gigable. com. There is also a hybrid model, where operators such as Dominos with their own suite of drivers are also signed up to Just Eat, which then only takes a small commissÑn for the use of the platform,” she explains. “A lot of providers recognise that it’s important to be on a marketplace platform to tap into the audience that go there to see

Buymie Co-founder and CEO Devan Hughes with a Dunnes Stores personal shopper

what’s ava²able in their area.” Gahan cites the example of Cam²le Thai, which uses a combinatÑn of its own drivers and Just Eat. Thanks to having a lot of outlets in surburban areas and prÑritising home delivery over dining-in, it recorded a 6% increase in sales in Ireland in the first half of this year. GOING IT ALONE Digital food-ordering solutÑn Flipdish is offering restaurants an alternative to having to list on an aggregator platform at all. Its core offering is an online ordering system to allow restaurants and cafes to receive orders on their existing website – or a website provided by Flipdish – and native iOS and Android apps, which their customers can download and use to place orders. “There are bu²t-in customer loyalty and retentÑn features, which help our customers attract and retain customers to their direct ordering solutÑn. They have more control over the customer experience than if they listed on an aggregator platform,” says Conor McCarthy, CEO and Co-founder of Flipdish. “We provide the technology for this but sit behind the scenes as the solutÑn is self-branded.” Covid-19 has led to a dramatic increase in Flipdish services, which also include self-

BUYMIE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH DUNNES STORES Two years since it formed its landmark delivery partnership with Lidl, Buymie has launched a personal grocery shopping service with Dunnes Stores. AvaŸable in 24 stores across Dublin and Cork, the service wŸl allow Dunnes Stores customers to select groceries and book a same-day delivery slot. Earlier this year, Buymie announced the creat÷n of 200 addit÷nal personal shopping roles in Ireland in response to demand for sameday grocery delivery. Founded in 2016 by Devan Hughes and Art Sokhiyan, the Buymie platform also features Tesco Ireland as well as Tesco, Co-op and ASDA in the UK.

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InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

03/11/2020 16:20


INDUSTRY FEATURE Conor McCarthy, Co-founder and CEO and James McCarthy, Co-founder and COO, Flipdish

“WE ARE SEEING MICHELIN-STAR RESTAURANTS START TO USE FLIPDISH – THE TYPES OF PLACES THAT WOULD NEVER HAVE CONSIDERED BECOMING A DELIVERY BUSINESS OR A ‘TAKEAWAY’ PREVIOUSLY.” service kÑsks and a managed marketing service. Hospitality brands across Europe have started to use its technology, as have Irish brands, including White Moose Café, PressUp Group, Roly’s Bistro and Eddie Rockets. “We are seeing Michelin-star restaurants start to use Flipdish – the types of places that would never have considered becoming a delivery business or a ‘takeaway’ prevÑusly. Interestingly, many are seeing an uplift in business. They are now limited by their kitchen capacity rather than their seating capacity and can handle more orders per hour than ever before,” says McCarthy. Three years ago Ricki Capocci, owner of 9th Lough, a fam²y-owned takeaway in Dublin, made the shift from using aggregator sites to working solely with Flipdish and owning his own online presence. “I started working with online marketplaces about ten years ago, but the longer I worked with them, the more expensive and difficult to deal with they became,” he explains. “Since I made the switch to Flipdish, my bottom line has InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

022 InBUSINESS Autumn 2020_Industry Feature_V2.indd 25

increased and so has my customer base and loyalty. Online ordering accounts for about 70% of my turnover now – why would I share that with an aggregator?” Whatever approach restaurants and foodservice providers decide to take in relatÑn to home delivery, the key w²l be to reach the consumers who want this and then tap into their different needs – for example, parents working from home needing a break from cooking or young people keen to have a different experience with food to make up for not being able to socialise, according to Gahan. Looking ahead, she says there w²l definitely be restaurant and food service casualties because of Covid-19 as it’s an industry run on tight margins anyway. “But nobody wants a situatÑn where everything is takeaway; that would be soulless. It depends too on the cuisine and dishes and whether they transport well. Going forward, operators w²l tend towards a mix of dine-in and delivery. Unfortunately, we w²l lose a lot of the independent restaurants reliant on a certain number of people coming in every day.”

RESTAURANT MEAL KITS One of the trends accelerated as a result of initial closures, restaurant meal kits look like they are set to stick around, according to Maureen Gahan, Foodservice Specialist, Bord Bia. Bujo in Sandymount in Dublin was one of the first off the blocks with the idea, delivering branded boxes with all of the components needed to recreate its burgers at home (including its signature house sauce). MeanwhŸe, the Boojum Mexican Burrito chain started delivering a Fajita Meal Kit during the summer via its dedicated Boojum at Home website. “Restaurant meal kits compete with supermarket ready meals and recipe box providers such as Drop Chef and Hello Fresh in the UK,” says Gahon. “It is another example of the ever-blurring lines between retaŸ and foodservice.”

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MENTORS

: @dexaldesign

MENTOR: MARGARET HEFFERNAN

FORMULA FOR RESILIENCE Author, academic, mentor and TED Talks presenter, Prof Margaret Heffernan believes experimentation is more important than ever and the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the need to nurture soft skills such as empathy in leaders and employees.

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MENTORS

In

chapter ten of Prof Margaret Heffernan’s latest book Uncharted: How to map the future, she quotes Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, on how there is no profile to an epidemic because new strains of diseases constantly evolve and cultures respond to different messages and authorities in specific ways, amongst other things. The book was published in February this year, just before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world. In it, Heffernan explores the people and organisations who aren’t daunted by uncertainty, highlighting long-term projects developed over generations that never could have been planned the way they have been run. The book shows how experiments, led by individuals and nations, discover new possibilities and options. Now that we are in the second wave of Covid-19, Heffernan is convinced that experimentation is more important than ever before. “It’s about recognising that we are in a different time and space now and instead of just going along as planned, this is a good moment to accelerate so that we’re ready for the world when we come out of the crisis,” she says. “For a business, that means looking at its existing resources and competencies and being bold about what more it can make of them – experimenting with new products and services or finding new partners to ensure the business gets stronger during the period and doesn’t just limp along.” As the recently appointed Chair of the Design and Arts Copyright Society (DACS) in the UK, Heffernan has been directly involved in such a process since September. A not-for-profit organisation, DACS’ core activity is to enable the distribution of royalties to visual artists and protect their copyright and related rights. “DACS is in the business of making it possible for artists to earn a living from their work, so we set about identifying other areas where we might be able to help. One thing we thought of was to chase down fakes of artists’ work and insist they are taken down. It is a whole new business line that we have experimented successfully with during this period,” she explains. Heffernan’s eclectic career ranges from being a BBC producer for 13 years to being InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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CEO of technology companies in the US (InfoMation, ZineZone and iCast). She is currently Professor of Practice at the University of Bath, Lead Faculty for the Forward Institute’s Responsible Leadership Programme and, through Merryck & Co, mentors CEOs and senior executives of major global organisations. MOTIVATED BY VOLUNTEERING An experiment Heffernan undertook with her colleagues at Merryck & Co since the lockdown was to invent a mentoring programme for the NHS. “I have done a lot of work with the NHS, so I emailed all of my clients and asked was there anything I could do to help. We ran a three-month programme where 20 of us mentored 40 NHS leaders every week on a voluntary basis. Everybody learned so much; some of the mentors with fixed views on the public sector came out of

“EXPERIMENTATION IS ABOUT

RECOGNISING

THAT WE ARE IN A

DIFFERENT TIME AND SPACE NOW

AND INSTEAD OF JUST GOING ALONG AS PLANNED, THIS IS A GOOD MOMENT TO

ACCELERATE SO THAT WE’RE

READY FOR THE WORLD WHEN WE COME OUT OF THE CRISIS.”

Prof Margaret Heffernan

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MENTORS

Prof Margaret Heffernan and her cat Braveheart

PROF MARGARET HEFFERNAN ON… OPPORTUNITY IN A DOWNTURN “Often in times like this, SMEs will have the opportunity to work with business partners who would not give them the time of day when business is booming. When not working at full capacity, large companies, great designers and high-calibre people are always interested in doing new things.” RELEVANCE OF BBC EXPERIENCE “I have done 150 online events since lockdown and am blown away by the degree to which technology has advanced in that time. Everybody had to up their game fast. It made me think about the public speaking I do and how much of a virtual presentation needs to be live. There is scope there to incorporate my case studies as short films.” BEING MINDFUL OF YOUNG PEOPLE “A much more creative mindset is needed to get through this crisis and I strongly believe we have to think more about young people, those who have recently graduated and have no CV. Professionals have to help them as much as we possibly can as they are at risk of complete disillusionment. I would say to anybody hiring, please hire young interns and pay them.”

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the process with so much more respect for what it does,” Heffernan explains. “The other thing was that typically we are all used to mentoring our own clients and we don’t do projects together. With this programme, we were all working with the same client. It gave us a sense of solidarity and allowed us to identify the big themes and come up with overall recommendations together. It made us all so proud of each other and more flexible in the way we work. Everybody benefited from the programme and it has led to further paid work for Merryck & Co.” Heffernan believes that imagination, inventiveness and bravery are a tremendous source of resilience and strength in the unpredictable age we are in, where preparedness has to take precedence over planning. “Lots of problems can’t be solved just by thinking about them. Every time we try something new we learn something,” she says. “Framing things by focusing on the good that could come out of a crisis and the cool stuff you can do now, instead of thinking about ‘getting back to normal’ is InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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MENTORS

much more optimistic. Every deadline with the pandemic leaves people feeling disappointed. As a business leader, you can’t plan for what you don’t know. And so you’d better have more clever people and more freedom to invent and experiment than you think you’ll ever need.” HUMAN SKILLS The less we know about the future, the more we’re going to need what Heffernan describes as “human, messy, unpredictable skills” and not overdependence on technology. When talking to CEOs for Uncharted: How to map the future who had gone through an existential crisis, she asked the question, ‘What kept you going?’. “All had the same answer, it wasn’t data or technology; it was the support of their friends and colleagues. That fundamental human skill of empathy in times of trouble is the way CEOs in this current crisis will keep their people together and make them feel like they really matter,” she notes. Heffernan has observed in recent months that CEOs are prepared to show up as “more human” and relaxed and that employees have really warmed to that. “The rather stupid office etiquette that you never talk about your home, children and pets has gone. With everybody finding home schooling and working from home challenging, some of the social hierarchy breaks down. Ultimately, this makes employees feel much more committed and valued. Bosses have had to trust people more and they have not been disappointed. As a consequence, trust in employers has increased. There is a very real sense now of how much we all really need each other and you can’t get anything done completely on your own.” EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIPS The same goes for dealing with clients or others outside the organisation, she continues. “It’s all about having the relationship, not just the transaction. Always the best way of relating to people is by understanding who you’re working with and what they really need and want, not shoving your product or service down their throat.” She recalls an interview with Co-founder and CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey where he talked about going to a craft market where his friend was trying to sell handmade glass pieces. He was too small a trader to be able to process card transactions for expensive pieces on the spot. This was where the idea for the Square card reader came from. “So often, people are too busy trying to close the sale. Make the time for those real conversations about what is going on for people. That is where great ideas come from.” InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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One of the risks with the pandemic is that people become more passive and stop thinking for themselves. To combat this, Heffernan believes we need to just keep moving – both mentally and physically – and do as much as we can with the freedom that we do have. “Have a chat with your neighbour and look them in the eye; make sure you have a conversation with someone every day. I live next door to a farm and when lockdown started my neighbour said to me, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do deliveries for the farm shop?’. I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. Pretty soon I was running a team of ten drivers doing 30-40 deliveries a day. I had run tech companies employing hundreds of people 20 years ago and suddenly realised I was managing people again! It has been such a treat. Everybody loves doing it as it means getting out of the house and seeing a friendly face.”

Prof Margaret Heffernan

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

Social Engagement Q: Why did you and Joe Lennon decide to set up Workvivo three years ago? JG: Both Joe and I had come from human resources (HR) and payroll software provider CoreHR, so had earned our stripes in the sector. The combination of our commercial and technical experience was instrumental in getting Workvivo off the ground in the very early stages. We already had extensive firsthand experience in creating successful HR technology and had come to see the very real challenges and opportunities evident in employee engagement. In 2017, we founded Workvivo with the sole mission to build a different

Founded three years ago in Cork by John Goulding (CEO) and Joe Lennon (CTO), employee communications platform Workvivo is in expansion mode further to raising US$16m in Series A funding in May.

employee communication platform geared to increasing employee engagement. The company quickly moved to official launch after significant joint effort with a number of client companies to develop and validate our communication platform capabilities. We have grown quickly since then, with the addition of a Corkbased, cross-functional team that includes software developers, account management, operational leadership, marketing and sales.

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Q: What is different and compelling about Workvivo’s offering? JG: Most communication technologies in use are transactional. They enable the efficient transfer of information between people. Such solutions are not designed to truly connect and engage people. For that, you need to create a more social experience. We have uniquely designed our communication platform using ways people are familiar with when interacting outside

of the workplace, and then brought that into a business context. Like many social media platforms out there, Workvivo enables users to read and post content to an activity feed – to like, share and comment – but they can also recognise others through shout-outs, link posts to company goals and values, create community spaces and publish company articles and events. The result is a business-optimised communications experience that employees actually want to use, and a powerful way for businesses to align employees to company goals and cultural values.

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

Q: How have you grown and developed the business? JG: With 35 employees currently in Cork, Dublin and San Francisco, we have grown the team steadily over the past 12 months, hiring a Chief Marketing Officer and Sales Vice President in the US as well as more software developers and customer success managers. Our plan is to continue this growth rate, hiring in both Ireland and the US. Netgear, Cubic Telecom, Telus International and A+E Networks are among the companies now using our platform. Q: What impact has Covid-19 had on Workvivo and its growth? JG: Actually it’s been very positive. Because of the nature of what we do (connecting employees socially), we’ve seen an increase both in demand for our platform and in the employee interactions on the platform. We are very much on track to reach 1 million users in 2021, with 40% of our current customer base brought on during lockdown. Several of our customers have said they appreciated having Workvivo in place from the outset of the restrictions and afterwards, since many employees continue to work remotely. It has also provided senior leadership with the facility to communicate with furloughed employees who don’t have a corporate email address. A major positive change we would not have

envisioned has occurred over the past few months. Now that remote working is more acceptable, we have access to a much larger talent pool, so Workvivo is able to compete from Ireland on a more equal footing with companies that are based in, say, Silicon Valley or elsewhere. This levelling of the playing field presents a huge opportunity for companies based in Ireland to compete on the biggest stage. Q: How significant is securing US$16m led by Tiger Global and how do you plan to use the funding? JG: The Series A funding was a major milestone in the journey of the business, as was the prior investment by Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan. Tiger Global is a highly reputable investor, so the decision to put its investment dollars and trust in us is a major validation that we’re doing something right. The funding enables us to really put our foot down now and focus on driving growth. We intend to accelerate our product development plans and our commercial footprint, especially in the US. Q: What challenges do you face as a small business in the current environment? JG: Given the nature of what we do and how we use Workvivo ourselves, we are fortunate to have navigated the Covid-19 period so

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John Goulding, CEO and Joe Lennon, CTO of Workvivo

far without it negatively impacting the business. In fact, it allowed us to showcase the best of what we offer. During what has been an extraordinarily difficult time for people, I’m proud that we were able to alleviate some of the pressures and play our part in keeping people connected in a very meaningful sense. The biggest challenge we currently face as a tech company is brand awareness. We are competing on a global stage with some larger brands in a heavily contested space, so we need to be known in order to have a seat at the table. Building that awareness is a major priority for us as we enter 2021. Q: How do you deal with competition? JG: We are the only employee communication platform provider that has

been able to connect and engage employees using a social experience. Our platform and mobile app are ridiculously easy to use and our customer success team is like an extension to our customers’ internal communications function. The combination of these factors means we typically beat the competition when we go head-to-head. Competition is not a significant problem for us; being known in order to compete is a bigger priority. Q: Any other news or expansion plans you can share with us? JG: We recently announced plans to create 100 new jobs over the next three years with support from Enterprise Ireland. We plan to continue to invest in both Ireland and the US over the coming months.

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SKILLS& TALENT

VIRTUAL ACC

E

LER

ATION

The Student Inc accelerator programme at Cork Institute of Technology, University College Cork and Institute of Technology Tralee is a good example of how much-needed entrepreneurial skills can continue to be fostered without face-to-face contact.

Student Inc graduate Harry Shanahan, CEO of The Hydro Co, which has created a way to sterilise reusable cups

A

language exchange platform for third-level students, transcription services using artificial intelligence and a steam technology device that sterilises reusable drink containers – these are just some of the novel business ideas that came out of the Student Inc accelerator programme during the summer. Running in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) since 2011, Student Inc was rolled out to include Institute of Technology Tralee and University College Cork in 2019. There were over 100 applications for the 2020 programme and, in August, 29 young entrepreneurs were congratulated on successfully completing it as part of a virtual showcase event. The programme runs from June to August with the aim of encouraging students to develop and grow their innovative ideas and start their own business. Students receive ₏4,000 32

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Student Inc graduate Cleidi Hearn, founder of Sunny Numbers, an edtech start-up specialised in gamified statistics apps

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SKILLS AND TALENT

were at. Students found it easier to ask questions as they could put them up on the group chat. The ability to group the students into sectors was very beneficial as many of the questions and barriers were common to all within a given sector. This meant the training and mentoring was much more specific.”

Student Inc graduates Fionn Cox and Ferdia Coughlan with Programme Manager Carole O’Leary

STUDENT INC SUCCESS STORIES

QuickMinutes

A cloud-based meeting management network which aims to create a central hub for groups who meet on a regular basis to make their meetings more effective, build on their network and facilitate collaboration before, during and after meetings. It was established in 2013 by Danny O’Donovan.

Stalias Glove Solutions

Luke Pottinger has developed a protective glove, designed to be cut-resistant, punctureresistant, water-resistant, breathable and washable at 90 degrees. There is already demand for the product in the food and beverage sector, with potential to expand into other industries such as construction.

Bia Beauty

This beauty products collection harnesses the untapped power of indigenous Irish botanicals and cutting-edge, green technology. Founded by Tracey Ryan, the company went on to be acquired by Codex Beauty.

in funding, expert training, mentoring and the opportunity to learn from and pitch to entrepreneurs. Previously, office space was allocated to each student in their respective incubators. Covid-19 restrictions ruled this out. In response, teams from the three colleges collaborated to design a way to deliver the programme online and ensure students still experienced the full benefit of it. “As all training modules, one-to-one expert mentoring sessions and regular review meetings were to be delivered virtually, the online teams put a lot of thought into new ways of maximising the daily contact between the students and support teams in the three colleges,” says Programme Manager Carole O’Leary. Students were divided into a number of different groups for various activities such as social coffee calls (groups of three), social activities such as quizzes (groups of 30), peer-to-peer learning (groups of ten) and sector-specific training and mentoring (groups of eight) – all time-tabled and delivered remotely. “This all resulted in more interaction between the three different groups than would have been the case in 2019, when the 30 participants mainly only interacted with their immediate group of ten students,” notes O’Leary. There were other positives from working in the virtual environment, she adds. “The sessions were recorded so students could go back and re-watch them, perhaps at a time when the content was more relevant to the stage of business development they

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A DIVERSE GROUP One of the interesting aspects of Student Inc is that over half of the participants tend to come from a non-business background – this year 53% are doing science and engineering courses which don’t include a business module. Overall, the class of 2020 spanned 21 different courses. These included biomedical engineering, culinary arts, computer science and medicine. The 29 students were at varying stages of study, and one fifth of them were postgraduates. Throughout the summer, 45 group training sessions and 150 one-to-one mentoring sessions were delivered remotely. The areas covered included marketing, funding, finance, legal, design thinking, project management, sales and market research. “As well as learning to think creatively and how to react to changing environments, many of the students are forced outside of their comfort zones,” O’Leary explains. “For example, students are encouraged to talk to potential customers and end users, equipped with the appropriate tools and guidance. The participants get to work with students from other disciplines and will often get a totally different perspective from one of their peers.” While a significant proportion of Student Inc participants have gone on to start and grow their own businesses (see box for some examples), O’Leary says the programme’s goal was never that every graduate would become an entrepreneur. “Student Inc develops competencies and capacity among students as future startup founders but also for entrepreneurial approaches in corporate environments, allowing them to identify, create and act upon opportunities in order to create value. “The goal of the programme is to ensure that every graduate has developed the entrepreneurial and enterprising attributes of creativity, drive and resilience, amongst others. It aims to prepare graduates to thrive in whatever they do and in whatever sector they choose to work in.” 33

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MEDIA & MARKETING

T I

I R P S

Fi

g n i t h g

: @dexaldesign

Oisin Davis, Founder and Director, Great Irish Beverages

The closure of pubs due to Covid-19 has forced radical alterations to how Irish drinks brands are marketed, particularly in relation to how they can talk to their consumers.

R

unning a product promotion in a bar used to be the standard way of enticing new customers. These days, drinks brands have switched to fighting tooth and nail for retail shelf space and backing this up with a corresponding social media campaign. “If a drinks brand can’t supplement a retail case deal with a social media spend or a really good pricing strategy, it will find it a lot tougher in the current environment,” says Founder and Director of Great Irish Beverages Oisin Davis, who has 25 years of hospitality and drinks industry experience, including as a co-founder of Poacher’s Premium Irish Mixers and The Virgin Mary Bar – the first non alcoholic bar in Europe.

