InBUSINESS Summer 2018

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Group Pensions from Aviva Why Aviva for Group Pensions? Aviva is one of the largest Corporate Pension providers across Ireland and the UK. Our size and scale allows us to offer employers and employees, the comfort of market leading expertise, financial security, fund management, administration and on-going digital development.

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Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited, trading as Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland, is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority in the UK and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited, trading as Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland, is also regulated in the UK: by the Prudential Regulation Authority for prudential rules and, to a limited extent, by the Financial Conduct Authority for applicable UK conduct rules. Registered Branch Office in Ireland (No 906464) at One Park Place, Hatch Street, Dublin 2. Tel (01) 898 7950 Web Registered in England (3253947) at Wellington Row, York, YO90 1WR.

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Editor: Joseph O’Connor Managing Editor: Mary Connaughton Art Director: Alan McArthur

Tiernan Cannon Editorial Contributors: Tiernan Cannon Orla Connolly Conor Forrest Andrew Jennings Sinéad Moore Design Assistant: James Moore Front Cover Photography: Jason Clarke Photography: Jason Clarke Photography iStock Photo Getty Images Infographics: Production Manager: Mary Connaughton Production Executive: Nicole Ennis Sales Director: Paul Clemenson Managing Director: Gerry Tynan Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

Published by: Ashville Media Group, Unit 55, Park West Road, Park West Industrial Park, D12 X9F9 Tel: +353 1 432 2200 Email: Web: On behalf of: Chambers Ireland, 11 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 FY84 Tel: +353 1 400 4300 Email: Web:


Ailbhe Keane, founder of Izzy Wheels, on embracing individuality and bridging the gap between disability and fashion


Business of Sport

Sligo company SIS Pitches shone on the global stage in June and July when it supplied six hybrid pitches at the 2018 World Cup Words: Conor Forrest



Around the globe and across all industries, big data has become a critical part of doing business


In the Driving Seat

InBUSINESS sits down with Paddy Magee, Country Operations Manager at Renault Ireland, to talk motor industry trends and driving innovation SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE


Forget Spotify, vinyl is all the rage these days when it comes to music retail. And the renewed appetite for physical music formats has resulted in a new recordpressing plant in the capital. InBUSINESS speaks to Hugh Scully, founder and MD of Dublin Vinyl Record Pressing.

Marketing the Midlands

We find out what Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands might mean for businesses located in and around the Midlands region


THE Q: Could you give us a brief background on Dublin Vinyl and what you do? HS: Dublin Vinyl is a stateof-the-art vinyl pressing plant based in Glasnevin, Dublin and servicing customers all over the world. We press the highest quality vinyl on standard weight and audiophile heavyweight, on both black and a range of colours.

Words: Orla Connolly 46


Noelle O’Connell, Executive Director, European Movement Ireland

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Words: Tiernan Cannon


InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

20 ON

All articles © Ashville Media Group 2018. 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


Q: Who are your typical clients? HS: In Ireland we’re primarily working with independent labels and direct to artists and have also pressed for the major labels. Further afield we’re working with labels and distributors at all levels, mainly in the UK, Germany, France, Holland and our North American business is constantly growing.


Editorial Assistant: Elisha Collier O’Brien (Chambers Ireland)

Q: Any industry trends shaping your business right now? HS: Absolutely. The so called “vinyl renaissance” and resulting phenomenal demand has seen vinyl sales increase by over 2000 per cent since 2005 and still growing year-on-year with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. There is a massive backlog in vinyl production, with people


being told they need to wait up to six months to have their record pressed. Also, there are huge advancements in the technological side of the industry, with our WarmTone presses being the first new presses to be made since the ’80s. Developed by Viryl Technologies in Toronto, they follow the same traditional process for vinyl InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

manufacture, but are fully automated, significantly faster and more efficient with a consistently higher quality product. Turntable sales continue to soar with the players being one of the top selling tech products for 2017.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face as a small business in Ireland? HS: Working capital is a huge challenge in the early stages and can limit growth. We have only been pressing records for six months but are already securing some very large international contracts. AIB has supported us with asset finance, but many of the traditional banks require that a business has been trading for a minimum of two years and has sales of over a1 million before it will provide financial support on a client or order basis. It’s great to see companies such as Bibby Financial and InvoiceFair providing alternative solutions to early stage companies. Peer to peer lenders such as Linked Finance and Flender are also an excellent alternative to traditional banks and we will be working with them to fund additional equipment as we scale. Q: What more could the Government be doing to help businesses like yours? HS: The EIIS Tax Relieve Scheme is an excellent source of funding for early stage companies but Revenue has been experiencing delays processing applications and approving companies over the past 12 months.

We received provisional approval back in April 2017 and raised ,300,000 through the scheme and are very hopeful that the backlog is cleared soon so that it remains an attractive investment opportunity again this year. We were also very lucky to have the support of the Dublin City LEO which provided mentoring, a salary-based priming grant and some export assistance.

Q: How many staff do you have? Any plans to recruit more in the near future? HS: We’re currently employing six full-time and three part-time staff, with plans to hire four more over the next few months. As we scale and increase our capacity our team will grow to approximately 20. Q: Where do you see the business going in the next five to ten years? How would you define success? HS: We have a very detailed five-year business plan that will see us scale the Dublin operation to an output capacity of over six million units per annum. We also have plans to increase our presence in North America and Asia and are in talks with potential partners. Our 9,000 sq ft warehouse located beside the new Porterhouse Brewery has also allowed us to be very creative with the design and layout of the plant. We have constructed a ‘building within a building’ from seven converted shipping containers that house our





offices, studio, pressing and assembly areas. This allows us to host events in the future and we also have plans for a podcast and live ‘Straight to Vinyl’ studio. Success for us is through long-term relationships and repeat business with our customers and producing some of the best quality vinyl in the world. We’re positioning ourselves as the ‘bands’ pressing plant’ and will regularly host live recording sessions for both local and international artists.

Q: What’s the most treasured vinyl that you possess? HS: That’s a tough one! I’ve thousands of records from when I was DJ-ing and some are very rare and hold great memories.

Hugh Scully, founder and Managing Director, Dublin Vinyl

My Dad also has a great collection and I’m regularly dipping into it. He’s a big jazz fan and they bring back great memories from my childhood.

Q: Any company news/ announcements you can share with us at this time? HS: We’re currently building our ‘Straight to Vinyl’ Studio where visiting artists can record a track and we cut the master disc live in a total analogue process. We’ll be one of only a few plants in the world that can record and press a record all under one roof. We’re also in the final stages of test pressing for some very large labels and artists. Watch this space! 47

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Small Business

A renewed appetite for physical music formats has resulted in a new record-pressing plant in the capital 1

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New York City








Port of Cork, Custom House St., Cork, Ireland T12 CY88 T: +353 21 4273 125 | E: /portofcork @portofcork WWW

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Go to for the online edition [IDEAL LOCATION AT IDLEWILD] We chose the plush setting of IdleWild Bar on Dublin’s Fade Street to photograph Renault Ireland’s Paddy Maguire. Making use of an elegant green velvet chair, our photographer has Paddy looking as comfortable as he would appear behind the wheel of a new Renault Koleos.



On-Site: Microsoft InBUSINESS got a grand tour of Microsoft Ireland’s new state-of-the-art campus in Leopardstown


Words: Tiernan Cannon


Mentors: Sean Gallagher Sean Gallagher opens up on entrepreneurship, his new book, and an old Latin adage he continues to live by


Words: Joseph O’Connor

48 [LIFESTYLE] 108 MOTORING BMW’s X3 arrives amid great expectations 112 INNOVATION A look at the rise of smart speakers 114 TRAVEL Bali’s tourism industry will undoubtedly recover from Indonesia’s latest natural disaster 117 BOOKS The seven principles of conflict resolution 119 PODCASTS An Irishman abroad tells us about his new podcast series InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Media & Marketing We look at how businesses are using storytelling to raise their profile, engage customers and boost their bottom line Words: Sinéad Moore


Book Extract An extract from Total Rethink: Why Entrepreneurs Should Act Like Revolutionaries by David McCourt



World Report We speak to journalist and activist Nurcan Baysal about the human rights abuses against Kurdish people that are not being reported Words: Joseph O’Connor

Our Local Government InBUSINESS MOVE FOR 07SMART DUBLIN Supplement continues to look at the important role played by local authorities in Irish enterprise Page



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


Cork chosen as ‘digital city’, Limerick festival deemed a success, and Waterford redevelopment plans given go-ahead.

120 The IB Index


Flood plans adopted in Galway, LEADER funding announced for Mayo, and road repairs in Roscommon approved.



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CLÁR funding for communities in Cavan, grant to repair historic railway in Donegal approved, and new jobs for Mullagh.

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Dublin City Council has partnered with Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank to further enhance its smart city capabilities.

JOBS BOOST FOR SLIGO Outsourcing firm Abtran is to create 350 new jobs

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59 Chambers Catch Up



Kildare agri-business wins enterprise award, Kilkenny rural areas receive funding boost, and Wexford food tourism initiative launched.

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018



In Association with

Four Fingal start-ups attend a three-day business event in China



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Pat Keogh, Chief Executive, Leopardstown Racecourse, Sean Flanagan, jockey and Angus Potterton, MD, Savills Ireland



avills Ireland and Leopardstown Racecourse have announced that one of the most important races in the Irish horse racing calendar is to be sponsored by the international property firm Savills. The feature race, which takes place on December 28th as part of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival will be known as The Savills Chase and December 28th as The Savills Day at Leopardstown. Pat Keogh, Chief Executive at Leopardstown Racecourse, said: “The Savills Chase is a race with a fine history and it is wonderful to see such a strong international brand supporting it. We look forward to making this a very successful partnership.”

Golden Discs store in Cork


IN THE ARM FOR RETAILER Golden Disc Group has reported turnover for yearend December 2017 of o12.1 million, driven in part by continued growth in vinyl sales. The group returned a profit of o173,704 for the year, which compares favourably with the previous period’s profit of o173,000 as 2016 year-end was an 18-month period. “We’ve experienced six consecutive years of vinyl growth and it shows no signs of abating,” said Golden Discs Chief Executive Stephen Fitzgerald. “There’s no denying the convenience of streaming services but consumers want something more tangible and we anticipate this year’s sales being our biggest since the 1980s.”

YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP INITIATIVE LAUNCHED IN CORK Tánaiste Simon Coveney has launched the Foróige NFTE Programme, a youth entrepreneurship initiative, in Cork’s co-working space Republic of Work. The programme, which has been shown to improve the business, academic and life skills of young people, is in operation in ten other counties across the country. Two-year funding from basis.point charity is making it possible to roll out the programme to young people in Cork.

To read about the impact that working with Foróige had on Sean Gallagher go to our mentors feature on page 42.

For more on the vinyl renaissance, check out our small business profile of Dublin Vinyl Record Pressing on page 46.

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CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED Fáilte Ireland has launched its first domestic consumer marketing campaign for the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands brand. The multimedia brand awareness campaign worth o1 million is running on TV, outdoor, radio and digital channels, and will revolve around the creative idea ‘Yours to Uncover’. Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will cover the ‘heart’ of the country, from Leitrim down to East Clare and extending through Longford, Roscommon, East Galway, as well as parts of Westmeath, Cavan, North Tipperary and Offaly.

For more on what the campaign will mean for business in the Midlands go to our feature on page 32.


ON MAGAZINES Magazines Ireland, which represents 39 Irish publishers, has called on the Government to urge the European Commission to reach an agreement on VAT rates applied to printed and digital magazines. In its pre-budget submission, the association calls on Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue to support a zero VAT rate on magazines. Ciaran Casey, Chairman, Magazines Ireland, said: “UK publishers operating in a VAT free environment have significant advantages over indigenous Irish publishers. Other European countries such as Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and France also enjoy zero or super-reduced rates. Our proposal aims at replacing the current transitional regime into a harmonised system where all member states would be granted equal freedom in setting VAT rates.”


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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured during their visit to Dogpatch Labs, the start-up hub based in Dublin’s CHQ building, where they met a number of young coders, female entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs.



DIGITAL HUB SELECTS CBRE Following a competitive tendering process, The Digital Hub has selected real estate property specialists CBRE to provide outsourced integrated facility management services throughout its Dublin campus.

TRUMP STUNT GOES GLOBAL A Dublin-based marketing agency was behind the creation of a giant crop circle in a field in the UK containing a vulgar message to US president Donald Trump. In July 2018, as President Trump An aerial view of travelled to the UK to meet the ‘Блядь Trump’ Prime Minister Theresa May crop circle stunt at Chequers, the message appeared in a farmer’s wheat field directly under Trump’s flight path. Founded by ex-Paddy Power Head of Mischief Ken Robertson, The Tenth Man claimed responsibility for the stunt which gained extensive media attention across the globe. A company spokesman said: “When Donald Trump occupies 60 per cent of the news vacuum daily you have to be big, brave and bold to make an impact.”

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he Shannon Free Zone has become home of the country’s first drive-thru Starbucks as the US coffee house chain opened the doors of its latest outlet in July. The 204 sq m unit, developed by Shannon Commercial Properties, will employ 15 people as it becomes the latest page to turn in the evolving story of the Shannon Free Zone. The US giant, which is among the world’s largest coffee companies and coffee house chains, operates over 20,000 outlets globally but this is the very first drive-thru in the Republic of Ireland. Starbucks opened its first Irish store in 2005.

HUMAN ERROR DEEMED SERIOUS CYBER THREAT A new study by IT solutions company DataSolutions has revealed that 60 per cent of senior IT decision-makers consider human error to be the greatest cyber threat facing Irish businesses.

Ray O’Driscoll, MD, Shannon Commercial Properties, Grainne McInerney, Property Development Manager and Gerry Dillon, Head of Operations & Developments




AIB REPORTS STEADY H1 PROFITS AIB has reported pre-tax profits of 762m for the six months to the end of June, and said its business performance is in line with market expectations. The Government sold a 29 per cent stake in the bank last year.

“Renault takes pride in selling more electric vehicles in Europe than any other manufacturer. It’s one of the fastest developing fields in the automotive industry.”


Migration, competitiveness and enlargement were on the agenda at the European Movement Ireland briefing on the priorities for the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Iveagh House on July 10th. Helmut Freudenschuss, Ambassador of Austria to Ireland, and Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee outlined the priorities for the European Council over the next six months and launched EM Ireland’s biannual calendar detailing the key dates of the presidency.

For more on European Movement Ireland go to our Snapchat slot on page 37.

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invested in the Free Zone since 2015

US medical diagnostics company Kypha has acquired Biosensia, an Irish diagnostics platform and contract development company headquartered at NovaUCD, to strengthen its product portfolio.


InBUSINESS | Q2 2018


Paddy Magee, Country Operations Manager, Renault Ireland

Noelle O Connell, Executive Director, EM Ireland; Ambassador of Austria to Ireland Helmut Freudenschuss and Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography.




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What was your most valuable learning curve and why? AILBHE KEANE Izzy Wheels Be smart with your social media. We put a great deal of time and effort into building our brand on Instagram. You can build a very loyal following and gain excellent feedback.


ON THE INCREASE Enterprise Ireland has announced that its clients recorded export sales of a22.71 billion in 2017, representing a 7 per cent increase on 2016. This is the highest level of export sales recorded in the history of the agency and the eighth consecutive year of clients’ export growth. Exports to the eurozone region, which account for 20 per cent of all exports, saw strong growth of 9 per cent to a4.61bn in 2017. Meanwhile, exports to the UK, the largest market for Irish exports, representing 34 per cent of exports, delivered growth of 4 per cent to a7.62bn.

BATTLING BREXIT To coincide with the export results, Enterprise Ireland released findings of a recent Brexit survey of over 2,400 clients, which found that 85 per cent of clients are taking Brexit related actions. The top measures that they are taking are:  diversifying their export markets  i mproving operational competitiveness  s trengthening their business in the UK  d eveloping strategic partnerships  i mproving financial management  investing in R&D

HUGH SCULLY Dublin Vinyl Record Pressing Explore all possible fundraising avenues. You’d be surprised as to the level of support out there. Network all the way. LinkedIn is an excellent asset too. Don’t cold call though. Always get an introduction.

PADDY MAGEE Renault Ireland The importance of having the right people around you in the company. Even during the massive collapse, the team in Renault Ireland stayed positive, and their work ethic and positivity has been one of the pillars of our success.

SEAN GALLAGHER Clyde Real Estate One of the many things I learned in life came during my last political experience. I was taught never to answer a question directly. I should give thanks for the question and then go ahead and answer a totally different question. That seems to be the art of the politician!


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SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED Aer Lingus, Iarnród Eireann, Bank of America, Medtronic and Airbnb are among the companies shortlisted in this year’s Allianz Business to Arts Awards. Now its 27th year, the 2018 awards received a record number of entries, showcasing a diverse range of arts from visual art, architecture, literature, dance, theatre, design and music. The awards recognise businesses, artists and art organisations that develop creative partnerships. The awards will be presented on September 4th at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.



Andrew Hetherington, Business to Arts Chief Executive with Helen Carroll, Business to Arts Head of Communications & Partnerships, artist Ed Miliano, designer of this year’s Business to Arts Awards trophy and Vincent Harrison, MD, Dublin Airport

IB FACT In June 2018, the Republic of Ireland became only the 10th country in the world to publish recommendations embracing responsible investment.

niversity College Cork has become the first Irish university to officially become a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). PRI is an initiative that encourages environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions, that it says will better manage risk and generate sustainable and long-term returns. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, nearly $23 trillion of all globally professionally managed assets are invested in responsible investment strategies. In signing the Principles for Responsible Investment, UCC joins an existing group of Irish signatories, among them Irish Life Investment Managers, KBI Global Investors, the NTMA, Davy, Atlantic Bridge and NTR.

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AIB Corporate Banking proud to support the development of the Port of Cork



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M vers







NEW TITLE: Head of Corporate EMPLOYER: Ronan Daly Jermyn PREVIOUS ROLE: Team leader, NAMA

NEW TITLE: Senior Manager EMPLOYER: Bank of Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Corporate Banking Manager, BoI

NEW TITLE: Head of Networking Services EMPLOYER: Arkphire PREVIOUS ROLE: MD, AirSpeed Telecom


Ronan Daly Jermyn has announced that Simon Lynch has joined as a partner in the firm, further strengthening its property and real estate finance practice in Dublin. Lynch has over a decade of experience advising developers, lenders and equity investors in all aspects of financing, secured lending and property investment. Prior to joining RDJ, Lynch was a team leader in the residential development delivery team within NAMA.

Dorothy Halligan has been appointed Senior Manager on Bank of Ireland’s Corporate Banking New Business Origination team. In her new role, Halligan will be responsible for business development and the origination of new business for corporate banking in Dublin. Halligan began her career when she joined Bank of Ireland as a graduate in 2008. Earlier this year she qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant.

IT services and networking company Arkphire has appointed Brendan Martin to head up its networking solutions business, Bootstrap. In his new role as Head of Networking Services, Martin’s main responsibilities will be to drive sales growth and marketing initiatives in Bootstrap, build out customer relationships and develop a competitive strategy for the business. Martin will also serve as a key part of the Arkphire leadership team.

Immedis, a specialist division of Taxback Group, has announced the appointment of Ruairi Kelleher as its new CEO. Kelleher joined the wider Taxback Group in 2012 following previous roles in consulting in the sports and retail sectors. He has worked across the group in a variety of management and advisory positions, including Senior Commercial Manager in Taxback. com, Commercial Director, in Taxback International, and CCO of Immedis.


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Fiach Mac Conghail is CEO of The Digital Hub. He is responsible for leading the digital and technology campus in ways that benefit society and the economy, locally and nationally. A key element of Mac Conghail’s role is working with the communities of Dublin 8 in the urban regeneration of the Liberties area and the rollout of innovative community digital learning programmes.

