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DANISH BRAND OF CUT-PRICE EASY TIGER: THE CURIO TAKING IRELAND BY STORM

InBUSINESS CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

Q1 2015

MORE THAN YOUR AVERAGE

TO

AIRBNB OR NOT TO BE The global

JOE

accommodation phenomenon with a base in Dublin

MAXIMUM MEDIA’S NIALL MCGARRY ON LEAVING A LEGACY

9

JOHN TRETHOWAN of the Credit Review Office on helping SMEs secure funding

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THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE DETAIL Professionals and business people expect the highest standards. With AIB Private Banking you are assured of an enhanced banking service that saves you time and effort. Our signature new banking experience provides you with the relationship-based service that you appreciate. We understand the value of great advice. Our financial planning service gives you access to expert, impartial guidance to help you make informed financial choices to secure your future. It’s details like these that make us different. If you would like to find out more about AIB Private Banking, contact Patrick Farrell, Head of AIB Private Banking, directly on: (01) 641 7634 or email patrick.a.farrell@aib.ie Typically our clients have an annual salary or income which exceeds ₏250,000.

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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Managing Editor: Mary Connaughton Editorial Assistant: Amy Woods Commercial Editor: Conor Forrest

[FEATURES]

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Head of the Credit Review Office John Trethowan on securing funding for SMEs Words: Joseph O’Connor

Art Director: Alan McArthur

I KNOW WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO AND WE’RE BEING RELATIVELY SUCCESSFUL AT IT. UNTIL THE DEMAND GOES AWAY, I’M MORE THAN HAPPY TO CONTINUE.”

Editorial Contributors: Megan Cummins Conor Forrest Valerie Jordan Olive Keogh Rachel Murray Front Cover Photography: Ewa Figaszewska Production Manager: Mary Connaughton Production Executive: Nicole Ennis Sales Director: Paul Clemenson Managing Director: Diarmaid Lennon

Published by: Ashville Media Group, Old Stone Building, Blackhall Green, Dublin 7 Tel: +353 1 432 2200 Email: info@ashville.com Web: www.ashville.com On behalf of: Chambers Ireland, 3rd Floor, Newmount House, 22 - 24 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2 Tel: +353 1 400 4300 Email: info@chambers.ie Web: www.chambers.ie All articles © Ashville Media Group 2015. 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

Give Them Some Credit

COVER STORY

NOW IN THE FIFTH YEAR OF HIS ROLE AS HEAD OF THE CREDIT REVIEW OFFICE, JOHN TRETHOWAN SAT DOWN WITH JOSEPH O’CONNOR AND EXPLAINED HOW, DESPITE SOME RECENT CRITICISM FROM A BANKING CHIEF, THE OFFICE CONTINUES TO SECURE THE FUTURE OF SMES AND SAVE JOBS AS A RESULT.

O

ne thing that strikes you when speaking with the Head of the Credit Review Office John Trethowan is that he comes without an ego. Perhaps there wouldn’t be room for one anyhow in what is a very basic operation, running out of a small office housed in the Enterprise Ireland building at East Point Business Park in Dublin. That doesn’t mean the Office’s ambitions are small. Quite the contrary as it turns out. Having established in the December 2009 budget, the Credit Review Office aims to provide a simple and effective review process for SMEs, sole traders and farm enterprises that have been refused credit from banks participating in the NAMA scheme, and to examine credit policy in suggesting what further actions may be necessary to increase the flow of credit. On a Friday evening before that budget, Trethowan received a phonecall from then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. He was given until the end of that weekend to decide whether to accept the offer of heading up a new Credit Review Office, a move which would scupper his retirement plans. Luckily for the government, Trethowan didn’t require the whole weekend to make a decision and promptly accepted the offer.

GIVE THEM

18

Ewa Figaszewska

Editor: Joseph O’Connor

REDIT

than Your 14 More Average Joe

Maximum Media’s Niall McGarry on leaving a legacy Words: Valerie Jordan

22

The Cream of the Crop

A look at the demand for Irish dairy products in China Words: Valerie Jordan

on a 24 Building Wicket Success

The continued rise of cricket in Ireland Words: Conor Forrest

27 Epic Plans for CHQ A 12 million vision for the chq building

28

To Airbnb Or Not To Be

The global accommodation phenomenon based in Dublin Words: Valerie Jordan

33 Snapchat

Veronica Kenneally, Founder of Veronica’s Snacks [REGULARS] 3 Business News 8 Movers & Shakers 11 Opportunity Ireland 12 Start-Up Central 45 Chambers Catch Up 104 The IB Index

34

Easy Tiger

Exclusive interview with the man behind Tiger Stores Words: Joseph O’Connor

19

Feature: 38 SME Exploring New Heights

We talk to founders of new indoor climbing facility The Wall

42 Book Extract

Extract from new book Silicon Docks

102 The Last Word

Dil Wickremasinghe on the importance of inclusion in the workplace Words: Joseph O’Connor [LIFESTYLE] 90 MOTORING: New offerings from BMW and Ford 94 INNOVATION: Virtual reality headgear from Microsoft 96 TRAVEL: Megan Cummins on a recce in Salzburg 99 BOOKS: The rise of Dublin as a global tech hub 100 FASHION: A look at suits that fit Our Local Government InBUSINESS 02 Supplement continues to look at the important role played by local authorities in Irish enterprise Page

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LEINSTER • MUNSTER •

Louth LEO secures funding for business, Kodaline launch student awards, and Lonford twins with Mexican town.

Limerick real estate project gets green light, Waterford launches interactive planning app, and Clare embraces culture.

Page

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ULSTER

Monaghan company strikes gold, room for more recycling in Cavan, and crossborder project to encourage growth.

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• CONNAUGHT Erris goes wild with award win, Sligo receives funding for centenary celebrations, and Cllr highlights Leitrim’s potential as film location.

In Association with

CMYK: 83 / 0 / 8 / 0

CMYK: CMYK: 49 / 0 / 100 / 0 0 / 0 / 0 / 100

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RGB: 64/179/223 Font:

• Din Medium • Din Regular

FINGAL MEETS SILICON

This May Silicon Valley investors will descend on Fingal for the 7th ITLG annual summit.

In Association with

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BUSINESS NEWS

DRAGON LAUNCHES ONLINE INTERVIEW COMPANY

B

usinessman Peter Casey, an investor on RTÉ’s Dragons’ Den, has launched an Irish-based online interviewing company that he claims will completely change the way recruitment is carried out going forward. Online Interview, which will operate worldwide, will be based in Buncrana, Co Donegal, with offices in Dublin. Casey is hoping it will employ ten people by the end of this year. Pre-sales support operations are currently based in Chicago and will move to Donegal in the coming months. The company offers an online system for creating and recording live or automated video interviews using immediate candidate responses to key questions.

ONLINE INTERVIEW, WHICH WILL OPERATE WORLDWIDE, WILL BE BASED IN BUNCRANA, CO DONEGAL, WITH OFFICES IN DUBLIN. CASEY IS HOPING IT WILL EMPLOY TEN PEOPLE BY THE END OF THIS YEAR.

Chairman Peter Casey and Managing Director Elton Hysa at the launch of Online Interview Ltd

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BUSINESS NEWS

TOP 10

CAPITAL CLAWS BACK PLACES IN

FINANCIAL HUB INDEX

IRELAND BIDS WILLKOMMEN TO THE GERMANS

F

áilte Ireland welcomed eight German corporate meetings and incentive travel buyers on a three-day visit in March to familiarise themselves with what is on offer in Dublin city and county. The trip is aimed at growing MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) business from the German market. Overall the MICE sector is worth a576 million to the Irish economy per year. The trip included a visit to the Convention Centre Dublin as well as a number of leisure and cultural activities including a Gaelic games lesson and a tour of Trinity College Dublin.



“OUR MISSION IS VERY CLEAR: IT IS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES THAT ARE VIABLE, OR HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE VIABLE, TO SURVIVE AND TO GET CREDIT.”

Dublin has jumped 18 places in the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), ranking 52nd in the survey of 82 financial centres across the globe. The latest improvement puts the capital on a par with the likes of Mumbai and Bangkok. However, it only partially reverses Dublin’s dramatic decline in the wake of the financial crisis. Prior to 2010 it was always ranked within the top 30. In 2009 it ranked as high as 10th alongside cities like London, New York and Zurich.

FINANCIAL CENTRES Centre New York

Rank Last Year 1st

1st

London 2nd 2nd Hong Kong 3rd

3rd

Singapore 4th

4th

Tokyo 5th 6th Zurich 6th 7th Seoul 7th 8th San Francisco 8th

5th

Chicago 9th 12th Boston 10th 9th

FORUM HEARS OF

OPPORTUNITIES IN ARAB MARKETS THE INAUGURAL ARAB IRISH BUSINESS FORUM was held on March 11th at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, in Dublin. Three hundred delegates attended the day-long event which was jointly organised by the Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise Ireland, Emirates Airline, and Bord Bia. The Forum was formally opened by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Employment Richard Bruton. Attendees heard from speakers

about the importance of the Arab markets for Ireland and the significant opportunities on offer to Irish companies, especially in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. There are over 450 indigenous Irish companies currently operating in the Gulf region including Jones Engineering, Byrne Looby, Glen Dimplex, Glanbia, Chanelle Pharmaceuticals, PM Group, Glenbeigh Records Management and Kerry Group.

COVER STORY P18

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John Trethowan, Head of the Credit Review Office

Minister Richard Bruton, Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland and Joe Geoghegan, Chairman, Arab-Irish Chamber

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BUSINESS NEWS

Business

BITES STOBART RETURNS TO SHANNON

PICTURE

THIS

Fashion designer Helen Steele with Minister Paschal Donohoe at Design Island in Dublin Airport, a photographic exhibition celebrating the breadth of Irish creativity as part of Irish Design 2015. Design Island features a series of 300 photographs by award winning Irish photographer Peter Rowen capturing 24 designers at work in their studios all over Ireland.

Stobart Air, which operates the Aer Lingus Regional brand, is set to resume services from Shannon Airport from June. The airline pulled out of Shannon in January saying the airport “didn’t fit in with its strategic plan.” They now say the move allowed them look at Shannon from a different perspective.

NO CHANGES TO NEWS AT UTV

Northern Ireland broadcaster UTV won’t be making changes to news programming on its recently launched Irish station despite low audience numbers for its news bulletins. The company’s CEO John McCann said, however, that investment in more domestic content will depend on growing revenues.

LANDMARK DEAL FOR CORK TECH CLUSTER

Derek F Butler, CEO, Grid Finance and Katie Cantwell, Owner, KC Peaches

PEACHES

LOOKS TO PEERS InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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KC PEACHES, THE NATURAL, WHOLE FOODS SPECIALIST in Dublin, has launched a campaign to secure investment of a55,000 through GRID Finance, one of Ireland’s peer to peer financing platforms. The loan, which if successful, will be used to undertake renovations in their four café locations across Dublin city centre as well as the purchasing of new ovens. This loan is the second time KC Peaches has used GRID in the last number of months. A a5,000 loan was secured on the platform in November 2014.

Cork’s leading tech cluster – it@Cork – has struck a deal for local businesses that opens the door to thousands of potential partner firms. The city’s cluster signed an agreement with other European clusters that will allow its 300 members to share both the infrastructure of member companies and their expertise.

DATALEX PROFITS SURGE

Travel software firm Datalex has reported a 69 per cent surge in profit after tax for last year, while its total revenues rose 9 per cent. The company said its after tax profits rose to $2.7m for the year to the end of December from $1.6m in 2013. Total revenues rose to $41.4m from $38.1m.

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THE BURNING QUESTION

?

What do you think 2015 will be remembered for in an Irish context? AISLING HASSELL Head of CX, Airbnb Despite a fragile European economic recovery, Ireland will continue to punch above its weight not only in terms of attracting inward investment, but also through the success of Irish tech companies scaling internationally.

TAXI APP BACKS THE

I

BLUES

rish-developed taxi app Lynk has merged with Dublin’s third largest taxi firm Blue Cabs, which will add 200 new drivers to its network in Ireland. Officially launched in February this year, Lynk employs over 170 people in Ireland through its 24-hour customer service team and administration in Newmarket, Dublin 8. With the addition of Blue Cabs, it now has 2,700 drivers on the fleet, making it the largest taxi firm in the country, according to managing director and founder Noel Ebbs.

NEVILLE ISDELL Businessman and Investor We are all hoping that 2015 will be the year that puts the need for austerity policies firmly behind us. The signs are good and confidence seems to be returning in all sectors.

E-MIT LAUNCHES NEW FIREWALL SERVICE

NIALL MCGARRY Media Entrepreneur For me 2015 will be remembered for the year that Ireland as a whole properly emerged from the grip of recession. After eight long years, we can now see a true recovery taking place and a return to some semblance of normality.

JOHN TRETHOWAN Head of the Credit Review Office I think 2015 will be remembered for a continuing recovery in the economy, opportunities offered by a weak euro for our exporters and tourism, Ireland doing well in the Rugby World Cup and Rory McIlroy winning a major.

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E-MIT SOLUTIONS, A LEADING IRISH IT CONSULTANCY FIRM, has announced the launch of its new firewall as a service which will provide Irish businesses with a cloud-managed unified threat management system that boasts real-time security intelligence. Customers will be protected from unwanted intrusions and data breaches including targeted security attacks, malware, spyware and viruses. E-MIT says it is the first IT company to deliver Dell SonicWALL firewall as a service to the Irish market.

Eamon Moore, Managing Director, E-MIT Solutions, with Liam Halpin, General Manager, Dell Ireland.

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The Sum of its Parts Simple solutions are built on complex perfection. Just like in business, what appears simple is often far more complicated and intricate than we imagined. That’s because complex perfection doesn’t just happen. It requires expertise, technological prowess and the experience of people who have seen it before. At eircom Business Solutions we understand this. That’s why our business customers, large and small, trust in us. They know we have more technological and network experience than anyone else.

eircom. Driving Business Forward eircom.ie/business

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MOVERS & SHAKERS

MOVERS SHAKERS JASON CRAWFORD

MARVIN SANDERSON

NIALL PHILLIPS

JENNIFER MCCORMACK

NEW TITLE: Director of Corporate Audit EMPLOYER: Grant Thornton PREVIOUS ROLE: Director, Audit and Insurance, KPMG

NEW TITLE: Chief Technology Officer EMPLOYER: Xanadu PREVIOUS ROLE: IT Director, Pinnacle IT Group

NEW TITLE: Brand Director EMPLOYER: SEAT PREVIOUS ROLE: Head of Group Used Vehicles, Volkswagen

NEW TITLE: UK & European Sales Manager EMPLOYER: Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa PREVIOUS ROLE: Sales Manager, Carton House Hotel

Business advisory firm Grant Thornton has appointed Jason Crawford as Director of Corporate Audit, who brings over 19 years’ experience in providing audit, assurance and accounting advisory services to both public and private corporates. Crawford has worked extensively with corporates in a variety of sectors including food and beverage, retail, construction and engineering, property, higher education and energy.

Xanadu, the global technology provider to the online betting sector, have announced the appointment of Marvin Sanderson as Chief Technology Officer. With over 12 years’ experience in global roles in the tech sector, Sanderson has extensive expertise in the development and implementation of technology projects. Sanderson will oversee the roll out of new developments to the betting exchange for a number of clients.

SEAT Ireland recently announced the appointment of Niall Phillips as its new brand director. Phillips has a wealth of experience in the motor industry in Ireland having worked with brands such as BMW, MINI, Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at importer level. He joins SEAT Ireland from within Volkswagen Group Ireland where he was Head of Group Used Vehicles.

Powerscourt Hotel Resort & Spa recently celebrated its first birthday under a new management team and announced the appointments of four new members of staff. One of those is Jennifer McCormack who has been appointed UK & European Sales Manager. McCormack has over seven years of experience in the hospitality industry, having previously worked in the Vaults IFSC and Carton House.

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MOVERS & SHAKERS

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY NATIONWIDE

NALINI NATHAN

PAUL MURRAY

TONY DIGNAM

PAT CRONIN

NEW TITLE: Account Director, PSG Health EMPLOYER: PSG Communications PREVIOUS ROLE: Account Director, Publicis D Healthcare

NEW TITLE: Aftersales Director EMPLOYER: Toyota Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Aftersales Director, BMW Group

NEW TITLE: Finance Director EMPLOYER: Compass Group Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Finance Director, Football Association of Ireland

NEW TITLE: Head of IT Production and Administration EMPLOYER: Payzone PREVIOUS ROLE: Head of IT Infrastructure, Boylesports

PSG Communications has announced the launch of PSG Health which will be led by Nalini Nathan as Account Director. Nathan was appointed to the position in December 2014 and will be responsible for new business development. She joins PSG Plus with ten years’ experience specialising in developing novel and effective strategic communications and creative campaigns for health and pharma clients.

Toyota Ireland has announced the appointment of Paul Murray to the role of Aftersales Director. In his new role, Murray will lead Toyota and Lexus aftersales divisions which are responsible for the development and roll out of best-practice aftersales programmes across both dealer networks. Murray joins Toyota from BMW Group Ireland where, in 2008, he assumed the role of Aftersales Director.

Food and support services company Compass Group Ireland has appointed Tony Dignam as Finance Director. Dignam will manage all financial aspects of Compass Group’s Irish business. Dignam also joins the executive management team and assumes responsibility for developing and growing Compass Group’s business portfolio in Ireland.

Consumer payments network Payzone has announced the appointment of Pat Cronin as its new Head of IT Production and Administration. Cronin comes to Payzone from Boylesports where he held the position of Head of IT Infrastructure, and will lend his expertise in IT systems management and technical innovation to his new role.

Call Visit Email Follow

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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(01) 432 2200 www.ashville.com info@ashville.com @Ashvilleteam

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JOB CREATION COMPANY: IDT911 COMPANY: Life Scientific SECTOR: Agriculture LOCATION: Dublin

SECTOR: Technology

LOCATION: Galway

ANNOUNCEMENT: The company specialising in identity theft and data risk management services has announced the creation of a 60 new jobs over the next five years at its new European headquarters.

COMPANY: Lagan Brick SECTOR: Manufacturing LOCATION: Cavan ANNOUNCEMENT: The brick manufacturing facility is reopening after a recent upturn in the Irish and UK markets. It will lead to the creation of 30 new jobs.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The company specialising in crop protection products has secured a significant investment by InVivo, and can now expand the business over the next five years, creating 20 new jobs.

Opportunity IRELAND InBUSINESS highlights some of the companies that are expanding operations and generating new employment opportunities around the country.

COMPANY: Docusign SECTOR: Financial Services LOCATION: Dublin ANNOUNCEMENT: The digital transaction management company is establishing its European hub in Dublin, creating 100 positions in the areas of sales and technical services.

COMPANY: Malwarebytes

FOREIGN FIRMS TO BOLSTER EMPLOYMENT

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SECTOR: Investment Project LOCATION: Mayo

SECTOR: Security

LOCATION: Cork

ANNOUNCEMENT: The cybersecurity company is establishing its EMEA headquarters in Cork and will create 50 jobs over the next three years.

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

COMPANY: OpenSparkz

ANNOUNCEMENT: Around 250 new jobs are being promised for Castlebar in Co Mayo, with the opening of a hub for companies trying to set up businesses in the developing world.

Foreign companies are expected to create 80,000 new jobs in Ireland by 2019, according to an IDA forecast. The agency tasked with attracting multinationals here set out its new five-year strategy recently, pledging an increase to investment in the regions. IDA chief Martin Shanahan said the number employed by multinationals will surge to 209,000 by 2019 under a plan to win 900 individual projects over the next five years. Around 174,000 people work in multinationals here, the highest figure in the State’s history.

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START-UPS

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

Ciara Donlon, founder, THEYA Lingerie James Winans, founder of the Vanguard Beer Collective

START-UP PROFILE: VANGUARD BEER COLLECTIVE Vanguard Beer Collective is a one stop shop for Irish craft beer. It was launched in 2013 in order to address the obstacles preventing craft beer from being more widely available in pubs and restaurants. Born partly out of long-standing frustration of the homogeneous, limited selection of beer that nearly every pub in Ireland carried, Vanguard says it was launched to facilitate a change. Vanguard brings together craft breweries from all over Ireland. It offers the publican or restaurateur access to many different breweries with a single consolidated order, delivery and invoice, saving them time and hassle. It manages the installation of taps, distribution of draft and bottled beer, line cleaning, point of sale marketing and promotion, emergency maintenance and payment processing. This allows the breweries to do more of what they do best, brewing great craft beer. The company was selected as one of the 11 finalists in the AIB Start-up Academy.

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INNOVATIVE LINGERIE LINE LAUNCHED IN PARIS THEYA Lingerie, a new Irish textile start-up, has announced the launch of an innovative range of post-operative lingerie suitable for women who are recovering from breast cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery and/or undergoing radiotherapy treatment. The company made the formal announcement at the Salon International de la Lingerie fair which took place in Paris last January.

START-UP EVENT AT GOOGLE

Google welcomed 20 of Ireland’s leading start-ups to its EMEA headquarters in March to participate in a 90-day programme of free mentoring sessions with Google Ireland’s start-up support teams. The Adopt a Start-Up Programme forms part of Google’s commitment to supporting the start-up community in Ireland through free mentoring events and hosting start-up community events.

Adopt a Start-up participants Eamon Keane, Xpreso; Ross Good, Pubble; Grace McDonald, Sonru. Back row: Eimear O’Carroll, Restored Hearing; Emer O’Daly, Love&Robots; Jason Gilberg, GAME GOLF.

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START-UPS

HOW IT ALL STARTED

GERARD CURTIN

CEO, PixAlert

SECAD Teams Up With Tesco to Support Food Start-Ups

Exhibitors display their goods at the SECAD event

The South and East Cork Area Development company (SECAD) recently hosted a meet the buyer event for artisan food producers in the Cork region. Buyers from Tesco provided valuable advice and information on procurement procedures to the early stage food companies in attendance. SECAD supports micro-enterprises in the food sector through a number of ways from funding to business mentoring and training. For more information on upcoming events and activities supporting the food sector in South and East Cork, please visit www.secad.ie.

For an extract from new book Silicon Docks: The Rise of Dublin As A Global Tech Hub detailing how two Italian tech entrepreneurs were lured to Irish shores go to page 42.

15,000

The number of people expected to attend the first-ever Start-Up Gathering to be held during the week starting October 5th 2015. The week-long gathering will feature over 50 events in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford, promoting entrepreneurship and showcasing Ireland’s start-up sector.

SEARCH BEGINS FOR ASPIRING TECHPRENEURS The University College Cork’s launch of the EU-XCEL European Virtual Accelerator in March marked the start of a European-wide recruitment campaign seeking out aspiring entrepreneurs in the field of information and communication technology (ICT). Successful applicants from across Europe will participate as part of newly formed international startup teams alongside some of the most promising and talented tech entrepreneurs in intensive, specially designed entrepreneurship training and mentoring programmes over five months. For more details visit euxcel.eu.

How did you fund your business initially? PixAlert was originally founded in 1999 by two UCD PhD graduates who designed an algorithm to detect and protect corporate networks from inappropriate and illegal images. The company was originally funded privately and subsequently through VC investment. What’s the best advice you were given? Don’t get left behind - listen to your market, they dictate the ebbs and flows and you need the ability to adapt. What was the most important lesson you learned starting out? If you don’t succeed, tweak and reinvent! PixAlert’s image solution is our flagship offering, however from listening to customer and market demands we’ve developed our solutions to include sensitive data auditing which addresses data protection, risk and compliance requirements. Your biggest make or break moment? Winning our first Tier 1 worldwide customer for our sensitive data discovery product was a definite high point. This was a validation of the product strategy we were pursuing and of the company’s ability to deliver to Tier 1 customers. Would you change anything in hindsight? Test the market as early as possible, keep listening, keep networking, keep knocking on doors – you never know which one will open. Company: PixAlert Location:  The Digital Hub, Dublin 8 Product:  Sensitive Data and Illicit Image Discovery Auditing Solutions Staff:

10+

Website: www.pixalert.com

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ENTREPRENEUR

Niall McGarry, Founder and CEO of Maximum Media, is about to take on the British market with his unique media brand JOE.ie. He tells InBUSINESS how he plans to leave a legacy.

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JOE rom selling cans of coke at football matches and wholesaling pumpkins to creating one of the most successful digital media brands in Ireland, Mayo native Niall McGarry has come a long way. He had an entrepreneurial spirit for as long as he can remember and while most boys at school were sporting Liverpool or Manchester United jerseys, he proudly wore his own bespoke shirt with the words ‘NMG Enterprises’ emblazoned across the front. It was the result of “childhood innocence”, not an ego, he swears. After college, McGarry worked for one year

at a Galway newspaper selling advertising. That’s when he says he caught the “bug”. Not long after, he established the West of Ireland’s first advertising agency called Impact Media at 23 years old. InBUSINESS caught up with the media entrepreneur to fill in the gaps since then. “HATING YOUR COMPETION IS

IRRATIONAL BUT COMMON. TO ME THOUGH,

HATE IS A NEGATIVE EMOTION WHICH IS

BEST AVOIDED.”

Q: How did you identify an opportunity in the market for JOE.ie and, at a later stage, Her.ie? A: I first spotted an opportunity to create a male focused medium in 2008, but the recession had hit Ireland hard and Impact Media, which at that stage had 25 fulltime staff and therefore a very sizable wage bill, kept pulling me back when I desperately wanted to launch JOE.ie. By 2010, I could no longer resist the urge. I was visiting a multitude of sites for football, GAA, style InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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ENTREPRENEUR

I’ve absolutely zero doubts that JOE.ie will be around in some form or other influencing the men of Ireland in 100 years’ time.

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ENTREPRENEUR

and business but nothing pulled it together in a quintessentially Irish way. I knew this was too good an opportunity to ignore any longer. Following an initial slowish boil, it went from strength to strength. Moving it to Dublin was a key factor in it taking off in a big way. Her.ie was created and positioned quite simply as the website for Irish women and is a real success story of the new media explosion in Ireland. We built it to a site with over 2.2 million unique visitors a month, a Facebook fanbase of 255,000 and a 90,000-strong Twitter following in little over two years. It has been a huge success and one I’m very proud of. Q: What are the latest figures in terms of unique visits to the sites? A: JOE.ie still leads with over 2.7 million unique visitors a month. Then Her.ie with 2.2 million. SportsJOE.ie is just four months old and has already achieved 900,000 unique visitors. HerFamily.ie, our eight-week old baby, is flying with over 500,000 unique users a month. Given our size and scale as a group and because we know what we are doing, we can drive a substantial audience to a new title almost immediately. As a group we have the biggest Facebook and Twitter community of any media outlet in Ireland with over one million people following our four sites. Q: Who do you see as your main competitors? A: We don’t have an obvious competitor as such. JOE.ie certainly doesn’t and it’s by far the dominant player. TheJournal.ie do a very good job and I have great respect for them. We both have around the same number of fulltime staff and started in 2010, so a lot of camparisons between us have been made. They do their thing and we do ours. There’s room for us both. Hating your competion is irrational but common. To me though, hate is a negative emotion which is best avoided. 16

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men of Ireland in 100 years’ time. I have the exact same belief about Her.ie too. The same way The Irish Times and The Irish Independent were created well over a century ago, I feel we’ve created a big new media instution of the future.

“My five-year old son Max is a great source of inspiration.” A caricature of Niall and his son dressed as their favourite superheroes.

