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He’s not doing his banking. We are.

You free up time for what really matters when you let someone else take care of things – especially when you know they’re experts. So why not do the same for your banking? From executing simple, day-to-day tasks to providing ongoing financial advice, we can help. Talk to AIB Private Banking today. Call Patrick Farrell, Head of AIB Private Banking, on 086 023 2868 or visit Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Typically our clients have an annual salary or income which exceeds €250,000.

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Managing Editor: Mary Connaughton Editorial Assistant: Susan McDermott (Chambers Ireland) Commercial Editor: Conor Forrest Art Director: Alan McArthur Editorial Contributors: Orla Connolly Conor Forrest Valerie Jordan Olive Keogh Rachel Murray Front Cover Photography: Conor McCabe Production Manager: Mary Connaughton Production Executive: Nicole Ennis Sales Director: Paul Clemenson Managing Director: Gerry Tynan Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

Published by: Ashville Media Group, Old Stone Building, Blackhall Green, Dublin 7 Tel: +353 1 432 2200 Email: Web: On behalf of: Chambers Ireland, 3rd Floor, Newmount House, 22 - 24 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2 Tel: +353 1 400 4300 Email: Web: All articles © Ashville Media Group 2016. 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



Dubliner Brian Lee on taking on the major players in fast food with his successful Chopped brand


Business of Sport

Lidl’s first sports sponsorship campaign in Ireland received a less than traditional launch earlier this year, but has since gone from strength to strength Words: Conor Forrest



From food to fashion, writing to racing, music to art, Irish festivals play a major role both culturally and economically



Practice with Presence

Accounting firm Russell Brennan Keane is on an expansion trail. We caught up with Managing Partner David Gleeson to find out more Words: Joseph O’Connor

Nat ure



As part of the InBUSINESS mentors series, JOSEPH O’CONNOR had an unlikely meeting with Dubliner Christina Noble, the driving force behind an international charity helping underprivileged children.


hristina Noble is not your average interviewee. In February, the OBE award-winning children’s rights campaigner and charity worker invited me to her home in Lucan, Co Dublin. Our meeting, which lasted almost three hours, comprised meandering anecdotes, Irish poetry recitals, and the odd song thrown in for good measure. In essence, Noble did anything but answer the questions I put to her. Even had I managed to conduct something of a ‘normal’ interview, it’s difficult to know where to start with the woman credited with transforming the lives of 700,000 children. With Noble who is now 71 – but not looking anywhere near those years – there’s a whole lot to cover. She had a traumatic upbringing in the Dublin slums of the 1950s. With the death of her mother when she was ten years old and an alcoholic father who failed to keep the family together, she was separated from her siblings, spent years in an abusive institution in the west, became homeless - living in Dublin’s Phoenix Park and later, after escaping to the UK at the age of 18, ended up in an abusive marriage. 38

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016



Leonora O’Brien, Founder and CEO of Pharmapod

Words: Joseph O’Connor

Words: Valerie Jordan


Jen Murphy

Editor: Joseph O’Connor

Illustration courtesy of Jen Murphy (@JenJen_Murf). Jen is a graphic design and caricature artist based in the west of Ireland. For further details contact:

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016



Christina Noble

Some life lessons from the woman behind an international charity helping underprivileged children

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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Q1 2016


Chip Off the Old








772009 393018





Go to for the online edition



New offerings from Ford and Volvo 96

INNOVATION: Smart toys for learning 98


On-Trend in Myanmar 101


Business for Punks 102


Made-to-measure suits


Small Business

Cool Bean Company co-founder Sarah O’Connor spills the beans on entering new markets and partnering with major supermarket chains



The Rise of Co-Working Culture

A look at the co-working option for innovators and start-ups and how it’s changing the landscape of the Irish workplace Words: Orla Connolly


Book Extract

An extract from Catherine Moonan’s The Pitch Coach



Danish toymaker Lego continues to cultivate a loyal following by selling a mix of traditional brick sets and licensed properties linked to popular franchises

Words: Valerie Jordan

Words: Joseph O’Connor


Our Local Government InBUSINESS Supplement 07 continues to PROMISE look at the 06 important role played by local authorities in Irish enterprise Page



5 Business News 10 Movers & Shakers 13 Opportunity Ireland 14 Start-Up Central


51 Chambers Catch Up 104 The IB Index




New libraries for Wicklow, jobs boost for Carlow and holiday resort planned for Longford.

Cork accelerator launched, Irish Water funds Kerry scheme and Clare geopark creating a legacy

Galway becomes bilingual, new initiative aiming to strengthen ties between the west and the US, and a385k in funding for Galway arts.




New luxury hotel for Donegal, Monaghan revealed as a broadband black spot and agri conference brings a250,000 to Cavan.


The Greater Dublin Region has an attractive investment offering for multinationals and indigenous enterprises.

COME HERE, GO PLACES Fingal County Council’s Paul Reid on why Fingal should be a key destination for business investment.

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InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

Chip off the Old Block

Bobby Kerr on his varied career, the state of the economy, and his recent battle with cancer

In Conversation



InBUSINESS | Q1 2016


By examining successful collaborations between Chambers, local Government and LEOs in the past, there is an opportunity to help transform local areas both economically and culturally.

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06/04/2016 14:48







s part of an effort to maximise every opportunity presented by the unprecedented Irish showing at this year’s Academy Awards, Irish Film Board and IDA Ireland hosted a networking event in Los Angeles, attended by the US studios, distributors, talent agents, content platforms, film financiers and entertainment technology companies. The ‘Irish Creativity and Innovation in the Limelight’ event aimed to drive investment, to promote Ireland as a production and innovation destination in Los Angeles, and to further build Ireland’s international reputation as a creative and innovation hub. The event took place ahead of the 88th Academy Awards where Irish short filmmaker Benjamin Cleary won Best Short Film for Stutterer and actress Brie Larson picked up the Academy Award for Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in the Irish film Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, produced by Element Pictures and supported by the Irish Film Board.

Irish Nominees at the 88th Academy Awards were: Best Picture: Room Brooklyn Best Director: Lenny Abrahamson (Room) Best Screenwriter: Emma Donoghue (Room) Nick Hornby (Brooklyn) Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) Brie Larson (Room) Best Actor: Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) Best Short Film (Live Action): Ben Cleary (Stutterer)

CityJet has opened a new customer contact centre in Swords, Co Dublin, which has created 18 new jobs at the airline. The centre replaces its previously outsourced facility, which was located in Mauritius. The centre will operate from 7am to 7pm daily, dealing with enquiries on the airline’s European scheduled routes. Commenting on the announcement, Cathal O’Connell, Chief Commercial Officer at CityJet, said: “We are delighted to create additional jobs at our Swords campus. Relocating the call centre to Dublin and bringing it in-house ensures our customers are dealt with by dedicated CityJet staff and enjoy our unrivalled service and attention to detail.”

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Lenny Abrahamson, director of Room, with Ben Cleary, winner of Best Short Film (Live Action) for Stutterer


06/04/2016 11:10



WITH RECORD SALES SuperValu has announced that it recorded retail sales of 2.6bn in 2015, representing a new milestone for the brand and underlining its position as Ireland’s most popular grocery retailer with 25 per cent market share. Building on this strong performance, SuperValu plans to invest 28m in 2016, opening five new stores and adding 350 jobs to the SuperValu network. Commenting at the SuperValu National Conference in Killarney, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of SuperValu, said: “We are pleased to announce that we have achieved a new sales milestone in what is a highly competitive marketplace. The fact that we are the largest grocery retailer in Ireland clearly illustrates that we have the best offer in the market, with consumers responding to our commitment to fresh food leadership and opting for locally sourced, quality Irish food and in-store expertise.”



THIS Business

Former Clerys Window Dresser Gerhard Scully pictured with Aoife Walsh at the launch of the Go Green with Green Angel Skincare Challenge, a Guaranteed Irishbacked nationwide search to find the most creative window featuring the successful Irish skincare brand. The competition was themed around St Patrick’s Day. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography


HOTEL OWNER MAKES RICH LIST Jurys Inn owner John Grayken has made his debut as a billionaire on the Forbes rich list for the first time this year. The private equity fund manager arrives on the list with the second biggest fortune in private equity, 5.8bn.



ndependent News & Media (INM) has announced two new senior appointments in a bid to strengthen the group’s business coverage across a number of platforms. Dearbhail McDonald, who has previously served as Associate Editor and Legal Editor of the Irish Independent, has been appointed Group Business Editor at INM. Meanwhile, Donal O’Donovan, who worked most recently as Deputy Business Editor of the Irish Independent, has been appointed Business Editor. Commenting on the appointments, Stephen Rae, group editor-in-chief at INM, said that the pair will drive improved business coverage across its editorial platforms.

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BUSINESS NEWS Ireland cricketers Ciara Metcalfe, Lucy O’Reilly, Robyn Lewis, Isobel Joyce and Claire Shillington at Malahide Cricket Club in Dublin

ICC World Twenty20: A Global Reach

Televised in

TOURISM BODY BACKS IRISH CRICKET Tourism Ireland once again backed Irish cricket by sponsoring the men’s and women’s cricket teams in the ICC World Twenty20, which took place in March. Last year, Tourism Ireland sponsored the Ireland cricket team when they took part in the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, which was one of the world’s biggest sporting events of the year. Tourism Ireland saw this year’s World Twenty20 tournament as another excellent opportunity to leverage the popularity of Irish cricket and to support tourism growth from India, as well as other key cricket-loving countries, including England, Australia and South Africa.


countries to a potential

2.5bn viewers




Marketing spend on outdoor advertising increased by 7 per cent through 2015, according to out of home media specialist Kinetic. Director Simon Durham said improved quality and the introduction of new formats spurred the growth.

Eir has revealed the first 100,000 premises in rural locations around Ireland that will get 1Gbps broadband speeds in the next 12 months. The company also revealed that it is creating 50 new apprentice roles to facilitate the rollout.

Hotel group Dalata has reported a pre-tax profit of 28.5m for 2015, up from 4.2m in 2014. The group’s revenues grew by 185 per cent to 225.7m following the integration of 15 new hotels into the company.

IRISH WHISKEY MAKER SHINES ON WORLD STAGE The Teeling Whiskey Company scooping top honours. It will now go continues to shine on the international on to compete at the next stage of the stage having just picked up competition for the global title. four top accolades at the As well as leading the first stage of the World way on the international Whiskies Awards. spirits market, Teeling The awards are Whiskey Company has organised by Whisky also been nominated Magazine honouring in the entrepreneurial the very best whiskies category at the 8th Brothers Stephen and Jack Teeling of the Teeling in the world. The annual Financial Times Whiskey Company Teeling Whiskey Company Arcelor Mittal Boldness in triumphed in three Business Awards. Previous categories with its single grain, winners of the entrepreneurship single malt, 24-year old single malt and category include Softbank, Tullow Oil ‘The Revival’ 15-year old single malt all and Google.

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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O’LEARY WARNS UK AGAINST BREXIT Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has urged the UK public to vote to stay in the European Union in the June referendum. The airline announced in February that it was to actively campaign for an ‘in’ vote which would prevent a so-called Brexit from the EU. The airline, which employs over 3,000 people across its 13 airport bases in the UK, said that foreign inward investment in the UK will be lost to Ireland and Germany if the UK leaves Europe.


06/04/2016 11:11



What business event are you looking forward to attending this year? BRIAN LEE Chopped One event that I’ve always had an interest in is the EY Entrepreneur of the Year event. Entrepreneurialism is a real passion of mine and it’s great to see initiatives like this celebrate entrepreneurs in Ireland. I’d love to be attending the awards gala as a finalist!

BOBBY KERR Insomnia I’m looking forward to the Irish Hotels Federation Conference. I’m chairperson of it and it’s a sector I grew up in. I’m looking forward to chairing the conference and listening to the speakers and hearing about a sector that’s doing well.




echnology proficiency proved to be the most valuable skill that helped Irish professionals get hired last year, according to LinkedIn. The company has released a list of top 25 skills based on analysis of all of the hiring and recruiting activity that occurred on LinkedIn in 2015. Technology skills dominated the list with huge demand for professionals in Ireland with expertise in areas like cloud computing, big data and IT security. Commenting on the research findings, Wendy Murphy, Senior HR Director for LinkedIn EMEA, said: “Technology skills are highly valued by Irish employers, which may not come as a complete surprise given the growth in the sector in Ireland last year. It is a positive sign though for STEM graduates that there is still huge demand for professionals with these skills.”

The 10 hottest skills of 2015 on LinkedIn 1

Cloud and Distributed Computing


Statistical Analysis and Data Mining


SEO/SEM Marketing


Middleware and Integration Software


Network and Information Security


Web Architecture and Development Frameworks


Data Engineering and Data Warehousing


Mobile Development


IBM Mainframes and Systems


Software Revision Control Systems

SINÉAD GERAGHTY FlexHuddle I’m really looking forward to the NewWork 2016 conference this May. It is the first national co-working conference and it centres on the importance of co-working, the growth of the sharing economy and how co-working is the ideal space to grow your business network.

SARAH O’CONNOR Cool Bean Company There is an event in April called HERizon, with various talks, workshops and events related to women in the workplace taking place over a three-day period. We also love going to the brand forum events run every few months by Bord Bia. Wendy Murphy, Senior HR Director for LinkedIn EMEA


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NEW TITLE: Group Director of Catering EMPLOYER: The Mount Charles Group PREVIOUS ROLE: Head of Bakery Operations, M&S

NEW TITLE: Manging Partner EMPLOYER: Ronan Daly Jermyn PREVIOUS ROLE: Manging Partner, Ronan Daly Jermyn

NEW TITLE: Managing Director EMPLOYER: Lobo Leasing PREVIOUS ROLE: VP Marketing, Lease Corporation International

NEW TITLE: Managing Director EMPLOYER: MKC Communication PREVIOUS ROLE: Director, MKC

Indigenous food service and business outsourcing company, the Mount Charles Group, has announced the appointment of Leann Duffy as Group Director of Catering. Duffy joins the company from Marks & Spencer. Her new role will include responsibility for the company’s portfolio of catering, beverage and vending operations.

Ronan Daly Jermyn has announced the reappointment of Managing Partner Richard Martin for a second four-year term. Martin has been the driving force behind the expansion of the firm through the recent opening of offices in Dublin and London, strategic resourcing and establishment of industry-focused teams.

Lobo Leasing, a global helicopter leasing company, has announced the addition of Mark Kelly as Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Lobo Leasing, to lead its global headquarters in Dublin and report to Lobo CEO Bill Wolf. Kelly has a wealth of experience in the rotor industry and in building and managing highly successful teams.

Tim Kinsella has been appointed managing director of public relations company MKC Communications. A cofounder and director of the company, he succeeds Laurie Mannix who has successfully completed a seven-year term as managing director and continues as an executive director of MKC.



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NEW TITLE: Product Manager EMPLOYER: SEAT Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Sales Executive, Volkswagen

NEW TITLE: Mediator EMPLOYER: RoundTable Mediation CURRENT ROLE: Independent mediator

NEW TITLE: President EMPLOYER: France Ireland Chamber of Commerce OTHER ROLE: JCDecaux Ireland

NEW TITLE: CFO EMPLOYER: DHL Express Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: VP of Finance & Business Controlling, DHL Express Europe

SEAT Ireland has announced the appointment of Barry Murray as Product Manager. Murray has five years’ experience working in the motor industry in Ireland having previously worked with Volkswagen in its commercial vehicles division as sales operations executive.

Dispute resolution, investigation and mediation providers, RoundTable Mediation, has announced the appointment of Alan Watson as mediator at its Dublin office. A graduate of NUI Mayooth, Watson is certified by the Mediator’s Institute of Ireland (MII) and holds a postgraduate qualification in mediation and conflict intervention.

Joanne Grant, MD of JCDecaux Ireland, has been appointed the president of the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce (FICC). As FICC president, Grant will contribute to the promotion of business links between France and Ireland and to the attraction of France among Irish business circles.

DHL Express Ireland has announced the appointment of Kardam Dave to the role of CFO. Dave’s previous role was VP of Finance & Business Controlling at DHL Express Europe. He first joined the group as an MBA intern in June 2006 and holds a bachelor degree in economics from the University of Delhi. As CFO, Dave will have responsibility for leading the finance function of DHL Express Ireland.


Ashville Media Group is Ireland’s largest publishing and events company. You’ve almost certainly read our magazines or attended our events. Our mission is to connect your brand with the largest audience in Ireland. (01) 432 2200 ▲

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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06/04/2016 11:14

Dillon Eustace. Committed to our clients.

At Dillon Eustace we work for all types of clients including national and international corporates, banks, asset managers and insurers. We can guarantee the same level of expertise and support for the biggest of corporates and the smallest of companies. • General Commercial • Commercial Property • Mergers & Acquisitions • Banking • Litigation & Arbitration • Tax

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• General Commercial • Insolvency & Corporate Recovery • Cross Border Insurance • Commercial Property • Debt & Investment Funds Listing • Regulatory Compliance • Mergers & Acquisitions • Distressed Asset Investing • Restructuring • Banking • Aircraft Leasing • Investment Funds • Litigation • Asset Management • Securitisation • Tax • Capital Markets • Structured Finance • Insolvency & Corporate Recovery • Regulatory Compliance • Restructuring • Aircraft Leasing • Asset Management • Capital Markets • Cross Border Insurance • Debt & Investment Funds Listing • Distressed Asset Investing • Investment Funds • Securitisation • Structured Finance

05/02/201615:07 14:44 11/03/2016 15:55 06/04/2016





CEO & Co-founder of Ezora How did you fund your business initially? When we first started we used our own funds and every waking minute to build up a client base of customers for whom we did bespoke projects. After doing this for some time we recognised a gap in the market that could unite sales and financial operations and we have now built our own product to exploit this market. What’s the best advice you were given? Don’t be afraid to ask people for their business What was the most important lesson you learned starting out? Most people are very encouraging of entrepreneurial businesses and will tend to give you the opportunity to prove yourself. If you can back up your promises with a good product and great service you will develop a fantastic business. Your biggest make or break moment? When we secured a contract to provide the full financial and business intelligence technology to the first franchisee globally of Startbucks we knew that we had developed something special. This gave us the proof we needed in order to focus our efforts and has opened many other doors for us. Would you change anything in hindsight? If I could go back in time I would certainly get much better at saying no to prospects and customers that would distract us from our mission. Company: Ezora Location: Digital Depot, The Digital Hub, Dublin Product: Ezora – Corporate Business Intelligence Staff: 8 Website:


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Taoiseach Enda Kenny congratulates Siobhán Finn of Cork innovates and Eoin Costello of Startup Ireland at the announcement that Ireland has won its bid to host the 2016 Startup Nations Summit


Ireland has won a competitive global bid to co-host the Startup Nations Summit in November 2016. The event is in its fifth year and is an initiative of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). It has never been held in Europe previously and is likely to draw hundreds of start-up policy makers, advisors, public and private sector organisations from around the world to Cork, who are interested in understanding and sharing international best practice in helping high impact entrepreneurs start and scale new enterprises. Startup Ireland and Cork innovates led the consortium to bring the event here.

Previous Food Works Programme participants Karen Keane of Bean and Goose, Róisín Hogan of HIRO and David Carey of Nutraplenish Kildare

SUCCESSFUL FOOD START-UPS IN THE WORKS Food Works Ireland is calling budding food entrepreneurs to apply for its 2016 business development programme. If you have a big idea for a food business or believe you could create a successful and scalable global food company, then Food Works could be the ideal opportunity for you. It is an intensive accelerator programme designed for food and drink start-ups and is jointly run by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc. This is the fourth year of the programme and over the last three years some of Ireland’s most successful food start-ups have taken part in the initiative. Details on how to apply for the programme, which begins on June 14th 2016, can be found at

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

05/04/2016 17:18


Mary Carty, Executive Director of NUIG’s Blackstone LaunchPad



he number of jobs expected to be T created across 105 high-potential start-ups over the next three years, according to Enterprise Ireland

Catherine Downes, Usheru, Joseph O’Connor, Editor, InBUSINESS, Ollie Fagan, Usheru


Usheru, a cinema app which aims to entice people into the cinema more often by serving users with film recommendations and special ticket offers, picked up the Best Start-up Using Digital award at this year’s Accenture Digital Media Awards. Having recognised a disconnect between filmmakers, cinemas and the end consumer, Usheru brings these parties together, delivering value to users and giving the film industry better access to, and a deeper understanding of, its customers. The app is available on IOS and Android platforms. InBUSINESS was proud sponsor of the Best Start-up Using Digital category.

Paul Campbell, Founder, Aerpas


NUI Galway has announced the appointment of Mary Carty as Executive Director of Blackstone LaunchPad at the university to coincide with the opening of the programme to students and staff on campus. Blackstone LaunchPad is a campus-based experiential entrepreneurship programme open to students, alumni, staff and faculty; offering coaching, ideation and venture creation support. It is modelled on a successful programme originated at the University of Miami and further expanded by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

Aerpas is a drone operating start-up company based in Dublin. It operates drones all over the island of Ireland, specialising in aerial photography, aerial filming and survey support. Founded by commercial pilots with a passion for exciting new technology, video production and photography, Aerpas is safety driven and has the experience to deliver a quality drone service. Founder Paul Campbell says: “We know video production is a collaborative medium, which is why we work very closely with highly talented teams from all over Ireland. Working together with talented freelancers allows us to scale our team to suit our clients’ requirements and budgets.” These clients include TV channels, professional photographers, video production companies, construction companies and business – big and small – that want to catch customers’ attention with engaging video content. For more information go to

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016



Dubliner Brian Lee’s passion for business and healthy living saw him open his own gym and restaurant chain while still in his 20s. The fitness entrepreneur tells InBUSINESS how he plans to take on the major players in fast food with his successful Chopped brand. Q: Could you give us some background on Chopped and where the idea for the food outlet came from? A: The story of Chopped begins with me and my co-founder Andy Chen. Back in 2011, we were chatting and brainstorming our next big idea. Spending a lot of time at the gym, we noticed a gap in the market because finding ‘healthy fast food’ was a constant struggle for both of us. We began to research best international practice in training and nutrition. At the time I started suspension resistance training combined with fresh chopped food and the results were amazing. The seeds for Chopped were sewn; food outlets where people could go to find the exact food and meal plans they needed to fuel their training. Q: You seem to have had a business head on your shoulders from an early age. Where did it stem from? A: I have always had a passion for business. I definitely got it from my Dad. He was self-employed and I always looked up to him as a kid and 16

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learned so much from him. When I was 11, I set up a gardening company by spending my pocket money on a lawnmower and printing some business cards I handed out locally. In secondary school, I started going to markets and I saw items that I knew friends in school wanted. I decided to bring the market to them but as always I was striving for bigger audiences and so I eventually set up my own market stall and found myself making e1,000 per week. Q: Tell us about your plans to open more Chopped stores and franchises. A: We’re delighted to be rolling out six new franchises in early 2016. The first outlet opened recently on Grafton Street. This new outlet is part of a rollout plan that will see 90 new jobs created, a mix of full and part-time positions in six new stores. Chopped Grafton Street will be followed by five other Chopped franchises across north county Dublin, south county Dublin and Dublin city centre over the next few months. We’re also in discussions InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

06/04/2016 11:20

From the start we wanted Chopped to look and feel like a big brand. Our ultimate goal is to make Chopped as big as McDonald’s.

InBUSINESS | Q4 2015

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06/04/2016 11:20



Lee says Chopped takes great care to partner with the right franchisees: people who share its vision, and the determination to operate a successful Chopped store. The selection process involves the following steps:


















NEW STORE OPENING For further details visit franchise.html


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with a number of potential franchisees who are eager to set up Chopped outlets across Ireland. Last November, a Chopped Raw concession was opened in Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre to serve Chopped’s popular raw juices and smoothies. The four outlets currently employ 69 people. Q: What was behind your decision to open the company up to franchise? A: Ireland is in the middle of a healthy food revolution and Chopped has been at the forefront of this revolution since we opened our first store in 2012. We have a genuine passion for creating great tasting meals that are healthy, delicious and fresh. We didn’t just decide overnight that we wanted to build a franchise model, we had to bring in experts and we had to create a franchise model that was affordable to roll out. We’ve seen our business grow massively over the past three years and now we want franchisees to join us to take Chopped to the next level across Ireland. Q: What are your thoughts on the current business landscape in Ireland and what do you see as the biggest challenge for companies like yours? A: In a weird way I liked the recession. It forced people to go out on their own, it forced people into being an entrepreneur. For our business it definitely helped to negotiate rents to get into the market. What’s happening now though is that as things get better we’re seeing landlords making a lot of the mistakes that got us into a recession. When we find a good location for a new Chopped we’re getting into bidding wars that are not good for business. This is going to be disastrous for any hope of recovery and landlords need to take a long-term view and work with tenants for mutual success. Q: Any expansion plans beyond Dublin and Ireland you can tell us about? A: Our aim is to bring the Chopped experience to as many people as possible. We’re in the middle of a few conversations on this and we’ve recently closed a five-year deal that will see Chopped become a part of Aramark’s education, business and industry sites across Ireland. The initial roll out phase will include five new locations with the potential to bring Chopped to sites across the international Aramark portfolio in the future. To see a big international player like

Aramark believe in the Chopped brand is incredible. We’re hoping this is the first step in seeing Chopped become a global brand. Q: Where would you like to see Chopped in five years’ time? A: From the start we wanted Chopped to look and feel like a big brand. Our ultimate goal is to make Chopped as big as McDonald’s. I’m not saying we’ll be as big as McDonalds in five years but everything we’re doing is to bring our vision to life. We want to see Chopped as well known as any of the big players and we’re working hard to make that happen. Hopefully in five years’ time the ‘healthy fast food’ that Chopped is famous for will replace the unhealthy fast food that’s already on the decline. Q: How’s your other business FIT Studios doing? A: Three and half years in business, FIT Studios is still going from strength to strength. The success of FIT is down to the great team there. We like to look at FIT as a results centre, not your typical gym. People come to FIT to achieve something and most of the time they meet their goal. Q: What are you most proud of to date? A: The development of the Chopped brand. In a short space of time it has become incredibly well known and to see it go from an idea to real life was amazing. Business and marketing has always been a passion of mine and as someone who didn’t go down the traditional business degree route I love that we’ve been able to create a brand that really resonates using only our instincts for what would work. It’s one thing having the idea but it’s another thing entirely having people making a living from that idea, both staff and franchisees. Q: Any advice for budding entrepreneurs hoping to get a business off the ground? A: Find a business idea that you are genuinely passionate about and that you believe in. Once you have your idea, believe in it. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to take risks but make sure you know the consequences of the risks you’re taking. Every risk I’ve taken in business I’ve done with the belief that if it does fail I have a backup plan and can move on to the next challenge. Accepting that failure will happen is important but being able to learn from those failures is vital. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

06/04/2016 11:20

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06/04/2016 14:50



ussell Brennan Keane (RBK) is on a mission to make its presence felt. The Athlone-headquartered accountancy firm has recently announced a merger with Dublin practice PGL, the firm’s third in the capital, bringing its turnover to more than a12.5 million, its team of partners to 17 and staff count across four offices to 170. First established in 1958 in Athlone, RBK quotes itself as the largest independently branded accounting firm in Ireland. It provides audit, accounting, taxation and business advisory services to domestic and overseas individuals and companies. With offices in Dublin, Athlone and Roscommon, RBK secured 12th position, pre merger, in a list of Ireland’s top acccountancy firms, an increase of one place on last year. Hoping to build on its momentum, the latest merger is part of a wider business strategy to consolidate its position as one of the leading accountancy and advisory firms in the country. David Gleeson, the recently appointed managing partner of the firm, is in buoyant mood when we meet at RBK’s Baggot Street offices in Dubin 2. He looks like the organised type with his notes laid out on the desk in front of him, ready to quote facts and figures when necessary. His

Conor McCabe

Accounting firm Russell Brennan Keane is on an expansion trail, which it hopes will make it the goto firm in Ireland for those seeking accounting and consultancy services. Managing Partner David Gleeson fills InBUSINESS in on the plans.