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NEW TITLE: Commercial Director Ireland EMPLOYER: Kellogg Company PREVIOUS ROLE: Sales Director, European Sales Capability, Kellogg’s

NEW TITLE: Managing Partner EMPLOYER: ByrneWallace PREVIOUS ROLE: Head of Corporate, ByrneWallace

Ruth Hughes has been appointed by Kellogg’s to head up its business in Ireland. Hughes has worked at Kellogg’s for more than a decade and has held a number of senior roles across the cereal and snack giant’s Irish, British and European operations. As head of Kellogg’s Ireland, she will oversee a team of 30 that manages all aspects of the company’s commercial operations to sell and supply its foods across the Republic of Ireland.

ByrneWallace has announced that Feargal Brennan has been appointed Managing Partner of the firm. A senior corporate lawyer, Brennan joined ByrneWallace in 2000 and has been head of the firm’s corporate division since 2011. He has over 20 years’ experience advising leading businesses across a wide range of corporate matters, and has particular expertise in advising on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital transactions.

hink of some of the biggest headaches that business leaders face in 2018, and you can be certain that retention of employees sits in the top three. Some would even say it’s a more pressing issue today than attraction. Getting the right talent in the door is a vital, costly aspect; but losing it is often a riskier and more arduous event. Why do some companies have problems retaining staff? I find it’s often due to employees experiencing some form of disappointment. The riskiest part of the employee journey is the first three months. This is often when the employee’s expectations are not met. Further on, job-hopping may occur due to a lack of perceived opportunities for advancement, or a recognition and rewards systems. The key piece of strategic advice I give to clients is to develop a positive employer brand as a shield. An employer brand is the culmination of current and potential employees’ experiences of a firm. From a HR standpoint, it relates to the ‘people processes’ and culture across the whole organisation. The brand the company presents must not be aspirational, but authentic.

FIVE TIPS TO SUCCEED 1. Identify why people are leaving through exit interviews 2. Eliminate misleading job specs 3. Create stellar induction programmes 4. Consider regular coaching options 5. Assess how employees are appreciated It’s important to note that employees are consumers of your employer brand. Best practice suggests that companies should deep-dive their retention strategies at least once a year.

Fiona Donnelly is an employer brand strategist and CEO of


It is important at all stages of your career to have a mentor. Be honest, look for help. I did. I do.

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The ability to collaborate is one of the best attributes in a person. True leadership is about collaboration.


The best advice I give myself every day, is to listen. You don’t always have to speak.


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Together from

source to success Discover how the opportunity to engage with new clients in a cross-border market was the real Sweetspot.

Experts in sourcing and manufacturing, Sweetspot, based in Co. Kildare, wanted to seek out new customers in Northern Ireland.

Two years on, they have new customers, a strong pipeline of business and are even looking to open an office in NI to service their growing client base.

From InterTradeIreland, they received over â‚Ź5,000 towards specialist consultancy to explore the cross-border market.

Discover funding opportunities and the expert guidance InterTradeIreland can offer to help your business succeed, together.

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This is an exciting stage in our business and we are looking forward to seeing our growth continue Sue Dempsey, Co-Founder

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SECTOR: Retail


COMPANY: Crust & Crumb

ANNOUNCEMENT: Tesco Ireland has opened its biggest store creating its greatest amount of employment here in eight years. The new 30 million Liffey Valley Tesco Extra store has created 175 jobs. Tesco now employs over 13,000 people in Ireland.

SECTOR: Consultancy LOCATION: Various ANNOUNCEMENT: EY is to create 520 jobs, adding to its total existing headcount of more than 2,500 on the island of Ireland. The new roles on offer at the professional and consultancy services firm will be filled by 215 experienced candidates and 305 graduates.

SECTOR: Manufacturing LOCATION: Cavan ANNOUNCEMENT: Crust & Crumb, the manufacturers of chilled pizzas, pizza bases and flatbread, has announced plans to build a new, stateof-the-art factory in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, which is expected to result in the creation of 80 full-time jobs.

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

COMPANY: Abbott Laboratories SECTOR: Life sciences LOCATION: Donegal ANNOUNCEMENT: Life sciences giant Abbott Laboratories has revealed plans to expand its presence in Donegal with the creation of 500 new positions in the coming years. It will more than double its current headcount (400) at the Donegal site.

COMPANY: SECTOR: LOCATION: INDOS Finance Enniscorthy Financial ANNOUNCEMENT: New jobs have been announced for Enniscorthy, Co Wexford by INDOS Financial. The company is expanding its operations centre in the town by relocating to new premises and creating up to 15 new roles over the next two years.

COMPANY: TenderScout SECTOR: Technology LOCATION: Dublin ANNOUNCEMENT: TenderScout, the Irish online platform that helps companies procure government contracts, has secured an additional 1m investment from private investors and angel funds. It will see the creation of 15 new jobs over the next two years at the Dublinbased start-up.

Irish Aerospace Companies On Show in UK On July 18th, Minister of State Pat Breen led an Enterprise Ireland trade delegation to the Farnborough International Air Show in the UK to promote Ireland’s growing capability in aviation and aerospace to international trade partners. The trade show is a strategically important platform to position Ireland as a source for high-quality aviation, aerospace and related services and to promote collaboration with the UK’s aerospace industry which has 17 per cent global market share. Ten leading Irish aviation and aerospace companies exhibited at the event. Ireland’s Aviation and Aerospace Industry in Numbers:

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companies active in the sector


billion contributed to GDP

billion in assets managed by Irish lessors

jobs announced by two Irish companies at the air show


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Start-Up Central

NEWS,VIEWS AND PROFILES ON THE LATEST START-UPS IN IRELAND Increase in the number of new company start-ups in Limerick in the first half of this year, according to figures published by business and credit risk analyst CRIF Vision Net

WEDDING START-UP CLAIMS VICTORY AT FUTURESCOPE Bespoke Choice, the interactive wedding venue booking sales platform, was announced as the winner of the One2Watch competition at this year’s FutureScope, the conference that promotes collaboration between the entrepreneurial community and multinationals. In a pitch on the Entrepreneurship Stage, Bespoke Choice saw off competition from CroíValve, Electrical Analytics and BuyMedia to claim the coveted One2Watch crown. For more on the company go to



MD, Mortgage Brain Ireland How did you fund your business initially? My business partner and I funded this software business initially. He was the late Gerry Gray from CK Business Solutions and was very instrumental in our start-up. I really miss his good company, he was a super ‘can do’ entrepreneur. What’s the best advice you were given? In terms of customers’ problems you have to ensure that you hear ‘what you don’t really want to hear’. This is from Feargal Quinn’s book Crowning the Customer and it’s super advice for running a business. What was the most important lesson you learned starting out? If the customer is your king then cash flow is your queen! Your biggest make or break moment? We decided to provide our software free for 12 months to Irish brokers and then held a seminar for lenders on the benefits of electronic trading. Both Haven Mortgages and Ulster Bank joined our trading service and we really took off from there. Would you change anything in hindsight? Yes, I’d have gone with mobile apps a few years sooner. Our mobile IrishMortgages app has generated leads for my 130 brokers worth some 92 million since its launch in 2016. Company: Location: Product: Team:

Mortgage Brain Ireland Dublin Mortgage software for brokers, banks and consumers Three in Ireland but Mortgage Brain has a further 120 employees in the UK Website:


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TCD LAUNCHES NEW HEALTH INCUBATOR PROGRAMME Digital health start-ups from across Ireland and Europe are embarking on a brand new European incubator programme at Trinity College Dublin, which aims to identify new technologies that promote healthy living, support active ageing and improve healthcare systems. The EIT Health Validator is hosted by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Hub at Trinity in collaboration with EIT Health. The first of its kind in Ireland, the incubator is open to health tech start-ups founded by professionals and researchers working in the medical and technology sector across Europe. It will enable early stage digital health start-ups to identify suitable markets for their products.

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FOUR IRISH START-UPS SOAR TO NEW HEIGHTS Four rising Irish start-ups have been announced as the winners of Aer Lingus’ inaugural TakeOff Foundation Start-Up Awards. The awards were launched by Aer Lingus in partnership with the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Fingal and Fingal Dublin Chamber to celebrate and assist up-and-coming businesses based in the Fingal area. Aer Lingus is providing the four winning businesses – WeBringg, Hope Beer, MIAS Pharma and Buster Box – with the opportunity to expand their outreach to international markets for business purposes through business mentoring and assistance with travel needs and business profiling opportunities.

Loci Orthopaedics founders Gerry Clarke, Chief Technology Officer and Dr Brendan Boland, Chief Executive Officer

NUIG SPIN-OUT RAISES 2.75M NUI Galway-based medical device spin-out company, Loci Orthopaedics, has announced the closing of a 2.75 million seed round investment to commercialise a new orthopaedic joint implant for a common but crippling joint condition. Loci Orthopaedics is currently developing a potentially life-changing, ergonomic solution to address thumb-based joint arthritis. The company is developing the InDx Implant to meet this need and is set to access a market estimated at over 550m per annum. For more visit

Kogii founders Karl Roe, Andrea Pignanelli and Callan Eldon


Alan Hickey, MD, WeBringg; Ann McGee, MD, MIAS Pharma; Liam Brennan, co-founder, BusterBox; and Jeanne Mahony, co-founder, Hope Beer

Recently announced as winner of the 2018 UCD Start-up Stars Programme, Kogii is an early-stage student venture focused on improving safety for cyclists. The start-up has developed an innovative and featurerich smart bike light and uses data acquired from the light’s sensors to help understand what factors make a road dangerous for cyclists. The light, which is attached to a cyclist’s seatpost, uses motion sensing to detect braking and when it does, it behaves like a car brake light to assist drivers in understanding a cyclist’s intentions. Additionally, Kogii incorporates proximity sensors to actively monitor surrounding vehicles. Data from these sensors will allow Kogii to develop interactive visualisation maps to show dangerous cycling zones, at differing times of the day, to improve awareness of such areas to cyclists and drivers. “Kogii’s next step is to focus on refining our prototype and fundraising,” says co-founder Andrea Pignanelli. “We are planning to commence a crowdfunding campaign, via Kickstarter, within the coming months.”

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g n i t n e v n i e e R th In our latest entrepreneur slot, InBUSINESS talks to Ailbhe Keane, founder and Creative Director of Izzy Wheels, about embracing individuality and bridging the gap between disability and fashion. Q: How is life and how is business at present? A: We are in a very positive place. Everyday has its own challenges and wins but that’s the same in every startup! Our hard work is really starting to pay off. We have collaborated with 40 famous designers from around the world including Orla Kiely, we have won ten national awards and we are selling in 35 countries. We have recently been the top story for some of the world’s biggest media publications including British Vogue, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, TechCrunch, Insider and Adobe Create. It’s a total rollercoaster but we are loving every minute! 16

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Q: Would you say you have always had a business head on your shoulders? A: I think I always did but never realised. My background is art and design and I always saw myself as an artist rather than a businesswoman. When I think of the most successful living artists and designers they are all fantastic businesspeople. Creative skills are greatly complimented if you have a good nose for business. You have to be able to promote yourself and your work. Q: What are your thoughts on entrepreneurship in Ireland at present and the types of start-ups emerging here in recent years? A: Ireland is a wonderful place to start a business. There are incredible grants and funding schemes available through the likes of Enterprise Ireland to get you off the ground. Something I found very useful was the business

mentoring we received along the way from Enterprise Ireland, NDRC and Accenture. Irish people are natural storytellers and have been for generations. This really works in your favour when you are pitching your business and raising investment because everyone loves a good story. Q: Izzy Wheels was born out of a college project. How difficult was it turning it into a business? A: Izzy Wheels started as a deeply personal project. I wanted my little sister, my best friend, to feel more confident in her wheelchair. It always bothered me that her chair was the first thing that people noticed about her but it didn’t reflect her personality. I started designing the brightly coloured wheel covers for Izzy so that she could make a positive statement about herself and to open up conversation. We came up with the tag line ‘If you can’t stand up, stand out’. I never imagined it would grow into a global brand. I had created an Instagram account called @izzywheels in 2016 and I would upload little videos of Izzy modelling the wheels that I designed for her. The page started getting thousands of followers and hundreds of messages from people wondering where they could order the designs. As soon as I finished college that summer I took the plunge and set up I joined the Enterprise Ireland New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme a few months later. I received funding, business mentoring and a workspace. It was an excellent course and I learned so much in a short space of time about key things like marketing, sales, pitching and finance. Q: Could you tell us about starting a business at such a young age and some of the pitfalls of not having industry experience? A: I founded Izzy Wheels when I was just 22. I felt a bit like the InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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“There was no point in me pretending to fit in by wearing a black suit to events and meetings. I can wear my bright floral co-ords and sparkly shoes and still be a businesswoman.”

Ailbhe Keane, founder and Creative Director of Izzy Wheels

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odd one out at business events at the beginning. I quickly realised that it’s not a bad thing to be a bit different and I just embraced it. There was also no point in me pretending to fit in by wearing a black suit to events and meetings. I can wear my bright floral co-ords and sparkly shoes and still be a businesswoman. I luckily had plenty of design experience having studied graphic design for four years in NCAD and doing freelance illustration and branding for clients during college. I then worked as a designer for two other start-ups before I set up my own business. I didn’t realise how useful that experience and those contacts would be in the long run. Q: Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs hoping to get a business off the ground? A: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Irish people are very generous with their time and you can learn so much from meeting someone for a coffee and a chat.

Ailbhe Keane with her sister Izzy, the inspiration behind Izzy Wheels

SPOKES PEOPLE Izzy Wheels has managed to build a strong community of what it calls “spokes people” who have have been instrumental in helping the start-up share its story. “What a lot of companies are now doing is endorsing influencers to promote their products online,” says Keane. “This didn’t feel right for us because we knew our users already loved our product.” As more and more customers began to share photos of themselves modelling their Izzy Wheels designs Keane decided to start nominating a Spokes Person of the week each week across its social media. “It’s beautiful to see how different people style their wheels and to hear their stories,” she says. “We now have customers in 35 countries so we have a wonderful mix of Spokes People from all sorts of backgrounds.”

Q: What has been your own mantra in business? A: Don’t break the mould, make your own mould. Q: Tell us about being listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30. A: We were totally shocked and overjoyed to both be named on Forbes 30 Under 30. We couldn’t believe it when we received the news. It has opened up a whole new network of inspiring entrepreneurs and people we can go to for advice and guidance. We will be going to Boston in Autumn for the Forbes Under 30 Summit. De




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Q: Any company news or expansion plans Izzy Wheels can share with us right now? A: We are currently working on a documentary with BBC Three called Amazing Humans. They are filming a piece about Izzy Wheels which will be released later this summer. Q: How do you define success? A: Success for me is being in a job that doesn’t feel like work. I jump out of bed every day really happy and excited to go to work. Q: Where would you like to be with Izzy Wheels in five years’ time? A: We want to bridge the gap between disability and fashion. Disability fashion is a massively underserved area of design. Wheelchairs look the same as they did 100 years ago. My sister sees her chair as a symbol of her ability, not her disability. We want to empower users to feel that confidence and to feel considered. We will continue collaborating with fashion brands with the dream of seeing our wheel covers in the major fashion shows in New York, Paris, Milan and Tokyo. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Tailor-made finance solutions. We work with businesses to create bespoke finance strategies that suit individual needs. Whether you want your repayments to match income patterns or need to raise higher levels of funding, our flexible solutions can help you realise your ambitions. Contact us today to find out how our asset and invoice finance solutions can support your business.

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Close Brothers | Modern Merchant Banking Close Brothers Limited (being a UK registered private limited company and its Irish registered branch of the same name having registration number 907899), trading as (and having as registered business names) Close Brothers Asset Finance, Close Brothers Commercial Finance, Close Brothers Premium Finance Ireland, Close Brothers Motor Finance and Braemar Finance, is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority in the United Kingdom and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority in the United Kingdom and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. UK registered address: 10 Crown Place, London, EC2A 4FT, registered at Companies House, Number 00195626. Directors: M. Biggs (UK), O. Corbett (UK), G. Howe (UK), J. Howell (UK), L. Jones (UK), E. Lee (UK), B. Macaskill (UK), M. Morgan (UK), P. Prebensen (UK) and A. Sainsbury (UK). Close Brothers Invoice Finance and Close Brothers Commercial Finance are registered business names of Close Invoice Finance Limited, a UK registered private limited company (and its Irish registered branch of the same name having registration number 908024). UK registered address: 10 Crown Place, London, EC2A 4FT, registered at Companies House, Number 00935949. Directors: J. Brown (UK), C. McAreavey (UK), A. Sainsbury (UK), I. Steward (UK), D. Thomson, (UK).

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Jason Clarke


Paddy Magee, Country Operations Manager, Renault Group Ireland


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This year, Renault celebrates 120 years of manufacturing firstclass vehicles. “We were innovators then and it’s great that that innovative spirit still drives us now,” Paddy Magee, Country Operations Manager at Renault Ireland, tells InBUSINESS.

How has business been for Renault Ireland for the first half of 2018?

The market has been tough so far in 2018 but Renault Group is performing well. Thanks to straightforward and generous offers, and a network of committed dealers, our market share is 9.4 per cent. We’re launching even better offers for '182', to celebrate our 120th birthday, and we have some exciting changes coming in our dealer network. How have car sales in Ireland been compared with the same period last year? Which models are your big sellers? How important has the Dacia brand been for business?

Sales of new cars are down on the same period in 2017, and there’s a visible correlation with the increase in nearly new imports. That’s why our offers remain focused on benefits you can only get from a Renault dealer – Renault Bank finance at 1.20 per cent, three years free servicing and cashback from Renault. What’s interesting is that the light commercial vehicles market is up, and by more than imports. Total cost of ownership is critical to van owners so it’s not surprising that they recognise the value in new Renault vans, especially since Renault bank have introduced 3 per cent APR finance over five years InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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very low deposit. Clio, Captur and Mégane have all racked up over 1,000 sales already in 2018. The fact that Sandero and Duster are also both over 1,000 demonstrates the strength of the Dacia product and brand – it has become an indispensable part of our business. Our target was to put 10,000 Dacias on the road within five years and we have over achieved this by putting just under 19,000 Dacias on the road. How is Renault responding to the decline in diesel and the electric revolution? Are there any other industry trends currently shaping the business?

Renault is a pioneer in electric vehicles with over 120,000 sold to date, and we’re the number one electric vehicle brand in Europe in 2018. Our best seller is the ZOE Z.E.40, which goes further on a single charge than any other electric vehicle below 80,000. We’re also finding the Kangoo Z.E. 33 is starting to spark interest among fleets due to massive reductions in fuel costs and emissions. As a leader in electric vehicles, Renault will be

Renault Koleos

Renault Mégane

Renault KADJAR



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continuing to develop and extend our electric vehicle range. Diesel’s decline is likely to accelerate sharply in 2019. New technologies required to comply with increasingly stringent emissions regulations will increase prices. We’ve increased the availability of petrol versions in our range and will continue to do so as we approach 2019. However, in our 2018 range, especially on our larger cars, we still find that most customers recognise the excellent ownership costs and low CO2 emissions of our 1.5 dCi engines. Could you tell us about any new innovations with which Renault is leading the field?

Renault takes pride in selling more electric vehicles in Europe than any other manufacturer. It’s one of the fastest developing fields in the automotive industry. While many manufacturers are just starting to make their first steps in electric vehicles, Renault is already moving beyond that stage to ensure that electric vehicles become a key pillar of the group’s business. Other commercial innovations we have is through our captive bank where we can offer business users dedicated fleet lines which can help them improve their cashflow. We have also just launched Renault SELECTION, which is a unique used car programme in the Irish market with rates as low as 2 per cent APR and two years warranty. You are almost five years in your current role – how are you enjoying it? When it comes to leadership and management, where do you draw inspiration from?