Image courtesy of Jen Murphy (@JenJen_Murf)

Q: How is the commercial side of things? A: It’s going really well. As a business person, I enjoy making money on the back of a good product. It’s the only way. We’ve doubled our turnover year-on-year since 2011. We achieved a1.5m last year (May 2013 - April 2014) making a net profit of a175,000. We are almost at our next finanial year end again (April 2015) and will post a3m in revenues with a net of a500,000. This could have been far higher but we launched two brand new sites and that has a significant cost. It’s a high margin business once you have the scale. In terms of our Irish business, we’re targeting over a6m for next year (May 2015 - April 2016) with a net of a2m. Q: Any significant moments for JOE.ie that surpassed expectations? A: No, not really. I’m a pretty calm person and have incredibly high expectations of myself. I’ve had a sustained happiness with the business for almost three years, so I tend not to get too excited when something big happens or too down if there’s a mini crisis. The big thing I know now, that I might not have known at the outset, is that we will leave a big legacy. I’ve absolutely zero doubts that JOE.ie will be around in some form or other influencing the

Q: Could you tell us about your expansion plans for the UK? A: I’m really excited about this and feel we have a great strategy for our entry into this market. We will be investing over a1.3m into it, but the potential returns are huge. As a market, it’s 31 times the size of Ireland when it comes to digital advertising spend. We work with every global brand you can think of in Ireland and know that their UK conterparts have a massive appetite for the type of content we create. We are hiring 15 full-time staff of 15. Now it’s a five-month period of building an audience. We’ll fully launch at the start of September. Q: Any business people out there you take great inspiration from? A: Ireland has bred some outstanding entreprenuers but honestly, I don’t think about it much. I do what I do and rarely get too distracted by the actions of others. I respect anybody who made it through the recession because it was truly a terrible time to be in business. You’ve got to inspire yourself too. It’s not a case that I’m inspired by me, but certainly I’ve got to constantly motivate and drive myself on. My five-year old son Max is a great source of inspiration. Having a child that you love more than anything in the world and ensuring your hard work will provide for them is the most intense type of inspiration imaginable. Q: What would be your advice for entrepreneurs starting out? A: Give up the day job and go all out. If you want to be successful be successful, you need to have fear; fear of not having money, fear of how you will pay your bills. This fear will drive you on. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

14/04/2015 14:39


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I KNOW WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO DO AND WE’RE BEING RELATIVELY SUCCESSFUL AT IT. UNTIL THE DEMAND GOES AWAY, I’M MORE THAN HAPPY TO CONTINUE.”

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14/04/2015 14:42


COVER STORY

NOW IN THE FIFTH YEAR OF HIS ROLE AS HEAD OF THE CREDIT REVIEW OFFICE, JOHN TRETHOWAN SAT DOWN WITH JOSEPH O’CONNOR AND EXPLAINED HOW, DESPITE SOME RECENT CRITICISM FROM A BANKING CHIEF, THE OFFICE CONTINUES TO SECURE THE FUTURE OF SMES AND SAVE JOBS AS A RESULT.

O

ne thing that strikes you when speaking with the Head of the Credit Review Office John Trethowan is that he comes without an ego. Perhaps there wouldn’t be room for one anyhow in what is a very basic operation, running out of a small office housed in the Enterprise Ireland building at East Point Business Park in Dublin. That doesn’t mean the Office’s ambitions are small. Quite the contrary as it turns out. Having established in the December 2009 budget, the Credit Review Office aims to provide a simple and effective review process for SMEs, sole traders and farm enterprises that have been refused credit from banks participating in the NAMA scheme, and to examine credit policy in suggesting what further actions may be necessary to increase the flow of credit. On a Friday evening before that budget, Trethowan received a phonecall from then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan. He was given until the end of that weekend to decide whether to accept the offer of heading up a new Credit Review Office, a move which would scupper his retirement plans. Luckily for the government, Trethowan didn’t require the whole weekend to make a decision and promptly accepted the offer.

Ewa Figaszewska

GIVE THEM

018 InBusiness Q1 2015_Cover Story.indd 19

REDIT 19

14/04/2015 14:42


RAISING THE LIMIT I meet the banking veteran on a Thursday morning in his somewhat diminutive office and find him in upbeat form. Seated in front of the same desk where I interviewed him two years previously, he outlines the key developments which have taken place for the Office since then. “One significant change is the increase in the limit of loans we can review from a500,000 up to a3m,” he explains. “We started with a250,000 but that was acting as a barrier for people coming to us. We foresaw the need for re-financing, in addition to new credits and restructuring, due to bigger businesses being affected by banks pulling out. That pushed the limit up to a3m and as a result the complexity of the cases has changed dramatically. In some cases we’re now asking what does the business need to get it through the next six to twelve months, against interim performance measures, rather than giving them the big chunk of long-term money they originally applied for.” The most recent report published by the Office (its 14th to date) says conditions in the economy are improving, and it has welcomed the fact that in some cases the banks are “tentatively supporting” more challenged companies by extending short-term and limited credit. It also welcomed the Minister for Finance’s announcement in Budget 2015 that PTSB will shortly recommence actively lending to the SME sector, 20

018 InBusiness Q1 2015_Cover Story.indd 20

and has agreed to participate in the Credit Review Office process, with Ulster Bank actively considering making a similar commitment. Concentration in the SME lending market is something Trethowan has expressed concern about in the past but such moves by PTSB and Ulster Bank will strengthen competition. He has also welcomed the establishment of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) which will see over a500m in additional credit made available to SMEs. The SBCI may eventually provide loans that are not typically offered in Ireland and will have a lower cost of funding, a cost benefit which will be passed on to SMEs. RESPONDING TO CRITICISM One point which Trethowan and his Office have been keen to highlight recently is that they don’t take lightly their decisions to overturn a rejection from the banks. Trethowan was vocal on the issue last year when he responded to comments made by Bank of Ireland chief Richie Boucher. Boucher had told the Dáil Finance Committee that a third of SME loan applicants, that had initially been rejected by the bank but were overturned following an appeal to the Credit Review Office, later defaulted on their debt. “I was very surprised at the comments,” reflects Trethowan. “But surprised with how they came out because Bank of Ireland didn’t talk to us first. I was also surprised with the statistics they quoted because they don’t match up with what we see.” Trethowan is unequivocal in explaining the role of the Credit Review Office. “Bear in mind we deal with cases which have been rejected by a bank,” he says. “They have been reviewed by underwriters as part of an internal appeal. So they’ve had about four sets of eyes over them before we come in. Our reviewers try to find a deal by de-risking the case or by finding

Ewa Figaszewska

With no existing template for the role, coupled with an extremely challenging lending environment, he had his work cut out. Over five years have passed and since then the Office has received 520 formal applications from businesses refused credit, with 203 of these upheld. According to the Office, the upheld appeals have resulted in a29.7 million credit being made available to business, helping to protect or create 2,091 jobs. Not bad considering, as Trethowan puts it, “if you announce 1,500 jobs you’re classed as a hero!”

CV: John Trethowan ROLE: Head of Credit Review Office LIVES: Lisbane, Co Down FAMILY: Married with one son David who is a renewable energy lawyer in the City of London CURRENTLY READING: No time for books! Credit reviews, board papers and The Economist FAVOURITE FILM: The Big Lebowski HOBBIES: Gardening, golf and scale model making

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

15/04/2015 11:13


“IN SOME CASES WE’RE NOW ASKING WHAT DOES THE BUSINESS NEED TO GET IT THROUGH THE NEXT SIX TO TWELVE MONTHS, AGAINST INTERIM PERFORMANCE MEASURES, RATHER THAN

GIVING THEM THE BIG CHUNK OF LONGTERM MONEY THEY ORIGINALLY APPLIED FOR.”

game-changing information that the banks didn’t have. But we don’t deal with vanilla or risk-free cases. Everything we see has a challenge with it and this means we’re going to see some defaults. Our mission is very clear: it is to help small businesses that are viable, or have the potential to be viable, to survive and to get credit. We have agreed with Bank of Ireland that if they have a problem with any of our credits they will come to us first and not act in the way they did. It wasn’t right.” JOINED UP THINKING As the economy begins to pick up again in 2015 it remains imperative that we support our SMEs, irrespective of whether the end result is expansion or mere survival. The Government has created a number of agencies that are working to ensure there is a steady flow of credit to business. While Trethowan is not seeking further powers for the Office, he does believe that the economy will benefit from more joined up thinking from such bodies. “Our powers are okay,” he says. “It’s about the ability to interact with other organisations such as Microfinance Ireland, the Credit Guarantee Scheme, the SBCI and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. We already work with them but it’s a matter of us being able to bring them into the picture and use some of their powers.” One measure Trethowan is seeking from Government is the introduction of a more comprehensive central credit register of companies. He believes the data available could be more meaningful and, among other things, help determine the risk involved in InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

018 InBusiness Q1 2015_Cover Story.indd 21

THE CREDIT APPEALS IN

providing credit to a certain business. He points to the existing registers in France and Holland as examples to follow. “We have a very fragmented system at the moment. We have commercial credit agencies but their data is not as good as it could be. A really good state credit register would be a real boost to the economy – a one-stop shop where you can find out anything about a company.” ROLES AND MODELS As well as heading up the Credit Review Office, Trethowan holds two additional roles. He is currently Chairman of the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company (a post which he will step down from in June) and Chairman of the Progressive Building Society. A busy lifestyle for someone who was considering retirement back in 2009. So are there any signs of him revisiting those plans? “I’m still very passionate about the whole thing,” he says. “I know what we’re trying to do and we’re being relatively successful at it. Until the demand goes away, I’m more than happy to continue.” In his spare time, Trethowan likes to “potter about in the garden” and “play golf very badly” but his real labour of love is making scale model aircraft, a past-time he has kept since he was a young boy. He says that due to his hectic schedule, which includes a regular commute from Co Down to Dublin, he has plenty of models still in their packaging. If his passion for securing a steady flow of credit for SMEs remains, it might be a while yet before they’re assembled. For more on organisations supporting SMEs go to page 62

34 - Borrower got funds from bank 44 - More work needed by borrower 58 - Borrower abandoned appeal 23 - Work in progress

203 Borrower upheld or commitment to reassess if short-term performance hurdles are achieved 158 - Bank upheld

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR A CREDIT REVIEW? • The business must be an SME, sole trader or farm • The business must have applied for credit facilities from a1,000 up to a3m with one of the participating banks • The credit facility must have been refused, reduced or withdrawn and the business exhausted the bank’s internal appeals process 21

14/04/2015 14:43


FEATURE

CHINA:

Ireland has over 1 million dairy cows

THE CREAM OF THE CROP

Following the abolition of milk quotas in April, InBUSINESS takes a look at the demand for Irish dairy products in China and the brands that are positioning themselves to take advantage of this emerging dairy market.

T

his is an important time for the Irish dairy sector. In 2008, due to sustained global growth in demand for dairy products, the EU agreed to abolish milk quotas that have been in place for more than three decades from April 1st this year. In line with the objectives of Harvest 2020, dairy production is set to increase by 50 per cent between 2015 and 2020, so the development of exports to emerging dairy markets is essential. At present, Ireland exports to 140 markets worldwide and China is now Ireland’s second most important export market after the UK, compared to 13th in 2008.

From his base in Shanghai, Asia Director for Bord Bia, James O’Donnell has a clear understanding of the emerging Chinese market: “In 2013 our food exports to China were around a413 million; last year they were a573m. Food and drink exports to China have doubled in the last three years and will continue to grow. China is very important for our food industry, for beef, pork and seafood, and of particular importance for the dairy sector. “With quotas clearing we are in line to increase our dairy production

22

022 InBusiness Q1 2015_Dairy in China.indd 22

Ireland has

18,000 dairy farmers

10%

of the global infant milk formula is supplied by Ireland

significantly, and China will play an important role in the uptake of that additional production, right across infant formula, ingredients and the possibility for growth in UHT milk.” Demand for dairy has been growing significantly in China, with consumption rising at an annual rate of 12 per cent. Most of the dairy consumed is by China’s urban population, which is increasing in line with the government’s urbanisation strategy, and its growing middle-class population.

THE MAGIC FORMULA

40% of dairy exports are destined for international markets

a3.06 bn The estimated value of dairy exports in 2014

Ireland supplies ten per cent of the global infant milk formula – despite having only one per cent of global dairy production. Infant formula is the biggest category of the dairy market in China, followed by ingredients, particularly those destined for formula, followed by UHT milk. Last year China imported 18,500 tonnes of infant formula. Its growing middleclass, one-child policy and local food scandals – such as the notorious

“With quotas clearing we are IN LINE

TO INCREASE OUR DAIRY PRODUCTION significantly, and CHINA WILL PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE in the uptake of that additional production”

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

14/04/2015 14:40


FEATURE

melamine milk contamination in which six infants died and thousands were hospitalised – drive demand for quality imported infant formula. It’s also for such reasons that imported brands can cost four or five times more than local products. O’Donnell says infant formula can retail for over a50 per tin in a Chinese supermarket. Several Irish dairy brands have capitalised on the demand for formula. Kerry Group has launched an infant formula brand, Green LOVE+ and is partnered with Beingmate to supply Irish ingredients for infant nutrition products manufactured in China. Abbott Nutrition’s Eleva Blue infant formula is manufactured in Co Cavan for the Chinese market and Wyeth’s illuma milk powder, produced in Askeaton, Co Limerick, is now the most popular brand in China.

PREMIUM PRODUCTS The premium segment of the milk market is estimated to include over 186 million households in China. In preparation for the clearing of milk quotas, Ornua (formerly known as the Irish Dairy Board), Ireland’s largest dairy exporter, has been expanding operations in China, and last year launched Kerrygold whole milk under a new Chinese trademark, Jin Kai InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

022 InBusiness Q1 2015_Dairy in China.indd 23

Li. It will be marketed in China as a premium imported product. The Ornua’s consumer research found that Chinese shoppers respond positively to the image of Ireland as a pure, green island, with clean family farms, where the tradition of craftsmanship and modern technology ensures safe and quality dairy production. It intends to develop its business in premium cheese and butter, as well as liquid milk. O’Donnell points out that the Irish dairy industry has been active in China for a number of years, particularly Kerry Group, Ornua and Glanbia – who recently launched its Avonmore brand of UHT milk – and is now well placed to expand with the removal of quotas. “We’re quite a bit away from the market and developing business in China is always a challenge. Building relationships with companies here does take time, but the Irish industry has been actively involved in the Chinese market for a number of years and is in a position to take up the opportunities that are here to grow,” says O’Donnell. Though inflated prices may eventually fall, demand is set to continue in China. Now that the quota walls have come down no market is more significant than China in terms of opportunity for Irish dairy exports.

Clockwise from left: >James O’Donnell, Asia Director for Bord Bia. >Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney at the Kerrygold launch of its new Irish milk product to the world’s largest market. >President Michael D Higgins outlines Ireland’s commitment to deliver sustainably produced food to China through Bord Bia’s Origin Green Programme in Shanghai.

SUSTAINABLE

DAIRY

With the growing demand for high quality dairy products the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) has been developed to give international markets a safe, secure and sustainable dairy supply chain. It is a national scheme, setting out requirements for best practice on Irish dairy farms in animal health and welfare, land management, biosecurity, safe farming and safe milk production. The SDAS provides a framework for measuring and improving sustainability credentials, and calculates the greenhouse gas emissions of a herd to help farmers improve the sustainability performance of their farm. The scheme also ensures traceability of each animal from the day it is born to the end of its life.

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14/04/2015 14:40


BUSINESS OF SPORT

BUILDING ON A WICKET

SUCCESS

The rise of Irish cricket has sparked increasingly widespread interest – both in terms of the sport’s support base and companies interested in capitalising on this success to build their brand. CONOR FORREST spoke with Cricket Ireland CEO Warren Deutrom to discover more. 24

024 InBusiness Q1 2015_Cricket.indd 24

I

n recent years cricket has become much more of a mainstream sport across the globe, gaining in popularity particuarly in those lessthan-traditional cricket heartlands. Rising numbers of immigrant workers in Germany has reintroduced the sport there, for example, while cricket in the US has been experiencing a resurgence since the summer of 2014 as a result of rising numbers of Indian diaspora. The game has also enjoyed a surge of interest in Afghanistan off the back of their national team’s qualification for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. Ireland is no different, athough that may have something to do with the tendency of Irish fans to throw their support behind any sportspeople wearing the national colours, even if they don’t quite understand the game. Nevertheless, cricket clubs are sprouting up across the country – helped in no small part by the Ireland team’s exploits on the international stage – even in regions traditionally dominated by the GAA. In 2006, 13,000 people were officially playing the game here. By 2012, this number had jumped to over 40,000 according to The Irish Independent. Warren Deutrom is the man tasked with ensuring this growth continues. CEO of Cricket Ireland, his role involves the promotion and growth of the sport in Ireland, not only at the top level but right down to young children playing at school. With a CV that includes stints with the England and Wales Cricket Board, as well as a role as events manager with the sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), Deutrom traces the current enviable position of the sport back to 2007, when a talented group of players complemented by an inspirational coaching staff provided the breeding grounds for success, leading to qualification from their group to the super eight stage (where favourites India and Pakistan failed). “Together they infused one another with a sense of self belief that they could win matches,” says Deutrom. “I had only started a few weeks before that world cup adventure and it really set out for me what my mission was going to be, which was to effectively try and ensure InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

14/04/2015 14:48


BUSINESS OF SPORT

that success could be replicated and wasn’t going to be a single lightning strike. Success has created heroes, and the visibility of the sport on television has provided the platforms for youth interest and the involvement of commercial partners.” Deutrom’s first move was to embark on a programme of governance reform, which limited liability thereby reducing the risk on provincial unions, brought specific expertise onto the board in terms of helping to professionalise and grow the business while also allowing him, as chief executive, to make some decisions which may have previously been fettered by ‘unwieldy committeebased structures’. “The game embraced that,” he explains. “We also drew an incredible degree of confidence from what the players had achieved on the world stage – it gave us the confidence to say, ‘we need to be as professional off the pitch as our players had been on it.’ Success on the world stage brought profile, profile has brought an interest, interest creates revenue and revenue allows us to invest, not just back into the top level of the sport but to allow for that funding to start cascading down to the next levels. Government and Local Authority support has also been crucial.”

SEEKING OPPORTUNITIES RSA Ireland sponsored the Irish team for a number of years, and was succeeded for the 2015 World Cup by Tourism Ireland, a brand which is keen to get its name out on the international stage, and draw visitors from the likes of New Zealand, South Africa and India. One of the biggest sporting events of 2015, the Cricket World Cup was televised in 220 countries with a potential viewing figure of 2.5 billion. As Deutrom says, the opportunities continue to grow with each match and competition, and more and more companies are expressing interest in becoming involved. It’s a mutual partnership on offer – sponsoring companies looking to operate overseas get access to millions of potential consumers via live InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

024 InBusiness Q1 2015_Cricket.indd 25

Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland; Ireland cricketer Max Sorensen; Minister for Sport Paschal Donohoe; Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring; and Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland, at the announcement of Tourism Ireland’s sponsorship of the Irish cricket team for the Cricket World Cup.

matches, such as the upcoming one day international (ODI) against England which will be held on May 8th and broadcast on Sky Sports. The game will take place at the newly developed international arena in Malahide Castle where delivery has been made possible by a partnership with the local club, Fingal County Council and the Department of Tourism and Sport. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be associated with the Ireland cricket team and such a high profile tournament. Our sponsorship of the team in this year’s Cricket World Cup offers us a unique opportunity to highlight the island of Ireland to a huge global audience. It’s wonderful for us to be involved in a sport that has such a wide appeal in many of our important tourism markets – and we look forward to connecting and communicating with a wide audience of cricket fans across the world.” For now the future is bright for Irish cricket and Cricket Ireland. As the national team continues to shine on the world stage, including a 2015 Cricket World Cup run which drew plaudits from supporters, the media and the ICC, more and more potential sponsors are recognising the opportuity to grow their customer base in cricket-loving nations, a process that will lead to increased

revenues for Cricket Ireland and thereby ensure that Irish cricket grows and prospers for many years to come, at all levels of the game. “I read a piece in the UK Times last October, in which Ian King was talking about Irish cricket,” says Deutrom. “He said it was hard to see why a business keen to build its brand in Ireland, Britain and cricket-mad emerging markets wouldn’t be interested in taking on sponsorship. Of course, I cannot but agree with him!”

IRELAND AT THE ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2015 WEST INDIES VS IRELAND 304/7 TO 307/6 IRELAND WON BY 4 WICKETS

ZIMBABWE VS IRELAND 326 TO 331/8 IRELAND WON BY 5 RUNS

IRELAND VS UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 279/8 TO 278/9 IRELAND WON BY 2 WICKETS

INDIA VS IRELAND 260/2 TO 259 INDIA WON BY 8 WICKETS

SOUTH AFRICA VS IRELAND 411/4 TO 210 SOUTH AFRICA WON BY 201 RUNS

PAKISTAN VS IRELAND 241/3 TO 237 PAKISTAN WON BY 7 WICKETS Ireland were eliminated at this stage.

25

14/04/2015 14:48


Developing Energy Infrastructure Decarbonising Electricity Securing Energy Supply

Powergen Peaking

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Powergen Condensing

Powergen Wind

Powergen Biomass / Peat

14/04/2015 17:05


FEATURE

EPIC PLANS FOR

CHQ Neville Isdell, the Tyrone-born former Coca-Cola CEO, tells InBUSINESS about his 12 million vision to turn the chq building in the Docklands into an emigration-themed museum.

Q: You announced plans in March to convert the vaults of the chq building into an EPIC Ireland museum. Tell us more. A: EPIC Ireland will be a highly entertaining and engaging journey which will examine the reasons why so many Irish people left the island in the past. It will also explore the achievements of many of these people. The team that designed and developed Titanic Belfast are working with us alongside an exceptional group of content developers and advisors who are helping to ensure

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

027 InBusiness Q1 2015_CHQ.indd 27

authenticity, accuracy and relevance. The target opening date is May 2016. EPIC Ireland will also contain a genealogy section for those who wish to explore their roots in more depth. All the necessary permissions are in place and it is all hands on deck to make it happen. Q: Did you envisage such a move when you originally took over the chq building in 2013? A: I knew that we needed to do something with the building that would attract people. I was interested in the diaspora idea, but

we weren’t clear about the direction that those ideas might take. We also looked at previous proposals for the building but concluded that a world-class, interactive Irish emigration visitor attraction was by far the best idea. Q: There are many tourist attractions in the capital at present, what makes you think there is a need for another? A: We canvassed a number of the tourism bodies along with commercial businesses that service both locals and visitors in Dublin. All our research indicated that there was a lot of demand that was not being met. Q: Any other future plans for the chq building? A: We recently opened Dublin’s first commercial technology co-working space when we moved Dogpatch Labs in to the building. That’s going very well and indeed better than expected. Our events and exhibition calendar continues to increase and the recently announced plans to bring Christmas back to the Custom House Quarter area in November 2015 are well underway. I’m delighted that my good friend Feargal Quinn has agreed to lend his considerable expertise to

this charitable project. Mervyn Greene, my younger stepbrother who lives in Kinsale, is currently looking at a feasibility study to examine whether we can bring an experiential, high-quality, food market to Dublin. If so, the focus will be on Irish food and ingredients. Finally, both Lisney and HWBC will be marketing the various restaurant spaces between CHQ and Georges Dock to accommodate what we see as significant demand in the future. We will continue to focus on the existing lunch trade which has been very successful. Q: With the plans in place, will this mean you will be travelling from your US base to Ireland on a more regular basis? A: Yes, I’ve made a promise to Mervyn and his team that I’ll visit at least four times per year. Personally, it’s a very easy promise to make because I’m very fond of this historic building and the exciting and challenging projects it offers. Seeing the improvements every time I visit is great. These days the building is buzzing at lunchtime and our records indicate that the footfall has increased at least 80 per cent since early 2014.

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14/04/2015 14:49


FEATURE

Airbnb or not to be

To

In the wake of the announcement of 200 new jobs for its Dublin office, Valerie Jordan speaks to Airbnb’s Head of Global Customer Experience, Aisling Hassell, about the accommodation phenomenon.

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028 InBusiness Q1 2015_AirBNB.indd 28

A

irbnb is a hot topic; so hot, it’s been heard used as a verb: ‘Have you Airbnb’d before?’ Whether or not you’ve used this aberration you’ve undoubtedly wondered about the accommodation phenomenon or contemplated whether or not ‘to Airbnb’. Airbnb was founded in 2008 in San Francisco, naturally, as a platform for people to list, discover and book accommodation all over the world. The trust-based marketplace connects people with properties at a range of price points, from a luxury castle to a simple bed in a shared apartment. Guests benefit from both a unique property and the local experience; hosts can monetise their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions. “If someone is looking for a unique travel experience they should look at the properties we have available on Airbnb,” says Aisling

Airbnb by Numbers

1 million + LISTINGS CURRENTLY

+

190

COUNTRIES ARE LISTED ACROSS THE GLOBE

+ +

34,000 CITIES ARE LISTED

6of 10 LISTINGS ARE IN EUROPE

+

4,500 IRISH LISTINGS

Hassell, Head of Global Customer Experience. “Right now we have over one million properties in 190 countries. We’ve everything from a room in a private home to a standalone villa, to a treehouse, to a castle. There are very unique properties, but there’s also a great variety of properties to suit every type of budget or traveller. And if you’re travelling on your own it’s great to stay with a local, as you’ll see a place through the eyes of a local.” Airbnb is probably the best example of the prominence of the sharing economy, in which people share or rent assets from each other. Its growth has been made possible by the internet, enabling people to connect asset with need. Airbnb allows anyone become a hotelier, or host, and guests pay less than they would through a traditional provider, encouraging repeat use. The market self regulates through peer-to-peer reviews, which also promote trust and transparency. “Look at the growth of the sharing economy and what it’s InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

14/04/2015 14:50


FEATURE

forecast to grow, which is anywhere between $3.5 and $15bn depending on who you talk to. The sharing economy is a movement; the age of having to own everything is over and people are quite comfortable – particularly the millennial generation – with sharing. We’re part of a growing phenomenon. “Globally, however, our brand awareness is low still,” continues Hassell. “In the last year it’s changed dramatically, but compared with some of the leading brands we are very small. So there’s a lot of potential for more people to become aware of the brand, try out the experience and become repeat users. We need to sustain the momentum.” Customer experience, or CX, is key to sustaining momentum. There’s often discussion around safety and security in the great Airbnb debate, but Hassell says the peer review system makes it both safe and reliable: “We verify hosts and guests and we encourage our hosts and guests to have an exchange InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

028 InBusiness Q1 2015_AirBNB.indd 29

and make sure they know who’s coming into their home or whose home they’re going to be sharing. It’s peer-reviewed and our users are very generous with feedback. “We also take care of payments: when you book a listing we verify that the payment method works, so a host knows that they have a bona fide payment, but we don’t release that payment until the guest has checked-in and everything is ok. We safeguard that transaction from both sides.” BUSINESS AND BREAKFAST Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky is reputedly still an active host, and the company’s employees always stay in Airbnb properties when they travel for business (and usually also for pleasure), and Hassell says Airbnb is a good option for business trips. “We see business travellers using the platform. Travelling a lot for business can get quite tedious and some guests enjoy the homely experience of staying with a host. It

Airbnb’s Dublin office space, designed by local architects heneghan peng

Aisling Hassell, Head of Global Customer Experience, Airbnb

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FEATURE

Dublin office reception area

Airbnb’s proposed new office building, The Warehouse, in the Silicon Docks area of Dublin

The Collaborative Consumers

Airbnb is the poster child of the sharing economy, but it’s a model for business that’s set to grow and continue. Here are some other examples of businesses embracing the movement to share.

GOCAR

HOUSE MY DOG

GoCar.ie is Ireland’s on-demand car-sharing company that allows drivers to rent a car by the hour, offering a real alternative to car ownership. Irish Rail and GoCar recently partnered to locate vehicles at 14 stations in Ireland.

House My Dog has been dubbed the Airbnb for dogs: It’s a happier and cheaper alternative to kennels that matches dog minders with dog owners while they are away on holidays.

DUBLINBIKES

Streetbank allows neighbours to give away things they no longer need and share their assets and skills with each other. Its aim is to help people enjoy their things and their neighbours more.

As of February 2015 the Coca-Cola Zero dublinbikes have almost 52,000 long-term subscribers who have taken almost 9.5m journeys since its launch. 95 per cent of all journeys made are free.