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MEDIA & MARKETING

He has observed an increase in online education to help enrich the new in-store sales and advocacy scenario. “This has meant that good brand ambassadors are now worth their weight in gold. I have seen brand ambassadors communicate with four or five times the amount of people as a result of live Instagram posts, Zoom tastings accompanied by delivered samples and Facebook videos for retail partners. These types of strategies were occasionally executed prior to Covid-19, but they are very much the norm now and I don’t see them going away anytime soon.” Established in 2012, Great Irish Beverages is all about celebrating and promoting Irish-made drinks. It provides solutions to drinks brands in four key areas – marketing, publicity, innovation and advocacy. The lockdown meant losing a huge amount of experiential work and speaking engagements. Davis suddenly had the time to dig out some old loves, one of which was promoting the mixing of drinks at home. CHANGE OF DIRECTION He started sharing his own videos of how to make tasty cocktails without using professional kitchen equipment. This led to the creation of a project with Celtic Whiskey called ‘Cocktail Tour’, where Great Irish Beverages hosted cocktail demos and sold all of the ingredients. “We showed hundreds of people how to make cocktails with nothing other than jam jars as utensils, both through public and private corporate demos. Lots of agencies and brands are doing the same. That’s brilliant to see as it helps us all,” Davis notes. “The lockdown has forced brands to invest in educating the public in how to better enjoy their products at home, whether to be mixed into a simple cocktail or perhaps how they can be paired with food. I don’t know why this didn’t happen years ago as it’s a win-win on all grounds. If a spirits brand manager hasn’t actively pursued how they can better cultivate the enjoyment of their products at home, they shouldn’t be in the role.” With this in mind, Great Irish Beverages worked with Bord Bia on a project that included a segment on how spirit brands can pivot and took a deep-dive into bars creating takeaway and ready-to-drink

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options. “One of our clients Redbreast worked with Bar 1661 in Dublin to create a bottled serve for Father’s Day that could be delivered nationwide. It went down exceptionally well,” says Davis. Jameson International is Davis’s oldest client, having worked with them for about eight years now, he adds. “The company has an incredible organic bond and relationship with bartenders, so it was brilliant to see it launch ‘Jameson Hosts’ during lockdown.” This is an Instagram platform that shares video content made by bartenders from around the world with a view to supporting, inspiring and engaging the international bar community. It covers areas ranging from looking after your mental and physical health during the pandemic to pointers on how to get customers to tip more. E-COMMERCE EXPEDITED In Davis’s view, Covid-19 has greatly expedited the e-commerce of alcohol. “Running their own centralised e-commerce was usually something that was always on the cards for so many companies, but never high on their agenda. That’s no longer the case.” He cites the example of Dublin Liberties Distillery, one of the first Irish spirit companies that could take advantage of the fact that it had its own direct sales channels available from its website during lockdown. “This meant Dublin Liberties Distillery could control its own narrative on social media and in advertising, coupled with an extremely simple purchasing system,” says Davis. “Customers always trust the sites of brand owners more than they do third parties and the easier you make it for them, the better. It’s reassuring to see other Irish brands finally take those measures for their own websites.” A report released by the IE Domain Registry has revealed that since the Covid-19 crisis, 53% of Irish consumers estimate they have done most of their online shopping with Irish SMEs compared to 48% before. The swing appears to have mainly been caused by a sense of solidarity and a need to support Irish businesses. “It’s hard to know for certain at this point, but I definitely feel that this extra emotional investment in supporting native products has filtered into customers opting to buy more Irish drinks,” says Davis.

Working up an appetite In 2010, Oisin Davis observed that there was a huge disconnect between attitudes to buying Irish food and buying Irish drinks. “I couldn’t see a valid reason why restaurant and bar owners didn’t have the same commitment to Irish drinks as they had for Irish food,” he recalls. After attending a spirits and cocktail course in New York in 2012, he was inspired to create an agency to assist Irish drinks brands. Great Irish Beverages’ first couple of years were tough trying to convince the hospitality industry and the general public of the importance of buying Irish drinks. “After a lot of media work and hosting demos anywhere I could in Ireland and abroad, people started to understand why it made sense to have as much emphasis on Irish drinks as Irish food on their menus and my work became easier,” he says. “This made my pitches to drinks brands a lot more relatable and eventually it all started to fall into place. We’ve since run projects all around the island of Ireland and in other countries as well as helping to launch some of Ireland’s finest whiskeys.”

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INNOVATION AND TECH

INNOVATION

AND TECH

The fintech industry in Ireland is a hive of activity so far this year with its track record in innovation proving to be a key driver in the adoption of digital payment methods and digitalisation generally, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

FINTECH FLURRY A report

released by KPMG in September revealed a spike in fintech activity in Ireland in the first half of 2020, with US$328.6m recorded in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), venture capital and private equity transactions across eight deals. This is more than double the total value for all of 2019. The US$162m acquisition of Irish-founded Prepaid Financial Services by Australia’s EML Payments was the largest strategic M&A deal in fintech globally for the period. Other notable 36

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deals in Ireland included the US$83.4m joint venture acquisition of Payzone by AIB and First Data and a US$80m funding round by client lifecycle management company Fenergo. “These sizeable deals have been a huge boost for Ireland’s fintech ecosystem this year. I expect interest and investment in Irish fintechs to remain hot into the second half of 2020, particularly as UK and global fintechs work to ensure they are able to service their customers across Europe in the wake of Brexit,” says Anna Scally, Partner and Fintech Lead at KPMG in Ireland. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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INNOVATION AND TECH

PAYMENTS PIONEER The largest consumer payments network in Ireland, Payzone has provided some of the country’s most high-profile organisations with innovative payment options for over 20 years. During this time, it was first to market in creating retail loaded digital wallets, reflected strongly within pay-as-you-go mobile, prepaid utility, M50 tolling and the Leap card. Payzone’s Parking Tag mobile app helped to pioneer cashless parking across the country, while more recently its Easy Payments Plus solution has been deployed in over 600 different organisations to process a selection of different payments. According to Payzone CEO Jim Deignan, the Dublin-based company is now working closely with AIB in providing the bank’s extensive customer base with a range of products and services that will help to navigate the transition to the digital ecosystem. “The acquisition of Payzone by AIB and First Data is very significant to all parties involved. The intent was never to integrate and synergise Payzone into AIB or First Data, but the ambition was always to capitalise on the unique fintech positioning of Payzone to enhance the future offering across the three organisations,” he says. “AIB and First Data bring exceptional business and consumer opportunities that span both the Irish

GLOBAL FINTECH SUCCESS IN WEST CORK An employee-owned fintech company based in Clonakilty, Co Cork is seeking to increase its headcount from 370 to 1,000 by 2024 and fill 150 roles immediately. Founded in 2005 as a service-only company, GLOBAL SHARES spotted a gap in the market for a fully global software solution that would help companies and their employees better manage their equity. It launched its proprietary software platform in 2015 and now has 16 offices globally and sells into 100 countries. “We have just launched a new offering to help venture-backed private companies to create and manage employee options as well as help their investors track the value of their ownership,” says CEO of the company, Tim Houstoun

Jim Deignan, CEO, Payzone

“I THINK THE MOVE AWAY FROM CASH WAS INEVITABLE BUT WHAT WE ARE SEEING NOW IS A MASSIVE ACCELERATION IN THE PACE OF CHANGE AND THE ADOPTION OF NEW

PAYMENTS SOLUTIONS

SUCH AS CONTACTLESS, MOBILE AND DIGITAL WALLETS.” InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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INNOVATION AND TECH

BIG RED CLOUD TEAMS UP WITH US FINTECH Irish accountancy software provider BIG RED CLOUD has teamed up with US fintech company Plaid to launch an open banking module. A data network powering over 3,000 fintech apps and services globally, Plaid launched in Ireland in November last year. The integration with Plaid will enable Big Red Cloud’s SME customers across Ireland and the UK to connect financial accounts at over 11,000 institutions to streamline managing their business finances. “Our open banking module will enable businesses to have a direct feed of all banking transactions with their pillar banks. This significantly speeds up data processing and cuts down on errors. It will be a game-changer for Irish SMEs,” says Marc O’Dwyer, CEO of Big Red Cloud.

Conor McAleavey, Head of Innovation, Leveris

and international markets. Payzone has extensive experience of building digital solutions to help organisations move away from cash and this has never been more relevant.” He adds: “I think the move away from cash was inevitable but what we are seeing now is a massive acceleration in the pace of change and the adoption of new payments solutions such as contactless, mobile and digital wallets.” Scally agrees that Covid-19 has accelerated the move to adopt digital payment methods, which she believes have now become mainstream. “We saw earlier this year how Irish banks moved swiftly to increase the tap-andgo limit on debit and credit cards to facilitate more cashless payments in

Marc O’Dwyer, CEO, Big Red Cloud

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light of Covid-19. We’ve also seen how quickly new financial technologies become embedded. Despite only being in the marketplace in Ireland since 2016, Revolut has now almost become a verb to instruct the transfer of funds.” DRIVE TOWARDS DIGITALISATION While the rapid shift towards digital payments has been an obvious one, there is a much bigger picture in relation to how financial services are changing – and have to change now – through the adoption of innovative technologies. “In the first few months of the Covid-19 crisis, banks were simply trying to figure out what was going on and how big the remedial work was going to be. It’s really only now that they are coming up for air with the realisation that they won’t survive another shock like this without the complete digitalisation of their entire business model,” says Conor McAleavey, Head of Innovation at Leveris. Founded in 2016 by Conor Fennelly in Dublin, Leveris is focused on imagining a better way to build a bank. It has developed an end-to-end core banking platform for both traditional and challenger banks, as well as consumer brands entering the banking and lending space. With offices in Prague, Brno and Minsk, it now employs more than 200 people. As McAleavey explains, digitalisation is not just about the removal of manual processes: “To become a truly innovative digital enterprise, you must start with your core technology InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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INNOVATION AND TECH

platform and from there digitalise your entire business model from cradle to grave. I think the accelerating demand for fintech solutions is primarily happening in these fundamental areas of core platform transformation.” The real driver of true innovation in fintech is cost control within the product development lifecycle, in McAleavey’s view. “Innovation is not so much about the actual idea itself but rather the ability to deliver on that idea within a viable budget. Leveris is innovative not necessarily because we have great individual ideas ourselves, but because our platform allows great ideas to be realised and efficiently brought to market within budgetary constraints.” This efficiency is enabled by the

Michael Quinn, Managing Director, Mortgage Brain Ireland

“TO BECOME A TRULY INNOVATIVE DIGITAL ENTERPRISE, YOU MUST START WITH YOUR CORE TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM AND FROM THERE DIGITALISE YOUR ENTIRE BUSINESS MODEL FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE.” flexibility of the underlying technology, he adds. “Technological flexibility is everything in financial services. It’s what allows nimble fintechs to disrupt the market and what stops incumbent banks from keeping pace.” IRELAND’S ADVANTAGE McAleavey believes the fintech sector in Ireland is strong in terms of innovation largely because of the rich history of technology innovation that has been incubated here over the years by the large tech companies. There ia also a large number of international financial services companies here in Ireland. “That mix of great tech talent and people who knew the problems in banking meant the rise of a thriving fintech sector in Ireland was almost inevitable,” he says. Deignan notes that Ireland has the added advantage of being able to communicate and roll out applications across the market with relative ease, providing the perfect test-bed to measure customer engagement. “It is easier to test the market in Ireland than it would be for many of our international neighbours. This gives a InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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distinct advantage to Irish companies looking to benchmark innovations nationally before attempting to roll them out internationally.” Since Covid-19 hit, Payzone has been receiving more and more requests from customers for payment solutions to be tailored to meet their individual needs. “They need to be able to accept payments anytime, anywhere and across multiple platforms. Our ability to react and deliver these solutions is critical and the development of new solutions has never been more important.” McAleavey believes the fintech landscape is already getting back to “a sort of new normal”, where everything is the same, yet totally different – the same in terms of the drive to innovate and succeed but totally different in the sense that everything is remote and business development is that much harder. “I think the players that will succeed in this new normal are those that were already fully digital and working on solutions to make their clients fully digital too. This was happening regardless; Covid-19 just makes it more urgent. Ultimately, Covid-19 will be a catalyst for innovation,” he says.

MORTGAGE BRAIN IRELAND IN BID TO DRIVE E-TRADING Mortgage software specialist MORTGAGE BRAIN IRELAND is to launch a novel share option scheme for brokers to encourage greater adoption of e-trading by mortgage lenders and reward brokers for the additional value they add to the business. Starting in January 2021, Mortgage Brain Ireland will provide a ‘call’ option scheme for brokers to acquire up to 50% of the share equity in the company. The initiative aims to accelerate the deployment of Lendex, Mortgage Brain’s new lender application and submission gateway. “Our goal is to make brokers and lenders more productive in a heavily paper-driven industry. Bringing brokers on board and giving them an option to hold shares is a logical thing to do in this new environment,” says Michael Quinn, Managing Director of Mortgage Brain Ireland.

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BOOK EXTRACT

“EXPERIMENTS WITH SHORTER WORKING HOURS BEGIN AT THE TOP, SO IT’S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND LEADERS’ BACKGROUNDS AND MOTIVATIONS AND

WHY THEY CAME TO BELIEVE THAT SHORTER HOURS WILL MAKE THEIR COMPANIES BETTER.“ Many companies, globally, are working on pandemic-related reduced hours, bringing a new stressor to bear on industry. Alex Soojung-Kim Pang has conducted extensive research on companies that have embraced a shorter working week and points out that not all is lost and there is much to gain.

ou’ve probably heard about a few companies that have experimented with shorter work days or workweeks. In newspapers and the business press, you’re likely to have read about San Diego–based Tower Paddle Boards or Philadelphia software company Wildbit, financial trust Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand, or Radioactive PR in the United Kingdom. In fact, the movement to shorten working hours is broad, diverse, and global. I’ve researched, visited, and conducted interviews with leaders and employees at more than a hundred companies that have reduced their working hours. To get a better sense of the movement to shorten working hours, and to understand how widespread it is, let’s look at these companies as a group, what industries they’re in, and where in the world they are. Most of the companies share three qualities that allow them to be early innovators. First, they’re mainly small- to medium-size businesses, where significant cultural and managerial changes are easier to implement. Second, almost all are still led by their founders, whose formal position and moral authority give them the power to make big changes. Third, many companies already trade on reputations for being creative, innovative places and can sell experiments in shorter hours as yet another expression of those qualities. This explains why these companies have been early adopters, but overall, the diversity of companies, industries, and geography suggests a movement that’s just getting started. 40

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The restaurant industry is one that’s long struggled with low pay, long hours, and difficult working conditions—and all too often, abusive behavior and sexism in the workplace. In a 2015 survey, 17 percent of full-time restaurant workers admitted to having substance abuse issues. Another survey three years later found that job stress had led to unhealthy behaviors among 43 percent of restaurant workers and affected the family lives of 50 percent of workers. Things are a little better in advertising, if only because the fires dealt with are only metaphorical. In a 2019 survey in the United States, 33 percent of advertising industry professionals worried about their mental health; among people working more than fifty hours a week or making less than $50,000 a year (in other words, most young professionals), the rates were above 40 percent. The same year, an Australian survey of workers in marketing and advertising found that 56 percent exhibited symptoms of depression. A 2018 study in the United Kingdom found that 64 percent of workers thought about leaving their jobs, 60 percent thought their work had a negative impact on their mental health, 36 percent described their mental health as “poor,” and 26 percent said they had a long-term problem like chronic stress or depression. Little wonder that the industry as a whole has a 30 percent turnover rate or that half the people who InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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BOOK EXTRACT

quit their jobs leave the field entirely. The tech industry has its share of problems too. In a 2018 survey of 12,500 workers in the software industry, 39 percent described themselves as depressed, and 57 percent said they felt burned out. A lot of this was thanks to toxic workplaces: 48 percent said that their workplaces contributed to their poor mental health, and 91 percent said that burnout was a problem at their companies. A 2019 Stack Overflow survey found that 30 percent of software developers deal with mental health challenges like ADHD, emotional disorders, and anxiety, or are not neurotypical. THE LEADERS Experiments with shorter working hours begin at the top, so it’s important to understand leaders’ backgrounds and motivations and why they came to believe that shorter hours will make their companies better. In interviews, almost all the founders describe how their earlier careers featured long hours, poor worklife balance, and brushes with personal or professional burnout. “We all describe ourselves as recovering workaholics,” Marei Wollersberger, co founder and managing director of London design firm Normally, says. They have previous experience working in high-tech companies (including Facebook, Google, and other hardcharging organisations), restaurants, consulting companies, and advertising agencies; many are also serial entrepreneurs. Their decision to move to shorter hours is informed by their own experiences with highly competitive cultures, long hours, and sometimes burnout. Everyone who moved their company to a fourday workweek contrasts their own background and experience with the kind of environment and schedule they now want to create at their companies. Spencer Kimball, Peter Mattis, and Ben Darnell, the cofounders of cloud-based SQL database startup Cockroach Labs, are all Xooglers (as Google alums are called in Silicon Valley); Kimball and Mattis were a cofounder and a senior engineer at payments company Square. Before they founded Never Settle IT, co founders Kenn Kelly, Shaul Hagen, and Andrew Lundquist worked eighty-hour weeks in “hypergrowth tech startups” and were “highly immersed in Silicon Valley culture.” John Peebles, CEO of SaaS training software company Administrate in Edinburgh, Scotland, “literally worked every waking minute” building his first startup. When he left his second company, “I’d made a lot of money and learned a lot, but I didn’t really remember the preceding seven or eight years. It was just black. That seemed like a problem.” InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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WHAT MOTIVATES LEADERS TO TRY A FOUR-DAY WEEK At some point in their careers, these leaders reach a tipping point: they continue to love their work, but become disillusioned with conventional ways of working. Ryan Carson had worked for a design firm in London before founding online education provider Treehouse, and sleep deprivation left him “regularly delirious with exhaustion” and “frustrated with his output,” according to one reporter. Working long hours is “an adrenaline rush” when you’re younger, Kenn Kelly tells me, “but it’s just not sustainable. You see that with attrition and burnout.” No one denies that for young workers, periods of hard work can build confidence and professional identity, strengthen group ties, and accelerate learning, but chronic overwork carries health hazards, increases risk of burnout, and eventually makes it harder to do good work. Spencer Kimball discovered while working fourteen-hour days at his first startup that “there’s a point after about ten hours when you’re just useless. You’re just not thinking creatively, and you’re not even solving problems you should be able to solve.” They also come to realise that in creative and knowledgeintensive industries, work is never done, no matter how many hours you put in. Overwork isn’t a sustainable source of competitive advantage. In an interview with Australian author Kura Antonello, Kester Black founder Anna Ross said, “We work four days a week because, after a three-day weekend, anything is possible.” For a long time, a fourday week has seemed impossible. The pervasiveness and sheer familiarity of overwork; the diversity of cultural, psychological, organizational, and economic forces that drive or defend it; and the absence of notable exceptions to the cult of busyness all combine to make overwork seem natural and inevitable. However, in an era when critics of neoliberalism and globalization point out that working-class wages have remained flat for decades, and even professional work suffers from increasing uncertainty, programs to reduce working hours offer workers the one truly irreplaceable resource: more time.

This is an extract from Shorter: How Working Less Will Revolutionise the Way Your Company Gets Things Done by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang published by Public Affairs Books, priced €18.00.

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FEATURE

SNAP

CHAT “The credit union sector is digitising at a rapid pace and cuMobile is a significant facilitator of this. By enabling credit

Declan Colfer, Managing Director, Wellington IT

unions to offer members access to their full range of services via one app, cuMobile streamlines banking and gives participating credit unions a huge competitive advantage.”

In August, Wellington IT, the Irish technology partner to the credit union sector, launched cuMobile, Ireland’s first banking app dedicated to enabling the 3.6 million members of the country’s credit unions to manage their accounts fully online.

Developed in Ireland, the cuMobile app was built specifically to support an increasingly competitive credit union sector as it vies to take on traditional banks and fintech companies. It uses advanced technologies such as biometric login to provide a smooth, secure experience for members. In the past three years, the number of credit unions in the Republic of Ireland has dropped from 272 to 234 due to mergers, resulting in some branches serving additional members from a wider geographical area.

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We have made a significant investment in ensuring that the app goes one step further in delivering top quality customer care, while also allowing credit unions to serve a wider customer base. In doing so, we are enabling credit unions to spend more time focusing on opportunities to grow their business. In-branch loan applications are reduced from 20 minutes to around 5 minutes. Through the use of ID verification technology, which compares an uploaded identity document to a live video test, prospective members can sign up to their local credit union in one day.

“The cuMobile app reduces paperwork, data entry and administrative tasks for credit unions.

This can save up to 52 staff days per year, ensuring participating credit unions can continue to provide the same service to more members.”

When compared with research carried out by Built for Mars in the UK, cuMobile ranks second among 12 other banks in terms of the lowest number of clicks required to open an account. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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Chambers

CatchUp

A Wellness Chest for Waterford Inspired by the #my15minutes concept created by Mags O’Riordan, Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber has put together a range of resources highlighting the importance of taking the time to do the things you love and sharing that with the people who matter most. The Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber Wellness Chest involves two videos a week being promoted across its social media channels, on its website and on the Chamber’s YouTube channel. Having kicked off in mid-October and running until mid-November, the 3-5 minute videos cover different aspects of mental wellbeing and positive action and include relevant resources and contact details for each presenter.

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

CHAMBER COMMENT “We must enable and empower our SMEs – the drivers of economic growth in communities across the country – to continue to compete and remain productive throughout the crisis.” Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland on Budget 2021

Left to right: Geoff Fitzpatrick, Love Drogheda BIDS; Trevor Connolly, Love Drogheda, Irene McKeown and Robert Murray, Drogheda Chamber and Breanndán Casey, The Mill Enterprise Hub

Drogheda’s strengths showcased

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hree Drogheda enterprise organisations have come together to develop a new commuter strategy to retain the 15,000 skilled workers in the immediate district, and to encourage more start-ups, multinationals, and remote workers to base themselves in the wider Drogheda region. Through the ‘Drogheda. Embrace the Change’ initiative, Drogheda & District Chamber, The Mill Enterprise Hub, and Love Drogheda Business Improvement District Scheme are working with all local and national government agencies on showcasing Drogheda’s economic strengths. These include niches in shared services, food manufacturing, a burgeoning fintech cluster across the M1 region and medical products.

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CHAMBERS NEWS

Chambers join forces to lobby on aviation The Chambers of Ennis, Galway, Limerick and Shannon had a virtual meeting with Ministers Eamon Ryan and Hildegarde Naughton in mid-September to address aviation policy in line with the goals of Project Ireland 2040. During the one-hour meeting the four Chambers impressed on the Ministers the critical importance to business in the regions of access to European and transatlantic markets. They urged the Government to work with the airlines to protect slots and asked for conditions to be attached to any funding packages for Aer Lingus and Ryanair so that routes into regional airports are restored and further strategic routes are developed.

Remote hub launched in Bantry

The Bantry Bayworks remote hub

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eill Clarke, Bantry Chamber President, was instrumental in the recent launch of Bantry Bayworks, a brand new, purpose-built remote hub above SuperValu in the town and overlooking the inner harbour. It is part of the Grow Remote movement, which is dedicated to transforming the working landscape of Ireland by encouraging more people to work remotely. Bantry Bayworks has ten socially-distant workspaces, fully compliant with Covid-19 restrictions. An improvement in broadband connectivity and speed in the town and surrounds guaranteed the success of the project, according to Clarke.