After five years in the role, I have to say I am enjoying it more and more everyday. Since I took over we have been lucky to see a sharp rise in the market but I am delighted to see that Renault Group has nearly doubled the market increase in the last five years. I am lucky because I am part of a fantastic team in Renault Ireland, that takes serious pride in our brands. We have also built a network that boasts the number one throughput per site in the industry for the last few years so, in essence, it is giving them InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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ROAD All-electric new Renault ZOE

a business model to build a future on. None of this would have been possible without the amazing new line up of vehicles we have and the introduction of our own bank in Ireland to assist customers in getting lower finance rates than they were used to for many years. When it comes to leadership and management, I have been lucky to work for many inspirational managers, but for me I draw the most inspiration from our dealers. They have managed to survive in the market when it collapsed by nearly 80 per cent and have managed to build it back up by being loyal to the brands and never giving up. I am delighted to say that they will embark on the biggest investment ever undertaken by the Renault Network, by investing approximately a10 million in their premises over the coming years. Does Renault Ireland have any plans or news you can share with us at this time?

The biggest news we have is the launch of our Renault SELECTION programme. The team at Renault Ireland has worked for the last 12 months on building the best used car programme in the market. Due to the high level of imports it was vital that the Renault Network had a solution to offer customers which would give them even more peace of mind, and this has been achieved through SELECTION. We have already seen an increase of 35 per cent in used sales across our 21 InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Renault SELECTION dealers due to the low finance rates we can offer through our own bank and indeed the unique two years warranty. Any comments you would like to add or products/services you wish to plug?

Renault is marking its 120th anniversary this year and we will celebrate this for the next six months – 120 years of making life easy for people. As part of our 182 campaign, we are offering people 1.20 per cent APR, a1,200 cashback and three years’ servicing, giving our customers one of the strongest offers we have had. At 120 years old, Renault was one of the first participants in the car industry. We were innovators then and it’s great that that innovative spirit still drives Renault. We also recently announced that we will continue our sponsorship of The Late Late Show for the next three years. Media sponsorship plays an important role in our marketing communications strategy and our sponsorship of The Late Late Show has been a key factor in Renault’s remarkable commercial success, achieving over 70 per cent growth in the last three years. The show has been a key contributor to building Renault brand awareness and engagement with Irish audiences and a platform to showcase our renewed model range over the last three years from Renault KADJAR, to new Mégane and new Scénic ranges, our flagship Koleos and our all-electric new ZOE.

From futuristic technology to highprofile accidents, the road ahead for driverless cars is anything but straightforward. We sought Paddy Magee's views on how driverless cars will fare in the future and what Renault will have to offer. “It’s going to be part of Renault’s business and like electric vehicles, Renault will be a leader in this area,” he says. “We showed the EZ-GO driverless taxi concept at Geneva in March this year. Late last year, we gave international journalists the opportunity to try the Symbioz demo car, which allows 'mind off' autonomous highway driving – also known as level 4 autonomous driving. “Driverless cars are coming – but they are coming in stages, and to make the final leap from level 4 to level 5 (completely driverless) will probably take more effort and ingenuity than stages 1-4 combined!”


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RCI Bank & Services Ireland offers a range of products and services for Renault Group customers, as Managing Director Alex Zhurkin explains.

With a presence

in 128 countries – and with over 120,000 employees – the Renault Group is one of the largest automotive groups in the world. Renault made a key strategic decision in 1974 to finance its customers’ vehicles all over the world and created its very own bank. Forty years on and RCI Bank & Services, Renault Group, is operating in 37 countries across every continent, lending over a12 billion a year. RCI Bank has been operating in Ireland since 2011, offering a full range of financial products and services to the Irish market for Renault and Dacia customers, on both new and used vehicles. RCI Bank & Services Ireland is run by Managing Director Alex Zhurkin, who has been in the role for one year now, heading up a team of 30 people in the bank’s office in Dundrum. “We are not a traditional bank,” explains Zhurkin. “We are a captive bank, which means tailoring our products for Renault customers to meet their mobility needs, as opposed to just providing funding. “Our objective is to provide the best and most comprehensive financing solution for our customers in a competitive manner,” he continues. “For example, if you walk into your bank today, they’ll probably quote you between a 7 and 10 per cent interest rate on a traditional finance loan. Today, RCI Bank & Services [at the time of writing] will give you an interest rate of 1.2 per cent APR, which includes a three-year car service plan. Not only do our customers save significant amounts of money over the lifetime of the finance agreement, they also get a solution that meets their mobility needs.” Through a range of different options, Zhurkin explains, RCI Bank & Services Ireland finances customers buying Renault vehicles. “Six out of ten Renault customers chose us to fund their vehicle,” he says. “These are 24

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Alex Zhurkin, Managing Director, RCI Bank Ireland

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a mixture of traditional products like hire purchase and lease, but also, in recent years, through PCP [Purchase Contract Plan]. We have a range of different payment options to suit our customers’ needs.” “PCP is a relatively new product,” says Zhurkin. “Over 50 per cent of our customers use PCP as their funding preference. As PCP is an option for our customers, it makes Renault vehicles more affordable for people – therefore making it easier for them to buy a new car.” FLEXIBLE OPTIONS There is a whole range of financing choices for customers to consider. For example, Renault ReFlex is a PCP – a flexible hire purchase agreement that enables customers to have a reduced monthly payment, thanks to a guaranteed future value for their car for three years. Having a guaranteed future value for a car means that customers can have a flexible finance plan that suits their circumstances, meaning they need not worry about the re-sale value of their Renault car in three years’ time. By the end of the agreement, the customer will be faced with three options – they can upgrade for a new model, keep the car and make the final payment, or they can hand the keys back. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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The Renault hire purchase option, on the other hand, is a simple way to finance a car over a period of time chosen by the customer, from one to five years. RCI Bank will purchase the car on behalf of the customer, who will then pay fixed instalments over a flexible term of their choice. At the end of the agreement, ownership transfers to the customer. RCI Bank Ireland also offers a wide range of finance solutions to suit the specific needs of every type and size of business. It offers a leasing option, in which the commercial customer pays a fixed monthly instalment and a minimum deposit of one to three payments upfront. The customer can use the vehicle during the agreement without mileage limitations, and for customers who are fully VAT-registered, VAT on the monthly lease of commercial vehicles can be reclaimed under certain circumstances. “We provide a range of complementary services, not just the finance to buy the car,” Zhurkin points out. “We provide car servicing plans, warranty products alongside insurance products like GAP and SMART insurance. Our strategy is to develop services that will meet the needs of our customers and add value to the Renault customer experience.” RCI Bank’s offering has seen an overall increase in its business over recent years, even as the market around it has taken a knock, due to factors such as Brexit. “When we launched back in 2011, the banks had shut up shop – there was no access to funds,” he says. “It sounds like a foolish time to start a bank, but it worked extremely well, because we had funding at a low cost to enable our customers to purchase Renault Group products. “We also pride ourselves on having a quick decision turnaround time of less than two hours plus a decision approval rate of 85 per cent.” The quick decision-making and opportunity to keep all aspects of financing a car under the same banner are pivotal to RCI Bank & Services’ appeal, but it is also striving to stay in touch with the trends that define its business. As Zhurkin concludes: “We are evolving, Renault is changing its approach. We are becoming more customer-centric. We are looking at new products, new channels and new solutions. We are constantly looking at how to create the best offer for our customers to meet their mobility needs.” 25

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SIS Pitches shone on the global stage in June and July, supplying six hybrid pitches at the 2018 World Cup. CONOR FORREST caught up with CEO George Mullan to learn more about the Irish company’s success.

SIS Pitches team at work at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow


espite a play-off loss to Denmark halting our World Cup dreams for another four years, Ireland still managed a presence on the pitch in Russia thanks to an innovative Irish company. SISGrass – a revolutionary reinforced turf system from Irish-owned company SIS Pitches – was installed in six of the 12 stadia at the World Cup Finals in June and July, the most technologically advanced pitches in World Cup history. “We made a decision to invest and open an office in Moscow about four years ago – that was because we had done one project there before and doing a project from Ireland in Russia with Irish people is just not possible,” explains CEO George Mullan, a Sligo businessman who bought the company in Holland in 2002, moved to the UK and acquired a factory to produce artificial grass. Employing just under 100 staff in Moscow, mostly Russian, SIS Pitches tendered for and won six of the 12 available contracts for the World Cup. That included the main stadium in Luzhniki which hosted the opening ceremony, several games and training sessions, as well as the World Cup Final between France and Croatia. The company could have hardly dared hope for a better showcase of what it can offer. “That’s what we’re trying to do,” Mullan notes. “Obviously we need to make sure it performs and plays well.” SISGrass is one of the company’s latest products, alongside synthetic and natural turf pitches, and was launched three years ago. These hybrid pitches consist of 95 per cent natural grass and five per cent yarn, installed using machines featuring patented injection technology and laser guidance for


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World Cup pitches designed, constructed and installed by SIS Pitches

48,000 kilometres of yarn stitched into every pitch


kilometres of under pitch piping with SISAir and undersoil heating


teams who played on SISGrass during first-round World Cup games

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George Mullan (right) pictured with Maxim Radomsky, the head groundsman at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

accuracy. Those at the World Cup also featured the company’s revolutionary aeration technology SISAir, an underground system that allows pitches to be drained of water in seconds. “They’re very similarly maintained,” Mullan says of the differences between the upkeep of ordinary pitches and SIS Pitches’ hybrid model. “But the biggest benefit is you can play up to three times’ more hours than you would on a normal grass pitch. So you have got a lot more flexibility. If you imagine the old pitches that you would have seen 20 years ago where there was mud everywhere and turf, you don’t get that with these. There’s much better stability, the surface doesn’t break up, and that’s really important for television.” Over the last three years, word has spread about its effectiveness, and SIS Pitches has laid its hybrid product in schools, universities and sports clubs around the world, including the likes of Chelsea’s training centre in Cobham, Barcelona’s Camp Nou, Celtic’s Parkhead stadium and Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. But challenges remain. Mullan explains that raising brand awareness has been something of a slow process although the company’s profile has undoubtedly been raised by its contribution to the World Cup. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Newly installed SISGrass at Luzhniki Stadium

Luzhniki Stadium with the SISGrass machine

Ensuring the product performs to the highest standards is another key factor – if something goes wrong there’s a chance that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people could witness it. “I think the biggest challenge for us is really getting your name and your brand out there. Football – it seems like a big industry but it’s quite a small market,” says Mullan.

“It’s a business that if you do a poor job on a Champions League stadium it’s generally watched by 20, 40, 50 million people. And with the internet you can have your name destroyed pretty quickly.” To reduce that risk, SIS Pitches has been establishing its own distribution network rather than relying on third parties, a vital step in controlling quality from start to finish. “It’s pretty labour-intensive but so far it has worked,” Mullan adds. “We’ve pretty much doubled – every three years we’ve doubled in sales.” While the millions of viewers around the world might not have realised there was something special about the grass at the Luzhniki stadium, supplying pitches for six stadiums at a major global sporting event is a milestone for the company. But there’s more to come. Mullan explains that the US is going to be an important market, with plans to establish an office and operation there next year. Their first Stateside project began in July with the Green Bay Packers’ Lambeau Field, one of the iconic NFL stadia, and Mullan hopes that will open the door to further contracts on the North American continent, making reference to potential projects in Florida and Canada. But while the US market offers plenty of scope for growth, with India and China also looking promising, could we see SISGrass across Irish sports grounds in the coming months and years? Mullan is unsure. “The problem with it is it’s not the cheapest product. So for Irish clubs – I would say it’s going to be a long build to get it into Ireland. The benefit we have here is we grow grass well and Gaelic pitches are twice the size of a soccer pitch, so the wear is much less,” he says. “There’s isn’t the same requirement [here], but what we are doing here is looking at golf. We’ve done quite a few trials in England on Par 3s, hard-wearing areas. So we’re going to introduce it to the golf industry in Ireland later this year. That’s potentially a very big market for us.” 27

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Around the globe and across all industries, big data has become a critical part of doing business, with companies that offer tools for the management and utilisation of data increasingly in demand. TIERNAN CANNON seeks out three Irish businesses operating in the sector to ďŹ nd out more. 28

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ig data, in today’s world, is increasingly big business. Companies from all sectors are nowadays attempting to avail of big data’s potential – and they are investing plenty of money in it. Big data projects can bring about many benefits for companies, such as enhanced customer experience, reduced costs, better targeted marketing campaigns and making existing processes more efficient. The Irish Government has recognised this potential through its Action Plan for Jobs, but work still needs to be done to sure up the sector and ensure its growth. A 2017 report by the Center For Data Innovation ranked Ireland in the top ten countries in terms of how effectively it harnesses the power of data, at number eight. However, the report presented a number of positives and negatives for the country – on the one hand, Ireland missed out entirely on the data economy top 14, which measures the relative value of data market demand and data company revenues, but on the other, it finished first in terms of the quantity of science and tech grads relative to its population. If this reports suggests anything, it is that there is potential for Ireland within the big data sector, even if it has not yet been taken full advantage of. EXPERTS IN THE FIELD Big data continues to permeate society, and businesses are increasingly seeking to tap into its value. The expertise required to design and implement big data projects is extremely specialised however, and so an increasing number of companies dedicated to big data and data analytics have begun to spring up. Take, for example, Esri Ireland, which supplies digital mapping and geographic information systems. The business works with organisations that need RESEARCH to map their assets, customers, staff or any other CAPABILITY resources that they manage. Its Chief Technology Officer, Eamonn Doyle, is a geographer by IN IRELAND profession – a self-professed ‘geo-geek’ – who Ireland invests heavily in research capabilities believes that organisations can exploit geography required for big data for business, social or environmental benefits. services. Here are four such “The term ‘digital geography’ describes what I examples: do in a nutshell, working with many of Ireland’s leading organisations to help them use GIS  The INSIGHT Centre [Geographic Information Systems] to visualise, The National Centre analyse and optimise their planning and for Data Analytics operations,” explains Doyle. “My role involves  CeADAR providing leadership and strategic direction National Centre to customers, prospects, partners and other for Applied Data stakeholders, while continuously promoting Esri Analytics Research Ireland as the global leader in its field.” Esri Ireland provides its customers with  ICHEC map-based systems and the analytical The Irish Centre for capabilities to help them understand a particular High-End Computing location’s environmental, societal or economic  TSSG characteristics. The company’s platform, Telecommunications ArcGIS, creates, stores, visualises and analyses Software & Systems spatial or map-based information, and can be Group (TSSG) availed of as a software-as-a-service proposition or it can be installed on-premises. It is also

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compatible with mobile devices, which are generally used to collect information from field staff or to assign jobs and do navigation in the field. Such technology, of course, requires the appropriate infrastructure to sustain it. “We require an infrastructure that actually produces big data,” says Doyle. “This typically needs lots of devices on the IoT [Internet of Things] that are providing continuous readings of location, time and nominal measures of some phenomena. These devices could be phones, cars or sensors in homes and offices, or in the public realm such as traffic and weather sensors. Basically, we need an infrastructure that produces the raw materials with which we can carry out big data type of analysis.” IRISH CONTEXT Doyle suggests that Ireland has developed an infrastructure that makes it an appropriate location for companies concerned with big data. “It’s a good place for us to be for a number of reasons,” he suggests. “There is a well-educated skills pool in Ireland that is geographically aware. The emergence in recent years of open data and a national data infrastructure has stimulated interest in what we do and the capabilities of our products.” These sentiments are echoed by Sandi Horvat, Engagement Manager for Comtrade Digital Services. “Ireland is a hub of digital transformation and is very much focused on the area of IT at the current time,” he says. “As well as having a good infrastructure and the right people with the right skillsets, Ireland has managed to create an environment in which companies are collaborating and innovating.” Comtrade Digital Services provides technological solutions to companies that need to collect data about their operations in order to address business challenges, embrace digital transformation and establish themselves as industry leaders. It provides services within this area from firmware development, connections and cloud integrations, to data collection and analysis based on AI and mathematical/ statistical methods. “Our role is to assist organisations by 29

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INDUSTRY FEATURE Eamonn Doyle, Chief Technology Officer, Esri Ireland

Sandi Horvat, Engagement Manager, Comtrade Digital Services Dermot O’Connor, Dermot VPE andO’Connor, Co-Founder, co-founder, Boxever Boxever

equipping them with the custommade solutions they need to fulfil their digital aspirations, taking into consideration, not only their existing tools and current requirements, but also their future objectives,” explains Horvat. “It is all about innovating faster and reducing the time to market, whilst ensuring reliability and delivering cost-effectiveness. The Internet of Things and artificial intelligence enable us to support clients in this way, by gathering and analysing the data which provides insights into how they operate and, more importantly, how they can improve.” Horvat suggests that the term ‘big data’ is remarkably broad, but that a number of certainties exist within it. “Definitively, nowadays, we are talking about a much larger mass of data than ever before, and it is constantly expanding,” he says. “Therefore, the major obstacle is the storage of this data. However, as technology evolves, data analysis will be able to focus more on addressing this challenge – for instance, bringing 30

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a cluster of fast computers onto site, performing data analysis and sending the findings to a data centre will become more commonplace. IoT began with generating lots of data, but it has since moved to edge computing and performing AI data analysis close to the source.” The sector moves fast, and Horvat expects a number of innovations right around the corner, which will have huge implications for companies working with and using big data. “Generating and storing large amounts of data is costly – insights of the data is what is needed, and this is what I think the future holds,” he says. “We could be looking at a situation where AI data analysis is introduced earlier in the process, in order to reduce the amount of data generated and eradicate the need to relocate data.” EVOLUTION Given the sheer speed with which the sphere of big data evolves, it is vital that companies based within it take in workers with appropriate skills and training, as Dermot O’Connor suggests. O’Connor is VPE and co-founder of Boxever, a customer

intelligence cloud, built to transform the way businesses communicate with their customers. “Ireland’s prospects in big data are enormously promising,” he says. “We have the largest companies based here – Google, Facebook, AWS – and the emergence of cloud-based businesses has flipped everything on its head. For young start-ups, with funding and a co-working space, anything is possible. Where we could improve is by growing and strengthening technology programmes at Irish universities, to meet the demand for homegrown talent.” A recent report by the Expert Group of Future Skills Needs revealed that Ireland has a scarcity of data analytics graduates. However, the education system is seeking to close this skills gap. Athlone Institute of Technology, for example, has developed an industry-focused master’s programme, designed to provide graduates with the skills and aptitudes necessary to excel in big data and data analytics. The one-year full-time programme is intended to introduce students to a range of skills and software in the areas of data manipulation and management, techniques to manage this data and ultimately, analytics methodologies that can elicit meaningful insights from large data sets. Courses such as this are an important step in developing Ireland’s homegrown talent – however, it is also important that the country attracts workers from overseas, as Dublin-based Boxever’s Dermot O’Connor suggests. “It’s important, considering the increasingly mobile global workforce, that Dublin continues to offer quality of life and reliable transport options, so that living here remains an attractive option,” he says. Big data science and analytics have grown exponentially worldwide, so it is essential that Ireland keeps apace developing new technologies and tools for the management and exploitation of large amounts of data. There is work to be done on the island, but if Sandi Horvat is to be believed, “Ireland is up there with the best when it comes to big data”. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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17/08/2018 16/07/2018 09:20 15:47



MIDLANDS As Fáilte Ireland unveils its latest tourism initiative, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, InBUSINESS finds out what it might mean for businesses located in and around the Midlands region.