30

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STREETBANK

gives them the chance to have a bit of a real life, particularly if they’re staying over a weekend, and enjoy the area through the host. “We also signed a deal with Concur, the business travel expense company, so that Airbnb can go through the standard expense system like any other accommodation a business traveller would use. Right now it’s focused on the US market but it’s something we want to extend globally.” There’s a vibrancy in the Airbnb office that’s palpable. Maybe it’s the quirky, relaxed space – the reception is modelled on an Irish pub – typical of the tech sector. Airbnb encourages its employees to use the platform and benefit from the experience they espouse with a $500 Airbnb coupon to use each

quarter – maybe the coupons have just been replenished. Or perhaps it’s because the people who work here are as enthusiastic as Hassell about what they do. “The culture at Airbnb is phenomenal. I’ve worked for a number of companies and it’s very different. We’re founder led and the founders are very passionate about CX and the experience we give our guests, our hosts and our community. They’re also very passionate about employee experience and we spend a lot of time on the culture of the company and hiring for fit.” Airbnb has employed 300 people in Dublin in less than two years, making it one of the fastest growing companies in the country. It has just announced 200 new jobs for Dublin across all functions including customer experience, human resources, finance, trust & safety and IT. Career opportunities at Airbnb are posted online at www.airbnb.ie/ jobs/locations/dublin-ireland. “Our growth is testament to the success of Ireland to date. The founders selected Ireland because they felt that Dublin and Ireland was synonymous with hospitality and they felt it was a home where we could get really great talent and grow,” says Hassell. To find unique properties, become a host or just to join in the conversation, visit www.airbnb.ie. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

15/04/2015 10:27


Looking for Triple Accreditation + Global Recognition + Flexibility in one MBA?

Find us on

The Henley MBA is the right choice for you. Contact our programme director to find out more Dr. Mary Hogan / mary.hogan@imi.ie / 01 207 8551 / www.imi.ie

A global delivery model The Henley MBA is ideal for those who cannot commit to a full time MBA. It is one of 57 triple-accredited MBA programmes worldwide. It is delivered at the Irish Management Institute with global faculty and a diverse cohort of peers. Within this MBA you also get the option to complete an international study trip.

Finland / Germany / Hong Kong / South Africa Ireland / Malta / Denmark / Trinidad

234948_1C_IMF_AMA_IB.indd 1

Check www.imi.ie/events for upcoming events in 2015

14/04/2015 17:06


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14/04/2015 17:07


FEATURE

SNAP

CHAT Veronica Kenneally (41) Founder, Veronica’s Snacks

I HAVE A PERSONAL MOTTO:

“Only eat what tastes good, and avoid rubbish.” SO I DECIDED TO START MY OWN ‘CRISP CRUSADE’ TO DEVELOP A BAKED, LOWER-FAT, GLUTEN-FREE CRISP.

Once you have all your information, facts and figures prepared, along with determination and perseverance, it’s not difficult to secure business, as long as you have the right product to offer. Buyers are highly experienced and extremely busy professionals so you need to have your homework done and be as concise as possible with your sales pitch. Bluffers will be caught out immediately. [Securing 465,000 in equity investment] is game-changing for our ‘healthier-for you’ brand. We’ve had a fantastic response to the announcement. It will enable us to finance the development of more ranges and flavours and it will help fund our entry into new markets. Securing funding can be difficult, but rest assured that it is possible. Believe in what you are doing; you are going to make mistakes, so learn from them and drive on and build a good team around you. We’ve invested heavily in our brand, and in partnership with Designworks we have created a brand that is fun, friendly and appealing. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

033 InBusiness Q1 2015_SnapChat.indd 33

We are a nation of crisp lovers, that’s for sure! If you look at the list of Ireland’s top-selling grocery brands, there are crisp brands in the top ten every year. There’s a very strong cultural and historical link to potatoes in this country and maybe our love of crisps comes from that. Childhood obesity is a very real and worrying problem for parents, schools and society as a whole. I think it is best tackled through food education, not just for children, but for their parents and wider families too. My personal favourite is our Roast Tomato and Spanish Paprika Veggie Crisp. But if you ask my children, their firm favourite is our dinosaur-shaped cheese snacks called Crunchy Creatures.

Our company has definitely turned a corner in 2015

and I feel that this is going to be the ‘year of breakthroughs’ for many more small Irish companies.

We have just returned from Biofach in Germany, which is a trade fair for organic food. We met buyers there from all over the world, who are very keen to list Veronica’s Snacks.

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FEATURE

EASY With 15 stores in Ireland and over 400 worldwide, Tiger has become something of a poster boy for retailers operating in highly challenging markets. JOSEPH O’CONNOR caught up with the man behind the biggest Scandinavian phenomenon since IKEA and the woman who spotted an opportunity to bring it here.

I

t all started with umbrellas. Lennart Lajboschitz and his wife Suz began selling them from stalls at various flea markets and rock festivals in their home country of Denmark in the early ’90s. That’s where Lajboschitz plied his trade. But as children came along in the intervening years, coupled with his discovery that in Denmark it only rains an average of 157 days a year, Lajboschitz needed something a little more reliable. In the summer of 1995, the couple opened a pop-up store in Copenhagen which Lajboschitz left in the capable hands of his brother’s girlfriend while on holiday. Upon their return, they discovered just how well the goods sold at a price of 10 kroner. Lajboschitz’s eight-year old daughter named the shop ‘Tiger’ in keeping with the animal theme (in 1998 they had opened a clearance shop called Zebra). It made sense to her father given that in Danish 34

034 InBusiness Q1 2015_Tiger.indd 34

a ‘tiger’ and a ‘ten’ is pronounced exactly the same. And so the flagship store for a unique brand of cut-price curio was born. Two decades on and Tiger has become synonomous with its own-brand, simple, colourful lifestyle products. These can be anything from mini melody boxes and disposable cameras to plastic tooth picks and onesie outfits. It has over 400 outlets across 25 countries and is about to launch a new store in New York, its first foray into the US market. In 2013 there was an impressive 56 per cent growth throughout the global company and positive figures are expected for 2014 when they release their results in May. Described as a kind of Scandinavian pound shop emporium, the model – which places a strong emphasis on design – has struck a chord with consumers and its appeal transcends borders. It took some time but I finally reach Lajboschitz on his home office phone in Copenhagen. These days

he’s still on the board of Tiger but has stepped aside from daily operations. Despite this, he gives the impression that he remains heavily involved in the company. Speaking with him, I discover a philosophical man who often uses metaphors to accentuate his point. He describes himself as an anthropologist, not a businessman, who is inspired by products that can help people “realise their values”. The major strength behind Tiger’s success, as Lajboschitz sees it, lies with the company’s reluctance to be dictated by trends. “At Tiger we’re not trying to find or make trends in a commercial way,” he explains. “We are creating what we believe is right. When we select a product it’s not as a result of a survey, it’s about looking at how people live and what changes are taking place. The mission in Tiger is recognising that people have thoughts and values and looking at how we can convert those values into something tangible. It could be that we set up a café, a record company or collaborate with artists, but it is about how we can help someone realise their values. If you have a son and we can make you go and play with him – perhaps by selling you a stupid football – what that football does for you is something very important.” InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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FEATURE

Tiger staff at the opening of its Limerick store in February 2015

Lennart Lajboschitz, Founder, Tiger Stores

A DESIGN FOR LIFE China is the biggest supplier of Tiger goods, and the firm’s buyers attend fairs there twice a year. The products are designed by Tiger’s own team of designers based in Copenhagen, led by Suz who has seen and approved a prototype of every item sold by the company. This enables Tiger to be consistent in the products they offer. Design is what lies at the heart of the couple’s vision and Lajboschitz, who was once an art photographer, believes design itself plays a significant role in people’s daily lives. “Generally in the Western World we have more or less what we need,” he says. “But we connect with where we live and how we live through design and so it’s important to have design and art around you that makes a huge difference to the value of your life. People enjoy connecting and expressing themselves through designed products that have something more than just a basic life. Our lives can be a bit boring and we have reached a certain level where it InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

034 InBusiness Q1 2015_Tiger.indd 35

“WE ARE

CREATING WHAT WE BELIEVE IS RIGHT. WHEN WE SELECT A PRODUCT IT’S NOT AS A RESULT OF A SURVEY, IT’S ABOUT

LOOKING AT HOW PEOPLE LIVE AND

WHAT CHANGES ARE TAKING PLACE. THE MISSION IN TIGER IS RECOGNISING THAT PEOPLE

HAVE THOUGHTS AND VALUES.”

is not enough to just have functional products, we need to have things that actually have an impact on us. Art and design can create this impact.” Staying innovative is key to remaining successful, according to Lajboschitz. This is why he believes it is crucial to keep connected with how people are living. This might explain why he and his family continue to set up a stall at the Roskilde music festival every year. “We have to move all the time,” he explains. “If we don’t move we’re going to die because society is always changing. Anything that lives now and is static will not be there in the future. Technology is changing, how we look at the world is changing and we need to change with it. Despite this, our mission will remain the same; to help people live out their values. If we can do this we’ll be happy.” When asked about any plans to open a store in a country where they are not currently operating, Lajboschitz seems reluctant to be drawn on a given place but suggests

The Big Sellers In 2014 Tiger sold over

1,250km

of ribbon in its Irish stores, which equates to over 20,000 rolls.

+

Tiger sells over 20 different colours of candles. In 2014, Tiger Ireland sold over

10,000

+

white dinner candles.

Tiger sells more than

600

packs of tissue paper a week across its Irish stores.

+

On average Tiger Ireland sells

1,750

greetings cards per week.

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FEATURE

Gillian on Lennart “Lennart is a truly inspirational man. The really amazing thing about working with him is that there is a real embracing of trying new things. There’s a culture of ‘it’s okay to try things and if they don’t work, well that’s okay, at least we tried’. He challenges us by asking us what have we done differently today. It’s a really great creative atmosphere to work in where you don’t have to follow the rules all the time and if you can make an argument that doing something different has a value to it, you can go with it.”

Gillian Maxwell, Operations Manager, Tiger Stores Ireland and Northern Ireland

the possibility of looking at other parts of Asia given Tiger’s recent success in Japan. “Our shops there are very exciting because Japan has very high aesthetic standards in design,” he says. “We’ve had great success there and that was something which was a real thrill. I’m very happy with where we have shops already. It’s not so much about the quantity of shops, it’s more about seeing the ideas come to life.”

CELTIC TIGER This time it started with a search for an umbrella. Dublin native Gillian Maxwell and her husband Niall Stringer were in London on a business trip. Desperate to get shelter from the rain and in search of a shop stocking umbrellas, Maxwell and Stringer stumbled upon a Tiger store. The rest, as they say, is history. Maxwell recounts her first Tiger experience. “We went in and I became slightly obsessed. My 36

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daughter was about to start school so I bought loads of stationery and just kept raving to Niall about the store. I couldn’t get over the products, the price, the offering. And so, before we were even on the flight back to Dublin that night, we had Googled, investigated and realised that there was an opportunity. The store had really spoken to the both of us.” The Irish couple acted fast. They emailed Tiger’s head office that very night. Over the following months the pair went to Copenhagen to meet Lajboschitz with the Tiger team visiting Dublin some time after. In September 2011 the first Irish store opened in Dún Laoghaire. “It all happened very quickly,” recalls Maxwell. “It was 2011 and people were saying ‘are you mad starting a retail business?’ It was also very difficult to explain what Tiger was. It’s such a different offering to what’s on the high street so there was that moment of ‘are we mad? Are we doing the right thing?’ But we stuck to our guns and from day one there has been really positive customer feedback.” Three and a half years have passed and Maxwell and Stringer have just

opened their 15th store in Sligo town. The other 14 are located in Dublin, Kildare, Galway, Cork and Limerick. Tiger Stores Ireland is run on a partnership basis rather than as a franchise so Tiger’s parent company Zebra owns 50 per cent of Tiger Ireland with the Irish couple owning the other 50 per cent. “Where that differs from a franchise is that there’s a real involvement with the parent company,” says Maxwell. “We run the day-to-day operations of the Irish company with an oversight from Denmark. They provided initial capital but they also provide the expertise in the procurement of the goods. It really is an active partnership.” So why has the Tiger brand struck such a chord with Irish shoppers? According to Maxwell, it comes down to good value and great design. “The Irish are open to Scandinavian design,” she says. “We see it with IKEA. We like good design as a nation. For me the nub of it all has been high value but low cost. The recession helped us in a way because people couldn’t afford high ticket items. People still might want to buy some new napkins for their table, some pretty coloured candles, new mugs for the kitchen. Our offering allows you to put something new, nice and pretty in your house without spending big money.” Tiger Stores was named Company of the Year and Best Small Company at last year’s Retail Excellence Ireland Awards. A strong endorsement given the company had only been operating in Ireland for three years. It’s also evidence that Tiger is now being viewed as one of Ireland’s leading brands, and one that will only strengthen in the coming years with the opening of more stores. “We hope to open another four or five this year,” says Maxwell. “We’re constantly looking to expand and we feel there is an opportunity to grow the business in Ireland amid a real positivity towards us. But it depends on who you talk to. If you ask Niall, he’ll say seven or eight.” InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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SME FEATURE

EXPLORING NEW

HEIGHTS

IB: Where did the idea to set up a climbing wall come from? BB: My business partner Al had always wanted to open one. It had been on his mind for quite some time but he never really 38

038 InBusiness Q1 2015_SME.indd 38

had the right person to do it with. I had taken voluntary redundancy from Dell and was looking for something to do but didn’t want to go back and work for another multinational. I wanted

to do something fun and cool. I was having dinner with a friend of mine and we were chatting about the possibility. I texted Al and he got back and said “let’s do it!” It all happened very quickly.

IB: Why did you choose to focus on bouldering rather than top rope and lead climbing? BB: It’s more where our heart was. When we originally decided to do it Al was adamant that it had to be just bouldering. I was unsure and thought that perhaps it should be a bit of both. I travelled over to the UK and did a tour of all the walls there and noticed that the vibe with bouldering walls was much better. There just seemed to be more craic than in lead walls or top open

Cristian Gâitan

Brian Bliss and Al Sarhan left high flying corporate jobs to follow their dream of building a climbing wall in Ireland. InBUSINESS caught up with Brian to discover how the new Dublin-based indoor facility aims to cater for the growing number of people interested in the sport of bouldering.

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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SME FEATURE

walls. With a bouldering wall, you can climb right next to a professional climber because you can have an easy route which is right next to a difficult route. It’s way more social, there’s way more fun and just a much better vibe. Climbing walls are great but I get the feeling that they’re a bit like a hostel. There’s loads of people there, there’s loads of rules, you need to queue. You come into a busy bouldering wall and it feels like a pub. You can talk to anyone. It’s really social. IB: Would you say climbing is becoming a more popular sport in Ireland? BB: Its popularity is growing along with other adventure sports. You can look at mountain biking, rock climbing, the whole population just seems to be more open to adventure sports. The great thing from a climbing perspective is that the triathlon/cross-fit explosion really suits it. Cyclists and people who go to the gym every day are our main customers. They come in and want to do exercise but something that’s different. When you leave a climbing wall you are exhausted. You may have been there two hours, have had a great time but every muscle is sore. You twist and turn your body in ways that you never thought you could. With some sports there’s a lot of elitism where the people who are at an advanced level don’t really mix with the beginners. You don’t get that with the new generation of InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

038 InBusiness Q1 2015_SME.indd 39

Cristian Gâitan

climbers. It’s a case of throwing everyone in together and having great craic! IB: Is it an expensive sport to take up? BB: No, in fact it’s really cheap. People come in and pay 8.50. They’ll get 50 minutes with Al, one of the best climbers in Ireland for the past ten years. They’ll then get an induction, will be able to climb and will have great fun. That’s less than the price of going to the cinema. We offer packages for people who come once or twice a week. Overall, I think we’ve underpriced what we offer. IB: What kind of customer numbers do you currently have? BB: We see between 60 and 100 people come in on a given day. There’s quieter days obviously but they are the average numbers. If I can get school groups and corporate groups in between 12 and 5pm I’ll be happy and that’s something I’m working on but we’re getting there and making really good progress.

Working on the marketing side of things is really good fun. I worked in marketing for Dell five years ago which was great but with this you’re not restrained to corporate guidelines. You can organise a pizza night and don’t have to ask anyone’s permission. You just do it and you get lots of people in as a result. IB: How have you funded the business? BB: We’ve funded it personally. We have no investors or no loans between the two us. We’re lucky in that sense that we’ve done well in the past ten years. IB: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since taking on the project? BB: The most valuable lesson has been to listen to the people who know what they’re talking about. When an architect says “you’re not going to get away with that”, listen to them because they know what they’re talking about. From a business point

WHAT IS BOULDERING? Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad. It is typically practised on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in indoor climbing centres. One advantage of bouldering in an indoor centre with crash pads is that it can be practised without a partner. Bouldering is a style of climbing emphasising power, strength, and dynamics. Its focus is on individual moves or short sequences of moves, unlike other forms of climbing, which generally demand more endurance over longer stretches where the difficulty of individual moves is not as great.

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BOOK BITE If climbing outdoors is more your thing make sure to check out David Flanagan’s new book Rock Climbing in Ireland, the only guidebook documenting Irish climbing in a single volume. It details over 400 classic climbs spread across 22 crags in some of Ireland’s wildest, most beautiful coastal and mountain areas. With details of climbs of all grades accompanied with directions and maps, there is plenty for all climbers no matter what their ability. High-quality photographs top off a wonderful book which is essential reading for anyone interested in climbing. Rock Climbing in Ireland is published by Three Rock Books and is available at a25 from usual outlets and threerockbooks.com.

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of view, the big lesson is not to make any hasty decisions. We had two quiet Mondays in a row and we said right away, “we need to sort out Mondays!” We reacted when essentially we didn’t have a problem. We needed to calm down, accept that we’re only new, and monitor it for a couple of months. It’s like in the corporate industry, when I’d send an email to someone two steps further up the ladder to me, I would always write the email, go for a coffee, come back, re-read it and then send it. Sometimes you think you have a problem or you think there’s something that needs to be addressed, but you simply need to chill out for a few days and take another look at it and make sure the emotion is gone. IB: Who has the business head between you and Al? BB: We both do and that can be a problem. We both have distinct sides of the business that we run. Al is in charge of the wall himself so he sets the

David Flanagan

David Flanagan

SME FEATURE

routes, he had the final say on the design and the policies around staff ratios. I’m in charge of the marketing side of things, the café area, paying the bills, looking after the staff. So we have two dinstinct parts of the business and we discuss them all the time. Regarding the business head, I would make more of the decisions but we’re always in agreement. Al has come up with a few fantastic ideas and it has killed me! IB: Where would you like to see the business in five years’ time?

BB: I want to see climbers on the wall who have never climbed before and I want to see them coming to us regularly. Obviously, I’d like to see my investment paid back but that can be done by having climbers, who were originally introduced to climbing at the Wall, keep coming back. That’s my goal. The Wall in Sandyford, Dublin opened last December and caters for all ages from six years up. It opens seven days a week. For information on special corporate events or services email brian@thewall.ie InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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BOOK EXTRACT

SUSSING OUT OUR

START-UP

SCENE It isn’t just Irish start-ups that are looking to thrive in Dublin’s tech world, Europe has taken notice too. This extract from new book Silicon Docks: The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub details how two Italian tech entrepreneurs were lured to these shores. By PHILIP CONNOLLY uca Boschin and Alessandro Prest had heard about Dublin so, in 2014, they came to see the place for themselves. The Italian duo had originally set up in Switzerland. When it came to moving on, Dublin beckoned as the best destination to get their tech firm LogoGrab off the ground. Only a few days off a plane in June 2014, Boschin and Prest are well into a crash course of one of the quirks of the city’s budding start-up scene – Silicon Valley may have its cafés and restaurants, but Dublin has its pubs. In this case, the pub is The Stag’s Head, located off 42

042 InBusiness Q1 2015_Silicon Docks.indd 42

Dame Street in Dublin’s city centre. It is hosting Techpreneurs, one of the city’s original tech meet-ups. The event is running a little late and the duo are wondering what the evening will be all about. There will be speeches, they are reliably informed but, for now, they can just relax and have a couple of drinks with their new Dublin comrades. And they need not worry about money – Bank of Ireland is picking up the tab. It too has heard about Dublin’s start-up set and wants to get in on the action. Tonight, at the invite-only event, the crowd is a mix of heavy hitters and young hopefuls. Barely in the room a few minutes, Boschin and Prest are already handing

out business cards and pitching LogoGrab, which professes to be planning to kill the QR code with its ability to scan any logo from a smartphone and link it to a webpage. The duo have already caught the attention of Gary Leyden, one of the most recognisable faces among Irish start-ups. Leyden runs Launchpad, an accelerator programme that is responsible for a huge number of Irelandbased start-ups that are traversing the globe in search of sales and investments. They have also been quick off the mark in terms of setting up an office. Rather than looking to get in on Dublin’s booming office market, the duo have taken a more innovative approach. Just across from Silicon Docks at the IFSC, in the part of town where billion-dollar hedge funds trump tech giants, Boschin and Prest have rented a duplex apartment. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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BOOK EXTRACT

The bottom floor will be for sleeping, the top converted into an office for work. Now, in one of the many apartments built during Ireland’s feverish property boom that was designed to appease lavish Celtic Tiger cubs, it is the tech elite who reign. The duo have inherited some of the best views of the city, which can be viewed from their very own terrace pool. They have already raised close to $1 million, some of which came from Enterprise Ireland, and now plan to get going on sales. Aside from the intimacy of Dublin, the fact that half of their potential customers are now on their doorstep was another big selling point. For it isn’t just Irish start-ups that are looking to thrive in Dublin’s tech world, Europe has taken notice too. The talk of the evening, however, will give the two men a window into some of the more-prescient InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

042 InBusiness Q1 2015_Silicon Docks.indd 43

debates that are taking place among Ireland’s tech elite. While the title of the evening is ‘Startup Scene versus Software Industry’, the talk of the evening has really surrounded the question of where exactly Ireland’s start-up scene is going. It is still young, but it is no longer a new phenomenon. However, it still has not seen as a real hit. There have been million-euro funding rounds, and more than a few exits (in which founders have left their companies, either by selling them or through IPOs), but no Irish start-up has really hit the big time. The question of where to go next splits the audience. For some, Dublin needs to figure out what its raison d’être is, what exactly it offers beyond low taxes, talent and questionable weather. For others, a massive exit and the validation that comes with that is just around the corner. It is a debate that has become a refrain among Irish founders.

This is an extract from Silicon Docks: The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub, which is edited by Pamela Newenham and published by Liberties Press. The book is available in bookshops nationwide, priced at a17.99. For more details on Silicon Docks go to our book review section on page 99.

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

CHAMBERS

CATCH UP STRONG

CHAMBER COMMENT

RETURNS

WELCOMED Chambers Ireland welcomed positive Exchequer Returns for the first quarter of the year. Responding to the figures, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland said: “The positive Exchequer Returns provide further evidence that Government now have flexibility for constructive and meaningful reductions in taxation to put money back in people’s pockets. This will also reduce pressure on businesses to increase wages thereby continuing to maintain our competitiveness.”

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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LIMERICK CHAMBER

NURTURES START-UPS

Attendees receive mentoring at the Limerick Chamber event

LIMERICK CHAMBER HOSTED A SPECIAL EVENT for participants of the National Franchise Centre (NFC) to highlight how the Chamber supports start-ups and new business growth through membership services. The NFC is an enterprise hub in the heart of Limerick city which was established by Limerick Institute of Technology in partnership with Limerick Chamber. All participants of the NFC’s startup programmes are offered subsidised membership of Limerick Chamber. During the gathering, participants enjoyed networking with their peers, engaging with the Chamber team and learning how to build their business with the support of Limerick Chamber.

“The Credit Guarantee Scheme has not had the desired effect. The inclusion of refinancing loans where an SME’s bank is exiting the market will open this product up to more businesses and will provide a source of support to otherwise viable companies who have struggled to secure the finance necessary to continue to trade.” Mark O’Mahoney, Director of Policy and Communications, Chambers Ireland welcomes the extension of the Credit Guarantee Scheme to include refinancing loans and a longer guarantee.

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CHAMBERS NEWS

CHAMBERS COLLABORATE CHAMBER COMMENT “We encourage the negotiators for both regions to leverage the current momentum on both sides of the Atlantic to reach a deal that will allow both economies to realise the full benefits as soon as possible.” Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot speaking after the release of the Copenhagen Economics report on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement which predicts a large and positive impact for the Irish economy.

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FOR REGIONAL EVENT

The annual Chamber business networking event, which this year was held at the Radisson Blu hotel on the Ennis Road in Limerick, demonstrated the value of engaging the members of three chambers in a singular setting. Organised by the Chambers of Ennis, Limerick and Shannon in association with Limerick Chamber Skillnet, Magnet Business, Shannon Airport and Top Part to encourage members of all Chambers, and non-members, to present their respective products and services to each other, the event attracted over 180 business people who busily exchanged information and business cards. The three Chamber CEOs are already planning ahead for a bigger and better Chamber regional networking event in 2016.

CHAMBER PRESIDENT WELCOMES SUPPORT FOR TOURISM

Laura Chawke, Shannon Airport; Rachel Joyce, Limerick Chamber Skillnet; Alec Fleming, Ennis Chamber Interim CEO; Helen Downes, Shannon Chamber CEO; Dr. James Ring, Limerick Chamber CEO; Maura McMahon, Limerick Chamber; Anne Morris, Limerick Chamber Skillnet; Danielle Devlin, Skillnet Management Works; Louise McKeown, Magnet Business.

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alway Chamber President Frank Greene has welcomed support by Government for the tourism industry following the release of their most recent tourism policy statement. Greene pointed out that the sector as a whole accounts for 4 per cent of gross national product (GNP) supporting almost 205,000 jobs, equivalent to 11 per cent of total employment in the country. “We need Government to continue to ensure that tourism remains at the heart of Ireland’s economic policy and to recognise the valuable role played by tourism in growing the Irish economy and generating increased employment,” he said.

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CHAMBERS NEWS

Ballyhaunis Chamber elects new President

Chamber Profile: GOREY The business community of North Wexford received a considerable boost recently with the official launch of Gorey Chamber’s membership of the Chambers Ireland network. Following a number of discussions between both organisations, Gorey Chamber became a fully fledged member last July. An important element of Gorey Chamber’s work has been to provide supports to the local business community including its monthly build your business networking meetings, a range of after hour events, the gVoucher, the quarterly AIB North Wexford Business Awards, and lobbying Wexford County Council on rates, parking, planning and business development in addition to forging and maintaining links with South East Chambers.

TRANSITION YEAR

BUSINESS AWARDS LAUNCHED

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ork Chamber and the College of Business & Law, UCC, have launched the annual Transition Year (TY) Business Awards for 2015, sponsored by BNY Mellon. Cork Chamber Chief Executive Conor Healy said: “The Chamber is delighted to continue its support of these awards in 2015. Continuous collaboration between businesses and education institutes are crucial to encouraging entrepreneurship as a viable career choice at an early age.” The prize for this year’s winning team is a1,000 for their school and a500 and a250 for those schools in second and third place. The closing date for entries is May 1st with the prize-giving ceremony taking place in the Aula Maxima, UCC on May 21st 2015.

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Malcolm Byrne, Cathaoirleach, Wexford County Council; Ian Talbot, CEO Chambers Ireland; Marian McKenna, Gorey Chamber; Jim Hughes, Vice President, Gorey Chamber at the January launch of Gorey Chamber’s new membership and new business start-up incentive pack.

BRITISH EMBASSY FORGES LINKS WITH DUNDALK Dundalk Chamber hosted the British Embassy in February aimed at forging strong trade ties between British and Irish business. Paul Caplis, Deputy Director of Trade and Investment at the British Embassy, visited Dundalk for a series of one-to-one meetings with various companies from the region. He expressed delight with the number and variety of contacts made. Among the topics discussed were the significance of a weakening euro and the opportunity for Irish exporters to Great Britain.