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ONE-STOP SHOP Running parallel to its mergers and acquisitions, RBK has been keen to expand its services to clients in recent years. Much in the same way that the ‘big four’ – PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG – have evolved over the past decade from auditors into professional services firms, so too has RBK attempted to tap potentially lucrative growth areas and present itself as a one-stop shop. “Together with the traditional accounting services – doing your accounts, audit, taxation – we also have divisions looking after corporate finance, high end taxation, personal tax, insolvency, payroll solutions and HR consulting, where we specialise in the recruitment of financial people for our clients,” explains Gleeson. RBK also offers pension consulting, wealth management services and IT solutions, presenting an overall suite 22

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Conor McCabe

organisational skills will be much needed in the months ahead as he looks to ensure that the first merger under his watch is a smooth and seamless one. “It’s been exciting,” he says of the changes that have taken place in the past 12 months. “There’s been a lot of developments. It’s been a challenge on one level but it’s an exciting time too. We have the merger with PGL and then the existing merger with Andrew Partners. We have also had a recruitment drive to bring new talent to our team, and I’ve been heavily involved in that.” While Gleeson is new to his managing partner role, the Roscommon native has been part of RBK since its early days, having racked up 33 years at the firm. He started there shortly after completing his studies at UCD, at a time when RBK had just 20 staff on its books. He was made a partner in 2000 and in February of this year he took over from Liam Rattigan as managing partner who he says passed the firm over in “excellent health”. Now, residing in Athlone near the firm’s headquarters, Gleeson works between the midlands office and the Dublin offices in Baggot Street and Clonskeagh, paying particular attention to operations in the capital.

of products that looks very different to that of the traditional accountancy practice. But this evolution from auditors to a professional services firm is critical to survival and success within the industry, according to Gleeson, and often results in such firms citing their nonaudit services as their fastest-growing divisions. “It’s about having the full range of services,” he says. “In order to attract clients, you have to go outside the norms. People are looking for specialisms and we have built up ours. Why would people go to RBK rather than X Limited? You need to be able to say ‘I can do this differently’ or ‘I know this industry’.” Gleeson himself specialises in insolvency and corporate restructuring and is a member of the Irish Society of Insolvency Practitioners (ISIP) and the European Insolvency Practitioners Association (INSOL Europe). He has acted as examiner, liquidator and receiver for companies across a wide range of sectors. For such areas of specialisation, disaster on the ground means a boom in business, and unsurprisingly, Gleeson says he saw a significant spike in demand for these services during the downturn. “With the recession it was very busy there for a period. The insolvency work has quietened off somewhat since the economy began picking up. But there is still demand for insolvency services as people with a lot of problems out

CV: David Gleeson ROLE: Managing Partner LIVES: Athlone, Co Roscommon FAMILY: Wife Monica and four children; Theresa, Adrian, Conor and Emma CURRENTLY READING: Good to Great by Jim Collins FAVOURITE FILM: Michael Collins by Neil Jordan HOBBIES: GAA, rugby, soccer and family activities

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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there haven’t, for one reason or another, been able to fully deal with their debt issues.” THE MERGER RBK was very much a provincial firm until its 2001 move into Dublin, merging with Pat Cleary & Co. Its subsequent mergers have given the firm a much stronger presence in the capital, and dispel any reputation RBK might have had of being a regional enterprise. In fact, the firm has a strong international presence too through its membership of the Leading Edge Alliance, a US-based international association of independently owned accounting and consulting firms. It allows RBK to access the resources of firms throughout the world to assist in delivering professional and advisory services. “We drew up a strategic plan and identified our strength in the provinces,” explains Gleeson. “If there is a business or a client in the midlands somewhere, we’re probably the first party they think of; the go-to people. But coming into InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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the Dublin market, we felt that we didn’t have enough of a presence. Here [in Dublin] when you say ‘I work with Russell Brennan Keane’, they might say ‘who?’ Whereas in the midlands they wouldn’t have to ask. So we made the decision to up our presence in the Dublin market. You can do that two ways; you can achieve it through organic growth or through mergers. We’ve been achieving decent growth organically but we felt that to get us up to scale quicker we would have to enter mergers. So hence the two recent mergers, particularly the second one with PGL.” According to Gleeson, what attracted RBK to PGL, based in Clonskeagh, was that it was a “good solid accounting firm”. That means it had a strong presence on the ground, an impressive client base, and talented staff. Attracting and nurturing talent is something RBK maintains a strong focus on and Gleeson says the firm is a great place to develop skills and it presents excellent career opportunities for ambitious graduates. “There is potential for people to really grow with RBK,” he says. “If you come into RBK and you have talent, there’s no reason why in the world you can’t become a partner, there’s no ceilings. We find that that works in our favour when attracting people. If you have the talent you can be a leading light in RBK, you can be the leading partner with us.” Gleeson himself is a case in point. So looking ahead, are there any more mergers on the cards? “There’s nothing in the pipleline right now as we need to focus on the current one,” says Gleeson. “Having said that, if someone did approach us and it did make sense for all parties, of course we would look at it, so we are open to all possibilities or probabilities. “The year ahead will be a challenging year. We’re moving up, we’re hoping our turnover will be up to a12.5/13 million. So you know, we have a bigger engine to run but we feel we can develop a strong presence in the Dublin market in particular and people will suddenly start noticing who this Russell Brennan Keane firm is.”



Established in 1958, Russell Brennan Keane has grown from a small, regional practice to a nationwide, indigenous firm with an in-depth skill set and services profile. Despite this expansion, the firm prides itself on remembering where it came from, and takes steps to ensure it doesn’t forget the community that has supported it throughout its 60-year history. Partners and staff are encouraged to give back, whether in terms of financial support, time, expertise or compassionate support.


Charitable donations


Pro bono work

Educational/ training opportunities

Equality in the workplace

Sports sponsorship

Environmentally friendly initiatives

Staff welfare programmes


06/04/2016 11:23



SPONSORSHIP Lidl’s first sports sponsorship campaign in Ireland received a less than traditional launch earlier this year, but has since gone from strength to strength. CONOR FORREST spoke with Lidl’s marketing manager, Jennifer Gleeson, to discover more about the retailer’s move to back women in sport.


hen Ladyball was launched in January 2016, a social media frenzy was sparked. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people railed against a ball designed specifically for women – pink in colour, it supposedly catered for “a woman’s unique grip.” Coverage extended around the world, with The Washington Post weighing in at one point. Lidl, it turns out, was the chief instigator behind this incredulous product. In advance of the announcement of its new partnership with the Ladies Gaelic Football Association (LGFA), the company decided to create a lightning rod for discussion about the role of women’s sport. And there’s no doubt that it worked. “We didn’t want to launch a traditional partnership, we wanted it to be a game changer,” explains Jennifer Gleeson, sponsorship manager with Lidl. “We wanted to make an impact, and to put the issue of women’s sport on the radar. The approach was very deliberate – we were deliberately incendiary.”

TIME TO INVEST Lidl’s sponsorship of the LGFA breaks ground for the German company – its first sports sponsorship in Ireland. Celebrating 16 years in the Irish market this year, Gleeson explains how the retailer felt that the time was right for an investment in a marquee sponsorship. Two main factors influenced their choice – an identification with ladies football in terms of their drive and ambition and a chance to make a meaningful difference – apart from the sponsorship fee, earmarked for supporting and growing the game in general, a1.5 million of additional investment will be spent across all levels in 2016 alone. It will also present an opportunity to embark on a successful partnership within a section of the sponsorship market which is already quite crowded. The next challenge was to follow a strong launch with a matching campaign. To that end, the marketing team developed a 360 degree campaign – making use of print, television and social media – that revolved around iconic Irish sportswomen, of which there are quite a few. “The television ad needed to challenge perceptions about what ladies football actually means, and to make people think a little differently. So we picked our four ambassadors really carefully,” Gleeson tells me. The four women depicted come from all corners of the country – Sinead Goldrick, a well-known figure within Dublin GAA, with a strong marketing background; Sharon Courtney, a nutritionist who won the Club Championship with Donaghmoyne in Co Monaghan last year; Sarah Rowe, who also plays soccer with the Irish international team; and Briege Corkery, a legend within ladies football in Cork, the joint most successful GAA player in history.

The hoax Ladyball campaign


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Images from Lidl’s LGFA sponsorship campaign

That television campaign is bolstered by outdoor adverts, direct mail out to GAA club members and via the various LGFA channels. “We’ve used every means possible for communicating with our membership, and then people who don’t necessarily even support ladies football or sport in general,” Gleeson adds. “It’s very broad, and we want it to be as broad as possible, particularly as it is year one of our partnership.” GRASSROOTS BENEFITS Alhough Lidl’s main partner in this endeavour is the LGFA, the benefits are set to trickle down to the grassroots level. In the early part of the year, for example, the retailer ran an in-store competition to win kits for customers’ local postprimary schools, which generated quite a lot of traction. In early May, a second competition will begin – customers will be given the opportunity to nominate a local club to win a cash prize of f1,000. With 145 stores nationwide, that represents g145,000 in total, a significant investment on Lidl’s part. And, having played ladies football for years, Gleeson is more than aware of the tremendous impact this could have for such clubs and schools. “They don’t get a lot of investment, any small difference that you make can make such a big difference,” she says. “I know what it needs to get 15 girls down to a match, to get a set of jerseys or [organise] a bus. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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BACKING WOMEN IN SPORT Sponsorship of women’s sports remains something of an untapped market, particularly in comparison to their male counterparts. Many organisation are, however, realising the potential in such partnerships. IRELAND RUGBY WOMEN’S TEAM:



Continental Tyres


Irish Daily Star CARLOW CAMOGIE:

Swans Electrical Expert IRISH LADIES GOLF UNION:

Revive Active

Anything that you do is just so welcome.” Though they will surely have hoped for a positive reaction to this partnership and the campaign thus far, Gleeson explains how the team at Lidl have been “bowled over” by the response from all angles. Athletes, members of the public and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association have all been in touch in one form or another to express their thanks for highlighting the work and sacrifice these women put in to achieve their sporting goals and dreams. County units in particular has been quite pleased – a number of counties have had approaches regarding potential sponsorship deals, which can be quite difficult to attract. “It’s great, it seems like a rising tide affects everybody. We’re delighted, that’s what we set out to do – to raise awareness and to showcase these women and the sport. So that’s something we’re going to try and do throughout the three years of our partnership.” AT THE HEART OF COMMUNITIES Alongside their objective of shining a spotlight on ladies gaelic football, Lidl and Gleeson are hoping that this sponsorship will also benefit their own standing within the community – partnering with an organisation that has become an integral part of Irish culture. “The GAA is synonymous with Irishness, and I suppose the LGFA – being a sister organisation of the GAA – obviously benefits from that value as well,” she says. With 145 stores already operating around Ireland, Gleeson believes that Lidl has already cemented their position in many local communities but that as a result of their recent and upcoming endeavours, customers may view them in a different light. “[Those projects provide] something really tangible, we’re not giving away anything that they can’t use – it’s empowering clubs to spend money, upgrade their facilities and invest in their teams. We hope that by doing that people will think about Lidl differently as a brand and eventually see us as being more than just a retailer, and part of the community.” 25

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From foo d to racing to fashion, writin g festivals , music to ar t, play a ma Irish jor culturally and econrole both InBUSINE o SS takesmically. a look.


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Body&Soul Festival


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Cast of Le Pré aux Clercs by Hérold, Wexford Festival Opera 2015

overseas visitors and revenue.” St. Patrick’s Festival (SPF) received a1m of Fáilte Ireland funding. There were over 112,000 out-ofstate visitors at St. Patrick’s Festival in 2015, including about 100,000 overseas visitors. These visitors spent an average of 6.5 days in Ireland, and 4.5 days in Dublin, with two people travelling in the average visiting party. With an average expenditure per person of just over a650 in Ireland, out-of-state visitors generated an estimated total expenditure of a73m while in Ireland. This year is the 21st year of SPF in Ireland, having grown from a one-day national celebration into a five-day arts festival. The festival, and in particular the parade, is one of the largest events taking place in Europe and the world. The organisers estimate 1.6m people will engage with the festival in 2016. Speaking before this year’s festival, CEO Susan Kirby said: “It is expected that around half a million people will descend on the streets of Dublin to view the world famous Festival Parade on March 17th. We expect over 140,000 people from overseas to join in the St. Patrick’s Festival celebrations in Dublin. We will roll

Clive Barda

an you imagine Wexford without opera, Galway without the arts or Ireland without the St. Patrick’s parade? Festivals and events are part of the Irish tourism product and a major attraction of overseas visitors, showcasing not just Irish culture but different areas around the country. This has both an immediate and long-term impact on Ireland’s reputation internationally. From the fledgling grassroots to the established landmarks, Ireland’s festivals play a significant economic role. The industry is a major direct employer, and indirectly it creates additional jobs in hotels, restaurants and services by attracting visitors to our shores. To put that impact in perspective, the Cork Jazz Fest, attracting up to 40,000 revellers, is worth a20 million to the Cork economy each year; The Cat Laughs brings about a8m to Kilkenny; the annual Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is worth in the region of a35-a40m to the host town; and the iconic Galway Races summer festival is worth between a50-a70m to the city annually. Earlier this year, Fáilte Ireland announced almost a2m in funding for Irish festivals, with a second phase of funding for smaller, regional events to be awarded later in the year. Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: “Ensuring that Ireland is offering compelling reasons for overseas visitors to choose Ireland, our festivals offering plays an important role in achieving this and guarantees that we have a full menu of things to see and do for tourists. The festivals we are supporting will provide the backbone to this year’s calendar and will add to our ability to grow


Angelo Villari and Mariangela Sicilia in Guglielmo Ratcliff by Mascagni, Wexford Festival Opera 2015

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out a very green carpet to welcome them all. Many more will watch the parade live around the world as it is streamed live. “The diverse and eclectic programme promises to create a carnival atmosphere, ignite Irish pride and create lasting memories. We believe that in order for Dublin and Ireland to be recognised as a great country for business it stands to reason that it should be a great country to live in, a country with a strong and distinctive identity which can present itself, in all its cultural diversity and richness to the World – St. Patrick’s Festival can and does deliver against this.” The SPF is of huge value too in terms of communications and marketing. “The value generated by economic diplomacy at the time of the festival is substantial and offers our artists, leaders and businesses a unique platform to promote our island on a global stage,” says Kirby. A BEACON FOR OPERA In terms of international repute, Wexford Festival Opera is one of the most important events in the Irish festival calendar. Its ethos is to revive lesser-known and neglected operatic works that have rarely been seen and to present and discover new and emerging talent. CEO David McLoughlin says that while the last number of years have been challenging, the festival has maintained audiences by not curtailing investment. “Wexford Festival Opera has given Irish audiences an opportunity to experience and enjoy opera to the best international standards. Ireland

The St. Patrick’s Day parade

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Transe Express, Giant Divas performing at GIAF 2015


The Cat Laughs Cillian Murphy and Mikel Murfi in Ballyturk, GIAF 2014

Body&Soul Festival

doesn’t have a reputation for opera; it isn’t an art form that’s embedded in the national ethos. So Wexford has become the beacon for Irishproduced opera. All of the money goes on the stage – our audiences have remained true to the festival because of the quality of the productions.” The festival is of major economic importance to Wexford and the south-east. In 2013, the festival was independently assessed by Deloitte and its direct economic impact to the local economy was estimated to be in the region of a8.5m. “It is a major economic contributor to the region both directly and indirectly,” confirms McLoughlin. “Firstly, during the six-week festival period, it becomes the town’s largest employer directly but it also contributes indirectly; it becomes the largest renter of property in the town.” Wexford Opera Festival was the recipient of a110,000, the third largest funding grant, from Fáilte Ireland. “Because it’s one of the few Irish festivals that has a genuinely international brand and reputation, it is probably a major contributor to Ireland’s expanding cultural tourism. Over 30 per cent of our audiences come from outside of Ireland, which has a great impact nationally and locally in terms of tourism spend.” InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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ARTS AS AN IDENTITY To the west, the Galway International Arts Festival, like the races or the coast, is an integral part of the city’s identity. It’s a production-led arts festival, helping artists make new work, presenting and then touring those works. A ‘festival of extraordinary experiences’, it also offers new ideas, debate and discussion and presents its programme in unusual spaces. Artistic Director Paul Fahy stresses the importance of our cultural output, something you can’t put a value on. “Amidst the doom and gloom I heard a lot that the shining beacon of hope was what Ireland could offer culturally. What Irish artists, writers and musicians were making was such an asset for Ireland.” However, the festival also contributes in monetary terms, to the value of about a23.5m a year. “That’s the direct economic impact,” Fahy says. “That’s massive. Our Arts Council grant is just shy of half a million and we receive some funding from Fáilte Ireland. So for every euro we receive, we give back many multiples. “Galway is so associated with the festival. That kind of value is hard to quantify: the qualitative value of living in a city with a pulse. We like to think that the arts really matter to people’s lives. It’s almost one of the defining attributes of the city.” Hundreds of festivals take place around the country each year, attracting international visitors, creating employment and generating revenue. But Ireland’s festivals also support and develop a range of artists and art forms, communicate our culture and heritage at home and abroad, all with the aim of enriching the lives of their patrons – or just showing them a good time. While the former is all about adding monetary value, the latter is invaluable.

THE CAT LAUGHS Kilkenny’s comedy festival brings together the best of Irish and international comics and entertainers. This year’s bill includes James Acaster, Aisling Bea, Jason Byrne and the sketch group Foil Arms and Hog. 2-6 JUNE 2016, THECATLAUGHS.COM BODY&SOUL Body&Soul Festival is a three-day banquet of music, art and culture that takes place at Ballinlough Castle to honour the summer solstice each year. Its core focuses are sustainability, well-being and a unique programme of events, believing that the festival ‘experience’ is as important as its lineup. 17-19 JUNE 2016, BODYANDSOUL.IE GALWAY INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL The ‘festival of extraordinary experiences’ brings together music, performance, theatre, spectacle and visual art in out-of-the-ordinary venues. The first announcement for 2016 sees Bell X1, plus special guests, return to the festival’s iconic Big Top. 11-24 JULY 2016, GIAF.IE FLEADH CHEOIL NA HÉIREANN This year’s Fleadh will be hosted by Ennis, Co Clare. For one week each year, the Fleadh presents the best of traditional Irish music, song and dance. Organised by Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann, about 20,000 performers gather for the most important event in their calendar. 14-22 AUGUST 2016, FLEADHCHEOIL.IE TIGER DUBLIN FRINGE The 14-day Fringe presents new and experimental art from theatre, music, circus and comedy to dance and more. Support emerging voices, get to know new artists or just lose yourself in the diverse programme. Details for the 2016 are still to be announced but, going by past years, it promises to be an eclectic mix. SEPTEMBER 2016, FRINGEFEST.COM WEXFORD FESTIVAL OPERA Whether you’re discovering opera for the first time or an opera-lover in search of new or neglected works, Wexford is the place for you. Newcomers can dip their toes in the short works or lunchtime recitals and seasoned opera-goers can enjoy Barber’s Vanessa or Donizetti’s Maria de Rudenz. 26 OCTOBER-6 NOVEMBER 2016, WEXFORDOPERA.COM LINGO Ireland’s first ever spoken word festival began in 2014. The organisers launched the festival believing that Irish spoken word is on a par with any in the world and deserves both attention and a chance to grow. If you haven’t yet encountered this emerging art form, stay tuned for details on Lingo 2016. DATE TBC, LINGOFESTIVAL.COM


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06/04/2016 14:49 26/01/2016 09:04



CHAT When I was growing up we didn’t have access to any entrepreneurs. We were given very limited choices.

Leonora O’Brien, Founder and CEO of Pharmapod

Now it’s important to communicate to girls not to allow themselves to be stereotyped.

NDRC Female Founders is a new programme run in partnership with Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start Fund, which provides female entrepreneurs with a50,000 investment and a place on an accelerator programme, giving them the opportunity to validate their idea quicker than they would on their own. Leonora O’Brien, who is an NDRC alumni, has been busy promoting the fund.

Enterprise Ireland and the NDRC both understand the importance of having a fund specifically for female led companies. When you say it’s a female only fund, an awful lot more women come forward and make themselves visible. It’s important that people like myself take the time to go talk to schools before people choose their paths. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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If you love science, then go for science. Don’t listen to people who say coding is only for boys, it’s just nonsense. We’re changing the attitudes but it needs to happen at a very early stage in my opinion. It’s very important not to be afraid of failure. When they’re putting in applications to places like Enterprise Ireland and NDRC, a lot of women will be very apologetic in their wording and it comes across as unconfident.

I’ve looked at applications myself and they could be from women with I would have listened to a really good business ideas but they lot of talks and sometimes you just don’t sell themselves well on don’t associate yourself with paper. their journey. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it: Females are five times more likely to try and do something themselves if they see somebody who’s walking the walk and going through that journey.

It is more poignant for some reason when you see a woman talking about it.


06/04/2016 15:11


Having just reported its most successful year in history, Danish toymaker Lego continues to cultivate a loyal following by selling a mix of traditional brick sets and licensed properties linked to popular franchises. JOSEPH O’CONNOR spoke to former senior director Christian Majgaard who helped change dramatically the product and culture within the business.


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verything is awesome at Lego. That’s if the Danish toymaker’s latest results are anything to go by, showing an increase of 31 per cent in net income, with sales rising by an impressive 25 per cent in 2015. One year earlier, Lego managed to overtake US giant Mattel as the world’s biggest toymaker and it has recently been named the globe’s most powerful brand by Brand Finance, an independent brand and strategy consultancy. Not bad for a company that was struggling to stay relevant in the early noughties. By way of background, Lego dates back to 1932 when a relatively poor carpenter by the name of Ole Kirk Kristiansen made wooden toys from his workshop in the small Danish town of Billund. As a toymaker, Kristiansen believed he had a moral obligation to make something good for children and that’s how the name ‘Lego’ was born. It derives from ‘leg godt’, Danish for ‘play well’. In keeping with that philosophy, in 1949, Lego developed its first binding bricks. It wasn’t until 1958 that the Lego brick was patented. In 1960, not long after its manufacturing facility burned down in a fire, Lego turned its full attention to plastic, a material that was disrupting a wide range of industries at the time, and Lego was keen not to get left behind. This move to plastic would be a significant driver in the company’s global success, as it began to export its bricks to the US. By the mid-60s it had a workforce of 500 people in Billund. By 1967, it was beginning to reach cult status, selling 18 million lego sets that year. In 1969 the company launched Duplo – bigger bricks designed for younger children – and ten years later, Lego introduced the now familar yellow-faced miniature figure, who would eventually go on to play the leading role in a Hollywood blockbuster film that notched up 500 million at the box office. There was plenty in between, including a survival plan for the business in 2004 when it struggled to overcome an operational crisis. One constant, however, throughout Lego’s colourful 84-year history has been the Kristiansen family, who have remained at the helm, the company never changing hands with outside investors despite some close calls. These days, Lego remains privately held, still controlled by the Kristiansens (now with Ole’s grandson Kjeld) who own 75 per cent of the operation through an investment company InBUSINESS | Q1 2016


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called Kirkbi. The remaining 25 per cent is held by the Lego Foundation, a children’s charity established by the family in 1986. According to Forbes, Kjeld is listed as the richest man in Denmark, with a net worth of $13 billion. He maintains a relatively low profile, a lot like Lego itself. Last year Channel 4 went behind the doors at the company’s headquarters meeting some of the notoriously secretive superbrands’s key people, including current CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, who has been credited with turning the company’s fortunes around when the company faced the threat of bankruptcy. While the documentary went some way to providing an insight into the world of Lego, unsurprisingly, the toymaker’s participation in the programme was extremely measured. One person who could share his experience of that surreptitious world is former director Christian Majgaard, one of the people responsible for turning the toy manufacturer into the global brand that we know today. In Lego’s most recent results growth has been largely fuelled by new products such as Lego Dimension, which combines traditional brick building with console game playing. It’s this concept of investing in crossover ventures that has held Lego in good stead through good times and bad. Majgaard, who spent 25 years at the firm, was the one tasked with the job of building relationships with software firms, Hollywood studios and theme parks; partnerships which would catapult the company to new levels, generating huge merchandising returns. Back then, entering such partnerships wasn’t so straightforward. It was a massively bold move for a company that was used to keeping things in the family. “It was enormous for numerous reasons,” explains Majgaard. “Billund is a small town with a remote way of life. The kind of place where people go to church every Sunday and they don’t drink and dance too much. On the inside entrance to the Lego headquarters, there was a marble sign created that says ‘pray and work’. That was Lego’s motto back then, not to the market but to its employees. So you can imagine that culture partnering with Hollywood. It was a big step!” Majgaard says his Lego colleagues in the US had a significant part to play in opening up the company to collaborations. The area of licensing was much more advanced Stateside than it was back in Europe and this helped give the Kristiansen family some direction when it came to forging agreements with outside

DID YOU KNOW? The first Lego mini-figures with movable arms and legs arrived on the market in 1978 and were given yellow faces to make them ethnically neutral.


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FEATURE Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon


Majgaard today runs his own consultancy business and when advising companies on their brand, he shares a number of lessons that he took from his 25 years at Lego. Among those are: Don’t Change Everything Change only what needs to be changed. It’s dangerous when you see a manager go on YouTube and say that he/she is going to change an entire company. First of all, not every person wants to change and not every person can change. And it’s generally not necessary to change everything.

Mix Old and New You cannot implement change with only people from the old organisation, you have to add new people who have gone through a similar kind of change before. If you move into a theme park industry, you don’t only take your toy people with you.

Use Dedicated Teams When a project meeting ends the last part of the agenda is always ‘when can we meet again?’ With these projects, progress takes too long because all the people in the room have many other tasks on their agenda. The problem is that you move far too slow and not boldly enough as a result. If you want movement, use dedicated teams that have no other task other than this specific project.

Keep the Bureaucrats Away from the Entrepreneurs Successful companies tend to develop a wide range of regulations that result in big manuals. These contain rules for IT, rules for packaging, rules for employee satisfaction...until you actually make the company’s culture so complex that a new team cannot operate in it.

Christian Majgaard, Former Head of Global Brand & Business Development at Lego


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organisations. Interestingly, one of the major concerns at headquarters was having the toymaker associated with any brands that carried negative messages. “One of the things we were scared about most related to how Lego has always been a pacifist company,” reflects Majgaard. “It has never had war toys. So how could we then form an alliance with Star Wars? It even had the word ‘war’ in it.” So Majgaard and his team went to Lego’s customers to get their views and discovered that the word ‘war’ in Star Wars was associated with adventure rather than conflict. With that problem solved, Lego started out on a new adventure of its own, centred on a partnership that would bring great fortunes to both parties. “The licensing programmes really helped us, first with Star Wars and later on with Harry Potter. We did it with the Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, we did it with many others as the years went on and I was very much involved with all that.” STAYING RELEVANT Before all this, back in the mid-eighties, Majgaard was also involved in developing a partnership with MIT Media Lab in the US, the goal being to add intelligence and behaviour to Lego play. It was at a time when the computer was coming into the home and Majgaard, who worked in the area of business innovation, was eager to ensure that Lego stayed relevant. “We worked on robots so that Lego bricks could interact with computers,” he says. “We were very keen on that Idea. It was easy for me to take all that knowledge and reshape it and then bring a robotic programme on the market which we called Lego Mindstorms. I didn’t do this alone. I had great people around me, inspiring and helping me.” Mindstorms gave Lego a completely new dimension. “There’s always risk, particularly when new technologies arrive around the brand,” says Majgaard. “When the brand does not move, you end up being a little bit dusty, a little bit old fashioned; a thing of the past, not a thing of the future. But the move with the robotics programme really changed people’s view of Lego.” Majgaard was also at the heart of adding the Legoland theme park dimension to the company. The first one opened in Billund in 1968, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that five others followed. The seventh Legoland is due to open in Dubai in October 2016. The real motivation behind exporting the theme park idea outside Denmark emanated from a fear InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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of Lego losing access to its end user. “In those days in the ‘90s the small trade retailers began disappearing,” explains Majgaard. “In most corners of cities, you would have a toy retailer, but the small toy retailers soon disappeared. With that we had a new kind of trade; either we were in supermarkets where shoppers only looked at us as a Christmas thing and not a year-round product, which is what we wanted. And we had ToysRus who had become a very big player; they accounted for almost 30 per cent of our global revenue. “So we started to think about how we needed to have our own access to the individual. We couldn’t solely rely on retailers and one of the ideas with LegoLand is that you get closer to your end user in another dimension. You become a completely different brand once you also get into that kind of child-family experience.” March 22nd 1996 marked an important date for Lego. That’s when the toymaker’s website went live, another avenue it used to reach its end user. Again, it was a bold move for Lego, but one that Majgaard believed was essential, despite other toy manufacturers not daring to trade online for fear of jeopardising their partnerships with retailers. “We decided that we had to do it and it comes back to this original culture that is in Lego – it’s a matter between us and the child. If it’s good for the child then we do it. And that is why we did it and it became a huge success and still is.” SHARING KNOWLEDGE After a 25-year stint at Lego, beginning as a research assistant and parting ways as a senior director, it is evident that Majgaard still holds a great passion for his past employer. For instance, he can hardly contain his excitement when I tell him how I grew up on Fabuland, a theme and product range of Lego featuring animal characters which aimed to fill the gap between Duplo and the standard Lego product ranges. “Ah, I know a lot about Fabuland,” he gasps. “I’ve been involved in

it from a marketing side. It’s a great, great product. One of the reasons why we took it off the market was not because there was anything wrong with Fabuland, we just had so much success with the other product lines. Fabuland grew up in the years when we launched the likes of Lego Space, and Fabuland ended up not being deemed a success because the others were immense successes. I often say that had you put Fabuland into the hands of another toy company, it would have been their core business.” These days Majgaard is busy passing on the knowledge he acquired during his time at Lego. At 66, he is busier than he has ever been. He is regularly called upon by major international companies to develop and implement strategies for customer focused innovation, corporate cohesion and shared vision. At the same time he maintains close relations to Lego and remains principle consultant to the group. Kjeld Kristiansen is even chairman of his consultancy business. Majgaard is also a renowned speaker at conferences throughout the world, delivering talks on creativity, corporate thinking, implementation, innovation and strategy. In 2011, he spoke at a Dublin Chamber event. So what does he think the future holds for Lego? “They have a great future for the simple reason that they have such a great idea,” he says. “Lego’s product idea is so right. Lego’s respect for children is still there, it has been well maintained. And Lego has such a great brand. There are so many people, for such good reason, who really like Lego. It is a brand that you can do so much with. You should, of course, be careful to never do something that can disappoint your customer. If they remember that part, they’ll continue to do very well. “It’s a magic idea. And the family is such a lovely family that has so many humane traits who still have that moral obligation to do things well.”