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s part of its latest marketing strategy ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’, Fáilte Ireland is aiming to focus specifically on the Midlands region. In its follow-up to the highly successful Wild Atlantic Way campaign and Ireland’s Ancient East initiative, the tourism body hopes to promote the unique mountainous and rugged landscape as a destination where local businesses and establishments have a bit more time for the visitor than their big city counterparts. The initiative covers Leitrim, east Clare, Longford, Roscommon, east Galway and parts of Westmeath, Cavan, North Tipperary and Offaly. “We plotted that area down the middle and what it had in relation to the rest,” explains Paul Keeley, Director of Commercial Development for Fáilte Ireland. “Given its topography, there was a notion of a hidden Ireland off the beaten track, water-based and land-based trails, rural communities where people have a little more time for you.” For Keeley and Fáilte Ireland, the most significant hurdle in communicating the campaign message will be addressing the idea among the public that there is a deficit of activities in the region. “Convincing the consumer that this is a place worth spending two or three days. Convincing buyers internationally that when they’re programming a seven or nine-day trip in Ireland, it’s worth putting a couple of days into this part of the world,” says Keeley. “That will be the job at work over the next couple of years. Building out the product base, building out the range of experiences and really just starting to build those confidence levels among consumer and buyers.” As part of these efforts, Fáilte Ireland will market the Midlands as an area that holds an infinite variety of entertainment for all ages. It will capitalise on the natural resource of the iconic River Shannon and Beara Breifne Way to entice tourists with boat trips, water sports and fishing, while numerous walks, cycle tracks and pony trekking trails allow visitors to take in the views, or explore the rural heartlands and small villages in a quiet, relaxing part of the country. Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands will undoubtedly have a positive knock-on-effect InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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for local businesses, and John McGrath, President of Athlone Chamber, believes the campaign’s launch coincides with a good period for the Midlands region. He says Government policy within the National Planning Framework that will see the Midlands recognised as a centre of growth will offer great capital investment opportunities to tap into. “Athlone Institute of Technology becoming a Technological University is another a key component,” he says. “And while there is talk of a Western Economic Corridor and a Dublin Belfast Economic Corridor, the recognition of the Midlands as a centre of growth will tie these two together in an east-west economic corridor, which will alleviate a significant amount of the pressure that Dublin and Galway are under.” McGrath also points to the fact that the Midlands region is used to battling against other locations that possess significantly more resources when it comes to seeking investment. He believes that this predicament only serves to strengthen sectors operating there and he is in no doubt that local businesses will fully maximise the opportunities that arise from Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. THREE-SPEED RECOVERY Both Keeley and McGrath agree that small businesses in the Midlands have experienced growth in recent years but that those operating in the tourism sector continue to face challenges. According to Keeley, this rate of growth has typically been lower than in other hotspots in Ireland, such as Dublin or Cork. “I think we’ve very much had a three-speed recovery with Dublin growing at rates way ahead of everybody else,” he says. “Then other key regional centres have seen some good growth. I would say in the third tier then, there is a lot of that geography sitting in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. While it has seen growth, it has been much more modest than the growth rate being picked up elsewhere in the country.” While McGrath agrees that regional towns and companies in the Midlands are performing well, he states that CSO figures highlight how the Midlands is performing even more impressively than it gets credit for. “Since the lowest point in the recession to 2017 there has been in excess of a 20 per cent rise in employment in the Midlands,” he explains. “Based on CSO 33

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BIG BUSINESS IN THE MIDLANDS A number of multinationals have already recognised the benefits of operating in the Midlands region. Here’s five of them:

Ericsson Telecommunications software (Athlone)

Sennheiser Ireland Sound systems technology (Tullamore)

Oakley Optical Ireland Prescription eyewear (Mullingar)

GeneMedix Ireland Biogeneric pharmaceutical products (Tullamore)

Taconic International Fabrics manufacturer (Mullingar)


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figures, this is the highest increase among all regions in the country including our cities. This reflects the competitive advantages that some businesses see in the Midlands.” McGrath notes that many of the challenges facing small businesses in the region are not dissimilar to those in Ireland’s core cities, particularly the challenge of competing for investment. “It will take a collaborative approach across the board, between our public representatives, state bodies, government departments and businesses themselves to realise the opportunity that is the Midlands,” he says. “With a properly-functioning Midlands, you do have an effective east-west connection.” Fáilte Ireland has announced a a2 million budget to invest in the promotion of the Hidden Heartlands and Keeley hopes that this investment will see a number of supports delivered to the region that will benefit SMEs both directly and indirectly. “We have a wide range of business supports that we’ll be rolling out to businesses on the ground,” he says. “Working with them across a broad range of areas from product development through to sales, marketing, revenue management and really looking to build out the product offering and the experience we have on the ground in the region for 2019 and beyond.” HAVING ITS OWN BRAND So far, businesses in the Midlands have responded positively to the Hidden Heartlands plans and Keeley believes this campaign will have a similar effect on small businesses in the region as Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East have had on SMEs in their respective areas. “From our perspective, there was a great longing on the part of people in the tourism industry and in that part of the world to have their own brand and I think they were very mindful that Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East were picking up a lot of traction, but they didn’t seem to have a vehicle for themselves.”

McGrath, meanwhile, says the Midlands is spoiled for riches and points to locations such as Clonmacnoise, Belvedere House, Uisneach and the Mystic Shannon that would benefit from further investment. “Here there are major stories to be told and history dating back to the Vikings to be unlocked,” he says. “It’s not for no reason that Sean’s Bar in Athlone is the oldest pub in Ireland dating back to the 900s and that Clonmacnoise is the site of the oldest university in Europe.” For Fáilte Ireland, the remainder of 2018 will be focused on filling a number of major roles in the Midlands promotional team and becoming active on the ground in building on the traction the campaign has already generated with the public and investors alike. Indeed, Chambers Ireland welcomed Fáilte Ireland to its most recent gathering of the Chamber Network Chief Executives in Athlone to hear about Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and other future plans. Speaking after the event, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland, welcomed the latest addition to Ireland’s tourism offerings. “At this event, chambers located along the Wild Atlantic Way spoke of the hugely positive impact the initiative has had for their region,” he said. “We are delighted to see the new brand for the Midlands area and we look forward to the Hidden Heartlands proving as effective. Fáilte Ireland has had huge successes in recent years, driving increased visitor numbers to our shores and we commend them on this new initiative to drive more tourism to the Midlands area.” According to Keeley, an important point from Fáilte Ireland’s perspective is that its new campaign offers another unique flavour of Ireland, it sits well alongside its other brands and that they all support the overall Ireland sell in the international marketplace. He also notes that a crucial factor concerning the ongoing success of the programme will be the partnership formed between Fáilte Ireland and local businesses. “Fáilte Ireland can’t do this on its own,” he says. “It needs all the stakeholders, local authorities, industry and community groups vested in trying to use the brand as an engine to unlock the potential in the region. “Equally we’re saying, look, it won’t all happen in 12 months or 18 months. We need to look at this as a long-term play and certainly from our perspective we see ourselves investing in this over the next number of years. Patience and persistence are the two things we would be urging of people.” InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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CHAT Noelle O’Connell, Executive Director, European Movement Ireland

I would say the most significant benefit that Ireland has gained from its 45 years of EU membership is our transformation from an island on the edge of a continent, which was highly dependent on its neighbour,

to a country that is at the centre of shaping the EU of the future. European Movement Ireland, an organisation that aims to strengthen the connection between Ireland and the EU, has been busy these past few months launching information campaigns and helping businesses navigate Brexit. InBUSINESS caught up with Executive Director Noelle O’Connell to find out more. Irish people very much see their future in the EU. A massive 92 per cent support the EU – the highest level of support since we started polling in 2013. In many ways Brexit has highlighted the many benefits of EU membership from a business point of view; not least, access to a market of 500 million consumers and the ease of access for companies. We have partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to run a series of citizens’ dialogues around the country where hundreds of people from all ranges of life discuss different topics. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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A major area of work for us is with primary school children through the Blue Star Programme, which teaches them about the EU through creative activities and projects. What is really striking about the [Brexit] negotiations is the solidarity Ireland has received from the remaining 26 member states. A big priority for us at the moment is the Future of Europe process. It’s about reaching out to citizens to hear what they have to say and facilitating dialogue about Europe’s future.

There is a real appreciation amongst both the EU institutions

and the member states of how Brexit will uniquely impact on Ireland.

Whether you are a primary school teacher wanting to explain the EU to your pupils... or a business person wanting to know how Brexit will affect you, we have a programme or campaign that will suit you. Through the Future of Europe process, there is a strong opportunity for the business community to engage in shaping and influencing what type of European Union we want to live in in the future.


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I IB FACT: DID YOU KNOW? Microsoft opened in Ireland in 1985 with a small manufacturing facility employing just over 100 people.


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At the beginning of 2018, Microsoft Ireland opened its state-of-the-art One Microsoft Place campus in Leopardstown, Co Dublin. As part of our new ‘On-Site’ series, TIERNAN CANNON met with HR Director Joanne Morrissey to get a grand tour of the premises.


t’s an idyllic afternoon in the middle of June and clusters of Microsoft Ireland staff are catching rays atop the rooftop terrace of their new workplace, One Microsoft Place. Opened by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in February this year, the campus in Leopardstown boasts views from the terrace which stretch from Dublin Bay to the Sugar Loaf mountain, with the Leopardstown racecourse located but a stone’s throw away. Inside, however, is all the more impressive. The lead designers for the building were RKD Architects and Gensler, and the results of their efforts are really something to behold, with sunlight filling the open, airy spaces and acting as an appropriate complement to the general sense of nature that the premises conveys. “The building was designed based on the concept of an island,” explains Joanne Morrissey, HR Director at Microsoft Ireland, guiding me through the 34,000 sq m campus. “We have a digital lake, with 25,000 LED lightbulbs. There’s a graphic display that can host a range of images on it. You have a central staircase that we call ‘the Mountain’ that acts as the spine of the building, and all of the meeting rooms are held off that. All the meeting rooms are in the middle core [of the building], and then all the workstations are located around the side of the building, next to the light. The architects originally called these ‘the Grasslands’.” The digital lake and the mountain staircase are impressive feats of aesthetics, but, as Morrissey highlights, they serve a practical purpose too. The lake often presents messages and notes for the workers, and the Mountain, as the ‘spine’ of the building, is the base around which a vast array of formal and informal workspaces are to be found. The building was conceived of with the intention to set a new standard in workplace design, encouraging innovation and creativity within the entire team that works there. Morrissey explains that there are over 2,000 employees spread across the campus, working within five primary areas – digital sales, operations, engineering, the data centre and human relations (the “most important one”, as the Director of HR manages to slip in). However, these are not closed off from one another, with the building’s design encouraging each department to mix. This marks a step in Microsoft’s cultural shift towards ‘one Microsoft’

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and technologies. Moreover, even though the campus isn’t located in the city centre, it is extremely well-served, with shuttle buses running employees to and from nearby Dart stations, and with the green Luas line ferrying visitors and staff to the city in little over 20 minutes.

– the idea that the company’s data scientists, AI bot builders and mixed reality game developers will sit alongside its sales and marketing staff within the building’s various ‘neighbourhoods’, presented with the opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas in a way they have been unable to do in the past. One Microsoft Place is a unique workplace in many ways, but it differs also from other tech giants located in Dublin – such as Google, Facebook and Twitter – in that it is located within the city’s suburbs. This location, away from the hustle of the city centre and Docklands, essentially allowed Microsoft to set up a truly unique base within which to explore innovative architecture InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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MORE THAN AESTHETICS Upon entering One Microsoft Place, the ground level is particularly striking, but it does not function on aesthetic value alone. The whole floor is kitted out with a vast array of amenities, so much so that there is a sense that the place functions as its own self-sufficient community. There are five restaurants to choose from, each offering their own varying cuisines. At the back of one such restaurant, I notice a fridge growing its own green leaves for use in the kitchen. There’s an on-site bakery – with fresh loaves embellished in flour shaped into the Microsoft logo – and the company baristas are always on-hand to concoct a cup of warm Joe using Cortado, the company’s own coffee blend, which was decided upon by an employee vote. There is a large seating area in the corner of the ground floor, filled with the sound of chatting and ping-pong balls being paddled back and forth. On this afternoon, such sounds are spontaneously interrupted by an explosion of boisterous cheers from the opposite corner of the floor, as Brazil nab the first of their two late goals against Costa Rica in the World Cup’s group stages, as viewed on a large flatscreen. Just beyond that, there’s an area dedicated to conferences and talks, which is frequently in use by large numbers of visitors. 39

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Immediately to the left of the revolving door entrance is DreamSpace, an innovation and education hub that aims to host 100,000 primary school and transition year students over the next four years. The company has invested a5 million in DreamSpace’s development, hoping to equip schoolchildren and their teachers with critical digital skills by devising a programme for that purpose. The programme caters to primary school and transition year students, with the former group receiving a firsthand understanding of innovative technologies that will shape the future, and the latter group being immersed in coding and programming. It’s worth remembering that all of the aforementioned areas and features occur on the same ground floor of the four-floor building. The whole place is a constant hive of activity, and spread across the other floors are a fully-equipped gym in the basement, a music room, a yoga pod, a mother’s room and a podcast room. There are workspaces littered all over that come in all different shapes and sizes – some to fit a single person, others modelled like a sitting-room, complete with couches and walls which can be written on like whiteboards. COMMITTED TO IRELAND A company of Microsoft’s stature is naturally at the forefront of innovation, and so it follows that its space would be an expression of that. One Microsoft Place is certainly the embodiment of a company that has been a leader in technology for around four decades and one that plans to remain in that position for the forseeable future. “I know this place looks new and funky, but we’ve been around for a while,” says Morrissey. “We have a long track-record of working out of Ireland, and we’re classed as quite a strategic location for Microsoft globally, given the engineering activity that’s here – as well as in operations and digital sales. If you think of it from a talent perspective, we’re on the gateway of Europe and we’ve very mobile. We have 71 nationalities here [in One Microsoft Place].” 40

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ONE MICROSOFT PLACE: THE FACTS The height of the building atrium is equivalent to five Dublin Buses stacked on top of one another The campus has the floor space of around four football pitches Over 125,000 LED lights have been used to create the building’s digital lake All desk power leads laid out back-to-back would wrap around St Stephen’s Green five times The total IT cabling used in the building would stretch out from Dublin to Dingle The combined height of all the desks in the building is twice as high as Ireland’s tallest mountain, Carrauntoohil

Joanne Morrissey, HR Director, Microsoft Ireland

Ireland has transformed itself into a cosmopolitan, high-tech nation that Microsoft considers to be an ideal environment in which to be based. The country is constantly seeking to harness emerging technologies for societal and economical benefit and, according to figures released by Science Foundation Ireland, is ranked tenth globally for the overall quality of its scientific research, an increase of 26 places in 13 years. “You want to work in an international business, and Ireland is English-speaking,” says Morrissey. “It’s only eight hours from Seattle, so there’s an overlap at around 4pm and 6pm Irish time where you can chat and communicate quite easily with colleagues in the US, and at the same time in Singapore. So we’re ideally positioned.” One Microsoft Place is proving to be an important base for Microsoft, and it is sure to develop in exciting ways as time goes by. The campus’ high-tech characteristics reflect the nature of the company as a whole but, if nothing else, the sheer splendour of the place suggests a total commitment to operations remaining in Ireland for a long time to come. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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A Clean Slate


ean Gallagher lets out a groan as he takes a seat in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blanchardstown. He’s feeling the effects of a kettle bell class he took part in the previous day. “I was in the gym yesterday morning at 6.30am and I turned off my PC last night at 2am having finished an article for the next Sunday Independent. So I get up early and work late,” he tells me over a scone and coffee. “I’m trying to think of the name of the guy who said, ‘there are three good ways to make a lot of money: get up early, work hard and find oil’. I haven’t found oil but I’ll keep looking!” Gallagher has clearly been busy. As well as running his own property company Clyde Real Estate, he writes a weekly slot for the Sunday Independent profiling Irish SMEs, launched his new book Secrets To Success in May and, to coincide with that, has since been travelling around the country for various speaking engagements. That’s along with being a mentor, investor and board member of a number of companies and, at time of writing, Gallagher is being mooted as a candidate in the next race for the Áras having written to local authorities asking them to consider supporting independent candidates in the presidential election. But it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Gallagher since becoming a recognised figure on RTÉ’s Dragons Den back in 2009. Rewind seven years ago to his unsuccessful presidential bid, when things took a turn for the worse for the man from Cavan following that notorious and damaging tweet read out on the RTÉ Frontline programme, one for which the national broadcaster later apologised after Gallagher took legal action. “After the presidential election my phone didn’t ring for 18 months apart from family

Amid speculation surrounding a potential return to politics, JOSEPH O’CONNOR sat down with Sean Gallagher to talk entrepreneurship, his new book and an old Latin adage he continues to live by. and friends,” he says. “I had fallen somewhere between the world of politics and business.” It was in 2012, while back focused on his business affairs, that Gallagher received a call from the Sunday Independent asking if he’d be interested in writing for the newspaper. He agreed but, as he describes it, it would only be on his terms. That meant giving him the freedom to write about what he believed really mattered to Ireland at that time – jobs. “This is back when the economy was still in a downturn,” he explains. “My thinking was that if we want more jobs we need more entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs create jobs and, while I’m a great believer in foreign direct investment, the truth is that it is SMEs that will create jobs in areas where multinationals never can.” Over the course of five-and-a-half years, Gallagher has spoken to in excess of 300 small business owners, profiling the trials and tribulations of their business journeys in the Sunday Independent each week. These articles would form the backbone of his latest book Secrets To Success in which he shares 46 such stories. Gallagher says the inspiration for the book came from a desire to show that being an entrepreneur is not only about making money and that it’s not rocket science either. “It takes a mix of skillset and mindset,” he says. “The good news is that the skills can be learned and the mindset can be developed.” Given Gallagher’s own background, did he identify with the people he profiled? “I did, because I’ve been on the entrepreneurial journey,” he says. “Entrepreneurs are a tribe. We understand other entrepreneurs. We can identify with their challenges and their passions. I did pull out what I thought were the traits of entrepreneurs because I thought it was important to tell others who were going into business.” Gallagher talks me through those traits – optimism, the ability to find a solution InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Jen Murphy


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through your product or service, a strong sense of self-belief, a vision of wanting to create something that is usually bigger than yourself, perseverance, not being afraid of failure, being a risk-taker, an ability to communicate your vision and build the right team and, most importantly, taking action. “If there is one takeaway from all the stories in this book, it’s that nobody ever starts a big business,” he says. “From Steve Jobs to Bill Gates to all the people in this book, they all started in a garage, in a small store, at the kitchen table and they grew from there. That’s the nature of business.” FALLEN THROUGH THE CRACKS “Everybody has a ‘why they do what they do’,” says Gallagher. His came long before his foray into the world of business as a result of working for local youth organisation Foróige with young people who had fallen through the cracks of society. One day, Gallagher was given an opportunity to talk to a group of youths who were on a Youthreach programme and who had for various reasons dropped out of formal education. “I was just saddened and dismayed at the level of their ambitions,” he recalls. “When I asked them what their dreams, plans and aspirations were for the future, they didn’t have any. They just looked at me. I said, ‘how can you not have any?’ They said, ‘you don’t understand, we come from first and






Sean Gallagher pictured with Minister Heather Humphreys


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second generation families who experienced unemployment. Our families don’t ever expect us to go to college, we won’t ever go to college, we won’t get a job and we’ll end up on welfare, so why bother?’” It struck a chord with Gallagher and led him to undertake a two-year course in youth work at NUI Maynooth. Upon completion, he spent time working with young Travellers, young offenders and inner city youths, which later culminated in Gallagher helping the government to develop a life skills programme for those who have suffered from addiction. “One of the things it taught me is that the only long-term solution to disadvantage is two things: education and employment,” Gallagher says of working with these groups. “You’ve got to give young people an education so they can either find a job or create a job for themselves or others. That’s why I’m interested in things like building confidence in young people, coaching and InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Sean Gallagher pictured with familiar faces from Irish business at the launch of his new book

mentoring people to do what they want to do and to fulfill their dream, and also then focusing on jobs and job creation. And, in my view, the vehicle for that is SMEs.” Gallagher himself knows what it’s like to be on the outside as a youth. Born with congenital cataracts in both eyes, the vision impairment made it difficult for him to see clearly when he was growing up. At school, he read small print badly and struggled to make out writing on the blackboard. It meant that most teachers considered him to be a slow learner. However, something happened in sixth class that would have a significant impact on his outlook. After witnessing Gallagher perform role play in class, his teacher recognised how his student had simply come alive with talent while performing a task that didn’t involve reading from the blackboard. “He told me, ‘you’ve got your own talent, don’t worry about comparing yourself with others, you don’t InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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HARD GRAFT “The only place where reward comes before work is in the dictionary. Running a business is hard work. It’s full on and it’s flat out most of the time and you’ve got to be prepared to put the effort in.” ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE “You can’t play life safe. I always share one of my favourite quotes: ‘A ship in the harbour is safe, but that is not what ships were built for.’ Get out there on the open seas and live your life to its fullest potential.” SWITCHING OFF “It’s the blessing and the curse of being an entrepreneur. Those who are married to or [are] partners of entrepreneurs will testify that even when we’re at home we’re often not present.”