Following the Ballyhaunis Chamber AGM and subsequent Sue McMillan, meeting for the election of Ballyhaunis officers, Sue McMillan has Chamber President been appointed President of the Ballyhaunis Chamber of Commerce. McMillan has been involved with the Chamber of Commerce locally and in the UK for many years. Speaking after her appointment, McMillan said: “The recession is still biting small towns and Ballyhaunis is still feeling this. With the new Council Executive Committee for the Ballyhaunis Chamber in place, along with a mixture of older and younger generations of the Ballyhaunis businesses community, I feel confident we will turn this corner.”

CHAMBER COMMENT “While the latest labour market figures are positive, businesses need to be encouraged to take on more employees and this will only be possible if they have certainty that future wage expectations will be realistic.” Mark O’Mahoney, Director of Policy and Communications, Chambers Ireland responds to the Live Register figures released in April which show that the rate of unemployment now stands at 10 per cent.

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CHAMBER NEWS MEDIATION

MEDIATION AND THE COURTS: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Ahead of the introduction of new legislation on mediation, InBUSINESS examines the relationship between the courts and mediation in other jurisdictions and whether any lessons can be learned.

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ince the turn of the 21st century, the use of mediation to resolve commercial disputes has increased in many regions around the world. The increase can be partly attributed to civil justice reforms in the UK, Australia and Canada. The European Union has also taken steps to encourage greater engagement of mediation as a way of resolving commercial dispute by introducing the Mediation Directive 2008, which has been given effect in many European countries. While there has been an increase in the use of mediation in Ireland in recent years, particularly as a consequence of changes to the Superior Courts Rules 2010 which allows judges to direct parties to information sessions on mediation, the relationship between mediation and the courts is still not as developed as that of our international counterparts, particularly common law jurisdictions like Australia and Canada. It is hoped that the Mediation Bill 2015 will be introduced in the Dรกil before the end of the year and that this will go some way to increasing the use of mediation

While there has been an increase in the use of mediation in Ireland in recent years, particularly as a consequence of changes to the Superior Courts Rules 2010 which allows judges to direct parties to information sessions on mediation, the relationship between mediation and the courts is still not as developed as that of our international counterparts particularly common law jurisdictions like Australia and Canada.

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as an alternative to litigation. In the run up to the legislation being introduced, it is worth examining the relationship between the courts and mediation in other jurisdictions and whether any lessons can be learned as we prepare to introduce our own legislation on mediation.

AUSTRALIA In recent years Australia has seen a significant shift in favour of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation. In all Australian jurisdictions (both state and federal), courts now have the power to refer parties to mediation. The Australian courts, particularly in New South Wales, have been encouraging the use of ADR and mediation since the mid-1990s. The Civil Procedure Act 2005 of New South Wales expanded existing provisions so that the courts could order mediation without the consent of the parties. A delay or failure to agree to mediate can also result in an adverse costs order. Statistics show that there is a strong settlement rate for matters referred to mediation; for example, a recent study considering court referred mediations in the New South Wales Supreme Court over a period of three years revealed a settlement rate of 46 per cent.

UNITED KINGDOM Mediation is well recognised in the UK as an accepted form of ADR. Parties contemplating court litigation are under an obligation to consider

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CHAMBER NEWS MEDIATION

whether their dispute could be settled by ADR and the courts have various powers to encourage parties to mediate. Reforms introduced by the courts emphasise the early settlement of disputes through pre-action protocols, active case management and adverse costs consequences if parties unreasonably refused to attempt negotiation or consider ADR. A court may order a stay of proceedings on its own initiative if it considers it would be valuable to permit the parties time to mediate, and can impose costs sanctions where it considers that a party has unreasonably refused to attempt to mediate.

ITALY Italy has been to the fore in Europe when it comes to encouraging the use of mediation as an alternative to litigation. The ‘2013 Decree’ introduced mandatory mediation for certain legal disputes of a civil or commercial nature. The duty to mediate is mandatory for any disputes in relation to insurance, banking and financial agreements. In such cases, mediation must be attempted before court proceedings are commenced.

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CANADA Canada has also taken a proactive approach to encouraging the use of mediation. In Ontario in 1994, the Civil Justice Review Task Force looked at ways of creating a more efficient structure so that public resources could be maximised. At that point, time to trial was 5-7 years in civil suits, with average costs borne by each party close to 38,000 Canadian dollars. The courts introduced a two-year pilot for mandatory early mediation for all non-family civil case-managed cases filed in the Ontario Superior Courts of Justice in Ottawa and Toronto. This pilot scheme has evolved into the current ADR framework where parties now have 180 days to attend a mediation session. These changes have led to an increased success rate for mediation and faster, less costly resolution of civil disputes. The experience of the above jurisdictions shows that when the state and the courts take an active role in encouraging mediation, there is a notable reduction in the time and financial resources required to resolve disputes. Increased use of mediation ensures that the courts

system operates more efficiently and that the time and financial cost to the citizen will be significantly less. For this reason, Chambers Ireland is working with Eurochambres (the European Chamber of Commerce) and the European Association of Judges for Mediation on a project to encourage the courts to promote the use of mediation. The project, ‘Mediation Meets Judges’ aims to encourage mediation as an alternative to litigation in the hope of getting the message out, to SMEs in particular, that mediation should be their first option in a commercial dispute. This publication has been produced with the financial support of the Civil Justice Programme of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Chambers Ireland and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.

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CHAMBER NEWS MINIMUM WAGE

WAGE INCREASES MAY PROVE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE As the Government reviews the current mimimum wage level against economic and social circumstances, Sarah Foley, Policy and Research Executive, Chambers Ireland considers the consequences of a potential increase.

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n December 2014, the Minister for Business and Employment announced the establishment of a Low Pay Commission to advise Government on the appropriate level of the minimum wage. The eight members of this new body are now tasked with examining the minimum wage against economic and social circumstances and will complete their first report in mid-July 2015.

DO WE NEED AN INCREASE IN THE MINIMUM WAGE? When examining the rationale for a minimum wage increase, it is striking that there has been no net inflation since 2007 when the current rate was set. This observation alone would suggest that a review of the minimum pay is not needed at this time. In fact, if we compare the development of the inflation rate against that of the minimum wage it becomes evident that the minimum wage currently is worth 20 per cent more than when it was first introduced in 2000. Using the cost of living as an argument in favour of a review therefore falls short of being supported by real evidence. If looking towards the rest of Europe, it is also clear that the Irish minimum wage is not out of sync. Ireland currently has the fifth highest minimum pay in the EU when taking price differences into account. Compared to our nearest neighbour,

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an Irish employee working full time in a minimum wage job is 10 per cent better off than someone employed in a similar job in the UK. The argument that wage increases would reverse consistent poverty rates is also flawed. In 2013 the consistent poverty rate in Ireland was 8.2 per cent. An analysis of economic status shows that consistent poverty was highest among individuals who were unemployed (23.9 per cent). Comparatively, only 2 per cent of those in work experienced consistent poverty while only 3 per cent were at risk of poverty. Hereby, Ireland has the second lowest rate of poor/ at risk of poverty among the working population in Europe. As these figures suggest, the key to reducing poverty is not to pay higher wages to those already in employment. Instead, we should focus on creating jobs for those who have none which is the

Having survived seven years of hardship, Irish businesses are only now seeing the turn of tides. Many business owners have not been in a position to invest in their company since 2008 and if these are to remain viable they will need to do so now.

most effective way of ensuring all Irish people have a decent standard of living.

WAGE INCREASES OR MORE JOBS? Chambers Ireland fully recognises the importance of fair wage structures in a well-functioning economy. While some employers are thriving and can afford wage increases, the overall economic recovery is still fragile. Having survived seven years of hardship, Irish businesses are only now seeing the turn of tides. Many business owners have not been in a position to invest in their company since 2008 and if these are to remain viable they will need to do so now. If we increase the minimum wage business owners will have less money to invest in order to remain competitive and hence stay afloat, which ultimately may lead to job losses. A minimum wage increase would furthermore damage our national competitiveness. Since 2008 Ireland’s cost base has improved across a range of metrics making Irish businesses more competitive internationally and Ireland a more attractive destination for setting up a business. By 2012, however, our competitiveness began to weaken. Ireland remains a high cost location across a range of factors which means that further competitiveness gains must be achieved if we are to continually advance our export sector.

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CHAMBER NEWS MINIMUM WAGE

An increase in the minimum wage is likely to result in cost-push inflation driving up the cost of goods and services, which would undermine this objective. The negative impact on local job creation – particularly for startup companies and those focused on the domestic market – should also be carefully considered during discussions regarding the minimum wage. While living costs (particularly rents) in some parts of the country have recently increased, the statutory nature of the minimum wage would mean that review would have to be implemented nationally.

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF A PREMATURE MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE Amidst the establishment of the Low Pay Commission to review the level of the minimum wage, it is important to consider the consequences of a potential increase. Below we have outlined some likely consequences based on feedback from our members and international evidence.

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• Increasing the minimum wage will likely cause some companies to increase prices in an attempt to protect margins and the survival of the business. Irish companies would lose out on the competitiveness advantage that has been gained since the crisis and become less competitive relative to our international competitors. • A higher minimum wage could lead companies to stop hiring new employees due to concerns about increasing labour costs. The net number of new jobs created will thus stagnate. Other companies may be forced to reduce expenses to maintain profitability which could lead to job losses. • Increasing the minimum pay will likely trigger demands for wage increase across the economy which will further damage Ireland’s overall competitiveness. • A minimum wage increase will further widen the gap between the development of inflation and pay rates. Since its introduction, the minimum wage has seen an increase

from a5.58 in 2000 to a8.65 in 2015. The rate was last increased in 2007. Since then there has been no inflationary pressure to warrant further increases. In light of these potential consequences, it may be appropriate for Government to consider other methods to secure a certain standard of living for all employees. There are several other ways through which quality of life and net wages could be improved. These include USC or income tax reductions and better provision of affordable housing and childcare. At Chambers Ireland we believe the disproportionally high cost of childcare in Ireland combined with a lack of central housing supply are the main triggers for higher wage demands – particularly among low pay workers. Wage increases alone do not guarantee workers a decent living standard and may even prove counter-productive as overall numbers in employment are reduced or our competitiveness eroded. Chambers Ireland therefore suggests that alternative avenues be explored.

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15/04/2015 10:39


CHAMBER NEWS CHILDCARE

An Investment in our ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL WELLBEING Providing equal access to affordable childcare in Ireland is a prerequisite to further growing the economy and tackling social issues such as poverty and social exclusion, writes Sarah Foley, Policy and Research Executive, Chambers Ireland.

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n February this year, Minister for Children James Reilly announced the establishment of an interdepartmental group to review the current model of childcare provision. The outcome of this review could stand to significantly benefit both families and businesses as the group’s establishment represents the first important step towards developing a functional childcare system which is both accessible and affordable for parents.

THE NEED FOR AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE Access to affordable high-quality childcare is a long-established problem in Ireland. Despite the rising share of women participating in the labour market during the economic growth of the ’90s, policies have failed to address the requirement for an effective childcare system to allow both parents take up employment. This is a problem for both employees and employers which must be tackled in order to protect the future economic wellbeing of our country. While Ireland’s overall public expenditure on education as a proportion of GDP is relatively high in an EU context, the proportion spent on early childhood is much lower than the European norm. On average, EU member states allocate 0.7 per cent of GDP towards early

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childcare provision per annum. In Ireland, the percentage is only 0.4 per cent of GDP. To compare, this makes Ireland’s investment in childcare eight times lower than in Denmark or 2.5 times lower than the UK. Unlike in much of Europe, Irish public funding for childcare is also limited to a few specific schemes as opposed to broad support for the sector or parents which otherwise is a commonly adopted practice. For example, the ECCE Scheme is limited to 38 weeks of free childhood education for children between the ages of 3-4, while only individuals in receipt of social welfare payments or undertaking certain FÁS or VEC courses are entitled to subsidised childcare places. As a consequence of the lack of investment in early childhood care, net Irish childcare costs as a percentage of income are the highest in Europe. According to the OECD, the average cost of childcare across its member states is 12 per cent of a family’s income. In Ireland, however, the average cost of childcare represents a massive 35 per cent of a family’s income. For high income

earners, the percentage is 24 per cent - still double the OECD average.

WHY IS AFFORDABLE CHILDCARE IMPORTANT TO BUSINESSES? Since the majority of working parents cannot access publicly funded childcare they are required to foot the full bill of childcare costs. This causes many to feel compelled to give up their job, reduce their hours, or rely on unqualified and unregulated carers to look after their children. In this way, high childcare costs not only represent a financial burden for families but also has negative consequences for female labour participation, the number of children receiving high-quality early childhood education, and the economy as a whole which suffers from skilled workers withdrawing from the labour force. In its country specific recommendations to the Irish Government, the EU Council has flagged the issue of limited access to affordable and full-time childcare as a barrier to female labour market participation – especially

Despite the rising share of women participating in the labour market during the economic growth of the ’90s, policies have failed to address the requirement for an effective childcare system to allow both parents take up employment.

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CHAMBER NEWS CHILDCARE

for low income families. CSO figures from 2013 show that female labour market participation rates indeed are impacted by childcare responsibilities. Although the rate of labour market participation is equal at 85 per cent among men and women without children, female labour market participation falls to 59 per cent for women with a child under three and 40 per cent for women with two or more children. In this context, affordable care must also be considered a method to reducing the gender pay gap. Equally important, the lack of affordable early childhood care corresponds to a missed opportunity in terms of tackling social issues such as poverty and social exclusion. A 2005 National Economic and Social Forum study estimated that, on average, over a7 of returns are achieved for every a1 invested in early childhood education. Investment in education is a confirmed method of reducing poverty and providing children with better opportunities for escaping negative social heritage. By failing to invest in early childhood education we are thus creating high long-term economic costs for society in line with children being unable to fulfil their level of potential. In summary, the positive knockon effects of accessible, affordable and high-quality childcare to parents

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and businesses are many. If we are to further grow the Irish economy we must ensure that as many workers as possible remain active in the labour market, and that new skilled labour is developed. Providing equal access to affordable care is a prerequisite to achieving this. Whilst concerns have been raised about the economic cost of public subvention for care, it is important not to forget that evidence suggests accessible childcare increases female labour participation. Affordable care is furthermore likely to increase demand and drive recruitment of new childhood educators. Hereby, the Exchequer would take in additional revenue due to higher labour participation rates which in turn can be allocated towards improving the availability of quality care at a low cost.

CHAMBERS IRELAND RECOMMENDATION In light of the positive outcomes of a functional childcare system highlighted here, Chambers Ireland encourages Government to ensure better provision of affordable care for all parents. This, we believe, will create the right conditions for the continual growth of the Irish economy, for the social wellbeing of our people, and ultimately for a rounded Irish society in which family needs and work requirements can go hand in hand.

In considering ways of achieving this, various options can be pursued to ensure access to affordable highquality care. Measures adopted elsewhere include: • Tax credits: In the UK, for example, the majority (29 per cent) of state spending on childcare is allocated towards tax credits for parents to use against the cost of care. • Direct public subvention to service providers: Adopted in Denmark and Sweden, under this model the state provides capitation grants for each child to childcare providers, which ensures that parents only pay a marginal proportion of high-quality childcare costs. • Cash payments to parents: Used in Norway alongside direct public subvention to care providers, parents can either use the state funded cash payments against childcare costs or keep the money while caring for their child at home. Following a study of 20 countries, the OECD has nonetheless concluded that the most effective way of ensuring affordability while also raising the standard of care is for governments to directly subsidise care providers.

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CHAMBER NEWS TTIP

AN SME FRIENDLY AGREEMENT Reaching a conclusion in the TTIP talks between the EU and US could result in the European economy growing by a119 billion per year. Chambers Ireland is lobbying for an agreement which benefits SMEs, writes Emma Kerins, Project Officer, Chambers Ireland.

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he Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a freetrade agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and US. The agreement has three main strands; improved market access, improved regulatory coherence and improved co-operation when it comes to setting international standards. Should the trade negotiations be successfully concluded, the European economy is predicted to grow by about a119 billion per year. After several years of economic recession, economies on both sides of the Atlantic need this kind of stimulus, which will help to promote growth, create employment and encourage investment. The 8th round of the trade deal negotiations was held in Brussels from 2nd to 6th February 2015, focusing mainly on regulatory co-operation. The EU has proposed increased regulatory co-operation between the EU and the US, particularly with regard to dual inspection of pharmaceuticals and trade barriers in the agri-food sector. Chambers Ireland has been working with our European partners to lobby for a trade agreement that represents the interests of small and medium enterprises. As part of these efforts, Eurochambres led a delegation to Washington in March to discuss how a transatlantic trade deal could best benefit SMEs. The delegation comprised of 15 representatives both from the European Chamber network and from individual enterprises across the continent. The countries represented included Austria,

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The SME Trade Mission to Washington visits the US Chamber of Commerce

Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland and the UK. Ireland was represented at the summit by Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot. The delegation met with senior officials from the Federal Government, including the US lead negotiator on SMEs Christina Sevilla. In addition, meetings were held with US Chief Negotiator Dan Mullaney and Deputy Chief Negotiator David Weiner, the Atlantic Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the IMF. The Irish Embassy in Washington also hosted an evening reception for the delegation. As part of the trip, the delegation had the chance to discuss with Congressman Eric Paulsen, co-leader of the TTIP Caucus, the critical role Congress has in advancing SME interests in TTIP. The delegation highlighted that the reduction of administrative burdens associated with customs procedures and the mutual recognition of certification and inspections would be crucially

important for SMEs in this trade agreement. As part of these discussions, it was noted that the transatlantic trade agreement is not about diluting standards. Instead it was about recognising that both Europe and the US had high standards that had evolved differently. The goal is to agree equivalent standards that would enable business on both side of the Atlantic to do business more easily. Overall, the TTIP mission to Washington helped strengthen the Chambers profile as key representatives for European small and medium sized companies as the trade negotiations progress. Round nine of the trade talks will be negotiated in the United States in April. Chambers Ireland will continue to work with partners such as Eurochambres and the International Chamber of Commerce to lobby for an SME friendly trade agreement so that our members are best placed to fully reap the proposed benefits of the deal.

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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CHAMBER NEWS DFA WORKSHOP

Bringing Human Rights TO BUSINESS A recent workshop addressed how best to integrate the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into our national policy framework.

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n February 13th, Chambers Ireland cohosted a workshop with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on business and human rights. The workshop was part of a public consultation process with the Department as it drafts a National Action Plan on how best to integrate the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into our national policy framework. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights state that governments have the duty to protect human rights, companies have a responsibility to respect rights, and both governments and companies must work to provide a remedy when violations occur. This is known as the “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” framework. The workshop provided an excellent forum for real engagement and collaboration between the business community and civil society. Central to the discussion that morning was the relationship between human rights and Corporate Social Responsibility, how they overlapped and how they were different. In addition, much discussion centred on how we can encourage smaller businesses to embrace the issues of human rights and business. Speakers at the event included John Cunningham of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Paddy McGuinness of Traidlinks, John Devitt of Transparency International Ireland and Leslee O’ Loughlin of Enterprise Rent-a-Car.

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A central theme at the workshop and something echoed by many of those in attendance was that the National Action Plan (NAP) must be a collaborative process between businesses, the Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland hosts the morning panel State and civil society and that it should be relevant to business and • Efforts geared towards encouraging framed in the language of business. responsible sourcing should be The NAP also needs to articulate supported. However, the National to the business community that Action Plan should be mindful of “doing the right thing” and behaving the complexity of international responsibly is good for business. trade and supply chains. Responsible As part of this consultation process, sourcing should not come at the Chambers Ireland made a submission cost of competiveness, either from to the Department of Foreign Affairs the perspective of Irish exporters or and Trade and made the following from the perspective of emerging recommendations: economies in developing countries. •T  he cause of human rights is best served by increasing communications, trade and interdependence between trading partners. • I n addition, due diligence reporting and human rights impact assessments must not be made mandatory as any additional administrative burden may impede competitiveness of Irish business and drain scarce resources and capacity. There would be concerns as to how such a requirement might impact SMEs and their ability to compete with larger and better resourced corporations.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is now drafting Ireland’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. It is hoped that the document will be published by the end of the year. In addition, the International Chamber of Commerce has supported a new report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit on Business and Human Rights, entitled ‘The road from principle to practice: Today’s challenges for business in respecting human rights’. The report itself can be accessed via the ICC website at www.iccwbo.org.

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KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL

COMHAIRLE CONTAE CHILL DARA

KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL WILL ENDEAVOUR TO DELIVER A HIGH QUALITY OF SERVICE IN ALL AREAS OF ACTIVITY. One of our key strategic objectives is to facilitate and encourage sustainable economic growth and employment in the county by: •Ensuring a co-ordinated and cohesive development of micro-enterprise which contributes to economic growth and job creation

• Providing support and services to start, grow and develop micro and small business in Kildare.

KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL IS COMMITTED TO • Supporting and enhancing local democracy • Developing and growing Kildare’s social and physical infrastructure • Improve efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services • Promoting and developing Kildare as a place to live, learn, work, visit and do business.

Kildare County Council, Áras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas, Co. Kildare Tel: 045 980200 • Emergency Number (Outside Office Hours): 1890 500 333 @kildarecoco w: www.kildare.ie • : kildarecountycouncil •

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PARTNER PROFILE AIB

FUNDING THAT’S FLEXIBLE AIB is making a a200 million fund available to SMEs at 4.5 per cent through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

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IB recently announced a partnership with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) to offer a200 million in new funding at a discounted rate to Irish SMEs. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan launched AIB’s commitment to the fund at an event in AIB’s Bankcentre in Ballsbridge. The SBCI is a new strategic SME funding company which is partnering with banks and other lending organisations to provide access to flexible funding for Irish SMEs and farmers. The SBCI’s three funding partners are the European Investment Bank (EIB), Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW) the German promotional bank, and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF). It has an initial fund of a800m. AIB is adding to the SBCI discount to provide its customers with access to credit at a rate of 4.5 per cent variable – a 2 per cent discount on its standard variable business loan rate. An SBCI loan is available for terms between two and ten years, for working capital and investments and for funding up to a5m. The initial product offering will include a refinancing facility for SMEs whose current bank loan facilities originated with banks that are exiting the Irish market. Also offered is the SBCI Agriculture Investment Loan, available to support investment by agriculture SMEs involved in primary agriculture production or the processing and/or marketing of agriculture products. At the launch AIB’s Director of

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Minister Michael Noonan speaking at the launch of the new fund

Retail and Business Banking, Bernard Byrne said: “Under the terms of the fund, AIB will lend to eligible SMEs at the highly competitive rate of 4.5 per cent per annum variable. This lower cost credit should be attractive to SMEs and allow them to borrow to invest in their businesses at this crucial turning point in our economy. Individual loans of up to a5m will be available under the scheme.” He continued: “The funding is available to SMEs for working capital loans and investment loan purposes. I would particularly like to thank the SBCI for its efforts in ensuring that many farmers are also eligible for this fund.” Minister for Finance Michael Noonan welcomed the decision by AIB to match the discount offered on the a200m that the bank is drawing

down from the SBCI. “The core purpose of the SBCI is to enhance the supply of credit to SMEs by offering its a800m in funding to institutions known as ‘on-lenders’. These on-lenders, which may be banks such as AIB or other organisations that have capital and the ability to assess SME loan proposals, can then lend the money on to businesses,’’ the Minister said. He stated the fact that AIB is matching the discount offered by the SBCI should prove a welcome stimulus for businesses. The new loan fund is available to SMEs in AIB branches, business centres and over the phone, subject to eligibility, normal lending criteria, terms and conditions. For more information visit www.aib.ie/sbci

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Tell the world you’re Irish.

Tom O’Rahilly, Museum Director.

LeprechaunMuseum .ie

Register your business as .ie Ireland’s official web address. Tell the world your business is Irish, and tell Irish people your business is local. • Guaranteed Irish - Proves true connection to Ireland • Safety - One of the world’s safest web addresses

visit www.iedr.ie

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14/04/2015 17:12 16/01/2015 13:07


LAMA AWARDS 2015 WATERWAYS IRELAND

Shannon Blueway: Do it your way The unique and enjoyable Shannon Blueway resource will see further investment and development in 2015.

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he Shannon Blueway is a multi-activity recreational and tourism resource that allows visitors and communities to access and enjoy the beautiful waterways of the north Shannon. Recently awarded the prestigious title of Best Tourism Initiative at the 2015 LAMA Awards, the first phase of the Shannon Blueway can be experienced in a myriad of ways: on foot, by canoe, on a stand-up paddle board or indeed by bicycle. Travelling from Carrick-onShannon to Drumshanbo, it offers visitors a unique insight into the many experiences along the Lough Allen canal, Acres lake and the Shannon river. Using the waterway infrastructure built and maintained by Waterways Ireland, the Shannon Blueway is comprised of 16.5km of canoe trail, three national looped walks and some 10km of cycle route. The Blueway was opened officially in October 2014 by Minister Heather Humphries and artist and producer Carrie Crowley. Since then it has proved to be a huge attraction for not only the communities living along it, but also to our domestic and international visitors.

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PROMOTION Community and local business activation has been core to the success of the Shannon Blueway. Partnering with Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Tourism, the National Trails Office and Canoeing Ireland, Waterways Ireland has directly engaged with the community and business networks through public meetings, trade supports, branding, packaging and bundling workshops, as well as enabling access to the Blueways branding. This collaborative effort has ensured that the trails developed meet international standards and in fact provide a standout international experience. A marketing plan for the Shannon Blueway has been developed by Waterways Ireland in partnership with Leitrim Tourism and Fáilte Ireland which has seen the initial rollout of signage, a website (www.bluewaysireland.org), guides, maps and social media. A feature on RTÉ’s Nationwide programme in January 2015 created significant awareness and drove business for the February mid-term and St Patrick’s weekends. A full tracks and trails programme following the adventures

of the Rankin family on the Shannon Blueway went to air on RTÉ on 19th March and is expected to drive additional business to the area from Easter for the rest of the season. It is still available on the RTÉ player for those that want to catch-up! Shannon Blueway expansion to the east through the Shannon-Erne Waterway and south to Clondra to the Camlin Loop is almost ready for market. Engagement with Longford, Roscommon, Cavan and Westmeath County Councils and respective tourism organisations is advancing and expected to bring on infrastructural development and marketing outputs. Trade supports and opportunities to participate will be rolled out in spring 2015 with market launches expected in mid 2015. Expansion to the west to Lough Key and south-east to link with the Royal Canal is in the early stages of development. To find out more about the Shannon Blueway or to take advantage of any trade support for developing experiences, packaging and presenting tourism products contact Blueways Ireland via info@bluewaysireland.org. or visit www.bluewaysireland.org. Follow us on Twitter @bluewaysireland and like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bluewaysireland.

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One County, One Council, One Team TIPPERARY TOGETHER - AMBITIOUS FOR OUR COMMUNITIES, DEMANDING OF OURSELVES AND WORKING TO A SHARED PURPOSE TO DELIVER PROSPERITY ACROSS THE COUNTY

Civic Offices, Clonmel | Civic Offices, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary T: +353(0)761 065000 | www.tipperarycoco.ie | E: customerservices@tipperarycoco.ie

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LAMA AWARDS 2015 TIPPERARY COUNTY COUNCIL

Rising to THE CHALLENGE We spoke with Tipperary CEO Joe MacGrath about the challenges faced during the merger of the old North and South Tipperary local authorities, and what the future holds. Q: Looking back on 2014, was it a positive year in general for Tipperary County Council?