Lego Dimensions Starter Pack

Lego Star Wars Death Star

Lego Mindstorms EV3


Dan Gilbert, IT Services, DCU and Nicola Broderick, Science Education, DCU

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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Dublin City University has partnered with Lego Education to create an interactive learning hub that will help DCU student teachers and Irish schools develop innovative and creative approaches to teaching STEM subjects in the classroom. By adopting Lego’s playful learning tools, teachers graduating from DCU Institute of Education will be fully skilled in helping schoolchildren develop ‘Hands-on Minds-on’ 21st Century skills such as creative thinking, problem-solving, team-working and communication.


06/04/2016 13:01





Sarah O’Connor and Isolde Johnson quit their well-paid jobs after spotting a gap in the market for a fresh, healthy and convenient beany meal product. Now stocked in 200 outlets and exporting to the UK, the move is paying dividends. Cool Bean Company co-founder Sarah spilled the beans with InBUSINESS.

IB: Could you give us some background on where the idea for Cool Bean Company came from? SOC: We were both working really long hours and at the end of a hard day we yearned for something healthy and tasty to eat but couldn’t find anything that hit the spot. We were becoming more aware of the food that we were putting into our bodies but were not too inspired by the ready meals on offer, as many were over processed and contained large amounts of salt and sugar. At the same time we noticed this growing trend of fresh gourmet beans on toast popping up in brunch places around Ireland and the UK. We were also noticing the rising consumer interest in beans, pulses and lentils with trends like veganism and flexitarianism on the rise. There was nothing like


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this in the retail space and we saw the gap for a fresh, healthy and convenient beany meal product. So we developed the product and decided to bring it to the market to test it. We invested all our money in a mobile catering unit (called The Bean Machine) and went to music festivals and events. This was an amazing opportunity to engage directly with our customers and get their feedback, and ultimately create a product that they wanted to buy. The response was overwhelming and really gave us the confidence we needed to pack in the day jobs and focus on Cool Beans full-time. IB: How have you funded your business? SOC: As a start-up we are programmed to do everything on a shoestring. We have been predominantly self funded with a small bank loan

Sarah O’Connor and Isolde Johnson, co-founders, Cool Bean Company

from AIB. At the start we were both working full-time so we were able to fund the development ourselves with the help of a Feasibility Study grant from the Local Enterprise Office. This enabled us to complete extensive market research and product development. After Isolde left her job, I remained full-time and then went

part-time in order to fund the business. We have managed to keep things really lean but are now at a stage where we need to invest to grow. We are currently in the process of taking on official investment so we can develop our range, add new products, and expand our drive sales in Ireland and in the UK. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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IB: How many employees do you have? SOC: By the end of March we will be six people! We almost can’t believe it...we are really looking forward to our new beans starting and to building out our team. IB: What are the biggest challenges you face as a small business?

we are excited about the prospect of having money to invest and make things happen. For SMEs there is always so much to do and a lack of resources is a constant struggle. You end up working seven days a week to get your work done. You need to make yourself take days off, otherwise you will burn out.

and money to spend on travel and business development. We would encourage people to spend as much preparation time as possible researching the market before you invest heavily. It is also a good idea to look at supports like Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and InterTradeIreland to help support your export ambitions. We are taking part in the InterTradeIreland Export Knowledge programme and it has been really helpful connecting us with other exporting companies and sharing expertise. IB: Partnering with a multinational company is very important for small food businesses, how have you found working with the big guys? Are there any pitfalls? SOC: Working with larger companies has been great. We have built some strong relationships with retailers and distributors who have helped us grow our business and really invested in us. It can sometimes be a challenge though as large companies tend to have systems in place and they can be rigid for smaller players to adhere to; things like payment cycles and decision trees.

SOC: Funding and a lack of resources. When you are growing and there are opportunities, you want to be able to capitalise on them, but it can be really frustrating when you don’t have the funds. We have been growing the business on a shoestring thus far and we are currently taking on some investment to grow so InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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IB: You recently began exporting your products to the UK, how difficult is it for a small business like yours to enter overseas markets, and how have your products been received there? SOC: Entering an international market as a small business is very difficult, it takes time away from your home market

IB: You have a very appealing brand, how important was it for you to get that side of the business right? SOC: As a consumer facing product, brand was probably the most important thing after the recipe itself. Particularly in the beginning, we needed to invest time (and money) in getting the brand right

so people knew what to do with the product. Chilled beans is a new category and we needed to stand out on the chill shelf against soups and other ready meals. IB: Any news or expansion plans in the near future that you can share with us? SOC: We are at a crucial time for the company and with so many opportunities that we are chasing we need to ensure we have a strong and dedicated team to drive sales and increase the brand awareness in Ireland and the UK. In the shorter term we will be expanding our presence in the Irish and UK markets, adding new retailer listings and new products. We are also looking at raising investment for the next phase of our growth. IB: Where would you like to see Cool Bean Company in five years’ time? SOC: We always had a really clear vision of what we wanted to achieve with the Cool Bean Company; bringing healthy, convenient products to a global audience, so this has always been part of the company strategy. We like to dream big the ultimate ambition is to be an internationally recognised food company that is focused on providing new and interesting convenient solutions in the healthy eating market. We also want to educate people on what they are eating and why quality, non-processed foods are so important to people’s diets, their health and ultimately their happiness in life. Easy peasy!


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Nat ure



As part of the InBUSINESS mentors series, JOSEPH O’CONNOR had an unlikely meeting with Dubliner Christina Noble, the driving force behind an international charity helping underprivileged children.


hristina Noble is not your average interviewee. In February, the OBE award-winning children’s rights campaigner and charity worker invited me to her home in Lucan, Co Dublin. Our meeting, which lasted almost three hours, comprised meandering anecdotes, Irish poetry recitals, and the odd song thrown in for good measure. In essence, Noble did anything but answer the questions I put to her. Even had I managed to conduct something of a ‘normal’ interview, it’s difficult to know where to start with the woman credited with transforming the lives of 700,000 children. With Noble who is now 71 – but not looking anywhere near those years – there’s a whole lot to cover. She had a traumatic upbringing in the Dublin slums of the 1950s. With the death of her mother when she was ten years old and an alcoholic father who failed to keep the family together, she was separated from her siblings, spent years in an abusive institution in the west, became homeless - living in Dublin’s Phoenix Park and later, after escaping to the UK at the age of 18, ended up in an abusive marriage. 38

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Jen Murphy

Illustration courtesy of Jen Murphy (@JenJen_Murf). Jen is a graphic design and caricature artist based in the west of Ireland. For further details contact:

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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All of this mistreatment and hardship only served to spur a passion in Noble to make a real difference. And it was her achievements through her charity work in Vietnam, and later Mongolia, which I wanted to focus on, rather than the difficulties of her past, much to Noble’s satisfaction as it turned out. “I’ve dealt with all that shit a long time ago,” she says. “Every so often you remember something and it’s then that you realise how much you have put to one side. But then I’m told that some people don’t know the story and I say, ‘God, do I have to?’” That story is something that was masterfully told in Ciarín Scott’s 2015 documentary In A House That Ceased to Be, as well as in Stephen Bradley’s 2014 biopic Noble starring Deirdre O’Kane. Whilst the foundation has yet to receive any royalties from the Noble film, it has helped the charity indirectly, in terms of giving it greater exposure to the world. For those not familiar with either, the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation was inspired by a dream Noble had at the height of the Vietnam war in the early 1970s, a dream that she could go out there and make a difference. Against all odds, almost two decades later in 1989, Noble set up her foundation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and began to support children and their families in the areas of healthcare, education and community development. She went on to expand the charity’s operations into Mongolia. Today, she still remains the foundation’s principal driving force and retains close personal contact with the children whose lives her charity has transformed. Noble is not long back from Dubai when we meet. She was invited to speak at an event there organised by Acelity KCI, the global medical company, which through its CSR programme 40

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NOBLE ON... BEING CALLED THE IRISH MOTHER TERESA There’s one Mother Teresa and that’s all, there’s no other Mother Teresa. She stayed with me for three months in Vietnam, I’m nothing like her! POLITICS I wouldn’t touch politics with a barge pole. I don’t understand it. WITNESSING CHILDREN FROM THE CHARITY ACHIEVE There are no words for it, and that’s because it’s natural. It has never been forced on them. They’ve done it all themselves. We’ve simply given them the tools to help them achieve. ON BEING NAIVE I’m a bit naive in some ways, I won’t deny that but it’s stood to me. When I look back I think, ‘I can’t believe I said that to them.’ If they talk to you today they’ll say ‘Christina was different’. I was in a country that was trade embargoed. I wouldn’t know what that even meant!

has worked with the foundation. Noble’s house is a humble enough residence for someone of such stature; a standard semi-detached dwelling in a Dublin housing estate. The photographs on the wall of her pictured with statespeople and high profile figures is a reminder of the kind of people she knows on a first name basis. Noble’s daughter Helenita, the foundation’s CEO, is also there. She’s the one with “the big brain” behind the organisation, according to her mother, and operates between the London and Dublin offices. Interaction between the pair is entertaining, and luckily Helenita is on hand to assist in steering the interview back on course whenever it veers off in an unpredictable manner. She also gives me some insight into how 2015 was for the charity when it came to raising funds. “Like I am sure any other charity will tell you, it’s a challenging fundraising climate out there at the best of times,” she says. “Especially when you are up against the bigger global charities with substantial advertising and digital marketing budgets, and of course we don’t have that, so we have to be far more creative in our approach and thinking.” Fundraising and charity work in general is not for the faint-hearted, something Noble knows all too well. She still travels extensively across the world to speak at events, raising awareness about children’s rights and seeking much needed support for the charity. She believes it’s an industry that you have to be cut out for from the outset if it’s the path you decide to take in your career. “This is not a glamorous job,” she stresses. “They see you on television or watch a film or documentary, InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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like the one about me, and they think ‘I could do that’. Maybe they could, but that’s just one element to it. “If you go into this area, it’s fucking hard work. In a charity you don’t become a rich person, well I don’t and I’m quite happy to say that. I’m in this for kids. I feel very fortunate to have had this incredible journey after the life I’ve had. I don’t regret a lot of the bad things. I wish some of them hadn’t happened, but they did. So I’m not going to live with all that experience and knowledge without turning it into something constructive.” When discussing the foundation’s success, Noble is quick to deflect praise, citing all the people she has worked with along the way. “What a team we have,” she enthuses. “In any business, you need the right people. It takes a lot of time. They may not always get it right but as long as they want to get it right, and they’re genuine and sincere, it will work. “I don’t want to sound like an incredible saviour or a hero, I’m none of those things. Believe me, I don’t like that stuff. Don’t put me on pedestal, because get it wrong and you’ll know about it. I just want to be Christina.” Despite our interview being completely unorthodox, and at times outlandish, now and then Noble says something that makes me think she’s much more self-aware than she lets on. After all, this is someone who took on the Mongolian government over children’s rights abuses, and who set up a charity in Vietnam at a time when outsiders weren’t welcome to do so. Her skill is in winning people over by simply being herself. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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“There’s a method to my madness,” she explains. “I have a very natural way, somehow, no matter how crazy it may seem... crazy makes things happen by the way... to the person out there who knows exactly all the steps to take to make a business work or to make things happen. “People think they know me forever and I love that. We can laugh and joke and have craic. They’d say something to their committee like ‘Mama Tina is very funny’. Step by step the word gets around that I have a positive nature opposed to being a foreigner for whom they are filled with suspicion. I have worked in many places across Vietnam and how I got to where I did back then is through some naivety but there was also a person who had a great sense of sensitivity towards people who are less fortunate. And while I’m in their country, I am conscious that I am a guest and I know that I have a lot to learn. But at the same time I won’t sell my own identity.” Noble has a busy year ahead. She’s planning a tour of Ireland to speak about children’s rights issues. She’ll also help the fundraising efforts to continue, with the next big corporate event taking place at Croke Park on May 7th. On the night around 40 GAA football and hurling legends from 32 counties will act as ambassadors to raise awareness and funds in aid of the children the foundation works with. Just before I leave and am guided through her gallery of photos on the living room wall – including one of her with Michael Flatley, one of her appearance on Michael Aspel’s This is Your Life programme, and a stunning framed image in the hallway of her in conversation with Mother Teresa – Noble acknowledges that our interview may not have transpired to be exactly what I had in mind. “I know I’ve said a lot and I’ve said nothing since you’ve come in but I’m trying to give you some example of my nature, my character,” she says. “That’s the way I am. I cannot change it. If I went into a meeting with a chief executive of a major company with my suit on and with my little briefcase, and I tried to be someone I’m not, I would look like the biggest fool and phony in the world. I couldn’t do it. After about two minutes I’d say, ‘well fuck it, that’s not me. Do you mind if we go out and have a smoke and start over again?’” Momentarily, it’s something I felt like uttering myself. If your company is interested in partnering with the Christina Noble Foundation as part of its CSR programme contact the Dublin office on 01 645 5555 or email 41

06/04/2016 15:14



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in 06/04/2016 14:50


Everyday new start-ups and innovators are emerging from the ever more popular co-working office spaces scattered around the country. But what exactly is co-working and how is it changing the landscape of the Irish workplace? Orla Connolly finds out more.

he concept of co-working is built upon a simple understanding: a group of professionals who have come together to rent a shared office space for individual projects. However, more than just a financially beneficial office-sharing scheme, the underpinning quality of co-working is that it provides community and social support for those who would normally work in isolation. The core market for this this type of environment consists of start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers, those who typically linger in coffee shops accompanied by their laptops and a healthy Wi-Fi connection. But there are only so many coffees you can sit over, and while the option of working from home has its benefits, without a vibrant office environment, there is always a threat of cabin fever or worse still, a decline in productivity levels. Most people working within a co-working group tend to be self InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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employed, and according to Sinéad Geraghty, co-founder of Dublinbased co-working space, FlexHuddle, this is what makes them so driven, leading to an extra motivated atmosphere within the co-working environment. “It’s all about the people you get into the space,” she explains. “We have people who’d usually have their own office or are working on their own, they’re quite driven people because it’s their own businesses, they set their own hours. So there’s a lot of positivity in the space. People come in and see what other people are getting up to and bounce ideas off of each other.” A PLACE TO COLLABORATE One considerable draw of co-working for anyone in business is the high potential for collaboration with other professionals. The fluid influx of members allows for a wealth of networking opportunities across a wide span of industries. According to Geraghty, it’s common for members of the same coworking space to collaborate on 43

06/04/2016 13:34



One of the first hackerspaces opens and introduces the idea of individuals assembling to work on separate projects in a singular space.


Brian Dekoven coined the term ‘co-working’ to describe a phenomenon he called “working together as equals” and 42 West 24, a software company with a spare room, invite other companies and individuals to rent flexible desk space in their offices.


The first official co-working space is opened in San Francisco by programmer Brad Neuberg after he becomes frustrated by the mundane corporate office.


projects after an informal chat around the office, the type of interaction that routinely occurs at FlexHuddle. “We had a few developers here and over tea and coffee they’d be chatting about what they’re up to and someone might suggest a little improvement that they’d never even thought about.” It’s really a chance to network while being present at work. While working from home can leave you with a depleted source of professional connections that can be difficult to grow, co-working presents a very different offering. Geraghty herself sees networking as a vital aspect of the FlexHuddle structure where members are constantly encouraged to build a solid foundation of contacts. “If you were sitting in your house on your own you’d probably have a business network of about 100 people, but you come into this co-working space and there’s 20 other people around you and each of those have 100 people in their network,” she says. In order to provide a platform for such networking and collaboration, FlexHuddle, and offices like them, helps members connect in a more relaxed social setting. Geraghty organises regular social events such as business lectures or a members night out, have proved popular in the office. 44

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The first full-time co-working office space, The Hat Factory, opens.


The New York Times covers co-working in an article titled They’re Working on Their Own, Just Side by Side.


The first book on co-working is published by Not an MBA Press. The publication is titled I’m Outta Here: How Co-working is Making the Office Obsolete.


An online magazine by the name of Deskmag is first published. The source is dedicated solely to discussing the interests of the co-working community.


Twitter goes crazy for co-working with over 93,000 tweets using the #coworking hashtag, an increase of 52 per cent from the previous year.


The number of people involved in co-working more than doubles from the previous year to almost 110,000 people.


The number of co-working spaces increases by 36 per cent amounting to a total number of approximately 7,800 spaces globally.

Sinéad Geraghty, Co-founder, FlexHuddle & Bailey, the office mascot.

FLEXHUDDLE Concering FlexHuddle, it was the concept of community – which is largely considered the most important part of co-working – that initially roused Geraghty and her co-founder John White to the idea for the company. The growth of Geraghty’s own start-up, Stowaway (a clever ceiling storage unit for people who want to maximise their limited storage space), afforded her the opportunity to hire staff, yet the idea of working in isolation with another person seemed daunting and encouraged her to research alternative working arrangements. Inspired by similar coworking arrangements she’d known of in San Francisco, Geraghty set about starting her own co-working space. Now she is operating a fully functioning and successful co-working office space in Rathmines, complete with 20 start-ups across a variety of business sectors. “We’re looking to expand in July because it’s really taken off,” Geraghty reveals. “We’re at about 95 per cent capacity.” Despite the success, getting FlexHuddle off the ground was not without its challenges. Being self-funded, Geraghty and her partner had little start-up capital, and this meant she relied heavily on her resourceful nature to furnish the space. The end product InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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Alan McArthur


A glance at five of the start-ups using the FlexHuddle co-working space

SonarSim Ltd. is dedicated to the delivery of high-fidelity, immersivereality, hydrographic SONAR simulation, processing, and visualisation software.

Vanguard Beer Collective is the one stop shop for Irish craft beer.

George Hooker is a director, producer, and photographer, specialising in short-form video, commercial, music video, documentary and narrative.

GroupVite is a fair and equitable tool to split the cost of an activity amongst a group.

is impressive. “We built the desks ourselves!” she says with pride. “We have pallets as desks and the tops are from IKEA. We sanded, waxed and polished them to make it a bit funky and then we painted the whole space ourselves.” As a result, FlexHuddle has managed to stamp its own unique brand of individuality on the coworking movement, all the more with the addition of a ‘Chill Zone’, an ideal place to hang out with FlexHuddle mascot; Geraghty’s dog, Bailey. PLAYING CATCH-UP From an international perspective, Ireland has a rather poor standing compared to its peers when it comes to embracing the co-working phenomenon, although we are beginning to see more co-working spaces open in the main start-up hubs; the latest being a 50-desk space opened by SuperPixel Labs in Galway city in February, proving that it’s not just a concept for the capital. Geraghty says the country is still playing catch-up but that there’s an opportunity to vastly improve our placing. “We’re currently at about 2012 standards compared to Europe and about 2011 standards compared to the US,” she says. In a bid to improve this, Geraghty InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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hopes to attract the Annual Co-working Europe Conference to these shores in 2017, an event which has previously been held in Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and Lisbon. If successful, the conference will play host to 500 co-working space operators and facilitators from all over over the globe. One issue Geraghty would hope to highlight at the event is the responsibility the Government has in supporting the co-working community. “There’s a lot of derelict buildings throughout Dublin city and if you transformed them into a co-working space, then you could actually have thriving businesses operating there,” she says. “That’s what the co-working conference would heighten.” In the meantime, Geraghty is busy working on Network Conference, a two-day national event taking place in May, aimed at raising the profile of co-working in Ireland. TRENDING With Deskmag, an online magazine dedicated to co-working, reporting that 10,000 co-working spaces will open globally by the end of 2016 and researchers from the Global Coworking Unconference

The Think Academy is a fun maths education programme for junior cycle post-primary students.

Conference predicting that there will be a community of 1 million coworkers worldwide by 2018, there can be no doubt that the trend is set to continue. But where is it all headed? Many experts speculate that major corporations will try to utilise coworking by sourcing these spaces for their more nomadic workers. This will be made all the more easy by the fact that many larger co-working spaces are now co-ordinating with one another in a process called ‘twinning’. The aim is to link up numerous co-working spaces and allow travelling members to set up a desk in foreign cities or countries along their travel route. Roam, a US-based co-working space, for instance, has four locations that members can operate between and rent desk space from. As twinning becomes a more prevalent topic of discussion within the co-working community, many believe it’s the natural evolution for the movement. Either way, small independent co-working spaces such as FlexHuddle will continue to exist and house innovative start-ups and entrepreneurs, hopefully enhancing Ireland’s status as an international tech hub and a great country in which to do business. 45

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YOU NEED THE AUDIENCE TO BELIEVE ” IN YOU. Catherine Moonan has worked on the Irish Dragons’ Den TV programme throughout its six series, coaching over 500 contestants on how to pitch their business. In her new book The Pitch Coach, Moonan explains how to craft the right message, present it with authenticity and overcome common communication pitfalls.

Catherine Moonan, ‘The Pitch Coach’


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erves, going blank, speaking too fast and information overload are just some of the many issues facing the contestants waiting to enter the ‘Dragons’ Den’. For the majority of entrants, this is a once-in-alifetime opportunity. Many never dreamed of being on television, and possibly never will be again. This is their chance to shine. They have come up with a unique product or service which they believe in wholeheartedly. All they have to do then is deliver a two-minute pitch to convince one or more of the five ‘Dragons’ that their idea is worth investing in. It sounds fairly straightforward. Even easy, perhaps. Two minutes is not a particularly long time. What could possibly go wrong? Let’s see . . . where will I start? You

could forget the name of your business. You could even forget your own name. You could forget to ask the ‘Dragons’ for investment. You could become so consumed by a fear of public speaking that no words come out at all. It is a huge relief to many participants that they have an opportunity to go over their pitch before facing the ‘Dragons’, regardless of how competent they felt they were with public speaking. We had a lot of pacing up and down, looking through notes, delivering the pitch, making changes, repeating the pitch, stopping, starting, stopping, pitching one more time, once more, and again, and one last time . . . There comes a point where there is no more time, as the ‘Dragons’ are waiting in their ‘Den’. As a pitch coach I find that, first and foremost, I have to calm people down, to ground them, talk to them, listen to their fears and focus InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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them. I have to get them to forget about themselves and what people might think of them. To forget worrying about making mistakes, and concentrate on getting their message across to the audience – the ‘Dragons’, in this case. I try to convince them that their product is unique, that they are unique and that this is a wonderful opportunity to show off their idea to the ‘Dragons’. Nobody knows their idea better than them. For some people I use techniques such as positive affirmation, visualisation and simple breathing exercises. People need to trust that the right words will come out. I advise against learning the lines of a pitch off by heart. If you get fixated on a certain way of saying something, you increase your chance of going blank in the event that you lose your train of thought. I find that if you follow a logical structure, with a few keywords in your head to guide you, the rest of the words will flow freely. It also sounds more natural than learning lines. The content of any pitch or presentation should be based on the audience. In this case, why are the ‘Dragons’ here? What do they want to know? What do they need to know? What interests them? You cannot expect them to be interested just because you are standing in front of them. You have to work at making your pitch interesting. You need to give them a taste of your idea so that when you are finished, they will want to know more. Do not forget that the ‘Dragons’ are themselves entrepreneurs, and that they want to make money. Entice them. You need to have a clear objective about what you want to leave the ‘Den’ with: investment. How you deliver your pitch is crucial. You need to come across as confident for others to be confident in you and your idea. The actual delivery of your pitch can have much more of an impact than the content itself. Perfecting your pitch InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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is about having the correct posture, projecting your voice, pronouncing your words clearly and varying your voice within sentences. It is about emphasising important words, not being afraid to pause and not dropping your voice at the end of sentences. It is about making it more interesting for your audience by connecting with them, using eye contact and gestures that reinforce your message. The old saying of ‘practice makes perfect’ is never truer than in pitches, presentations or any type of public speaking. An entrepreneurial pitch for investment is like a stage performance. You need the audience to believe in you. The role you are playing is yourself, but the best version of yourself. In a twominute pitch, you need to step out of your comfort zone, forget your inhibitions and let yourself and your idea shine. I mentioned people’s fear of public speaking. I have seen this fear first-hand. I have met ‘Dragons’ Den’ contestants with angels in their pockets, crystals in their hands and memorial cards of loved ones who have died inside their jacket pockets. One lady had a personal healer with her, playing soft music and fanning her down beforehand. When I meet contestants for the first time and ask them to run through their pitch, some people just go blank, and cannot even remember their name. This can happen after sleepless nights spent thinking and worrying about their pitch. I know if there had not been someone there beforehand, listening to their pitch over and over, encouraging them, breaking it down into keywords for them, some contestants would have bolted out the door beforehand. I would invest in every single one of them for getting up off the couch, putting themselves forward and undergoing the harrowing ordeal that is pitching on ‘Dragons’ Den’.










The extract is taken from The Pitch Coach by Catherine Moonan, reprinted with permission from Liberties Press. The Pitch Coach is available at Easons and amazon. com priced at a14.99.


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BUSINESS Bobby Kerr talks to InBUSINESS about his varied career, the state of the economy, and his recent battle with cancer.

obby Kerr has a pretty hefty title: Chairman of Insomnia Coffee, radio presenter, former Dragon’s Den investor and entrepreneur. That’s to be concise – he’s also involved with Bang restaurant on St Stephen’s Green and with several of his investments from his time on Dragon’s Den, including BinTrasher, Uncle Aidan’s Flour and Prevent-A-Puncture. He’s currently working on the future of the post offices in Ireland and this spring he’ll be back on television screens in a new documentary series for UTV Ireland. These days though, the businessman says his work with Insomnia Coffee is as close as he comes to a day-job. Though he’s not as hands-on as he used to be he’s still closely involved with the growing chain. “We’ve 106 sites which makes us Ireland’s largest coffee chain. We’ve also 200 outlets with Spar and Mace, which puts Insomnia in 300 locations in Ireland.


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Bobby Kerr, Chairman of Insomnia Coffee and a whole lot more

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We’ve done a deal with Primark, working with them in three of their shops in Swords, Waterford and Athlone. “We’re big believers in partnerships as part of our growth strategy. We recently opened in the UK with Debenhams so we’re in places like Rugby and Bradford. We’ve done some work with Spar in the UK and opened some sites, so we’re very excited about the UK being the next phase of development.” Kerr is arguably best known as a ‘Dragon’ from RTÉ’s Dragon’s Den. He was on the show for the first few years of the series and continues to be involved with nine or ten of the investments he made. After four seasons in the Den, Kerr decided to make a move into radio. “Radio was always something I was interested in but never really had the opportunity to try. I went on a self-taught radio presenter course and started in Newstalk on a Sunday morning at 9 o’clock when there was pretty much nobody listening,” he jokes. He was later updated to a more prominent 10 o’clock slot. For the past six years Kerr has presented Newstalk’s Down to Business programme and grown the listenership from about 20,000 to over 100,000. “Down to Business is something I really enjoy. It’s very much a part of what I do now and who I am. It keeps me on the pulse of business in Ireland: I’m interested in business generally; I’m interested in business people and what’s going on. It keeps me right at the fore of that.” So, from the frontline, how does he feel business is faring in Ireland? “We’ve been through a horrendous few years. I think every sector had a couple of tough years. It’s recovering now and things are better and probably better in Dublin – there’s a sort of two-tier recovery going on. I am mindful though that not everybody has InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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recovered and there is a long way to go, particularly in parts of rural Ireland. We need to be careful that we don’t overheat things like the property market. Rents are starting to rise and we don’t want to go down the same cul-de-sac we went down a few years ago.” Kerr was recently appointed Chairman of the business development group for An Post, a group set up by the Minister for Communications in 2015 to decide the commercial future of the 1,150 post offices in both urban and rural Ireland. “I wrote a report for the Government – something I’d never done before – and presented it. They’ve asked me to


stay now and implement it for the next six months. That’s a new challenge, but it’s essentially a retail project, where my heart lies. “The infrastructure is there and there’s a really great brand so I’m very excited to add some value there and transition An Post to what its customers need it to be.” However, the last few months haven’t been plain-sailing for the businessman. In November last year, Kerr announced on radio to his some 100,000 listeners that he had been diagnosed with cancer. He said: “Did you know 35,000 people hear the dreaded words every year ‘we have the results of your biopsy, you need to come in and see me’. Well folks, it’s 34,999 and one other – me. Because guess what, I’ve been

diagnosed with cancer of the head and neck, and I’m currently receiving treatment to make myself better. “I have a very serious disease, it’s been caught early, it’s only in one place, and because it’s been caught early my chances of beating this increase incrementally.” Kerr says he made this announcement publicly for two reasons. Firstly, he wanted to let people know that he would be away for some time while he concentrated on his treatment (he took ten weeks off but still managed to write the report for An Post from hospital). Secondly, he wanted to encourage people, and particularly men in their fifties such as himself, to get checked. “I’ve been through the wars,” he reveals. “It’s been a tough six months: seven weeks’ chemotherapy, 35 radiation treatments. I’ve lost a good bit of weight and I’m still struggling with my appetite, trying to build myself up again. “I’ve battled my way through it with great support from family, friends and colleagues. I’ve come out the other side and I’m back to work now. I’m trying not to take too much on at the moment, but that’s easier said than done.” Kerr says this experience has shifted his perspective somewhat and, while he has no intentions of retiring early, he won’t be sweating the small stuff anymore. “I’m 56 years of age; I’m pretty comfortable. My priorities now are to enjoy the last number of years and not get overly excited about having to achieve massive things. I’ll always be involved in business in some way, but I’m thinking now ‘where would I like to go on holidays next’ rather than ‘what’s the next shop I’m going to open’. I’ve always lived life, so I intend to keep doing that but just a bit more focus on family and friends.”