need to do that’,” recalls Gallagher. “You just need to find your own expression and your own future.’ That was a great piece of advice.” That same teacher showed up again in Gallagher’s life in the early ‘80s at a time when his past pupil found himself out of work. “I was probably a bit downbeat at the time and used to walk around my village, an old bog road, and I used to tramp out my anxiety and worry about what I was going to do,” he explains. Upon meeting his teacher again, Gallagher received advice that the entrepreneur would use as his mantra from that day forward. His former teacher wrote down two words in a journal he was using at that time: tabula rasa, Latin for ‘clean slate’. Underneath it he added, ‘Sean, a clean slate. It’s what you do with it now that counts’. Gallagher now identifies that teacher as his first true mentor and tabula rasa has become a guiding principle for him, a reassurance that has helped him overcome difficult times such as his presidential election defeat and the financial challenges he encountered when the recession kicked in. “It’s really a message of reinvention,” says Gallagher. “And reinvention is now the new norm. The world is changing at a rapid pace and I think Charles Darwin put it well when he talked about evolution – that it’s not the strongest of the species that survive, it’s those who are most adaptable to change. So tabula rasa to me is really about constantly changing and adapting but it’s up to you to make it work. You can look backwards or you can look forward.” Gallagher is certainly looking forward. At the time of our meeting he wouldn’t be drawn on the possibility of running for president again, but said he was driven by the same passions that he possessed back in 2011. For now, he is focused on his property company with business partner Colm Piercy, promoting his book and his other business interests. “I continue to believe in Ireland, I continue to believe in the need for our young people to have opportunity, the need for entrepreneurs, the need for jobs, the need for Ireland to grow, change and develop,” he says, succeeding in dodging the question. “I’m very optimistic about the future. I’m always open to play my part wherever I can, and I never say never. At the moment I’m focused very much on business and we just have to watch that space and see what happens.” 45

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Forget Spotify, vinyl is all the rage these days when it comes to music retail. And the renewed appetite for physical music formats has resulted in a new recordpressing plant in the capital. InBUSINESS speaks to Hugh Scully, founder and MD of Dublin Vinyl Record Pressing.





Q: Could you give us

Q: Who are your typical

Q: Any industry trends

a brief background on Dublin Vinyl and what you do? HS: Dublin Vinyl is a stateof-the-art vinyl pressing plant based in Glasnevin, Dublin and servicing customers all over the world. We press the highest quality vinyl on standard weight and audiophile heavyweight, on both black and a range of colours.

clients? HS: In Ireland we’re primarily working with independent labels and direct to artists and have also pressed for the major labels. Further afield we’re working with labels and distributors at all levels, mainly in the UK, Germany, France, Holland and our North American business is constantly growing.

shaping your business right now? HS: Absolutely. The so called “vinyl renaissance” and resulting phenomenal demand has seen vinyl sales increase by over 2000 per cent since 2005 and still growing year-on-year with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. There is a massive backlog in vinyl production, with people


046 InBusiness Q2 2018_Small Business Profile.indd 46

being told they need to wait up to six months to have their record pressed. Also, there are huge advancements in the technological side of the industry, with our WarmTone presses being the first new presses to be made since the ’80s. Developed by Viryl Technologies in Toronto, they follow the same traditional process for vinyl InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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manufacture, but are fully automated, significantly faster and more efficient with a consistently higher quality product. Turntable sales continue to soar with the players being one of the top selling tech products for 2017.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you face as a small business in Ireland? HS: Working capital is a huge challenge in the early stages and can limit growth. We have only been pressing records for six months but are already securing some very large international contracts. AIB has supported us with asset finance, but many of the traditional banks require that a business has been trading for a minimum of two years and has sales of over 1 million before it will provide financial support on a client or order basis. It’s great to see companies such as Bibby Financial and InvoiceFair providing alternative solutions to early stage companies. Peer to peer lenders such as Linked Finance and Flender are also an excellent alternative to traditional banks and we will be working with them to fund additional equipment as we scale.

Q: What more could the Government be doing to help businesses like yours? HS: The EIIS Tax Relief Scheme is an excellent source of funding for early stage companies but Revenue has been experiencing delays processing applications and approving companies over the past 12 months. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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We received provisional approval back in April 2017 and raised 300,000 through the scheme and are very hopeful that the backlog is cleared soon so that it remains an attractive investment opportunity again this year. We were also very lucky to have the support of the Dublin City LEO which provided mentoring, a salary-based priming grant and some export assistance.

Q: How many staff do you have? Any plans to recruit more in the near future? HS: We’re currently employing six full-time and three part-time staff, with plans to hire four more over the next few months. As we scale and increase our capacity our team will grow to approximately 20.

Q: Where do you see the business going in the next five to ten years? How would you define success? HS: We have a very detailed five-year business plan that will see us scale the Dublin operation to an output capacity of over six million units per annum. We also have plans to increase our presence in North America and Asia and are in talks with potential partners. Our 9,000 sq ft warehouse located beside the new Porterhouse Brewery has also allowed us to be very creative with the design and layout of the plant. We have constructed a ‘building within a building’ from seven converted shipping containers that house our




offices, studio, pressing and assembly areas. This allows us to host events in the future and we also have plans for a podcast and live ‘Straight to Vinyl’ studio. Success for us is through long-term relationships and repeat business with our customers and producing some of the best quality vinyl in the world. We’re positioning ourselves as the ‘bands’ pressing plant’ and will regularly host live recording sessions for both local and international artists.

Q: What’s the most treasured vinyl that you possess? HS: That’s a tough one! I’ve thousands of records from when I was DJ-ing and some are very rare and hold great memories.

Hugh Scully, founder and MD, Dublin Vinyl Record Pressing

My Dad also has a great collection and I’m regularly dipping into it. He’s a big jazz fan and they bring back great memories from my childhood.

Q: Any company news/ announcements you can share with us at this time? HS: We’re currently building our ‘Straight to Vinyl’ Studio where visiting artists can record a track and we cut the master disc live in a total analogue process. We’ll be one of only a few plants in the world that can record and press a record all under one roof. We’re also in the final stages of test pressing for some very large labels and artists. Watch this space! 47

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Jack Murray, founder, All Good Tales


f anyone understands the importance of a good story it’s Jack Murray. Murray has set up not one but two communications businesses, one that distributes press releases and information on behalf of brands – Media HQ – and another that helps brands build and tell their own unique story – All Good Tales. Through his experience he has learned what makes a great story and, perhaps more importantly, what makes a story sell. It wast through the distribution of press releases and stories that Murray quickly discovered the kind of stories that did well and the ones that didn’t and, as a result, grew to appreciate the power of effective storytelling. Acting as a “postman for press releases and information”, he discovered how it was those with the best stories who succeeded. “It became obvious to me that great stories get more,” says Murray. “More funding, more attention, more emotional reaction, more loyalty and more sales.” Around the time when the 100,000th story was being sent via Media HQ, Murray recognised that a fundamental change in communications

Alan McArthur

Storytelling for businesses is by no means a new concept, however with technological advancements in recent years, brands can now use the medium more readily to raise their profile, engage customers and boost their bottom line. SINÉAD MOORE speaks to Jack Murray, founder of All Good Tales, to understand more about the art of storytelling.






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MEET THE MASTERS Jack references five companies that have mastered the art of storytelling. Check out their content online and decide for yourself:




Find your magic slice

was taking place. Customers were becoming less and less concerned about where the story was coming from and more concerned about the story itself. With this in mind, All Good Tales was born in 2016 to harness the art of powerful storytelling. “We wanted to share the knowledge behind the science of what makes a great story,” says Murray. The All Good Tales team adopts a very unique technique in helping companies find and build an effective brand story. The first step is finding what Murray refers to as your “magic slice”. The magic slice, he says, is the area of overlap between what you want to talk about and what your customers want to hear. “A lot of people are under the false illusion that the world wants to hear everything that they have to say and that’s never the case.” Murray works with brands to figure out what their magic slice of content is, where the audience is most receptive, attentive and engaged. From its office in Harold’s Cross, the All Good Tales team then helps brands and organisations to craft their ideas into compelling stories. Murray believes that a compelling brand story is far more interesting than stats and figures and it will always resonate more with your audience. “The science of storytelling shows us that if you tell a story people will remember it far longer than if someone gives you a statistic or a bullet point in a presentation or if they tell you some dry nonemotional information,” he says. Storytelling certainly isn’t a new concept. We have been telling stories for years. The problem now is not telling the story, but getting people to listen. In the age of social media, this is more important than ever. Social media and technological advancements have made it so simple to InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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share and consume content. While there are many advantages, it also means that everyone is a publisher. Anyone with access to the internet has the ability to publish and create. It’s no longer enough to just have a recognisable brand name, if you don’t have a story, you won’t retain inerest, something Murray warns businesses to be cognisant of. “People have become agnostic about who’s creating the story so whether it’s a video, audio, text, or picture, if you can create a great story, people will consume it because it’s a great story,” he says. So then, what are the key ingredients for a good brand story? Murray says the most important factor with every brand story is that it is being used to communicate your ‘magic slice’. This communication, Murray advises, should also solve a problem for the brand or organisation. “The story should feed the need of the business,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re an events page that wants to oversubscribe or a detergent that wants to sell really well, the story that you tell has to help in some way the overall mission and objective. That’s essential.” All Good Tales helps brands to first identify their mission and vision before working out their magic slice. This ensures that the brand story not only resonates with their audience in their most engaged state but it also helps the brand fulfill its business objective and stay true to its mission and vision. Last but not least, your story needs to be authentic and real. It needs to come from the heart of the brand and it needs to actually resonate with people. According to Murray, great brand stories communicate with people on an emotional level and they repeat the same positive emotions over and over again. “If you have a story that can convey that, it’s really powerful,” concludes Murray.

Identify what makes your brand stand out

Do a stocktake on what your story is and what makes it unique

Forget traditional newsrooms and share your story on your website

Be open about your journey – share the back stories behind your brand

Connect with your inner eight-yearold and practise your storytelling

Keep in mind the things that resonate with your audience


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In his new book Total Rethink, Irish-American entrepreneur David McCourt says we have to act more like creative entrepreneurs if we are going to survive and thrive in this new world. In the following extract, he looks at the importance of sharing information and ideas. hen I was young I used to believe that if I had a good idea I should keep it to myself in case someone stole it. I have changed my view completely and now believe it is good to try ideas out on as many people as possible. It is hard for people to successfully steal ideas from you because, more often than not, the value is not in the idea itself, it is in its execution. If someone took the idea and tried to use it themself I would still be okay as long as I made sure I executed it better than they did. Execution is always the key to success and I would recommend anyone to read the book Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Secrecy, I believe, is a great inhibitor of progress. The more people share and broadcast ideas, the more opportunities there are for cooperation and for those ideas to develop and come to fruition. If everyone is keeping everything secret then we are doomed to keep on reinventing the wheel and will consequently slow down our rates of progress. I have also discovered over time that if an idea is really new and you are the first one to think of it, no one wants to lend you money to develop it anyway, so it would be doubly hard for someone who has stolen an idea – and is therefore almost by definition not such a passionate advocate of that idea as the originator – to be able to raise the necessary finance. Professional investors want to see some 50

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evidence that an idea works before they take a risk on it. “If this idea is so great,” they reason, “how come no one else is doing it already?” So that also lowers the chances that anyone will succeed if they steal a revolutionary idea because how else will they raise the necessary money? Only by sharing ideas and skills have we been able to create the modern world. If people had not worked together in the past no one would have discovered antibiotics or electricity, and no one would have been able to build roads, houses or drainage systems. We have to work together to progress, and that includes sharing ideas and discoveries and helping one another to succeed in turning them into realities. Protectionism has to be a negative force in the long term, even if it protects some vested interests in the short term, whether they are financial or political. Middle management in big corporations is another area where self-interested control of information can be a hugely destructive force. Managers sometimes decide to keep information to themselves because they believe it gives them an advantage over their colleagues, which it almost never does. All it does is demonstrate that they see those colleagues as competitors rather than teammates, which can’t be good for the company. The ability to share information, cooperate and collaborate with others is one of the main reasons that the human race has been InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR David McCourt is a successful and awardwinning entrepreneur widely recognised for using technology and innovation to improve the lives of underserved communities. Over the last 30 years he has founded or bought 20 companies in nine countries, becoming a leader in the technology, media and telecommunications industries. McCourt is also an Emmy award-winning producer having produced prime-time documentaries that highlight some of the world’s most prominent problems. He is currently founder and chairman of global investment firm Granahan McCourt Capital.


This is an extract from Total Rethink: Why Entrepreneurs Should Act Like Revolutionaries by David McCourt, reprinted with permission from RedDoor Publishing. It is available in paperback for 20 from good bookshops or directly from

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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able to develop beyond the other mammals on the planet. It does not pay to worry too much about who will get the credit for things that work well. I was on a plane once, sitting next to a guy called John Cunningham, who was COO of Wang Computers, talking about the whole theory of tying computers together so they could talk to each other, stress-testing my ideas on him while I had a captive audience. “Great idea,” he said, “but you need to simplify it. You need to be able to explain any new idea in one slide that can be understood by everyone from the most junior secretary to the most senior executive.”

That was the full extent of his advice on the subject. Many years later he was Chairman of the Boston Public Library and I was invited to a fundraiser at which he was speaking. We had just sold the company for more than $14 billion, a deal which had received a lot of attention in the newspapers. We were all feeling very pleased with ourselves when he pointed to me on the front table and informed the crowd that the whole concept had been his idea in the first place. I was reminded of a quote I saw on Ronald Reagan’s desk in the Oval Office, which said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” 51

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Jason Clarke

hen Nurcan Baysal received an email from Dublinheadquartered human rights group Front Line Defenders telling her she was the recipient of its 2018 Global Laureate award, the 43-yearold journalist and activist was taken by surprise. That’s because, according to Baysal, Kurdish people are generally “unseen”. Baysal hails from Diyarbakir, one of the largest cities in south-eastern Turkey, a region known to some as Kurdistan. This territory is home to an estimated 20 million Kurds, a people who have their own distinct language and culture and who have for decades been fighting for equal rights and independence. Indeed, throughout history, the plight of Kurds

Kurdish journalist and activist Nurcan Baysal


defender the


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in Turkey has been a difficult one and following the collapse of a two-year peace process between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government in 2015, the situation for them has worsened. It was made all the more severe as a result of the attempted coup against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his elected government on July 15th 2016. That’s when a faction of soldiers staged a short-lived insurrection that was confronted by mass protests in Istanbul and elsewhere. More than 250 people were killed, including many civilians, and thousands injured before order was restored. Since then, Erdoğan has been accused of turning the failed coup into a path to greater power, cracking down on the media, academics, activists, opposition politicians and anyone else seen as a threat or deemed capable of critical thinking. As with previous crackdowns, the Kurdish people in Turkey have felt severely targeted. A UN worker-turned-journalist, Baysal has been among the few who have been documenting the human rights violations committed by the government against the Kurdish minority. Throughout the years, her home city and other areas in the Kurdistan region have been continuously shelled, while government troops have killed thousands of Kurds, both members of the PKK – an organisation recognised by the Turkish government as a terrorist group – and innocent civilians. “The government has used emergency rule to stifle all opposition,” she tells me over the phone from Diyarbakir. “When we look at our region, the situation is worse especially A boy looks on as an estimated because the peace process collapsed between the Turkish state one million people gather in Diyarbakir, Turkey for Newroz, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in July 2015. That’s when the the most important celebration clashes began. But this time there’s a difference because before, of Kurdish people in the last 40 years, the clashes were in the mountains not in the centres. People don’t leave their houses for months and the State declares a military curfew. We are under bombardment.” According to Baysal, Kurdish media has been shut down, NGOs have been closed, and political access for Kurdish people has been completely cut off. “Most of my friends are in prison or they were forced to leave the country so it’s hard to find someone in the region who can speak, who can continue to struggle for human rights,” she says. “The situation here is really bad now.” On a personal level, it all came to a head for Baysal when, in January 2018, around 20 police officers armed with Kalashnikovs and other weapons stormed her home, detaining her for “terrorist propaganda” the government claims she was spreading through social media. The arrest related to five tweets she had sent condemning the war in Afrin, a small enclave in northwestern Syria populated by Kurds and Arabs where the ambitions of regional powers are currently being laid bare. Among the tweets posted by Baysal were: “The leftists, the rightists, the nationalists and the Islamists are all united together in hate against the Kurdish people” as well as a retweet of another journalist’s photo of a dead child in Afrin. Baysal was detained for three days and will InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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WHO ARE THE KURDS? An estimated 25 to 30 million Kurds mostly live in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Armenia, and make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East. Predominantly Sunni Muslims, the Kurds are without an official homeland and continue to seek recognition, political rights, autonomy or independence. It was early in the 20th Century when many Kurds began to consider the creation of a nation state to call their own. Following World War One and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres. However, the Kurdish dream never materialised and when the boundaries of modern Turkey were drawn in the Treaty of Lausanne, Kurds were left with nothing more than minority status in their respective countries. Over the course of the next 80 years, any efforts by Kurds to establish an independent state have been brutally quashed. In 1978, Abdullah Ocalan set up the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group which called for an independent state within Turkey. Six years later, after little political progress, the group took up arms. Since then, more than 40,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.


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A child stays next to his ruined house in the Cizre district

Turkish armed forces display a strong presence in Cizre


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Cagdas Erdogan/Getty Images

A woman reacts while walking among the ruins of damaged buildings following heavy fighting between government troops and Kurdish fighters in the southeastern Turkey Kurdish town of Cizre, March 2016

Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images


A picture of a girl lays on the ground of a ruined house in Cizre

Ilyas Akengin /AFP/Getty Images

Ilyas Akengin /AFP/Getty Images

Kurdish people living in a refugee camp in Suruc

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A woman shows mortals inside her ruined house in the Cizre district


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Jason Clarke

now face sentencing in October when she could face up to three years in prison. That’s after already being handed down a suspended 10-month sentence for an article expressing her opposition to military operations in a town called Cizre. “In Turkey this is called terrorism,” she says. “And it’s not only me. More than 1,000 people have been detained in Turkey after the operation began. The best academics in Turkey, students, teachers, doctors, even wedding singers, everyone! Anyone who demands peace – they are put in prison.”

ABOUT FRONT LINE DEFENDERS Founded by Mary Lawlor in Dublin in 2001, Front Line Defenders aims to protect human rights defenders across the world who are deemed to be at risk; people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The organisation is headquartered in Dublin and has an EU office in Brussels, along with regionally based field staff in the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Front Line Defenders receives support from a number of donors including Irish Aid, Al Jazeera and Fáilte Ireland. Its board of directors includes Mary Lawlor, Noeline Blackwell and Denis O’Brien.