A: 2014 was a positive and very historic year for Tipperary County Council. The extent of the change successfully implemented in local government in the county in the past three years was greater than the cumulative extent of change witnessed since the establishment of county local government in Tipperary some 115 years ago. All of this was delivered by our own staff and has brought much cohesion to how we work and to the delivery of our services. In June 2012, the Tipperary Reorganisation Implementation Group completed and presented its Implementation Plan to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government. The plan mapped out the various steps that would need to be taken to ensure the successful delivery of the merger by June 2014. All of the objectives in that plan were successfully delivered within this tight timeframe. Not alone was the merger managed successfully but we had to take on board the abolition of seven town authorities and a Joint Library InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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Committee by subsuming and merging their structures within the new single county authority. This occurred at a time of very significant change in the public service generally. The extent of the change has been very significant involving a unified management and staffing structure, implementing a new services delivery model, public offices reduction, reconfiguration of functions and the amalgamation of over 100 IT and financially-based systems. The change has been particularly challenging for the elected members of the Council with a reduction in the number of members in the county from 113 to 40.

Q: How pleased were you with Tipperary County Council’s receipt of the LAMA Council of the Year award, and what does it represent for you?

A: I am delighted that this award recognises the work and huge commitment by staff in delivering significant change over the past three years while continuing to assure delivery of our services right across the county without any disruption, and specifically the recognition

for our new website www.tipperarycoco.ie which was designed by our own staff. I am particularly pleased that this honour was conferred on the county by the representative association of Local Authority Members. This is the second national award received by Tipperary County Council since the merger following from the conferring on our fire services of the NISO Best Public Service Award last October.

Q: Are there any projects or initiatives we can look forward to seeing in Tipperary in 2015?

A: Our theme for 2015 which is the first full operating year for this Council is “Delivering for Tipperary”, with our corporate plan now in place and work well advanced on the first ever Local Economic and Community Plan for Tipperary. We are delivering on a number of projects with particular emphasis on town centre regeneration, the creation of new job opportunities with the Tipperary LEO and enterprise agencies and the establishment for the first time of a countywide tourism committee which has been

Joe MacGrath, Tipperary CEO

put in place to promote the unique Tipperary brand. Our recently prepared corporate plan challenges us to be “ambitious for our communities, demanding of ourselves and working to a shared purpose to deliver prosperity across the county”. While we recognise the challenge in this statement, we also look forward to 2015 and beyond in deepening the cohesion brought to the premier county by the merger and to working with our elected members and communities in realising our collective ambitions.

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SUPPORTING SMES DHL

SME Growth Challenge:

The Right Time for Expansion Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director of DHL Express in Ireland, makes the case as to why the time is right for more Irish businesses to look beyond these shores and take their business to international markets

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he majority of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) see growth opportunities internationally and expect to derive up to 50 per cent of their revenues internationally in five years’ time. This is one of the main findings of an in-depth study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of DHL Express during Q4 2014. However, the survey of 480 SMEs and experts from business lobbying groups across 12 countries and 20 industries around the world also reveals that severe obstacles still remain for smaller businesses with global aspirations. Looking closer to home, and in particular to take on board findings from specially commissioned research on exporting SMEs which was carried out by IPSOS MRBI on behalf of AIB during last year, some interesting findings emerge. The AIB research shows very positive sentiment and outlook with more Irish SMEs now trading abroad than ever before, with exports accounting for 39 per cent of

Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director of DHL Express in Ireland

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SMEs’ turnover and the majority of Irish exporters anticipating growth in 2015 and beyond. So with exports already accounting for 39 per cent of Irish SMEs’ turnover, there is a strong case to suggest that the Irish SME sector can overachieve the 50 per cent of revenues by 2019 identified in the EIU research study. The AIB research also shows that while Irish SMEs are spreading their wings into newer markets in Asia and the Middle East, the UK continues to be the most important market for Irish exporters. Indeed 77 per cent of SMEs surveyed export to the UK, with 43 per cent citing it as the sole destination for their exports. Some of the key challenges identified by exporters included generating sales (40 per cent), getting paid on time (36 per cent), access to funding to support exports (23 per cent), currency/ exchange rates (16 per cent) and transportation and distribution costs (10 per cent).

CLOSER SHORES Looking further at these findings, a couple of important points come to mind. The UK and Northern Ireland has always been a key export market and today accounts for almost 50 per cent of Ireland’s merchandise export volume. This is both an opportunity and a weakness for our exporting sector. In opportunity terms, the UK is a huge market and with the Euro trading at historically low levels against the Sterling, Irish exports are now even more keenly priced compared with competitor products priced in Sterling. This represents a major opportunity for

existing Irish exporters to expand their customer base in the UK. Similarly, for a new exporter, the UK is a relatively easy place to start with a shared language, similar business culture and similar consumer preferences and tastes – so now is the perfect time to enter the UK market given the very favourable exchange rate. On the other side of this coin, one cannot help but think that as a trading nation we are over exposed to the UK market. That’s not to suggest that exporters shouldn’t develop a strong trading relationship with the UK but we should be more ambitious and look further afield. For exporters trading exclusively with the UK, the EU is a logical next step in terms of expansion. Operating as a single market the 28 countries that make up the EU, represent a major world trading power. With just 7 per cent of the world’s population, the EU nonetheless accounts for 20 per cent of global exports and imports and of course 18 of the 28 countries operate within the Eurozone, so there’s no exchange rate risk to these countries. And remember, the EU operates as a single market so for the vast majority of goods and services there are no customs or regulatory restrictions. That means Irish exporters have unfettered access to the 500 million consumers that make up the EU. Access to funding has been consistently raised as a barrier to business expansion in recent times and it also comes out in the AIB SME export survey as a key challenge. But there’s evidence to suggest that this InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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SUPPORTING SMES DHL

DHL delivery boat in Venice

is changing. Recently, in reporting their 2014 results, both AIB and Bank of Ireland reported very significant increases in business lending.

FUNDING AND SUPPORT The creation of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is also a very positive and welcome development. SBCI is a new, strategic SME funding company, whose goal is to ensure access to flexible funding for Irish SMEs by facilitating the provision of lower cost funding to financial institutions which is passed on to SMEs. If the SBCI can achieve its stated objectives, it can make a significant contribution to the SME sector in general and the exporting sector in particular. From March 2015, the SBCI will begin channelling the first a400 million of its money into the sector through its ‘on-lenders’, AIB and Bank of Ireland. And most importantly, the rates charged on these loans will be up to 2 per cent cheaper than current market rates. At DHL Express we’re taking an active role in seeking to encourage companies to broaden their horizons and take their first steps into the export marketplace. Apart from our ‘day-job’ which is to provide the InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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network infrastructure to physically move Irish exports to any one of more than 220 countries worldwide, we have developed a range of resources for new or potential exporters to support them on their export journey. Our website (www.dhlguide.ie) provides a guide to taking your business international, with tips and practical advice on everything from export planning and research, customs, Incoterm’s, shipping documentation, insurance, etc. And earlier this month, DHL Express in association with The Irish Exporters Association, ABP, AIB, Euler Hermes, PWC, and collaborating with the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, launched a brand new initiative for exporters. The National Export Campaign and National Export Hub has been launched to encourage more exporting and to build SME export competence nationally. In addition, the intention is to increase awareness amongst SMEs around the benefits and challenges of exporting. Thereafter the range of key private and public sector entities will provide practical support to new or expanding SME exporters. The National Export Campaign and the National Export Hub represents a unique collaboration between private

industry and government, coming together to provide expert support and advice. Each partner brings their own particular expertise to the initiative which can be accessed by new or expanding exporters who have particular issues or concerns which need to be addressed. Enquiries regarding the Export Hub can be logged in the first instance on the Irish Exporters Association website at this address www.irishexporters.ie/about-iea-hub/ enquiry/. So in summary, the time has never been better for indigenous Irish SMEs to enter the export marketplace. From an exporter’s perspective, exchange rates with the US dollar and Sterling are at record lows, making Irish exports even more competitive into the key US and UK markets. Access to credit is improving and with the creation of the SBCI, business loans should be accessible at more favourable terms than before. And most importantly of all, the range of supports that are available to new or expanding exporters is more extensive than it has ever been before. The time is therefore right for Irish SMEs to take their export business to the next level.

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SUPPORTING SMES PAYPAL

Powering the People Economy

AND SUPPORTING SMES PayPal is the safer way to pay and get paid online, in store and on mobile. It began as a small business but today it’s global. PayPal’s Vice President of Global Operations for EMEA, Louise Phelan, explains how, as the leading international online payments company, PayPal is supporting Irish small and medium enterprises.

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here’s a digital revolution taking place and we need to make sure that every Irish business is ready to take advantage of it. There is a whole world of new sales opportunities for Irish businesses, retailers and budding entrepreneurs who are willing to grasp them. I firmly believe that many Irish businesses, including SMEs, could do so much better if they fully embraced the online and mobile sales opportunities that exist both at home and abroad. Embracing digital technology is a cost-effective and relatively easy way of taking a company global; by allowing them to dabble in, or dive into, the flourishing export market. The best tip I can give any retailer who wants to increase online sales is to make their website and payment flows work very simply on mobile devices. More and more people are making purchases from tablets and smart phones and consumers can get fed up and move on if they are pinching and zooming. Provide shoppers with a faster, simpler checkout experience online and on mobile, and if they like the experience, they will become loyal customers who come back again and again. They will also tell others which will help you grow your customer base.

USE A MODERN FOUNDATION FOR ACCEPTING PAYMENTS Irish businesses can now also leverage Braintree’s next-generation checkout, v.Zero, to create an elegant, userfriendly buying experience for their customers. It is perfect for SMEs and businesses looking to target the mobile market or improve their online check-

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Louise Phelan, Vice President of Global Operations for EMEA, PayPal

out experience. Braintree is a PayPal company that powers billions of euros in mobile and online payments for some of the world’s fastest growing companies. It operates in 45 countries, through more than 130 currencies. V.zero is a modern foundation for accepting payments with Braintree. It offers easy-to-integrate application interfaces giving businesses simple access to complex functionality. It is engineered for the future which means easy access to new payment methods, advanced features, and security tools as they come on stream. It is perfect for SMEs because it offers free processing on your first a50,000 of transactions. This means that if you make a50,000, you keep a50,000 - it’s as simple as that. For more information on PayPal and Braintree v.Zero, phone 01 4369673.

ABOUT PAYPAL PayPal allows any business or individual with an email address to securely, conveniently and costeffectively send and receive payments online. Our network builds on the existing financial infrastructure of bank accounts and credit cards to create a global, real-time payment solution. We deliver a product ideally suited for small businesses, online merchants, individuals and others currently underserved by traditional payment mechanisms.

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

14/04/2015 15:03


SME ADVICE SNAP (IRELAND)

How to be

KING IN E-COMMERCE In part two of an article on the challenges of setting up an e-commerce site, Franco de Bonis, Director of Digital Marketing Services at Snap, outlines four issues for SMEs to consider before taking the plunge. GIVE VISITORS TO YOUR STORE THE BEST POSSIBLE EXPERIENCE We’ve all bought a shirt from a store because it looked awesome on the mannequin. Store owners go to great lengths to highlight certain products and make them look good. The equivalent in your e-store is the imagery and text that accompanies each product. Photos taken on an iPhone, with the product on a table in bad lighting along with a couple of bland sentences is just not good enough. You need to take quality pictures or have a photographer do it for you. You should also write very compelling text.

ATTRACT PEOPLE TO THE STORE Stores promote themselves through advertising in order to increase footfall. E-stores can do the same thing and traditional advertising is an option. However for e-commerce you have two additional and primary options: • PPC advertising: When it comes to online advertising for e-commerce, think about advertising your key products rather than your store. Most people will do very specific searches for products rather than generic searches for vendors. So adverts for power drills can be more effective than ones for hardware stores – be specific! • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation): If you do just one thing, it should be to carry out proper keyword research for each product and include every detail of the product in the meta InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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data, main title and description. So rather than meta data and a title that says ‘Makita Power Drill’, you should enter ‘Makita 8391DWPETK 18V 13mm Combi Cordless Drill’. This ensures that whatever someone is searching for, you are likely to have it in your meta data and text which means Google is more likely to show your result.

YOUR WORK IS NEVER DONE A store manager never stops reviewing and improving every aspect of the store. The same goes for an e-store manager. Your main tool in this regard is Google Analytics. It gives almost endless information about the type of visitors to your site and what they are doing on it. Coupled with this, you should always be improving the layout of the site, the structure, the content, the checkout process,

how you interlink and cross-promote products, your special offers and a thousand other things that will need to be improved.

PROTECT YOUR STORE Store owners will spend a lot of money on security, CCTV monitoring and insurance to protect their business. Unfortunately, the same is required of e-store owners. Every e-commerce store is at risk of hacking, so you need to protect yourself and have your website provider install safeguards and anti-hacking scripts and also ensure you have multiple backups of your site and related data. The bottom line is that if you go into the development of an e-store with your eyes open, ready to fully engage and deliver all the elements required to make your site a success, then that’s exactly what it will be.

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Visit Leitrim... Experience the Shannon Blueway

BLUEWAY, DO IT YOUR WAY Do it your way and create your own unique Blueway experience. Whether you’re into paddling, walking, cycling, or simply hooked on the outdoors, make yours a trip to remember on the Shannon Blueway in Leitrim.

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bluewaysireland.org

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IB SURVEY FORAS NA GAEILGE

GNÓ MEANS

BUSINESS Gnó Means Business aims to facilitate and increase the practical use of Irish within the business sector.

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nó Means Business is an initiative undertaken by Foras na Gaeilge which focuses on the function and use of the Irish language in a business capacity. The aim is to provide a central source of information and practical assistance to firms who wish to use the Irish language as a practical and productive business tool. Foras na Gaeilge is constantly developing a wide programme of services and support through our special branding campaign Gnó Means Business, which aims to facilitate and increase the practical use of Irish within the business sector. We strongly believe that the Irish language can be a great advantage to every type of business in various ways, even if you don’t have fluent Irish. Recent times have seen the practice of bilingualism become increasingly popular in both the public and private business sectors and, accompanying English, the unique characteristics of the Irish language are being effectively harnessed by the business community as a marketing tool on signage, stationery, packaging and advertisements. It is understood that the business sector has specific requirements and Foras na Gaeilge is currently undertaking a comprehensive research programme in collaboration with business groups to evaluate and develop the business case for the Irish language. As part of the business case,

a growing number of pioneering companies are highlighted for best practice in relation to innovative and practical ways to use the Irish language on a business basis. An extensive visual database of practical usage of Irish in a business context is presented in the business archive section of the Foras na Gaeilge website, www. gaeilge.ie, which is custom-designed for different sectors such as retail, hospitality, professional services, construction and information technology.

SUPPORT Foras na Gaeilge is committed to supporting the business community in exploring and developing the practical business application of the Irish language, and to this end financial assistance of up to a3,000/£2,250 is provided through our Business Support Scheme. Development grants with a value of up to a12,000/£8,000 are also available through our support fund, Innovation in the Business Sector, to facilitate and normalise the use of Irish within the relevant field. Foras na Gaeilge has developed a wide range of business support aids, all of which are available free of charge through the self-ordering system on www.gaeilge.ie, and there

We strongly believe that the Irish language can be a great advantage to every type of business in various ways, even if you don’t have fluent Irish. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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is also an extensive collection of bilingual templates available for free download. Gnó Means Business also provides information on other relevant business support sources at Sources of Funding and Business Support Resources, in which there are valuable information databases of opportunities for the use of Irish within a business context.

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES Over the last few years, Foras na Gaeilge has developed a strong relationship with strategic partnerships from the business sector and we are delighted to have been a sponsor of the best company providing a service or product in Irish, in association with the Startup Awards; All-Ireland Marketing Awards, in association with the Marketing Institute of Ireland; C-Store Awards, in association with ShelfLife and also with Good Food Ireland, where there is specific emphasis on the use of Irish in the food and hospitality sectors. For further information on how using the Irish language can help your business, please visit our website at www.gaeilge.ie/Gno/Reamhra.asp or call 01 639 8400.

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FIRST THE COOKIE, THEN SWEET SUCCESS At DoubleTree by Hilton Dublin – Burlington Road, we have the resources you need to make your next meeting your most successful one: Conference Centre that can accommodate up to 1400 delegates Dedicated Meeting Room Floor with 18 additional meeting rooms Complimentary Wi-Fi Online booking and event management tools Bundled pricing with Meetings Simplified Dynamic event spaces to meet needs big and small In-built A/V Technology Get in touch with our professional sales team on +353 1 618 5600 or dtdublinhotel.events@hilton. com for help planning your next meeting. DoubleTree by Hilton. Where the little things mean everything.™

Upper Leeson Street, Dublin, 4 T 1 6185600 F 1 6185617 DoubleTree.com Hilton HHonors™ membership, earning of Points & Miles™ and redemption of points are subject to HHonors Terms and Conditions. ©2015 Hilton Worldwide

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IB SURVEY DOUBLETREE BY HILTON

DoubleTree by Hilton Dublin:

AT A GLANCE Whether you’re in the capital on business or leisure, make it a great stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton.

Room. The trendy B Bar serves unique, pre-dinner cocktails and delicious snacks and dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

PLANNING AN EVENT

Planning events is one of the things we do best at DoubleTree and it’s what makes us one of Dublin’s most popular conference and event spaces.

ompletely refurbished in April 2014, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dublin – Burlington Road is located minutes from Dublin’s city centre. Stay at this landmark hotel, which was built in 1972, to learn first-hand why it has such an outstanding reputation. With 501 guest rooms, this is one of the larger hotels situated in Dublin’s ‘embassy belt’. Guests enjoy a great selection of modern rooms sized for comfort, preferential rates for on-site parking and complimentary WiFi. Executive rooms and suites feature complimentary breakfast and other refreshments in the Executive Lounge. Close to Aviva Stadium and RDS, the hotel boasts a well-equipped 24-hour fitness centre. Take advantage of easy access to public transportation and the aircoach shuttle bus that stops directly outside the hotel, or stretch your legs and walk to great restaurants, theatres, bars and city sights nearby. Relax with a treat from the Lobby Lounge or try our Sussex Breakfast

Planning events is one of the things we do best at DoubleTree and it’s what makes us one of Dublin’s most popular conference and event spaces. Whether you invite friends, colleagues or clients to an event, we’ll make sure that everything will run smoothly. We’re ready to help: setting up your space, supplying the room with what you need or meeting special dietary needs, we’ll make sure the details are dialed in. Organise an event for up to 1,400 delegates with our versatile conference space facilities, featuring a dedicated business floor, an impressive 1,200m2 ballroom and

Ballroom bar with pod table

Above: King double bedroom (first circle); Ballroom (second circle); Ballroom bar

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customisable meeting room options. We also offer alternative venues for lunch or dinner, such as the Sussex Restaurant and Bar. Our dedicated meeting floor comprises 18 flexible, naturally lit meeting rooms, including in-built A/V technology and complimentary WiFi. A comfortable lobby area is also available – the ideal space for event breaks and meeting and greeting colleagues. A dedicated business centre manager is also on call for any last minute requests. For your convenience, 150 car parking spaces are also located at the hotel (subject to availability).

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IB SURVEY ESRI IRELAND

Everything Happens SOMEWHERE Investing in geographic information can improve an organisation’s services and drive cost savings. Paul Synnott, Country Manager of Esri Ireland, looks at how your business can use the power of place in 2015.

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sri Ireland is the Irish partner of long established global geographic information systems (GIS) firm Esri Inc., headed by industry pioneer Jack Dangermond in California. Its aim is to better understand our world by putting location data to use. Nowadays information is a key asset and as the rise of browser based map services and GPS-enabled smartphones suggests, geography, big data and high technology are becoming more closely aligned, more widely available and more effective as part of the decision making process. GIS is based on the very simple principle of attaching a location to every piece of data. This means that as well as being able to answer the questions of what, who and even how much, GIS will also reveal ‘where’ specific activities have taken place. With a paper map, what you see is what you get, but a GIS-generated map has many layers to information for many ways of thinking about geographic space. Geographic information is extremely valuable and an investment which can improve an organisation’s services and drive cost savings. It can make a significant difference to a company’s way of doing business. We call this ‘mapping the bottom line’ and there is no doubt that GIS is helping to reduce company overheads and identify where further efficiencies can be made while improving service and delivery levels. It has a part to play in our economic recovery: it helps create jobs, attract inward investment, identify opportunities for revenue growth and reduce costs across many industry sectors. The recession has turned much

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Paul Synnott, Country Manager of Esri Ireland

of our thinking about how we run successful businesses on its head and has created some new realities. Economic slowdown has forced businesses to rethink how they operate. Geographic Information (GIS) is one area that is helping businesses survive and thrive in the face of all this change. Location is a powerful way to connect people to place, transactions to actions, responses to trends, and customers both to where they do business and what kinds of business they do.

REVOLUTIONISE AND OPTIMISE BUSINESS PERFORMANCE The days of asking a simple question and getting a simple answer are gone. We now live in a global economy where the price of a product or service depends as much on supply and demand in your local area as it does on the cost to manufacture, transport and market. Things that will happen five or 5,000 kilometres away can have an equal influence on lives as both consumers and citizens. Perhaps there is no better system than ‘location’ to understand the interconnections of business in the

21st century. On a daily basis we use language to communicate spatial relationships when we use phrases such as ‘alongside’, ‘linked to’ or ‘opposite to’. Because of this it’s only natural that business is rapidly adopting ‘where is?’ as one of its most important operational questions and this is manifesting itself in a new breed of business analytics, the geographic analysis associated with location. Location analytics expose spatial relationships that are otherwise hidden in spreadsheets, graphs and word documents and help businesses to explore and investigate market conditions and business performance. Questions about sales revenues can evolve into ‘how well are we performing in this trading area or sales territory?’, ‘what impact would a specific marketing campaign have on revenues from this segment of our customer base?’ or even ‘what’s the likelihood that we can get new customers in these areas based on a particular pricing promotion or strategy?’ Proving that for better business decisions, location has a critical role to play and indeed ‘where’ is where it’s at. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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IB SURVEY BORD NA MÓNA

Ireland’s low cost decarbonisation options John Reilly, Head of Powergen Development, Bord na Móna examines the true costs of decarbonisation.

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or obvious reasons, most utility companies don’t want to talk about cost. Decarbonisation of Europe’s power system has been ongoing for a number of years and increasing policy support costs have been driving up electricity prices all across Europe. It is no different in Ireland where deployment of renewable resources has added marginally to end user electricity prices. It is important that we acknowledge the investment required to transform the electricity sector to a low carbon model, however nobody really wants to talk about the cost implications. But if we are to completely decarbonise the electricity sector by 2050, as indicated in the EU’s low carbon road map, then it must be acknowledged by European policy-makers that the level of investment required will continue to put upward pressure on electricity prices in the decades to come. When it comes to paying for new sources of renewable electricity, Irish consumers get one of the best deals in Europe. Irish consumers are at the bottom of the table in terms of policy support costs and their impact on

Bord na Mona’s Mountlucas windfall

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end user prices, faring better than the French and British and far better than their Italian, German and Spanish counterparts. The reason for this is because Ireland has an abundance of one of the most cost-effective renewable energy sources on the planet in on-shore wind, recognised in a recent EU Commission pricecomparison report. Analysis of UK tariffs shows that biomass retrofitting, of the type being suggested for Moneypoint, would require a tariff that is almost a50/MWhr more expensive than that currently in place for on-shore wind development in Ireland. This is borne out in the retrofitting of one of the units at Drax, the UK’s largest coal fired power station, which is supported by a tariff of approximately a135/MWhr. While biomass will undoubtedly have a significant role to play in the decarbonisation of the power system and retrofitting, Moneypoint could provide many significant benefits to the Irish power system, it certainly does not represent a low cost option. Though there are undoubtedly some additional costs associated with the deployment of

wind on the power system they do not amount to anywhere near the a50/MWhr price differential. What does the UK tariff structure tell us about the levelised cost of other low carbon options? Take the case of the new nuclear build at Hinckley in Somerset that will come at a cost of a126/MWhr, index linked, to the UK electricity consumer. The comparative price for on-shore wind in the latest UK tariff round is set at a maximum of a120/MWhr falling to around a113/ MWhr by 2017, indicating that the UK Government considers new nuclear a more expensive decarbonisation option than on-shore wind. The tariffs to support various forms of ocean energy such as off-shore wind at approximately a190/MWhr and wave/tidal power at a384/MWhr, are higher again. Economy wide decarbonisation will come at a cost and unfortunately there remains a reluctance in many quarters to fully acknowledge this. This may be because the global experience, as demonstrated in the case of the UK and Germany, has involved much larger costs for renewable deployment than many anticipated. Policy-makers are of course aware of the potential cost of the necessary energy transition, but seem prepared to pursue this objective because the additional costs are outweighed by greater concerns around the human and economic costs arising out of climate change. Much debate is ongoing at present about the need to transform our energy system and the pace at which this should proceed. In Ireland, we are in the fortunate position of being able to pursue a renewable generation policy that isn’t exorbitantly expensive. It’s never easy to talk about cost but for Ireland it’s likely to be much easier than for others.

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IB SURVEY eircom

CREATING CONNECTIONS eircom continues to roll out its superfast broadband service, scheduled for completion in December 2017.

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uperfast broadband is getting even faster, as news that the eircom Group is continuing its one gigabit (Gb) broadband network rollout, available in 16 initial locations nationwide this coming August. Sixtysix locations will eventually offer the 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) service that is on par with the fastest broadband speeds available in Europe. With a one Gb connection, users can download a high definition film in seconds and business users will have bandwidth capacity to transfer applications and large data files at rates previously only available to large enterprises. These superfast speeds will be underpinned by ‘end-to-end’ fibre connections through the use of fibre to the home (FTTH) technology, and customer connections will be provided as demand for this connectivity emerges.

FOOTPRINT The initial 16 locations include Letterkenny, Cavan, Kilkenny, Douglas, Ennis, Carragaline, Balbriggan, Tralee, Naas, Drogheda, Roscommon, Monaghan, Sligo, Castlebar and Greystones. The planned footprint of 66 locations includes areas of all five major cities, major regional centres and every county town in Ireland. The project is scheduled to be completed by December 2017. Commenting on the rollout, David Walsh, Director of Commercial and SME, eircom Business Solutions said: “This rollout demonstrates the flexibility and scalability of our future proofed fibre network. Building on our existing network design, end-

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David Walsh, Director of Commercial and SME, eircom Business Solutions

to-end fibre connectivity supporting speeds of one gigabit is the natural next step in the evolution of our network capability and will really deliver what businesses around the country need – now and in the future. The delivery of this service underlines eircom’s ambition for Ireland and our ambition for SMEs to enable and encourage economic growth. Once again we will demonstrate our expertise and ability to deliver network investment more efficiently and at lower cost than other operators.”

premises which can now access broadband with speeds of up to 100Mbps. This project eircom has also announced will run in an acceleration and parallel with extension of their planned footprint expansion from eircom’s 1.4 million to 1.6 million existing fibre homes and businesses. investment Most recently, eircom programme Business Solutions has and eircom launched ‘advantage business bundles’ offering real value, customers flexibility and simplicity. around the Businesses can choose from country two broadband packages, can already pick a landline plan and then add mobile. Customers access can also avail of the very broadband speeds of up best speeds available on to 100Mbps. their line, without incurring extra costs. MILESTONES As an extra benefit for This project will run in businesses with staff on the move, all parallel with eircom’s existing fibre mobile plans from eircom Business investment programme and eircom Solutions come with roaming in the business customers around the UK, EU and USA included. country can already access broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps. Last September, the company passed the For more information, see important milestone of one million www.eircom.ie/business. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

14/04/2015 15:12


IB SURVEY GREGANS CASTLE HOTEL

BEAUTY

in the Burren Award-winning Gregans Castle Hotel has inspired some of the biggest names in art and literature. Now let the country house inspire you.