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HAPPY TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS! CONTAINERSHIPS (DUBLIN) LIMITED Unit D2, Swords Enterprise Park • Feltrim Road • Swords Co DUBLIN • K67 F256 • Tel. +353 (1) 8107454

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CATCH UP NETWORKING MASTERCLASS IN SHANNON NETWORKING EVENTS HAVE LONG BEEN REGARDED as the ideal way to meet and connect with new clients and, while they enable business people to move out of their comfort zones and exchange company information, networking is more about building long-term, hearts and minds, sustainable relationships, and not just about instantaneous introductions. This was the view expressed by Shannon Chamber’s chief executive Helen Downes when announcing the staging of a two-hour networking masterclass with networking expert Kingsley Aikins. The masterclass was held at Dromoland Castle Hotel on Thursday March 3rd and was open to anyone who wanted to improve their networking skills, in business and in life.

CHAMBER COMMENT “A British exit from the EU would obviously have negative knock-on effects for Ireland, given the close economic ties between us. Finance ministers from the world’s leading economies have warned of a shock to the global economy if the UK leaves the EU. Ireland is likely to feel the waves of any such shock given the amount of trade which goes on between the two states.” Dublin Chamber CEO Gina Quin speaking at a special briefing held by the Chamber and Eversheds which explored the potential implications of a Brexit for Ireland.

Kingsley Aikins, Founder and CEO, Diaspora Matters

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DISABILITY CONFIDENCE PROJECT LAUNCHED Ireland’s first campaign to promote disability confidence in business has been launched in the Midwest. Employability Limerick & Clare worked closely with Limerick, Shannon and Ennis Chambers to bring this project to the region. The pilot project will run until the end of April and, post its initiation, has the potential to be rolled out nationally. Funded through the Department of Justice and Equality, the project aims to build disability confidence within the business communities in Limerick and Clare and create opportunities for people with complex support needs to explore the world of work in their local area.



hambers Ireland has worked with Media Connect to develop a membership video, which is an excellent resource for the Chamber Network and a useful tool for membership recruitment and engagement within the Chamber. The video was officially launched at the Chamber Executive Forum and Training on March 2nd 2016. Check out the video on the Chambers Ireland YouTube Channel.

CHAMBER COMMENT “We need to have the national broadband plan rolled out as soon as possible - we need a timeline for that. Broadband will be a huge enabler for local businesses that will allow innovative new start-ups to locate throughout Ireland.”

CHAMBER CAPTION Ciara Troy, founder of Oishii Sushi, Julie O’Neill, Strategic Management Consultant at Join the Dots, Edel Creely, Group Managing Director, Trilogy Technologies and Karen Frawley, Partner, Deloitte pictured at the launch of the ‘Celebration, Connection and Inspiration for Women in Business’ event, which took place in the Davenport Hotel on Tuesday March 8th. The event was organised by Dublin Chamber of Commerce in association with the Women in Business networks from Fingal, Dublin City and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown LEOs, and professional services company Deloitte.


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Mark O’ Mahoney, Director of Policy at Chambers Ireland, speaking at the launch of a Chambers Ireland guide which highlights the importance of strategic economic planning and development in all regions of the country.

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CORK CHAMBER WELCOMES ZURICH VISIT On February 23rd Cork Chamber welcomed a visit to Fermoy from representatives of Zurich Insurance with the aim of assessing the flood defences that were erected in the town. The meeting, which was facilitated by Cork Chamber, was attended by Conor Healy, Cork Chamber CEO, local businessman Michael Hanley representing Fermoy Enterprise Board, engineers from the OPW and Cork County Council and a representative from McCarthy Insurance Group. Cork Chamber has long been an advocate in calling for the timely implementation of flood relief schemes in areas affected by flooding events across the city and county.

NI CHAMBER HOSTS MAYOR OF LONDON Over 150 members of the local business community joined Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson at a reception in Hillsborough Castle on February 29th. The event, in partnership with Wrightbus, followed the earlier announcement that an additional order for 195 Routemasters for London worth £62m has been confirmed at the County Antrim firm. Speaking at the event, Stephen McCully, President of NI Chamber, said: “I would like to congratulate Mark Nodder and the team at the Wright Group on this tremendous announcement today. We are delighted to see one of our biggest manufacturing firms securing yet another important contract with Transport for London. It really is great news for the local economy.”

KENNY TO HOST WEXFORD BUSINESS AWARDS It has been announced that veteran broadcaster Pat Kenny is to host the 2016 Wexford Business Awards. The annual event, which will take place in Clayton Whites Hotel on Friday May 27th, will recognise the entrepreneurialism, innovation, diversity and talent of businesses across the county. Speaking about the event, Wexford Chamber President Karl Fitzpatrick said: “Irrespective of size or status, the Wexford Business Awards continue to attract the highest calibre of applicants. It is fitting, therefore, that one of Ireland’s most accomplished and cherished broadcasters, Pat Kenny, will host the event.”

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Anne O’Leary with Derry Gray



nne O’Leary, Chief Executive of Vodafone Ireland, has been nominated to the position of Deputy Vice President of Dublin Chamber of Commerce, which will pave the way for her to become Chamber President in 2018. Cork-native O’Leary was put forward for the position by the Chamber’s 40-person Council, with the appointment ratified at the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting. Dublin Chamber’s 40-person Council is directly elected by the membership of the Chamber. O’Leary joins a line of succession and will take up the chains of office in February 2018 (subject to ratification at the 2018 AGM). Also at the recent Chamber AGM, Derry Gray of BDO was officially elected as President for 2016, while Brendan Foster of Grant Thornton was elected as Vice President.


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Policy in

MOTION Chambers Ireland has set out a number of policy priorities for the next five years, and will work hard to be a part of Government’s planning process on behalf of Irish business.


ooking ahead to the next five years, Chambers Ireland is optimistic for the potential of Irish business to prosper and for the recovery to continue and strengthen across the country. However, this will not happen without careful planning on the part of Government. The focus must now be on key policy actions that will ensure that Ireland maintains a growing economy and a thriving society. There are a number of exogenous global economic uncertainties that threaten Ireland’s economic recovery and stability; risks from within the euro area, the possibility of a Brexit, and the Chinese economic slowdown should be carefully factored into Ireland’s economic planning. Prudent planning and investment by Government will be essential in ensuring the sustainable growth of the Irish economy in this unstable global economic environment. As a small, open economy it is imperative that Ireland remains an attractive place in which to do business and that Irish businesses are able to compete internationally. The next Government must focus on policies that strengthen Ireland’s


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recovery and drive Ireland’s industries to do better at home and abroad.

MAINTAINING COMPETITIVENESS The competitiveness of Irish businesses must be maintained and encouraged over the next five years. Government should ensure that indigenous Irish businesses can compete in a global market, and that Ireland can compete as a destination for FDI. To have a thriving economy, we must have a thriving society. If the Ireland of 2021 is to be an attractive place in which to live, work and raise

The focus must now be on key policy actions that will ensure that Ireland maintains a growing economy and a thriving society.

a family, we must also invest in our social infrastructure. The high cost of living is putting substantial pressure on both businesses and individuals, and needs to be tackled immediately. Wage pressures, combined with exorbitant rents, and the high cost of childcare for their employees, are serious issues facing Ireland’s employers. One issue seriously affecting competitiveness is the lack of skilled workers in the areas of highest demand. The skills gaps in the workforce are threatening to slow

down recovery and hinder businesses from investing and expanding in Ireland. Skills and education should be priorities for the new Government as a means to increase employment, foster business growth and encourage emigrants to return home. Maximising the return on investment in education by the State and individuals should be key and one way to ensure this is to coordinate training courses with industry, so that trainees can benefit from increased employment opportunities and businesses will have the skilled workforce they require. A focus on up-skilling those already in employment and retraining the unemployed would also increase labour force participation and productivity by reducing the skills mismatch. The cost of childcare in Ireland is over 20 per cent above the OECD average as a percentage of family income. As long as the cost of childcare services remains this high, working parents will be under financial pressure to seek higher wages in order to meet their expenses. Disproportionately high spending on childcare also reduces the amount of disposable income of households, reducing the consumer spending necessary to support the domestic economy. This is an issue which affects businesses all over the country, big and small, and must be a priority of the next Government. Similarly, the high costs of rent and

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the lack of affordable housing is placing a burden on businesses and individuals, and increases the cost of living substantially. The housing crisis has now become possibly the single greatest threat to Ireland’s socioeconomic development. The lack of supply in the private housing market is driving higher wage demands, and making it difficult for companies to find accommodation for their employees, particularly hindering FDI and job creation. Inaction on these issues is not an option; the next Government must focus on policies that will tackle high living costs and address the lack of supply in the housing market. Taxation is of the utmost importance for Ireland’s competitiveness and ability to secure necessary investment. The system needs to be adjusted to ensure that entrepreneurship and investment are encouraged, but without eroding our overall tax base. Eroding our tax

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base will lead to an inability to fund our social services and place too great a burden on a small section of society.

INFRASTRUCTURE We cannot expect continued economic growth if we do not plan and invest in developing Ireland’s infrastructure. This is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the Irish economy. Decreased public spending on infrastructure since the beginning of the recession has meant that we are now faced with an infrastructure deficit. This threatens to hold Irish businesses back, and make Ireland a less attractive destination for FDI. Irish businesses cannot grow or remain competitive unless they have access to affordable and reliable electricity and water supplies. The upgrading, improvement and future-proofing of the energy and water networks should be an important component of the next Government’s investment plans. The rise in population, the growth of new industries and the lack of investment

over the years have meant that the existing networks desperately need upgrading. Similarly, Ireland’s broadband and transport networks are not adequate to cope with the demands of Irish business, and these infrastructural deficits also majorly impact on Ireland’s ability to attract FDI. Good transport links enable regional networks to develop, and give rural businesses better options and opportunities in trade. Next generation broadband provision is a pre-condition for Irish businesses to trade internationally and to increase online trading and e-commerce opportunities. Currently a significant digital divide exists between urban and rural areas, and accelerated investment is required across the country to reduce this. The upgrading of Ireland’s broadband provision, energy grid, transport networks and water services are essential for Irish businesses and must be central to Government’s policy priorities.

FIVE-YEAR GOALS In five years’ time, we would like to see an Ireland where the Government is effectively managing the housing crisis and rents have decreased, where childcare is high quality and affordable to all, where graduates are able to find employment at home, where well planned and future-proof infrastructure projects are being undertaken, and where SMEs and the self-employed are encouraged to grow. We believe these are achievable goals and Chambers Ireland and the Chambers Network will work hard to be a part of Government’s planning process on behalf of Irish business. While there are a number of significant challenges, with the right policies and planning we believe that Irish business can and will flourish over the next five years.


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INFRASTRUCTURE Chambers Ireland is calling on the next government to prioritise the National Planning Framework and to take a more ambitious approach to infrastructure policy.


ow spending and investment in infrastructure since the beginning of the economic downturn has meant that Ireland is now faced with a major infrastructural deficit. In 2015 Ireland spent only 2 per cent of GDP on infrastructure which is significantly below the EU average of 2.9 per cent. The recently published Country Report Ireland 2016 by the European Commission highlighted this fact stating that “infrastructure needs have returned to the forefront as attention shifts to ensuring durable and balanced growth in the future. Seven years of sharply reduced government investment have taken a toll on the quality and adequacy of infrastructure and on support for intangible investments. This includes weaknesses in housing, water, public transport and climate change mitigation capacity.” The report also outlines that the capital programme for the next Government’s term will, even at its maximum point, leave spending one third lower than what it calls the already depressed EU average. This, the Commission warns, could negatively affect the country’s growth prospects and the delivery of key public services. The next government must increase the budget available for the capital expenditure envelope in order to avoid this fate. The inherent weaknesses in the 2002 National Spatial Strategy along with the economic collapse led to the decision to abandon the strategy and to start again with the announcement


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in 2013 of a new National Planning Framework (NPF), due to be published in 2016. The forthcoming National Planning Framework is an opportunity for Government to reinvigorate spatial planning and better integrate infrastructure and land-use policies. It is imperative that the next government prioritises the National Planning Framework and gives a clear commitment to have the framework in place by the end of 2016. Government must also ensure

The Commission assesses the UK’s infrastructure needs every five years, looking 30 years ahead across all key sectors and making recommendations as to where investment needs to take place. The Government is then obliged to respond to the Commission’s recommendations, either by accepting them or providing viable alternatives. Chambers Ireland would like to see a similar independent body established in Ireland, tasked with reviewing and planning for the country’s

Ireland needs a robust National Planning Framework to ensure that capital investment and infrastructure plans are implemented through best practice planning across the country. It is envisaged that the NPF will provide a strategic context for the development of regional economic and spatial strategies. that there is political commitment, nationally and locally, for the implementation of the NPF so that it does not suffer the same fate as the National Spatial Strategy. More than this however, Chambers Ireland is asking for a more ambitious and development orientated approach to infrastructure policy. We believe that our national infrastructure policy process must be fundamentally reformed and we believe that we should look to the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission as a possible model for Ireland. The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission is an independent body, tasked with improving longterm infrastructure policy making.

infrastructure needs, and which would depoliticise these hugely important, long-term and expensive projects. Ireland needs a robust National Planning Framework to ensure that capital investment and infrastructure plans are implemented through best practice planning across the country. It is envisaged that the NPF will provide a strategic context for the development of regional economic and spatial strategies. A well-functioning infrastructure system is critical for any modern economy’s ability to generate growth. If we wish to ensure that Ireland has the infrastructure of an advanced economy, we must increase expenditure and invest smartly.

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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GETTING THE MOST FROM MEDIATION Using mediation to avoid the high costs associated with unnecessary litigation should be an obvious choice for businesses. A Europe-wide project called Mediation Meets Judges aims to do just that.


hambers Ireland has long been an advocate for promoting alternative dispute resolution and mediation as the most effective and efficient option when it comes to resolving disputes amongst businesses. There is increasing evidence that mediation is good for business. A significant benefit offered by mediation in commercial disputes is cost-effective access to justice. It is precisely for this reason that mediation can be so beneficial to businesses, particularly SMEs who often don’t have the same resources as larger corporations. Additionally, using mediation to resolve disputes can also help preserve business relationships, and encourage dialogue between parties in a way that litigation cannot. Irish businesses face many challenges in terms of their competitiveness, and using mediation to avoid the high costs associated with unnecessary litigation should be an obvious choice. Unfortunately, it has been our experience that mediation is not used as frequently amongst the Irish business community as it could be. As part of work in promoting mediation, Chambers Ireland is part of a European wide project called Mediation Meets Judges. Launched in 2014, the project focuses on the promotion of mediation in civil and commercial disputes and the increase of judicial referral of disputes to mediation.


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Anne-Marie Blaney, Chairperson of CIArb Ireland

As a step towards better educating businesses about mediation and encouraging them to use mediation to resolve disputes, Chambers Ireland consulted with our stakeholders in the legal and mediation community to discuss how businesses could be encouraged to consider mediation as their first port of call when resolving disputes. From these discussions, the Business and Commercial Mediation Pilot Scheme was launched on September 1st 2015 by a cross section of bodies (Chambers Ireland, the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the Law Society, the Bar Council of Ireland and the Mediator’s Insatiate of Ireland) with the objective of promoting the use of mediation as a cost and resource

About Mediation Meets Judges Mediation meets Judges is a large-scale project co-funded by the European Union, co-ordinated and implemented by Eurochambres, nine Chambers of Commerce and mediation centres and the European Association of Judges for Mediation (Gemme), in seven European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Italy and Spain). Mediation meets Judges foresees the organisation of 40 workshops where judges and mediation practitioners can meet to exchange best practises and further promote the use of mediation in courts. A set of tools is developed and discussed with judges of European civil and commercial courts. The aim is to generate court annexed mediation pilot schemes in (at minimum) 13 European regions: Andalucia, Barcelona, Bordeaux, Brussels, Dublin, Madrid, Marseille, Milan, Monza, Nicosia, Paris, Rennes, Sofia.

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Anne Marie Blaney, Chairperson of CIArb Ireland and Siobhan Fahey, Chartered Engineer and Chartered Arbitrator, who presented at the Learn at Lunch mediation briefing hosted by Waterford Chamber and Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber

efficient way for businesses to resolve commercial disputes. Our experience in promoting mediation to business has taught us that one of the most significant challenges to getting more businesses to consider mediation is the need to change their behaviour when it comes to resolving disputes. For many the instinct remains that litigation should be the first course of action, rather than using alternative methods like mediation. Increasing education and raising awareness about the benefits of mediation is one of the primary objectives of Chambers Ireland. As a way of bridging the knowledge gap and increasing awareness of the benefits of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms among the business community, Chambers Ireland, supported by our colleagues in the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Mediators’ Institute of Ireland and the Law Society, worked with our Chamber Network to organise briefings for business. Earlier this year in February, one such mediation briefing was held as part of the regular Learn at Lunch event hosted by Waterford Chamber of Commerce. The event was also

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supported by Dungarvan and West Waterford Chamber. Chairperson of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Ireland, Anne-Marie Blaney, was joined by Dungarvan based engineer and mediator Siobhán Fahey, who spoke on the benefits of mediation for commercial businesses. On the importance of mediation, Waterford Chamber CEO Nick Donnelly said: “This scheme is hugely beneficial to the business community and can be given due consideration when matters of conflict arise, be it defamation and debt resolution, employment disputes or boardroom, partnership and shareholder disputes. It is cost effective and the whole process will only take up to eight weeks.” Speaking after the event, AnneMarie Blaney, Chair of CIArb Ireland said: “As Chairperson of CIArb, I was delighted to engage with the members of Waterford Chamber and Dungarvan and West Waterford Chamber in the first mediation briefing. I hope that Chambers throughout Ireland will realise the opportunity and endorse dispute resolution and mediation by hosting similar mediation briefings.” Additionally she noted: “The next government is urged to establish a

Parliamentary Group on Alternative Dispute Resolution in similar terms to the United Kingdom Government All-Party Parliamentary Group on ADR (APPG) established in November 2015. In both jurisdictions, our goal is to promote dispute avoidance and dispute management to encourage resolution away from litigation.” This view is also supported in our own pre-election manifesto, A Vision for 2021, where we call for a commitment from the next government to enact the Mediation Bill as soon as is practicable. Tralee Chamber Alliance, in conjunction with Bill Holohan of CIArb Ireland, also hosted a briefing for businesses on the benefits of mediation. Chief Executive Kieran Ruttledge noted: “A lot of members were unaware that mediation was an option for them so it was great to get a clear insight from Bill Holohan on the matter. His presentation was excellent with lots of stories from his past experiences of mediation matters and it certainly provided food for thought.” Chambers Ireland will be continuing our work to promote alternative dispute resolution to the Chamber Network and to Irish SMEs. Should you be interested in learning more about ADR and mediation or in referring a dispute to our Business and Commercial Mediation Scheme, please visit the Chambers Ireland website where you can download a referral form or contact 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 the above named partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.


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Making Europe

Think Small First Given the turbulent conditions businesses are operating in at a European level, Chambers Ireland has identified a number of policy areas as priorities for its work in supporting Irish business.


hambers Ireland works not only to represent the views of Irish business nationally, but we also work with our colleagues in Eurochambres to ensure that the interests of Irish business are represented at European level. The mission of Eurochambres is to strengthen the voice and position of European Chambers as significant, respected, valued influencers of European affairs on all major economic issues. Never has there been a more turbulent time for both the member states and businesses operating in the European Union. Speaking at a European Movement Ireland briefing on the Netherlands presidency of the Council of Europe earlier this year, HE Ambassador Paul Schellekens noted that the Netherlands presidency comes at a time when “the world’s eyes are on Europe�. The European Union faces enormous challenges in the months and years to come. Amongst the key priorities for the Netherlands presidency are migration and international security; the internal market; the currency union; and last but not least climate and energy. Ambassador Schellekens

A significant proportion of existing regulatory and administrative burdens on business stem from Europe and the Chamber network seeks to highlight examples of this to the EU institutions and to push for improvements. Our goal is to ensure that smart regulation remains high on the EU agenda and we strongly advocate for an evidenced based approach to policy making.


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also noted at the Irish launch of the presidency that there would be focus on deepening and strengthening the internal market, encouraging job creating companies to grow and working to create a digital single market that works for business. With this in mind, Chambers Ireland has identified the following policy areas as priorities for our work in supporting Irish business throughout 2016.

INTERNAL MARKET The Chambers of Commerce network across Europe has an inherent interest in the completion of the EU internal market and attaches considerable importance to tackling the many remaining barriers to the free movement of workers, goods, services and capital across Europe. We in Chambers Ireland work with our Brussels based colleagues in Eurochambres on development of new legislative proposals, monitoring the delivery of existing internal market legislation, lobbying for implementation of important new measures and presenting recommendations for future priorities. One of the main things that Government can do to help Irish business to trade is to firstly ensure that companies can easily reap the benefits of the EU single market, particularly the proposed digital single market. Currently, the single market is not working as effectively as it could be and more needs to be done at European level to ensure that it is working in the interests of

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business, particularly SMEs. The next government must work at European level to reduce red tape and unnecessary regulation so that Irish SMEs can fully benefit from the internal market.

SMART REGULATION A significant proportion of existing regulatory and administrative burdens on business stem from Europe and the Chamber network seeks to highlight examples of this to the EU institutions and to push for improvements. Our goal is to ensure that smart regulation remains high on the EU agenda and we strongly advocate for an evidenced based approach to policy making. The Junker Commission has said it is committed to what it calls its REFIT agenda. REFIT is the Commission programme for ensuring that EU legislation remains fit for purpose and delivers the results intended. It aims to keep the body of EU law lean and healthy, remove unnecessary burdens and adapt existing legislation without compromising on our ambitious policy objectives. In order to support this agenda, Chambers Ireland will be supporting the Eurochambres initiative, Burden Tracker, throughout 2016, which aims to identify pieces of legislation that are burdensome for SMEs. The objective is to alert policy makers to pieces of legislation that can be problematic for companies. For example, we hope to identify laws that contribute to excessive bureaucracy, legal uncertainty and unnecessary administrative burden on companies.

SMES AND INTERNATIONALISATION The vast majority of the Chamber network’s members are SMEs. For this reason, the European Commission Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) of 2008, which contains 10 principles and around 100 specific measures that aim

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to “unlock the growth and jobs potential of SMEs and make full use of their innovative capacities”, is of utmost importance to the Chamber network in Europe. The overriding objective of its SME activities is to push for the application of the ‘Think Small First’ principle throughout the EU policy making process. Chambers Ireland will be working with Eurochambres, and indeed with the Irish SME Envoy, throughout the coming year to stress the importance of the ‘Think Small First’ principle when it comes to developing policy that supports business. Additionally it is recognised that in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy, including its SMEs, economic policies must have a global dimension. Although Ireland would consider itself an exporting nation, the majority of our exports are confined to a small number of large indigenous companies, multinational companies and the FDI sector. Our smaller homegrown businesses are less inclined to export their products and services outside of Ireland. Should even a small number of our multinationals relocate their operations, Ireland would very quickly see a significant drop in export levels. A concerted effort is required, at both national and European level, to encourage and support Irish SMEs to become more internationally focused and capable of exporting their products abroad. Throughout 2016 we will be working to ensure that Irish SMEs are considered first and foremost as part of internationalisation strategies.

are stable, transparent and fair. Acting on behalf of its 28 member states, the European Commission negotiates a variety of bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements. Our colleagues in Eurochambres are present in the EU arena to act as an effective intermediary between Chambers and their companies and the EU trade negotiators. Our primary focus for 2016 will be to push for an SME-friendly trade deal between the EU and the United States. The negotiations, which began in 2013, will be a vital turning point this year, as Americans go to the polls to elect a new president. A deep and comprehensive trade agreement between the EU and US has been a top priority to date but progress will need to be made on many significant areas over the coming months. Additionally, the European Commission has opened negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, both of which will open new opportunities for Irish exporters. It’s positive to see that the issues like internal market, better regulation and trade are important priorities for the work of the European Commission and the Netherlands presidency of the European Council. From our own perspective in Chambers Ireland, we will be continuing our work to promote the need for an SME-friendly TTIP agreement, the removal of trade barriers in the internal market and better regulation when it comes to ensuring the EU legislation prioritises the ‘Think Small First’ principle.


For further information on the work of Eurochambres, please see their website at

More broadly, trade must remain a priority focus of EU policy in the years to come. Ninety per cent of world economic growth is going to be generated outside of Europe over the next 10 to 15 years. It is essential therefore to preserve – and improve – an environment where trading rules

For news and updates on what Chambers Ireland is doing in Europe to support Irish business, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter for news on trade, regulation and EU Affairs relevant to Irish business @ChambersIreland


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GOOD FOR BUSINESS The CSR Stakeholder Forum is charged with informing businesses about the development of CSR policy in Ireland and ensuring the national plan remains relevant in the context of evolving best practice.


orporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby enterprises integrate social and environmental concerns into their mainstream business operations on a voluntary basis. Ireland’s first National Plan on CSR, ‘Good for Business, Good for the Community’, was launched in April 2014 by then Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Richard Bruton. A key element of the national plan was the establishment of a CSR Stakeholder Forum, a vehicle aimed at informing businesses about the development of CSR policy in Ireland and ensuring the national plan remains relevant in the context of evolving best practice. The forum has been tasked with assisting in achieving the objectives identified in the National Plan. Those objectives are as follows: • Increasing awareness of CSR, its value to businesses and to society as a whole • Encouraging enterprises to develop and implement CSR policies and practices and mainstream them into their core business operations

It helps you to build a more resilient business because you do what is right by your customer, what’s right by your employees, and what’s right within the community in which you operate.


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• Encouraging more small and medium-sized enterprises to build CSR capacity • Increasing transparency and reporting of CSR activity by enterprises operating in Ireland • Anchoring CSR principles in public bodies in the context of their own operations The CSR Stakeholder Forum comprises representatives of the business sector, key Government departments and agencies, and the wider community. Brendan Jennings, Managing Partner of Deloitte Ireland, is Chair of the forum and he says there are numerous benefits to embracing CSR practices. “It helps you to build a more resilient business because you do what is right by your customer, what’s right by your employees, and what’s right within the community in which you operate. For most organisations today, a significant part of their value no longer lies in plant and machinery and bricks and mortar, it’s actually in the intangible thing of what their brand stands for, loyalty of customer trust, the quality of what they do.” The National Plan on CSR sets out the general framework within which CSR operates in Ireland and outlines the key principles and objectives which underpin the Government’s approach to CSR. It also seeks to communicate a common understanding of CSR by outlining the pillars on which CSR is based in

Ireland. These pillars are: workplace, environment, marketplace, community and the public sector. According to Jennings, the millenial generation is now helping to drive the CSR agenda. “They look at organisations a lot differently than I would have when I started my career,” he says. “Younger people today have a more holistic view of life, and the reality of it is that they will not want to work for organisations that don’t have a focus on some of the things that they believe are important.” When you consider that people will likely be one of the scarcest commodities for corporates over the coming decades, it is another reason why businesses should consider their approach to these four pillars of CSR. “Being able to attract those people into your organisation because of the way you operate, what your priorities are, what your purpose is, becomes fairly important,” says Jennings. “It actually plays into those two key areas: attracting people and resilience by holding customers.” To help achieve its goals the forum has set up a CSR Hub website, a communications initiative which brings together all the key CSR resources in Ireland. The CSR Hub aims to provide a central repository of information on CSR, accessible to all businesses interested in learning more about sustainable and responsible business practices. For further details visit

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CHANGE As part of Morgan McKinley’s Women in Leadership series, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes talks achievements, challenges, and bringing the Chamber to new heights.

unsure or in unfamiliar new territory: information is power.

Q: What do you see as the main challenges to female leadership?

Q: Who is your leadership role model?

A: I admire people who are inspirational and thought provoking, who have influenced and encouraged change, innovation, and who think outside the box. Three leaders I greatly admire are Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary for his frank and open style and his ability to manage the most difficult of situations; John Herlihy, VP & MD, EMEA at LinkedIn, whom I first met at a Chamber lunch in 2015; and Bob Brannock, CEO of Lifestyle Protection at Genworth Financial, a real champion for Shannon.

Q: What accomplishments are you most proud of?

A: Professionally, my achievements as CEO of Shannon Chamber. When I took on this role, I stepped outside my comfort zone as my background was in human resources with Shannon-based Thomson Financial. I am delighted with the changes that have occurred since taking over the reins – a doubling of membership in the past five years to over 300 companies

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and an expanded reach to over 10,000 employees. On a personal level, I am very proud of my four children, each with different personalities and attaining great achievements academically and in their creative and sporting interests. To see them flourish, and guide them along the way, is such a wonderfully rewarding experience for me.

Q: What has been the greatest challenge(s) in your career?

A: On becoming CEO of Shannon Chamber, I was the only full-time employee with the support of a person who worked part-time. This was an interesting challenge but one that I had an appetite for and needed to overcome. My strategy was very clear. With the support of the board, I mapped out what I needed to achieve over the first nine months of my tenure and established what I needed to do to progress the organisation that I now lead in my capacity as CEO. My first task was to engage with members,

Helen Downes, Shannon Chamber CEO

which I did for many weeks and months. I asked many questions, listened and processed all the feedback to establish how to move forward. Aside from this, I met with local and regional stakeholders, understood their mandates, raised my profile with the relevant people within these organisations, and then established how best to move forward. Today, we have increased the headcount of Shannon Chamber to a team of five.

Q: What is the most valuable advice that you have been given?