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A FAMILIAR STRUGGLE In May 2018, Baysal spent a short time in Dublin to collect her Front Line Defenders award, which was her fifth visit to Ireland. She was previously here around the time of the Good Friday Agreement, when she met both Bertie Ahern and Gerry Adams. “For many years I followed the Irish peace process,” she tells me. “The struggle of the Irish people is something we, the Kurdish people, always followed.” During the same trip, Baysal also visited London where she delivered a speech in Westminster and shared information about the current situation in the Kurdish region. “I gave them information about what is happening because the human rights violations usually don’t find any place in Turkish media or international media,” she says. “For example, in my city the curfew has been in place for over two-and-a-half years. It continues in six districts in the historical area

of the city, which is the longest curfew in the world. But no one knows.” Theresa May and the British government came under some criticism in May for rolling out the red carpet for President Erdoğan during his three-day state visit to the UK. Erdoğan concluded the visit with a speech at Downing Street during which he insisted that all journalists locked in Turkish jails were terrorist criminals and urged May’s government to do more to extradite Turkish exiles from the Gulenist (followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who has been blamed for the 2016 attempted coup) or Kurdish movements. So does Baysal believe the Kurdish people have been let down by the international community? “Yes, I do,” she says. “The international community did very little to respond to this violence against the Kurdish people – really, very little. I am talking about massacre, I’m talking about bombing your own citizens, I’m talking about seeing dead bodies on the streets, and no one came. In the past three years, even the ambassadors, international NGOs, international media. Yes, Kurdish people have been left alone.” Despite having to live with regular death threats as a result of her work and the concern for the safety of her husband and two sons, Aysal has not been deterred by the lonely task of documenting the plight of the Kurdish people. She believes that the cause is too big to ignore and, as a member of the human race, she has an obligation to bring these stories of human suffering to the attention of the world, much of which are published on Londonbased news website “It’s not easy but I feel myself to be a member of the struggle of humanity, not something just related to Turkish or Kurdish things,” she says. “I’m not thinking too much about the pressure because if I think too much, the fear takes [over] me. I don’t have time to think about the pressures and for this reason I am acting. Because people are homeless and there are families looking for the dead bodies of their children. Within this situation I am trying to do my best and trying not to think about my problems and what might happen.” Baysal says what the Kurdish people need now is action. “A lot of people in Turkey wait in hope for external actors to come. They are always looking to see who will come and help, but I really think that we are the hope – people who believe and act for human rights, peace and democracy. They are trying to silence me but I feel stronger than ever. I am not scared.” InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot pictured with representatives of the Chamber Network

CHAMBER COMMENT “The conclusion of this trade deal provides steadfast assurances to EU and Irish business of the benefits of the Single Market, and also the opportunities the EU provides for increased trade globally.” Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot welcomes news that the EU and Japan have been authorised to formally ratify a new trade deal

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hambers Ireland has launched its Pre-Budget 2019 Submission, recommending that Government use Budget 2019 as an opportunity to think strategically about how we can future-proof our economy and make the best use of today’s prosperity. Speaking at the Chamber Chief Executives’ Forum in Athlone where chief executives from the Chamber Network gathered, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said: “Budget 2019 will be the first since the finalisation of Project Ireland 2040, but it will also be the last before the UK’s departure from the European Union. This is representative of the wider position in which we currently stand; with great opportunity for growth on the one hand, and significant external threats on the other.”

For more on the Pre-Budget Submission recommendations go to page 64.

KILDARE CHAMBER COMPANIES WORKING TOGETHER The Irish office of the 4 billion German multinational, Jungheinrich, Allan Shine, CEO, County Kildare which is based in Maynooth, has Chamber, Des Kavanagh, MD, secured a 700,000 deal, which Jungheinrich, Liam Queally, MD, Irish Dog will see it provide 23 forklifts and a Foods and Ciaran Murray, Queally Group complete state-of-the-art warehouse mobile racking solution to Irish Dog Foods. The agreement will help enable the Naas-based company provide innovative pet products for global brands and national retailers. Commenting on the deal, County Kildare Chamber CEO Allan Shine said: “This is a great example of what the Chamber has been assisting in the county and it really showcases the potential we have here for business to really shine and thrive on the world stage.”


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CHAMBER COMMENT “We welcome the plans and the scale of the ambitions they aim to achieve. We look forward to seeing Ireland’s global footprint manifest in the years to come.” Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot commenting on the launch of the Global Ireland 2025 plans

CHAMBER CAPTION The Limerick Chamber team launching its new website, which was designed by Limerick company Little Blue Studio.

Kathryn Kiely, President, Waterford Chamber

NEW PRESIDENT AT WATERFORD CHAMBER Ambassador Peter Kok meets with the team of Thermo Air Ireland

CARLOW CHAMBER GETS CONNECTED County Carlow Chamber has launched a new networking programme aimed at developing stronger trade links between Chamber members and representatives from existing and new markets. The Chamber Trade Connections series, which is supported by Carlow County Council and Carlow Local Enterprise Office, also aims to promote the county by showcasing and highlighting its great range of companies, people, products and services. As part of the new series, on April 19th, His Excellency Peter Kok, Ambassador at the Royal Netherlands Embassy, arrived in Carlow for the opening event, which commenced with a tour of Thermo Air Ireland, a company established in Carlow in 1980. County Carlow Chamber is developing plans for further events in the Chamber Trade Connections series and would like to hear from any businesses that have entered or are looking to enter any specific markets.


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Kathryn Kiely, co-owner and Director of Glazik Ltd., has been elected president of Waterford Chamber. Kiely has worked closely with the Chamber for the last six years as a member of the Jobs Enterprise & Innovation Committee, the Executive Committee and also as a board member. Prior to her current role, she worked as Head of Industry Services at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) where she played a significant role in developing and managing the institute’s research, innovation and enterprise development programmes.

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The speaker panel at the Skillnet ‘Up-Skilling the Mid-West’ seminar



usinesses from across the midwest region came together on May 17th to share strategies for recruiting and retaining talent within their organisations at an event in Dromoland Castle, Co Clare. Themed ‘Upskilling the Mid-West – Innovative Ways to Attract and Retain Talent’, the seminar heard from high profile businesses about the challenges of retaining talent within the mid-west region. The event was hosted by eight Skillnet Ireland networks including Shannon Chamber Skillnet and it provided a platform to launch Skillnet Ireland, the national agency for workforce development (formerly Skillnets) bringing together 67 Skillnet networks across the country under one unified brand and strategy. Speaking at the event, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes said: “It has never been as important as it is today for employers and employees to focus on upskilling. We are witnessing a cross sectoral increase in the level of activity in this area among employers as they see the value in attracting and retaining talent within their organisations.”


“This is a discouraging development for the business community particularly as we face into the uncertainties regarding Brexit and a growth in protectionist measures.” Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot responding to the news that Ireland has dropped six places, to 12th place, in the IMD Competitiveness Yearbook Rankings 2018

DUBLIN FIRMS DEMAND BETTER CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE Dublin businesses have come together to demand safer cycling infrastructure in the city for their staff. More than 40 of Dublin Chamber’s member companies have teamed up so far to call for increased Government spending on segregated cycle lanes and better bike facilities in Dublin. The move is part of a new partnership between the Chamber and the CyclingWorks Dublin campaign, which aims to encourage the business community to pressure the Government to significantly increase the amount of money it is spending on safe cycling infrastructure in Dublin.


Caroline Kennedy, Republic of Work, Barbara-Anne Richardson, Cork Chamber, DC Cahalane, Republic of Work, Conor Healy, Cork Chamber

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Members of Cork Chamber are in a position to enjoy a range of new facilities and benefits as a result of a new partnership between Cork Chamber and Republic of Work. The partnership, Chamber Republic, will see Cork Chamber and Republic of Work cooperate in a wide range of areas and builds on Cork Chamber’s recently announced initiative whereby start-ups under one year in business are being offered free membership of Cork Chamber in a move to support the growth of new, indigenous businesses across Cork.


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17/08/2018 28/05/2018 09:27 12:32


Stronger InBUSINESS spoke to Maeve Joyce, General Manager, Galway Chamber, to see how businesses in the west are faring and how the strengthening of relationships in the region is helping the Chamber succeed. Q: You have been with Galway Chamber for most of your career. How is Chamber life?


Outer Bypass and the development of Galway Port delivered.

class colleges, a dynamic talent pool, quality of life second to none, Ireland’s only bilingual city on the doorstep of the Connemara Gaeltacht, surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, yet less than two hours from three international airports.

A: Chamber life is varied, busy, fulfilling, challenging, ever-changing and exciting. We are committed to building a stronger Galway and region by being the leading voice of the business community. Our mission to ‘make Galway the leading location for business, investment and people’ reflects our role in driving economic development for our members and beyond. In 2018 we have completely refurbished our offices at Merchant’s Road to offer a business hub to our members, we have a new website and we are hosting a new Galway website called ‘Why Galway’.

Q: How are preparations

Q: What would you say

Q: For any companies

A: Ireland 2040 and

are the burning issues currently facing businesses in Galway?

considering locating in Galway, what would you say the county has to offer?

A: Traffic and

A: Galway, both city and county, is a location of choice. Our challenge now is to accommodate those who wish to locate or relocate here. We offer industry clusters, top

our role as a designated urban centre for growth therein, the progression of our vision for a Galway Development Authority and the provision of a full, varied and relevant programme of events for our members as well as the continuation and

transportation, deficit of office space and a lack of residential accommodation. We need to see long-term infrastructural projects such as the Galway City

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going for the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture project? What will it mean for business?

A: Initially, as part of

Q: What is the most

the first bid, the judges referenced the fact that the business community here accepted an increase in commercial rates of 3 per cent to be specifically ringfenced to fund Galway 2020. This shows the commitment of business in Galway from the beginning of this cultural journey. Now, 18 months away, the programme and the logistics are ramping up. It will be a momentous year for Galway followed by some legacy years thereafter.

valuable advice you have been given?

A: Ní neart go chur le chéile, which means ‘Stronger together’ or as the tagline on the Galway Chamber logo says: ‘Ag cothú gnó le chéile’, which means ‘Supporting business together’. I believe that while each one of us may be strong, there is no doubt that we are stronger together.

Maeve Joyce, General Manager, Galway Chamber

strengthening of our relationships with other private and public bodies including our recent initiatives with Udaras na Gaeltachta.

Q: What have been the key objectives of the Chamber in 2018?

Q: Any exciting events at Galway Chamber we can look forward to in the latter part of the year?

A: We will host our Urban Development for Regional Growth Conference 2018 on September 14th where experts and other interested parties will give us the tools to develop our urban areas as drivers for regional growth.


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Budget Priorities For Budget 2019, it is imperative that we look ahead with equal measures of optimism and caution, writes Elisha Collier O’Brien, Policy Manager, Chambers Ireland.


udget 2019 comes at an important moment for Ireland as we stand facing an uncertain world. While the economy is performing strongly, changes in the international trade environment and the potentially damaging impact of Brexit pose threats to our uniquely open economy. For 2018, the Department of Finance expects growth of 5.6 per cent, and 4 per cent for 2019, while unemployment remains low, standing at 5.1 per cent in June and moving ever closer to full employment. These are positive indicators, but with a budgetary package of 3.4 billion and fiscal space of 800 million, strategic choices and priorities must be identified. Budget 2019 will be the first budget following the finalisation of Project Ireland 2040 and it is crucial for our growing economy and population that investments announced in the National Development Plan begin, and that the strategic plans set out in the National Planning Framework are followed. The road, rail, port and public transport infrastructure outlined in the National Development Plan are essential for businesses to grow


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and for the quality of life of employees. At the same time, plans for transport must be cognisant of our climate change commitments and businesses want to see Government tackle the environmental challenges facing us head on. Given the limited budget package available, the priority must be capital spending that will address growth-constraining infrastructural deficits. Strategic investment in infrastructure will enable all of our cities to compete for investment and jobs as they drive growth and unlock the potential of their wider regions. Delivery of the Project Ireland 2040 plans necessitates that we maintain a broad tax base and do not become overly reliant on unreliable sources of income. A prudent and medium term approach to changes in income tax should be coupled with delivering value for money public services. In last year’s Budget Submission to the Minister for Finance, Chambers Ireland called for the establishment of a Rainy Day Fund to ensure that any future shocks to our economy do not lead to a decline in capital investment. We support its introduction, particularly to be




utilised as a form of equalisation fund to ensure continued, stable investment in the National Development Plan. Competitiveness is increasingly under threat from the high cost of doing business and general high cost of living in Ireland. Government must focus on addressing the issues contributing to these high costs, from childcare to housing and beyond. It is imperative that we look ahead with equal measures of optimism and caution. We stand in a strong economic position today. Careful planning and spending in Budget 2019 will lead us on a sustainable path, ready to seize all future opportunities and weather any threats.

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In Business for

Peace Martin Naughton, owner of Glen Dimplex, has become the first ever Irish honouree by the Business for Peace Foundation, following his nomination by Chambers Ireland in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry and South Dublin Chamber.


he Oslo Business for Peace Award, a joint initiative from the International Chamber of Commerce and the Business for Peace Foundation, is an annual award given to leaders who do business for the good of humankind through ethics and responsibility. The awards, which have been in operation since 2009, are presented in Oslo City Hall, the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, with honourees chosen by a prestigious awards committee consisting of past Nobel Prize winners in peace and economy. The objective of this award is to accelerate the development of ethical business practices by increasing awareness of the strengths of the ethical business case. The aim is to inspire and encourage business people to foster peace and stability to the benefit of humanity. Past winners include Sir Richard Branson, Emily Cummins, Sarah Beydoun and Elon Musk. Martin Naughton, founder of Glen Dimplex, was one of three winners of the 2018 Business for

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Peace award, for his inspiring efforts to promote the role of the private sector in contributing to peace and environmental sustainability. He was presented with his award at a ceremony on May 16th together with the other two award winners, Lori Blaker (USA) and Edgar Montenegro (Colombia). Glen Dimplex commenced trading as Glen Electric in Newry in 1973 and has grown from seven employees to become Ireland’s largest privately owned manufacturing business and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of domestic appliances. Having founded the company, Naughton continues to play an enormous role in its expansion and evolution, most recently establishing a corporate department on renewable and low-carbon solutions for heating, cooling and ventilation in attempting to tackle climate change. He was also a strong advocate and ambassador for the peace process on the island of Ireland. Commenting on the award, Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to propose Mr Naughton for consideration by the Foundation. This is an incredible global accolade for one of Ireland’s most successful business leaders who has worked tirelessly to promote economic and educational development to foster peace, inclusion and economic wellbeing.”

Margaret Considine, President, South Dublin Chamber and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland pictured with Martin Naughton

Martin Naughton said of the announcement: “I am honoured and humbled to have been recognised by Business for Peace for this award. Throughout my life in business as founder of Glen Dimplex Group, I have been fortunate to have been able to play my part in effecting positive societal change. As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, I am reminded that we must continue to work to maintain peace on both sides of the Irish border. Similarly, we must redouble our efforts to tackle climate change and promote environmental sustainability.” The award presentation was attended by Naughton’s family members and friends and several Chambers in Ireland including South Dublin and Dundalk. There were many highlights on the evening but the final message of congratulations was received from President Michael D Higgins who congratulated all three winners. It was a fitting end to a wonderful occasion recognising an outstanding career and lifetime of achievement.


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Going North Global:


In the second of a Chambers Ireland series exploring overseas markets and the opportunities they pose for Irish business, Emma Kerins, EU and International Affairs Manager, takes a closer look at North America.


reland has long held close links with North America, owing to a long history of Irish emigration to the United States and Canada over the past several centuries. These historical links have led to strong cultural, political and economic ties and have certainly contributed to the healthy economic relationship that currently exists between Ireland and the continent, notably the United States. The economic relationship between Ireland and North America will

become even stronger into the future, helped by the recent trade deals with Canada (ratified in 2017) and Mexico (formally signed earlier this July). The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), signed by the EU and Canada on October 30th 2016, has been given provisional effect and is now due to be ratified by the European Parliament and parliaments in all 28 member states. CETA will remove over 99 per cent of tariffs between the EU and Canada and will create sizeable new market opportunities for Irish business. The current total value of Irish exports to Canada is .2.3 million per year, with total imports valued at .729m. Once the trade agreement takes effect, Ireland could expect to see exports to Canada rise by .500m per annum.

In the newly negotiated trade agreement with Mexico, the EU and Mexico have agreed a substantial upgrade in the existing trade agreement, signed nearly 20 years ago, which will allow 99 per cent of goods to be traded between them on a tariff-free basis. It also sees a further opening up of the services sector and the .20 billion public procurement market to EU businesses, estimated to save them up to .100 million a year in customs duties. The agreement will particularly benefit Irish agrifood exporters, notably those in the dairy industry, which will secure considerable volume for milk powder exports, starting with 30,000 tonnes from entry into force, and rising to 50,000 tonnes of milk powder exports from the EU after five years.


Peter Byrne, CEO, South Dublin Chamber pictured with Bob Rohrlack, President and CEO, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce in Florida


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This evolution in our trading relationships with Canada and Mexico comes in stark contrast to the EU’s current relationship with the United States, where both regions, at the time of writing, are engaged in an escalating trade war. The election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States caused concern among the international business community, particularly regarding his position on tax reform and the impact that might have for US Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ireland. But the escalation of a tariff war was spurred on initially by US tariffs on steel and aluminium to deal with alleged “dumping” by the Chinese. A trade

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war could have potentially disastrous consequences for Ireland; after the EU’s Single Market, the United States is our largest trading partner due to the large presence of US FDI, while Ireland also holds the fifth largest trade surplus in goods with the US. This turn in events is hard to fathom, particularly when only two years ago, the EU and the US were in advanced stages of negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a trade deal which would join two of the biggest economies in the world. As part of this, Ireland was predicted to benefit more than double any other EU member state. Now, rather than working towards a deeper trading partnership, the EU and US find themselves further apart than they could have imagined. Speaking to Chambers Ireland, Chief Executive of County Kildare Chamber Allan Shine notes that the Chamber will continue to focus on North America as a key strategic destination to promote the county as the ideal location for FDI. “The common message that came across loud and clear during a recent visit from the Pennsylvanian Department of Community and Economic Development was that Irish workers, both here and in the US are highly valued by American business,” he says. “Over and over again, the message was repeated that Irish workers are recognised as being well educated, hardworking and dependable. It appears that the reputation of being hard drinkers and great craic has been replaced and this is now the greatest strength Ireland has in the global workplace.” County Kildare Chamber has developed strong ties with the Pennsylvanian department and in the past 12 months has hosted two delegation visits. Pennsylvanian officials have expressed strong interest in developing a two way flow of business back into Kildare and were very impressed by the county’s infrastructure, skilled workforce,

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William McMorrow, Chairman/CEO, Kennedy Wilson, Vivian Cummins, President, County Kildare Chamber, Allan Shine, CEO, County Kildare Chamber

countryside and proximity to the main transport access hubs in Dublin. Peter Byrne, Chief Executive of South Dublin Chamber also notes the value of building strong working relationships with like-minded organisations on the ground in the US. “In September 2015 South Dublin Chamber signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce in Florida as part of their first visit to Ireland,” he explains. “Our goal in signing an MoU was to find practical ways to help our members. We meet once a year to review what we are being asked for in relation to US-Ireland and EU trade and how

we are servicing this need. We share good examples of chamber work and assist each other with understanding business issues in the one another’s jurisdiction. An example of this is how we provided insights on Brexit and were briefed on proposed new trade barriers in the US.” Despite tensions in the political space, the US continues and will continue to be a major market and trading partner for Irish business. Chambers within our Network are focusing on building relationships with other Chambers and businesses on the ground, so that whatever happens in the political space, Irish-US relations will continue to prosper.