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estled in the heart of the beautiful Burren lies Gregans Castle Hotel, a stunning 18th century manor house set in its own established and lovingly-attended gardens, boasting spectacular views that stretch across to Galway Bay. Inside you’ll find welcoming open fires and striking decoration ranging from modern art to antique furniture, with garden flowers adorning the rooms. Gregans Castle has long been a source of inspiration for its visitors. Previous guests include J.R.R. Tolkien, who’s said to have been influenced by the Burren when writing The Lord of the Rings, as well as other revered artists and writers like C.S. Lewis and Seamus Heaney. And for the guests of today: with warm Irish hospitality, stylish accommodation, outstanding service and exceptional fine dining in the award-winning restaurant, it is truly a country house of the 21st century. Whatever your business, whoever you’re meeting, Gregans Castle Hotel is an ideal venue for small corporate gatherings. From discreet board meetings to motivational weekends and team building events, the professional staff will meet your every need and your party can be assured of personal attention at all times. Each and every one of the 21 bedrooms and suites are personally decorated and every piece of furniture is handpicked – many are antiques that have been sourced from around the world. Some of the rooms have their own private garden area and all have spectacular views of the main garden, the bay or the mountains. In the dining room, head chef InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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The Dining Room

Gregans Castle

David Hurley and his team serve creative and modern dishes using fresh, local ingredients like organic Burren lamb and game, and fresh Atlantic fish and shellfish. Gregans has received many awards for food including three Rosettes from the AA for “culinary mastery and excellence”, the Restaurant Association of Ireland - Best Hotel Restaurant 2014 and the Food & Wine Magazine Best Restaurant & Best Chef Munster 2014. The extensive and ever-expanding wine list features a selection of wines from each continent, including a large selection of organic and bio-dynamic wines. There’s so much to see and do around Gregans Castle Hotel. You can visit some of the area’s renowned attractions like the Aran Islands, the Cliffs of Moher and Aillwee Cave. Of course, if your stay is all about relaxing, you can sit back and appreciate the magical setting and quiet, attentive service.

The Burren is a natural wonder and this is not taken The for granted at Gregans Martyn Castle – the complete Suite opposite, in fact. Worldclass service is based on quality and respect, and the commitment to improve and innovate everything if offers, while staying close to rich local history and natural habitat, is what makes Gregans Castle so special. There are no televisions in the rooms here, which is in keeping with the beautiful peace and quiet of the area. The surroundings contribute to our wellbeing, and that’s why everything at Gregans Castle Hotel has been selected with thought – from the art on the walls to the food on your plate. Gregans Castle Hotel is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book. www.irelandsbluebook.com Tel: 065 707 7005

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IB SURVEY COMPANIES REGISTRATION OFFICE

CHANGING

TIMES The Companies Registration Office outlines the main changes brought about by the Companies Act 2014.

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he Companies Act 2014 consolidates the existing Companies Acts 1963-2013 into a logical legal code with the most common company type (private limited by shares) placed at the centre. It also introduces some significant reforms which are outlined below.

CONVERSION All private limited (by shares) companies, which account for 85 per cent of all companies on the register (approximately 160,000 companies), must convert into one of two new company types: • Limited (LTD): Simplified company structure which will operate under a one document constitution (no objects) and it may have only one company director and convene through written AGMs. • Designated Activity Company (DAC): Will operate under a two document constitution (with objects). The Act specifies an 18-month transition period (beginning upon commencement) within which these companies must ‘convert’ into one of the new company types. They must notify the CRO through filing the relevant documents, a process which will be free of charge. Upon conversion the CRO will electronically issue a new certificate of incorporation. During the transition period and before conversion, all private limited by shares companies will operate under the rules applying to a DAC.

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NAME CHANGE REQUIREMENT

NEW SUMMARY APPROVAL PROCEDURE

During the transition period some companies will need to change their name to fulfil the requirement under the Act to specify their company type at the end of their name.

This will allow companies to carry out certain activities by means of a director’s declaration and a shareholder’s resolution for activities which under the current law would require High Court approval.

ANNUAL RETURNS The audit exemption criteria has been widened with companies only having to meet two of the three size criteria to qualify as a small company. Guarantee and group companies will also be able to qualify and audit exemption will be available to dormant companies.

DIRECTORS Directors’ duties have now been codified and set out in Part 5 of the new Act. Every director and secretary must be aged 18 or over.

MORTGAGES The priority of a charge registered with CRO will be established by date and time of receipt of a fully completed submission to the CRO – the date of creation of the deed of charge will no longer determine the priority. See Draft Information Leaflet 27.

VOLUNTARY STRIKE OFF The current administrative regime has been set out in statute. See Draft Information Leaflet 28.

CRO COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGN The CRO’s main source of information on the Companies Act 2014 is www.cro.ie. CRO is updating all content including forms and information leaflets (draft content available online). The ODCE are also updating all of their key publications and expect to have a range of new information books available in the next couple of months. CRO ran an advertisement campaign in January on the broad purpose of the Act. It will do so again in April and June to communicate additional key messages. CRO will also issue a printed flyer to all directors on the register setting out the main changes involved. CRO provides an information telephone service and staff are available to answer queries on the Companies Act 2014. CRO will continue to issue e-zines (to sign up, visit ‘newsletter’ on www.cro.ie) and tweet (@cro_ie) regarding the changes. It will also continue to engage with its stakeholder groups through presenting at their events and contributing to publications. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

14/04/2015 15:11


IB SURVEY GLENSTAL ABBEY SCHOOL

BUCKING

THE TREND Glenstal Abbey School continues along the path of growth.

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tudent numbers continue to grow at Glenstal Abbey School and a steady upward trend has been established and maintained in student recruitment. The school roll is 221 students, of whom 29 are day boarders (day boarding was introduced in 2012). Overseas students make up approximately 10 per cent of the student population. Singapore, UAE and the USA are just some of the countries represented. In 2013 the construction of a new academic block was completed, increasing the overall capacity of the school to 270 students. The school continues to plan for the future and is now looking at the next phase of its development plan which will include additional boarding and sports facilities.

SO WHAT MAKES GLENSTAL STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD? Undoubtedly academic results contribute to its attraction. Glenstal regularly tops the Sunday Times ‘Parent Power’ survey. But Glenstal is not just about academic results. To quote a former student: “I sense the essential elements remain the same. For me, they amounted to a communal gift imparted unreservedly by both monks and lay people.” Glenstal sees itself as partners with parents in forming, nurturing and guiding students to the best they can be. The school is characterised by moderation and a sense of mutual respect which emphasises the core values of reverence, respect and responsibility. The school offers an inclusive climate of learning, where each student is given the opportunity and the means to fulfil his own unique potential. As Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman, OSB says, “every one of us is gifted, we just InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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have to know how to release that gift.” Glenstal continually strives to enable its students to achieve their fullest potential at each stage of their development. videography, One of Glenstal’s most debating and public important values is the speaking. Sport and leisure belief that relationship is Glenstal pursuits are also a vital as important as content in sees itself part of the school’s culture. education. This contact is as partners Students take part in a not only between students with parents wide variety of sporting and teachers but also with in forming, activities including rugby, parents. There is regular nurturing tennis, golf, athletics, interaction between and guiding swimming, cycling, parents and staff. Glenstal students to basketball, Gaelic football, understand that parents fencing and rowing. Within know their children be the best the school’s stunningly better than anyone else so they can be. beautiful parkland are emphasis is placed on the The school is several rugby pitches and ongoing communication characterised ten all-weather tennis between parents and by moderation courts. The indoor sports teachers throughout the and a sense hall houses a weights/ student’s life with the of mutual cardiovascular suite. One school. Smaller class sizes respect which of the school’s lakes is used (typically 15 students emphasises for supervised swimming. per class) also embody the core On visiting Glenstal the principle of student Abbey School one is mentoring. The academic values of invariably struck by the progress of each year group reverence, atmosphere of community is monitored by a tutor. respect and and individual care for Smaller class sizes provide a responsibility. each boy. Benedictine privileged space for learning monks work closely that provides for individual with students in a forum that offers attention to help each student reach students the opportunity to grow into their potential. who they’re called to be. The presence Glenstal believes in each student of a stable and thriving monastery exploring and developing their gives the school a special quality individual talents. In keeping with of stability, peace and harmony. this value the school provides a Interested in finding out more? rich array of opportunities for Glenstal are holding an open day on students to express themselves both April 25th next. Phone 061 621044, within and beyond the classroom. email admissions@glenstal.com or Students are given the opportunity to visit www.glenstal.com for details. explore music, drama, photography,

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Commencement of New Companies Act 2014 The Companies Act 2014 will commence on 1st June 2015 Commencement is the date when the legislative provisions will apply from. Nothing is changing before then. Companies should use the time before commencement to prepare for the new legislation. New versions of CRO forms must be used from 1st June 2015 onwards. Old forms will no longer be accepted after this date. • New forms will have Companies Act 2014 citation • New forms will contain additional guidance notes • The changes in legislation will affect every company For information on the Companies Act 2014 and on new forms please go to www.cro.ie From 1st June 2015, it will only be possible for an external company which is a limited liability company to register with the CRO. Existing places of business will be removed from the register.

AN OIFIG UN CHLÁRÚ CUIDEACHTAÍ Oifig Poiblí: Teach Pharnell, 14 Cearnóg Pharnell, Baile Átha Cliath 1 Fiosruithe: Bóthar Uí Bhriain, Ceatharlach

COMPANIES REGISTRATION OFFICE Public Office: Parnell House, 14 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 Postal Enquiries: O’Brien Road, Carlow

Lóghlao: 1890 220 226 Fón: +353 1 804 5200 Faics: +353 1 804 5222 Ríomhphost: info@cro.ie Láithreán: www.cro.ie

Lo Call: 1890 220 226 Tel: +353 1 804 5200 Fax: +353 1 804 5222 Email: info@cro.ie Web: www.cro.ie

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14/04/2015 17:17


IB SURVEY MICROSOFT

Sales Productivity RECOVERS Martin Cullen, Sales Director of Microsoft, explains how a heady mix of technology, data and changing work practices will lead to increased sales.

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rish organisations can finally start looking forward to growth. According to Davy Stockbrokers, we are looking at predicted growth of 3.4 per cent in 2016. To quote Winston Churchill, never waste the lessons of a good recession. Manage your sales, customer and internal data well to better analyse, monitor and predict customer behaviour and increase sales. During the recession, sales and marketing collaborated for survival. Now the challenge is not to revert back to pre-recession thinking, believing the worst is over. A heady mix of technology, data and changing work practices have changed things for good.

BETTER TOOLS, SHARING, OUTCOMES Without a CRM tool like Dynamics, marketing and sales soon become disconnected, and problems develop. Recent research showed that: • 90 per cent of sales materials created by marketing are never actually used. Sales teams waste 40 per cent of their time searching for, creating, or revising sales materials. • According to the Alexandra Group, sales people hit their quota only 20 per cent of the time. This is because only 41 per cent of a salesperson’s time is spent selling. It’s time to look at the sales productivity tools needed to progress. CRM systems were originally reporting tools for management to get an accurate business pipeline forecast. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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They did not help sales people, and created additional work instead of focusing on leads and closing deals. A recent CEB study found that on average, prospects are 57 per cent of the way through the purchase process before Martin Cullen, Sales Director, Microsoft ever contacting a supplier. Cold calling is effective 3 per collaboration and communication cent of the time, because customers are tools. Managing information is a big empowered. part of selling, and Microsoft’s goal is to make creating and sharing that information simple. EVERYONE SELLS NOW • Proactive and Mobile: CRM A successful sales person has a applications on mobile devices are CRM system to notify them when indispensable selling tools for the to complete required actions, offer successful sales reps. Sales reps need insights and help them understand the real-time information regarding a value of each customer relationship. It prospect’s business and concerns. helped Allianz reduce quote time by 30 • Productivity: Salespeople and sales per cent when they used Dynamics. organisations need to optimise every Our target customers are better moment. With Microsoft Dynamics educated than ever, but suffer from CRM, salespeople can focus their information overload. We must be time on selling. Every communication aware of the target customers’ pain is automatically tracked. If your points and understand the solution customer places an order, Microsoft needed. The chances of closing a deal Dynamics CRM schedules the followdrops by 45 per cent due to irreverent up meetings, updates the deal phase, seller’s content. and shares the success with the team. Relevance is key - adapt your approach to better engage with your customers. Ultimately, your entire company needs to become finely tuned to your customer’s needs, to track the CHARACTERISTICS OF A customer along your sales funnel, to DYNAMIC SALES TEAM close that sale. • I nsightful and Prepared: With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, customers are able to integrate social media with Martin Cullen is Sales Director at their sales process, thereby increasing Microsoft who enable customers to visibility on leads and prospects. benefit from the use of Microsoft • Collaboration and Connection: technology. For more information on In order to be a connected selling solutions for sales productivity please organisation, teams need the right visit www.microsoft.ie/business

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Transforming

business processes

We are trusted by Irish and Global brands to support them transform their businesses SouthWestern, now part of Capita, is one of the leading end-to-end Business Process Outsourcers in Ireland. We deliver superior front and back office services in the areas of; • Call Centre Management (multi-channel and multi-lingual customer care, customer sentiment surveying, telesales and customer acquisition) • Finance, HR & Accounting Services (collections and arrears handling, procure to pay, order to cash, HR) • A complete suite of back office Finance Functions (Reporting: Reconciliation, Revenue Returns, Cost Margin Analysis, Budget Forecasting) • Public Sector Programme Administration (data processing, claims processing, inspectorate and auditing) to leading public and private sector clients in Ireland and across Europe. Key to our success is: „ Our people „ Technology & Insight „ Backed by Capita, one of Europe’s largest BPO organisations If you would like to talk to us about how our award winning teams can help your business, then contact us today. Email: enquiries@southwestern.ie Website: www.southwestern.ie Telephone: 1850 22 00 22 235526_1C_Southwestern_Chambers8.01.indd 1

14/04/2015 17:18


IB SURVEY SOUTHWESTERN

SOURCING SUCCESS InBUSINESS spoke with the new MD of SouthWestern, Paddy Morrissey, to discover more about what the company offers and his vision for the future.

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eadquartered in Clonakilty with operation centres in West Cork, Little Island, Milton Keynes in the UK and Lodz in Poland, SouthWestern is the market leader in providing business process outsourcing (BPO) services to public and private sector organisations. The company prides itself on supplying end-to-end business process solutions and support services that deliver real added value for clients. “Our offering includes 24/7 multichannel contact centres with multilingual capabilities that enable client customers to engage via telephone, email, webchat and social media among others. Our services include customer acquisition, customer care and customer sentiment measurement,” explains Paddy Morrissey, SouthWestern’s new Managing Director. Morrissey goes on to say: “We also deliver financial back office and accounting services for a broad range

Paddy Morrissey, MD of SouthWestern

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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of clients. For a more tailored fit, SouthWestern also offers bespoke services such as back office insurance claims processing, inspectorate assessment services and registration services for government bodies. Our multi-faceted model enables us to offer niche services that can be adapted to respond in accordance with client needs.”

STRONG BONDS One of the factors that Morrissey highlights as playing a crucial role in making the company stand out in the market is the fact they pride themselves on creating strong client relationships. “Relationships are built within the organisation at all levels and our senior executives are heavily involved in maintaining these relationships. We take a partnership approach to client engagement so we’re not just seen as a service provider but one that guides the client through the journey.” So why approach SouthWestern instead of looking internally for solutions? Companies come to SouthWestern for a number of reasons, but particularly in search of very specific product or service knowledge that can prove invaluable to

their business plans. “Some of the technologies and software platforms we use are expensive and sophisticated in nature and aren’t cost-effective for clients to directly invest in themselves. Then there’s our industry expertise – prospective clients can rely on the fact that we know their industries and understand the pressures and drivers of their business,” Morrissey says. Partnering with SouthWestern gives the organisation’s clients access to a wealth of experience and flexible resources. Last year, the outsourcing group Capita acquired the company, a clear vote of confidence in the potential of the Cork-based firm by one of the strongest and most respected outsourcing firms in the world. With that acquisition comes the ability to tap into research teams that focus on new technologies and market trends, resulting in greater opportunities for SouthWestern to lead their clients into the next stage of solution delivery. “Being part of the Capita family gives us immediate access to an ever-evolving suite of technology, innovation and analytics,” Morrissey explains. For Morrissey, settling into the role he recently assumed, his vision for the company is clear – to build on the groundwork already in place and take the business to new heights. “I’ve been here since 2008, in the role of CFO, and I’ve seen this business double in size,” he says. “My vision is to do the exact same thing over three years by delivering excellent services for our existing and future client base that will create jobs in Cork and Ireland as well as in our other locations. It’s about building on the achievements my predecessor should be proud of and it’s about continuing the success of SouthWestern as a market leader in delivering exceptional client solutions and market leading innovations.”

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IB SURVEY ŠKODA

Shepherding in the ŠKODA SHERPA The Škoda Yeti Sherpa has landed on Irish shores, available from just a17,911.

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koda has recently released its first commercial model in 15 years with the arrival of the new Škoda Yeti Sherpa. With the noticeable improvements in the economy and with Škoda making inroads in the fleet market in recent years with the Octavia and Superb models, the natural progression was to re-enter the light commercial vehicle market. Škoda is offering the Yeti Sherpa from just a17,911 ex. VAT, with a four-wheel drive upgrade available from only a1,300 and is now available to order in local Škoda dealerships nationwide. “Since we launched the Yeti a number of years ago there has always been a steady stream of requests from a variety of occupations such as carpenters, plumbers, sales reps and even florists for a commercial version,” said Škoda Product Manager Hugh Delaney. “We haven’t had a commercial model since the Felicia pickup, so we are delighted to be able to offer a practical version of the Yeti for small business users. With the small price increase for the four-wheel drive option and a towing capacity of up to 2.2-tones, we expect this to appeal to farmers and vets,” Delaney added. Specific to the Yeti Sherpa is the presence of only two seats. Behind these, you’ll find a 10" bulkhead and six secure points for tying down cargo. The Yeti Sherpa comes with a choice of 2.0-litre TDI 110bhp in two and four-wheel drive, or a 2.0-litre 140bhp DSG. There are three trim levels; Active, Ambition and Outdoor with Active models including items such as 16" Dolomite alloy wheels, climatic air conditioning, front fog lamps, black roof rails and Swing Radio with CD and MP3 Playback.

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The Ambition model adds items including silver roof rails, chrome inner door handles, 17" Scudo alloy wheels, LED rear lights, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth phone kit, a multifunctional leather steering wheel, leather handbrake handle and gear knob. The Outdoor specification adds over a1,100 worth of equipment for just a a548 price walk, adding a Bolero touch-screen sound system, 17" Erebus alloy wheels, cruise control, sunset windows and front and rear parking sensors.

With the noticeable improvements in the economy and with Škoda making inroads in the fleet market in recent years with the Octavia and Superb models, the natural progression was to reenter the light commercial vehicle market.

 Off-road system in 4x4 vehicles for difficult terrain  High mounted headlights in all versions  Large luggage compartment with flat floor 10" bulkhead  Six secure points for tying down cargo  Fuel economy – 5L/100km  CO2 – 134g/km

In addition, the Škoda Yeti beats its competitors not only in terms of dynamics, but also leaves them trailing with excellent fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions. The Yeti Sherpa Commercial is one of the most environmentally friendly compact SUV models on the market delivering 5.1L/100km on the combined cycle. Even when combined with 4x4 technologies the Yeti delivers excellent fuel economy consuming just 5.5 l/100km on the combined cycle. Let the Yeti Sherpa take you for a drive. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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LEINSTER • MUNSTER • Louth LEO secures funding for business, Kodaline launch student awards, and Longford twins with Mexican town.

Limerick real estate project gets green light, Waterford launches interactive planning app, and Clare embraces culture.

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ULSTER Monaghan company strikes gold, room for more recycling in Cavan, and crossborder project to encourage growth.

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02 FINGAL MEETS SILICON

This May Silicon Valley investors will descend on Fingal for the 7th ITLG annual summit.

In Association with

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Fingal Meets

SILICON THIS MAY Fingal County Council and Fingal Dublin Chamber, along with DCU and ITB, will host the 7th ITLG annual summit on May 25th and 26th, giving Irish executives in early stage companies the chance to meet and collaborate with leading international investors.

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ublin-Fingal will be the focus of a global technology spotlight in May 2015, when the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG) Silicon Valley Global Technology Summit takes place on May 25th and 26th 2015. Hosted by Fingal County Council, Fingal Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Dublin City University (DCU) and the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) the 7th ITLG annual summit will be hosted in venues throughout North Dublin from the Helix at DCU to Malahide Castle and ITB. The ITLG delegation, led by ITLG Chairman Craig Barrett and Founder and CEO John Hartnett, will include top executives from the global tech sector including Intel, DELL, Arvato and Disney among others. This year, the event will be moderated by Forbes journalist and technology analyst, Paul Noglows, and the agenda will focus on key tech trends such as big data and

cloud, the Internet of Things and wearable technology, the AgTech revolution as well as looking to the critical ingredients of the technology boom – education, investment and entrepreneurship. “The number of tech start-ups and innovative solutions being created in Ireland is incredibly promising, and this is what attracts our Silicon Valley investors to Ireland year on year,” said John Hartnett, CEO, ITLG at the launch of the Global Technology Summit in Fingal, Dublin. “This year’s ITLG event has an exciting line-up and will feature business leaders and investors from Silicon Valley experiencing first-hand the Irish appetite for innovation and entrepreneurship.” Hartnett also spoke of his delight to partner with the ITLG for the hosting of the event. “This partnership is a reflection of the solid foundation of technology companies already based here and proves our commitment to support the growth of the technology sector throughout

“THIS YEAR’S ITLG EVENT HAS AN EXCITING LINE-UP AND WILL FEATURE BUSINESS LEADERS AND INVESTORS FROM SILICON VALLEY EXPERIENCING FIRST-HAND THE IRISH APPETITE FOR INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP.” 2

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the county and especially in our newly branded Dublin Enterprise Zone. Our strong spirit of cooperation with business is carried right through to our communities, ensuring that Fingal is a great place to work, live and relax. We are pleased to welcome the Silicon Valley delegation and look forward to showing all that Fingal has to offer.” Meanwhile, Tony Lambert, Chief Executive, Fingal Dublin Chamber outlined the numerous advantages being offered by Fingal as a location to do business. “Fingal is a thriving business region, with so much to offer the investment community as well as indigenous technology start-ups. From accessibility to the award-winning international Dublin Airport, to the superb connectivity and business infrastructure, the region is already home to global technology companies such as PayPal, Symantec, SanDisk, IBM, Fujitsu, Juniper Networks, Siemens and eBay. We are delighted to welcome the Silicon Valley delegation of global business and technology leaders to Fingal this year and look forward to working closely with ITLG leaders to promote this region in both Ireland and the USA.” The ITLG Summit will enable Irish executives in early stage companies to meet and collaborate with leading international investors, expand their network, create new business opportunities and US market opportunities, which will all drive meaningful job creation in the

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Pictured at the launch of the ITLG Conference at Terminal 2, Dublin Airport are County Mayor, Cllr Mags Murray, with John Harnett, President, ITLG, Paul Reid, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council, Tony Lambert, CEO, Fingal Dublin Chamber and Louise Phelan, PayPal.

region. Start-ups and entrepreneurs will also have the chance to pitch for investment to leading VCs, as well as access to leading experts in IP and commercialisation of research. The two-day event will kick off with the ITLG Accelerator program, Lab 353, Company Face Off!, as well as the pitch camp sessions on May 25th 2015. A VIP reception will be held in Malahide Castle on the eve of the forum. The Global Technology Forum will then take place at The Helix at DCU, and will include keynote presentations and lively panel debates on big data, technology innovation in the agri-tech sector and the Internet of Things as well as innovation and investment. The Forum will be followed by a gala networking dinner at the Crowne Plaza Northwood Hotel, with a keynote address by Craig Barrett, Chairman of ITLG. ABOUT ITLG Established in 2007, the ITLG is a group of executives and technology leaders in Silicon Valley who are Irish

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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or Irish-American, each of whom are committed to helping Irish startup companies. In 2010, the ITLG opened the Irish Innovation Center in San Jose for Irish companies to easily set up operations in Silicon Valley. For the last eight years, an ITLG delegation of business leaders and senior global technology executives have come to Ireland to attend the Silicon Valley Global Technology Summit, and to meet Irish tech entrepreneurs and discuss the innovation landscape here. For more information, visit www.itlg.org. ABOUT FINGAL COUNTY COUNCIL Fingal County Council is the authority responsible for local government in the Fingal region of Dublin, Ireland. It is one of the four local authorities in the Dublin region. The Council is responsible for supporting economic and community development, housing, roads, planning and development, public amenities, culture and the environment. The county

administration is headed by Chief Executive Paul Reid and the head of the elected council has the title of Mayor. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are chosen from among the forty elected councillors. The county seat is at County Hall, Swords, Co Dublin.

FINGAL FACTS Population:

270,000 circa

70%

population in labour force vs 63% nationally

Area:

452.7 sq km

4th Largest Local Authority in Ireland Youngest Age Profile

32 years

vs 36.1 nationally

40.3%

population in ABC category vs 32.5% nationally

31%

of over 15 year-olds have third level education

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WHAT’S ON IN

COUNTY DUBLIN

LEINSTER

16TH – 24TH MAY International Literature Festival Dublin 29TH MAY – 7TH JUNE Carlow Arts Festival Co Carlow 30TH – 31ST MAY Down With Jazz Temple Bar, Co Dublin 13TH JUNE BARE in the Woods Music & Arts Festival Co Laois

COUNTY LOUTH

LOUTH LEO SECURES A900,000 FOR LOCAL BUSINESS More than a900,000 in funding has been awarded to two new regional development initiatives aimed at helping SMEs access training and skills and assisting unemployed graduates become entrepreneurs. The new programmes are being led by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Louth, who won the funding following a competition from the European Commission’s Eramsus+ programme. These two initiatives aim to improve regional development in Ireland, across the border and in the EU.

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KODALINE LAUNCH Student Enterprise Awards IRISH BAND KODALINE, who are currently on their UK and European tour, took time out of their busy schedule to announce details for the Student Enterprise Awards National Finals, which take place in Dublin in April. Coordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices in every county, the competition is the most successful student enterprise programme of its kind and two members of Kodaline, the lead singer, Steve Garrigan, and lead guitarist, Mark Prendergast, set up their own student enterprise ten years ago, selling music lessons. The group are all past-pupils of participating schools. Over 300 finalists from all over the country will set up enterprise exhibition displays at the National Finals in Croke Park on April 22nd before taking part in a series of judging interviews. COUNTY WICKLOW

Kodaline band members Vinny May, Steve Garrigan, Jason Boland and Mark Prendergast with Stephen Walshe of the Local Enterprise Offices and Kate Bryans of Coolmine Community College in Dublin.

COUNTY WICKLOW

WICKLOW FUNDING FOR FESTIVALS

LONGFORD TWINS WITH MEXICAN TOWN

Wicklow County Council has announced that applications for funding are now being sought under the Community Tourism Initiative for the Diaspora. The initiative builds on the community involvement legacy of The Gathering 2013 and is a joint partnership between Wicklow County Council, IPB Insurance and Fáilte Ireland. Now in its second year, the scheme provides a national fund of j1m to support local community-based events and festivals each year. Last year, ten Wicklow events were supported in county Wicklow, attracting over 700 visitors from overseas.

A special event on March 26th marked an historic deal between Ireland and Mexico as Longford signed a twinning agreement with Huixquilican. A Mexican delegation from Huixquilican together with members of the Longford twinning committee joined Deputy James Bannon in Dáil Eireann and later met with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin. The Mexican ambassador to Ireland, Carlos Garcia De Alba, who has been instrumental in bringing the twinning between Huixquilican and Longford to fruition, was also present to witness history in the making. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN BUSINESS NEWS: MUNSTER

COUNTY WATERFORD

WATERFORD LAUNCHES

INTERACTIVE PLANNING APP Waterford City and County Council has launched a new application finder that enables the public to find and view the details of current and historic planning applications. This was deployed using a responsive web design application so it can be accessed on any device at any time. The application has been deployed using Esri’s ArcGIS platform, the same platform that delivers many other business applications with the council such as internal data sharing and mobile data collection. In addition, Waterford has also launched an embedded map to show the locations of planning applications. Both apps can be accessed by visiting the Waterford City and County Council website www. waterfordcouncil.ie/en/Resident/Planning/ Online,Planning,Enquiries.