Ambitious urban vision for Dublin City

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ublin Chamber has launched a new urban vision for Dublin which argues that a ‘15-minute city’ principle should become a standard in all development planning. Its ‘Dublin: A 15-Minute City’ document calls for the concept of ‘hyper-proximity’ to be adopted by planners in Dublin, pointing to the success of this approach in other cities such as Melbourne, Barcelona and Paris. The Chamber said the recent Covid-19 lockdown had highlighted the importance of urban planning that is focused on creating communities in which people can live and access most of their daily needs within 15 minutes by walking or cycling.

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CHAMBERS NEWS

Ergonomics assistance in Shannon

Brian Kirwan, President of Dún LaoghaireRathdown (DLR) Chamber

New President at Dún LaoghaireRathdown Chamber

Shannon Chamber, in partnership with Adare Human Resource Management, has launched a new comprehensive ergonomics training and assessment service for member companies. The specialist Display Screen Equipment (DSE) Training and Ergonomics Assessment has been devised to enable employers to comply with legislative requirements to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of their employees working from home. Employees are taken through a series of exercises and questions online to help them to identify potential risks with their workstations. They then take part in an online risk assessment and an individual report is created and sent to the employer.

CHAMBER COMMENT “It is heartening that despite the constraints on business during the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions that so many businesses invested in their employees by engaging in upskilling and training.” Chambers Ireland President Siobhán Kinsella on survey findings showing that 69% of businesses have employees who conducted training over the Covid-19 lockdown period

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rian Kirwan, a Partner in Amorys Solicitors in Sandyford, Co Dublin, is the new President of Dún LaoghaireRathdown (DLR) Chamber. Working with the Board and CEO Gabby Mallon, Kirwan will focus on keeping the Chamber membership informed of relevant changes that may affect their business operations, while also affording opportunities to attend virtual seminars and events. Chief Executive Officer of Capital Credit Union in Dundrum, Gerry McConville, has been elected as DLR Chamber’s Vice President. Other new members joining the board are Nigel Craughwell of The Royal Marine Hotel Dún Laoghaire, Liz O’Donovan of Voltedge Management and Breffni Jackson from Bank of Ireland.

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CHAMBER CAPTION Pictured with President of Kilkenny Chamber Colin Ahern, Heuristic Engineering Solutions was the winning team at Kilkenny Chamber’s Annual Golf Challenge at Mount Juliet, held in September. All the public health guidelines were followed, including separate tee times, no dinner and no prize giving.

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CHAMBER FEATURE

Hope and confidence in the face of ‘twin threats’ Emma Kerins, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Chambers Ireland, reviews Budget 2021, what it means for Irish business and the opportunities missed by Government.

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he theme of our own submission ahead of the Budget was ‘Place’ and through it we called on Government to support businesses to trade through the pandemic, by supporting liquidity, local economies and the long-term investment needs of the whole economy. We were very conscious that the context of Budget 2021 is very different to anything we have seen in recent memory, and that includes the global economic crash over a decade ago. Our message – one that was shared by institutions such as the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – is that the only response to the devastating economic impact

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of Covid-19, and the looming threat of a no-deal relationship with the UK, is to continue investment, spending and support for the most vulnerable parts of the economy. Unless this occurs, communities and local economies will struggle to recover once the threat of the pandemic passes. For context, the Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a severe economic change for Ireland. GDP fell by 6.1% in Q2 from Q1 and 3% below its level in Q2 2019, with the Covid-19 adjusted measure of unemployment at approximately 14.7%. The Department of Finance in its economic forecast underpinning Budget 2021 estimates that the unemployment rate will be 10.7% in 2021. A further 300,000 people were being supported by the TWSS at the end of August (subsequently replaced by the EWSS on 1 September) and tax revenue to end-September was a1.2bn (or 3%) lower than in the same period last year. Efforts to contain the increasing spread of Covid-19 are impacting InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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on the ability of the economy to operate at full capacity, with regional curtailments in economic activity. At the time of writing, the whole country is at Level 5 restrictions for six weeks.

THE BIGGER PICTURE The way through this crisis must be to focus on the bigger picture and to give hope to businesses and local economies throughout the country. It means that we must enable and empower our SMEs – the drivers of economic growth in communities across the country – to continue to compete and remain productive throughout the crisis. Most importantly, it means investing in the places where we live and work, so that town and city centres can thrive. In many respects Government has listened to this call. Budget 2021, published on 13 October, is the largest Budget in the history of the State. It makes significant progress in addressing many of the needs of the most exposed members of the business community. The increase in funding for housing and infrastructure and the creation of a a3.4bn fund that will address impacts of both Brexit and Covid-19 is extremely welcome and will go a long way to ensuring a sustainable, equitable recovery across the island. Our survey research highlights how badly businesses have suffered due to the pandemic. The most recent set of data, published on 24 September, showed that on average business revenue has faced a decline of approximately 30%. For businesses that have had to close, data shows they face on average of a10,000 in re-opening costs.

APPROPRIATE RESPONSE The commitment by Government to extend wage supports and provide funding for businesses that are forced to close is the right InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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approach. The combination of the new reduced 9% VAT rate for the hospitality sector, the extension of the wages support scheme throughout next year as needed, and the introduction of the Covid-19 Restrictions Support Scheme is an appropriate targeted response which will support businesses into 2021. This will not undo the damage that the pandemic has done, but will enable most businesses to keep going for longer, and offset some of challenges which the restrictions have imposed. Elsewhere in the Budget, both Ministers Michael McGrath and Paschal Donohoe emphasised how severely impacted young people have been, with Irish youth unemployment now at 37%, falling from a peak of more than 60%. The approach of Government in the Budget is to allocate additional funding through the Department with responsibility for higher and further education to support more than 10,000 upskilling and reskilling opportunities through SOLAS and Skillnet Ireland, including the Skills to Advance and Skills to Compete programmes. This includes places for retrofitting courses and supporting employment in our emerging new green economy with 4,000 new apprentices to be provided under the apprenticeship incentive scheme. From the perspective of the local economies our member Chambers represent, local government and fully resourced local services have never been as important. The extension of the commercial rates waiver was a key ask of our network and the additional funding of a300m is welcome, as local authorities will need the funding that much of the business community will be unable to provide. 2021 will be a challenging year for businesses too however, and it is very possible a further extension, beyond December 2020, will be required.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES In a Budget like we face this year, we appreciate the challenge for Government in delivering on every ask of the business community. But there are missed opportunities in this Budget. While the Minister did make some technical changes to CGT Entrepreneurial relief, and note that he intended to review EIIS, much more could have been done to support entrepreneurs, particularly those who are innovation driven. Budget 2021 could also have been bolder in funding the recovery of urban centres – there is an opportunity for the National Economic Plan to improve on this, and we urge Government to use it. Government should also have done significantly more to invest in childcare and early education, improving pay, quality and affordability. This has been a central ask of Chambers Ireland for the past several Budgets. Without sustained public investment, we will not improve affordability for working families. Let’s not underestimate who this impacts most. There are already concerns that Covid-19 is having a disproportionate impact on women. Failure to sustain investment in childcare will result in lower labour participation rates, and wider pay gaps. The goal of Government in this Budget was to give “hope and confidence”. For this hope and confidence to be delivered, there must be commitment as well, so that we can ensure that the places in which we live and work are supported to recover. Living alongside the pandemic remains our immediate challenge, but a sustainable recovery, that reaches all parts of the country and puts place first, must be central to the National Economic Plan in November.

THE COMBINATION OF THE NEW REDUCED 9% VAT RATE FOR THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR, THE EXTENSION OF THE WAGES SUPPORT SCHEME THROUGHOUT NEXT YEAR AS NEEDED, AND THE INTRODUCTION OF THE COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS SUPPORT SCHEME IS AN APPROPRIATE TARGETED RESPONSE WHICH WILL SUPPORT BUSINESSES INTO 2021.” 47

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CHAMBER FEATURE

EU Trade Policy and Irish SMEs Michaela Reilly, Policy and Research Executive, Chambers Ireland, explores what a reviewed EU Trade Policy can offer Ireland’s SMEs as we face an uncertain Brexit amid a global pandemic.

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reland is a small, open trading economy and our businesses are competing in an ever-globalised marketplace. International trade and investment continues to be of huge importance for both the Irish and European economies, having shown their worth as stabilising forces and softening the recession when domestic demand remained weak following the 2008 crisis. This will remain the case as the economy absorbs the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the very real prospect of a disorderly end to the UK’s transition period. Brexit is a huge challenge with enormous consequences for future EU-UK trade policy. With the increasingly likely absence of an EU-UK agreement before January, bilateral trade between the UK and the EU27 is set to revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms. This will involve tariffs on traded goods, ranging

from near-zero in some cases to in excess of 50% in others, and would be enormously disruptive, not least for the Irish economy and cross-border trade. Northern Ireland accounts for between 10-12% of total exports from Ireland to the UK and for 7-8% of imports. Given that the population of Northern Ireland makes up less than 3% of the UK total, this shows the closeness of the economic ties between the two jurisdictions. It is just one example of why it is imperative that both parties pursue a deal to mitigate avoidable disruptions to both cross-border and east-west trading relationships. In the midst of this, a very timely review of the EU’s Trade Policy has been launched which will be at the heart of what a future EU-UK trade deal might resemble. This review presents the opportunity not only for trade relations to be safeguarded, but will allow for economic opportunities to be properly exploited to the advantage of local economies in all parts of Ireland and Europe.

FUTURE EU TRADE POLICY – BENEFITS FOR IRISH SMES Aside from the benefits to IrishUK trade, EU trade policy is an important vehicle for European leadership on the global stage. Yet, it is becoming increasingly exposed to the volatility of international relations. Tensions among the major global economies, a rise of unilateralism and economic nationalism and the weaponisation of trade policy for economic and geopolitical objectives are all factors that have led to a weakening of global governance structures and the multilateral rules-based order. Future EU trade policy must strive to strengthen the place of Europe’s enterprises in global trading and supply chains.

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Businesses must be equipped to fully benefit from both current and future EU trade agreements and new international markets as the EU addresses the challenges that growing protectionist policies, Brexit and Covid-19 pose. Some of the steps the EU can take to protect Irish and European enterprises, particularly SMEs, in future trade agreements include the following: S pecific SME provisions in EU trade agreements Ireland’s level of direct SME exports is very low by international standards, standing at only 6%, according to the OECD. Of that number, a high proportion trades only with the neighbouring UK market – something which will become more complex post-Brexit. The impact of weak sterling on trade flows, future complexity of operating under dual regulatory frameworks, new overheads associated with trading with a non-EU country, additional supply chain complexity, and new competitive and market access pressures are just some of the impending challenges. Specific SME provisions in all future trade agreements, including the implementation of cost assessments of entering new markets, is an immediate action the EU can take to increase future uptake by SMEs. An Action Plan for Trade The EU is exclusively competent for negotiating trade agreements, however it is up to Member States to implement them. This results in a – sometimes considerable – performance gap across the Member States. It is therefore an inherent European business interest to ensure an overall effective and coherent implementation strategy to ensure that all businesses can have the InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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same means to benefit from each EU trade agreement. Chambers Ireland has been calling for an Action Plan for Trade to address this. Committed to voluntarily by the European Commission and each Member State, this practical vehicle would enable concrete actions to be implemented in each respective state, through politically binding measures that accompany the ratification of major EU trade agreements. As well as increasing the accountability of national governments towards their respective business communities, an Action Plan would complement the implementation roadmaps that the European Commission has already committed to alongside its trade agreements.

If the reform effort of the WTO is to effectively respond to the challenges faced by all trading nations, it must be both fair and legitimate to ensure a sustainable rules-based environment. The EU has an important role to play here. It must make greater use of its economic leverage and adopt a pragmatic approach to pursuing new alternative means of dispute resolution that avoids tit-for-tat retaliation when relations begin to break down. As highlighted above, this will be essential in the event of a No-Deal Brexit.

S trengthening the Multilateral Trade Framework The dispute settlement function of the WTO has proven to be of vital importance in ensuring an even playing field – something which the Irish economy relies heavily on. With the escalation of trade tensions, the dissolution of the WTO dispute settlement system is regrettable.

international stage and become a leader in sustainable trade, it must pursue new trading relationships with novel markets while also renewing existing trading agreements so that they are fit for purpose for SMEs. It must also seek to uphold the values of the EU such as social and labour rights, human rights, good governance standards and gender equality.

WHAT NEXT FOR EU TRADE POLICY? Ireland’s economic future can only be secured if the EU continues to build strong progressive rules-based trading relationships globally. If the EU is to remain competitive on the

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CHAMBER FEATURE

Towards a ‘K-shaped’ recovery Shane Conneely, Senior Policy and Research Executive at Chambers Ireland, reviews the findings of the latest Business Community surveys and what they mean as the situation deteriorates with Covid-19 across the country.

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At

the time of writing the daily number of new cases of Covid-19 is continuing to rise and the Government is implementing another round of restrictions. Hopefully, sufficient control will be put over this disease in the coming weeks to allow us to maximise our economic activity within the public health constraints.

As our series of Business Community surveys has repeatedly shown – and as Chamber members throughout the island know from direct experience – Covid-19 has caused a profound revenue shock for the vast majority of businesses. The real non-trading economy has suffered the most from the decline in demand and the imposition of public health restrictions on businesses. There has long been a two-speed economy in Ireland. With our domestic economy bearing the brunt of the negative economic effects of the pandemic, this difference is becoming even more pronounced.

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TWO-SPEED ECONOMY Our most recent Business Community Survey was published on 24 September, and the responses were collected in the period preceding the latest wave of restrictions being implemented. The data gathered supports the theory of a ‘K-shaped’ recovery – where some firms are finding it easier to modify their business model to maintain high levels of business activity, while others continue to struggle. Two major factors seem to explain these diverging trajectories – the size of the firms and the sectors they are in. Larger firms are typically doing badly relative to a normal year while SMEs have been impacted more severely. Amplifying this, firms which can trade internationally are less affected than other firms, thus we see that sectors such as pharmaceuticals and IT services are thriving in the low-contact economy. Meanwhile, firms that have a larger labour component within their factors of production are more vulnerable. The Department of Finance’s pre-Budget presentation to the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council noted that “some firms/sectors [are] potentially not viable with social distancing”, suggesting that whole classes of industry are now under threat. The SMEs that responded to our surveys are typically experiencing revenues which are 30% below what would be typical. Only 5% of firms are still completely closed; those still closed are typically smaller businesses and expect to remain closed for a considerable length of time (average of those still closed >20 weeks). Microenterprises and sole traders are experiencing the lowest levels of business activity, at -42% and -33%, respectively. As expected, sectors affected most by social distancing have

suffered disproportionate reductions in revenue (hospitality: -56%, education: -67%, entertainment: -65%, real estate: -40%, transportation: -47%).

LIQUIDITY ISSUES AND GROWING DEBT OVERHANGS Even before the most recent wave of restrictions occurred, businesses of every kind were experiencing tremendous challenges. Our most recent survey found that mounting debts are affecting businesses. Low levels of business activity and revenue have reduced the margin for many businesses and many firms are having difficulty receiving payments from clients and customers. The sector businesses are

of businesses will be able to service very little of their debt. The large within-sector variation in the capacity to service debts means that assessing which firms can or cannot meet their obligation will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

UNPAID INVOICES ARE MOUNTING Since the beginning of the crisis, debts have been increasing for larger firms at a faster rate than for smaller firms. For SMEs, the struggle has been to get invoices paid. While the overall proportion of firms which have invoices outstanding that are beyond the terms agreed has declined slightly since our June survey, a larger volume of those outstanding invoices are now past 90-days-due.

THE SECTOR BUSINESSES ARE OPERATING IN HAS A STRONG EFFECT ON THEIR CURRENT AND EXPECTED REVENUE, BUT THE DEBT PROFILE AND THE CAPACITY OF INDIVIDUAL FIRMS TO MEET THEIR DEBT OBLIGATIONS VARIES WIDELY FROM FIRM TO FIRM WITHIN SECTORS.

operating in has a strong effect on their current and expected revenue, but the debt profile and the capacity of individual firms to meet their debt obligations varies widely from firm to firm within sectors. Overall, debt serviceability is likely to be a significant problem across the coming 12 months, with more than half of respondents saying that they will only be able to service 80% of their debt obligations over the next year. Meanwhile, the average amount of debt that businesses believe is serviceable is only 66% of debt that will come due. This suggests that while the majority are capable of meeting their obligations, a minority

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Of the businesses which issue invoices, 47% are having difficulty receiving payment from clients, with microenterprises and small businesses being disproportionately affected. The proportion of outstanding invoices that have been due for a considerable period of time continues to grow (over 43% of invoices where the terms have been breached are beyond 90-days-due). Most businesses typically only expect that between 52-67% of the outstanding invoices on which they are due payments will be honoured in the coming quarter, with food manufacturing, the motor trade, and real estate being particularly hard hit by unpaid invoices.

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CHAMBER CEO Q&A

Facing the challenge InBUSINESS caught up with Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as new Covid-19 restrictions are imposed in the province. Ann McGregor, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Q: Can you comment on the impact of Covid-19 on Northern Ireland businesses? A: The impact of

Covid-19 has really depended on the business sector and its ability to pivot in response. For example, leading IT/service companies successfully continued operating and proved resilient; as did businesses with several functions, where weakness in one area was compensated for by strength in another. Our latest Quarterly Economic Survey results in early October showed that in Q3, there was some recovery in business activity after the severe collapse experienced in Q2. However, all key business indicators remained negative and were much weaker than before the pandemic struck. The intensified restrictions announced since then will have a knock-on impact, not just on hospitality venues and close-contact service providers, but

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on the hundreds of local companies in their supply chains. Restrictions are also likely to further suppress demand in other sectors too. While the Job Retention Scheme has been a support to firms (accessed by three in four of our members), one in two of our members have or plan to reduce staff, while around a third already have or plan to reduce working hours. The pandemic is also clearly hindering Brexit preparations, which we find very concerning as the end of the transition period approaches. In Q3, only 39% of respondents were making preparations for Brexit, compared to 60% in Q1. Q: What is the Chamber doing to help deal with this situation? A: Since the early days

of the pandemic, we have been sharing and translating information, while articulating the views of our members to Ministers and key government officials

both at Stormont and Westminster. We have also provided many opportunities for our members to share their experience directly with policy makers, including the First and Deputy First Minister, Economy Minister and Finance Minister. Our team has had more direct contact with individual member companies than at any other time and as a result we know their businesses better than ever before. We’ve made personal introductions, helped them to identify local suppliers and facilitated new partnerships. Our International Division has provided a huge amount of support to exporters, including maintaining our export documentation service throughout lockdown and a new Collaborative Brexit series launched in the summer. Q: Can you highlight some positive or encouraging developments in Northern Ireland?

A: The past six months have demonstrated how Northern Ireland businesses can respond rapidly when the need is great enough. Now we have a real opportunity to capitalise on that proven ability to innovate. Our technology sector in particular is world renowned and there have been some significant job announcements in the sector. In recent weeks, we’ve seen positive movement on major infrastructure projects, including planning approval for the North South Interconnector, which will be great boost to the all-island electricity market. We also welcome the recent Irish Budget 2021 announcements, which commit to contributing to all-island projects. Encouragingly, we’re also seeing a move towards local sourcing in supply chains, with companies increasingly valuing the quality and reliability of local suppliers.

THE PAST SIX MONTHS HAVE DEMONSTRATED HOW NORTHERN IRELAND BUSINESSES CAN RESPOND RAPIDLY WHEN THE NEED IS GREAT ENOUGH. NOW WE HAVE A REAL OPPORTUNITY TO CAPITALISE ON THAT PROVEN ABILITY TO INNOVATE.”

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03/11/2020 16:51


CHAMBER FEATURE

Revised Rules of Arbitration from the ICC Due to come into force in January 2021, revised Rules of Arbitration from the International Chamber of Commerce will make ICC Arbitration more attractive and transparent. Alexis Mourre, ICC Court President

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he International Court of Arbitration is the leading organisation globally for the resolution of international commercial disputes. The Court operates under the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the world’s largest business organisation with over 45 million business members. The International Court of Arbitration has been helping to resolve issues in international commercial and business disputes to support trade and investment since 1923. The long-established role of the Court is to exercise

judicial supervision of arbitration proceedings and ensure that the rules of the ICC are correctly applied by appointed arbitrators. In October of this year, the Court unveiled revised Rules of Arbitration due to enter into force in January 2021. These revised Rules include several new provisions which aim to make ICC Arbitration more efficient, flexible and transparent. Commenting on the rules, ICC Court President Alexis Mourre said: “The amendments to the Rules mark a further step towards greater efficiency, flexibility and transparency of the Rules, making ICC Arbitration even more attractive and transparent, both for large, complex arbitrations and for smaller cases.” Also, with the Covid-19 pandemic impacting and fundamentally altering how we work and communicate, the 2021 ICC Rules confirm that tribunals may decide to hold hearings by remote means of communication. Ian Talbot, Secretary General of ICC Ireland said: “Companies involved in large or complex international transactions should consider the use of arbitration in related contracts. The ICC provides suitable clauses for use in such contracts as well as the infrastructure to help manage any disputes which arise.” A series of events are being planned to introduce the revised Rules and will culminate with the flagship launch of the Rules on 1 December, 2020 – make sure to visit the ICC’s programme of events webpage (https://2go.iccwbo.org/exploreour-products/events.html) for further updates.

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CHAMBER FEATURE

The SDGs and your business  T

he UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious set of targets that cover a range of areas from poverty eradication, reducing inequality and access to education services to environmental protection and economic growth. While almost all the SDGs reflect the goals of the Chamber network, we have identified five goals which we believe we can contribute towards and champion through our network (5, 8, 9, 11 and 13. See graphics facing page) Businesses have an important part to play in the adoption of the SDGs in Ireland. Here are some simple ways to implement these changes in your organisation:

Chambers Ireland provides advice on simple ways to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to positive effect in your organisation.

INTERNAL CULTURE AGILE WORKING (SDG 3, 8 AND 11)  The world of work is rapidly changing due to Covid-19. Many employers now offer agile and remote working opportunities to employees. Agile working enables a more motivated workforce with fewer sick days and greater productivity.

EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK (SDG 8, 16 AND 17) An employee handbook is a vital document which reflects an organisation’s culture and way of working. Businesses should ensure that their employee handbook aligns with the SDGs.

GOVERNANCE CODE (SDG 8, 10 AND 16)  Governance is a key component of the SDGs and businesses should ensure to update the company’s governance code to encourage top-down support for the Goals.

INTERNSHIPS/TRAINEESHIPS (SDG 4 AND 8)  Businesses should aim to offer internships and traineeships to individuals who wish to enter or re-enter the workforce. This will contribute to making sure everyone has a chance at achieving decent work.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT (SDG 11 AND 17)  Businesses should actively engage in and support sustainable development initiatives within communities. Local engagement can build positive brand awareness and benefit communities, towns and cities.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION GENDER EQUALITY (SDG 5, 8 AND 10)  Businesses should strive to achieve a gender-balanced workforce with equal opportunities in leadership, representation and recruitment, regardless of gender.

EXTERNAL REPRESENTATION (SDG 5, 8, 10 AND 17)  Employees often represent their company on fora and at external events. Businesses should endeavour to support gender-balanced panels and select gender-balanced representatives at every opportunity. 

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ENVIRONMENT  GREEN TRANSPORT (SDG 11 AND 13)  Encourage employees to opt for low-emission transport, such as public transport or cycling, whilst travelling to and from work or travelling for business, to reduce carbon emissions.

RECYCLING (SDG 12, 13, 14 AND 15)  Businesses should ensure that their workplace provides the correct recycling bins and has a recycling policy in place. 

ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY (SDG 12 AND 13)  Each business has a carbon footprint. To reduce this, businesses should actively create an environmentally-friendly workplace, by introducing plants to absorb CO2, turning off lights when not required and reducing printing. 

ENERGY EFFICIENCY (SDG 7, 12 AND 13)  Energy efficiency can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and to save money on energy bills that could be reinvested into your business.

SUSTAINABLE SUPPLY CHAIN (SDG 12)  What we buy, and who we purchase it from, impacts the environment. Businesses should switch their supply chain to suppliers that are environmentally friendly and source materials in a sustainable way. 

HEALTH AND WELLBEING  WELLBEING OPPORTUNITIES (SDG 3 AND 8)  Studies show that employers who promote positive wellbeing can boost employee engagement and create a work culture where individuals are driven to support organisational success. Businesses can support employees’ wellbeing by offering Employee Assistance Programmes.  

HEALTHY OPTIONS (SDG 3 AND 12)  Providing healthier food options for employees, such as fruit for the office (obtained from a sustainable source), can contribute to a happier, healthier workforce.

VOLUNTEERING (SDG 3 AND 11)  Providing employees with the opportunity to give back to charities and their community can positively impact on employees’ overall wellness as well as benefit local communities. 

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CHAMBER PARTNER FEATURE PROFILE

A refurbished laptop being donated as part of the Tech2Students campaign, supported by ESB

Powering support through the pandemic As Covid-19 continues to have an impact right across the country, ESB has stepped up and supported communities and organisations most in need.

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s a nation we have come together to help in the fight against Covid-19 with everyone playing their part. This sense of togetherness and support is critical for the many voluntary organisations and services that have been hugely affected by Covid-19, both financially and operationally. For instance, the cancellation of the global Darkness into Light event had a huge impact for Pieta and its ability to provide essential mental health services all around the country. Coupled with the generosity of personal donations, organisations including Electric Ireland stepped up and offered support to ensure Pieta could continue to deliver vital life-saving services. This global pandemic has highlighted the important role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in supporting vital community programmes.

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STEPPING UP TO HELP OUT Take for example, the Early Learning Initiative that provides parent and child learning support programmes in marginalised communities, which, in turn, helps families achieve their educational, career and life goals. It works on the basis of volunteers calling to children’s homes on a weekly basis to support their educational development. At the outset of Covid-19, the Early Learning Initiative – and hundreds of other organisations which operate on a similar model – had to adapt overnight, at enormous cost. ESB’s Energy for Generations fund was able to help. It disburses around a1m annually in direct funding to charities working in the areas of suicide prevention, homelessness, education access and support. As a result of the pandemic, ESB increased the fund, so that it could provide additional urgent financial assistance to organisations such as the Early Learning Initiative which it has supported since 2014. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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This additional funding helped facilitate the provision of educational resource packs to assist with home schooling and improve the home learning environment for young children. “We are grateful to ESB for helping so many vulnerable, isolated children and families deal with this crisis,” says Dr Josephine Bleach, Director of the Early Learning Initiative. “ESB’s contribution is ensuring that these children start school with the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed for success in their education, career and life.”

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS At Jigsaw, the national centre for youth mental health, additional financial support was needed to alter the way it operates due to Covid-19. Following the postponement of its face-to-face services and community work, it set up a free phone support line at 1800-Jigsaw, developed a new website and an inbound SMS and email service, as well as hosting group chats and webinars. These new service offerings provide a space where young people can access mental health information, advice and support to help them deal with the current situation. It was another opportunity for ESB to help. “To us at Jigsaw, it is clear that corporate social responsibility for ESB goes far beyond euros on a cheque,” says Dr Joseph Duffy, Chief Executive of Jigsaw. “They understand the value of community and grassroots supports; they work alongside civil society as partners, and they have added huge value to us an organisation and to the nation as a whole.” Aware, which specialises in helping those with depression, has also seen a dramatic increase in demand for its services. Aware introduced an app that allows its support line volunteers to take InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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calls remotely and moved its face-to-face support groups to a phone and virtual alternative. It also recruited and trained new volunteers remotely to ensure it has the capacity to meet heightened demand. As a result, this presented new operational and financial challenges for the charity. “As Aware only receives circa 20% of our funding from the State, we rely heavily on the support of corporate organisations and communities in order to provide our free services,” explains Dominic Layden, its Chief Executive. “We have been very fortunate to have engaged with corporate partners like ESB who have continued to support us throughout.” As well as bringing forward and increasing its Energy for Generations Fund, ESB launched a special Covid-19 emergency Wind Farm Community fund worth almost a240,000. The fund is available to organisations and charities in the vicinity of ESB’s operating wind farms across the island of Ireland and the UK.

MORE THAN FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS ESB’s CSR programme goes beyond financial support, tapping into an inherent willingness among its workforce to actively help those most in need. The Tech2Students Initiative is a good example. Following the closure of schools in March, there was significant concern for students who did not have access to technology for home studies. Camara Education Ireland, a notfor-profit organisation which uses technology to improve education in low income communities, and Trinity Access, an initiative of Trinity College which is designed to support people from areas with low progression rates to higher education, launched a campaign

for homes and businesses to donate disused laptops. The response was phenomenal with ESB donating a100,000 to this initiative and its staff volunteered to collect and distribute more than 1,300 donated and purchased laptops. “Donating a laptop can make a massive difference to a student’s life,” says Mark O’Donoghue, an ESB staff member who delivered the hardware across Dublin. “It’s a cliché, but with everyone’s spirits being down during the crisis, it’s brilliant to see people coming together while staying apart.”

STAFF INITIATIVE This initiative was just one element of ESB’s Kindness Matters initiative, started by its staff in response to Covid-19. Staff were encouraged to volunteer in their communities with organisations such as the GAA to distribute supplies, while others made and distributed personal protective equipment. Others donated their time to Age Action’s Keep in Touch programme which involved hosting remote IT tutorials for older people. This helped those cocooning to stay in touch with friends and family during the pandemic. “With Covid-19 having an immediate impact on important organisations, and in turn, people and communities, we wanted to play a part in supporting them,” explains Pat Naughton, ESB’s Executive Director, People and Organisation Development. “Staff right across the country wanted to do more for their respective communities,” he adds. Indeed, almost 400 staff recently participated in a virtual 5km to raise funds for ElectricAid, ESB’s staff social justice and development fund. This fund has supported more than 20 projects responding to Covid-19 in Ireland and worldwide, demonstrating how ESB is once again stepping up to support the people and communities it serves.

WITH COVID-19 HAVING AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT ON IMPORTANT ORGANISATIONS, AND IN TURN, PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES, WE WANTED TO PLAY A PART IN SUPPORTING THEM.” 57

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CHAMBER OF EMBASSY FEATURE BRAZIL IN IRELAND PROFILE

No quarantine for technological innovation in Brazil Werter Padilha, Brazilian Association of Software Companies Advisor/ CEO of Taggen and Sawluz, outlines the ways in which innovation and entrepreneurship have been boosted since the outbreak of Covid-19.

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razil, like most countries around the world, faces challenges due to the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on its overall economic performance, with a drop in job creation and revenue. Economic and social policies are being revised and the structural reform agenda is progressing with a view to encouraging short-term economic recovery and to reversing, in the long term, the impacts on GDP and the public finances. However, the first six months of the pandemic presented an array of opportunities that encouraged innovation and entrepreneurship in Brazil. Initiatives emerged from both the Government and the private sector,as well as from international agreements, collaboration with technology parks and accelerators, all demonstrating that technological innovation in Brazil has not entered quarantine. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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On the Government side, several initiatives were launched during this period to encourage innovation, supported by interest rates lower than those available in the financial market. Agencies such as the Brazilian Innovation Agency (FINEP), the Brazilian Company of Research and Industrial Innovation (Embrapii) and the Brazilian Agency for Industrial Development (ABDI) focused on projects aimed at the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data, industry 4.0 and healthtech, among other technologies. One of the highlights was a partnership between a number of Government agencies that selected over 30 highly creative and innovative projects aimed at preventing, combating or treating the effects of the new coronavirus, with an initial investment of approximately a5m. Still seeking to mitigate Covid-19, in the Northeast region of Brazil a collaboration between Porto Digital, one of Brazil’s top technology and innovation centres, and the local government selected start-ups for open innovation projects in order to create solutions to reduce the effects of Covid-19 for implementation in the short term. Another initiative was the work carried out by the ‘100 Open Startups’ in search of innovative solutions in areas such as remote working, health, retail, logistics, education and mobility.

ENCOURAGING INNOVATION BEYOND THE PANDEMIC An initiative of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation towards the development of AI solutions also advanced during this period. A selection of 13 science and technology institutes and accelerators were announced,

which will support AI projects in agribusiness, health, industry and smart cities – the four pillars prioritised by the Brazilian National Internet of Things Plan (PNIoT), a strategic plan to boost the development of such technologies in Brazil. There is an orchestrated commitment by the federal government in Brazil, through the sectorial chambers of Industry 4.0, Agro 4.0 and Health 4.0, seeking to encourage entrepreneurship through investments. The fact is: Brazil has not stopped! Neither have its resilience, creativity and entrepreneurial skills, adding to its DNA of doing more with less. On the private initiative side, studies indicate that venture capital investments have not been affected by the pandemic, with tech startups and more mature companies continuing to receive funds, including hundreds of thousands in foreign investment. Brazil alone represents more than 50% of the venture capital business of Latin America. One of the many examples was an agreement between Qualcomm Ventures LLC (Qualcomm’s investment arm) and the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), which provided for an investment of a27m in start-ups developing IoT products and services. Despite the economic and health crisis, investments in seed and pre-

seed companies increased in 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to Astella Investimentos, which manages investment funds. These investments are mainly directed towards fintechs, adtechs, healthtechs, agrotechs and retailtechs. As a result of the current pandemic, there is a business trend that also points towards growth in investments in the areas of remote working, distance learning, telemedicine, last-mile logistics, e-commerce, home entertainment and digital financial services. The drop in Brazilian interest rates is stimulating the migration of capital to the venture capital market. Another trend in Brazil has been the increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions, mainly in the most resilient sectors, such as agribusiness and technology. I believe that no one can face the current crisis alone; joining forces is essential to overcoming the challenges. Investing in new technologies – as well as being alert for opportunities to forge partnerships and attract national and foreign investments – is key to reversing the situation. Worldwide, it seems that we are ready for a new technological phase. Everything fine-tuned will result in the resumption of growth.

ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS WAS A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN A NUMBER OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THAT SELECTED OVER 30 HIGHLY CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE PROJECTS AIMED AT PREVENTING, COMBATING OR TREATING THE EFFECTS OF THE NEW CORONAVIRUS”

BRAZILIAN IT SECTOR AT A GLANCE In 2019, the Brazilian IT market showed growth in all its segments, achieving growth rates representative of the period before the economic crisis that hit the country in 2014. Worldwide, the IT sector grew by 5.0%, while in Brazil, it increased by 10.5% to reach US$44.3bn, taking into account software, services, hardware markets and exports Software export and services had good results, with approximately 29% growth, if compared to the same period in 2018. This growth is due to the efforts made by Brazilian software companies to expand in foreign markets, mainly in Latin America. The first quarter of 2020 was the “calm before the storm” in most technology categories (quarantines in Latin America did not begin until mid/late March). Companies will need to rethink their technological needs to satisfy their customers in the post-Covid-19 era and to ensure business continuity with new operational schemes, such as home office and social distance. These impacts may not be entirely negative, as they drive the adoption of new technologies and adaptation to new processes and procedures, as well as the rapid adoption of digital transformation.

The study ‘Brazilian Software Market - Panorama and Trends 2020’, published by ABES (the Brazilian Association of Software Companies) provides complete facts and figures on the sector, it can be downloaded at: www.abessoftware.com.br/en/dados-do-setor .

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

3. Vulnerable workers You need to pay special attention to the needs of any vulnerable staff, such as older workers, pregnant workers, and workers with underlying medical conditions. Employees who live alone might also need further help minimising lone worker risks.

On the safe side Experts at human resources software and health and safety provider BrightHR explain how to make sure your staff are safe while they’re working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

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he coronavirus pandemic and lockdown meant many businesses had to embrace working from home (WFH) for the first time this year. And when lockdown was first announced in March, there was little time to prepare for the transition from office to home, so it’s understandable that employers had to focus on getting staff sorted from an IT perspective back then. Fast forward six months, and if WFH is still a reality for your business then there’s more to consider. Because all employers have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their people — even when staff are not working in the office. The best way to do this is to carry out a risk assessment. Of course, you can’t personally check employees’ houses, so a WFH risk assessment requires you and your employees to work together to make sure they’re safe while they do their jobs.

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FOUR MAIN RISKS TO CONSIDER 1. Workstation A desk or table is a must, whether that’s an ‘official’ home office or the kitchen table. Staff shouldn’t work from places like an armchair, sofa or bed — the viewing angle of a laptop would be incorrect, their wrist on the mouse would be unsupported, and there’s an increased risk of eye strain. 2. Display screen A display screen assessment covers such things as making sure your back and neck are supported, you’re not overreaching for the keyboard, and that the contrast, brightness and colour are correctly set on your screen. The room you’re working in needs to have enough light and be well ventilated, too.

4. Working time Under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, employers must not permit staff to work outside of their daily and weekly contracted hours. The legislation is a little outdated, as lots of jobs are now more flexible with working hours, but you do need to make sure staff are taking their statutory breaks.

THE BENEFITS OF BRIGHTSAFE BrightSafe, BrightHR’s exclusive online health and safety software, makes carrying out WFH risk assessments simple and straightforward. It includes full guidance, so you can show staff exactly what they need to do yo be safe when working from home. And you can check tasks off against our handy checklist and store all your risk assessment documents securely with our unlimited storage. You also get access to a suite of CPD-accredited e-learning courses, so you can share these with your staff to make sure they’re up to date with all the latest working from home guidance. Use BrightSafe to get all the health and safety tools and support you need to protect your people and your business. Want to know how BrightSafe helps you keep staff safe while working from home? Speak to a software specialist today on 1800 279 841. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

Switching on for online success Philip Konopik, Visa’s Ireland Country Manager, highlights the importance of being aware of the need for Strong Customer Authentication when trading online in light of new EU regulations.

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he entrepreneurial spirit shown by Irish business owners has never been more evident since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Despite the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, SMEs across the country have adapted their business and embraced new ways of trading. Many have started selling online for the first time or adopted new technology such as contactless payments to make the in-store experience more consumer-friendly. Many others have diversified their offering, for example restaurants offering takeaway services or event management companies producing desks for remote working. However, as many businesses move their operations online as a result of Covid-19, there is a risk that all their hard work could be undone in the next few months. Thousands of Irish SMEs might be unable to sell online as a result of not having new security features in place as part of the EU Payment Services Directive. From 31 December, 2020, any Irish business with an eCommerce operation is required to have Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) in place in order to complete transactions. As part of the new regulation, customers may need to provide more identification to their bank when shopping online.

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This additional information could potentially be a dynamic password (generation of a onetime password) or biometric information (such as fingerprint or facial recognition) in order to ensure that it is not a fraudulent transaction. If SMEs are not enabling customers to do this, then the payments may be considered non-compliant and be declined as a result. Since the outbreak of Covid-19,

Support local to lift us all

AllAll Rise Rise ChampionGreen.ie

eCommerce has become an increasingly vital channel for businesses looking to keep trading. There is a real risk, however, that thousands of Irish SMEs will suddenly find this critical source of revenue switched off if they do not have SCA measures in place by 31 October. So, we are urging any Irish SME doing business online to contact the company that hosts its online checkout service to ensure it has been enabled for SCA and make sure its transactions will not be declined when the directive comes into effect.

HELP AT HAND Embracing new channels in a short space of time is naturally challenging, but help is at hand and that’s why we have made a Digital Business Kit freely available on Visa.ie for SMEs that want to avail of expert guidance – from setting up and growing a digital presence, to transferring essential parts of a business online. As we all grapple with the challenges of the pandemic, where you shop matters more than ever before. The survival of our local businesses will be key to the recovery of the Irish economy, and Visa is working with partners and clients to ensure SMEs have all the necessary tools and resources they need to adapt for a new normal. We are also a proud supporter of the #ChampionGreen movement, a campaign aimed at encouraging consumers and businesses to buy from and champion the businesses in their local community. The Irish business community has shown tremendous resilience during Covid-19 and continues to contribute so much to our communities. As SMEs rebuild for recovery, ensuring they are prepared for the introduction of SCA will enable them to take advantage of the opportunities of digital commerce.

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

A sporting partner Each sport has its great events and championships, and each has its great trophy to mark them. And in many sports around the world, these great trophies originate with the craftsmen of Waterford Crystal.

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aterford Crystal craftsmen devote maximum attention to every item they create. Few things give them more satisfaction than working on a trophy for a world-famous sporting event – especially as such prizes challenge their creative and crafting skills to the limit. At the House of Waterford Crystal factory, we created the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy, which was presented to John Catlin in Galgorm Castle Golf Club. Waterford Crystal has a long-standing relationship with the Irish Open and is celebrating 45 years manufacturing the trophy. Over this period, we have designed four distinct trophies for this major event on the PGA European Tour. The tour commissioned the House of Waterford Crystal to design a new trophy for the 2012 Irish Open, developing a spectacular concept, which was brought to life in Waterford Crystal’s manufacturing facility. Over six weeks, our manufacturing team were to craft and sculpt what would turn out to be a spectacular piece of crystal. A lot of work went into producing the piece, including a great deal of expertise in

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design and manufacture. This magnificent piece features a beautiful and unique design of flat and diamond cutting, with an exquisitely crafted crystal sphere, which makes a reference to the golf ball and showcases the expertise and skill of Waterford Crystal artisans. The House of Waterford Crystal has manufactured a large array of sports trophies for top American and European sporting events over the past four decades and is renowned for its sporting trophies around the world. In the US, Waterford Crystal produces the trophies for many tournaments, including the Phoenix Open, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, The Memorial, The Tour Championship and The Honda Classic.

CORPORATE GIFTS AND GOLF PRIZES Our dedicated Sales Manager Tom Walsh caters for corporate gifts and golf prizes. We can customise a piece from our core range that can allow you to create your own unique message or logo on the item. Our worldwide shipping service allows you the flexibility to deliver in 24/48 hours to Ireland, the UK or

the US. Tom can be contacted at tom.walsh@fiskars.com or +353 (0)87 120 9143

TAKE A TOUR Why not visit the factory located in the centre of Waterford City and take the opportunity to witness the manufacture of these and many other Waterford Crystal products? The guided factory tour is a unique and captivating experience that enthrals visitors of all ages, both national and international. Over the course of roughly one hour, the tour allows visitors to understand each stage of production. They witness how Waterford Crystal pieces are crafted from initial design right up to the final engraving of the piece. Every year the House of Waterford Crystal melts more than 750 tonnes of crystal, using traditional and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques. On completion of the tour, visitors can experience over 12,000 sq ft of crystal heaven in the largest retail and brand showcase of Waterford Crystal in the world.

THE HOUSE OF WATERFORD CRYSTAL HAS MANUFACTURED A LARGE ARRAY OF SPORTS TROPHIES FOR TOP AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN SPORTING EVENTS OVER THE PAST FOUR DECADES AND IS RENOWNED FOR ITS SPORTING TROPHIES AROUND THE WORLD.

For further details on the tours available all year round visit www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com or call 051 317000. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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VIRTUAL CEREMONY, REAL-LIFE IMPACT While the newly rebranded Sustainable Business Impact Awards had its first outing in an online ceremony, the impact made by the nominated companies was very real.

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IB was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Sustainable Business Impact 2020, in a year which saw incredible work done by companies large and small, across Ireland, to make a difference in their communities. Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland said, “Congratulations to AIB and the winners of the fourteen Sustainable Business Impact award categories, whom we recognise for their achievements. Against the incredibly challenging circumstances we are all collectively adapting to, businesses continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in sustainable practices.” This first Awards ceremony of the Sustainable Business Impact Awards, formerly the CSR Awards, was run in association with the Department of Rural and Community Development, partnered with Business in the Community Ireland and kindly sponsored by BAM Ireland. One4all sponsored the Excellence in Workplace Awards. Each winner was presented with a specially commissioned trophy designed by Waterford Crystal.