A: Always use an evidencebased approach to decision making as it leads to a more confident contribution or questioning challenge. Never be afraid to ask if

A: I don’t regard the challenges to leadership as being distinctly different for men and women. What’s important for me is to share and discuss challenges and come up with solutions. I have such a big network to reach out to, I don’t overthink this too much; I listen and learn. Q: What is your definition of success?

A: I read this somewhere; the more you are actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel. Engagement for me is so important; lack of engagement leads to a wider disconnect. You lose focus and possibly derail.

Q: What would you like to achieve next?

A: To take Shannon Chamber to the next level. This is an edited version of Helen’s Q&A which ran as part of Morgan McKinley’s Women in Leadership series. To view the original article or other Morgan McKinley’s Women in Leadership interviews visit


06/04/2016 14:03


INNOVATION DELIVERED Ireland’s most trusted postal, distribution and financial services company is continuing to evolve with the introduction of three new data services.


t a time when the traditional postal delivery service in Ireland and beyond has been challanged, our national post company, An Post, has had to adapt. This has resulted in the introduction of some innovative new data services to satisfy the demands of the contemporary customer. “We’ve been thinking about the future, responding to the future needs of people, listening to our customers. Our motto is ‘doing more’,” says John Cronin, CIO of An Post. The first of the new data services, AddressPal, was developed in recognition of the obstacles often encountered when shopping online. “When you go onto a website in the UK, there are a whole range of products, mainly electrical products, which won’t ship directly into Ireland. It’s a bit of a nuisance,” notes Cronin. Once registered on, the customer is sent a card with an AddressPal ID and an alternative UK delivery address. When you use the UK delivery address, AddressPal will dispatch the parcel to your preferred post office in the Republic of Ireland instead. “Plain and simple, it works,” says Cronin. “I’ve used it now three times in the last two weeks as part of the pilot and I’m very pleased with the service.” Then there’s Delivery Box, a wall mounted, weather resistant box


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John Cronin, CIO of An Post

The great thing about An Post is that it is the most trusted intermediary in the country. We’ve been able to grow alternative businesses during a time when the mail volumes are in decline. which is placed outside the home. “It’s a physical box, I call it my cuddly box because it’s so well designed you actually want to cuddle it,” jokes Cronin. Once installed, only residents and your postal operative will have access to it. “Each day when mail is delivered to my house, it’s scanned into my delivery box and I immediately get an email within ten minutes to say, you’ve got mail,” explains Cronin. The service is also convenient for returning unwanted items. Once

you’ve decided to return a product, you can pay for the postage online and print off your label, it can then be collected from your delivery box when your mail operative arrives to deliver post. It’s all about convenience for the customer. Finally, An Post has come up with a new service called PRISM, which links your telephone number with your parcel. On the day of delivery your postal operative will call you to give you an indication of the time he/she will be in your area. If the customer is unavailable, there are a number of options for their package such as sending it to the closest neighbour, a post office or a local shop which acts as a post point. “Gone will be the days when you get home in the evening and there’s a note in the door from An Post saying, ‘We tried to deliver your order, you weren’t home and now you need to call to your nearest delivery service unit to collect’,” says Cronin. With such new innovative services coming on stream, An Post will continue to reinvent itself to reflect technological advancements in the industry, expanding further into the areas of data services and e-commerce, all the while utilising its greatest asset; a reliable reputation. “The great thing about An Post is that it is the most trusted intermediary in the country,” says Cronin. “We’ve been able to grow alternative businesses during a time when the mail volumes are in decline. The big thing at the moment is the whole e-commerce piece and buying goods and services from abroad and getting them delivered to your door.” It looks like An Post is well placed to deliver.

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

06/04/2016 14:02



IRISH ENERGY Is the perfect storm of technology, finance and demand for solutions upon us? Luis Duran, Sector Specialist for Renewable Energy at AIB, shares his views on what’s new in the market.


his is an exciting time for Ireland and solar photovoltaics (PV). The Energy White Paper launched by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White in Dublin last December acknowledges that Solar PV is part of the solution for the generation of zero carbon electricity in Ireland. To that end there is a pledge by the Government to support both micro generation on roofs and megawatt scale solar farms in 2016. There are at least four main segments within this sector. The first is residential solar retrofits where local installers place PV on the rooftop of residential homes. Although there has been limited uptake to date, we may well see a SolarCity type business model deployed within the Irish market yet, potentially backed off against longterm funding sourced from pension funds. Low risk, low return. Secondly is the ‘Part L’ opportunity. Part L of the building codes requires a renewable energy component on new builds. Advocates in the market claim that solar PV can be applied more cost effectively to satisfy the Part L requirement when compared to any other renewable energy solution. With a significant increase in new builds on the horizon, this may create a lucrative opportunity. The third and fourth segments are in the commercial sector where there are two types of projects consisting of rooftop PV and ground mounted sites. Rooftop PV energy is typically

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sold to the business under the roof for somewhere in the region of a13-14 c/KWh and is attractive to companies paying more and also to large companies paying less, but which aspire to have greener businesses and/ or a hedge on energy prices. These projects are bankable in two ways. The first is a direct loan to the business under the roof to buy the PV plant and pay for the installation. The second is a loan to the developer of the PV plant, who commissions the project and contracts for sale of the electricity over a 15 to 20-year period. AIB is leading by example in the rooftop segment of the market with its own 240 KW rooftop PV plant and solar car port scheduled for construction early this summer at its headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Unlike the rooftop model which we believe will take off in earnest later this year, the ground mounted sites require some sort of Government support to make them viable. They

also share many of the characteristics of wind farms including land leases, grid connections, planning permission and credible equipment suppliers providing long-term warranties. The likelihood is that a government support scheme is at least nine months away, however there are some early positive signs. For instance in 2015, the ESB invited grid applications for solar farms which they hope to start rolling out by 2016. It is understood that the number of applications from developers – as many as 259 – has been overwhelming. It will be interesting to observe how the wind farm projects in Gate 3 and in the queue of projects waiting to secure grid offers, colloquially known as ‘Gate 4’, will be allocated if a solar support scheme is launched in 2016. For more information about how AIB are backing Irish energy go to or contact Luis Duran at


06/04/2016 14:02



Investing in Logistics The Government of Brazil has developed a number of programmes aimed at expanding and promoting investment in the country’s infrastructure.


n 2012, the Brazilian Government launched the Investment in Logistics Programme (PIL) in order to expand the scale of investments in the country, by means of strategic partnerships with the private sector; particularly in road, railway, waterways, port and airport infrastructure. The programme establishes guidelines aimed at restoring integrated transport planning to set up a modern and efficient network of transport infrastructure, capable of making the country more competitive, as well as fostering economic and social development. In 2015, the second stage of PIL was announced, continuing on the modernisation process of the country’s transport infrastructure while also aiming to resume economic growth. In the roads sector the programme’s main guidelines focus on providing a broad, modern and integrated network, with an effective and efficient supply chain and with reasonable fees. This stage provides for the concession of approximately 7,000 km. Concerning railways, the programme seeks to increase the use of rail cargo transport, create a modern and integrated railway network, increase the rail transport capacity and reduce logistical bottlenecks. The programme will ensure the application of R$86.4 billion in the construction, modernisation and maintenance of 7,500 km of railway lines. PIL also covers the reorganisation of ports. Investments in this new stage of the port sector are estimated to be


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Opportunities for Ireland Seamus McCann of ConsultingIreland is convinced that there are real opportunities for Ireland in non-traditional markets such as Brazil. “Irish companies have a lot to offer in sectors such as transport and energy and have the expertise and experience to be part of the success story that is Brazil.” ConsultingIreland is an initiative to assist Irish companies tap into opportunities in foreign markets particularly in the emerging countries and on projects funded by the major international financial institutions such as the World Bank and EC. (

at around R$37.4 billion, of which R$11.9 billion is in 50 new leases, R$14.7 billion in 63 new TUPs and R$10.8 billion in renewals of leases. In the airport sector, the programme aims to expand infrastructure, improve service quality, bring more innovation and experience from international operators, boost tourism, improve cargo transportation, and create new regional hubs through the concessions of some airports. For detailed information visit

Foreign investors who are interested in the Investment in Logistics Programme (PIL) and in the Power Investment Programme (PIEE) are able to identify and integrate opportunities for direct investment that are disseminated between several governmental agencies. Additionally, the INVESTMENT ROOM offers online support to national or foreign companies and investors, at the same time stimulating cooperation with foreign governments and international organisations with the same purpose.

THE INVESTMENT ROOM Developed by the Brazilian Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management, the INVESTMENT ROOM offers information about new initiatives to both national and foreign individuals and private companies who wish to invest in the country. It also provides institutional and commercial support to business, with a view of expanding and promoting investment in Brazil’s infrastructure.

INVESTMENT ROOM From 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM Address: Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco K. 5º Andar Brasília/DF CEP: 70040-906 Brazil Phone: +55 61 2020.4292 E-mail: investimentosbrasil

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

06/04/2016 14:01


Crystal Clear


Waterford Crystal has been chosen to manufacture trophies for this year’s Aer Lingus College Football Classic, an indication of the high esteem in which the company is held.


aterford Crystal has a long tradition of providing trophies for leading sporting events. In 2016, the company will have 13 trophies on the PGA tours in the US and Europe. The 42nd Annual People Choice Awards also looked to the services of Waterford Crystal when producing their trophies, which were presented to the stars of music, movies and television after 70 million people cast their vote. In Ireland, Waterford Crystal is delighted to be associated with the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. The company was chosen to manufacture the Game and Coach’s trophies for the one-off match taking place at the Aviva Stadium on September 3rd, where Boston College and Georgia Tech will compete for the Keough-Naughton College Football Trophy and the Coach’s Award, which will be presented at the end of the game. “A lot of work goes into producing a one-off piece, including the design and manufacturing,” explains David McCoy, Sales & Marketing Director of House of Waterford Crystal. “This is something that we have expertise in and it’s the reason why people come to us to design and produce their trophies, unique pieces and awards.” The Keough-Naughton College Football Trophy was designed by Matt Kehoe, Head of Design at Waterford Crystal and manufactured at the Waterford factory. The trophy is an American football mounted on

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The Coach’s Award, which is a masterful replicate of an American football helmet, was designed by Billy Briggs. Managing to capture the true shape of the American football helmet, the design, sparkle and quality reflects the unique craftsmanship of Waterford Crystal. The diamond cutting across the surface of the helmet allows the light to catch it, in order to create the magical sparkle associated with Waterford Crystal designs.


The Keough-Naughton College Football Trophy by Waterford Crystal

Coach’s Award by Waterford Crystal

three individual sculpted pillars of crystal, resting on a beautiful base and plinth. Kehoe’s concept for the trophy was a ball in flight with the pillars representing the players’ arms. The trophy is a fantastic addition to Waterford Crystal’s collection of world famous sports trophies.

The factory located in the centre of Waterford city welcomes over 180,000 visitors a year who have the opprtunity to witness the manufacture of crystal stemware, giftware and masterpieces. The factory tour is a unique and captivating experience that enthrals visitors of all ages, both national and international. The guided factory tour – which takes approximately one hour – allows visitors to understand each stage of production. They witness how Waterford Crystal pieces are crafted from initial design right up to the final engraving of the piece. Every year the House of Waterford Crystal melts more than 750 tonnes of crystal, using traditional and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques. On completion of the tour, visitors can experience over 12,000 sq ft of crystal heaven in the largest retail and brand showcase of Waterford Crystal in the world. For further details on tours visit and for information on the Aer Lingus College Football Classic go to


06/04/2016 14:01

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Global Markets

06/04/2016 14:53



FIELDS Though exporting and entering new markets can pose numerous challenges, there are steps which can be taken to mitigate risks and allow new entrants to land feet first.


mong a number of factors, export-led growth has played a crucial role in the continued recovery of Ireland’s economy. Take the agri-food sector, for example, in which exports increased to a record a10.8 billion. Agri-food represents approximately half of all exports by indigenous Irish companies. The pharmaceutical sector, meanwhile, represented around two-thirds of Irish export growth in 2015, rising by 26 per cent to just under a60bn. “International trade and investment have never been more important for the Irish and European economy. Throughout the recession, our exports helped stabilise the economy when domestic demand remained weak,” said Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot, speaking before the recent General Election. “Our manifesto for General Election 2016, ‘A Vision for 2021’, recognises that Ireland must continue to support the development of an ambitious

trade agenda that will open new markets to Irish business. Increasing access to new markets around the world will be vital for Ireland’s economic growth in years to come and vital for Ireland’s SMEs.” Amid positive reports regarding the influence of a strengthening US Dollar against the Euro, there are some stormclouds on the horizon. The potential Brexit has led to a decrease in the value of Sterling, and fears over harmful effects for exporters. Though at present the majority of Irish exports fall under the remit of larger indigenous companies, as well as multinationals and foreign direct investors, many opportunities remain for those businesses – including SMEs – willing to take the risk of expanding into new markets. And, although the UK is Ireland’s largest export market, these opportunities do not exist just within Europe – figures from the European Commission indicate that over the next 10 to 15 years, 90 per cent of demand will originate from outside of Europe, such as China, India and South America.

In the following pages, we speak to a number of firms about the challenges posed by new market entry, and how these can be negated.

P.70 PwC

+ P.71



P.72 Atradius



Donnelly Spire


P.75 UK Trade & Investment



Intrum Justitia



Container Ships Dublin



View from Chambers

Euler Hermes

In Ireland, Chambers of Commerce provide assistance to SMEs seeking to expand internationally. We do this by making available to our members a numbers of services, including international networking opportunities, trade documentation services, international trade training, and the facilitation of trade missions. Among the most important trade services that Chambers of Commerce provide is the issuing and authorisation of certificates of origin, a document attesting that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country.


For a list of Chambers of Commerce in Ireland who are empowered to issue Certificates of Origin or to find out more about the range of supports available to companies entering markets overseas please visit


InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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+ TMF Group


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Taking the RIGHT APPROACH John Dunne, PwC Audit Partner and Colm O’Callaghan, PwC Tax Director, offer advice to businesses seeking to export.


ew territories present significant opportunities for growing Irish businesses. However, expanding overseas is not without its challenges. Unfamiliar tax, accounting/auditing and regulatory regimes, rules on profit repatriation and local business culture can all present real challenges, and can lead to costly mistakes if not properly anticipated. A well planned approach will help equip a business to maximise the gains to be made. In particular, key decisions around market strategy and the appropriate business model are required, and seeking appropriate advice on these issues can really help to make the most of the opportunity on offer. Regardless of the location, finance and tax are always going to be headline issues. “There can be very significant differences in how an overseas tax, accounting/auditing and regulatory system operates when compared to the Irish or more traditional markets,” explains PwC Tax Director Colm O’Callaghan. “For

John Dunne, Audit Partner, PwC


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Colm O’Callaghan, Tax Director, PwC

example, returns envisaged from exporting to new markets can easily be eroded in certain jurisdictions through significant withholding tax regimes. While some of these taxes may be creditable and refundable locally, they can result in permanent tax charges and restrictions on cash flow. Administrative matters taken for granted here, such as ease of VAT registration or customs and duty requirements, can involve considerable delays in overseas markets. As it is always much harder to fix an issue after the event, advance planning is recommended.”

EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE PwC Dublin has a team that is focused on helping Irish businesses to export and expand overseas. “Through these dedicated resources and our global network, we have supported the successful expansion overseas of many Irish companies, and have provided them with the relevant advice and support needed to establish their overseas operations,” says John Dunne, PwC Audit Partner. “Talk to any experienced exporter and they will all recommend having a trusted local partner. With offices in 157 countries, we can ensure that the Irish business has a local partner, with local contacts, supporting the business in-country.” Specific services include support around overseas tax advice and business structuring, development of market and business strategies, navigating local accounting/auditing and regulatory regimes and helping to manage issues that arise when sending employees overseas.

MARKET PROMISE Demand for Irish exports, as Colm O’Callaghan explains, showed greatest growth in the Latin America and Asia Pacific regions over the past number of years: “this trend is very much echoed in what we are seeing among our client base. Mexico, for example, shows real promise in the near future given its geographical location and open economy with over 40 free-trade agreements with countries around the world.” The UK market will also draw much attention this year. The Brexit vote will take place in June – O’Callaghan believe that a yes vote could lead to increased trade barriers between Ireland and the UK. “While Ireland’s reliance on the UK as a trading partner has diminished over the years of our EU membership, it nonetheless remains a key economy for us. Such restrictions would obviously be unhelpful to certain sectors. Currency volatility, especially in the period (possibly two years) during which negotiations between the UK and the EU are conducted, is also likely to present a challenge for exporters.” Looking ahead, John Dunne is positive as to the opportunities presenting by market expansion, but counsels acknowledgement of the inherent risks. “Opportunities, however also come with potential risks, which need to be managed. Proper planning for expansion is vital, including seeking advice from people familiar with the local requirements in each new market being targeted,” he cautions. “Failure to do so may result in expensive mistakes being made, particularly in relation to compliance with local regulatory and tax rules.” InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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Protecting Your Bottom Line TransferMate offers payment solutions that make real business sense, explains Managing Director Barry Dowling.


hen expanding your business reach abroad, a lack of knowledge regarding routes to international payments and receivables can be a stumbling block – banks can often charge higher fees than other organisations. Enter TransferMate Global Payments, which provides both a global network of bank accounts to speed up payments in local currencies and, with an online system through which clients can monitor and book the most suitable rate, a solution that makes real business sense. Currency volatility can also be a big concern – negative changes in global currencies that can cause businesses to fold overnight, or impact greatly on their profit margins. “With proper

planning and guidance from the experts at TransferMate, companies can safeguard against such risks, through better exchange rates, the lowest transfer fees and faster international payments,” explains co-founder Barry Dowling. As such TransferMate offers variable flexible spot rates to offset major market alterations and also boasts international regulatory compliance, including a position as the sole Irish company to embark on US state-wide regulatory approval, with 45 secured thus far. TransferMate was established in 2010, founded with the vision of one day becoming a major player on the world’s FinTech stage. Today they are just that – fuelled by a healthy mix of

Barry Dowling, co-founder, TransferMate

determination, market understanding, innovation and the right people, their services are crucial for companies seeking success abroad. For further information or to sign up for a free account, contact Tracey Moylan on 01 635 3700 or email

What’s on your

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Providing Peace of Mind Gerry Barrett, Sales Director, Atradius Collections Ireland, offers some useful advice for businesses seeking to expand their reach.


hen considering moving into the export market, the first step for Irish businesses is to ‘know before you go’. There is always a danger that ‘market fit’ for a product or service consumes most of the thinking – will that market be a fertile hunting ground? Of course, there is a lot more to consider. Any company needs to gather as much information about the trading environment in the target country as possible. Apart from the obvious questions concerning the laws and legislation – both current and pending – pertaining to that country, it is equally important to find out about the culture there, how business is done.

PAYMENT PROTECTION With the contract signed and goods en route, in order to avoid payment problems companies should research what typically causes payment delays in that country, what information invoices should contain to avoid delays, if their credit policy is sufficient or requires changes, any language issues, and if credit reminders are a culturally acceptable practice. Trade credit insurance gives peace of mind in case of non-payment for whatever reason. It is also a requirement of most funders. Atradius is the second largest trade credit insurer in the world, and

Atradius Collections is part of this organisation. We can offer our clients both legal and amicable collections in each of these countries although our clients will only ever have contact with this office in Dublin. They can access our client extranet tool – collect@net – through which they can securely load cases, monitor progress and leave notes for the collection agents. Operating in over 200 countries, Atradius has detailed knowledge of the trading environment in all of these countries, and we are delighted to make this information available through our country reports, accessible at

Delivering world class amicable & legal collections Operating in over 200 countries Atradius Collections, your one stop shop global partner for collections and trade credit insurance Park West Business Park, 43B Yeats Way, Dublin Tel: +353 (0)1 242 0100

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06/04/2016 14:31


Steps to SUCCESS For companies considering entering a new market, having local knowledge and insight can be the difference between success and failure. We spoke with Donnelly Spire co-founder Andreas Schürrle to discover more about how to get this right the first time.


here’s a lot to consider when a business decides to expand their horizons – the right market for their services, the need to understand both the market and potential competitors and budgetary concerns. There are other, less clear, factors too – the local business culture, customs, communication issues and so on. Entering a new market by trial and error, however, can prove both costly and time-consuming. So how does one land feet first and avoid the risk of failure? That’s where Donnelly Spire come in. They provide a market delivery and business development service, working with companies that appreciate the need for local knowledge but don’t want the expense of an immediate direct presence on the ground. They offer in-depth insight and experience within a number of European markets – localised information, fast track access to decision makers and a proven hands-on methodology. Donnelly Spire take a three-pronged approach. First, they spend time understanding what their client wishes to achieve. Then they create a detailed market entry plan that drastically reduces the risk element – whether logistical support or partners on the ground are required, who the main competitors will be, and any regulatory, legal or compliance factors that may be an issue. And then they go out into the market, validate their client’s local proposition and line up qualified leads. Their sphere of influence includes Italy, France, Poland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic and the UK – and the list is growing. “It is less costly to use a company InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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like Donnelly Spire than to place a salesperson on the ground without any support – they are likely to fail as they are a small fish in a big pond without a boat,” explains co-founder Andreas Schürrle. “How can an Irish person negotiate a complex sale in Germany, Italy or France? You need to be fluent in the local language, but must also understand both the non-verbal language and the interests of each of the players.”

PARTNERSHIP An official partner of Enterprise Ireland, with which it conducts occasional training programmes, Donnelly Spire counts a number of Irish firms as clients, both past and present, including Dublin-based CarTrawler (one of the largest providers of car rental technology in the world) and technology firm ABM Data Systems, which develops automated customs declarations technology. Their work is quite varied – Schürrle recalls a project in collaboration with a Cork-based reseller of fitness products, which wanted to attend the FIBO trade show in Cologne – Europe’s largest fitness trade show – but were unsure of where to begin. “They didn’t know

They provide what is essentially a market delivery service, working with companies who appreciate the need for local knowledge. where to find a local stand builder, how to keep everything within the budget, and where to stay on short notice,” says Schürrle. “They contacted us about six weeks prior to the show, and we delivered everything. They had a perfect stand, material in German, and hotels. All they had to do was fly over and collect the key.” For Schürrle and Donnelly Spire, the partnership is everything. They don’t simply work with as many clients as possible, opting instead for a careful approach – they choose to work with clients for whom they can deliver real and tangible results. Most of these clients have worked with them for at least four or five years – a concrete barometer of quality and success. “Working closely with our clients, we really understand our customer needs,” Schürrle explains. “We deliver value by matching their requirements with our export knowledge, expertise and network, thereby delivering a new market.”


06/04/2016 14:23

From accountancy and law to advertising, Britain leads the way in business services. For a highly skilled, customer-focused workforce, choose the UK. The Shard London

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KNOWLEDGE The United Kingdom is an important trading partner and base for many Irish companies. So why should you choose the UK, and what supports are available for those who do? Shirley McCay, Director, UK Trade & Investment, in the British Embassy explains.


s our closest neighbour, the UK has long represented an important market for Irish businesses. Both countries are quite similar in terms of culture, regulation and legal systems. English is the language of choice for both regions, while geographical proximity means that there are very strong transport links and infrastructure between our two nations. In addition, it’s important to note that the UK is currently the fifth largest economy in the world, and the second largest in Europe – due to become the largest on the continent, surpassing Germany, by 2030. As a result, there are many opportunities for businesses seeking to expand to the UK. “I would say that there are opportunities in every sector in the UK, because of the scale of the market and the sophistication of the ecosystem,” says Shirley McCay, Director, UK Trade & Investment, a UK Government organisation which assists and supports Irish businesses in establishing and growing their operations across the Irish Sea.

ADVICE So, if our cultures, language, customs and legal systems are so similar, why seek help at all? Achieving success on the first try is the simple answer – though Ireland and the UK may share a number of similarities, there are some hurdles that must be overcome, such as the need for local, in depth market knowledge, and information InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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on all government supports that might be available. For example, McCay notes that the UK isn’t a homogeneous market – for example renewable energy is a key sector in Scotland, food processing in Wales, cyber security in Belfast, software in Newcastle, creative industries in Manchester and Liverpool, and the life sciences cluster in Cambridge. “My advice would be to make sure that you have a clear and well thought through business plan for market entry in the UK,” she says. McCay also advises businesses just embarking on their export journey to first consult with organisations such as Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland, the British-Irish Chamber, the British Irish Trading Alliance and the Enterprise European Network. Once a decision has been made to move into the UK marketplace, UK Trade & Investment can help to connect and embed your business in the market, giving you an increased chance of success to grow and expand. “We have worked with thousands of Irish companies which have successfully set up their businesses in the UK, and have grown and exported from the UK. We can help businesses in all sectors, but we would particularly like to hear from you if you are an Irish company operating in food and drink, creative industries, business/professional services, waste energy, engineering and life sciences – we encourage you to consider this market,” McCay advises. “If you really want to understand the market then you need to be present here. We recommend that you consider, as

Shirley McCay, Director, UK Trade & Investment

early as possible, establishing a presence in the UK.” UK Trade & Investment can also help in other respects. They can provide expert sectoral knowledge, help establish a presence and complete the necessary registration processes, connect Irish businesses with the appropriate bodies in setting up a banking account, provide support for R&D and innovation, assist with recruitment, skills and planning issues, offer advice on mergers and acquisitions, ensure that the correct legal governance structures are employed, and find credible business partners – in short, virtually all of the factors required to establish your business. “Once you make contact with us, whatever stage you are at on your export journey, we discover more about you and will hopefully become one of your trusted advisers as you internationalise and grow your business,” McCay concludes.


06/04/2016 14:20


Managing Your Risk Mark Chandler, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Intrum Justitia, explains how they can provide credit back up for businesses. Q:For businesses seeking to expand

Q: What has the recent European

their reach, how important is good credit management?

Consumer Payment Report revealed about the European market?

A: Good credit management directly impacts all aspects of the business. Payment issues will impact an ability to make payments; this can increase the cost of funding or incur higher costs through bank charges by going into overdrafts. This impacts margin and profitability which makes expansion and investment harder to obtain. The average write-off in Ireland is 7 per cent against the European average of 3.1 per cent, for a company turning over 1m. Matching the European average would enable them to employ another person on the average living wage.

A: Over a third of companies surveyed stated that faster payments would enable them to employ more staff, 24 per cent of companies had to let staff go as a consequence of non-payment and 34 per cent delayed recruitment or expansion due to late payment. Write-offs across Europe (3.1 per cent average) due to non-payment equate to approximately 289bn per year.

Q: What services can Intrum Justitia offer these businesses, and how does your global network provide an advantage?

A: Intrum Justitia offers end-to-end credit management from sales ledger management, third party collections through to debt purchase. We provide a local point of contact in Ireland but then local country specific knowledge to maximise collections, which is not provided by anyone else. Q: Can Irish companies compete abroad?

A: Irish companies have some fantastic products and services to offer across Europe and the world. Going into a new market or region can be daunting but there is plenty of support and help to make that transition successful for any company.

We are Europe’s leading Credit Management Services (CMS) Company. We save money and time for our clients. You too can grow your business by leveraging our expertise and by using the widest offering of standalone and integrated solutions. From credit decision, sales ledger services, reminders, domestic and worldwide debt collection to debt surveillance, collection of written-off receivables and purchase of outstanding receivables.

Market leader

As Europe’s leading Credit Management Services (CMS) group with presence in 20 countries and global reach, Intrum Justitia is in a unique position to make a difference for any kind of business, small local businesses or large global ones. With our insight and know-how, we help companies get paid for the goods and services they sell. To find out how we can boost your business, contact

Mark Chandler Managing Director UK & Ireland Intrum Justitia T: +353 1 869 2222 • E: W:

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Local Network, International Reach We spoke with Fintan Dawson, Country Sales Manager Ireland, Containerships, to discover more about how they can assist with Irish exporters. Q: For Irish businesses seeking to export for the first time, what advice would you give?

A: Ask yourself the correct questions – what would your business gain from accessing foreign markets? Commence small and research your markets. Do your prospective clientele

require your product, and at your retailing value? You must recognise your opposition and how they relate. Appreciate the currencies you will need to transact in and also take part in overseas trade fairs to assess the markets – perhaps even consider engaging with agents or distributors and make sales. Appreciate the ethnic variances which could lead to costly errors including mislabelling and marketing. Transport goods efficiently by selecting the most effective transport method. It is also easy to overlook the dangers of nonpayment and so it is vital InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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to form credit ratings with impending consumers and guard against non-payment through Letters of Credit or Credit Insurance.

digital marketing and localisation. Enterprise Ireland is the government agency that delivers support to SMEs that are advancing to exporting. One in ten European SMEs would not have internationalised without government support.

Q: What are the benefits of Q: In terms of expansion and logistics in relation to exporting, what are the major challenges for SMEs in particular?

A: SMEs face dissimilar contests in comparison to large companies in embarking into the export market. While it is somewhat tranquil to create linkages in the domestic market, it may be costly and problematic for an SME to form proper, dependable associations in overseas markets. Introducing a new product to the overseas market, an SME can envisage encounters in relation to external and internal funds, capability to fix economical prices, mindfulness to the support accessible, language barriers, market intellect, marketing communication, branding,

using your network – both land and sea?