COUNTY CLARE

CLARE EMBRACES CULTURE Clare County Council will lead an initiative to promote County Clare as a county of culture during 2016 to coincide with the designation of Ennis as the host town for next year’s Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. The initiative will incorporate the development of a year-long programme of cultural events, to be promoted nationally and internationally, around the prestigious annual event which is expected to attract up to 400,000 people to the Clare County Capital in August 2016.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

MUNSTER

18TH – 19TH APRIL Taste the Wild Atlantic Way Street Food Festival Kinsale, Co Cork 26TH APRIL Clare Garden Festival Ennis Showgrounds, Co Clare 29TH MAY – 1ST JUNE Ireland Bike Fest 2015 Killarney, Co Kerry 12TH – 14TH JUNE Fastnet Maritime and Trad Fest Ballydehob, Co Cork

COUNTY CORK

COUNTY LIMERICK

Limerick Real Estate Project Gets Green Light

Initiative to encourage more

female students into STEM careers A NEW INITIATIVE ENTITLED ‘I Wish’ is aiming to address the issues that face female students, their parents and teachers, when it comes to choosing subjects and making career choices in secondary school. The brainchild of a number of female business leaders in Cork, I Wish is being spearheaded by Gillian Keating, President of Cork Chamber, Caroline O’Driscoll, it@cork Vice Chair and Ruth Buckley, Head of IT at Cork City Council, and is supported by UCC, CIT and Cork County Council teams. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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Pictured at the launch of the I Wish initiative are Saoirse Terry from Coachford College, Tara McCarthy from St. Angela’s College and Maedbh Heaney from Scoil Mhuire.

The biggest city centre real estate project outside of Dublin over the next ten years has received the green light. The publication by Limerick City and County Council of an invitation for expressions of interest in the a80-a100 million strategic Opera Centre site has triggered the go ahead for the development, which is a key element of the 2030 Economic and Spatial Plan for Limerick creating a new economic hub for Limerick city centre. The re-developed 50,000sq metre area will result in 3,000 jobs and a further 300 employed during the construction stage.

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UPCOMING EVENTS ULSTER

4TH – 8TH MAY Killeshandra Fishing Festival Co Cavan 1ST – 10TH MAY Cavan Walking Festival Co Cavan 19TH – 21ST JUNE Tirconnell Stone Festival Glencolumbkille, Co Donegal 5TH – 7TH JUNE Clones Canal Festival Clones, Co Monaghan

COUNTY MONAGHAN

GREENWAY MOOTED ALONG ULSTER CANAL The development of a so-called Greenway to compliment the Ulster Canal between Castle Saunderson and Clones has been mooted by politicians and members of a cross-border body. The off-road cycling and walking facilities alongside the same route of the canal were discussed at a meeting between officials from Monaghan County Council and Waterways Ireland

in March. The meeting examined how Waterways Ireland could support Monaghan County Council in developing the greenway along the Ulster Canal following Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys’ recent announcement that she has secured Government approval for the restoration of the canal from Upper Lough Erne to Castle Saunderson.

COUNTY MONAGHAN

CONROY STRIKES GOLD

COUNTY LOUTH

CROSS-BORDER PROJECT TO ENCOURAGE GROWTH Derry can expect closer involvement from Donegal County Council in community and development plans for the North West, the Northern Ireland Assembly has been told. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness recently updated the Assembly on the latest work of the North-South Ministerial Council. McGuinness said that a cross-border project set up to encourage economic growth in Derry, Limavady, Strabane and Donegal was back under discussion.

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Ireland’s first-ever commercial gold mine could yield a150 million worth of gold, according to the company that’s set to drill it. In March Conroy Gold found further evidence of high grade gold at its mine in Clontibret, Co Monaghan. The firm is now looking to bring in a partner to help develop the site. Gold found here is officially owned by the State and extracted under licence. A royalty payment of 2-3 per cent of the value of extracted gold is typically paid to the State.

The Donegal Film Office has launched a new website, aiming to promote and attract filmmaking in the county. The website is targeted at film and media companies and will become the first ‘go to’ site for location managers interested in finding information on Donegal. For more information go to donegalfilmoffice.ie.

COUNTY CAVAN

ROOM FOR MORE RECYCLING IN CAVAN The European Recycling Platform (ERP) hosted two free recycling events in Cavan on April 10th and 11th. The collection events are run in association with the waste management team at Cavan County Council. These gatherings welcome members of the public to dispose of any unwanted electronic items and batteries free of charge. In 2014, ERP Ireland facilitated the recycling of over 290 tonnes of electrical waste in Cavan. Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the developed world and ERP is encouraging the people of Cavan to keep up their good work in diverting electronic waste from Cavan’s landfills. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN BUSINESS NEWS: CONNAUGHT

COUNTY SLIGO

SLIGO RECEIVES FUNDING FOR CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS Sligo County Council will be given a Department grant of a32,000 as initial funding for the county’s 1916 Centenary celebrations. The funding will be used to put in place a series of public consultations and to support local initiatives. Nine county councillors volunteered to take charge of leading Sligo’s plans for the commemoration year of events as part of a steering committee.

ERRIS GOES WILD WITH AWARD WIN The award for The Irish Times Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland has been officially presented to Erris in Co Mayo. The initiaitive is a 32-county competition run by The Irish Times to recognise the country’s best natural environments and outdoor experiences. Hundreds of people gathered in Erris on March 29th as 22 local businesspeople showcased their tourism initiatives to the backdrop of the traditional and bluegrass riffs of local band Wildlife. Initiatives included the North Mayo Sculpture Trail and Siúlódí Iorrais (a guide to 24 walks), a quirky craft outlet and workshop, Lúnasa, and bilingual outdoor activities centre, Uisce.

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WHAT’S ON IN

CONNAUGHT 21ST – 27TH APRIL Cúirt International Festival of Literature Galway City, Co Galway

12TH – 14TH JUNE The 9th Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival Westport, Co Mayo

WHY ERRIS? Stretching from Ballycroy in the south to Ceathrú Thaidhg in the north; with Belmullet as its biggest town, Erris is an area the size of Co Louth. Two thirds of it is flat blanket bog and there is very little habitation, making it one of the most remote areas in the country.

DYNAMIC BUSINESS CULTURE

BEHIND DECISION TO SELECT GALWAY

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10TH MAY Innovative Technology Workshop Leitrim Sculpture Centre

COUNTY GALWAY

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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14TH – 17TH MAY Galway Early Music Festival Galway City, Co Galway

COUNTY MAYO

Galway’s “dynamic business culture” was the reason for its selection as the location for the new Euro HQ for a data fraud company, creating 60 new jobs. IDT911 – which combats identity theft and data breaches – will create the jobs over the next five

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years at the Galway Technology Centre in Mervue. The company’s Chief Operating Officer Sean Daly said: “Galway has a dynamic business culture that will enable us to launch IDT911 into the European market and scale upwards during the next five years.”

COUNTY LEITRIM

CLLR HIGHLIGHTS LEITRIM’S POTENTIAL AS FILM LOCATION Leitrim is failing to capitalise on its fabulous location, wonderful scenery and wealth of skilled residents and is losing out to other areas as a result, according to Carrickon-Shannon Municipal District Area councillor, Sinead Guckian. Speaking at the bimonthly council meeting, Cllr Guckian noted that it had been agreed, as part of the county’s current arts strategy, for the Council to develop a film industry portal. The idea is that such a portal would allow prospective film makers to access information about the county and the services and supports available.

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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 joseph.oconnor@ashvillemediagroup.com

In Association with

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CONFERENCE ASHVILLE MEDIA GROUP

Opportunity

AFRICA An upcoming event on how tapping into the African continent could help unlock valuable consumer markets.

F

or Irish businesses, Africa can no longer be viewed as a marginal player in economic terms, with growth rates across the continent continuing to rise on an annual basis. According to a 2014 PwC survey, 13 per cent of Irish chief executives are actively targeting Africa as an export market, up from 9 per cent in 2013. While awareness levels of the opportunities available are growing, many businesses are still in the dark when it comes to considering a move into these markets. Join us on June 25th 2015, where industry experts, business leaders, investors and Government officials will gather to discuss current opportunities in Africa for Irish InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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companies. The conference is an ideal platform for businesses to share latest insights, grasp developing trends, practices, ideas and build new business relationships.

The topics addressed by speakers will include: • Exploring African market potential • Dispelling old attitudes towards Africa • Africa’s attractiveness as a business location • Changing consumer landscape, needs and regulatory requirements • Financing and structuring projects in Africa • How can SMEs compete in Africa? • Overcoming challenges through developing strong partnerships

>WHEN? 8am, June 25th 2015 >WHERE? Chartered Accountants House, 47-49 Pearse Street, Dublin 2

>WHY? It will help your company understand financing options, grasp developing trends and explore current opportunities in Africa.

If you are interested in attending or speaking at this event or for information on sponsorship opportunities email: •B  usiness Editor Joseph O’Connor joseph.oconnor@ashvillemediagroup.com • Events Manager Denise Maguire denise.maguire@ashvillemediagroup.com

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14/04/2015 17:33


IB SURVEY THE MARKER HOTEL

Laying down a

MARKER Dublin’s Marker Hotel is quite at home among the big names located in the vibrant Dublin Docklands.

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or the hospitality industry, recovery might come under the heading of ‘slowly but surely’. However, signs of growth are there if you look closely, certainly in the country’s hotspots. Irish hotels and guesthouses generated around a6.45 billion in 2014 for example, and a similar performance is expected this year. Occupancy rates rose by 3 per cent last year, and are expected to encounter another rise in 2015. It’s a sentiment with which The Marker Hotel General Manager Charlie Sheil would agree. “It’s been a very positive performance so far and I think that would be in comparison with the rest of the city,” he explains. “Occupancy levels have been strong, both in corporate and leisure business in the city.” A bright and promising business community, Dublin Docklands has undergone significant changes over the course of the past decade, undergoing a transformation into a bright and vibrant cultural and economic centre. Home to world-renowned firms like Google and Facebook, the Marker Hotel on Grand Canal Square adds another touch of class to the surroundings, and celebrated its second anniversary on April 2nd. Successfully combining elements of nature with urban architecture, the Marker also fuses past with present – it’s all in the name. Once one of the great inland trading routes, the Grand Canal was Ireland’s link with mainland Europe, and its 82 miles of waterway was lined with cast InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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iron markers, milestones that showed travellers how far they had to go before they reached their journey’s end. The final marker once lay in Grand Canal Square where the hotel now stands, as a mark of respect. “In terms of what makes us stand out there are several things. Looking at the amenities we have in the hotel, we’ve got very spacious rooms, we’ve got a nice open plan area downstairs, we have the rooftop bar as well, the meeting and events space,” Sheil explains. The hotel’s meetings and events facilities are an important feature for prospective customers. Measuring 700m2 in total and conveniently located on the building’s ground floor, they combine the latest technological offerings with a business centre which operates as a business home from home. “The location is also important, being close to the water offers a really nice area.

Home to worldrenowned firms like Google and Facebook, the Marker Hotel on Grand Canal Square adds another touch of class to the surroundings, and celebrated its second anniversary on April 2nd.”

The Marker Hotel exterior

The Marker Hotel Corner suite

I think one of the biggest things is the team of people here who are so dedicated and committed to what they do. That really has been key to our success over the last number of years since we opened.” With a hospitality industry getting back on its knees, the future is bright for The Marker Hotel, which continues to invest in its facilities. “We have a significant development planned for the rooftop – we received planning permission to put an additional space up there. We’re looking at a space that will be used all year round that would have a retractable roof during the summer, and that could be used as a closed, heated space during the winter. In terms of the facilities in the hotel we’ll continue to maintain all areas to a very high standard.”

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IB SURVEY INTERTRADEIRELAND

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Realise your potential.

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ven back in the 1500s, Francis Bacon recognised that knowledge is power. And the saying still holds true in a world where business knowledge can make the difference. InterTradeIreland helps SMEs across the island by offering practical cross border intelligence, funding and meaningful contacts. To date, over 25,000 small businesses have been supported to identify and develop all-island trade and innovation opportunities. InterTradeIreland helps small businesses capitalise on the extraordinary possibilities that exist right here in Ireland, where crossborder trade exceeds £2bn/a2.8bn annually. Sourcing specialist advice or finding the right person with the

right skills can be a challenge, while partnering with academic institutes can be complex. InterTradeIreland can support companies financially in these areas, and also with specialist expertise and vital introductions. It also helps early stage companies become more ‘investor ready’ with a range of equity and venture capital advisory services and links to key business angel networks. For more established businesses wanting to grown, new funding for growth advisory services can help guide companies to the most appropriate form of finance. InterTradeIreland provides valuable business and policy intelligence on opportunities, regulation, market trends and important influencers. It also provides access to a strong knowledge base through graduates, universities, company collaboration and specialist advisors.

InterTradeIreland produces the largest all-island quarterly business monitor survey, insightful research reports and a unique all-island trade statistics portal. InterTradeIreland’s extensive networks and partnerships, formal and informal, are central to its purpose to grow business. A series of business events including conferences, seminars, workshops and masterclasses, most of which are free to attend, offer companies the valuable opportunity to make those all important connections. So if your focus is sales growth, innovation, tendering skills, raising venture capital, securing growth funding or improving business intelligence, a good place to start is InterTradeIreland. So go on, discover what’s possible in 2015. Visit www.intertradeireland.com/ discover-whats-possible.

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IB SURVEY UPC IRELAND

CONNECTING IRELAND We spoke with UPC Ireland’s VP of Business Services, Gavan Smyth, to discover more about their network expansion and plans for the future.

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he first three months of 2015 have proven to be a fruitful time for UPC and its B2B services. The company has experienced double digit growth for the past seven years, a trend which has continued into this year. Perhaps the most successful aspect is the company’s continuing network expansion, as they plan on connecting more Irish businesses this year across Dublin, Cork, Limerick and eight regional towns. “That’s absolutely key for us. We plan on continuing that work next year as well, and we will probably do that for the foreseeable future,” explains Gavan Smyth, VP of Business Services, UPC Ireland. “We have a solid plan here to continue building out the network to businesses that don’t have high speed networks.” As part of their mission to create a connected Ireland, the importance of solid WiFi networks for businesses – both for their own usage and for their customers – has emerged as a very important factor in success. “I think it’s critical. What you’re seeing is that almost every device used in the workplace is WiFi enabled. Having a proper WiFi solution in your business, whether it’s in hospitality, education or health, is absolutely key, not just in terms of a high speed connection but a WiFi network that delivers speed.” It’s not just talk from UPC either – Smyth outlines a number of steps the company has taken in this direction. For example, UPC acquired WiFi company Bitbuzz in InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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Gavan Smyth, UPC Ireland’s Vice President of Business Services and Shane Deasy, former Managing Director of Bitbuzz.

Smyth is also interested in Ireland’s digital marketplace, and taking steps to assist Irish businesses in taking full advantage of a fantastic resource sitting at their fingertips. December, a company that specialises in the hospitality industry. They have also deployed a WiFi network in St James’s Hospital that is providing WiFi services to patients and employees. In addition, UPC has created a WiFi mesh that covers a number of acres at their Dublin base in Eastpoint Business Park. “There are 5,000 people working here and each one can essentially access free WiFi,” Smyth explains.

CULTIVATING CONNECTIONS As UPC Ireland’s network expansion continues, the company is continually searching for ways in which they can improve their product and service offerings to bring more and more Irish consumers under the UPC umbrella. In early April they announced an upgrade of cable bundle upload speeds from 10Mb to 25Mb, while

a renewed interactive website due for launch in April will make it very easy for consumers to input their requirements and discover the most appropriate products for their needs. Smyth is also interested in Ireland’s digital marketplace, and in taking steps to assist Irish businesses in taking full advantage of a fantastic resource sitting at their fingertips. “The number of Irish companies who actually have a website is still quite poor. Even worse, around 27-30 per cent of businesses have the ability to sell products or services through their website. I think there’s a long way to go here,” he says. As a result, UPC Ireland are assisting Irish companies, not just in terms of the provision of broadband but knowledge sharing, in creating websites and becoming involved in e-commerce. “We have planned some courses which will be beginning in Cork in the next few months to assist businesses in understanding how to implement a digital strategy, from building websites to maintaining a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn presence, how to use SEO, how to advertise on Google and so on. We’re looking to give back and to help Irish businesses,” Smyth concludes.

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IB SURVEY HENLEY BUSINESS SCHOOL

BLAZING A BUSINESS TRAIL One of the earliest MBAs in Europe, a Henley Business School MBA, was and still is regarded as a trailblazer.

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ver 7,000 experienced managers are studying for a Henley MBA in 110 countries, in any given year. That in itself underlines its quality and desirability. Here in Ireland, the Irish Management Institute has a very successful partnership with Henley Business School to offer the programme via blended learning, since 2004. Robert Babington commenced his Henley MBA journey through the IMI in 2010. “The IMI Henley programme is delivered over three academic years and that also appealed to me. Many programmes are completed in two years, but I had work, travel and family life commitments, so the

10-15 hours per week commitment necessary as part of the three-year programme was as much time as I could give to an MBA,” he explained. Though most of the learning takes place online, around four workshops must be attended each year, with oncampus exams in years one and two. Support is on hand for any difficulties with assignments, topics or workload via email or over the phone. While he believes that having an MBA contributed to attaining his current position, Babington sees many and varied advantages. “It allows you to be more informed, aware, make better decisions and better understand decisions made by others. Finance is the language

of business and taking an MBA greatly improved my knowledge and understanding of financial matters.” As he sees it, “an MBA is a necessity to develop your career, it shows commitment to your own personal development and it shows that you want to move forward in your career. The rewards are fantastic but don’t take it on lightly, it’s a big commitment.” The next Henley MBA programme will take place from October 17th 2015. Talk to the Programme Director, Dr. Mary Hogan, at mary.hogan@imi.ie or 01 207 8551. For further information visit: www.imi.ie

Trade and Investment Promotion Section Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Dublin 4 The Vicarage St. John’s Road Dublin 4 Ireland T: +353 1 269 1370 F: +353 1 269 7662 E: dublin@trade.gov.pl W: www.dublin.trade.gov.pl

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With the big domestic market, highly skilled and motivated workforce, an economy that is one of the fastest growing in the EU and the business friendly environment...

POLAND is just the place. Trade and Investment Promotion Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Dublin is a point of first contact for potential investors and companies looking for business partners in Poland. Use our free and comprehensive advice to learn more about Poland, business and investment opportunities, administrative regulations, macroeconomic factors, legal support and business incentives available for new companies setting up in Poland. 27/02/2015 17:19

14/04/2015 15:17


IB SURVEY TANKARDSTOWN HOUSE

Think TANK Listed as one of the Lonely Planet’s top ten dream business destinations of 2012, Tankardstown Estate is an ideal location for business or pleasure, offering a genuine experience of the quintessential country house.

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xuding elegance and luxury, Tankardstown is a truly special place to stay. Less than an hour’s drive from Dublin, Tankardstown Estate comprises an 18th century manor house, adjoining orangery and a central courtyard of cottage suites. Tucked behind the main house is the Garden Village, where dining takes place in the 2AA Rosette Brabazon Restaurant or for more casual fare and afternoon tea, there’s the cellar, which offers cosy fires on chilly days or alfresco dining by the fountain when the sun shines. Rob Krawczyk joined the Tankardstown team as Head Chef. The carefully created menus change regularly, reflecting the changing produce of the season, which is all sourced locally. The vegetables come from the walled kitchen garden at Tankardstown. A feast for the eye and the palate. Slumber soundly in a main house heritage bedroom, or beautifully appointed courtyard cottage suite, with trickling fountains and birdsong to disturb you. Fill your day by kicking back by a roaring fire with a good book; find the outdoor hot tub cunningly tucked away in the walled garden; select a great movie from our comprehensive DVD library; go for a cycle or simply enjoy a stroll through the parkland and woods on the estate. Guests can expect a friendly, discreet service in a charming, dramatic location.

THE DREAM LOCATION Think Tankardstown for your corporate event, off-site meeting or conference. Listed as one of the Lonely Planet’s top ten dream business destinations of 2012, it is described as having “sprawling country houses and wild rain-lashed scenery in abundance”. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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Tankardstown House Boardroom

Brabazon Restaurant

Tankardstown is where you can get down to business beside a roaring log fire with many features making it an attractive location for a variety of corporate events. Situated just 30 minutes from Dublin Airport, it is also easily accessible from the M1. Complete privacy is ensured for more intimate meetings and conferences, including exclusive use of the main house if required. Larger conference and presentation facilities are available for up to 200 delegates in the orangery. Complete with formal roof planting, the orangery is situated adjacent to the main house at lower garden level and offers a seamless link from the indoors, through a wonderful bright space adorned with chandeliers

and antique furniture. To get away from the stress, break out spaces are available with plenty of walking and thinking space on the estate. Outdoor team-building events can be organised on the estate by a professional third party company. Picnics or refreshments are delivered to the site and are prepared using the finest and locally sourced produce. If a longer stay is required, two or three day conferences can be arranged. Consider Tankardstown, a stunningly restored Georgian mansion complete with meeting rooms set amid glorious parkland, guests are offered the opportunity to experience genuine hospitality whilst enjoying the true feel of the quintessential country house. Tankardstown House is a member of Ireland’s Blue Book. www.irelandsbluebook.com Tel: 041 982 4621

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Local advice, global coverage

Ireland’s complete data protection service From start-ups to multi-nationals, virtually every organisation is affected by data protection laws. Eversheds will work with you to create a robust yet commerically-focused data protection regime that’s right for your circumstances. We will help you to:

We offer a commercially focused, pragmatic and seamless approach across international boundaries. Our specialist team in Ireland works with over 70 data privacy experts around the world in over 29 countries. We provide one report, covering every country in which you operate. This is a unique and complete service in the Irish market.

• balance budget and risk • carry out an audit of your business to ensure data protection compliance • deal with the transfer of personal data from Europe • implement whistleblowing hotlines and staff monitoring tools

For further information please contact: Kate Colleary Head of Data protection and IP +353 1 6644 321 katecolleary@eversheds.ie

• address issues arising from shared platforms • manage records • handle complaints and requests • report security breaches • train staff • prepare for the proposed Data Protection Regulation.

www.eversheds.ie

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03/03/2015 11:06

What’s on your

You’re not alone When it comes to coping www.turn2me.org

Forums, group support, 1to1 counselling, iphone enabled Turn2me Advert half page.indd 2

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IB SURVEY GREEN MAN FESTIVAL

Reasons to

GO GREEN The Green Man Festival in South Wales brings together the diversity of folk, indie, country and electronica in one perfectly formed natural space with nothing but cool in common.

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f you’re a fan of music, gatherings and travel then there’s no better getaway than going to an international music festival. Sure, these days we have a festival in Ireland every weekend during the summer but it’s also nice to see how our neighbours do it. And one in particular is doing it very well indeed. The beauty of Green Man festival is that it’s less than an hour in the air from Dublin and a 90 minute drive from Bristol Airport. If you have a bit more time on your hands you can take the ferry to Holyhead and it’s a four hour drive south through the beautiful Welsh countryside to the festival site. Taking place every August in Glanusk Park near Crickhowell in the breath-taking surrounds of the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales, the Black Mountains will provide the backdrop for the rest of your weekend. Now in its 13th year, the festival has gone from strength to strength attracting legendary acts such as Robert

Plant, Van Morrison and Patti Smith as well as giving an early stage to the likes of Mumford & Sons and The National. But where this one-time folk festival of 300 people excels musically is in its ability to bring together the diversity of folk, indie, country and electronica in one perfectly formed natural space with nothing but cool in common. In recent years, acts such as the Flaming Lips, Wilco, Spiritualized, Band of Horses and Bon Iver have provided highlights on the main stages but half the joy of this festival is exploring the smaller stages and their expertly curated line-ups. Last year Mercury Rev, The Waterboys and Bill Callahan impressed but countless other up and coming acts more than shared and sometimes stole the limelight. Capacity is now capped at 20,000 but you’re rarely overwhelmed by the masses. There is a lot going on in the ten entertainment areas

with 18 stages and 1,500 performers. Aside from the music there is comedy, poetry, literature, circus, theatre, art installations, science and kids’ areas. Names such as Einstein’s Garden, Babbling Tongues and Little Folk give you an idea of what to expect. There’s also massage, spas, yoga and all the usual extras we’ve grown to expect from a quality festival. It has its own beer and cider festival with over 100 local brews to try. This emphasis on local is a common theme throughout the site and it is also true of the many and varied food options available. Accommodation is predominantly camping but there’s also a campervan section and some boutique camping options. What sets Green Man apart on the festival circuit is that it has managed to stay independent and free from corporate sponsorship. It has also been given signature status by the Welsh government. The festival supports emerging artists, regional regeneration, charitable fundraising, training schemes and working with disadvantaged youngsters. In 2009 the festival introduced a holiday ticket offer which gave people the option to stay on the festival site for a week before the main events and enjoy the local surroundings and tourist attractions, perhaps providing a model of how festival organisers can work together with local and national tourism bodies for mutual benefit. Festival organisers in Ireland, take note. This year’s festival takes place from August 20th-23rd and headline acts include St Vincent, Hot Chip and Super Furry Animals. For more details visit www.greenman.net

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LIFESTYLE

BMWGETS

ACTIVE with MPV

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PRICE €38,190 RANGE STARTS AT €32,530

MOTORING CORRESPONDENT OLIVE KEOGH TEST DROVE THE NEW BMW 2 SERIES ACTIVE TOURER LUXURY AND DISCOVERED AN EFFORTLESS FAMILY VEHICLE WITH A TOUCH OF PANACHE.

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t’s a BMW and as BMW does things well it’s not a major surprise that the brand’s first foray into compact MPV motoring is impressive. It’s called the 2 Series Active Tourer and it seats five. Should you need seven seats, the Grand Tourer version will oblige. Competition for the Active Tourer comes from models such as the Mercedes B-Class and the Ford C-Max. BMW, renowned for building rear wheel drive vehicles, set the cat among the traditionalist pigeons by opting for a front-wheel-drive system for the Active Tourer. It means the engine can be transversely rather than longitudinally mounted for better use of space and space matters in an MPV.

Styling is usually a casualty of MPV design as it’s hard to disguise the slab-like shape of the sides. However, BMW manages better than most to inject an element of panache by putting distinctive creases into the doors to provide a visual break. It might be pushing it to call the Active Tourer elegant, but it is quite stylish – for an MPV. And to be honest MPV motoring is far more about functionality and practicality than style and the Active Tourer ticks both boxes with some ease. Apart from a top quality feel and finish to the roomy cabin, there is an automatic tailgate to make life easy and luggage space of 468 litres with the back seats in use. The boot also has a foldable floor that conceals a storage compartment with

BMW, renowned for building rear wheel drive vehicles, set the cat among the traditionalist pigeons by opting for a front-wheel-drive system for the Active Tourer.

ENGINE 1499CC (218I) DIESEL CO2 EMISSIONS (g/km) 109g/km CONSUMPTION 5.1-5.3l/100km

a handy tray. There are multiple storage points, excellent rear head room and lots of adjustment on the driver’s seat to accommodate tall and small drivers. The back doors open wide and the seats sit high which is a big help when trying to get kids in and out of car seats. The rear seats move fore and aft and can be recessed at the push of a button, while the front passenger’s seat folds flat to facilitate long loads. An optional extra is a kickplate opening for the boot. This allows you to tap the plate with your foot to open the boot if both hands are full. An absolute godsend with arms full of shopping and the rain pouring down. In short, this is pretty effortless family motoring and one gets the distinct impression that a lot of thought has gone into putting this vehicle together. On the road the Active Tourer is easy and refined with plenty of power coming from the four-cylinder diesel unit. It is a very precise drive with little body roll and loads of grip. For those in need of extra people space and a bigger boot, the Grand Tourer version will arrive here in June with prices starting at €35,940 for the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol 218i. The entry-level diesel costs €36,580.