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Commute Conundrum Gabriel Doran, Chambers Ireland, assesses some of the infrastructural development plans outlined in Project Ireland 2040 and what they might mean for the country’s commuting patterns.


roject Ireland 2040, launched earlier this year, provides a blueprint for substantial infrastructural developments due to take place over the coming decades, aimed at further developing Ireland’s transport infrastructure and hopefully impacting upon our commuting patterns. Assessing our nation’s current transport habits leads to a number of questions: What are Ireland’s commuting trends? How can the Project Ireland 2040 plans enhance Ireland’s commutes? Are there existing possibilities for innovation in commuter transportation that are not being utilised?

Results of the 2016 national census highlight how Ireland reflects many of the trends that the wider western world is experiencing. While the car is still the most common mode of transport for commuting workers, there has been a significant increase in the number of commuters choosing to cycle to work, with a 43 per cent increase in bicycles as the preferred means of transport since 2011. At the same time, the number of people working from home increased by 14 per cent in the same period, while the number of workers with no ‘fixed’ place of work increased by 18 per cent. Out of a rough total of three million commuters in Ireland, 65 per cent of those travelling to work either drive or are car passengers. Looking at this through an urban-rural lens, 7 in 10 people commute by car in rural areas, which compares with less than half in Dublin and 6 in 10 in Cork.


9 per cent of commuters use public transport to get to work

7 in 10

people commute to work by car in rural areas


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43 per cent increase in bicycles as the preferred means of transport for commuting to work from 2011 to 2016

Dublin city centre commuters could save 86 hours a year by switching from car to bike

BLUEPRINTS Earlier this year, Government launched ‘Project Ireland 2040’, which consists of a spatial plan to be developed out to the year 2040 and a National Development Plan for the next ten years. Together these plans outline the blueprints for substantial infrastructural developments due to take place over the coming decade. So, what will these plans mean for our different commuting options and what innovations are possible beyond Project Ireland 2040’s policies? Under Project Ireland 2040, 7.3 billion is to be invested in regional roads, with key road structures including the Atlantic Road Corridor, linking Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo, the M20 road from Cork to Limerick and the N6 Galway City Ring Road all standing to benefit. Additionally, under the plans, no nonzero emission vehicles in Ireland will be sold beyond 2030. Can this expansion in infrastructure for our car commutes be reconciled with the demand for environmental efficiency? A report published in June 2018 by Climate Action Network Europe ranked Ireland as the second-worst performing EU member country in tackling climate change and notes that Ireland’s targets to reduce emissions are unambitious. The latest EPA report on emissions shows Ireland will achieve just a 3 per cent reduction by 2020, a wide miss of the original target of 20 per cent. At present, 52 per

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cent of all emissions from transport in Ireland comes from private cars. Other EU countries are developing innovative solutions to accelerate the transition to zero emission commutes, such as ‘C-Roads Portugal’, which involves developing ‘smart roads’ with wireless communications between the road and electric cars on 1,000km of Portuguese roads. Project Ireland 2040 aims to continue to expand Ireland’s urban and rural rail and bus links with 8.6bn designated for initiatives including the phasing out of diesel-only buses from July 2019, the delivery of the ‘BusConnects’ programme providing more intercity bus corridors and the construction of the underground rail service, the Metro Link, providing rail transport access to Dublin Airport. Even still, in Ireland just over 9 per cent of working commuters use public transport, and while this is an increase on 2011 figures, when 8.5 per cent of commuters used bus and rail services, can we say that this is enough? If public transport services in Ireland were more widely available, more energy efficient and operated at a higher standard, commuters would receive more value for money on fares, particularly in Dublin, which is the second most expensive city in the world for commuting, according to the World Economic Forum. The current cost of a monthly public transport travel pass is eclipsed only by London prices, where commuters

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have far more options and much better connections, including the now common electric bus. New forms of mass transit are already in use in international urban hubs and could pave the way for the future rejuvenation of public transport, leading to greater options for commuting in Ireland. One such example is Chariot, a shuttle service developed as a future alternative to buses, which runs regular bus routes but can be pre-booked via app, is more spacious and ventilated than regular buses and also uses algorithms to develop new transit routes based on user demand. The rapid rise in cycling as a means of commuting has been a remarkable shift in behavioural change in Ireland, but in particular in Dublin, with twothirds of all of Ireland’s cyclists now residing in the city and its suburbs. As a growing urban-centric commuting option for modern Ireland, the benefits are clear – according to a recent study from UCD, the average Dublin city centre commuter could save 86 hours a year by switching from a car to a bicycle. Project Ireland 2040 aims to deliver a “comprehensive cycling and walking network for Ireland’s cities”, however no specific sum is outlined for the future development of a cycling network. Projects in neighbouring European countries are already underway, which could prove to be ideal playbooks for the

cultivation of more robust Irish cycling networks here. The Dutch government is currently working on 30 new projects including an 18-mile bicycle highway to connect the Netherlands’ northern cities of Assen and Groningen. The construction of the world’s longest bicycle highway is currently underway in Germany, aiming to be 62-miles long and connecting 10 cities and four universities, which will remove 50,000 cars from German roads and reduce 16,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually. Meanwhile in Ireland, there is a serious lack of joined-up thinking when it comes to our transport, and while we are continuously investing in urban cycle routes and rural greenways, Irish Rail trains generally allow for a mere two bikes per journey on the Dublin-Galway route. If we want to become a bicycle-friendly country and promote cycling tourism in Ireland, two bikes per train will hardly cut it. The transport initiatives in the National Development Plan will hopefully enhance various commuting experiences when delivered, and rail and cycling expansions will enhance the options in our urban centres. However, are we being ambitious enough in changing how we commute? Continued innovation beyond these initiatives is necessary if we are serious about tackling climate change and enhancing the quality of life in Ireland.


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Investing in


ESB Networks has been briefing Chamber members on investment plans to support Irish business.


he electricity sector in Ireland is going through a period of huge transition. Changing customer expectations, rapid advances in technology and the need to meet binding EU carbon reduction targets are driving transformative change in the way that electricity is produced and consumed. We are moving to a future where active, engaged customers will be part of a new energy ecosystem – one where electricity flows seamlessly and flexibly between wind farms, batteries, electric vehicles, heating Anthony Cooney, CEO, Fingal Dublin Chamber; Mark Stewart and Joe Gavaghan of ESB Networks; Jock Jordan, President, Fingal Dublin Chamber and John McManus, ESB Networks

Robert Grimes, ESB Networks, Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber and Virgil Porter, ESB Networks


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and hot water systems and a wide range of other distributed energy assets to bring energy where and when it is needed. In this future, air quality will be better, carbon emissions will be significantly reduced and customers will enjoy greater comfort, convenience and control over their energy use. The critical enabler of this new energy landscape is the electricity network. For over a decade, ESB has been investing in Ireland’s electricity network to make it smarter, more resilient and more efficient. The impact of this is evident – in the last 15 years there has been a 72 per cent reduction in customer minutes lost through improved network reliability and storm resilience and Ireland’s electricity network now supports the second highest level of wind penetration in Europe.

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ESB Networks’ innovation programme is a key pillar of Ireland’s social, economic and commercial wellbeing. Maintaining affordability and keeping the lights on in a period of transformation and economic growth is essential for Irish businesses to thrive. ESB Networks recently briefed members of several chambers around the country on the impact and relevance of its activities for Irish business. The briefings addressed the latest developments in infrastructure, the electrification of heat and transport and smart technology for businesses. “ESB Networks is committed to delivering critical energy infrastructure at a local and national level and has ensured that vital infrastructure projects have commenced,” says Senan Colleran, Head of Distribution & Customer Service in ESB Networks. “Continued improvement to our network infrastructure will be crucial in the coming years to ensure that businesses have the capacity and resilience to expand as they need.” ESB Networks is also working to support Ireland’s future energy

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needs. Over the coming years it will be installing more smart devices on the network to better monitor and predict network events, to minimise outages and increase resilience. It will also invest in state-of-the-art control centres as well as line sensors, fibre infrastructure, fault indicators, drones, augmented reality and 3D laser scanning to help control the network and repair faults remotely. Another important stream will be to work with local businesses and communities to explore energy efficiency measures that will help Ireland move to a low carbon future. “These briefings are a fantastic opportunity for us to update Chamber members on our investment in electricity services at a national and local level,” says Colleran. “It’s also an opportunity to connect with businesses to inform them of improvements to service and supply and the opportunities in the sector such as with electric vehicles and smart technology.” The ESB Networks series of talks for Chamber members has so far taken place in Carlow, Dún Laoghaire,

Sligo, Waterford, Shannon, Galway and Fingal. Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes welcomed the team from ESB Networks back in April. Commenting after the event, she said: “The prompt restoration of power after the storms that battered Ireland in the past few months will have made us appreciate the trojan work that goes into ensuring that the 2.2 million electricity poles in Ireland continue to bring electricity into our homes and businesses. “ESB Networks has made progress in addressing the infrastructure needs at a local level and has ensured that vital projects have been connected. Continued improvement in our infrastructure will be crucial in the coming years as businesses expand. The briefing offered us the opportunity to learn about the work currently being undertaken and about plans for the future, including efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and the increase in the connection of renewables to the grid as a source of power.”


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Importance of Being Present

Kate Mahoney, Policy & Communications Intern for Chambers Ireland, looks at the lucrative potential that joining the digital economy holds for Irish SMEs.


n this technologically advanced era e-commerce has become a staple characteristic of all industries. It provides a wide range of possibilities for both businesses and consumers, allowing for the exchange of products and services from across the globe. And in today’s world, consumers expect a business to have a range of online communications available, from a website to a social media presence. Research recently conducted by the IE Domain Registry, ‘Measuring the health of Irish SMEs’ digital presence’, highlights that 70 per cent of consumers reported being frustrated when a business did not have a website while 59 per cent said they are less likely to use a business that does not have an online presence. It’s concerning then to note that the same study found that 63 per cent of Irish SMEs do not have any online presence whatsoever. So why are so many businesses hesitant to join the now thriving digital economy and not availing of the opportunities that e-commerce can bring? For a significant portion of businesses, the only thing holding


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them back is access to the internet. Nearly 20 per cent of Irish SMEs cannot create a website due to poor internet connection, which restricts them from expanding digitally. For others, it’s a lack of expertise and resources. Almost one-third of SMEs said they want to acquire more digital skills and e-commerce training while almost half of SMEs acknowledge the importance of using a website to increase business growth. With such factors in mind,

Not only does not having an online presence restrict growth, it can actually hurt offline sales as well. the E-commerce Association of Ireland was created in 2015 to help businesses set up websites and navigate the digital economy. In terms of motivating factors for businesses to embrace digital, surprisingly, Brexit has so far had little influence on e-commerce growth, with only 8 per cent of Irish SMEs saying Britain’s decision to leave the EU encouraged them to rethink creating an online presence. However, with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, e-commerce is an efficient way for SMEs to expand their business, reach new markets and develop stronger financial stability.

Small businesses make up 92 per cent of all businesses in the Irish economy, yet only 14 per cent of SMEs have any web sales ability at all. This is a worryingly low figure. Not only does not having an online presence restrict growth, it can actually hurt offline sales as well. A digital platform is necessary to connect with people outside the local area and to create a much greater consumer population. Of the SMEs with an online presence, 78 per cent said having a website was important in generating business growth. As e-commerce is only gaining in popularity amongst consumers and businesses across the globe it is crucial that Irish businesses, in particular SMEs and retailers, are engaged and able to compete. It is therefore essential that the National Broadband Plan be delivered upon by Government in order for this to be a reality and to allow rural businesses to compete on a level playing field. Ireland’s share in the EU e-commerce market was a9 billion in 2017, with most of this money going towards online foreign retailers with efficient online sales. This emphasizes the lucrative potential for Irish SMEs in the digital economy and what they are currently potentially missing out on. In an increasingly digital world, e-commerce will only continue to grow and thrive.

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 10:39



of CHANGE Good winds have been fuelling Brazil’s renewable energy market.


s the world shifts further towards renewable energy, Brazil’s natural resource wealth brings new perspectives to the country. Today, already 43 per cent of the Brazilian energy matrix is composed of renewable sources. Approximately 65 pent of the country’s electrical energy is water-generated, while more than half of all cars on the country’s roads are fuelled with sugarcane ethanol. But Brazil is also rich in two other natural resources which could see it leap even further ahead: wind and sunlight. The development of wind and solar energy this decade revealed that the potential for new projects is far greater than previously imagined. In August 2017, wind power alone represented just over 10 per cent of all the electricity produced in Brazil, in the north-eastern region that rate reached 64 per cent. According to data from producers, wind power plants in Brazil have a “capacity factor” of 50 per cent, compared to 30 per cent in European plants. The market and installed capacity should continue to grow for the next 15 to 20 years and, in 2022, wind power is expected to be the second most important source of energy in Brazil. And strong, steady winds are attracting international investments. French company EDF, for example, plans to inject over 1.4 billion over the next few years in plants located in Minas Gerais and Bahia. The EN Group,

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EDF’s parent company, considers Brazil one of its priority markets in the company’s global expansion strategy. Last October, the Brazilian north-eastern regional development bank announced plans to fund renewable energy projects worth up to 300 million. Meanwhile, Ômega Energia invested around 350m in a wind power complex in the north state of Maranhão, the first of a series of such plants in the state. The development of solar energy is also rapidly expanding. In 2012, Brazil had few private solar grids, but this began to change drastically in 2013. Currently the country has over 100 times the number of grids it had just a few years ago, with companies seeing huge potential across the country. Data from the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (Aneel) shows that households and companies are investing in producing their own solarbased electricity, thanks to changes in the legislation to deregulate small-scale production. By 2024, according to Aneel, Brazil will have over 1.2 million

small-scale producers of solar power. In 2030, this source should represent 10 per cent of the energy matrix, possibly rising to 32 per cent by 2040, which would make it the leading source of energy in Brazil, ahead of hydropower. The solar energy market is also attracting investments and fuelling innovation. Enel and Portuguese group EDP are both partnering with Brazilian start-ups to accelerate the country’s solar potential. Enel has already developed partnerships with 11 Brazilian start-ups. One such company is Minas Gerais state-based Sunew, which has developed an alternative to traditional silicon solar panels. The company produced a transparent, flexible photovoltaic film which is lighter and easier to use on windows, tops of cars and trucks, as well as on some articles of clothing. The official policies in place to support the sustainable growth of the clean energy market in Brazil are set to keep open opportunities for foreign investments and partnerships.


17/08/2018 10:38


Keeping Customers

Front of


Zurich remains committed to its claims promise – making the process as quick and as simple as possible for all of its customers, writes Chief Claims Officer Fiona Sage.


ver the last seven months, Ireland faced two significant extreme weather events. Storm Ophelia in October and Storm Emma in March wreaked havoc on farms, houses, vehicles and other personal property across the country. For affected Zurich Insurance customers, these storms demonstrated the importance and value of a skilled, robust and dedicated claims team. Zurich’s award-winning claims department employs 80 people across Wexford and Dublin and operates a 24-hour claims hotline. The scale and in-house capabilities of our people meant Zurich was able to instantly quadruple the size of our first responder team during both storms to ensure that all customers were responded to in less than one minute. Beyond the rapid call response time, we also deployed a team of mobile claims specialists on the road to help farmers, in particular, navigate the process of making a claim in person. Irish farmers are especially vulnerable to the unforgiving consequences of extreme weather. As some farmers faced an enormous challenge following Ophelia and Emma, we in Zurich held firm to our claims promise of ensuring our customers were carefully and quickly looked after throughout the claims process. One such customer was Samuel Rose. With a 150-acre farm in Co Wexford and 250 cattle, Storm Emma caused significant damage to several of the Rose farm’s outbuildings, mostly due to accumulation and weight of snow, in addition to lost livestock and meal. One


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Fiona Sage, Chief Claims Officer, Zurich

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17/08/2018 10:30


The scale and inhouse capabilities of our people meant Zurich was able to instantly quadruple the size of our first responder team during both storms to ensure that all customers were responded to in less than one minute. HERE ARE SOME FACTS AND FIGURES AROUND ZURICH’S CLAIMS PROMISE:

ZURICH’S RESPONSE TO PROPERTY LOSSES: • We pay over 99 per cent of motor insurance policy claims • We pay over 98 per cent of farming insurance policy claims Fiona Sage, Chief Claims Officer, Zurich pictured with farmer Samuel Rose

shed in particular, built just two years ago, and crucial for the upcoming summer period, was a key concern for Rose. Zurich were on hand to support him through the difficult period, issuing an interim settlement early on to facilitate critical building works, and providing a full settlement cheque in person just six weeks after he lodged his claim. This focus on putting the farmer first, together with our history of settling over 98 per cent of our farmers’ insurance claims, has contributed to making Zurich the fastest growing farm insurer in Ireland. As one of Ireland’s leading general insurance companies, Zurich Insurance offers a wide range of insurance products, and as with Samuel Rose, we’re dedicated to catering to the specific needs of our diverse customer base. Policyholders of Zurich’s private motor and home insurance, commercial property, business, farm or professional indemnity insurance can all expect superior cover, a rapid

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claims payments model and expert customer support. At the heart of Zurich’s proposition is a deep understanding of our customers’ individual insurance requirements. This familiarity with our policyholders’ needs allows us to respond quicker and more effectively in times of crisis, helping to minimise the impact on customers, their property, their businesses and their families. Regardless of the situation, whether a day-to-day occurrence or an incident of national extreme weather, Zurich customers can expect a rapid claims payments process and a professional and empathetic claims handler to guide them through the process. Responding to our customers with urgency and empathy is at the core of our values in Zurich. Our claims team understands that if a customer has to pick up the phone to call Zurich, it’s already a stressful day for that customer. Our job is to make the claims process as quick and as simple as possible.

DURING STORM OPHELIA (OCTOBER 2017) • Response call wait time after Ophelia: 44 seconds DURING STORM EMMA (MARCH 2018) • Response call wait time after Emma: 58 seconds

These figures demonstrate how committed Zurich is to continually delivering on our promise of being there when our customers need us most – whether it be restoring homes, farms and businesses following extreme weather events or fires or making people’s lives easier in times of personal crisis. We keep our customers front of mind at every level of our business. We’re fully committed to ensuring that applying for cover is simple and straightforward and making sure that we’re on hand immediately with full support when our customers need to claim. We hope our claims process gives our customers a reason to believe in us, and offers potential customers a reason to choose Zurich.


17/08/2018 10:30




Constraints Patrick Redmond, HR Consultant, Peninsula Business Services, assesses some key employment challenges currently facing operators within the Irish tourism sector.


hile the positive trends enjoyed by tourism in Ireland over the past two years continued through the first half of 2018, the sector is not without its challenges. Certain labour constraints remain a key talking point for many SMEs in the sector. These constraints tend to manifest themselves in the treatment of seasonal workers and the provision of short-term contracts.

FIXED-TERM ISSUE Some hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars that operate on a seasonal basis frequently enquire as to whether there are restrictions on the number of fixed-term contracts they can offer to employees.

THE LAW The Protection of Employees (FixedTerm Work) Act 2003 sets out to provide equal treatment for fixedterm and specified purpose workers. Fixed-term contracts may be used for a variety of purposes such as the provision of temporary cover during an employee’s maternity/sick leave, or the employment of an individual to work on a project which, once completed, will leave no further work to engage the individual. The act provides that where a person is employed on two or more continuous contracts the combined


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duration of those contracts must not exceed four years. In cases where this rule is broken, the employee is entitled to a contract of indefinite duration. It is worth noting that this provision does not restrict employers from offering a standalone five-year fixed-term contract.

THE EXPLANATION Like most legal queries, the answer to the fixed-term issue is not unequivocal. Provided that a business can demonstrate objective grounds for offering multiple, successive contracts there will be no restriction on the number of fixed-term contracts they offer employees. The fact that the business operates on a seasonal basis is (at the time of writing) considered objective grounds for offering multiple fixed-term contracts. It is worth noting nonetheless that this interpretation has not been tested before a court since the commencement of the act.