THE CSR AWARDS 2020 CATEGORY WINNERS ARE: OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS IMPACT ■ AIB EXCELLENCE IN CSR COMMUNICATION ■ Lidl Ireland – ‘Lidl More for Youth – Jigsaw/Lidl Listen Campaign’ EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY – PARTNERSHIP WITH CHARITY – LIC ■ A&L Goodbody – ‘Supporting life after torture with Spirasi’ EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY – PARTNERSHIP WITH CHARITY – MNC ■ KBC Bank – ‘Skills – Sharing for Impact’ EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY – VOLUNTEERING – LIC ■ A&L Goodbody – ‘Supporting housing rights and homelessness through free legal assistance’ EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY – VOLUNTEERING – MNC ■ IBM Ireland and Cisco Ireland – ‘ICU FamilyLink’ EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY – COMMUNITY PROGRAMME – LIC ■ An Post – ‘Address Point’

Pictured left to right: Ian Talbot; Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland, Yvonne Holmes, Chief Sustainability Officer, AIB, Sarah Dempsey, Head of Sustainability Communications & Partnerships, AIB, Colin Hunt, Chief Executive Officer, AIB, Margaret Brennan, President, Chambers Ireland and Tadhg Lucey, Chief Operating Officer, BAM Ireland

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EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY – COMMUNITY PROGRAMME – MNC ■ Microsoft Ireland – ‘DreamSpace’

EXCELLENCE IN ENVIRONMENT – LIC – sponsored by EPA ■ AIB – ‘AIB’s Energy and Environmental Plan to enable Sustainable Communities’ EXCELLENCE IN ENVIRONMENT – MNC – sponsored by EPA ■ Tesco Ireland – ‘Reducing our carbon footprint at Tesco’

EXCELLENCE IN WORKPLACE – LIC – sponsored by One4all ■ SOLAS – ‘SOLAS Workplace Choir’

EXCELLENCE IN WORKPLACE – MNC – sponsored by One4all ■ Diageo Ireland – ‘Six months paid parental leave for all Irish employees’

EXCELLENCE IN MARKETPLACE ■ Tesco Ireland – ‘Project Unwrapped: Working with our suppliers to reduce plastic packaging’

EXCELLENCE IN CSR BY AN SME ■ Tico Mail Works – ‘Tico Mail Works Sustainable CSR Program’

EXCELLENCE IN DIVERSITY & INCLUSION ■ VMware Ireland – ‘VMinclusion Ireland – Resilience and Disability Program’Excellenc

*LIC: Large Indigenous Company | *MNC: Multinational Company

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Stronger Together Technology partners IBM and Cisco developed a simple and secure video calling solution for ICU at University Hospital Galway, so patients could stay in touch with loved ones during the pandemic.

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hen the pandemic hit, an IBM employee on sabbatical as a BioInnovate Fellow at NUI Galway held up his hand and offered his assistance wherever it was needed. As chance would have it, that same day, the call came out from University Hospital Galway (UHG), looking for a solution to help patients and staff in ICU to communicate with patients’ loved ones when the unit closed to visitors. And so began a story of good work that grew out of bad times. Irial Conroy was that IBM-er on sabbatical, and the ensuing project, ICU FamilyLink, had him reconnecting with a former work colleague, Brian O’Donoghue, now working as a Systems Engineer at Cisco in Galway. Dr Aoife Murray of NUI Galway also led on the project. Conroy recalls: “The project was initiated at the end of March, during the early days of the pandemic, when the situation was changing fast, and there was a lot of fear and uncertainty around the trajectory of Covid-19 in Ireland.” Despite supply chains being stretched, and access to workplaces heavily restricted—so sourcing equipment was much slower than normal—the project was up and running within weeks. Prior collaboration between IBM and Cisco on CSR activities meant that the connections were already in place when the ‘ICU FamilyLink’ project surfaced.

SIMPLE AND SECURE O’Donoghue had previously worked with UHG on other CSR projects, and his role was to identify, customise and implement a Cisco solution for the initiative. “From my first engagement with the medical staff in ICU in early March, and becoming familiar with the challenges that we were about to face with the inevitable lockdown at that point, I knew that the technology had to be really simple to use, secure and reliable. We were handing over the solution in a matter of weeks to staff that had never used it previously, and would already be

extremely busy with their day jobs in ICU.” The team had to strip back the system for video calling using large touchscreen tablets, to make it as user-friendly as possible, without comprising on the security. “We had to be very mindful of not trading off security for simplicity,” says O’Donoghue. “Once ICU would have Covid-19 patients, we would not be able to gain physical access to our video endpoints, and therefore needed to ensure it was ultra-reliable.” A team of IBM staff volunteered to staff a helpline, should support be required, but it was testament to the thought and testing that went into the solution, that this helpline service wasn’t called on too often. “Busy people—in Cisco, IBM, NUIG, UHG and beyond—will go above and beyond expectations in times of need,” says O’Donoghue. “A lot of people dedicated countless hours on top of their day jobs to make this happen, and were happy to do so. We still regularly sync as a virtual team to keep track of activity of the solution and ensure it continues to evolve and improve.”

Dr Aoife Murray, NUI Galway and Irial Conroy, NUI Galway and IBM, linking live with (on-screen) PJ McKenna, IBM, Brian O’Donoghue, Cisco and Breda McColgan, IBM

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I Keeping Employees Motivated in Extraordinary Circumstances Many staff are now working from home and it can be difficult for employers to keep morale boosted; a One4all Gift Card makes the ideal Christmas bonus, writes Terry Spence, Director of Sales for One4all. 66

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n the early days of Covid-19, many employees found themselves in extraordinary circumstances, juggling professional life and online meetings with personal life and home schooling or struggling to carve out an office of sorts in shared accommodation. These issues are still here and trying to keep employees motivated has proved challenging. Employers are realising the stress employees are under working from home and are conscious of its toll on physical health. We’ve experienced a spike in enquiries, asking what office equipment stores accept One4all Gift Cards. Businesses are aware of the extended hours employees are putting in, as lines between work and home blur, and staff are often sitting on a kitchen or dining chair rather than ergonomic office furniture designed for long periods of sitting. Employee mental health has become a priority for employers, with many businesses providing

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

access to wellness programmes. Overall, people are missing the camaraderie of the office and now, with further restrictions, the much-loved Christmas party, when employers would traditionally show their appreciation of employees, looks likely to be cancelled. SHOWING APPRECIATION This year has tested everyone’s resilience – adapting to working from home, while still delivering on work responsibilities. It’s important to reward staff to acknowledge the extra mile they’ve gone to deliver on outputs. A recent One4all survey of 2,013 adults revealed 32% say they now understand that showing their appreciation to someone can have a big impact, while 29% are more thankful for what other people do. Rewarding employees promotes feelings of gratitude and acknowledges the hard work carried out over the year. When you look at a cash bonus compared to a gift card, cash can get sucked into day-to-day expenditure whereas a gift card can have a lasting impression—an employee can treat themselves to something they really want and remember it as a mark of appreciation. BENEFIT IN KIND Companies are looking for ways to express gratitude for employees’ work

during challenging circumstances. Many businesses have had it tough this year. The last time the country experienced economic challenges like this was the recession eleven years ago. Then, the benefit in kind exemption was €250 compared to today’s €500 and companies wanted to avail of the tax benefits, not just for tax savings for themselves, but to ensure employees received the full value of a bonus. Businesses which had previously given cash bonuses realised the value in rewarding their employees with gift cards where they could reap the full benefit and reward. As the pandemic continues, employers can take advantage of the tax benefits of One4all Gift Cards— available in denominations from €15 to €500—to express thanks to their own frontline workers, who are essential to their business, and Christmas is an ideal opportunity to reward them. TAX EXEMPTION One4all Gift Cards qualify for the Government’s Benefit in Kind tax exemption meaning they’re free from income tax, USC and PRSI deductions. For example, an employer can give up to €500 in a once off payment per employee per annum and save up to €653.65 per employee*. As One4all is accepted by 11,000+ stores, employees can shop with a diverse range of Irish

retailers nationwide and online with participating retail partners. Ultimately, One4all Gift Cards can only be spent with Irish retail, meaning when employees spend them, it directly benefits the Irish economy versus overseas markets, which contributes towards promoting sustainability. We have a range of hotels and restaurants that accept One4all Gift Cards and, coupled with the Government’s rebate for staycations this year, employers and employees who avail and use One4all Gift Cards are contributing towards the regeneration of the Irish economy. A DIGITAL OPTION The One4all Digital Gift Card can be bought, spent and, sent online or via text. With so many employees working remotely this year, the card

A RECENT ONE4ALL SURVEY OF 2,013 ADULTS REVEALED 32% SAY THEY NOW UNDERSTAND THAT SHOWING THEIR APPRECIATION TO SOMEONE CAN HAVE A BIG IMPACT, WHILE 29% ARE MORE THANKFUL.

really stands out as a solution for businesses looking to reward their employees. Like our standard gift card, it can be personalised with a business logo or message of thanks. With contactless payments now the preferred payment option, it’s a great solution to minimise handling of cash. We recently launched a new gift card, the Chip & PIN, which is available in denominations of €150 to €500 and with a simple online registration process, employees can spend without any transaction limitations online with participating retail partners. All One4all Gift Cards are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and as such, businesses can feel safe using them as a solution to rewarding employees this year. *Figures are based on giving €500 net to an employee on the 40% tax band paying full PRSI and USC.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

using 100% certified renewable energy to run its facility, Pigot says, thanks to this scheme, “Half of the cars that turn up to Tico now would be electrically powered. We supply the electricity from the front of the building. Between those two measures it has hugely helped reduce our carbon footprint.” This is in addition to the Bike to Work scheme. “What really made things move more quickly in terms of sustainability was my introduction to Business in the Community around 2010, and looking at how to try and make my company better,” recalls Pigot. “They were assisting companies to do a Sustainability Report. I got help from them to put it together, and when the SDGs came along in 2015 it gave us a real target to look at in terms of how to make our business a better business.”

Alex Pigot, Chairman, Tico Mail Works

Paper Power Paper is a sustainable and attractive option for business communications in a world where we are drowning in a digital deluge, according to Alex Pigot of Tico Mail Works.

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f somebody sends you a piece of paper, and puts it in front of you, you are going to open the envelope, you’re going to read it. Somebody has spent money to get this message to you, so whatever is inside it, must be important,” asserts Alex Pigot, owner of Tico Mail Works. He maintains that in a world where we are overloaded with digital messaging, receiving mail by post is even more essential to make sure a message is received. “Tico Mail Works prints and packs invoices, statements and legal notices for a range of customers, including blue chip companies, government departments, Gardai and the courts.”

EXCELLENCE IN CSR The company was recently awarded for Excellence in CSR by an SME at the Chambers Ireland Sustainable Business Impact Awards, recognising its Renewable Electricty Electic Car to Work scheme. Aside from efforts to cut the company’s carbon footprint,

PAPER IS MADE OUT OF WOOD THAT COMES FROM TREES WHICH PROVIDE CARBON SINK. ALMOST ALL OF THE WOOD WE HAVE IN EUROPE COMES FROM MANAGED FORESTS. THERE ARE MORE TREES BEING PLANTED THAN TREES COMING DOWN

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SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS “There was a realisation relatively quickly that people prefer working for a business that is more responsible about what it’s doing—treating staff, the environment and the people around it better. Sustainability became the buzzword of the business.” Being the owner of a paperbased business who cares about sustainability. Pigot is quick to point out that, “Paper is made out of wood that comes from trees which provide carbon sink. Almost all the paper we have in Europe comes from managed forests, not from places like Malaysia or South America where trees are felled to grow palm oil or cattle and make furniture. As the wood we use comes from managed forests, the more paper one uses the more carbon is captured in this carbon sink. Paper is the friendliest and most loved sustainable communication medium, especially in this time of Covid-19’.

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Pat McDonagh, Owner Supermac’s, Trócaire Supporter.

“ my business has helped children children go go to to

school and and provided provided

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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

CSR and Standards W

The National Standards Authority of Ireland offers a framework of CSR with an International Standard.

hether your organisation is planning on giving back to employees or aligning to the Sustainable Development Goals, corporate social responsibility needs a reliable framework on which to rest. With ISO 26000, an International Standard offering guidance on social responsibility, all kinds of organisations can effectively manage and maximise their activities in this important area with an internationally agreed formula. ISO 26000’s framework is based on the tried-and-tested ISO Management Systems process of Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA). All the hard parts of creating a state-of-the-art CSR framework are laid out in a way that is easy to implement in tandem with other ISO Management Systems. ISO 26000 is applicable to all types of organisations, as it deals with social responsibility as opposed to corporate social responsibility. The standard provides a clear and detailed definition of social responsibility and explains how an organisation’s decisions and activities can positively impact on society and the environment, by: behaving transparently and ethically; contributing to sustainable development, including the health and welfare of society; taking into account stakeholders’ needs and expectations; complying with regulations and other requirements; and integrating a strategic direction based on values and beliefs throughout the business. Leading organisations have used ISO 26000 to build a company culture that is driven by passionate leadership and a framework that is efficient and well-considered. Every day, their open dialogue and clear objectives positively impact the societies and environments in which they operate. What impact would your organisation like to make?

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Call 01 878 3000 or visit unicef.ie today to give your support.

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

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MENTORS

Stepping Up When It Matters In a time of crisis, CSR and sustainable business practices are more crucial than ever, and every company, regardless of size, can make a difference. DEANNA O’CONNOR reports.

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hile many businesses are struggling through a global crisis, there is a danger that CSR initiatives may drop down the priority list in favour of more pressing issues, such as cash flow, but in times like this, engaging with staff and local communities is more important than ever. In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review, Mark R. Kramer, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, writes, “Research suggests that people only truly believe that their company has a purpose and clear values when they see management making a decision that sacrifices short-term profitability for the sake of adhering to those values.”

The Irish business community has developed a strong reputation for CSR and companies’ commitment to their values and CSR pillars will truly be put to the test during trying times. Catherine Heaney, Founder and Managing Director of DHR Communications, is also Chair of the Government CSR Stakeholder Forum. She points out that, “The first National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility was developed at the time of the recession, so the fact that we increased our commitments over that period was very positive.” That first plan was developed in 2013, in response to a call out made in an EU white paper. Ireland was amongst the first and most committed in our response, and we are now heading towards the third edition of our National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility.

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MENTORS

“When the government developed the plan in 2013 it also established the CSR forum and it comprises organisations and businesses that have strong CSR practices alongside people drawn from academia, the voluntary sector and the trade union movement,” says Heaney. “The cues are already there for what the new plan will have to take account of. We were focused on issues such as sustainability and the circular economy, but suddenly how we work has come strongly on the agenda, and that will have to be reflected on a new plan. Nobody expected that how we work was going to have to be such a big focus of how businesses organise themselves in 2020.” GOAL SETTING Discussing the recent rebranding of Chambers Ireland’s CSR Awards to the Sustainable Business Impact Awards, and alignment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Tomas Sercovich, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) says, “That is the right message. It’s about how you look at your business model for the future. The word ‘impact’ is critical. For years we discussed good practices, but now we’re focusing on the difference that it makes. Companies are taking a more long-term view.” James Kiernan, Director of Relationship Management, Chambers Ireland adds, “There’s a framework there through the SDGs, that you can engage with. You can actually work towards a goal. Small companies and large, it doesn’t matter their size, can engage with the Goals in their day-today work, in how they configure their office, their company culture, their Employee Handbook, how staff come and go to work, and how they engage with each other.” “The thing about the SDGs is that they are so wide-ranging,” adds Heaney. “Every business can aspire to some of the objectives that are set out in them…I think it’s a good frame in which to work. The most

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Catherine Heaney, Chair of the Government CSR Stakeholder Forum

James Kiernan, Director of Relationship Management, Chambers Ireland

LITTLE AND LARGE Engaging with CSR isn’t just for big multinationals with massive budgets. Although BITCI are generally associated with larger companies, they work with companies of all sizes in different areas. Tomas Sercovich, CEO, says, “We have been saying for years that this is not about investment of money; a lot of these initiatives thrive on the will and desire to change.” “Quite often SMEs will support activities in their communities, whether that’s Tidy Towns or a GAA club or a clean-up day, as well as being supportive to staff, making sure flexible hours are there for parents—all of those constitute good CSR practices,” says Heaney. “Most SMEs are offering something to their staff and their community, and many go beyond what might be the norm in terms of environmental and sustainable practice, making

“FOR YEARS WE DISCUSSED GOOD PRACTICES, BUT NOW WE’RE FOCUSING ON THE DIFFERENCE THAT IT MAKES. COMPANIES ARE TAKING A MORE LONG-TERM VIEW.

Tomas Sercovich, CEO, Business in the Community Ireland

important thing is that people are doing what they can. I describe CSR as making that extra step to be a good employer, to be better to the environment, to be more engaged with your community.”

sure that they recycle, reduce their electricity consumption—all of these things amount to good CSR practice. I think that many SMEs are already attuned to those things but wouldn’t necessarily call it CSR.” “There is a risk that the CSR world is looked at as a place for companies that have lots of money, and that is what we have to demystify. It’s not just about initiatives, it’s about how you are running your business,” adds Sercovich. For companies that have the means to act, supporting employees, prioritising paying small suppliers so they can stay afloat and doing good works in local communities now, when the going is tough, will mean a lot. CSR is vitally important in times of crisis.

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ENNIS CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Re-thinking, re-framing, moving forward

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ENNIS CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Allen Flynn, President of Ennis Chamber of Commerce, on supporting business in Munster’s largest town.

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otelier Allen Flynn was elected president of Ennis Chamber in March 2020. It took a brave person with a strong sense of duty and care to the business community to take on the role three weeks into lockdown. It is especially remarkable of Allen, who already had a significant amount to deal with, operating the Flynn Hotel Collection, in a sector immediately identified as one of the most vulnerable and exposed sectors to the Covid-19 crisis. A native of Dungarvan, Co Waterford, Flynn grew up in the hospitality sector, yet started his career as an accountant. “After graduating with a Degree in Finance from UL, I moved to the US where I worked for seven years in the offices of PwC in New York, an experience that provided me with a great foundation for my life as an entrepreneur.” The Waterford man’s love affair with Ennis began in 1995 when he purchased the Old Ground Hotel in the centre of the town. “I moved to Ennis on the weekend that Clare lifted the Liam McCarthy Cup as winners of the Hurling All-Ireland,” he recalls. “The euphoria and celebrations went on for months, it was a great time to be a new to town and it was positive for business!” The Flynn Hotel Collection has properties in Kilkenny (New Park), Waterford (The Park Hotel, Dungarvan) and Cork (The Imperial), but from early on after his arrival in Ennis he considered it ‘home’. “It’s a very friendly town and what I really love about it is that it’s a town that doesn’t have ‘notions’ about itself.” With 25 years in the hospitality and tourism sector, Allen has experienced economic highs and lows firsthand, from the Celtic Tiger years to the global recession of 2008. “I have learned the lessons of survival along the way and I have had to call on those experiences this year in running my own businesses but I also bring that experience to the table as President of Ennis Chamber,” he avows. Having served as Vice President of the Chamber the previous year, Flynn was ready to hit the ground running when he took over. “Our CEO, Margaret O’Brien, established a three-year strategy sub group in 2019 and as a strong supporter of that process I had intended to drive forward key identified objectives during my tenure. But now operating in a Covid-19 environment we have found ourselves going back to the drawing board to re-think and re-frame those ambitions to reflect the changes forced on us by the pandemic.” While the Covid-19 crisis has put all the Chamber’s fundraising on hold, and thrown up multiple new challenges, it is working and adapting to overcome the challenges. “We are working through some new

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Allen Flynn, President, Ennis Chamber of Commerce

ENNIS CHAMBER IS AT THE HEART OF CONSULTATION AND DECISION-MAKING ACROSS A RANGE OF KEY SECTORS AND ACTIVITIES.” fundraising initiatives and are confident we can recover some lost ground before year end,” says Flynn. His presidency coincides with the planned launch of a new Niche Destination Plan for Ennis which was already in research and development since 2019, led by Repucon Consulting. “While 90% of the work was completed pre-Covid-19, the hours that remained allowed for the refinement of the plan and so it has effectively become a recovery plan for Ennis which puts us in a very good position on the road to recovery.” Flynn is involved in a number of task forces involved in the re-opening of Ennis town, economic recovery and tourism recovery. “Those appointments ensure that Ennis Chamber is at the heart of consultation and decision-making across a range of key sectors and activities. It underpins our credibility and gives our membership a voice at the top table,” he says. “If my presidency had been pre-Covid-19, my agenda would have been totally different. But, given the sector I represent and having a business like the Old Ground Hotel located in the heart of Ennis, I hope our members see it is a good thing to have someone so immersed in the local economy at the helm for Ennis Chamber.” In terms of supporting its members, he credits the team at the Chamber with being very proactive since lockdown, promoting training opportunities, assisting with grant applications, and keeping the lines of communication up with members. Despite the challenges, Flynn remains resolutely positive in his vision: “I am not yet half way through my tenure as President, and I believe we are doing better that we anticipated a few months back. We have an optimistic team and are planning a positive strategy for 2021— 2020 might possibly go down in Ennis Chamber history as our most tumultuous year, but we will survive.”

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: ENNIS CHAMBER OVERVIEW

COVID-19 Support at LEO Clare Local Enterprise Office Clare is ready to help your business respond to the challenges of COVID-19.

I

n these unprecedented times, many business owners are faced with a sharp economic shock which challenges the very future of their business. “Adapting and reassessing their business structure is key for their future survival so taking action now is crucial,” says Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise

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Office Clare. “Cashflow management is critical and we are working with many local businesses on business planning, managing their cost structure, adopting new sales channels, managing their workforce, promoting their business and accessing the various sources of funding available to them.” Local Enterprise Office Clare offers a range of supports including free mentoring advice with experienced business experts and a wide range of free online training programmes to upskill business owners and their staff. Eligible businesses can also avail of an Trading Online Voucher to

Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Clare

develop their online capability and improve their digital marketing programmes to support this investment. The Local Enterprise Office continues to provide normal grant funding assisting start-ups and early stage growth businesses, as well as assisting all businesses with accessing loan funding through Microfinance Ireland. “If you are running a small business, we encourage you to get in touch to see how we can help you respond to the current economic challenge and work with you to find a roadmap which ensures your business survives for the benefit of you and your staff,” says McElwee.

29/10/2020 14:42


IB PARTNER PROFILE: ENNIS CHAMBER OVERVIEW

New College of Further Education and Training for Ennis The expansion of the Ennis Campus of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board includes a newly rebranded College of Further Education and Training with enhanced facilities.

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imerick and Clare Education and Training Board, the State education and training authority for Limerick and Clare, has just completed a major expansion of its Ennis Campus.

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The authority’s Further Education and Training Division has responsibility for the newly rebranded College of Further Education and Training, Ennis Campus. Over its 25 years in operation, the campus has seen significant development. Now with a €1.5m expansion completed, there is a significant enhancement of the course offering and facilities for learners. PLC courses previously offered at Ennis College of Further Education’s site at Harmony Row have also moved to the new facility. The ETB provides relevant and innovative Further Education and Training opportunities that address the needs and

aspirations of learners, local communities and enterprise in Clare. It does this through offering an extensive choice of full-time and flexible, part-time courses. The Information Recruitment and Guidance Support Service at the college provides invaluable free information, advice, guidance and support to learners across Clare. Courses at the college range from non-certified up to QQI Level 6 Major Awards and are aimed at unemployed early school leavers, adults returning to education, and those wishing to up-skill in a new area who are currently employed or preparing for employment.