A: Since 1966, Containerships has been connecting the capitals of Europe, Russia and Eastern Mediterranean by fast and reliable short sea shipping. Today we can offer you the most flexible and customisable transportation by land and sea with personal customer service in 21 countries. Containerships offers reliable and frequent transport services through combining sea vessels, road trucks, barges and railway transportation modes. Our shipping routes are grouped in two regional services: • Baltic and North Sea Service: We are one of the leading short sea door-to-door operators and operate frequent sailings, linking ports in North West Europe, UK and Ireland, with ports in Finland, Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Russia. We are your Russia specialist. Our dedicated container terminal Moby Dik, located on Kotlin

Island in the St. Petersburg navigation channel, is our biggest distribution centre for destinations across Russia. In addition to the St. Petersburg terminal we offer an alternative entry point into Russia, Terminal UK-2 in Ust-Luga. • Intra-Mediterranean Service: Our efficient ‘fast track’ service at the doorstep of North African countries is offering direct sailings with very short transit times and further connections to the hinterlands of Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. • This international, yet local network is our way of ensuring that our customers’ cargo arrives according to the terms agreed.

Q: A final word of advice? A: Be persistent, it may not come about as swiftly as you anticipate as local customs and legislation could perchance slow things down, but once you have discovered a new market and adapted your product or service to fit, it is then you will have a recipe for success. For additional information on our company and services, please visit our website or contact me directly at or by phone 00 353 (0) 1 813 8191


06/04/2016 14:13


Getting Exports Right the First Time Dean O’Brien, Country Manager, Euler Hermes Ireland, helps exporters get moving.


oreign trade has always been a cornerstone of the Irish economy, but for firms new to this arena it can be a steep learning curve, especially if they are trading on credit terms. While the potential for bad debts or late payment is a reality of business life, doing your homework will help pave the way to profitable long term exporting. Here are four top tips: 1. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER – It’s surprising how many businesses have almost no information about their potential overseas customers when they sign a contract and open credit lines, so build a profile. Key research includes the partner’s country risk,

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sector risk, the financial health of the company itself and that of its key customers.

regulations, and how long will it take to get paid or recover overdue payments.

2. POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC RISKS – These can have a significant impact with unexpected changes disrupting or even preventing the completion of contracts and prompt payment. Despite a strengthening economy at home, seven out of ten export markets still have insolvency rates higher than precrisis levels. Recent examples of political risks events include trade sanctions in Russia and capital controls in Greece.

4. ASSESS THE INFORMATION – Now you can make more informed decisions about where and whom to trade with. Having a credit insurer like Euler Hermes can help here, and provides reassurance to credit suppliers’ banking partners, creating more headroom for working capital, more competitive credit terms overseas, and enhances in-house credit management.

3. THE LEGAL AND BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT – Consider licensing laws/distribution agreements, local

For further information please call +353 (0) 1 5187900 or email

06/04/2016 14:12




rading across borders can be a time-consuming, complex and risky business. Researching market opportunities, finding partners and distribution channels, negotiating licences and permits, navigating customs, establishing production and building a customer base in an overseas market usually require considerable financial firepower, resources and political connections, all factors that favour heavyweight businesses. Stepping into the international ring with them, entrepreneurs and small businesses are in for a gruelling fight with the odds stacked against them. A research paper issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ‘Breaking Borders’, also paints a rather gloomy picture about the international trading environment for SMEs. The companies surveyed highlighted a large number of barriers standing in the way of their global expansion. Infrastructure problems, prohibitive costs of establishing operations and networks abroad, bureaucracy, corruption and political instability were all cited as reasons for not entering overseas markets. Of those that were venturing abroad, the vast majority were doing so very tentatively, and most SMEs expand into markets similar to their own. Despite the opportunities offered by air travel, telecommunications networks and the internet, it looks like globalisation is still principally being driven by the big players. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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The EIU paper also offers a mixed assessment of the world’s growth markets. China remains the most attractive developing market for the majority of SMEs, mainly because of its enormous consumer base and the country’s economic policies, which continue to support growth. There are reservations, however, about the appeal of Africa, with 40 per cent of surveyed companies saying that they see no potential in the continent.

THE BRIGHT SIDE At the same time, despite the difficulties experienced, the paper still revealed a positive outlook. Most of the SMEs intend to generate over 50 per cent of their revenue from outside their home market within five years. Part of the reason could be defensive: as globalisation has taken hold and markets have opened up, competition has intensified for smaller businesses. Domestic economies in most markets have also slowed or stagnated, which has put their margins under pressure, and this is forcing businesses to look abroad to grow. So how can SMEs go global without the financial muscle and manpower of bigger companies? Breaking Borders reveals that it takes resourcefulness, partnerships, a robust supply chain and the ability to make your size work in your favour. DHL was a brash, upstart small business once. Thanks to an aggressive international expansion in the 1970s and 1980s and a ‘first mover’ philosophy, we have grown into one of the world’s most international companies. That was a different time, and we’re a very different company today, but we still have a keen eye for the opportunities of international trade. For any small business doubting

Conor McCabe

Despite the challenges, Irish businesses can punch above their weight in international markets, explains Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director, DHL Express Ireland.

Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director, DHL Express Ireland

their ability to tap into Africa’s growth story, for example, we would say that the challenges are indeed there but, as the experiences of many of our customers who are trading successfully within the region show, they are by no means insurmountable. SMEs may have to learn to compete in different ways and to make best use of all resources available to them in order to hold their own on the world stage. However, with good planning, a well-designed supply chain, a clear understanding of their competitive strengths and the right mindset, even the most lightweight of businesses can outperform the global heavyweights.


06/04/2016 17:51


So you’re ready to conquer


Taking your product or service into new markets is an exciting milestone filled with opportunity, but also challenges, as many jurisdictions aren’t as business-friendly as Ireland. Kevin Butler, Managing Director, TMF Ireland, explains.


efore you start operating your business across borders, it is vital to have a full understanding of the potential hurdles you may face; particularly when your home market is Ireland, the least complex country for compliance with corporate regulation and legislation, according to TMF Group’s Global Benchmark Complexity Index. At the other end of the spectrum is Argentina, which poses the toughest challenges for multinational enterprises. A number of new laws implemented in the country aim to

make doing business easier, including a new Civil and Commercial Code; however, in practice the changes increase complexity in the short term. Ranked in the middle of the 95-country index, the USA in 56th position is a much more complicated jurisdiction to navigate than it may appear. It’s easy to overlook state regulation which effectively means working with up to 50 different systems. E-commerce exacerbates business complexity, as you may be commercially active in US states but with no physical presence,

inadvertently triggering tax reporting obligations. Last year in the UK the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act came into force, helping to reduce business complexity. Simplification of electronic submissions to the Registrar of Companies and the abolishment of annual returns help to keep the UK at an attractive 74 on the Index, and a main export partner for Ireland. For more information, phone: 00 353 (0) 1 614 6240, email Kevin.Butler@ or visit

Who’s got a network of over 6000 compliance experts behind them?  Local people with local knowledge in over 80 countries

 Flexible support tailored to you  A single supplier worldwide Find out how TMF Group can help you manage your corporate secretarial compliance.

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LEINSTER • MUNSTER • CONNAUGHT • New libraries for Wicklow, jobs boost for Carlow and holiday resort planned for Longford.

Cork accelerator launched, Irish Water funds Kerry scheme and Clare geopark creating a legacy.

Galway becomes bilingual, new initiative aiming to strengthen ties between the west and the US, and 385k in funding for Galway arts.

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New luxury hotel for Donegal, Monaghan revealed as a broadband black spot and agri conference brings 250,000 to Cavan.

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PROMISE The Greater Dublin Region has an attractive investment offering for multinationals and indigenous enterprises.

COME HERE, GO PLACES Fingal County Council’s Paul Reid on why Fingal should be a key destination for business investment.

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BEST PRACTICE IN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT By examining successful collaborations between Chambers, local Government and LEOs in the past, there is an opportunity to help transform local areas both economically and culturally.

In Association with

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27TH- 29TH MAY Wexford Food and Wine Festival Wexford Town, Co Wexford 10TH - 19TH JUNE Carlow Arts Festival (Eigse 2016) Carlow Town, Co Carlow


NEW LIBRARIES FOR WICKLOW Wicklow County Council has made a1m available for a new library in Wicklow Town. Two buildings are currently being considered for the new site. In addition, there are plans for new libraries in Rathdrum, Aughrim and Bray, as outlined in the recently announced Wicklow County Council Library Development Plan. Cllr Irene Winters, the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow Municipal District, has welcomed the allocation for Wicklow town; stating that a new, state-of-the-art premises will be a real boost for the county.


15TH-19TH JUNE Bloomsday Festival Dublin City 20TH -24TH JULY Dublin Horse Show Ballsbridge, Co Dublin


JOBS BOOST FOR CARLOW US pharmaceutical company MSD has announced the creation of 110 new positions at its Carlow facility. Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council, Charlie Murphy, said the announcement “will help to build confidence in County Carlow as a location for FDI companies which are key employers in the county.” Kathleen Holohan, Chief Executive, Carlow County Council, added that the news “sends a positive message” to other multinational and indigenous firms that are considering investing in county Carlow or expanding their existing operations in the wider south east region. Carlow is MSD’s only standalone vaccine and biologics facility outside the US.


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Longford County Council has granted planning permission for a a232m Center Parcs holiday village near Ballymahon, Longford. When completed, the holiday resort will be the biggest private tourism development in Ireland. Once open, the development will have a capacity for up to 2,500 guests and could employ up to 1,000 people in permanent positions.

ABOUT CENTER PARCS Center Parcs is a shortbreak holiday company which currently operates five holiday villages in the UK. The first holiday village opened in 1987 at Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire.


#WEAREWESTMEATH Westmeath County Council, as part of their new #WeAreWestmeath campaign, has commissioned a series of ‘ high impact’ videos to promote investment in the county. Each of the seven videos is aimed at a particular audience, including members of the diaspora looking to set up business in Westmeath, multinationals, and companies considering a base in Mullingar or Athlone. There is also a video highlighting the quality of life that Westmeath has to offer. Cllr John Daly praised the new initiative and said that people should not “underestimate the power of YouTube”. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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CLARE GEOPARK CREATING A LEGACY The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark has been crowned winner of a prestigious award by the acclaimed National Geographic at their World Legacy Awards. The Geopark, which is managed by Clare County Council and receives support and funding from the Geological Survey of Ireland and Fáilte Ireland, won the Destination Leadership category for its tourism for conservation project, GeoparkLIFE. Speaking at the awards ceremony in Berlin, Cllr Mary Howard, Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, said the accolade was “testament to the partnership approach to managing sustainable tourism in the Burren that has been developed over the years by Clare County Council, regional development agencies and the local community.”


CORK ACCELERATOR LAUNCHED A new accelerator programme, called SPRINT, has been launched at GatewayUCC. Designed to support early stage startups, entrepreneurs and UCCbased researchers, the SPRINT Accelerator will focus on commercialisation strategies and routes to market. The first 10 participants in the SPRINT accelerator are already signed up from diverse areas such as bioinformatics, digital mobile, medtech, eHealth, nutrition and food health as well as ICT. The SPRINT programme is sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Bank of Ireland and Cork City LEO.

Pictured at the launch of the new GatewayUCC accelerator programme, SPRINT, are Myriam Cronin, GatewayUCC, Ruth Patel, Respiro R&D, Marcus Claesson, MicroBio Solutions, Audrey Micheal, Agathon Services, Julie Cinnamon, Enterprise Ireland

IRISH WATER FUNDS A30M KERRY SCHEME Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council, Cllr Pat McCarthy, has warmly welcomed Irish Water’s a30m investment in the Kerry central supply which serves over 60,000 people. The investment will see a new water treatment constructed in Lough Guitane. Although there is much uncertainty regarding the future of Irish Water, Oliver Ring, Director of Services at Kerry County Council, believes that work on the project is certain to go ahead as the contracts have been signed.

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27TH - 29TH MAY Killarney Beerfest Killarney, Co Kerry 5TH - 6TH JUNE Innishannon Steam & Vintage Rally Innishannon, Co Cork 30TH JUNE - 4TH JULY Make a Move Festival Co Limerick 15TH - 17TH JULY Kilrush Traditional Music & Set Dancing Festival Kilrush, Co Clare



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GEOPARK: WHAT IS IT? In 2011 the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark gained Global Geopark status. Covering more than 530 sq km, the geopark boasts the natural beauty of its 200-metre high cliffs and its 8km of rugged coastline. The Burren region itself has over 2,700 recorded monuments, some dating back over 6,000 years.

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A new competition launched by Limerick’s City and County Council Environment Unit is asking secondary school students to create a project that best promotes waste prevention and resource efficiency. The winners of the project will receive a trophy and a class tour of Cloughjordan Ecovillage. Sinead McDonnell, Environmental Awareness Officer, Limerick City and County Council said: “This award will be available to the school judged to have the most significant and practical environmental project based on waste prevention and resource efficiency at SciFest 2016 in LIT.”


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CONNAUGHT 5TH - 8TH MAY 2016 International Mayfly Festival Oughterard, Co Galway 9TH - 12TH JUNE Seán MacDiarmada Summer School Kiltyclogher, Co Leitrim 24TH - 26TH JUNE Westport Food Festival 2016 Westport, Co Mayo 11TH - 24TH JULY Galway Fringe Festival Co Galway


GALWAY BECOMES BILINGUAL President Michael D Higgins has officially declared Galway to be Ireland’s first bilingual city and expressed his appreciation of the effort made by those in the region to use the nation’s original language. The value of the language to Galway city is believed to be worth a136m and the aim of bilingual status is to validate the impact of the Irish language both culturally and economically. Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, expressed his delight at Galway becoming the first city in Ireland to proclaim it has two languages. He said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Galway.”


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BALLINAMORE OLD COURTHOUSE • Built: 1830s • Structure: Cut-stone building • Design: Two-storey three-bay building with a flat roof design • About: Historically the courthouse was of great importance to the local community and as such is of social significance.

Cllr Caillian Ellis has welcomed the news that initial works have begun on the former Ballinamore Courthouse. Leitrim County Council has said that costing for the works on the roof of the structure are being prepared. The early 19th century court was closed in 2009 and since then has fallen into a poor state of repair. Cllr Ellis has highlighted the importance of securing this historic listed building for future generations and believes the completion of work should be a priority of the Courts Service.


A385K FOR GALWAY ARTS Galway City Council has distributed a385,000 of funding to arts groups across Galway city. The funding is to be received by 93 arts groups in the city. Arts officer for Galway City Council, James Harrold, informed councillors that if Galway was successful in its Capital of Culture 2020 bid, it would mean the greatest transformation the city had seen since the 17th century. The largest amount was given to Galway International Arts Festival, which received a46,000.


INITIATIVE TO STRENGTHEN TIES BETWEEN US AND WEST Mayo County Council is leading a regional initiative to establish the Ireland West International Trade Centre, located in the US Providence of Rhode Island. Speaking about the initiative, Mayo County Council Programme Manager David Minton said: “In simple terms this is a project that allows companies in the west and northwest of Ireland explore and test new markets in the US through the provision of cost-effective show space, enterprise support, networking, investment guidance and collaboration. The project aims to utilise the brand of Ireland West for the promotion of business, tourism and educational connections.” Participants in the partnership come from the local authorities of Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon and Galway, Ireland West Airport Knock, local enterprise offices and the Western Development Commission. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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29TH APRIL - 8TH MAY Cavan Walking Festival Co Cavan 13TH - 14TH MAY FLEADH ‘64 Clones Town, Co Monaghan

Pictured at the launch of Celtic Pure’s plant expansion plans was Chief Executive of Celtic Pure, Padraig McEneaney, with Republic of Ireland football manager Martin O’Neill


2ND - 5TH JUNE Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival Ballyshannon, Co Donegal 8TH - 24TH JULY Earagail Arts Festival Co Donegal

Irish mineral water company Celtic Pure has unveiled plans to invest a5m in a new bottling facility in Co Monaghan. The Celtic Pure plant, which is located on the outskirts of Corcreagh, will expand its current facility; creating 60 new jobs during construction and 25 new permanent jobs after completion. Attending the announcement were key customers, suppliers and local Tds, as well as Republic of Ireland football manager Martin O’Neill.


MONAGHAN A BROADBAND BLACK SPOT A recent study has seen Monaghan placed top of a broadband blackspot list. Alan Ward, marketing director of comparison website, told the Sunday Independent that internet users across Ireland experience a wide range of broadband speeds, with some users being left in the “slow lane”. Last year, Cathaoirleach Sean Conlon claimed that 10,000 jobs could be created overnight if rural broadband services in the county were brought up to speed.


AGRI CONFERENCE BRINGS A250K TO CAVAN The recent International Agricultural Conference held in the Cavan Crystal Hotel is estimated to have brought a250,000 to the local economy in county Cavan. The eight-day forum saw over 80 international agricultural experts visit Cavan and partake in the conference. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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AGRI INDUSTRY IN IRELAND: THE FACTS • 230,000 jobs linked to sector • 2 6bn turnover • 10.5bn worth of exports in 2014 to 120 countries • Export destinations: UK 40%, rest of Europe 31%, international markets 29% • Total payroll in sector is a1.8bn


NEW LUXURY HOTEL FOR DONEGAL Donegal County Council has granted planning permission for a multi-million euro development that will create over 100 jobs. The green light will see the construction of a 34-bedroom hotel and the development will include conference facilities, 30 forest lodges on the grounds and another outbuilding being transformed into a pub. Local Cllr Patrick McGowan says he is hopeful that work on the project will begin now in earnest.


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IN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT By examining successful collaborations between Chambers, local Government and LEOs in the past, there is an opportunity to help transform local areas both economically and culturally.


hambers of Commerce often work closely with local businesses, local authorities, Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and other stakeholders, all across Ireland, in the best interests of the local area where they operate., playing a key role in driving business growth and development of local economies. Chambers Ireland wanted to highlight the importance of this work and put together a best practice guide to highlight many of the great initiatives happening at local level around Ireland that contribute to local economic development. Chambers Ireland recognised that recent years have been difficult for local Government, as well as for businesses. In order to survive, businesses were forced to reengineer and local Government has experienced its biggest restructuring in irish history. As the economy is now experiencing renewed growth, it is important to focus on ensuring a nationwide sustainable recovery and that no region is left behind. The purpose of the guide is to assist in ensuring inclusive growth in all regions of Ireland through highlighting various initiatives and best practice in developing the local economy. By learning from the best examples of collaboration between Chambers, local Government and LEOs, there is an opportunity to help transform local areas both


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Conor Brennan, CEO, Zurich General Insurance Ireland with Ian Talbot, CEO, Chambers Ireland

economically and culturally. The guide was sponsored by Zurich and supported by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG). As one of Ireland’s leading insurers, Zurich recognised the crucial role that businesses play within local economies and praised the many outstanding examples which show how local Government in cooperation with enterprises have a positive impact on our country by developing and growing local economies. Support from DECLG was timely as it reflects the range of new or enhanced functions in the economic area, taken on by local Government in recent years. These new functions offer great potential

for Chambers and the businesses they represent. New functions include the operation of the LEOs; supporting the development of the community and local development programmes; the formulation of local economic and community plans and regional spatial and economic strategies to be adopted by the new regional assemblies. WHY IS LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IMPORTANT? The role of local authorities in advancing the economic development of their communities has never been more important. Local authorities have always played an integral role in the economic development of their

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local area, but with reforms of local Government a new emphasis has been placed on local authorities as drivers of local economic development. The Initiatives to Support Local Economic Development guide is divided into three sections: 1) Current Initiatives Adopted at Local Level to Support Growth There are 22 examples of initiatives that support growth at local level. These are outlined under four headings: • Attracting new business Attracting new business to the local area is important for growth. Local government and local Chambers can work together to develop initiatives to encourage new business into the area. This can be done through promotion of the local area in various ways such as brochures, showcase events and trade missions. Other initiatives include the creation of enterprise zones and business development parks, business incentive schemes and initiatives to encourage uptake of vacant properties. • Supporting existing business This category identified initiatives that were particularly important to retain business in the local area. Retail mentoring programmes and SME training projects are ways through which existing businesses can learn and develop new capabilities. Other initiatives can help to reduce the costs for existing businesses, which was crucial during the worst years of the economic crisis; this was done in some areas through rates incentive and support schemes. Other initiatives include participation in the Purple Flag Award programme and local expo events for networking between suppliers and buyers. • Town centre development Many of the initiatives to develop town centres are designed to revitalise

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and enhance them, making the centres more attractive places to visit, shop, work, and live. Public area enhancement schemes help to improve the public spaces in the area and contribute to local tidy towns efforts. Local authority town development funds support such enhancement schemes and improve the overall appearance of the public spaces, shop fronts and overall local area. Other initiatives involve the development of town teams and town centre development managers, development of new tourism initiatives for town centres, measures to improve public safety in the town and other regeneration programmes. • Increasing competitiveness A competitive environment is essential for business to thrive and there are many ways in which local Government can work with the business community to help increase competitiveness and create new economic opportunities. Local events and festivals help attract people to the area and boost morale, which in turn provides new opportunities for local businesses. Shop local campaigns and local gift voucher initiatives are a great way of boosting business by ensuring that money is spent locally. Other schemes include establishing a retail forum to develop, implement and monitor a promotional plan for the area or the creation of an economic monitor to provide specific economic data for the region.

2) Best Practice in Local Government Chambers Ireland, with the support of Department of the Environment, has been celebrating best practice in local government since 2004, through the annual Excellence in Local Government Awards (ELG). One of the ELG award categories celebrates exceptional projects that support the local economy. Five examples of award winning projects from recent years are highlighted in detail as projects that represent best practice in local government. 3) Examples of International Best Practice There are many examples of innovative international approaches to generating growth which potentially could be implemented in an Irish context. Chambers Ireland’s identified examples of international best practice through interaction with international chambers and through our own research. This section provides useful information on: alternative financing models, exploring corporate social responsibility, engaging with the Diaspora, establishing local supply chains, and providing free WiFi. The Initiatives to Support Local Economic Development guide was officially launched in February 2016 and is available to read on

2014 Winner: Taste Cork Food Marketing Initiative The Taste Cork initiative is an innovative cluster marketing and training initiative supported by Cork County Council, the Cork Local Enterprise Offices and Bord Bia. The Taste Cork brand allows producers to collaborate and create a greater impact for companies in a standalone environment. Taste Cork reinforces the image of County cork as a centre for some of the world’s finest food products.

The Taste Cork team


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The Dublin Enterprise Zone (DEZ) is a national economic asset and is home to 20 business parks and over 800 businesses with 16,920 employees Well served by road, sea and air transport links with Dublin International Airport and Dublin Port both located a short distance away There is potential to develop a further 716 hectares of land and to create an additional 20,000 jobs www.ďŹ

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PROMISE Though it has been suggested that Ireland’s recovery mainly benefits the capital and its immediate environs, the Greater Dublin Region and eastern parts of the country appear to be bucking the trend.


s Ireland begins to emerge from the grips of recession, the financial outlook is continually improving. Recent figures from the Central Statistics Office have shown that Ireland’s GDP rose by 7.8 per cent in 2015, the fastest growing economy in the EU for two years in a row, exceeding a Central Bank forecast of 6.6 per cent. Some have argued that Ireland’s recovery has taken a two-tiered approach – a faster rate of growth in Dublin and the immediate surrounding area, with a much slower pace of recovery in the rest of the country, with calls for the new government to tackle this issue. However, recent growth and investment has been experienced outside of the capital and within the Greater Dublin region, which is already home to a thriving SME community as well as internationally recognised names including PayPal, Intel and Facebook, and is fast becoming the destination of choice for both FDI and indigenous enterprises. In Meath, for example, the opening of a new Avoca store will generate 80 new jobs; Meath will also welcome the arrival of a new Facebook data centre in Clonee, which will be one of the most advanced and energy efficient data centres in the world. Fingal County,

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meanwhile, has recently launched the Dublin Enterprise Zone, a project spearheaded by the local council, IDA Ireland and a number of state agencies aimed at strengthening the market for FDI and multinational companies in the region. Such investment and growth is being driven, at least in part, by the hard work of county councils and local Chambers – in Louth, for example, the Louth Economic Forum consists of a group of key stakeholders with a track record of working together to attract inward investment, including government agencies, local businesses and the Dundalk and Drogheda Chambers. In South Dublin, South Dublin Chamber has developed a partnership with South Dublin County Council, engaging businesses collectively through Ireland’s only public private Business Sustainability programme. “In 2016, following on from the total business survey and the training needs survey of the county with our LEO, we will be providing an extensive responsive training programme,” explains South Dublin Chamber CEO, Peter Byrne. There are also a number of additional factors as to why this region continues to prove attractive. The talent pool is quite large – with a population of almost two million people, and a number of prestigious

third level institutions. Then there’s the tourism factor – Ireland’s Ancient East, a tourism initiative comparable with the hugely successful Wild Atlantic Way, will be provided with over a1m in additional capital project funding, aimed at generating significant additional visitors, revenue and tourism jobs in the east. The region also offers impressive connectivity via motorway networks and public transport services and, with close proximity to Dublin Airport, any businesses that choose to locate within this area have the world on their doorstep. “Dublin Airport is in the midst of the region and is seeing increased demand for its services from passengers and airlines with over 25 million passengers passing through the airport in 2015,” says Tony Lambert, CEO, Fingal Chamber. “This is due to increase in the coming year with direct flights to over 180 destinations in 38 countries on four continents. This will lead to hundreds of new jobs across the entire airport campus.” In the following pages, we seek advice and experience from a number of county councils within the Greater Dublin Area, and discover more about the challenges they face, the supports they have in place to generate continued investment, and their hopes for the future.


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Louth - The Best County To Do Business The Economic Development Unit supports the co-ordinated economic development of County Louth by planning for, initiating and managing projects that contribute positively to the County’s ongoing development. Our ongoing marketing and promotion of the County as a business friendly location and the engagement in strategic planning informs Louth County Council’s economic policy decisions. Louth Economic Forum was established in 2009 and comprises the business sector of County Louth, Local Authority Management and all of the State Agencies that interact with those generating economic activity in the county leading to a one stop shop for potential investors. Task Groups and Actions have been established covering: • Foreign Direct Investment • Sustainable Energy • Indigenous Industry • Tourism and Heritage • Age Friendly Business • Education and Training • Agriculture and Fisheries • Broadband The award winning LEF has built partnerships and fostered a culture of joined-up thinking to proactively facilitate economic development and job creation in Louth. Contact: Mary T. Daly or Miriam Roe at: 042 93 24122 or

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The Local Enterprise Office Louth supports entrepreneurs and SMEs in County Louth. The Office is the First Stop Shop for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in the county. Our role is to help you deliver on your business idea and drive your business forward. We are part of Louth County Council’s support to business, and provide advice, information and, in certain cases, financial support to you in starting or growing your business. We also offer an extensive programme of training events to meet the needs of SME owners. If you are in business or even at the very early stage of thinking about setting up, you should call to arrange a friendly chat. TALK TO US ABOUT HOW WE CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS

Contact: Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise or Nessa McCartan, Senior Business Adviser at: 1890 202 303 or

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LOCATION Natural highlights, modern infrastructure and a close working relationship between all key stakeholders makes Louth a very attractive business prospect.


ocation, location, location.” That’s the response from Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin, when quizzed on why businesses would choose her county. And it’s hard to argue. After all, Louth is situated at the midpoint between Dublin and Belfast, complemented by a fantastic motorway and railway network. There’s a large population in the immediate environs – over 1 million within a 60km radius of Drogheda – while both Dundalk and Drogheda are 40 minutes and 30 minutes from Dublin Airport respectively, effectively placing the world on their doorstep. It has certainly served them well thus far. After all, the county managed to attract internationally renowned payments company PayPal while the country was still mired in recession, no mean feat. Apart from boosting local employment figures, having such a well known company on home soil has done wonders for their sales pitch – it’s a great confidence boost


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and incentive for other companies to set up shop in the county. “It is great for us if we’re promoting the town, or promoting the county, that we can say we’re the home of PayPal. It’s definitely a huge plus for us,” Martin agrees.

COLLECTIVE APPROACH What also proved beneficial in attracting PayPal and other companies is the way business is done in Louth. All of the stakeholders within the county work together – State agencies and organisations, Chambers of Commerce, the businesses and even PayPal themselves. Collectively, they are known as the Louth Economic Forum, which has been in operation for some seven years now. One of the roles of the Economic Forum is to develop a suite of economic action plans, covering foreign direct investment (FDI), age-friendly business, education and training, agriculture and more. “Great relationships have been developed there, we all know each other very well. When you want to speak with someone in the IDA, for example, you know them personally,” Martin explains. “I think it has strengthened our position. When we say we can work together, to deliver a one-stop-shop, we can put our money where our mouth is and work together as a team for Louth.” Among those organisations with whom the Council works regularly are the Chambers in Louth – Dundalk and Drogheda. Martin describes it as a “close working relationship”, again reflecting the way business is done in

Joan Martin, Louth County Council

the county. “On a day-to-day basis we would work with the Chambers of Commerce on individual, local projects. I would have regular meetings with the Chambers – I feel very strongly about building strong relationships with all of those key stakeholders, including the Chamber of Commerce, as it is absolutely crucial to the success of those towns, and of the county,” she says. With the county, and the country, slowly but surely emerging from the grip of the economic downturn, Martin is cautiously upbeat regarding continued economic development for Louth. “I think as we come out of recession, I would be optimistic that we can gain even more from both our locational advantages, as well as the very strong working relationships that exist between all stakeholders,” she says. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but we’re working together as a team to address those challenges. I would be optimistic that, in terms of economic development, Louth can continue to punch well above its weight.”