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MOTOR ING: LIFESTYLE: motoring

Style and Tech in Focus

DRIVER ENGAGEMENT TENDS NOT TO BE A PRIORITY FOR FAMILY CARS, BUT THE NEW FORD FOCUS MANAGES TO DO IT VERY SUCCESSFULLY, WRITES OLIVE KEOGH.

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he Ford Focus is one of Ireland’s favourite cars. Over 115,000 people have parted with their cash for one since it first arrived here in 1999 and the latest substantially revised version has just gone on sale at an entry price of €20,295. The Focus has been under pressure from the big selling Golf, but there is a sufficient amount of newness about the 2015 version to put it right back in contention. Indeed, 2015 is shaping up to be a big and busy year for Ford. Apart from the all-new Mondeo and new Focus, it will also launch a new C-Max, a new S-Max, a new Galaxy and the iconic Mustang.

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There are no changes to the basics. The Focus is still available in three body styles (hatchback, saloon and estate) and there are entry, Style, Zetec and Titanium specification options. Powertrains include Ford’s well-proven 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre diesels and its award winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine. Where things start to look decidedly different is in the styling department where the front end has been significantly changed with the Aston Martin-like grille now dominating the bonnet – in a good way. Rear end tweaks to lights and bumpers are less obvious. The

“all change” theme continues indoors where there is a perceptible improvement in lay out and in the quality of the materials used. Particularly nice is the new intuitive touchscreen that manages the infotainment system. The test car had the 8-inch version which costs an additional €720. The standard version is 5-inch. However, for anyone who uses the sat nav and other infotainment systems a lot, it’s probably worth paying extra. The specification from the entry level up includes ESP with hill launch assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system while upgrading to Style or Zetec versions adds features such as air conditioning, Ford’s SYNC communications system and USB connectivity. The Zetec

Powertrains include Ford’s well-proven 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre diesels and its award winning 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine.

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PRICE €27,095 RANGE STARTS AT: €20,295

Auto Innovate:

ENGINE 1.6 TDCI

Lower CO2 emissions to cost more

CO2 EMISSIONS (g/km) 109g/km CONSUMPTION 4.2 /100km

also has sports style front seats and a sports tuned suspension. Focus has always offered the latest in new technology to C-segment drivers with safety systems such as active city stop (which prevents slow speed collisions) and active park assist – a hands free parallel parking aid – already available on this model. However, Ford has further upped the ante with the addition of an advanced perpendicular parking assistance system. It helps drivers reverse into spaces alongside other cars and to manoeuvre out of them safely. The engineers have also been involved in the makeover process and the suspension geometry has been reworked and the steering revised to offer better feel and feedback. Noise, vibration and harshness have also been tempered and the cabin has become an even quieter place to be. One of the best things about the Focus is that it’s a great drive if you’re someone who enjoys the driving process. Driver engagement tends not to be a priority for those producing sensible family cars, but Ford manages to do it very successfully. Also making the new Focus an attractive buy is a no cost standard five-year warranty. InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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SELF-DRIVING CARS IT MIGHT SOUND LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF SCIENCE FICTION, but earlier this year an Audi A7 drove itself almost 900km from California to Las Vegas. Automakers dispute the length of time it’s going to take before fully autonomous cars become commercially available, but it could be as soon as 2030. That said there are still major technological (and legislative) hurdles to overcome. For example the operating software and navigation maps need to be capable of being constantly updated in real time to cope with changes such as new road lay outs. In the meantime semi-autonomous systems are already on the market. Mercedes offers the technology in the S-Class while Audi will offer it on the next generation A8. But the car companies may not have things all to themselves. Both Apple and Google are showing a strong interest in self-driving cars and the jury remains out on whether they will become opposition or allies in the battle that lies ahead.

Who’s accessing your in-car data? THE IRISH MARKET FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE CONNECTIVITY IS CURRENTLY THE BIG THING in in-car communication innovation. But while it might seem like a great idea to be able use your car’s media centre as an extension of your smartphone or laptop, it also means that you are leaving an electronic trail that can be followed. This raises a question about the protection of the data being stored in your car. Data privacy is a hot issue and there are those who believe that ultimately we will log into our cars in the same way we log into our computers in order to protect our information. Only then can the data be related to an individual and not to the vehicle where it can be accessed by anyone driving your car or extracted for use by those with the necessary know-how. The car manufacturers are already looking into ways of protecting owners’ identity through techniques such as the anonymisation of the in-car data.

TOUGH NEW CO2 EMISSIONS RULES, DUE TO COME INTO FORCE IN 2021, are really pushing car manufacturers to come up with more innovative approaches to cleaner conventional motoring (such as fuel saving stop-start technology) and alternative sources of power such as hybrids and electric vehicles. But all of this comes at a cost. Industry analysts, Evercore ISI, estimate that meeting the 95 grams per kilometre target will add around €1,000 to the cost of a new car. Part of the problem is that the industry has already made most of the lower cost changes possible to achieve the 2015 goal of 130 grams per kilometre. Reducing emissions further will require more expensive solutions such as the use of high-cost materials like carbon fibre and additional electrification of the powertrain. Meanwhile, battle has commenced between the car manufacturers and environmental groups who disagree on the real cost of meeting the new regulations.

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LIFESTYLE: innovation

INNOVATION NATION

InBUSINESS looks at the latest innovations and technologies that are shaping the future and changing the world.

Lightweight and adjustable to fit any adult head size. Work and play comfortably.

No cords no phones no wires, no tethers.

Built-in spatial sound lets you hear holograms wherever they are in the room with pinpoint precision.

Transparent lens and advanced sensors allow you to see your world and move confidently in it.

APPLE SMARTWATCH It was only a matter of time before Apple entered the smartwatch category. Their first offering is designed to be both fashionable and functional, available in an array of different colours and materials with six different types of watch straps that are easily interchangeable. Prices for the device, which will be available from April 24th, start at ď Ş400. www.apple.com/watch

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LIFESTYLE: innovation

MICROSOFT HOLOLENS

Nextgeneration technology enabled by Windows 10.

Microsoft is said to have made a huge leap in the virtual reality headgear market with the unveiling of the Hololens. It’s a new wireless holographic headset that will overlap holograms into a user’s vision, enabling them to run the new Windows 10 independent of a smartphone or computer. Users can create their own holograms within the company’s HoloStudio and 3D print the finished result. Alex Kipman, who was one of the key developers behind the Xbox’s Kinect sensor, said the HoloLens was the “first fully untethered holographic computer”. The headset is expected to go on sale within the coming months. www.microsoft.com/ microsoft-hololens

NEW WATCH UP SAMSUNG’S SLEEVE With the arrival of Apple Watch, Samsung will need to keep on its toes in the smart wearable space. After releasing a number of smart watches in quick succession, Samsung admitted: “It’s time for us to pause. We want a more perfect product.” According to techradar.com, their next watch may come with a round face and a rotating bezel ring that will be used as a navigation tool. So watch this space.

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Digital Digest With the help of one of its subsidiaries, Johnson & Johnson is to partner with search giant Google to develop surgical robots that will assist surgeons in the operation theatre.

The High Court has ordered UPC to take actions against illegal downloaders in a two-stage notification system rather than the three-strikes system used by eircom.

The founder and CEO of Chinese tech firm Leshi TV, Jia Yueting, has likened Apple to Adolf Hitler in a poster teasing the launch of the company’s new smartphone.

New research by IDC Connect has found that 34 per cent of Irish enterprises have adopted hybrid IT strategies, significantly behind the European average of 45 per cent.

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Salzburg LIFESTYLE: travel

Scenes of

Megan Cummins

THIS YEAR, THE MOST SUCCESSFUL MOVIE MUSICAL IN HISTORY CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY. MEGAN CUMMINS WENT ON A RECCE IN SALZBURG AND DISCOVERED A CITY OFFERING MUCH MORE THAN A SCENIC FILM LOCATION.

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Cuisine in Salzburg offers plenty to food lovers no matter what their budget or taste.

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hile its surrounding hills may be alive with the sound of music, the Austrian city of Salzburg boasts a lot more than a few measly ‘Do-Re-Mi’s. Set against a background of snow-peaked mountains and nestled alongside the banks of the Salzach River, the city’s central European location and manageable size renders Salzburg the ideal location for a leisurely getaway or business trip. Boasting a vast collection of acclaimed

eateries, historical sites, hotels, local boutiques and international chain stores, it’s no surprise that nearly 5.5 million visitors flock to this small Austrian city of a mere 150,000 people every year. With numerous direct flights flying to and from Salzburg on a daily basis and its main train station functioning as a major connection point for Eurocity, Intercity, and ICE trains, travelling from Ireland, or mainland Europe in general, is relatively easy. And, while the immense size of some cities means long commutes and expensive taxi rides, Salzburg’s public trolleys and buses offer the most convenient methods of transportation. For anyone hoping to InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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Festung Hohensalzburg sits atop the city’s highest hill and flaunts panoramic views of the entire city.

LIFESTYLE: travel

WHERE TO MEET...

The Sheraton Salzburg Hotel Directly connected to the Salzburg Congress, the Sheraton Salzburg Hotel contains four 130-person capacity conference rooms featuring direct daylight and partial park views, ideal for day-to-day meetings and banquets. A number of meeting packages are available and include discounts on rooms and meals.

EAT... M32

With its sleek interior and tremendous terrace views of the mountainside, M32 serves locals and visitors alike with their daily-changing menu of modern adaptations of Austrian specialties. With an atmosphere that radiates enjoyment and creativity and dishes such as beef stroganoff with plum dumplings, M32 is a culinary treat.

SLEEP... take in a few of Salzburg’s many sights in between business meetings, the Salzburg Card gives you unlimited access to public transportation and entrance into all of the city’s attractions and museums for 24, 48, or 72-hour periods, is well worth the €24-€37.

With numerous direct flights flying to and from Salzburg on a daily basis travelling from Ireland is relatively easy

Hospitality The Hotel Bristol, with its five-star rating, classical architecture, and prime location at the foot of the Mirabell Gardens, clearly embodies the essence of Salzburg’s past and present. Beneath its ornate ceilings, crystal chandeliers and walls lined with art and museum quality antiques, guests are mere steps away from the hotel’s Michelin InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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For anyone hoping to take in a few of Salzburg’s many sights in between business meetings, the Salzburg Card gives you unlimited access to public transportation and entrance into all of the city’s attractions and museums

starred restaurant and bar, The Polo Lounge and Sketch Bar. However, if five-star accommodation is too far a stretch for your budget don’t fret, Salzburg is filled with dozens of reasonably priced, and surprisingly luxurious, hotels such as The Hotel and Villa Auersperg, Hotel Villa Carlton, and Hotel Wolf-Dietrich. Small size aside, Salzburg is equipped with not one, but two, convention centers. The Salzburg Congress and Salzburg Exhibition Center both offer affiliated hotel services with the Sheraton Salzburg Hotel and EB Hotel Garni, respectively, located directly next to the centers. Cuisine in Salzburg

The Hotel Sacher

As one of Salzburg’s leading luxury accommodations, the Hotel Sacher blends Salzburg’s rich cultural past with today’s modern comforts. Its 149 rooms boast stylish belle époque interiors alongside wireless internet connection, DVD players and flat screen televisions.

SEE...

The Sound of Music Tour The city comes to life with the Sound of Music, guiding visitors to the various sights that not only comprised the 1965 classic film, but the heart of Salzburg itself. The Sound of Music tour highlights sights such as the Mirrabell Gardens, Residenz Fountain, St Michael’s Church and outlying Lake District.

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LIFESTYLE: travel

Innovation In Salzburg

For those with a sweet tooth, Mozartkugeln, a small, round chocolate filled with pistachio marzipan and nougat, covered in a dark chocolate shell are a Salzburg staple.

Mozart lived on the third floor of the ‘Hagenauer House’ at Getreidegasse 9 from 1747 to 1773.

Across Europe, public transport plays a key role in facilitating green growth, liberating cities from the consequences of traffic congestion and enabling citizens to lead healthier lifestyles. In Salzburg trolleybuses are more than just a form of transportation but rather an integral part of the city’s economy. With ten trolleybus lines, Salzburg’s network spans nearly 100 kilometres and stands as the largest trolleybus system in Western Europe. Salzburg Local Railways is a leader affiliate of the European Union’s Trolley project, which focuses on the consumption of energy and the enhancement and effectiveness of public transportation throughout the continent. Salzburg’s network spans nearly

100km and stands as the largest trolleybus system in Western Europe.

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offers plenty to food lovers no matter what their budget or taste. From food stalls filled with freshly baked breads, pretzels, frankfurters and cups of hot chocolate so thick it makes molasses look watery, to a monastery-turnedrestaurant that’s been serving up food since 800 AD, the city’s dining options are far from predictable. For those with a sweet tooth: Mozartkugeln, or Mozart Chocolate, is a small, round chocolate filled with pistachio marzipan and nougat, and covered in a dark chocolate shell. These red-wrapped sweets are a Salzburg staple. Alter Fuchs in the center of Salzburg’s Old City offers a wide array of authentic Austrian specialties in a quaint, below-ground tavern. While the traditional is an essential aspect of the culinary experience in Salzburg, it’s the nontraditional that has been capturing the attention and taste buds of locals and visitors in recent years. Offering a ‘guest chef concept’ and located in a former airplane hangar at Salzburg Airport, Restaurant Ikarus provides a truly unique dining experience that employs the talents of chefs from around the

world. Past menus have featured dishes such as Belgian imperial caviar with mozzarella and watermelon, a crab gazpacho shot, and a Petit-Suisse with cucumber, pumpkin seeds and vanilla. Dinner reservations are highly recommended, especially during the high-season summer months.

Off Duty Fortunately for those travelling to Salzburg on business, much of its charm can be admired by simply walking throughout the city; an advantage for anyone short on time outside the conference room. The Old City, or Alstadt, was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997; its stunning Baroque architecture, spacious squares, and quaint cobblestone streets leading the way to Mozart’s birthplace and the overlooking fortress, Festung Hohensalzburg. The castle sits atop the city’s highest hill and flaunts panoramic views of the entire city. At the base of the fortress lies one of the city’s oldest breweries, Augustiner Bräustüberl. Founded by monks in the 15th century, the monastery maintains the traditional brewing and serving methods of the

As the city’s largest source of tourism, it can’t be denied that Salzburg is synonymous with Roger and Hammerstein’s classic film, The Sound of Music.

original establishment to this day, storing the beer in wooden barrels and serving it in stone mugs. For any history aficionado, head further north towards the river and, near Residenzplatz, lie the State Residence Rooms, Salzburg Cathedral Museum, Natural History Museum and Salzburg Museum. As the city’s largest source of tourism, it can’t be denied that Salzburg is synonymous with Roger and Hammerstein’s classic film, The Sound of Music. However, while the tour is a fun way of seeing the city’s main attractions and outlying areas, including the Lake District and picturesque village of Mondsee, it takes around two and a half hours to complete and therefore requires an entire morning or afternoon. Spring is the best time to visit Salzburg given that the prices for airfare are fairly low, the temperature is moderate, and tourist season has yet to commence. InBUSINESS InBusiness | Q1 Q2 2015 2014

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LIFESTYLE: books Let’s

Innovate

BOOKS ON

DESIGN TO GROW:

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

How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (And How You Can Too)

SILICON DOCKS: The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub

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hat was once a symbol of industrial decline, Dublin’s Docklands has become the single most potent symbol of Ireland’s economic recovery. Silicon Docks: The Rise of Dublin as a Global Tech Hub chronicles the rapid development of Dublin’s Docklands, from an area of industrial wasteland to what is now one of the most dynamic technology and business hubs in Europe. Edited by Irish Times business journalist Pamela Newenham, with contributions from other journalists, Silicon Docks contextualises the impact of the sudden spurt of technology companies here. For anyone interested in how Ireland managed to lure the major global tech companies to our shores, Silicon Docks is worth a read. Despite the book being penned by numerous journalists, the narrative avoids repetition and remains coherent. It’s an easy read and a good starting point to understanding how Ireland has managed to make a name for itself as a global tech hub.

AUTHOR: Various PUBLISHER: Liberties Press RRP: 17.99 AVAILABLE: amazon.co.uk

YOUR TRAVEL COMPANION

Copy, Copy, Copy: How To Do Smarter Marketing By Using Other People’s Ideas

Marrying Mozart While in Salzburg visiting Mozart’s birthplace, why not tackle this historical novel by award-winning author Stephanie Cowell. The year is 1777 and the four Weber sisters share a crowded, artistic life AUTHOR: Stephanie Cowell in their ramshackle house. That’s when 21-year old Wolfgang Mozart walks into PUBLISHER: their lives. Cowell’s richly textured tale Penguin captures a remarkable historical figure, AVAILABLE: and the four women who engage his All good passion, music and heart. bookshops

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AUTHOR: In today’s David Butler & world, Linda Tischler established PUBLISHER: businesses Penguin are in danger RRP: of not being 22 able to adapt AVAILABLE: quickly amazon.co.uk enough, while nimble start-ups fail due to their inability to scale. According to the authors of Design to Grow, tomorrow’s business winners will be the ones who know how to combine the two. For over a century, the Coca-Cola company has used design to scale its flagship brand to over 200 countries. But the company is still learning. In this book Coca-Cola’s Vice-President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship David Butler offers a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s design-led strategy for growth. Writing with Fast Company’s Linda Tischler, he shows how any business can use the same approach to get to the next level.

“Rather than an endless search for a brilliant solution, why don’t you just copy something that’s worked before?”

AUTHOR: Mark Earls PUBLISHER: Wiley AVAILABLE: amazon.co.uk

In our novelty-obsessed culture, copying is something that almost always has negative associations, yet history proves that an ability to do it well has been the basis of success for many people – from Isaac Newton to Steve Jobs, Elvis Presley to Tsar Peter the Great – with each building upon the efforts and ideas of others. In Copy, Copy, Copy, Mark Earls challenges the stigma behind copying and reveals how businesses and individuals can learn to do it well.

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attire

Code

A MAN SHOULD OWN AT LEAST ONE SUIT. IT FORMS THE BACKBONE OF A WORKING WARDROBE AND ANCHORS A MAN’S FORMAL ATTIRE.

Tip: Allow up to six weeks for your tailored suit to be ready for collection.

TAILORED Tailored suits are fitted using a block jacket and trousers establishing the perfect size and fit. (Daniel Craig, left, stars as James Bond in Spectre and wears stylish three-piece tailored suits.) Fabrics come in a vast selection of wool, mohair and silk. You can also select features such as having a one or two button fastening, single or doublebreasted, regular or peak lapels, colour of contrast stitching and buttons; and style of pockets. Tailor made service starts from a895, Louis Copeland

Paul Smith Lincoln Leather Brogues, a390; Brown Thomas

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Atelier vingt deux, €a1,241, Harvey Nichols

Apple Smartwatch, j400, www.apple.com

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Tip: The perfect unique length of your jacket should actually divide your body perfectly in two.

adidas Originals x Pharrell Supercolor, a86, Schuh

Happy socks big dot socks, a9, Brown Thomas

OFF THE RACK

BESPOKE Choosing a bespoke suit means there is more opportunity to get exactly what you want. A tailor will discuss your preferences and take measurements profiling your unique body pattern, capturing those all-important measurements that are cut into a unique paper pattern of you (Chris Hemsworth, right, star of Avengers: Age of Ultron). Show your personality through your choice of fabrics and style of suit. Bespoke service starts from a340 for a two piece suit; A Suit That Fits

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Tip: A collar should hug the back of your neck wit hout buckling or pulling on your shirt.

Getting every suit tailor-made would be the ultimate solution, but unfortunately it isn’t always feasible. Pricing is usually a deciding factor, but off-the-rack suits give you the added benefit of being able to choose the latest styles (David Gandy, below, has been the face of Marks & Spencer menswear since 2011). Remember, the quality of the fabric usually dictates the price of the suit. Prince of Wales check suit, a963, Marks & Spencer

Slim Fit Shirt, a125, Louis Copeland

Eton micro-dot pocket square, a50, Brown Thomas

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Diversity

s r e t t a M

TO ATTRACT THE BEST TALENT TO YOUR BUSINESS, IT IS ACCEPTED WISDOM THAT YOU NEED TO PROVIDE A DIVERSE AND INCLUSIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT. JOSEPH O’CONNOR SPOKE WITH BROADCASTER AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR DIL WICKREMASINGHE TO DISCOVER WHY HAVING A POLICY MANUAL ON THE OFFICE SHELF NO LONGER CUTS THE MUSTARD. il Wickremasinghe is a wearer of many hats. Most notable as presenter of Newstalk’s weekly programme Global Village for the past seven years, she counts numerous professions as her own, far too many to fit comfortably on the average business card: as an activist and campaigner for equal rights, she has served voluntarily on the boards of numerous NGOs; as a passionate mental health ambassador for One in Four, Suicide or Survive, and See Change, she shares her story of recovery as a way to break down stigma surrounding mental health; she is also co-founder of Insight Matters, the mental health support service she opened with her partner

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Anne Marie Toole in 2011. But it is on the issue of diversity and equality in the workplace that I speak with Wickremasinghe. As a gay woman – born in Rome to Sri Lankan parents – who emigrated to Ireland in 2000 she knows a thing or two about the importance of inclusion. Having initially spent some time employed in the hospitality industry here, it was while working in the recruitment sector that she recognised the challenges facing non-nationals in the workplace and how employers were failing to adapt to a society that was changing rapidly from being homogenous and monocultural to diverse and cosmopolitan. And with that, in 2006, Wickremasinghe established Diversity & Equality Works, which

provides a range of training and consulting services aimed at assisting businesses to use diversity to their advantage. “Ireland had been experiencing a massive economic boom at the time,” she recalls. “Migrants were being invited to come to Ireland to fill thousands of jobs so overnight the Irish workplace had changed dramatically. Now that we had all these different people working with us we needed to make sure that everyone felt welcome. That’s when I left the recruitment industry to set up Diversity & Equality Works. We’re in 2015 now and the need for the service is still there.” Wickremasinghe’s consultancy work with organisations centres on policy and training. She creates the necessary

policies to ensure it is clear what diversity and equality mean to a given company. This commitment is put in writing but that’s not where the work ends. Wickremasinghe then communicates this intention to the staff. Inevitably, each business has its own unique requirements so Diversity & Equality Works prides itself on offering a bespoke service to ensure the policies are relevant. “My role involves meeting the organisation, finding out what their issues are and then depending on that I will tailor a programme,” she explains. “Many companies look for a general overview and then if they feel they want me to come back and give them a more focused workshop, that’s what I’ll do.” Employers have a lot to gain from being knowledgeable about equality and diversity in the workplace. According to Wickremasinghe, an inclusive and sensible approach to not just migrant issues, but also LGBT, age, religion and gender, will contribute to the performance levels of staff. “The employee will most likely give you 100 per cent as a result,” she says. “They’ll feel that their employer cares about them by asking about their culture, by making an effort to celebrate their national day or by asking about their same-sex partner. That thinking was missing in 2006.” The benefits for employers are not just limited to staff morale, a diverse and inclusive workplace makes sense InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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THE LAST WORD

on many levels. Other advantages include driving creativity and innovation, building company reputation, winning new business, mitigating the risk of bullying and harassment while also promoting corporate social responsibility. Furthermore, as companies race to secure and retain the top talent available in this country, there is growing evidence that graduates actively seek employment in organisations that are inclusive because it means working for a company that values the ideas, skills and experiences that come from having a diverse workforce. So is the attitude to equality and diversity improving, and did the recession affect companies’ interest in gaining a better understanding of the subject? Wickremasinghe says many of the multinationals have maintained their commitment but it’s the SMEs that struggle due to a lack of resources. “What you find during the recession is that these companies will only engage in training which they see as absolutely necessary such as sales or customer care,” she says. “Nationally, the conversation around diversity changed during the recession because there were a number of cuts which took place, like cuts to the Equality Authority which ceased funding to a number of organisations. And so, there was a clear message that during a recession InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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diversity is not very important. That’s when the issues really come out unfortunately.” Despite a dip in demand for her services during the height of the downturn, Wickremasinghe has seen things pick up again in the past two years. She gets great satisfaction in seeing repeat customers who wish to keep their policies up to date. “It’s great to see companies that I worked with a few years ago coming back for refresher programmes due to the fact they have new staff,” she says. “They realise that this is not a one-off. It has to be an ongoing initiative because when new people come in, the culture of the organisation can change. So you need to make sure that commitment to diversity remains very much alive.” With many awards now recognising companies that create the so-called perfect environment for employees, including Ireland’s Great Place to Work Awards, it can be difficult to separate what are genuine cases that deserve recognition from PR-driven companies seeking positive news coverage. Staff might just be the best people to judge. Wickremasinghe believes the ideal workplace is an organisation that allows employees to be who they are. “It’s about a person’s dignity and their ability to be themselves,” she explains. “Google have a great slogan: ‘Google, a place for you to be you’. That really resonates with me because if you’re able to go into work and

Dil Wickremasinghe, broadcaster and social entrepreneur

be yourself and not feel that you have to hide any part of your personality, you’re going to give 100 per cent. Your creativity that’s linked to your individuality is going to be very much at the disposal of the company. So for me it’s an inclusive, respectful workplace where each individual is treated as an individual and is encouraged to share their ideas and thoughts. Thankfully a lot of organisations are realising this and subscribing to it.” The coming months will be a busy time for Wickremasinghe who is expecting her first child this summer. It will be strange for her to take some time out from what is a full and varied schedule. “Obviously I’m looking forward to my maternity leave,” she says. “But it will also be sad for me to move away from Global Village for three months. I see the programme as my first baby.”

The Workplace Equality Index February saw the launch of the Workplace Equality Index to find Ireland’s best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. Participating employers who are high performers will be included in the Top Employers list and recognised at the Workplace Equality Index Awards, to be held on September 22nd 2015. For more details visit workplaceequality.ie

When not on maternity leave you can hear Dil Wickremasinghe on Global Village every Saturday 7-9pm, Newstalk 106-108FM. For more information on Diversity & Equality Works visit www.dew.ie.

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THE InBUSINESS INDEX

Press Freedom 2

8

In this issue, InBUSINESS explores data from the 2015 World Press Freedom Index.

1 5

4

10 3 7

9

6

2nd

1st Finland

3rd Norway

4th Denmark

5th

Netherlands

Sweden

7.52 7.75 8.24 9.22 9.47 6th New Zealand

7th

8th Austria

9th Canada

10th Jamaica

Estonia

10.06 10.85 10.99 11.18 11.19 11th

32nd

154th

IRELAND

ANDORRA

LIBYA

Ireland fares well in the rankings, coming 11th in the world and just missing a top ten spot by 0.01 points. It has jumped five places from last year’s ranking of 16th but it has previously held top spot for global press freedom on four occasions: in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009.

Andorra, the country that experienced the sharpest fall this year, has paid the price for the lack of independence of its media from financial, political and religious interests. It fell by 27 places as a result of the many conflicts of interests and the great difficulty experienced by journalists in covering the activities of Andorran banks.

Journalists working in Libya have lived through a chaotic period since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, during which Reporters Without Borders recorded seven murders and 37 kidnappings of journalists. Faced with such violence, more than 40 people working in the media decided to leave the country in 2014.

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ABOUT THE WORLD PRESS FREEDOM INDEX The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate. The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis, media freedom is in retreat on all five continents. Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the Index performed less well than in the previous year. For the full report findings go to: http://index.rsf.org/#!/index-details

InBUSINESS | Q1 2015

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