14/10/2020 12:38

29/10/2020 09:55


IB PARTNER PROFILE: ENNIS CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Sourcing Health Professionals TTM Healthcare is a world-class, specialist, Irish-owned recruitment company, headquartered in Ennis, placing candidates in the healthcare market across Ireland, Britain, Northern Ireland and the Middle East.

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TM Healthcare has one simple but essential mission: to shake up the market by nurturing the vital ingredient of our business—people. How have we achieved this? By simply having a real interest in our clients and candidates. Sitting down with them to understand their needs and their pain points. Talking. Listening. Learning. Caring on a different level about what people really want—and delivering on it. We wanted to create a company that people want and love to be a part of, and

which candidates and clients choose to work with. Every week we send between 1,800 and 2,000 people to work in temporary roles in the healthcare market across Ireland, Britain, Northern Ireland and the Middle East. On average, 100 people are placed in permanent jobs every month, and we have a total portfolio of 3,500 staff, including doctors, nurses, psychologists, social care workers, healthcare assistants, support services and allied health professionals. We believe that TTM Healthcare is more

than just a company, it’s an attitude, and it’s one which is driven by our belief in potential. Whether it’s clients looking for staff, or candidates building their careers, we’re driven to help people find and reach their potential, from the inside, out. Our goal is to enhance the quality of people’s lives, and we do this by creating a warm company culture; being performance-led, solving challenges and getting better at what we do, every day; and pioneering new and smarter ways of doing things, that truly change our industry.

We Source Talent: Temporary, Contract, Permanent Specialities: Nurses, Doctors, HCAs, AHPs, Office Support, Support Services, Life Science Approved supplier to: the HSE, NHS, HSC We Work With: Public, Private, Not for Profit organisations ww w.ttmhealthcare.ie / ww

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w.ttmhealthcare.co.uk

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: ENNIS CHAMBER OVERVIEW

MHP Solicitors — trusted legal services With a dedicated local authority department, MHP Solicitors has a unique understanding of the regulatory environment.

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ationally-recognised and award-winning, MHP Solicitors has been providing trusted legal services from our historical building in Bindon Street, Ennis, since 1933. Throughout this time our focus has remained the same—to use our unquestioned integrity and years of experience to offer our clients unparalleled legal services. At MHP, working for local authorities is in our blood. We have been solicitors to Clare County Council for more

than 40 years and have a dedicated local authority department. Over the years we have developed an in-depth understanding of the unique regulatory environment in which local authorities operate. We advise on statutory interpretation and application, and have been appointed to many framework agreements, to provide legal services to local authorities in a variety of areas. Under the guidance of President Allen Flynn and CEO Margaret O’Brien, Ennis Chamber thinks outside the box,

and, as the first chamber in Ireland with a Covid Recovery Plan, the support to members in terms of grants and training is exceptional. The grants, advice and training extended to members during the public health crisis was second to none. As longstanding members of Ennis Chamber, we at MHP applaud the Chamber for the work undertaken in recent months for the benefit of the town, including the Niche Destination Plan; the introduction of the countywide Clare Gift Card to support local businesses and jobs; and the remarkable achievement of winning the large town category in the Bank of Ireland ‘Begin Together’ Awards.

Wishing Allen Flynn every success as Ennis Chamber president Contact us for Professional Legal Advice on • • • • •

Personal Injury* Property Wills & Estate Planning Commercial Law Employment Law

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement

Proud Members of Ennis Chamber

Appointments can be facilitated by arrangement 9-11 Bindon Street, Ennis, Co. Clare, V95 K2DT 065 684 6000 | info@mhp.ie | www.mhp.ie

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Dundalk Chamber Shop Local Gift Voucher Scheme

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03/11/2020 14:06


DUNDALK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

The M1 Corridor: On the Road to Prosperity 82

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DUNDALK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Dundalk is the real economic centre of the country, says Dundalk Chamber of Commerce PRO Paddy Malone.

The

M1 Corridor is Dundalk Chamber’s response to the 2040 National Development Plan. “Dundalk Chamber were the only organisation that made a cross-border submission, and the government recognised the importance of the M1 Corridor by extending the definition beyond the border into Newry,” says Paddy Malone, PRO of Dundalk Chamber. It recognises the whole economic driving force of the M1 Corridor from Dublin to Belfast, but in particular the central part—Drogheda, Dundalk and Newry. “The message we want to communicate is that the M1 Corridor ticks a number of boxes in relation to government planning,” he adds. “First of all it’s an ideal location for foreign direct investment; it’s also an ideal location for second sites, while still being close to a Dublin head office; and the third message is that it’s a great location for indigenous industry. “Since COVID-19 happened, our message has been reinforced. If you’re an IT company with 10 people living in this region, why bring them into Dublin City when they could work here in Creative Spark or Oriel Hub in Dundalk, or The Mill in Drogheda? We were the first town to get SIRO ultrafast fibre broadband, so in fact our broadband speed is faster than in the IFSC.”

TALENT POOL “According to the CSO, there are 77,000 people that travel, either down the M1, M2 or M3 every day. There have been several studies done, which have shown that the overwhelming majority of these people would be willing to work for less if they didn’t have to commute and would definitely prefer to be working nearer home. The majority of them are STEM graduates.” WuXi is one of a new generation of biologic medicines companies. The first factory it is building in Dundalk is going to employ 600 people in the manufacture of medicines, and a second factory was announced late last year, that will manufacture vaccines. “The interesting thing is that 76% of the people they have taken on so far are living within the M1 corridor area,” says Malone. “The quality of person that they are looking to employ is already here in the region and that fact is significant for companies considering setting up here. The talent pool exists. “Within an hour of Dundalk or Drogheda, you have access to a pool of 2.3m people, because the catchment pool takes in a large portion of both Dublin and Belfast. This region is actually the economic centre of the country. We have three airports within an hour’s drive, as well as deepwater ports. The government has committed to introducing high speed trains on the line between Dublin and Belfast, which will significantly cut the commuting times. When you zero in, you realise this area has just about everything that you want to do business. The legacy of the past had delayed infrastructure and growth in the area, but we are ready to take off now.”

Paddy Malone, Dundalk Chamber with Eoghan Murphy, TD, and Shona McManus, Drogheda Chamber

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WuXi Biologics takes root in Dundalk On a greenfield site near Dundalk, WuXi Biologics, a leading global open-access biopharmaceuticals company, is constructing ‘The Factory of the Future’ to manufacture biologics medicines for the EU and global market.

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he new Dundalk facility currently under construction is Biologics is working set to become the largest with about 13% of all contract-manufacturing the known new drugs biologics facility in the world currently in the discovery / Illustration of the proposed Wuxi Vaccines using single-use medicines development phase in the global Facility Dundalk production technology. The WuXi biologics pipeline. WuXi Biologics’ Biologics facility which will employ 400 people services are designed to help accelerate will be in commercial production by 2022. and transform the discovery, development

Immediately close-by on an adjoining site, its subsidiary WuXi Vaccines recently announced plans to establish a major vaccines facility on the WuXi Biologics Dundalk Campus, to employ an additional 200 people when it goes operational in 2024. The WuXi investment is a substantial win by IDA Ireland for Dundalk and Ireland, reinforcing Ireland’s standing as a hotspot for global biopharma operations. WuXi Biologics is the dominant leader in China’s biologics services market and the company is emerging as one of the most influential players in the global biologics industry. It is the only company in China to date which has received approval from both US and EU regulators to manufacture biologics for the global market and the Dundalk facility is the company’s first manufacturing investment in Europe. WuXi plans to use the new Dundalk facility to ensure that its innovative manufacturing technology is accessible to global clients producing leading medicines in an EU regulated environment. As a contract manufacturing business and counting over 50% of the world’s leading biopharma companies as customers, WuXi

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and manufacturing process for the latest generation of biopharmaceutical drugs, whilst also reducing the cost of production. The company is unique in that it operates the world’s only open-access biologics technology platform enabling partner organisations, including some of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, to use it to discover, develop and manufacture biologics from initial concept through to commercial manufacturing. With world-class research expertise, state- of-the-art technologies and access to proprietary methodology, WuXi Biologics can enable partner companies identify and develop candidate drugs for the full spectrum of disease areas. WHY IRELAND? WuXi Biologics’ Dundalk project is the company’s first European manufacturing investment, representing a major vote of confidence in Ireland as a global hub for the fast-growing biotechnology industry. WuXi Biologics looked at 10 location options in Europe before settling with IDA Ireland encouragement on a greenfield site in

Illustration of the WuXi Biologics ‘Factory of the Future’ under construction in Dundalk Dundalk and the Dundalk Campus is of huge strategic significance for WuXi Biologics. Dundalk is located within an hour’s drive of Dublin airport and 10 highly accomplished third level colleges which turn out great talent each year in terms of the local skills-pool. Ireland is home to ten of the top ten biopharmaceutical companies globally. With 90 biopharmaceutical companies and exports of €80bn annually Ireland is now the 3rd largest exporter of pharmaceuticals globally. The industry is a significant contributor to the Irish economy with over $10bn invested in new biologic production facilities in the last decade employing over 32,000 people across the country. Alongside this, Ireland supports a thriving ecosystem of activity generated by the expansive clusters of multinational and indigenous biopharmaceuticals businesses operating around the country. The country also provides strong talent supply and an excellent research and education ecosystem which a top tier biologics operation can thrive on. Operating from Ireland will see Wuxi’s Dundalk facility manufacture drugs for the European market. It also puts a local WuXi Biologics’ presence on the map for European pharmaceutical and biopharma drug developers requiring cGMP- compliant manufacturing facilities. Information relating to open roles in WuXi Biologics in Ireland can be accessed at: www.wuxibiologics.com/careers/

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WuXi Biologics Leading innovation in medicines for patients worldwide WuXi Biologics, China’s leading biologics services provider, has chosen Dundalk in Ireland as the location for its first biopharmaceuticals contract manufacturing facility outside China. Ireland’s standing as a biopharmaceutical hub, compliant with stringent national and international regulations, makes it the perfect location for what will be the world’s largest biopharmaceuticals facility using single-use technology. As one of our most ambitious projects yet, this fusion of Chinese, Irish and international expertise will inspire innovation in biopharmaceuticals contract manufacturing capability, serving patients worldwide.

Dundalk@wuxibiologics.com

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: DUNDALK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

DkIT, a Global Leader in Connected Healthcare Dundalk Institute of Technology secures a major innovation boost for the North East with €4.7m investment in its new Connected Health & Wellbeing Hub.

Aidan Browne, Head of Business Development & Innovation at DkIT

Dundalk Institute of Technology Campus

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undalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) has unveiled plans to establish a new centre of excellence in the area of Connected Health & Wellbeing for the north east region. DkIT has a long legacy of partnership with industry in the connected health & wellbeing areas. The new centre will be delivered as part of the DkIT Connect project, which aims to grow the existing Connected Health and Wellbeing ecosystem within the region and stimulate new opportunities for entrepreneurship, research and innovation. In 2019, DkIT launched a new Research & Innovation Institute of Connected Health & Wellbeing, which comprises skills and expertise from three of DkIT’s top performing research centres (SMRC, NetwellCASALA and RSRC) and will enable the college to dramatically increase capacity across research, innovation and industry support. President of DkIT, Michael Mulvey, PhD, says: “DkIT Connect is a step-change project that has the potential to transform the entrepreneurial, research and innovation landscape of our region and position the north

Michael Mulvey PhD, President of DkIT

east as a global leader in the area of Connected Heath & Wellbeing.” PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP The DkIT Connect Project received €3.7m in funding via the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), which awarded €40m to support regional projects that drive sustainable job creation in the regions and include strong collaboration between public and private sectors. The remaining investment was secured via partners and benefactors including DkIT, Louth County Council, Dundalk Enterprise Development Company, Servisource, STATSports, Dundalk Credit Union, the Louth Enterprise Fund and Intact Software. Dr Mulvey adds: “The project builds on existing strengths in research, innovation and enterprise support within DkIT and is a strong endorsement of the vision from the publicprivate partnership involved to develop the Connected Health & Wellbeing ecosystem in the region.” CATALYST FOR INNOVATION Connected healthcare is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide and is expected to reach a market value of approximately US$ 6.6bn by 2027. Ireland has significant capability in this sector with many successful companies located in the north east region. DkIT Connect aims to leverage the growth opportunity for this market and cultivate an industry-led initiative supporting startups and scale-up companies to grow and collaborate with foreign direct investment (FDI) and other regional companies in this space. The project is anticipated to generate more than 460 direct and indirect jobs over

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: DUNDALK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

five years, which will produce important social and economic benefits for the region. Dr Mulvey says: “We firmly believe that this will be a catalyst for innovation in indigenous companies, both start-ups and existing businesses, and will continue to bring about positive transformation for our region by supporting job creation, enhancing leadership development and creating opportunities for upskilling. It will ultimately improve the overall competitiveness of North Leinster South Ulster.” DEDICATED HUB Part of the project includes a major expansion of the Regional Development Centre (RDC), the institute’s on-campus centre for business engagement, innovation and research. The expansion will include the development of a dedicated 1300m2 collaboration hub with a remit to support start-ups, corporates, and researchers in the Connected Health & Wellbeing sector together under one roof. When completed, the new centre will be one of the largest campus-based innovation centres on the island of Ireland. Construction of the new facility will commence in 2021 and will include a mix of various own door offices, state-of-the-art co-working spaces and shared learning spaces. Companies that are selected to join the centre will participate in a structured development programme, led by a fully resourced DkIT Connect team. They will also receive a variety of technical, innovation and

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Pictured (L-R) are Aidan Browne (DkIT), Dr Keith Thornbury (SMRC), Michael Mulvey PhD (DkIT President), Dr Julie Doyle (Netwell/Casala), Dr Fergal McCaffrey (RSRC), Aidan McKenna (Enterprise Ireland) and Dr Tim McCormac (DkIT) at the launch of new DkIT Institute of Connected Health & Wellbeing

WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL BE A CATALYST FOR INNOVATION IN INDIGENOUS COMPANIES, BOTH START-UPS AND EXISTING BUSINESSES, AND WILL CONTINUE TO BRING ABOUT POSITIVE TRANSFORMATION FOR OUR REGION

commercial supports, in addition to fast track access to national and international expertise. Aidan Browne, Head of Innovation & Business Development at DkIT and lead coordinator of the DkIT Connect project says: “The initiative is a cornerstone of the DkIT Strategic Plan and will strive to increase dynamism and agility of industry in this sector enabling upstream and downstream interaction between the SME community and FDI companies helping create, validate and commercialise a pipeline of products, services, business models and methods that will enable Irish research, start-ups and existing SMEs to move up the value chain and become high growth trajectory companies which can compete in new markets, partner with new customers and access new consumer opportunities.”

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MAKING LIFE BETTER SINCE 1985

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Marshes Shopping Centre offers over 45 great name stores, including anchors Dunnes Stores and Penneys alongside established high street brands. Marshes, the last word in shopping. Marshes Shopping Centre is a haven for aspirational shoppers, who wish to shop in stylish, stress free surroundings. Marshes boasts, unrivalled stunning architecture, considerate of the surrounding environment. From the impressive glass dome, to the sweeping marble flooring, Marshes proves to be the nirvana of shopping centres. This shopping paradise has revolutionised retail in the north east. Established retail giants, married alongside a number of independent boutiques, shaping a tranquil relationship.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: DUNDALK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

A Bespoke Package to Record Shop Local Gift Vouchers Dundalk Chamber rolls out a web-based platform to assist other Chambers to manage the voucher sales and redemption process.

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undalk Chamber launched its Shop Local Gift Voucher Scheme just over four years ago and in that short space of time gift voucher sales have exceeded €3m. Commenting on the success of the voucher scheme, Paddy Malone, PRO of Dundalk Chamber, stated: “The vouchers have been a massive success with an unbelievable amount of money being put back into the local economy. Sales for Christmas 2019 were over €1m, and plans are in place to sell another million this Christmas. It is now known as the currency of Dundalk.” Malone continued: “These sales would not have happened if it had not been for the goodwill of the business community who see the value in keeping money in the locality.” He noted that the remarkable success of the vouchers has benefited over 340 local shops and businesses which signed up to redeem the vouchers. “Dundalk Chamber is confident that this initiative will continue to boost retail opportunities locally and help sustain jobs into the future.” The Dundalk Chamber Shop Local Gift Vouchers have no expiry date on the vouchers, and they do not

Dundalk Chamber launch bespoke package to record Shop Local vouchers

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charge any commission to the shops redeeming them—the shops get the full amount back. The vouchers have been a real asset to the Chamber. Businesses that are members of the Shop Local Gift Voucher Scheme are engaging with the Chamber and attending many of their events and training programmes. ONLINE PLATFORM To any Chamber which has an existing voucher scheme or is thinking of bringing one into its Chamber, a new Bespoke Package being rolled out by Dundalk Chamber will help with the recording of the Shop Local Gift Vouchers. The system is a cloud-based voucher system. It is a secure, web-based platform that will make the management of Chambers’ voucher sales and redemption process extremely simple. All the data is stored in an easy to use system with the core elements being: Vouchers, Companies, Shops, Sales, Redemptions and Reports. A central Dashboard lets you know where you are at any point in time with key data and you can see exactly what you have in stock, sold, yet to be redeemed and stock out at resellers. The system enables to you check the financials at the click of a button, seamlessly telling you what your bank balance should be. It also offers a full bank reconciliation function and the ability to see what values of sales you have sold to each company you deal with over time. There is also an app which runs side by side with the online platform. The system is currently in use in Dundalk, Mullingar, Monaghan, and Dungarvan Chambers. The package is available in two versions, Lite and Platinum, and can be tailored to suit your individual Chamber needs.   For more information contact Brenda in Dundalk Chamber on (042) 933 6343, email brenda@dundalk.ie or visit www.shoplocal.dundalk.ie.

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WHELAN PLANT SALES Barefield, Ennis, Co. Clare Tel: 065 684 0488 Fax: 065 684 0886 Email: info@whelanplantsales.ie www.whelanplantsales.ie

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Positive steps in funding for SMEs Nick Ashmore, CEO of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, explains how SBCI funding is helping SMEs get back on their feet.

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he figures recently published by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) in its mid-year update highlight the significant amount of funding provided by the SBCI since it commenced operations in March 2015. Almost €1.7bn has been made available to 32,000 SMEs in the last five-and-a-half years. The emergence of risk-sharing as a key support for SMEs has continued in 2020 with a further €500m in capacity added to the Future Growth Loan Scheme, the SBCI long-term investment scheme, and the launch of the Government’s €2bn Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme. LOW COST SME FUNDING The SBCI update charts its progress to date, and reports on the performance of its current risksharing schemes. In particular, its figures show strong progress in both the Covid-19 Working Capital and Future Growth Loan schemes as 1,065 SMEs benefitted from €180m in SBCI low-cost funding in the three months to August 2020. These two schemes were identified as the SBCI’s first line of aid, made available to those businesses who found themselves suddenly facing the unprecedented challenges and disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. RISK SHARING SCHEMES This pandemic has severely affected all sectors of the economy and many

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Nick Ashmore, CEO of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland

SBCI supports access to finance for many SMEs. The schemes have been designed to meet the short, medium and long-term requirements of SMEs and all schemes are backed by an 80% Government Guarantee. This guarantee facilitates access to loans with more attractive rates and security requirements. To assist potential borrowers in finding the most appropriate scheme for their business, the SBCI has also developed an interactive user-friendly Product Wizard tool, which helps companies identify the SBCI product options available for their business. The Product Wizard – available on the SBCI website – aims to navigate users through the various funding supports available, based on the information that they have provided. Supports include the Covid-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme for loans of up to €1.5m over up to three years; the Covid-19 Credit Guarantee

TO ASSIST POTENTIAL BORROWERS IN FINDING THE MOST APPROPRIATE SCHEME FOR THEIR BUSINESS, THE SBCI HAS ALSO DEVELOPED AN INTERACTIVE USER-FRIENDLY PRODUCT WIZARD TOOL, WHICH HELPS COMPANIES IDENTIFY THE SBCI PRODUCT OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR THEIR BUSINESS. businesses are still experiencing difficulties in accessing credit. The rapid introduction and deployment of risk-sharing schemes by the SBCI is aimed at helping Irish businesses to get back on their feet again. The range of risk-sharing schemes now available through the

Scheme, for loans up to €1m over the medium term; the Future Growth Loan Scheme, for loans up to €3m over 7-10 years; and the Brexit Loan Scheme, for shortterm loans up to €1.5m. For more information see www.sbci.gov.ie

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COVID-19 CREDIT GUARANTEE SCHEME

LOW COST FINANCE FOR BUSINESS CUSTOMERS

Enquire online about the New Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme at aib.ie/sbci Or call us on 0818 227 058 Lines open Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Over 18s only. Security may be required. 250112_2L_AIB_JM_InBus 13.03_V2.indd 1

Change a Child’s life now

06/10/2020 11:41

Yes, I want to change a child’s life. I would like to make a donation of _______________to Barnardos by Cheque Credit Card

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50 216 216

Please complete this form and enclose along with your donation to: Barnardos, Christchurch Square, FREEPOST F126, Dublin 8.

w.barnardos.ie

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Leitrim receives €55k under Town and Village Scheme and joins Covid-19 EU research project, while Sligo is allocated €200k under Historic Towns Initiative

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Cork SMEs receive support under new Scale Cork programme, while Limerick City and County Council is shortlisted for major international marketing awards

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Significant threeyear investment programme for Fingal, while Meath sees opening of new Civil Defence HQ and shares joint Migrant Integration Strategy with Louth

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Donegal receives €59k funding for archaeological monuments and €45k for heritage initiatives, while Cavan gets €216k in Community Covid adaptation funds

Begin Together 2020 award win

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SUPPORTING SAFE CYCLING

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POLLINATOR PLAN

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MONUMENT FUNDING

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€767m

three-year Capital Programme for Fingal

Fingal County Council approved a €767m three-year Capital Programme which sets out significant investment on projects across the county, with a strong emphasis on the delivery of housing, active travel measures and greenway infrastructure. The 2021-2023 programme identifies 233 projects across all seven council divisions with an estimated spend of €767.12m, an increase of 24% on the previous plan.