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MAKING KILDARE THE PLACE TO LIVE, LEARN, WORK, VIST AND DO BUSINESS • Strategic Location in the Greater Dublin Area • 30 Minutes to the Airport • 3 Motorways run through the County • Youngest County in Ireland • 14 Libraries; 2 Cinemas; 11 Galleries; 10 Theatres; 6 Museums; Numerous Sports Facilities, Playgrounds and Swimming Pools • 7,774 Active Enterprises • 38% of the Population have a Third Level Degree or higher qualification • 18,216 Highly Skilled Outbound Commuters • 6 Third Level Institutions within 45 minutes

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

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Home to

SUCCESS With a strategic position in the Greater Dublin area, Kildare boasts a range of key features that makes it a prime location in which to do business. InBUSINESS spoke with Chief Executive Peter Carey to discover more. Q: For businesses looking to grow or expand in Ireland, what major factors would entice them to Kildare?

A: Kildare is strategically located in the Greater Dublin area with easy access to the airport and motorway network. With a young population of highly skilled workers Kildare offers businesses an accessible, well serviced location with a great quality of life to offer to their employees.

Q: Can you provide some examples of successful businesses currently operating in Kildare. How is Kildare County Council working to encourage business growth within the county?

A: Kildare is currently home to a range of very successful businesses; in fact there are currently 7,774 active enterprises doing business in Kildare. As the base for large multinationals such as Intel, Kerry Group, Pfizer and Hewlett Packard, Kildare has a track record for attracting foreign direct investment. The small to medium InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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enterprise sector is also thriving, with support available from the Local Enterprise Office for start-ups and existing businesses who want to expand. Recent winners of the Kildare Local Enterprise Awards, CarveOn, explained the benefits to their company of locating in Kildare: “Both of us (Alan and Gary McCormack) worked in Dublin’s city centre but lived in Kildare most of our lives. It’s nice working where you grew up and being close to friends and family. Time is also our most precious resource so we didn’t want to waste it sitting in traffic. Kildare has plenty of other benefits. It has its own share of small and large businesses, all of which are potential clients. It has great infrastructure and allows for quick and easy access to the capital city when required. Our workshop is in an old farmyard that is now full of other small businesses and there’s a lot of sharing of resources and help available when needed.”

Q: Does Kildare County Council work closely with

any organisations, such as the North Kildare/ Newbridge Chambers, in providing such supports?

A: Kildare County Council has very close working relationships with the Chambers of Commerce in the county. Recently a joint initiative between North Kildare Chamber and Kildare County Council was launched to seek Purple Flag Accreditation for Maynooth. The Purple Flag is the gold standard for town centres in the evening and night time (5pm to 5am) that are vibrant, safe and well managed. The Council is delighted to work with the Chamber on this project which will be of great benefit to businesses in Maynooth. Q: How is the Corporate Plan 2015-2019 proceeding? Do you feel

your work thus far has been rewarded?

A: Kildare County Council’s corporate objective is to make Kildare the place to live, learn, work, visit and do business, and the Corporate Plan (2015-2019) sets out the strategic framework for action over that period. The population of County Kildare has grown rapidly over the past 20 years and the population now exceeds 210,000. The delivery of essential local services and enabling infrastructure in a complex and ever changing environment can be challenging, but Kildare County Council has a track record of working with key stakeholders in addressing these challenges and working to improve our county.


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Come Here, Go Places Paul Reid, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council, explains why Fingal should be a key destination for business investment.

developed and there is potential to create an additional 20,000 jobs on the 716 hectares of undeveloped zoned and serviced land available. Key advantages include low operating costs, rents and commercial rates, combined with state of the art infrastructure and quality of life. It is our strong view that the DEZ has all the requirements for business success and we will be working with the IDA and other agencies to ensure that it is developed to its full job creating potential in the coming years.


ingal County Council is at the forefront in implementing far-reaching changes in local government. We are leading economic, social and community development and delivering efficient and good value services. A fundamental part of these changes is to enhance the capacity of local government in promoting economic development and social progress, including the well-being of communities, supporting job creation efforts and economic recovery. Our vision for Fingal is: ‘To be the place of choice to live, work, visit and do business in Ireland’. The approach of Fingal County Council to achieve this has two distinct parts. Firstly, we collaborate closely with state agencies, the private sector and others in promoting Fingal as a prime location for inward investment. Secondly, we work hard to create the conditions and structures necessary to support and work with new and established companies.

BUSINESS LANDSCAPE Fingal has a very diverse business base, driven by the county’s strategic location. The number of active businesses in Fingal actually increased by 4.5% from 2010 to 2014, which indicates that even during the more difficult years, the Fingal economy was still reasonably resilient and expanding. Today, there are about 6,000 businesses operating in the county, including those from the ICT, aviation, healthcare/


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Paul Reid, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council


pharmaceutical, food and beverage/ agribusiness sectors. Fingal County Council has a particular focus on three distinct groups of business: (1) the FDI sector, working in conjunction the IDA; (2) the indigenous sector, working with Enterprise Ireland and others; and (3) supporting micro and small businesses and entrepreneurs through the Local Enterprise Office. Fingal County Council also runs and operates three significant Enterprise Centres across the county. These are the Drinan Centre in Swords; the BASE Centre in Blanchardstown and the Beat Centre in Balbriggan. A total of 77 companies are based in the three centres, employing a total of 340 people. All three centres are operating at near full capacity, with demand for office space increasing. In addition, the Dublin Enterprise Zone (DEZ) is an initiative that Fingal County Council has invested significant time and finances in over the last 20 years. Officially launched in November 2015, the DEZ consists of 1,571 hectares primarily zoned for development. Approximately half of the Enterprise Zone has been

We see Fingal as having five key attractions and distinct advantages. These are connectivity, its people, lifestyle, dynamic economy and our approach to supporting business. Fingal is the best connected location in Ireland, boasts the youngest population and plays host to a cluster of high value, high tech industries. In addition, Fingal has an excellent quality of life, while Fingal County Council is a progressive and proactive local authority, with a long track record in supporting enterprise, business location and the provision of job creation support services. We will continue to actively support our enterprises, notably through the Local Enterprise Office, but we are also looking at the next stages of the strategy which is essentially about collaboration. We are assessing how we can help to encourage greater collaboration between the FDI and SME sectors, to avail of opportunities from the economic clusters that are located here; and we will also explore if there can be greater cooperation between the universities and technology institutes to develop new products, processes and services to support SME innovation and growth. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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An Attractive Alternative Malahide Castle & Gardens offer an interesting and invigorating option for corporate meetings and events.


alahide Castle & Gardens are about to enter their fourth tourist season under the operation of Shannon Heritage, and have already kicked off to a flying start with an increase of over 20 per cent on visitor numbers for the same period last year. In 2012, Shannon Heritage were appointed by Fingal County Council to use their expertise in customer service, hospitality and event organisation to operate the site; one which is now offering a reinvigorated experience for both international and

domestic visitors. The visitor centre at Malahide Castle provides facilities for corporate organisations looking for an alternative to the boardroom. The Project Room and The Loft Room have proven to be a popular choice for off-site meetings, team building, brain storming sessions as well as informal dining in the evening. The backdrop of the castle and gardens, and its proximity to Dublin Airport continues to attract companies with delegates from all over the world. Avoca café, located on-site at Malahide Castle, provides a unique selection of catering from their renowned café and foodhall

to meeting rooms on-site. Avoca, being one of Ireland’s best known homegrown cafés and retailers, is a huge attraction for visiting delegates where they can find special Irishmade gifts or mementos of their visit to Ireland. In the evening, private guided tours of the castle have become an increasingly popular option for corporate and incentive groups. Private evening tours allow groups to have exclusive use of the castle for welcome drinks, where guests can mingle and enjoy some soft background music from local musicans. For more information on private tours and evening events please contact the Sales & Marketing department on +353 1 866 6784.

Discover the splendor of...

Malahide Castle & Gardens is the perfect location to impress your international guests, we can cater for a range of different events from

private Guided Tours of the Castle - drinks receptions & entertainment - private dining Options Team Building & incentive days - Meeting & Conference room Hire - On-site Catering Open daily all year rOund To explore your ideas further contact our Sales & Marketing department on +353 1 866 6784 or email 188x130mm.indd 1

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06/04/2016 13:54


A POSITIVE OUTLOOK A recent report from the Credit Review Office outlines the latest challenges for Irish businesses.


he Credit Review Office (CRO), set up in 2010 after the financial crisis, provides an independent appeals process for SMEs, sole traders and farmers who have had credit facilities refused, reduced or withdrawn. John Trethowan, the credit reviewer, recently published his 16th report on the credit market in Ireland in which he notes the following points. Overall, the outlook is positive – economic conditions have remained favourable for small businesses over the last six months, and the SMEs who use the CRO service have generally seen improved trading. Banks on their part continue to approve the majority of the applications for credit being made to them.

However there are some emerging challenges for businesses: • F inancial institutions may adopt a more proactive approach to dealing with distressed SME clients, in order to strengthen their own balance sheets. • This can include selling the SME debt to investment/hedge funds, at a significant discount as a quick, albeit costly, balance sheet fix. While these funds will have paid significantly less than the ‘par’ value of the debt they will look to recover the maximum amount possible, over a relatively short time frame, which could have far reaching consequences for SMEs.

A more detailed information note is available on, which provides some information for borrowers whose loan has been sold by their bank, and are being asked to repay the loan, outlining what could have happened so far, and some actions to consider – one of the most important being to seek professional advice. If your accountant is sufficiently informed and experienced at debt negotiation, they should be the initial port of call. Alternatively, you may wish to engage a specialist regulated debt management services (DMS) firm to independently review your financial circumstances and/or engage with the bank on your behalf. DMS firms are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and a list can be found at

“The Credit Review Office helped us get a loan. Now we're the largest organic retailer in Ireland.”

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06/04/2016 17:52


Building an

Efficient Business Better Energy Efficiency for Business – funding is available now!


s a leading provider of energy to thousands of Irish businesses, Energia knows that controlling costs is vital. Identifying where your business can save energy is a good place to start. For example, switching the lighting in your premises from conventional fluorescent lighting to LEDs can reduce your lighting costs by up to 75 per cent. Although the savings can be substantial, it can be a costly exercise in the short term to implement.

FUNDING Energia have an Energy Efficiency Funding Scheme – Cash for Kilowatts – that provides businesses with up to 30 per cent of the project cost. Replacing lighting, upgrading heating systems and refrigeration, variable speed drives and air compressors are all part of the funding scheme. Energia will also provide expertise and assistance. Whether you are implementing the project yourself or you require input from our carefully selected group of partners, Energia can help to get your project underway with safety and quality at the core. Not only will your business benefit from the funding provided by Energia but with the additional cost savings from the reduction in energy usage, these projects can literally pay for themselves. Examples of the typical savings that can be achieved include reduced lighting costs of up to 75 per cent by switching to LED; savings of at least 25 per cent of annual fuel costs through installation of modern heating controls, while upgrading refrigeration can bring savings of up to 30 per cent.


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MEET THE SAVERS Nearly 500 businesses have already benefited from the scheme. Carrolls Irish Gifts, Moyvalley Hotel & Golf Resort and Frank Keane BMW on the Naas Road in Dublin are just some of the businesses already saving. Carroll’s Irish Gifts conducted lighting projects at two of their Dublin city centre stores and have reduced their annual electricity use for lighting by 76 per cent as a result of refits. This means that they’ve shrunk their carbon footprint by 18 tonnes of CO2 each year, generating cost savings of almost a5,800. Lorcán O’Conner, Property and IT Director, Carroll’s Irish Gifts, commented, “Given how easy the lighting upgrade was to action, the annual cost savings are really significant. It is helping us to substantially reduce our energy usage, which benefits the environment through a big CO2 saving. It also makes strong business sense as we save large amounts on our energy costs.” Moyvalley Hotel & Golf resort upgraded a total of 5,339 light fittings throughout the hotel and resort consisting of an extensive LED installation programme. As a result, the energy required to power the lights was reduced by 85 per cent. This work was done in four stages, with completion taking place early in 2016. Simon Mooney, General Manager, Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort commented, “We are really pleased with the support that we are receiving from Energia as it is reducing our energy usage by almost a65,000 per annum, which benefits the environment through a CO2 reduction of 490 tonnes. The project at Frank Keane BMW was part of a major refit and large numbers of fluorescent tubes and spotlights were replaced with energy efficient LED lights. These changes have reduced their annual electricity use by 85 per cent, cutting their carbon footprint by 39

Mark Bradley, Frank Keane BMW and Cormac Mannion, Energy Services Manager, Energia

Lorcán O’Conner, Carrolls Irish Gifts and Cormac Mannion, Energia

tonnes of CO2 and generating yearly cost savings of almost a12,500. Mark Bradley, Head of Business, Frank Keane BMW commented, “We are delighted with this energy efficiency work by Energia. It is helping us to significantly reduce our energy usage, which benefits the environment through a big CO2 saving. It also makes strong business sense as we save significant amounts on our energy costs.” For full details on the new funding scheme from Energia, and how you can avail of the scheme, email or log on to InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

06/04/2016 14:41


An Idyllic

ESCAPE Carrig Country House & Restaurant offers a secluded and relaxing escape in beautiful Kerry.


riginally built around 1850 as a hunting lodge and used by the British aristocracy of the time, Carrig Country House & Restaurant was purchased by current owners Frank and Mary Slattery in 1996 – the first Irish owners of Carrig since it was built. They have renovated and meticulously restored this beautiful Victorian residence to its former glory, which includes 17 bedrooms individually decorated in period style with antique furniture and spectacular views of Caragh Lake and the surrounding mountains. The ideal location for those who wish to escape into nature, Carrig House is situated along the Wild Atlantic Way, an ideal spot for fishing, golf, cycling, canoeing and sailing. Discover some of the best walking routes in Europe, and a wealth of archaeological sites including the hauntingly beautiful Skellig Michael, once home to a secluded monastic settlement in the Atlantic Ocean. The house is also adjacent to the Ring of Kerry, Muckross house, Slea Head, Ross Castle and many fantastic beaches. Or, should you wish to indulge in a more luxurious getaway, visitors can enjoy the sumptuous comfort of the Presidential Suite with its own separate panoramic sitting room, male and female dressing rooms, and a bathroom with a fabulous jacuzzi bath. Within the house chess, cards and board games are available in the games room, and croquet can be enjoyed on the well-preserved lawns. The gardens, meanwhile, are a haven for greenfingered enthusiasts who can avail of InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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personalised tours with the head gardener. The Lakeside Restaurant is wonderfully situated, overlooking the lake and the majestic Kerry Mountains. Boasting a friendly, warm and relaxing atmosphere, the restaurant menu covers a wide range of the freshest Irish cuisine with an international twist – fresh local seafood from the nearby Atlantic, vegetarian and meat dishes including the famous Ring of Kerry lamb. Interesting old and new world wine selections compliment dinner, while aperitifs and after-dinner drinks are served in the airy drawing rooms with open peat fires. Head chef Patricia, who has experience at a number of Michelin Star restaurants, together with her dedicated team, are constantly raising the bar in order to give patrons a unique and exciting dining experience.

Carrig Country House & Restaurant celebrates 20 year in business during 2016. Winning the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards – Irish Country House was a wonderful achievement and topped off the many awards and accolades earned at Carrig over the years, including the Good Hotel Guide 2015 Editor’s Choice Award 2015, and the AA Restaurant Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence. Members of the prestigious Ireland’s Blue Book – a collection of charming country houses, historic hotels and restaurants – Frank and Mary were joined in 2015 by their daughter Claire who, together with the team at Carrig, will carry on the tradition and commitment to exceptional customer service in a location you will always remember. To discover more, phone 066 976 9100 or visit


06/04/2016 14:41



in the south of Spain With stunning scenery, a central location and world class facilities, the Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa delivers the luxury experience expected of a tropical paradise.


member of the Leading Hotels of the World group, Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa is a welcoming oasis of serenity on the south coast of Spain. Located just 35 minutes from Malaga Airport, this paradise resort is comfortably nestled in a luxurious residential area situated between Marbella and Puerto Banus. The low-rise white buildings and paved streets create the illusion of being in a traditional Andalusia village by the beach. The hotel, which is surrounded by subtropical gardens with over 400 botanical species from across five continents, creates a unique atmosphere of tranquillity and tradition. The tropical ambiance seamlessly combines 1st century Roman architecture with the designs of renowned interior designer Andrew Martin, resulting in an opulent Mediterranean style. The refurbishment of the resort facilities and accommodation has been further enhanced by an


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expansion of fine dining options. With a total of nine restaurants, which endeavour to range between all tastes and desires, guests are afforded the opportunity to try the most exquisite dishes from around the globe. The range of cuisine includes Nikkei, Thai or Italian gastronomy, prepared to perfection by chef Dani GarcĂ­a, holder of two Michelin stars. The resort also includes gluten-free and organic restaurants to complete their selection of health inspired fine dining. To end the day, enjoy a nightcap in the serenity of the exclusive La Plaza

Village terrace. For those who aren’t ready for the day to end, they can venture out to an exhilarating DJ session at Suite, one of the most sophisticated clubs on the Costa del Sol, the place to see and be seen in Marbella. The exclusive location of the resort allows visitors to indulge in a day at the beach and take full advantage of the abundance of water activities available. Swimming pools scattered throughout the site overlook the stunning scenes of the Mediterranean. The hotel also welcomes guests to avail of the premier facilities at the Six Senses Spa, a place to enjoy a wide range of invigorating therapies and treatments. To complete the scope of health and leisure activities, those staying at the Puente Romano Resort can use the facilities at the tennis and fitness club. Considered one of the most prestigious in Europe, this distinguished sporting venue has played host to several major international tennis tournaments. As such the club offers clay and hard tennis courts, padel tennis courts and a fitness and relaxation area. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

06/04/2016 14:40


THE FUTURE IS HERE Dublin is one of a handful of cities on the cutting edge of research into connected, sustainable cities. Martin Curley, Director, Intel Labs Europe, explains more about their vision for these smart cities of the future.


here’s no doubt that technology has influenced life as we know it, from modern air travel to devices that can provide an instant connection with someone on the other side of the world. Technology is also increasingly permeating our urban regions on larger scales – the rise of smart, connected cities designed to be sustainable, leveraging the power of technology. That might include measuring air quality and adjusting a congestion charge to match, or bins which send an automatic signal once full, so rubbish isn’t strewn throughout the streets. Basically, it’s a way in which an urban (or other) environment can experience dramatic improvements through the application of technology. These aren’t projects developed solely at government level – citizen engagement is key to their success. “Today, one of the mega trends is mass collaboration – getting citizens involved both explicitly and implicitly,” explains Martin Curley, Vice-President Intel Labs and Director Intel Labs Europe. Curley mentions living labs in Spain and Denmark and how 25 per cent of their budget is allocated towards the ideas generated by citizens, anything from improving park experiences to waste management.

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Martin Curley, Director, Intel Labs Europe

CLOSER TO HOME Nor is it a development occurring far beyond Ireland’s borders, out of mind and out of sight. With the Internet of Things market set to expand exponentially over the next five to ten years, Intel Labs Europe is heavily invested in both London and Dublin as two of their major living labs, working with a number of stakeholders including Irish universities and Dublin City Council to determine where the technology is most needed. Flood management has been identified as a key concern – technology is being trialled on the Liffey which monitors river levels and can report immediately on rapid rises in the event of a flood. The proliferation of air quality monitoring stations has also been discussed with the Environmental Protection Agency, alongside a new low power, wide area networking tool which could be used by Met Eireann to receive

greater quality localised weather data – Dublin is one of the first cities in the world to have this technology. Such developments are being trialled and implemented through the use of the Open Innovation 2.0 methodology, a process which allows for much more efficient innovation management, and consists of multiple stakeholders working together in pursuit of innovative solutions. On a larger scale, however, is the Croke Park Smart Stadium project. A testing bed for smart technologies, Intel is one of a number of partner organisations piloting ideas around the Internet of Things, including monitoring pitch quality, athlete performance analysis and people traffic prediction. The plan is that successful projects could be expanded for use in the wider cityscape. “Croke Park is a microcosm of a smart city, so there are a lot of things that we could track or test and then scale out into the broader city,” Curley says.

PARTNERSHIP Partnership is key to the development of sustainable, connected cities – with all stakeholders involved, including citizens, business and government. With Intel having signed a memorandum of understanding with Dublin City Council, Ireland’s capital will be at the heart of the next technological revolution, on the cusp of innovation across the world. It’s an ideal location, as Curley explains – large enough to be a city, small enough to be easily connected. “We can move quickly, and all the stakeholders know each other. There is a shared vision,” he says. “Our learnings from Dublin have really helped to validate our vision, enabled by the ability to rapidly deploy prototype technologies and solutions.”


06/04/2016 17:53


Litigation funding &

ATE insurance Costs are a significant factor in deciding whether to bring or defend legal proceedings, as usually a party who loses a case will have to pay its own and its opponent’s costs. Peter Bredin, Litigation Partner at Dillon Eustace, considers emerging options for intending litigants.


n after the event (ATE) insurance policy is one which is taken out following an event which gives rise to a dispute. It typically covers the risk that the plaintiff will have to pay the defendant’s costs if the case is lost. A substantial premium is charged (for example, a52,500 for cover of a210,000 in the Greenclean case mentioned below), but the policy may permit the payment to be deferred and only become payable if the plaintiff wins the case. Until recently, ATE insurance was considered to be unlawful. This theory was tested in a recent case (Greenclean Waste Management Limited v Maurice Leahy) in which the Court of Appeal delivered judgment in May 2015. That judgment was in the context of an application by the defendant for security for costs against the plaintiff, an insolvent company. The plaintiff opposed the application for security of costs on the basis that it had an ATE policy which provided insurance cover for the defendant’s costs. The Court found that the plaintiff’s ATE policy did not provide effective security for the defendant. Importantly, however, the Court stated that, in principle, there was no reason why an ATE policy could not provide sufficient security for a defendant. It is expected that ATE insurance will become more common as a result of this case.

THIRD PARTY FUNDING The Courts are still grappling with the concept of the funding of litigation


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Peter Bredin, Litigation Partner, Dillon Eustace

Litigation funding in the UK is now wellestablished, but the position in Ireland is different. The Supreme Court has stated (in a case arising from the Bernie Madoff scandal) that it is unlawful for a party without an interest to fund litigation in return for a share of the proceeds. by a third party whose only interest in the case arises from its investment in the litigation. That investment is by the payment of the costs of bringing the case. If the case is won, the funder receives a large cut of the damages awarded.

Litigation funding in the UK is now well-established, but the position in Ireland is different. The Supreme Court has stated (in a case arising from the Bernie Madoff scandal) that it is unlawful for a party without an interest to fund litigation in return for a share of the proceeds. The issue is being revisited at present in Persona Digital Telephony v Minister for Public Enterprise in which disappointed bidders for a mobile phone licence seek damages from the State on the basis that the competition for that licence was conducted unfairly. The bidders are funded by a third party, and have sought the Court’s approval of the funding arrangement. They argue that funding is legitimate as it facilitates the constitutional right of access to justice. The case continues in the High Court and may ultimately go to the Supreme Court. In other jurisdictions, funders are generally only interested in cases in which there is a prospect of a multimillion euro award of damages, so funding is not an option in every case. However, there is currently some discussion about funders backing litigants, law firms or insolvency practitioners who have large portfolios of cases. In January 2016 it was reported that one funder had reached a $45 million deal with BT Group in the UK to finance its litigation pipeline. These developments will be watched with interest by all stakeholders involved in litigation and dispute resolution. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

06/04/2016 14:38


Finding the Right Fit Allsop provides three auction options to suit all needs.


llsop is Ireland’s national auction specialist and delivers market knowledge, expertise and fully transparent sales processes to the Irish property market. With access to 65,000 registered investors, and 1.8m web hits per annum in over 180 countries, Allsop is well placed to achieve the best price for their clients. Based on continuous analysis and observations of the Irish property market, Allsop offers three auction methods to suit different property types, sellers and buyers.

RESIDENTIAL & INVESTMENT The first auction took place in April 2011 and five years on, over 4,000 properties have been sold totalling over

q760m. Six national multi-lot auctions per annum take place in the RDS Concert Hall, Dublin. Forthcoming auctions in 2016 are on 28th April, 30th June, 8th September, 20th October and 8th December.

ONLINE-ONLY This unique online platform provides a fully transparent bidding process with a public record of all bids, concluding in a legally binding sale. Four auctions took place in 2015 resulting in 200 property transactions, with total sales reaching q24m. Buyers can now safely secure property in an open forum, from the comfort of their own home or office. Vendors have access to a global market – Allsop bidders are based in

Ireland and across the world. Dates this year include 25th May, 13th July, 28th September and 16th November.

ALLSOP PRIVATE Launched in March 2016, Allsop Private was created in response to requests from buyers and sellers to develop a service that builds on the exceptional demand for commercial and investment property within Allsop’s existing multilot auctions. Delivering select auctions for quality commercial and investment properties valued between q500k and q5m, Allsop Private auctions will be held on 4th May, 22nd June, 5th October and 7th December. To find out more go to

We give property our As Ireland’s national auction specialist for commercial and residential property, we sell through our online auction or auction centre at the RDS. With a database of 65,000 registered buyers; 1.8 million web visitors per annum in over 195 countries; a transparent process; and our professional and experienced staff, we will give your property our all.

t: +353 (0)1 667 3388 w:

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22/02/2016 10:31

06/04/2016 14:37


a slice of

PARADISE The coastal area of Costa Smeralda in northern Sardinia boasts some of the finest beaches in the world. InBUSINESS profiles four of the top hotels in the area to make your visit there one of absolute luxury. PITRIZZA HOTEL Pitrizza Hotel has a lot to offer the business and recreational traveller. A hotel nestled away in the rocks with breathtaking views of the Bay of Liscia di Vacca, you won’t be short of things to see or do in this idyllic haven. Located in the Costa Smeralda, 32km from Costa Smeralda airport, Pitrizza Hotel is a precious gem in a luxurious setting surrounded by natural, breathtaking Sardinian beauty. The five-star hotel is ideal for both business travellers and those seeking solitude from the busy outside world. It offers 49 guestrooms, seven private villas and nine unique suites with private pool. With a piano bar and barbecue restaurant offering the best of local cuisine, this picture of paradise offers Italian authenticity with uncompromised standards. Located among rocks and flowers, with a saltwater pool carved from rock, private beach, comfortable lounge areas and bars and a 15 minute drive from nearby Pevero Golf Club, one of the most popular greens amongst golfers, as well as meeting rooms accommodating up to 40 people with Wi-Fi in all rooms, you will benefit from the best of both worlds at the Pitrizza Hotel, easily transcending from business to pleasure.


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Pitrizza Hotel

HOTEL CALA DI VOLPE Hotel Cala di Volpe is located on one of the most beautiful coves in Costa Smeralda. Originally built as an ancient fishing village with porches, granite flooring, arches and stairs, prepare to get lost in the culture and be transported to a different time in this stunning luxurious fusion of landscape and architecture. Located on the bay, surrounded by the essence of the sea and nature, this paradise hotel is a must-see destination. Here, you will be served the healthiest Mediterranean cuisine while overlooking stunning scenery and tasting prestigious wines from the hotel’s very own private cellar. Retreat to one of the 121 peaceful and luxurious guest rooms, including classic double rooms, superior and premium rooms, deluxe and premium suites and a presidential suite with private rooftop terrace, all with air conditioning, cable TV and mini bars and decorated in Mediterranean terracotta tiling. Soak in the hotel’s salt water swimming pool or enjoy an adventurous day out at the hotel’s

many facilities, such as water-skiing, fishing excursions, horse riding, mountain biking, putting green, soccer field and tennis courts. With boutiques and beauty salons, Hotel Cala di Volpe offers both relaxation and peace as well as fun and adventure. For the business traveller, the hotel accommodates up to 80 people in its meeting room, while a conference centre is located just 8km away catering for up to 600 with complimentary Wi-Fi. Located just 27km from Costa Smeralda airport, the Hotel Cala di Volpe offers the best of both worlds, with no compromises.

HOTEL ROMAZZINO Between clear emerald waters and a tropical garden, resting on a lengthy beach of white sand you will experience luxury at its most elegant in the Hotel Romazzino. Hotel Romazzino is an enchanted paradise on a beach of white sand, the essence of indulgent relaxation. Decorated in a Mediterranean style and furnished with local artisan InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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Cervo Hotel

Hotel Romazzino

Hotel Cala di Volpe

designs, Hotel Romazzino offers total elegance and luxury in a peaceful, tropical and authentic setting. Offering six private villas and 94 guest rooms, including 77 double rooms, 4 junior suites, 11 suites and a royal and presidential suite, traditional and barbecue restaurants, beach, pool bar and champagne garden; your trip is guaranteed to begin in style. Hotel Romazzino has indoor and outdoor fitness centres, two pools, a beach within walking distance of the rooms, a water skiing school, boat hire, outdoor tennis court, playground, toy club, beauty salon, hairdressers and boutiques – ensuring there is something for everyone. For those on a business trip or wishing to work abroad, the hotel has an established InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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business centre; a meeting room accommodating up to 70 people and a conference centre located just 11km away, catering for up to 600 people with complimentary WiFi. Hotel Romazzino is also 32km from the airport and a five minute drive from the Pevero Golf Club (an 18hole, par 72 course popular among pro-golfers), Hotel Romazzino serves the perfect blend of business and pleasure all in one luxurious setting.

CERVO HOTEL Elegant and exciting, Cervo Hotel lies in the heart of Costa Smeralda’s most exclusive village, Porto Cervo, set amongst the legendary marina, glamorous boutiques and mesmerising scenery.