[ COUNTY DUBLIN ]

Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu

DUBLIN LORD MAYOR’S AWARDS GO MONTHLY

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he Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu announced that the Lord Mayor’s Awards, which usually take place annually, will take place monthly this year to honour and thank those who’ve worked on the frontline during the pandemic. Each month, members of the public are invited to nominate a frontline person or organisation they think has gone above and beyond during Covid-19. At the end of each month, the Lord Mayor will decide the winner (with a different category each month) and present them with the award – a specially-commissioned sculpture – and a a1,000 gift voucher. “Since March, we have witnessed the Trojan effort frontline workers have given to keep our communities going,” says Chu. “This is a chance for the people of Dublin to thank someone who has made a real difference in their life during Covid. Depending on where things are at, hopefully before summer 2021, we will be able to bring all the monthly winners together for a reception in the Mansion House to thank them on behalf of the city.” Nominations can be made online at dublincity.ie/ lordmayorsawards.

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[ COUNTY DUBLIN ]

€4m scheme to support safer cycling and pedestrian movements in Fingal Fingal County Council is to commence the rollout of a a3.9m programme aimed at developing safer infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians in towns and villages across the county. The funding was part of a a55m allocation by the National Transport Authority under the Government’s July Jobs Stimulus Plan to support local authorities’ responses to Covid-19 challenges and assist with their work to equip local communities and businesses with improved walking and cycling infrastructure. The first scheme to commence will be in Dublin 15 with the creation of a 5km segregated cycle track along Hartstown/Hunstown Road, which will provide a safer cycling route for local people to access schools, recreational areas and local businesses. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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[ COUNTIES MEATH AND LOUTH ]

Meath and Louth launch joint Migrant Integration Strategy

From left: Cathaoirleach Cllr David Gilroy of Meath County Council, Chairperson of Meath LCDC John Higgins, Minister for Justice & Equality Helen McEntee, Louth County Council Chief Executive and Chairperson of Louth LCDC Joan Martin, and Cathaoirleach Cllr Dolores Minogue of Louth County Council at the launch of the joint Meath and Louth Migrant Integration Strategy.

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Minister for Justice Helen McEntee launched the joint Meath and Louth Migrant Integration Strategy in Kells Enterprise and Technology Centre. This Joint Migrant Integration Strategy 2019-2022 was developed by Meath County Council and Louth County Council’s Community Sections following research and consultation with the sector and wider stakeholders. It also links with actions identified in the Local Economic & Community Plans (LECP) of both counties. The new Joint Strategy aims to build on the National Migrant Integration Strategy 20172020, whose vision is that migrants and those of migrant origin are facilitated to play a full role in Irish society – in communities, workplaces and politics, that integration is a core principle of Irish life and that Irish society and institutions work together to promote integration. The strategy focuses on 37 actions centred on six broad thematic headings: language training and acquisition; education and training; social inclusion (engaging and interacting with service providers); employment and pathways to work; active civic and civil participation; and social inclusion (expressing culture and identity, addressing discrimination).

From left: Mayor of Navan Cllr Francis Deane, Chief Fire Officer Sheila Broderick, Minister Helen McEntee, Inspector Peter Gilsenan, Civil Defence Officer Michael Fitzsimons, Chief Executive Jackie Maguire, Cathaoirleach Cllr David Gilroy, Director of Services Des Foley, Fr Declan Hurley and Canon Clarke at the launch of the new Meath Civil Defence Headquarters.

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Rubicon Centre Manager Paul Healy with Eirdata Environmental Systems Managing Director Bernard Yore and Aileen Hurley, Project Manager Economic Development Enterprise and Tourism, Cork County Council at the launch of Scale Cork. Photo by Darragh Kane.

[ COUNTY CORK ]

Scale Cork: a firstof-a-kind development for Cork businesses

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ix Cork companies have been selected to participate in Scale Cork, Ireland’s first scaling programme for SMEs supported by Cork County Council through its economic development fund and operated by the Rubicon Centre at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). Cork County Council and the Rubicon Centre are joining forces to pilot this new initiative with the aim of helping to scale, and grow, existing companies in the Cork region. The first Scale Cork pilot focuses on the medical devices, agri-tech and digital health sectors. Scale Cork is building on international relationships that the Rubicon Centre and Cork County Council have established in Boston in the US, and in the UK, with an integral part of the programme focused on assisting the companies to gain access to these overseas markets. Local opportunities to grow partnerships with multinationals will also be explored. An initial benchmarking exercise will be conducted with the companies to identify enablers for growth that will facilitate expansion into new markets as well as addressing operations, finance, digital readiness, talent, marketing, and innovation. Expert mentoring will be provided by teams of mentors with sector-specific experience, and the companies will have access to multiple resources within the Rubicon and CIT.

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Cork County Council’s Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) for North, South and West Cork have announced their combined list of projects from across the county to be awarded funding from the Community Enhancement Programme 2020. The total county wide allocation available through this scheme, funded by the Department of Rural & Community Development, is €292,014. InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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[ COUNTY LIMERICK ] [ COUNTY CORK ]

€252k funding for Cork towns and villages Cork County Council secured a252,000 for seven projects across the county, under round three of the Town and Village Accelerated Measures in response to Covid-19. This third round of funding follows two previous allocations made to Cork County Council in August and September, to the value of a234,250. Plans include the creation of an amenity park in Crossbarry, development of a linear walkway in Castlemartyr, a revamp of Millstreet Town, festival canopy and awnings in Carrigaline, materials for outdoor events and extension of parklet projects in Mallow, pedestrian bridges and pathways connecting three amenity areas in Midleton, enhancements to Kennedy Park, and town footpath improvements in Cobh. “This investment seeks to put life and vibrancy back into our towns and villages,” says Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley.

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Limerick City and County Council shortlisted for City Nation Place Global Branding Awards Limerick City and County Council has been shortlisted amongst some of the world’s top cities for three international awards, which celebrate outstanding place branding, destination marketing and investment promotion. Limerick’s ‘Atlantic Edge, European Embrace’ brand, which launched earlier this year, was announced as a finalist in three categories in the City Nation Place annual awards – the global forum for place branding for towns and cities around the world. Limerick was the only Irish entrant in the shortlist and was a finalist in three categories: Best Citizen Engagement, Best Use of Design, and Place Brand of the Year. Developed by creative agency M&C Saatchi with key inputs from a range of local stakeholders and businesses including LIT’s Limerick School of Art and Design, the new Limerick brand aims to internationalise Limerick, and capture the sense of warmth and resilience of a historic city and county.

The towns of Carrigaline, Kinsale, Bantry, Macroom, Kanturk and Fermoy are set to become brighter and more bee-friendly with the anticipated roll-out of Cork County Council’s Pollinator Plans. These plans guide the Council’s management of publicly owned spaces within the towns to ensure bees, and other insects that helpfully pollinate our flowering plants, are encouraged and supported. “We’ve seen the Midleton Pollinator Plan become a great success with some surprising results like the appearance of rare orchids, and I’m delighted to see that six more Cork towns are to follow suit,” says Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley. Photo by Cathal Noonan.

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Hargadon Bros in O’Connell Street, Sligo is to benefit from the Historic Towns Initiative 2020

[ COUNTY SLIGO ]

Historic Towns Initiative gets underway in Sligo

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number of Sligo’s iconic heritage buildings, including Wehrly Bros, Hargadon Bros, and Mullaney Bros are to benefit from much-needed support and investment through the Historic Towns Initiative 2020 (HTI). Following a grant application by the Heritage Office, Sligo County Council earlier this year, the Heritage Council allocated a200,000 to the local authority for the Heritage Led Regeneration of O’Connell Street, Sligo (Phase 1). The project will see conservation works undertaken to nine buildings in O’Connell Street and represents a significant boost to the historic streetscape in the heart of Sligo City. The HTI is being delivered by Sligo County Council in partnership with the property owners; both the local authority and owners are providing match funding towards the project. Along with Sligo, five other towns countrywide benefitted under this year’s Historic Towns Initiative, including Ballina, Co Mayo (a140,000); Clones, Co Monaghan (a103,000); Roscommon, Co Roscommon (a157,000); Ramelton, Co Donegal (a200,000) and Tralee, Co Kerry (a200,000).

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[ COUNTY LEITRIM ]

Leitrim County Council to become partner on Covid-19 EU research project Leitrim County Council, in conjunction with agencies from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Denmark and Finland, has been approved to take part in a research project outlining the communities’ response and resilience to coronavirus. The project aims to examine the impact, resilience, and responses to the pandemic in the Northern Peripheral Area on a community level. The project is structured into four community groups: citizens’ responses including human rights considerations; families and schooling, their readiness for telesolutions; healthcare providers and user readiness for tele-solutions and practical arrangement to secure safe healthcare; regional – county authorities assessing the impact of Covid-19 and policy responses aiming at sustainable recovery.

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[ COUNTY MAYO ]

Ballina wins Bank of Ireland Begin Together 2020 award Mayo County Council welcomed the announcement that Ballina won a Bank of Ireland Begin Together 2020 award. The awards recognise business and community groups who have come together to support their locality in recovering from the impact of Covid-19. Ballina won the award for the population category 7,000-14,000, which carries a prize of a10,000. The judges believed that Ballina shows great confidence as it prepares to celebrate its 300th anniversary, in 2023, with many exciting projects in progress, including The Mary Robinson Centre. They also noted the town’s efforts to tackle dereliction, improve biodiversity, and support businesses and community organisations. “The people of Ballina’s community spirit won this award,” says Tom Gilligan, Director of Services at Mayo County Council. “All stakeholders have come together over these past few difficult months to volunteer and collaborate together in improving the overall appearance of our beautiful town, but also to work on ambitious and innovative proposals to deliver a vision of Ballina 2023.”

Funding for Leitrim in Town & Village Scheme

€55,000

Leitrim County Council secured funding of €55,441.80 from the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Town and Village Accelerated Measure Round 3 Scheme. Three of the five applications submitted by the council on behalf of Tullaghan, Glenfarne and Leitrim Village were successful in their application when funding under the scheme was announced.

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Conservation works have been completed on The Metal Man, a 19th century navigation beacon which is located mid-channel between Rosses Point and Oyster Island in Co Sligo. The Metal Man has marked the safe approach for shipping and marine craft to Sligo Harbour since 1821. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage 2020 allocated a grant of a25,000 under the Historic Structures Fund 2020 to Sligo County Council for works to conserve The Metal Man. Match funding was also provided by Sligo County Council. Photograph by Omedia.

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[ COUNTY DONEGAL ]

[ BELFAST ]

€6.3m shared community facility for Black Mountain announced

The Heritage Council has provided funding to the Disert Heritage Group for the conservation and repair of a quernstone on the altar at the Disert archaeological site under the Community Heritage Grants Scheme.

€45,000

Heritage Council funding for Donegal projects The Heritage Council awarded €45,000 in funding for six heritage initiatives in County Donegal to community groups throughout the county. The funding announced under the Government’s jobs stimulus package is intended to provide muchneeded support for the heritage sector.

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A new EU-funded shared community space on the former Finlay’s factory site in west Belfast has been announced. The Black Mountain Shared Space project will be delivered by Belfast City Council thanks to funding from the EU’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Matchfunding will be provided by the Department for Communities and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland. The new building will deliver cross-community facilities, joint programming and outreach, with the aim of removing physical barriers in the area. It will be operated by Black Mountain Shared Space, an organisation which has been in operation since 2010. The project also received support through Belfast City Council’s Belfast Investment Fund. “When it opens in 2023, the new facility will deliver a mix of uses, including community programming, sports, offices, meeting and informal gathering spaces for communities to mix and spend time together in an attractive, welcoming and neutral shared space,” says Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey. “The Belfast Agenda, the city’s long-term community plan, includes aspirations to develop our neighbourhoods, improve community relations and create a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive city for all. This project will certainly make a significant contribution to those aims.”

Gerard Murray, Director of Regional Development at the Department for Communities; Finola Moylette from Ireland’s Department of Rural and Community Development; Belfast Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey; Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB); and Paul Millar, Chairman of Black Mountain Shared Space. Photo by Michael Cooper.

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[ COUNTY DONEGAL ]

€59k funding for Donegal’s archaeological monuments

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hree archaeological monuments in County Donegal are set to benefit from funding under the new Community Monuments Fund. As part of the July Jobs Stimulus Package, the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage made a1.4m available for 71 projects countrywide for the conservation of archaeological monuments. The three archaeological monuments that will benefit under the scheme in County Donegal are Rathmullan Abbey (a42,000), Killydonnell Friary (a15,000) and St Mura’s Cross, Fahan (a2,360). “Under the new Community Monuments Fund, applications were sought from local authorities, private owners, custodians and community groups for the care, maintenance, protection and promotion of local archaeological monuments and historic sites,” explains Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer. “The aims of the fund are to conserve, maintain, protect and present local monuments and historic sites. The scheme is designed to enable conservation works to be carried out, to improve access to and presentation of archaeological monuments and to build resilience in our monuments to reduce the impacts of weathering and our changing climate. The applications were managed by the Conservation Office and the County Donegal Heritage Office of Donegal County Council.” InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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[ COUNTY CAVAN ]

€216,000 in Community Covid adaptation funds for Cavan towns and villages Minister Heather Humphreys TD announced details of a216,710 for Cavan towns and villages to help them adjust to Covid-19 restrictions. The funding is being delivered under the Accelerated Measure of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme. This funding will enable towns and villages to implement immediate measures that will encourage people into towns and villages to shop and socialise, while adhering to public health guidelines. The funding is facilitated through the Government’s July Stimulus package. Projects funded under this latest tranche include the equipping of broadband connection points in Bunnoe, Killinkere, Maudabawn, Cornafean, Mullahoran, Drumavaddy, Castlerahan, Belturbet, Glengevlin, Bawnboy, and Ballyconnell. A safe outdoor area will also be developed at Dowra Courthouse with furniture, bike stands and gym equipment. In Ballyhaise, awning and a marquee will be funded, in addition to enhancements for Ballyhaise Community Centre, while in Bailieborough, the funding will support enhancements of Town Lake as an outdoor education facility.

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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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Sustaining Enterprise Fund As businesses across Ireland prepare to accelerate their recovery from the impact of Covid-19, Enterprise Ireland has seen a significant increase in demand for the Sustaining Enterprise Fund.

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aunched in April of this year, specifically to help companies negatively impacted by the pandemic, the Sustaining Enterprise Fund (SEF) offers qualifying businesses funding of up to €800,000 consisting of up to €200,000 in non-repayable grants and a further €600,000 in repayable support over five years with a grace period of three years before repayments commence. “Up to 50% of the funding can be made up of the non-repayable grant subject to a maximum of €200,000,” says Leo McAdams, Divisional Manager with Enterprise Ireland’s Investment Services Division. “The SEF funding is time limited, so it is important that businesses apply as soon as possible for the funding they need to stabilise, reset, and accelerate their recovery.” SWIFT RESPONSE One business which has already benefited from SEF funding is JC Walsh & Sons, owners of the iconic Connemara Marble brand. The company supplies three key markets – giftware products for the tourism retail sector, jewellery and religious goods including rosary beads. “Covid-19 came at the worst possible time for us,” says Managing Director Stephen Walsh. “In early March every cent of our working capital was tied up in stock ahead of what everyone expected to be a bumper tourism season.”

Stephen Walsh, Managing Director, Connemara Marble

SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT & BELIEF “Enterprise Ireland did three things when we contacted them earlier in the year – they supported us, they encouraged us, and they believed in us.” The company received a business advisor from Enterprise Ireland, who, after confirming their business was viable, brought in a consultant to write the Business Sustainment Plan. The company received €200,000 in SEF funding in late August – €100,000 in a cash grant and €100,000 in a repayable advance. “The beauty of the advance is you don’t have to start repayments until after three years. You can also use the strategic financial plan approved by Enterprise Ireland to leverage bank funding as well. The SEF has given us the cash to support the business and invest in new product development as well as develop our online business. I would encourage other companies to talk to Enterprise Ireland. It’s an organisation that says yes before it says no. They really have their clients’ best interests at heart.” To be eligible for funding under the SEF, companies must be in the manufacturing or

THE SEF FUNDING IS TIME LIMITED, SO IT IS IMPORTANT THAT BUSINESSES APPLY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE FOR THE FUNDING THEY NEED TO STABILISE, RESET, AND ACCELERATE THEIR RECOVERY. The collapse in global tourism dealt the business a heavy blow. “Tourism retail here in Ireland is geared towards overseas visitors. There is no real domestic market for it. Fifty per cent of what we produce is exported, with the US being our key market.” Its response was swift, putting staff on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and making the call to Enterprise Ireland for support.

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internationally traded services sectors, employ more than 10 people and have seen a fall in turnover or expect to see a fall of 15%, or have experienced significantly increased costs as a result of Covid-19. For more information contact the Business Response Unit businessresponse@enterpriseireland.com or 01 727 2088.

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Time for businesses to get prepared Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland Gerard Kiely discusses the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility at the heart of Europe’s economic revival.

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n 21 July 2020, the European Council (attended by the Taoiseach and leaders from the other EU Member States and institutions) reached a historic agreement on a recovery package that will help the EU to recover economically from the Covid pandemic, while supporting investment in the green and digital transitions. To achieve the desired result and be sustainable, the EU’s leaders decided that the recovery effort should be linked to the traditional budget of the EU, which has shaped EU policies since 1988 and offers a long-term perspective. The EU leaders agreed on a comprehensive package of €1,824.3bn, which combines the EU’s 2021-2027 budget (€1,074.3 bn) with an extraordinary recovery effort under the Next Generation EU (NGEU) instrument (€750bn). The multiannual EU budget funding worth almost €1.1tn represents the ‘bread and butter’ funding for EU programmes right across the spectrum of EU economic activity. Many programmes funded by the EU are multi-annual in nature and the beneficiaries of these multi-annual programmes need confidence about the level of funding over the programmes’ duration. The assurance provided by the agreed budgetary framework is nowhere more important than in agriculture, where tens of thousands of Irish farmers make multiannual commitments for which they need certainty and predictability before making important decisions, particularly related to investments. The recovery fund Next Generation EU is designed to provide the Union with the necessary means to address the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the agreement, the European Commission will be able to borrow up to €750bn on the markets. These funds may be used for

Gerard Kiely, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland

back-to-back loans and for expenditure channelled through the EU programmes. Capital raised on the financial markets will be repaid by 2058. Among the seven programmes funded under Next Generation EU the highlights include: • Recovery and Resilience Facility, worth €672.5bn • Just Transition Fund, worth €10bn • Horizon Europe, worth €5bn • RescEU, worth €1.9bn According to the plan and timeline agreed by the EU leaders, the money will go to the countries and sectors most affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Regarding the Recovery and Resilience Facility, 70% of the grants will be committed in 2021 and 2022 and 30% will be committed in 2023. In order for this historical agreement to be implemented, a number of legislative and policy decisions need to be made in a very tight timeframe by the EU institutions. The European Commission is working closely with the European Parliament and the Council to finalise an agreement on the future long-term budgetary framework and the accompanying sectoral programmes. The goal is to complete this work in the autumn so that the new long-term budget can be up and running, and driving Europe’s recovery on 1 January 2021. As a next step, the European Commission has focused its efforts on the key recovery instrument at the heart of NextGenerationEU: the Recovery and Resilience Facility will provide the

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

unprecedented €672.5bn of loans and grants in frontloaded financial support for the crucial first years of the recovery. In September 2020, the European Commission set out strategic guidance to the governments of EU Member States regarding the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. In order to benefit from these funds, EU Member States need to develop and submit their draft recovery and resilience plans outlining national investment and reform agendas in line with the EU policy criteria. These plans should address the economic policy challenges facing each country. They should also enable Member States to enhance their potential for economic growth, job creation and economic and social resilience, and to meet the green and digital transitions. The European Commission is already available to engage with Member States at all levels regarding the preparation of their plans. EU governments are encouraged to submit their preliminary draft plans to the European Commission for advance consultations by 15 October 2020, although the formal deadline for submission is 30 April 2021. This does not mean that businesses across the EU need to wait that long to prepare to take advantage of the opportunities of the Recovery and Resilience Facility. The Commission has already provided some initial guidance on the key priorities to be supported across the EU. Based on their relevance across Member States, the very large investments required, their potential to create jobs and growth while reaping the benefits from the green and digital transitions, the Commission strongly encourages Member States to include in their plans investment and reforms in the following flagship areas: 1. Power up – frontloading future-proof clean technologies and acceleration of the development and use of renewables. 2. Renovate – improve energy efficiency of public and private buildings. 3. Recharge and refuel – promote futureproof clean technologies to accelerate the use of sustainable, accessible and smart transport, charging and refuelling stations and extension of public transport. 4. Connect – ensure the fast rollout of rapid broadband services to all regions and households, including fibre and 5G networks.

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THE MULTIANNUAL EU BUDGET FUNDING WORTH ALMOST €1.1TN REPRESENTS THE ‘BREAD AND BUTTER’ FUNDING FOR EU PROGRAMMES RIGHT ACROSS THE SPECTRUM OF EU ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.

5. Modernise – digitalise public administration and services, including judicial and healthcare systems. 6. Scale-up – increase European industrial data cloud capacities and the development of the most powerful, cutting-edge and sustainable processors. 7. Reskill and upskill – adapt education systems to support digital skills and educational and vocational training for all ages. If your business is in one of these areas, it would be advisable to start drawing up plans and prepare to take advantage of the EU’s unprecedented support package. You could become a key player in the EU’s most ambitious effort to protect the livelihoods of all Europeans, and to invest in Europe’s long-term transition towards a fairer, greener and digital future. For more information, visit: https://ec.europa.eu/ info/departments/recovery-and-resiliencetask-force_en#contact.

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Management Skills for Challenging Times The new Leadership and Management training initiative being rolled out by ETBs will equip supervisory staff with the skills needed to lead through challenging times.

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OLAS and the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) have developed a new Leadership and Management training initiative, in collaboration with employers, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Skills Fora. The highly subsidised training is available to employers to upskill their staff and

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rebuild their business during the Covid-19 crisis. The programme is part of the national Skills to Advance Further Education and Training initiative, which supports businesses to develop their employees, and is being rolled out by the ETBs nationwide. Now, more than ever, to lead through challenging times, companies need to ensure that their staff have strong people management skills. The Leadership and Management programme aims to upskill supervisory staff in vital areas including change management, motivating workers, digital skills and remote working. The training is suitable for employees who are currently performing as a team

leader or in a frontline management role, or are new to a supervisory role; it will equip these employees with enhanced skills to lead and manage their teams effectively. SOLAS, the ETBs and their enterprise partners encourage employers across all industry sectors to avail of this opportunity to upskill key managers at this critical time for business recovery. Companies will have access to local high-quality online training to maximise their ability to deal with the new business environment, its challenges and opportunities. Further information is available at www.skillstoadvance.ie or by contacting your local Education and Training Board.

21/10/2020 17:28

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Realising Your Global E-Commerce Potential Strengthen trust between your business and your customers by offering reliable and flexible shipping options.

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t a time when our individual physical environments are shrinking, cross-border trade continues to connect us. The opportunities in today’s digital landscape are endless. By 2021 there will be 2.1 billion shoppers online across the world and global E-Commerce sales will near USD $5 trillion. At DHL Express, during the peak season of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, our volumes increase by over 40%, so we know a thing or two about international shipping. We have a team of dedicated E-Commerce specialists who can outline how brands can build trust with customers, improve brand loyalty during Covid-19 and ultimately realise their global E-Commerce potential. Consumer behaviours and expectations have changed; people now expect everything ‘on demand’. They have become less patient, demanding higher standards from E-Commerce merchants. Customers want flexibility, reliability and speed, and global customer expectations of delivery now mirror those of domestic E-Commerce transactions. Navigating this new digital landscape isn’t easy, but our dedicated E-Commerce team have curated some practical tips to help online businesses create a better customer experience and increase the number of returning buyers. By implementing a few strategies, a significant increase in the quantity and value of online orders can be achieved. 1. OFFER A RANGE OF FLEXIBLE DELIVERY OPTIONS. 58% of global consumers choose a retailer solely based on their delivery options. They

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are willing to spend more on premium delivery, so multiple delivery options and giving customers choice is vital. Retailers that offer premium shipping grow 60% more than those who don’t. DHL won’t request you to remove other delivery options – all we ask is that our express service is offered in addition to them. 2. PROVIDE FULL TRACKING SERVICES. Customers crave visibility; offering a service such as DHL’s ‘On Demand Delivery’ provides the desired real-time tracking. 3. OFFER A SIMPLE RETURNS POLICY. If you have a complex and expensive returns service, you will lose customers. 66% of customers check a returns policy before making a purchasing decision and almost 50% of shoppers have abandoned a cart based on a it. DHL offers support in developing a returns solution that suits both you and your customers; which ensures high conversion rates.

Building trust and loyalty with customers has never been more important. In May, global E-Commerce saw an 81% growth year-on-year, so getting it right now and cementing customer relationships will pay dividends in the future. Transparency through clear, concise and honest communication is key. In these turbulent times, it is vital to communicate the impacts of Covid-19 on your homepage. Establish an FAQs page, proactively and consistently communicate updates and consider lowering your free shipping threshold. By clearly outlining this and collaborating with a reliable logistics partner such as DHL Express, you can strengthen trust between your business and your customers and achieve success even in these most uncertain times. For more information on how DHL Express can support the international growth of your business and help realise your E-Commerce potential, please contact sonia.dyas@dhl.com’

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Covid changes everything — including credit Credit Review can help businesses which have been refused loans or had credit facilities reduced, at a time when access to credit is vital to survive the Covid-19 crisis.

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ccess to bank credit will be vital to keep going, adapt to new conditions and work towards recovery for many businesses, particularly when the current bank payment breaks for SMEs finish over the coming months. Credit Review can help. Set up by the Minister for Finance in 2010, it has a simple mission: to assist SMEs and farms which are viable or potentially viable, to get access to the bank finance they need for their businesses. It provides an independent appeals process, reviewing credit and loan refusals by the banks. It

also operates a helpline for business borrowers having difficulty getting credit. Credit Review also reviews changes to existing credit facilities, where credit facilities are being restructured, reduced or even withdrawn. If, for example, your bank reduces your overdraft limit, you can appeal to Credit Review, where we will take an independent view on what the business needs. Or if you need to extend the term of your business loan, or amalgamate short term debt with longer term, to deal with a fall in revenues in the short term and the bank refuses your request, you can appeal to Credit Review. We accept applications from businesses that have had credit facilities of up to €3m refused, reduced or restructured by AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and Ulster Bank. Contact CreditReview.ie and talk to one of our professional reviewers so that you are fully informed on bank credit issues relevant to your business. Phone 087 121 7244 or email info@credit review.ie

Credit where it’s due during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Considering your credit needs during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic? Having difficulty getting a business loan from your bank? Need to restructure your existing credit facilities? Established by the Minister for Finance, we are here to help. Call our helpline on 1850 211 789 or visit creditreview.ie

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22/09/2020 14:05

29/10/2020 11:29


IB PARTNER PROFILE

Supporting Small Businesses to Manage the Challenges of 2020 Microfinance Ireland, the government-funded, not-for-profit lender, is providing much-needed financial support to support small businesses and protect jobs.

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icrofinance Ireland (MFI), the governmentfunded, not-for profit lender, is providing much needed financial support by way of business loans up to €25,000, to support microenterprises through the current period of uncertainty and to protect jobs in businesses right across the country. While business owners are still trying to stabilise and recover their business after the economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Brexit once again looms large and may have further ramifications for Irish businesses by year-end.

on normal levels during Q2. Due to this unprecedented demand the initial Loan Funds were all fully subscribed in early July with circa €20m in loans approved supporting almost 1,000 businesses across all sectors.

LOAN OPTIONS Microfinance Ireland has a range of loan options up to €25,000 to help businesses, based on their specific business needs. Whether a business is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, or additional working capital or funding is required to deal with Covid-19, Brexit or normal business needs, or you are a starting a new business and you are having difficulty in accessing funding from banks and other commercial providers, then MFI may be able to help. Demand for MFI’s COVID-19 loan, which was launched in March, was extremely high, with application volumes up four-fold

Garrett Stokes, CEO, Microfinance Ireland

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As part of the July Stimulus Package, the Government launched a range of business supports where Microfinance Ireland received additional funding to support a range of loan offerings. These initiatives are all experiencing strong demand. Microfinance Ireland is there specifically to support those micro-enterprises that are unable to access finance from banks and other sources.

to support micro-enterprises that cannot get finance through commercial lending providers. Micro-enterprises represent approximately 94% of all businesses in Ireland and are any business—a sole trader, partnership or limited company — that has less than ten employees and an annual turnover of up to €2m. The MFI COVID-19 loan is specifically to support businesses that were negatively impacted by the pandemic and we also have other funds for start-ups or other micro-enterprises that are just starting up or looking for expansion funds.” To conclude, Stokes recommends: “I advise all businesses to review your financial position taking both Covid-19 and Brexit into account over the next 12 months or so and get facilities in place. Talk to your bank and see what financial assistance it has to offer. If that is not feasible, MFI is delighted to receive applications from eligible small businesses that are in need of financial support and we assess all applications in a fair and supportive manner. Our mandate from government is to support small businesses, protect jobs and the economy. That support is needed now more than ever.”

BUSINESS SUPPORT Microfinance Ireland’s CEO Garrett Stokes explains: “We are set up

For more information, go to https://microfinanceireland.ie/ loan-packages-2/

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

The Art of Successful Pension Scheme Engagement Declan Maher, Head of Corporate Pensions and Risk at Bank of Ireland Life, discusses how Fintech is transforming pension plan design and employee engagement.

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t can be challenging to ensure employees engage with their company pension plan in a meaningful and consistent way, and to instil an understanding of the generous benefits provided by both their employer and the State through the tax reliefs provided. For employers, the necessary time taken to review and evaluate their pension arrangements in terms of suitability and effectiveness for staff, or even the return on investment for the company, is often overlooked and seldom prioritised as an action point. In the current economic climate these issues are becoming more acute for both employees and employers. Many employees are juggling the challenges of working from home while companies struggle to boost staff morale and productivity, manage costs efficiently and drive growth in the fractured economic backdrop of Covid-19 and Brexit. For businesses and employers, to ensure that their company retirement plans are suitable for this more flexible and modern working environment, there needs to be an increased focus on the design of the plans and efficiency of their administration and importantly effective employee engagement to combat these challenges.

important decision taken by an employer or sponsoring company when selecting a plan provider was making sure that the retirement plan was easy to implement, maintain and monitor; employee and member engagement ranked lowest amongst respondents. The same survey also revealed that when asked how much they think members and employees valued different features in their retirement plans, the ability to access advice and information was valued the most highly. If employee and member engagement is to register greater significance for employers, yet simultaneously be delivered and provided to employees who value member engagement and advice the most, then alternative avenues of communication with a greater level of choice must be introduced. Pensions engagement cannot afford to lag behind the cutting edge of digital communications technology already introduced in other areas of financial planning and advice. The rising popularity of smartphones and tablets for younger generations, notably millennials or ‘digital natives’, means pension providers and sponsoring employers must embrace digital technology solutions for the multiple agerelated cohorts of pension savers.

EASE OF IMPLEMENTATION In a recent survey of Defined Contribution plan sponsors conducted by SSGA* in determining key objectives when selecting a pension provider, it found that in the majority of respondents (47%), the most

DIGITAL STREAMLINING With more workers expected to be enrolled onto their workplace pension plans in Ireland over the coming years, as auto enrolment is introduced, Fintech providers are rapidly transforming the digital

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Declan Maher, Head of Corporate Pensions and Risk, Bank of Ireland Life technology solutions needed to streamline and alleviate many of the administrative burdens for employers and address some of the existing deficiencies with member communication and engagement by making pensions information more accessible, transparent and understandable. These advances will also help to better facilitate pension scheme administration and risk management, particularly for smaller plan sponsors and employers, who may have fewer in-house resources and could benefit the most from the lower costs and improved efficiency provided. In this period of increased workplace challenges, partnering with pension providers capable of delivering such solutions is more paramount than ever, which is why at Bank of Ireland we have already partnered with leading Fintech providers to bring about this desired change for both employers and employees, delivering better workplace pension engagement.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

29/10/2020 11:41


IB PARTNER PROFILE

Linking Business and Academia, Enabling Innovation Knowledge Transfer Ireland helps businesses find research partners in the academic world, to innovate and build out R&D capacity.

Siobhan Horan, Industry Partner Engagement Manager, KTI

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oused within Enterprise Ireland, Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI) is a connector, linking academia and business. This works by helping businesses access the expertise, capability, and technology from the Irish research sector, and by helping academics commercialise their research in order to deliver societal and economic benefit to Ireland. KTI can assist organisations of any size and in any sector to innovate their business and build out their R&D capability by tapping into the public research available to them in higher education institutions across the country. “Knowledge transfer can really provide a cost effective means through which companies can increase their innovation capacity by providing access to top class expertise, skills and facilities that might not otherwise be available to them” says Siobhan Horan, Industry Partner Engagement Manager at KTI. “That applies to all companies as the process for engaging with the system is the same regardless of the company size or sector.” DEMYSTIFYING THE PROCESS As well as helping companies find the right academic researcher or institution to work with, KTI can also assist with finding State funding supports that could be relevant to the research they plan to carry out. KTI can also help companies stucture the arrangements between themselves and the research institution to ensure they maximise the benefits that result from any research being carried out. “In general, we are here to demystify the process,” says Horan. “We try and bring predictability and transparency to the research system. If companies haven’t engaged

Dr. Alison Campbell, Director of KTI, and An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar launch KTI’s Annual Review and Knowledge Transfer Survey

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

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with the research base in the past, they can find it difficult to know where to start. We have a lot of resources to make that process easier.” The KTI website has a database of all the researchers in Ireland who are publishing, by topic, and links to get in touch with them. “Every university or institute of technology has a commercially-focused technology transfer office, sometimes called an Industry liaison office, to help businesses navigate the institution and find the right researcher, and help structure collaborative research projects,” she adds. KTI also has a listing of existing new technologies ready to be licensed out into industry. “They would be cutting edge technologies, already in existence and the institution is looking for a commercial partner to bring them to market.” PRACTICAL GUIDANCE Practical guides offered by KTI cover technology from a research institution such as a university or institute of technology; how to set up consultancy agreements with a research partner; and how to navigate State funding regulations. There are also model agreements and templates available (the KTI template agreements are widely free of charge) for licensing, non-disclosure and so on. “They are widely in use across the research system, and it helps everyone to be on the same page when engaging in negotiations around intellectual property, and can be a helpful way of ensuring business and academic partners are on the same page,” says Horan. A new monthly webinar series is geared specifically at the business audience to uncover some of the key questions companies have when engaging in knowledge transfer for the first time or indeed, further down the line. The webinars cover a wide range topics relating to intellectual property, collaboration and how cutting edge research such as that in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) can be of direct benefit to business. For more information see www.knowledgetransferireland.com

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INNOVATION NATION InBUSINESS looks at the latest innovations and technologies that are shaping our future. In this issue: GAMING. SONY PLAYSTATION® 5 The next generation of Playstation has arrived in two new versions. The PS5 including a disc drive with the ability to upgrade disc and digital PS4 games to digital PS5 games retails at €499.99. Slimmer towards the base, the PS5 Digital Edition is the all-digital version of the PS5 console with no disc drive, retailing at €399.99. www.playstation.com

EA STAR WARSTM SQUADRONS

Master the art of starfighter combat in the immersive piloting experience Star Wars™: Squadrons. Unite with your squadron online to tip the scales in monumental fleet battles – a multi-stage, objective-based contest between two squadrons of five. Advance the frontline by dominating the enemy and protecting your ultimate goal: the destruction of the massive, enemy flagship. ea.com

ANALOGUE POCKET A tribute to portable gaming, the Analogue Pocket is a multi-video-gamesystem portable handheld which is compatible with the 2,780+ Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance game cartridge library. analogue.co

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LIFESTYLE: innovation MICROSOFT XBOX® SERIES S Xbox Series S is the smallest Xbox created and was built to easily fit into your home. The console delivers approximately three times the GPU performance of the Xbox One. With access to hundreds of favourites in the Xbox Game Pass library, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos surround sound for gaming and retailing at €299.99, 299.99, could the Xbox Series S win this years console war? xbox.com

TYNDALL NATIONAL INSTITUTE has officially opened the new Electron Beam Lithography Lab, which is unique in Ireland. Speaking at the event, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD commented: “Tyndall is doing fundamental work to secure Ireland’s future as a technology leader competing on the world stage for deep-tech innovation and research.

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Ten Irish Irish agri-tech and agri-engineering products secured top prizes at the 2020 ENTERPRISE IRELAND INNOVATION ARENA AWARDS which moved online for the first time. Winners will be eligible to exhibit at the Innovation Arena in 2021.

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EAR TO THE

THE IB

Could you tell us about Dirty Laundry and why you created this podcast? Dirty Laundry is a podcast about highlighting sustainable and slow fashion. I created the podcast to learn more about the topic and I figured I may as well bring other people on that journey with me.

GROUND

InBUSINESS RECOMMENDS THREE PODCASTS TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS QUARTER.

What is the message behind the Dirty Laundry podcast? The key message is to educate people on how to live a more sustainable life in the fashion world. It’s not easy for everyone to be involved and it is impossible to be 100% sustainable, however there are small things we can do to make a positive impact and fashion is one of those things.

InBUSINESS SPEAKS TO 2FM DJ AND BROADCASTER TARA STEWART ABOUT SUSTAINABLE FASHION, THE INDUSTRY BEHIND FAST FASHION AND HOW CONSUMERS SHOULD EXPLORE HOW THEY BUY THEIR CLOTHES.

Why do you think discussing the topic of sustainable fashion is so important? Unfortunately there is a dark side to fashion that many people don’t know about although it’s fantastic it has become a topic that is being discussed more. It can be a privileged space. Sustainable brands aren’t as cheap as fast fashion and shopping at vintage or charity shops isn’t convenient for many. However I just want to share the facts and hopefully encourage more conscious shopping.

MADE IN IRELAND

INSIDE POLITICS Presented by Business Editor Ciarán Hancock, The Irish Times Inside Business Podcast is a weekly programme dedicated to Irish business and economics, featuring awardwinning journalists, analysts and industry experts.

What are the ingredients that make a great podcast? Interesting guests that sound great on a mic and have a story to tell and good audio quality. What challenges do you face when making the podcast? Season 2 was a challenge to record! I had started recording back in January in London in person and then Covid-19 happened so I had to postpone the rest of my interviews. Eventually I decided with my producer Alice O’Sullivan to just record via Zoom! It meant I could talk to guests from all over and the logistics were easier. What can we expect from Dirty Laundry in the future? I’ve just wrapped up Season 2 but I’d love to expand to discussing topics including sustainable feminine products, including pads, tampons and menstrual Tara Stewart cups. I would also like to explore alternative sustainable beauty products, including makeup, bamboo toothbrushes, and reusable face wipes.

The Dirty Laundry podcast is available to subscribe online at rte.ie/radio

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Any other podcasts you would recommend to our readers? Whatever I Want by Australian DJ and influencer FlexMami looks at everything you can think of from relationships to taboo topics and there is a great episode from the New York Times’ The Daily called Sweatpants Forever which looks at how buyers in department stores changed how designers made clothes for customers.

NOT TO BE MISSED

DEATH BECOMES HIM Brian Dowling Gourounlian explores the topic of grief with the help of his friends and family as they grow to understand death through open conversation, humour and honesty.

THE BUSINESS PICK

HOW I BUILT THIS Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies and weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists and the movements they built.

InBUSINESS | AUTUMN 2020

02/11/2020 12:35


LIFESTYLE: books

InBUSINESS looks at the latest books offering insights for executives, budding entrepreneurs, and other professionals, seeking to acquire business skills and knowledge in relationships and collaboration.

Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s the Science A scientist’s guide to the biggest challenges facing our species today

NO RULES RULES: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

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n collaboration with INSEAD business school Prof Erin Meyer, Reed Hastings, Netflix Chairman and CEO shares the secrets that have revolutionised the entertainment and tech industries and explores his leadership philosophy - which begins by rejecting the accepted beliefs under which most companies operate - and how it plays out in practice at Netflix. From unlimited holidays to abolishing financial approvals, Netflix offers a fundamentally different way to run any organisation, one far more in tune with a fast-paced world. Trust your team. Be radically honest. And never, ever try to please your boss. These are some of the ground rules if you work at Netflix. For anyone interested in creativity, productivity and innovation, the Netflix culture is something close to a holy grail. This book will make it, and its creator, fully accessible for the first time.

A Ghost in the Throat A true original, this stunning prose debut weaves two stories together. In the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, on AUTHOR: discovering her husband has been Doireann Ní Ghríofa murdered, composes an extraordinary PUBLISHER: poem that reaches across the Tramp Press centuries to another poet. In the present day, a young mother becomes obsessed AVAILABLE: tramppress.com with finding out the rest of the story.

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PUBLISHER: Ebury Publishing AVAILABLE: dubraybooks.ie

Must Read

YOUR QUARANTINE COMPANION

AUTHORS: Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer

AUTHOR: Professor Luke O’Neill

In his fascinating PUBLISHER: and thoughtGill Books provoking new AVAILABLE: book, Prof Luke gillbooks.ie O’Neill, one of the leading voices of authority during the Covid-19 pandemic, grapples with life’s biggest questions and tells us what science has to say about them. Covering topics from global pandemics to euthanasia, O’Neill’s trademark easy wit and clever pop-culture references deconstruct the science to make complex questions accessible. Never Mind the B#ll*ocks is a celebration of science and hard facts in a time of fake news and sometimes unhelpful groupthink.

Humour, Seriously:

Why Humour Is A Superpower At Work And In Life Humour, Seriously will show you how to use humour to enhance creativity and problem-solving, influence and motivate others and build bonds. Through advice from world-class comedians and stories from top business leaders, you’ll learn how to mine your life for material, which category of office comic you fall into, and how to keep it appropriate - and recover if you cross a line. Humour is a superpower.

AUTHORS: Jennifer Aaker & Naomi Bagdonas PUBLISHER: Portfolio Penguin AVAILABLE: dubraybooks.ie

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a :5 6.7 % Chin

1st USA :60.3%

ABOUT THE NATURE INDEX The Nature Index provides absolute and fractional counts of article publication at the institutional and national level and, as such, is an indicator of global high-quality research output and collaboration. Data in the Nature Index are updated regularly, with the most recent 12 months.

2nd

7th

it w S

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% 2 . 2 5 : d

THE InBUSINESS INDEX

6t h I t a

WORLD In this issue, InBUSINESS explores the contribution of international collaboration.

33rd

n :47.7%

2.8% nd :3

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8th Japa

5th F

rance

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ilia :

48%

116 InBUSINESS Autumn 2020_IB Index_V1.indd 116

10th Can a d a : 4 6 %

3r d G er m a n y : 5 4 . 4 %

116

4th

Source: Nature Index Connected World: Patterns of International Collaboration Index July 2019 to June 2020

ly : 5 4 . 6 %

CONNECTED

% 2 . 3 5 UK :

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02/11/2020 12:36


“The course is tailored to the needs of our business”

Skills to Advance Highly subsidised Supervisory Management training ₀ To help team leaders and supervisors meet the business challenges of Covid-19 ₀ To upskill in people management, digital and remote working Contact your local Education and Training Board or visit skillstoadvance.ie

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It’s time to invest in you. Talk to us about a retirement plan that works for you and your financial wellbeing.

Let’s chat about your pension. boi.com/pensions

Terms and conditions apply. Life assurance and pensions products are provided by New Ireland Assurance Company plc, trading as Bank of Ireland Life. New Ireland Assurance Company plc, trading as Bank of Ireland Life is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Member of Bank of Ireland Group. Advice on Bank of Ireland Life products is provided by Bank of Ireland, trading as Bank of Ireland Insurance & Investments, Insurance & Investments, Bank of Ireland Private or Premier. Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Bank of Ireland is a tied agent of New Ireland Assurance Company plc for life assurance and pension business. Members of Bank of Ireland Group. Information correct as of August 2020.

WARNING: The value of your investment may go down as well as up. WARNING: If you invest in a pension you may lose some or all of the money you invest. WARNING: If you invest in a pension you will not have access to your money until your retirement date.

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24/09/2020 00:33 29/10/2020 25/09/2020 12:15 14:13

Profile for Ashville Media Group

InBUSINESS Autumn 2020  

The official publication of Chambers Ireland.

InBUSINESS Autumn 2020  

The official publication of Chambers Ireland.