Overlooking the Porto Vecchio marina and the village beach, Cervo Hotel guarantees stunning scenery, total rest and relaxation, luxury dining and fine entertainment. Italian chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants serve local Sardinian cuisine, superb seafood is served on a waterfront terrace and traditional Italian cuisine will welcome you in Cervo Hotel. This and the selection of piano and cocktail bars the hotel has to offer ensure a break of utter relaxation. The hotel is perfect for the sport and activity lover. It offers an outdoor pool, tennis club, an exclusive private sandy beach reachable by shuttle bus, a fitness and beauty centre and is located ten minutes from Porto Cervo’s popular golf club – the Pevero Golf Club – so visitors will be catered to in all regards. A lengthy list of leisure activities is also available to guests at Cervo Hotel; boat trips to La Maddalena Islands, fishing trips, horse riding, test drives in luxury cars, diving and snorkelling, shopping and guided tours, offering exciting adventure and activity for all tastes and types. With a business centre accommodating up to 172 people and a conference centre accommodating up to 600, Wi-Fi and high speed internet, the hotel is perfect for a business trip. Cervo Hotel also offers babysitting upon request as well as boat rental, covering all bases to ensure that every guest enjoys their experience with a range of activities in the most luxurious way possible. For more details on the above hotels go to


06/04/2016 14:37


Welcome to

WELLNESS Focusing on treatments and therapeutic teachings of the Mediterranean, the Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in Costa del Sol offers trained expertise in ideal surroundings to facilitate a long-lasting lifestyle change.


ocated in Southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, in the heart of Marbella’s Golden Mile, the Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa enjoys 325 days of sunshine each year. Once a private residence of Prince Alfonso Von Hohenlohe, the hotel now hosts 37 luxury bedrooms, 78 suites, 14 Andalusian-style villas and the majestic Villa del Mar throughout 42,000 sq m of lush subtropical garden. Drawing upon today’s demand for luxury seaside escape combined with health focused services, the Marbella Club has introduced a new series of medical, physical and emotional programmes. Blending seamlessly with the rich culture of the Mediterranean, the new programmes are a fusion of contemporary innovation and ancient healing methods. “Our goal is to provide an all-encompassing wellness experience,” says Jose Alarcon, Wellness Manager at the hotel. On arrival guests receive a private consultation with an expertly trained medical professional, who carries out a personal assessment to provide an insight into the guest’s overall heath and wellness. Next a personalised dietary plan is constructed; designed by nutritionist Carmen Tapia, it features heavily on a non restrictive Mediterranean diet that includes the likes of seared sea bass, delicious


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seasonal salads and sun kissed fruits. Nourishing meals, healthy treats and alkalising juices promise to flatten tummies and prepare guests for the multitude of activities on offer. A team of fitness coaches led by Daniel Blanco, helps guests reach their objectives with a tailored fitness plan. Heart pumping sessions include Bootcamp, TRX, and functional training along with boxing and jogging. To enjoy the stunning landscape in the surrounding area guests can participate in hiking, biking or beach plyometrics. Keen on focusing the

mind as well as body, Zen aficionado Mari Angeles Linde leads holistic practices such as yoga, meditation and pilates. Within the spa grounds, the invigorating treatments of thalassotherapy are offered in various forms such as mineral rich showers, seawater hydro jet massage pools and algotherapy. The Marbella Club spa also boasts tailored facial and body treatments that will rejuvenate after a day of fresh air and exercise. Finally, a team of health, wellness, medical and nutritional experts offer courtesy guidance and workshops on a variety of topics from healthy cooking to stress management, antiageing and fitness techniques.

The Marbella Club Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa is promoting an exclusive offer of 10 per cent discount on your wellness programme and a a100 spa credit if you reserve a programme 30 days in advance. This offer is valid on stays from March 1st until the May 31st and is subject to availability and confirmation by the hotel. You can reserve your journey to wellness at InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

06/04/2016 14:35


Planning for


Is your business ready to take advantage of current growth in the marketplace? Paul Fagan, Managing Director, Business Coaching Ireland, looks at what your company should consider.


he word on the street is that the boom is back and many businesses are now seeing increased footfall and a loosening of the purse strings. Consumer confidence is increasing which is good for business, however, there is still a sense that an urban-rural divide remains when it comes to sentiment around a recovery. A significant number of companies, particularly those outside the larger urban cities such as Dublin and Cork, are still waiting to feel the benefits of our improved economic standing. One of the biggest challenges companies face is their ability to capitalise fully on opportunities for growth, having scaled back so much during the recession. This is where strategic business planning comes into play. Regardless of the size of your company, it is crucial to regularly take time out of the day-to-day operations to focus on what you want your business to specifically achieve in the next one, three or five years, and how you are set up internally to make that happen. You may have lots of great ideas about what you would like your business to achieve, but without setting out clearly defined goals and targets with a written business plan, real growth will fail to materialise.

EXECUTING STRATEGY Let’s look at an example of how we help businesses plan and execute strategies specifically for sales growth. When it comes to increasing sales, many business owners and management teams immediately InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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of the first things we look at with a business owner are the numbers. What is your total number of sales for the last year, or even the last month? And what profit did you make on these sales? Are you selling the right products or services? Could you put more focus on selling higher margin products for example?


Paul Fagan, Managing Director, Business Coaching Ireland

Regardless of the size of your company, it is crucial to regularly take time out of the day-to-day operations to focus on what you want your business to specifically achieve in the next one, three or five years. think that they must invest in marketing to generate more leads. Popular buzzwords right now are ‘digital marketing’ and ‘driving online sales’. And yes, these things are important but it’s important to get the simple things right first. There are lots of easy ways to increase your sales and generate healthier profits before investing in expensive marketing strategies. One

There are other key metrics to consider. How many enquiries did you generate and what was your conversion rate on those enquiries? You’d be surprised at how many business owners fail to measure these numbers. Remember this: having a good conversion rate is the foundation for healthy sales volumes. You might already have plenty of leads. What’s the point therefore in spending money on marketing to attract new prospects, if you are not converting sales with the leads you have? It’s important to consider whether you can do more business with existing customers. And what about previous clients, did you ever contact them to ask why they stopped buying from you? Or are they still in the market for your product or service? Often simply touching base with old clients can reignite the relationship and generate new business. Increasing your sales doesn’t have to be difficult. By simply putting more focus on the numbers and measuring activity, you will see results. Take some time to review your numbers and ask yourself, “where can I make small tweaks to reap bigger rewards?”


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A New Brand of



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LIFESTYLE: motoring

PRICE €50,440


etaining senior management buyers is a perennial problem for mainstream carmakers. Executives typically switch to the luxury brands as they move up the ranks partly for the kudos but also because they have run out of options. Most of the volume players have long since stopped making large executive cars because sales were too low. The Ford Mondeo is a volume seller in the corporate fleet segment. However, once an executive reaches the top-of-the-range Titanium versions, they have nowhere else to go within the Ford range – until now. Keen to retain these customers Ford has created a new sub-brand called Vignale. It promises to offer executive buyers new levels of luxury, refinement and gold plated customer service. Vignale models are hand finished and look slightly different to “ordinary” Mondeos as they flash more chrome, have dual exhausts and wear the exclusive Vignale badge. Vignale buyers also get their own separate lounges at dealerships, an individual relationship manager, 24-hour free-phone assistance and a collection/delivery service for maintenance. Ford Ireland Managing Director, Ciaran McMahon, says Vignale is “not just about the specification in the car,

InBUSINESS | Q1 2016


it’s about the buying and owning experience.” The Mondeo is the first Ford to wear the Vignale badge but other models will also get the upmarket treatment starting with the S-Max. Vignale dealer numbers in Ireland will be small. So far just three appointments have been made, one each in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. As to what differentiates Vignale Mondeos from mainstream Mondeos it’s mainly a matter of cosmetics. The materials used in the Vignale are nicer from the seat leather to the finish of the fascia and trim. The build quality is better as hand finishing ensures tighter panel fits. There’s more soundproofing so the cabin feels a lot quieter and more insulated – something luxury car drivers expect and take for granted. Otherwise Vignale models feel instantly familiar not least because Ford has sensibly not meddled with the already

crisp steering, absorbent chassis and excellent road behavior. The ordinary Mondeo is good. The Vignale is good with bling. There is an element of “why bother?” about all of this but Ford says the stats speak for themselves. Its research shows that around 10 per cent of European customers want a more upmarket Mondeo and if you’re a time pressed executive there’s also a huge attraction in having someone collect your car when it needs a service. All this pampering comes at a price. The entry version of the Mondeo Vignale costs €43,900 while the range-topping AWD Mondeo Vignale estate costs €50,405. This is taking the fight right to BMW, Audi and Mercedes. As Vignale models are still very new to the market it will be a while before residual values become apparent. How they pan out will be crucial to the success of this new sub-brand.





olvo is in the middle of an ambitious $11 billion transformation plan and its CEO Håkan Samuelsson is not finished yet. In the medium term, he wants to increase sales, improve profitability, enhance productivity and position Volvo as one of the world’s leading premium car brands. In the long term, he wants to double sales to 800,000 units a year. A strong model line-up is crucial to such ambitions and the company is in the process of a busy product roll out. Of particular


interest to corporate buyers will be the all-new S90 executive saloon. It is due to arrive later in the year and will also be available as an estate. What concerns us here, however, is the big-selling and award-winning XC90. The original XC90 was a big hit for Volvo and helped the company to a healthy global market share of the large SUV segment. It was replaced in the middle of 2015, and with even more hi-tech comfort and safety features on board it is now snapping hard at the heels of the premium SUVs such as the X5 and Audi

Q7. Mind you, it needs to stick out from the crowd as competition in its segment has tripled in just over a decade. Volvo always debuts new models with its latest advances in safety and the XC90 claims two world firsts - a system designed to protect the driver from serious injury if the car leaves the road and automatic braking if there is a risk of a crash at an intersection. The new model’s front seats also have a patented shockabsorbing structure to protect occupants in case of an accident. On the connectivity side of things there is a tablet-like touchscreen giving access to a range of cloud-based services and apps. A big plus is that this connectivity is easy to use.

Accessibility might sound like an obvious “must have” but in fact many of the systems on the market as of now have a very poor user interface. Interestingly enough, Volvo also sees a lot of safety potential in connected car systems whereas most manufacturers tend to emphasise the infotainment side of connectivity. One of Volvo’s leading injury prevention specialists, Lotta Jakobsson, says improved connectivity is more than a way to stream films during a long trip. With connectivity “temporary road conditions, such as slippery sections, can be shared between vehicles and to and from infrastructure to help the driver take extra caution InBUSINESS | Q1 2016


LIFESTYLE: motoring



when needed,” she says. The original XC90 was a big, practical SUV that can seat seven. The latest version retains this practicality but surrounds it with more style, creature comforts and equipment. Both AWD and FWD are available and there are options such as a family pack that includes an integrated child’s booster cushion; child safety locks and integrated sun curtains for the rear doors. The XC90 is a large vehicle so it won’t fit easily into some of the parsimonious spaces found in multi-story car parks. It’s also tall so there is some body roll, but all in all it’s refined, comfortable, built like a tank and comes with a decent turning circle that greatly helps with manoeuverability. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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The Opel Astra is Europe’s car of the year for 2016. It beat the Volvo XC90 by 15 points to clinch the title while the new Mazda MX-5 was third. There were over 40 vehicles in contention for the accolade and the Astra was chosen from a final list of seven. The Astra is a worthy winner of the title not least because it showcases the product-led revival underway at Opel. The company has been through tough times but expects to break even in 2016 after a decade of heavy losses.



In-car navigation systems are a big step forward but current displays don’t give much sense of one’s surroundings. Now Bosch has come up with a way of making the maps more relevant. Buildings extend skyward so you can get your bearings and visible changes in terrain height combined with integrated satellite imagery produce an almost photorealistic look. Bosch has achieved this by processing the map/navigation data in a 3D rendering module. The driver can zoom the map area from fine detail to a worldview. If an internet connection is available in the vehicle the map display can be enhanced with dynamic data.

Most of us take our rear-driving mirror for granted. It’s something that’s just there. But recent car design has seen a slow erosion of rear visibility as intrusive boot design lines and rear pillars eat into the space traditionally occupied by the back window. Having a non-existent rear window is a safety issue and the US-based specialist manufacturer of driving mirrors, Gentex Corporation, has come up with a solution. It’s called the Full Display Mirror (FDM) and it provides a real time video of what’s going on behind you, amd is distinctive in that it offers bi-modal functionality. It’s now on the market and has already been fitted to two new Cadillac models in the US.


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LIFESTYLE: innovation

INNOVATION NATION InBUSINESS looks at the latest innovations and technologies that are shaping the future. In this issue: smart toys for learning.

FISHER PRICE CODE-A-PILLAR If you thought Coderdojo was starting them young, you might think again once you’ve seen Fisher Price’s latest smart toy. Code-A-Pillar is a caterpillar bot for toddlers aimed at teaching them how to code. Featured at CES 2016, the toy will be available in June this year for parents who want to instill the basics of coding in their little ones. Available at


InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

LIFESTYLE: innovation

PI LAB EDWIN THE DUCK Part interactive bath toy, part wireless speaker and part night light, Edwin is considerably smarter than your average rubber duckie. He can make more than 180 noises, and with the aid of a companion app, he can hum a tune through his waterproof speaker. Out of water, Edwin can be a partner in two app-based games; one that teaches shapes, the other colours. And come bedtime, Edwin can serve as a night light as he sits in his charging nest, streaming an assortment of soothing sounds. Given that interest in rubber ducks peaks around age four, Edwin’s inventor, Pi Lab, intends to build apps for this multitasking duck that will appeal to older children in the coming years.

Digital Digest

4FT 122CM

Available at


Social media giant Facebook has announced it will stop routing sales from major UK customers through Ireland, in a move which is likely to result in a large increase in the amount of tax it pays in Britain.

MECCANOID G15 The Meccano Meccanoid G15 is your own personal robot measuring 61cm tall and featuring new innovation in robotics. It uses advanced technology to deliver realistic movement and is programmable through a dedicated app, allowing you to record sounds and movements to play with later. It has impressive voice recognition capabilities and over 1,000 pre-programmed phrases, including some witty comebacks!

Irish telco Magnet has acquired the Irish retail business division of Imagine Communications, a deal which will see it become the third largest provider of business telecoms in Ireland.

Available at

Google said it bears “some responsibility” after one of its self-driving cars struck a municipal bus in a minor crash in California earlier this month.

MATTEL VIEWMASTER VR US toymaker Mattel is helping early adopting kids to join in the VR craze with its Viewmaster VR. A modern twist on the classic 75-year-old ViewMaster, the new model is a virtual reality viewer which works with your smartphone. The ViewMaster VR is intended for children aged seven and up, and will require a compatible phone to use.

PlayStation 4 gamers will soon be able to play their favourite games remotely via PC or Mac, Sony has revealed, echoing a general shift in how tech giants are enabling game play.

Available at

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06/04/2016 18:19


On-Trend in

Myanmar is emerging as a destination of choice for those who favour something a little different and desire to go a little off the beaten track.


Sunrise above Bagan, Myanmar


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t time of writing, Myanmar sits at a critical juncture in its history. A new government has been formed from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party, and the country now faces complex challenges as it looks to implement a democratic process. There’s a mood of cautious optimism among the population who have long wished for a country with economic and political stability to replace a nation bereft of human rights and free speech. When it comes to tourism, Myanmar is years behind neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, popular destinations among Irish backpackers and sun seekers

all year round. Unlike the latter, language barriers are commonplace in Myanmar with English still not widely known among those on the frontline of tourism, even in the major cities of Yangon and Mandalay. But this will only serve to further attract those with a thirst for adventure and the desire to go a little off the beaten track. And in Myanmar you’ll get just that, along with an unspoiled landscape and hospitality to match. While the country continues to open up to the outside world, it’s still not quite on the radar of Irish holidaymakers and not one GAA jersey was seen or Irish accent heard during my two-week visit. At the more touristy sites, there was a constant presence of French and Swiss tourists, with one Parisian telling me that in France Myanmar is the place to visit right now. And Paris InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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Sule Shangri-La, Yangon Centrally located within the capital city’s bustling business, cultural and shopping districts, this recently refurbished five-star hotel is the epitome of old-school Asian style and charm.


A fisherman shows off his skills on Inle Lake

Joseph O’Connor

Green Elephant, Mandalay The most luxurious place in Mandalay for a traditional culinary experience, Green Elephant is part of a small chain with three branches throughout the country. It began in a disused Yangon garage with the aim of fusing Burmese food with Western standards of service and cleanliness.

SLEEP... generally sets the trend. If you’re looking for a suitable itinerary, I would suggest starting with Mandalay and travelling south to Yangon or vice-versa. The route options are somewhat limited anyway given that it’s tricky to enter the country by land, the authorities preferring to keep a close eye on where tourists venture. It’s not quite North Korea, but given the instability present in parts of the country and widespread coverage of the mistreatment of Rohingya refugees in the north, it’s best to stick to the popular backpacking route for now. InBUSINESS | Q1 2016

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There are no direct flights between Europe and Myanmar but Bangkok, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City all serve as good bases to start your journey.

If you’re pressed for time and need to take internal flights there are plenty of options with Asian Wing Airways, Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways and Myanmar Airways.

Mandalay, made famous by Rudyard Kipling’s poem (who incidentally never visited the city), is primarily used by travellers as a transport and day-trip hub. The city is a bit underwhelming at first, but once you dig a little deeper you’ll discover endearing pagodas, striking churches, colourful temples and notable mosques. A climb to Mandalay Hill is worth the effort for a panoramic view of the city, while exploring the vast Mandalay Palace and its grounds downtown shows the scale of this kingdom’s ambition in a bygone era. By far, Myanmar’s

Aureum Palace, Bagan Located within the Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone, this resort features an art gallery full of local artifacts and artwork. It also offers nightly cultural entertainment, 27 acres of tropical landscaped gardens to wander through and private plunge pools for villa guests.


Ngwesaung Beach Accessible by a five-hour drive from Yangon, Ngwesaung beach embodies the definition of a hidden paradise. Forget Buddhist temples, these shores of empty white sand beaches are perfect for those in search of true peace and tranquility.


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LIFESTYLE: travel Balloons over plain of Bagan

KNOW before you go

BAGAN BALLOONS You’ll have seen the iconic photos of the hot air balloons dotted throughout a Bagan sky, but before you pencil in the adventure, it’s worth knowing that one ride usually costs between €300 and €400. Quite a hefty price given the low cost of food, accommodation and travel within Myanmar.

Mandalay Palace

BURMESE FOOD Burmese food gets a bad rap, and that’s not surprising given that it’s competing with the likes of Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. But make sure to try ãthouq, a light and spicy salad made with raw vegetables or fruit tossed with lime juice, onions, peanuts, roasted chickpea powder and chillies.

SPITTING LOCALS You might be alarmed by how common spitting is in Myanmar or by the visibly red stained teeth of many of the locals. It’s down to the commonly chewed betel quid, a potent parcel of areca nuts, lime and tobacco wrapped in a betel leaf.

NEW POLITICS On March 30th Myanmar’s new president was sworn in, the first elected civilian leader in more than 50 years. Htin Kyaw from the National League for Democracy takes over from Thein Sein, who introduced wide-ranging reforms during his five years in power.


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top attraction is Bagan, undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites. The setting is quite spectacular – a 26 square-mile plain scattered with other-worldly temples built by the kings of Bagan between 1057AD and 1287AD, when their kingdom was swept away by earthquakes and invading Mongols. Some 2,230 of the original 4,450 temples survive. Not to be missed is sunrise on top of one of these structures where snappers clamour for a spot to set up their tripods. While Bagan is the most touristic destination in Myanmar, the scene is nothing like the frenzied tourist trap that can witnessed at Siem Reap in Cambodia or Machu Picchu in Peru, and if you avoid being dropped off at the main temples by a taxi or tour agent and simply rent a bike or motorcycle, you’ll have a whole temple to yourself. If the outdoors is your thing and you’re looking for an authentic slice of rural life in Myanmar, the three-day, two-night trek

from the town of Kalaw view of Shwedagon to Inle Lake is a must. Pagoda The typical route takes you through numerous hill tribe villages where you spend two nights in a family house. Kalaw is full of guides so choosing the right company can be a challenge. Independent group, Ever Smile, did a splendid job of satisfying a group of seven’s needs and for a mere €40, food and accomodation for three days was covered, not to mention the additional perils of wisdom offered by an enthusiastic and bubbly 19-year old guide. If you do decide to trek there, Inle Lake is well worth the exertion. The lake itself is 13.5 miles long and seven miles wide interspersed with stilt-house villages, island-bound Buddhist temples and floating gardens. Taking a tour of the lake will give you the opportunity to see the unique Intha technique of leg rowing, with the fishermen spending more time posing for cameras than plying their trade. The land around the lake

is a real traveller retreat with cool cafés, bike rental and massage services on most streets. It’s the kind of place where your two-night stay quickly extends to five. Formerly known as Rangoon, Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city and its commercial centre. Its downtown skyline is dominated by the Shwedagon Paya, a dazzling Buddhist temple that attracts pilgrims from all over the world. It’s well worth a visit at night when its glittering lights makes it look all the more spectacular. During the day, take the local Yangon circle train for an up close and personal look at local city life. Clickety-clack through 29 miles of bumpy track in true old-fashioned train style, where food sellers attempt to out voice each other as they drift from one carriage to another. One or two days will do you in the bustling former capital, which still has quite a way to go to repair a creaking, frequently overwhelmed infrastructure. Myanmar is definitely emerging as a destination of choice for those who favour something a little different, but as a country which has only recently opened its doors, travelling here means facing some challenges. The tourism industry is still in its infancy, yet each arduous journey taken and the energy expended in the daily frustrations is well worth it for the rewarding experience you will have in this stunning and still very much untouched country. InBUSINESS InBusiness | Q1 Q2 2016 2014

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



on’t waste your time on bullshit business plans. Ignore advice. Burn market research. Put everything on the line for what you believe in.” These mantras might not work for all start-ups but they seem to have favoured Scottish brewing company, BrewDog, which, in less than a decade, has become one of the world’s fastest-growing drinks brands, famous for its beers, bars and crowdfunding. Founded by a pair of young Scottish mavericks with a passion for great beer, BrewDog has catalysed the craft beer revolution and inadvertently forged a whole new approach to business. In Business for Punks, BrewDog co-founder James Watt bottles the essence of the company’s business strategy. From finance to marketing, it is essentially a guide to thriving on your own terms. Included in the 256 pages is a hilarious letter from Watt addressed to a fake Brewdog bar which opened in China in 2013.

AUTHOR: James Watt PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House UK RRP: 19.49 AVAILABLE:


Smarter Faster Better

Letters from Burma

Originally published in 1991, Letters from Burma is a collection of letters from Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, in which she reaches out beyond Burma’s borders to AUTHOR: Aung San Suu Kyi paint for her readers a vivid and poignant picture of her native land. PUBLISHER: She reveals the impact of political PENGUIN decisions on the people and evokes AVAILABLE: the beauty of the country’s scenery, customs and festivities.

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Recap is former Kevin Cardiff Department of PUBLISHER: The Liffey Finance official Press Kevin Cardiff’s RRP: personal account 19.95 of the battle to save AVAILABLE: Ireland’s banking system during the worst periods of the global financial crisis that started in 2007. It concentrates particularly on the period around the controversial decision announced after a long night of deliberations on September 30th 2008 to guarantee most of the liabilities of the main domestic banks, and on the months of deliberations and negotiations before and after the launch of the €85 billion EU/IMF rescue programme. It’s essential reading for anyone interested in what happened in the meetings dealing with the crisis, and might prove an important contribution to documenting Ireland’s economic calamity.

“Those who become more productive will prosper.”

AUTHOR: Charles Duhigg PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House

Smarter Faster Better is an exploration of the science of productivity, and explains why, in today’s world, managing how you think – rather than what you think about – can transform not only your business , but also your life. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics, Duhigg explains that the most productive people, companies and organisations don’t merely act differently, they view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.



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CODE Belvoir Dark Blue Roll-neck Wool Jumper, 175, John Smedley at Harvey Nichols

The Su Misura Suit, Canali

“A suit can be dressed down in a number of ways, making it a truly versatile item to have in your wardrobe. One way is to simply replace a button-down with an elegant silk-cashmere t-shirt or crewneck sweater; another is to opt for a loafer or monk strap rather than a more classic lace-up shoe. A double-breasted jacket can even be worn with jeans for more casual occasions.” ELISABETTA CANALI, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, CANALI

Green Silk and Cashmere T-shirt, 360, N.Peal


“Modern men give free rein to their creativity, and it is now acceptable for them to wear a tailored blue blazer with jeans for business. However, on important occasions like weddings and strategic business meetings, an elegant man cannot do without his suit.”

Navy Suit Blazer, 329, Calvin Klein at Arnotts

Fauna print shorts, 250, Orlebar Brown at Brown Thomas


Modern Essentials Selected by David Beckham

The Marlon Short Sleeve Polo Shirt, 65,


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Navy Duffel Bag, 329, Ralph Lauren

Cream Espandrillos, 14.99, H&M

Polarized Brown Classic Sunglasses, 148,

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Metallic Jacquard Jacket, 1040, Vivienne Westwood at Harvey Nichols

From a practical perspective, sleeves are a good idea even if it’s a short-sleeved silk sweater rather than a camisole. This will help you get more wears out of your suit before you have to dry clean it. A short-sleeved silk sweater can be great or a silk jersey t-shirt works well provided it looks like new. While prints are acceptable, the safest option is a solid colour that flatters your skin tone.

Cream & Black Knitted Cardigan 275, LK Bennett

Spring/Summer Collections at Warehouse

Blue Shirt with Asymmetric Drape, 69, Cos

Unique Collection at H&M Metallic Jacquard Pencil Skirt, 377, Vivienne Westwood at Harvey Nichols

Antigona Coated Canvas Shopper, 890, Givenchy at Brown Thomas

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Rose Oversized Cat Eye Sunglasses, 240, Stella McCartney

Black Pointed Suede Pumps, 578, Paul Andrew at Harvey Nichols

There are multiple panels in Chanel’s iconic tweed jacket created to fit a woman’s body perfectly not only to keep its shape but it allows for sizing up or down two to three sizes.


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4th: 61.58 Netherlands

Fi h:









59.97 First:


A er five years, Switzerland still ranks first in the index, with the country performing particularly well in three areas; creative outputs, knowledge and technology outputs as well as business sophistication. Its overall score is no less than 68.30/100, an outstanding result since the challenger – the UK – is lagging behind with a 62.42 grade.



59.02 10th: 57.70 IN�OVATION Denmark

In this issue, InBUSINESS explores data from the Global Innovation Index.



Ireland, having been ranked 11th in 2014, enters the top 10 at 8th position, pushing Hong Kong to 11th. The report cites a much-improved innovation efficiency ranking (from 47th to 12th) as the main attribute to the country’s overall improvement. Ireland ranks in the top 25 across all pillars, with its biggest progress in infrastructure and creative outputs.

Twenty Second:


Although it has slipped from a ranking of 15th last year to 22nd in the current index, Israel remains the highest scoring nation in the northern Africa and western Asia region for the third year running. Since last year the country has considerably improved its data availability but has seen a fall in the areas of human capital and research.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL INNOVATION INDEX The Global Innovation Index (GII) is a collaboration between Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). It aims to capture the multi-dimensional facets of innovation and provide the tools that can assist in tailoring policies to promote long-term output growth, improved productivity, and job growth. It provides a rich database of detailed metrics for 141 economies, which represent 95.1 per cent of the world’s population and 98.6 per cent of global GDP. For more information visit


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06/04/2016 18:00


The new ŠKODA Superb. From €289 per month including three years servicing. Imagine a car that blurs the line between beauty and functionality. Where style and spaciousness are in perfect harmony. Where there’s room for everything, except compromise. We imagined such a car and we call it the new ŠKODA Superb. Longer, wider, taller, lighter and packed with the latest technologies, the new Superb represents 120 years of forward thinking. From €26,995, the Superb will be one of the most talked about cars of 2016. Call into your local ŠKODA dealer and see the all-new Superb for yourself.

Clever inside The most popular Superb model, the Ambition, is available with a host of standard features such as: Bi-Xenon Headlights with LED day time lights

Smartphone compatible with latest Infotainment Systems

Largest interior in its class

Terms and conditions apply. RRP prices displayed exclude dealer delivery and related fees. Typical Finance Example: Superb OTRP €27,595. Deposit / Part Exchange €8,519. 36 monthly payments of €289 (Including service plan of €13.99 per month). Optional Final Payment €10,798. Total cost of credit €1,772.50. Total hire purchase price €29,368. Minimum deposit is 10%. Subject to lending criteria. This offer is made under a hire purchase agreement. ŠKODA Finance is a trading style of Volkswagen Bank GmbH Branch Ireland, authorised by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. Images used for illustrative purposes only.

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We know it’s not just your business, It’s your life. The late nights. The weekends. At Ulster Bank, we understand the dedication it takes to run a business today. And we’re ready to match your dedication with the expertise and experience you need to help make your business a success. That’s business banking you can live with.

Connect at

Help for what matters Important Information Ulster Bank Ireland Limited. A private company limited by shares, trading as Ulster Bank, Ulster Bank Group, Banc Uladh and Lombard. Registered in Republic of Ireland. Registered No.25766. Registered Office: Ulster Bank Group Centre, George’s Quay, Dublin 2. Ulster Bank Ireland Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Calls may be recorded.

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