SUNDAY RATES Another area of concern for many employers in the tourism sector is Sunday premium rates of pay. Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) inspectors are responsible for ensuring compliance with the provision of compensation for work on Sundays pursuant to section 14 of the Organisation of Working Time

Act 1997. In this regard, the amount paid to staff for working Sundays must be “reasonable… having regard to all the circumstances”. Over the past 12 months the Labour Court has made the following determinations in a number of cases involving hotels, restaurants and leisure centres: • a hotel paying staff a Sunday premium of five cents per hour was deemed “not reasonable” • a restaurant paying staff a Sunday premium of 33 per cent was deemed “reasonable” • a leisure club paying staff a Sunday premium of 25 per cent was deemed “reasonable” Specified Sunday pay rates have been introduced in some industries such as mechanical engineering and construction. Comparable agreements have so far not been re-introduced in the tourism sector since the abolishment of the Joint Labour Committee rates which were deemed unconstitutional. There are currently no agreements in the pipeline for the tourism industry. Businesses are reminded that the onus rests in the first instance with the employer and the employee to agree reasonable compensation for Sunday work. For more information regarding employment challenges and how they may impact your workplace contact Peninsula’s expert advisers anytime on 1890 252 923 or by visiting

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 10:29


First Choice in


Waterford Crystal continues to produce some of the finest trophies in the industry for some of the top sporting events in the world.


he House of Waterford Crystal factory recently produced the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open trophy, which was presented to the winner at Ballyliffin Golf Course in Co Donegal. Waterford Crystal has a great tradition in producing world sports awards and this year is celebrating 43 years of manufacturing the Irish Open trophy. Throughout this period, the company has designed four distinct trophies for this major event including a commission to design a new trophy for the event in 2012. Back then, the House of Waterford developed a spectacular concept, which was brought to life in Waterford Crystal’s manufacturing facility. Over a six-week period, the manufacturing team crafted and sculpted what would turn out to be a landmark piece of crystal. A huge amount of work went into producing the piece, including a great deal of expertise in design and manufacture, which is the reason why clients go to Waterford Crystal to create their trophies. The piece in question features a unique design of flat and diamond cutting, with an exquisitely crafted crystal sphere, which makes reference to the sport and showcases the skill of Waterford Crystal artisans. The House of Waterford Crystal has manufactured a large array of sports trophies for some of the top

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American and European sporting events over the past four decades. Not only has Waterford A skilled Crystal worked with master blower forms crystal the PGA European at the House Tour on the Irish of Waterford Open trophy, but on Crystal the US side, it has experience working for numerous events including the Phoenix Open, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, The Barclays, The Players, The Memorial, The Shell Houston Open, The Tour Championship, The Honda Classic and the four World Golf Championships.

TAKE A TOUR Why not visit the factory located in the centre of Waterford city and take the opportunity to witness the manufacture of these and many other Waterford crystal products? The guided factory tour, which welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year, is a unique and captivating experience that enthrals visitors of all ages, both national and international. The 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

A selection of tournament trophies produced by Waterford Crystal

year the House of Waterford Crystal melts more than 750 tonnes of crystal, using traditional and cuttingedge 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 the tours available all year round visit or call 051 317000.


17/08/2018 10:29

Brexit Loan Scheme Who can apply? To be eligible, a business must meet the following criteria: 1. 2. 3.

Be a viable business with up to 499 employees (SMEs and small mid-caps); Be Brexit impacted; Meet the scheme criteria (Brexit related criteria and InnovFin criteria).

Key features of the Scheme €25,000 to €1,500,000 per eligible enterprise; Maximum interest rate of 4%; Term ranging from 1 year to 3 years; Unsecured loans up to €500,000; Optional interest-only repayments provided at the start of the loans.

Loans can be used for Future working capital requirements to fund innovation, change or adaptation of the business to mitigate the impact of Brexit. | |

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17/08/2018 14/08/2018 09:33 13/08/2018 09:28 11:34

ACCESS TO FINANCE P.80 Bibby Financial Services


It is vital that SMEs have the ability to access the necessary finance to grow. Today, there is a wider array of options available than ever before.




MEs tend to operate in the shadow of larger companies, yet their contribution to the Irish economy is essential. According to the European Commission, SMEs in Ireland generate more than 70 per cent of all jobs in the non-financial business economy, approximately 4 percentage points more than the EU average. However, they are not just important for the volume of jobs that they account for, but also for the nature of the employment they provide. SMEs are spread across the entire country, and often are community-based and indigenous, and thus need to be supported and allowed to succeed in order for a more balanced economy across the country. Nowadays, there are a variety of alternative sources of finance available to SMEs, aside from the traditional banks. Banks, of course, continue to play a central role in SME financing, but they are far from the only sources now available – the growth of trade finance and crowd-based funding initiatives has fundamentally altered the funding landscape. For SMEs looking to secure access to finance today, education about the array of options open to them is important, as it is necessary that they pick a lender that is most suitable to their needs, both now and into the future. Irish SMEs are among the most reliant in Europe on bank funding, and they have a number of banks to choose from. However, non-bank options and Government-supported initiatives are on the rise throughout the country, leading to a more varied financing environment. Over the following pages, InBUSINESS catches up with a number of organisations offering finance to smaller businesses throughout Ireland. With a mix of banks, governmental agencies and alternative sources of finance all featured, these pages serve to act as a snapshot of the range of options that are available to SMEs in need of capital.

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+ P.82

Microfinance Ireland



Fexco Asset Finance



Close Brothers Commercial Finance



Credit Review Office


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Local Enterprise Offices





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Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services Ireland, outlines how his organisation, through its partnership with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), is helping SMEs with the funding they need.


ere at Bibby Financial Services Ireland, we were delighted to announce recently that the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) will be extending our lending facility by an additional €25 million. This funding facility offers SMEs a discount of up to 1.5 per cent on existing invoice finance services offered by Bibby Financial Services Ireland. The funding amount is a minimum of €50,000, with a maximum amount of €5m, and the minimum funding facility is for two years. It’s a source of great satisfaction to us that the partnership with the SBCI is working so well, and this has been reflected in this increase of funds made available to us. This additional

funding allows us to support more Irish businesses, helping them to grow and thrive at a time when many SMEs are looking to expand, both here in Ireland and abroad. A key focus for Bibby Financial Services Ireland is our customer relationships and we invest time and effort into understanding every aspect of our customers’ businesses. We have an internal process called ‘Our Service Promise’ which extends

A key focus for Bibby Financial Services Ireland is our customer relationships and we invest time and effort into understanding every aspect of our customers’ businesses.

Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director, Bibby Financial Services Ireland


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to all operations in 14 countries around the world. The key elements are honesty, understanding, strong communications and excellent customer service. In any business relationship, clarity and transparency help to build trust and protect against misunderstanding. People appreciate being spoken to in clear, concise language, and it’s important that objectives and goals are discussed at the beginning of working relationships to ensure that everyone understands what’s involved and what is being asked of them. Understanding our clients and their business needs allows us to work with them in a proactive and responsive way, helping us to add value. Getting to grips with every aspect of their business, key trading periods, how they engage staff and what their workflow is, is vital so that we can get a real sense of how they work and how we can support them. Our role changes depending on the nature of the products or services, the size of the company, the organisational structure and other variables. That’s the nature of relationship-based funding – it allows us to provide bespoke solutions to each of our customers. For SMEs who are having difficulties in accessing finance, we can provide access to the funds held in your invoices within 24 hours, so you don’t have to wait to be paid. If you would like to find out more about invoice financing and how it can be of benefit to your business, call us on 01 297 4911 or visit Find us on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter @BibbyFinanceIE. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 09:37


Lending a Helping Hand The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) is a strategic SME funding company which aims to ensure access to flexible funding for Irish businesses.


he Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) provides low-cost flexible funding for Irish SMEs, working through three lines of business – lending, risk sharing and service provision. In terms of lending, it serves as a wholesale on-lending institution and provides long-term wholesale finance to suitable onlenders, with the benefit of lower interest costs being passed to SME borrowers. Its risk sharing business model provides partial credit guarantees to finance providers to facilitate the advancement of credit to SMEs, including where access to credit is constrained by specific sectoral or economic cycle market failures. SBCI is the operator and manager of the Government’s Credit Guarantee Scheme 2017. “SBCI seeks to ensure that Irish businesses have access to long-term, patient funding into the future,” explains SBCI Head of Marketing, John Madigan. “SBCI’s presence in the market ensures that Ireland has in place an institution that actively facilitates the delivery of EU support to Irish businesses.” SBCI launched two risk sharing schemes in 2018 – the Brexit Loan Scheme (BLS) and the Credit Guarantee Scheme 2017 (CGS). The BLS is a €300 million scheme, supported by funding provided by the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation, and the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Nick Ashmore, CEO, SBCI speaking at a recent event

SBCI seeks to ensure that Irish businesses have access to longterm, patient funding into the future. It is supported by the InnovFin Guarantee Facility, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments. Under the scheme, loan amounts of between €25,000 to €1.5 million per eligible enterprise are offered, available through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. The loan terms range from one to three years, and the maximum interest rate is 4 per cent. Optional interest-only repayments may be available at the start of the loans. The CGS, on the other hand, aims to assist viable SMEs, which under normal lending criteria have difficulty in accessing credit from their bank. The scheme operates by providing an 80 per cent guarantee (previously 75 per cent) to participating finance providers – currently Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank – on qualifying

loans to SMEs. The scheme has been designed to address three barriers to lending – inadequate collateral; a novel business market, sector or technology perceived by finance providers as higher risk; and the need for refinancing caused by the exit of an SME lender from the Irish market. Key features of the CGS include facilities of €10,000 up to €1 million, terms of up to seven years, and term loans, demand loans and performance bonds. The SBCI 2018 progress update has suggested that access to finance has become less of an issue for Irish SMEs. It showed that, as of the end of March 2018, SBCI has supported 23,867 SMEs, employing 122,227 people and that the total SBCI loans drawn down from its inception stood at €952 million. It also found a strong geographical spread of SBCI loans across all regions. “The outlook is broadly positive, but challenges remain,” concludes Madigan. “40 per cent of Irish SMEs believe things improved through 2017, versus only 23 per cent for the European Union.”


17/08/2018 09:40


Lending to Create Jobs Microfinance Ireland is a not-for-profit lender that was set up in 2012 as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs to administer the Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme.


he purpose of the Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme, explains Garrett Stokes, CEO, Microfinance Ireland (MFI), is to promote economic development and to increase employment and enterprise. MFI, which is a not-forprofit lender, does this by providing loans to newly-established and growing micro-enterprises for commerciallyviable proposals that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by banks. When MFI commenced operations, small businesses were finding it difficult to get financial support from traditional lending providers. While banks are now lending again, MFI continues to experience year-on-year increases in demand for its services, highlighting the fact that there is always demand for alternative sources of funding. MFI provides business loans from €2,000 to €25,000 to start-ups and established businesses for set-up costs, working capital or business expansion, and to support the creation and retention of jobs. As a governmentfunded lending organisation, MFI is mandated to underwrite credit at a risk level beyond that of commercial lenders. In addition, its loans are granted on an unsecured basis, and at affordable pricing. All these factors contribute towards defining MFI as a unique organisation in the lending space. “The lending market is quite busy in one sense, but most are commercial operations, so they’re quite different to us,” explains Stokes. “They all have a level of risk that they can take, which is appropriate for a commercial operation, but we go beyond that.”


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All applicants to an MFI loan are given a full and fair credit assessment and, where appropriate, are offered affordable loans. It is ensured that no applicant takes on unsustainable levels of debt. The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Network, which is a key referral partner and a major source of lending applications for MFI, supports the organisation by assisting micro-enterprises with their loan application, business training and mentoring support. As part of its loan packages, MFI offers expert one-to-one mentoring to approved loan applicants through the LEOs. This is an important support for successful loan applicants in helping them to develop their business acumen, and it supports the sustainability of their business over the longer term. MFI also works closely with Local Development Companies (LDCs)

across the country, and with the main Irish banks. In addition to business provided through referral partners, the business also operates a direct channel, which is proving very popular. Potential customers can go online, research what products best suit their business needs, and register to start the loan application process online. A member of the MFI team will contact them to guide them through the entire process. As of April 2018, MFI had approved over €24.4 million in loans to over 1,700 businesses, supporting almost 4,200 jobs. 78 per cent of approved loans are located outside of Dublin, and many of the applicants belong to vulnerable sectors such as youth, unemployed, females, migrants and seniors, and they come from all business sectors. “We measure ourselves in the number of jobs that we create,” concludes Stokes. “That’s the real measure – we’re here to lend, to create jobs.” For more information, log on to

Garrett Stokes, CEO, Microfinance Ireland

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 09:42


Achieving their Potential Founded and headquartered in Ireland in 1981, Fexco Asset Finance offers support to SMEs in search of funding, pushing them to reach their full potential.


he last number of years have undoubtedly been challenging for SMEs seeking access to the funding required to allow them to grow. However, Fexco Asset Finance specialises in providing such a service. With well over three decades of experience, Fexco Asset Finance is a leasing and hire-purchase provider that offers bespoke, tailored and flexible finance options for SMEs across the country. It has been active since 1981, and accordingly has seen dramatic changes within the Irish finance sector. Indeed, the company has had to overcome its fair share of threats.

Mike O’Halloran, CEO, Fexco Asset Finance

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We have recently expanded into the brokerage market, further increasing the reach of our suite of products. The diversification of our business model presents interesting partnership opportunities.

“The finance sector, like many others, was significantly affected by the downturn in the economy some ten years ago,” says Mike O’Halloran, CEO, Fexco Asset Finance. “Fexco continued to provide finance to business during this period but appetite for growth was diminished. Over the last five years, however – really since the economy has rallied – we have seen a number of new entrants to the asset finance market in Ireland. On the one hand, this is good, it creates competition within the market, allowing the end customer to shop around for the best solution. My concern would be the longevity of these entrants. It’s not clear, based on legacy, whether they plan to stay in the market for the foreseeable future.” There are few finance providers in Ireland with better experience than Fexco. The company today serves some of the world’s biggest brands across multiple industries through a wide range of innovative products and services, processing more than U14 billion in transactions annually.

“Fexco enjoys over 30 years’ business experience supporting SMEs through challenges and opportunities,” explains O’Halloran. “Our sales team has an in-depth knowledge of the asset finance business, suppliers and customer requirements, providing them with an understanding of the SME sector and what our clients need in terms of financing. In addition, we pride ourselves on our turnaround times for applications, moving quickly from the underwriting stage to processing and release of funds.” Fexco supports a variety of industries, but it has seen particular growth in the transport sector over the last two or three years. “Since 2016, we have supported a number of specialist transport businesses in their growth strategies,” says O’Halloran. “This has been of critical importance, not only to them, but also to the success of the sectors they serve, like travel and tourism. We are very proud to help these kinds of businesses reach their growth potential.” Additionally, in 2016, Fexco became an on-lender for Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), an initiative designed to provide strategic funding for SMEs in Ireland. This has allowed the company to offer business loans at competitive, discounted rates, ensuring that it will continue to grow into the future. Not only that, but it has diversified its offering, as O’Halloran points out. “We have recently expanded into the brokerage market, further increasing the reach of our suite of products. The diversification of our business model presents interesting partnership opportunities.”


17/08/2018 09:47


Up Close and Personal Close Brothers Commercial Finance offers a range of funding solutions tailored to be as unique as the companies it supports, explains Adrian Madden, the company’s Head of Sales.


lose Brothers Commercial Finance is a leading provider of asset finance, invoice finance and asset-based lending across Ireland. With a FTSE 250 parent company, and offices in Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Galway, we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional local service with the strength of a larger bank. Our range of leasing, hire purchase and working capital finance products are designed to help companies across Ireland thrive in both the short and long term. We provide integrity, prudence and business expertise to connect you with the commercial funding you need to succeed. A lack of available funds is one of the most common challenges facing small businesses. It’s vital to record the money coming in and out of your business, and to keep cashflow at a healthy level to allow you to fund day-to-day work. Our invoice finance products can help businesses improve cashflow. This type of funding is suitable for B2B companies, and is particularly useful for ambitious SMEs. It enables them to unlock up to 90 per cent of the money they are owed by clients, giving them quick access to money which can be reinvested into their business. Aside from day-to-day costs, many businesses are eager to invest in business equipment in order to create growth or improve productivity. However, it can be difficult to find the reserves needed


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to fund the purchase of up-todate equipment or extend the number of assets you have. Asset finance allows businesses to invest in new and used machinery, or to access money tied up in capital equipment, such as construction and plant, or vehicles. By listening to your business needs and what your company hopes to achieve, we will use our expertise to help you choose the best option. All our products deliver a simple and flexible solution to facilitate capital expenditure. We finance new and used equipment and provide a range of solutions, including refinancing, operating and finance lease, and hire purchase. Unlike traditional bank loans and overdrafts, hire purchase and leasing plans are secured against the value of the borrower’s assets, giving companies the opportunity to raise funds quickly at competitive business finance rates. When successful businesses need to raise higher levels of funding, our asset-based lending agreements support strategic plans, takeovers and rapid growth. Asset-based lending combines invoice finance with funds released against other assets on a company’s balance sheet. In addition to accessing working capital tied up in outstanding customer invoices, funding can be secured against new or existing plant, machinery, property and stock. Cashflow loans are also

Adrian Madden, Head of Sales, Close Brothers Commercial Finance

available to reach higher levels of funding. At Close Brothers Commercial Finance, we’re here to help. We’ll work with you to understand your business needs and find a finance solution that works for you. Whether you want to release money from invoices to improve cashflow, are looking to raise money against an existing unencumbered asset, or you’re focused on expansion, we can support your business. Our team of specialists has exceptional knowledge of alternative finance solutions and extensive experience working with customers in different sectors. Log on to to find out more about the funding options we offer. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Credit Solutions for SMEs Catherine Collins, Deputy Credit Reviewer, speaks to InBUSINESS and tells us about the processes and purpose of the Credit Review Office. Q. Can you explain the role of the Credit Review Office and why it was established? A. The Credit Review Office has a simple mission – to assist SMEs and farms which are viable or potentially viable to get access to the bank finance they need for recovery and growth. The Office operates like an ombudsman, reviewing credit/loan refusals by the banks and ensuring an independent appeals process. Businesses that have been refused credit, or had existing facilities such as overdrafts reduced or withdrawn, can apply for an independent review of their credit application.

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Q. What is involved in a review by the Credit Review Office? A. The review will look at the track record of the business and its future potential, plans and projections, its management and markets, its existing debt, as well as the reason for the new credit application. It forms an opinion as to whether the business is viable, and will make enough cash to pay back the loan. Each case is assigned to a credit reviewer who helps take the borrower through the process. The reviewers are all very experienced financial professionals who work to find a bankable solution for SMEs.

Q. Who can apply? A. The service is for SMEs, including sole traders and farm enterprises that have had new requests for credit refused, or existing credit facilities reduced or withdrawn. Banks participating in the review process are AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and Ulster Bank. The review process covers all applications for new loans or restructured credit facilities from €1,000 up to €3,000,000. There is a small fee payable of between €100 and €250. For further details visit

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Support on your Journey Access to finance is still a major bugbear for many small firms in Ireland. Oisín Geoghegan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Fingal, explains how LEOs are addressing the issue.


ocal Enterprise Offices have a range of financial supports available to eligible and qualifying businesses at each stage of their journey: pre-start grants (Innovation/Feasibility Study Grants up to €20,000), start-up grants (Business Priming) for businesses that are trading for less than 18 months, and Business Expansion Grants for businesses that are trading for longer than 18 months. For Priming and Expansion grants, the maximum grant is usually capped at €80,000, though this can increase to up to €150,000 in exceptional circumstances. To qualify for funding, a business must employ ten or fewer people, have a robust business plan in place and must be involved in manufacturing or internationally traded services, or demonstrate that it has real potential to trade internationally with export growth plans. When funding is approved for Priming and Expansion grants, it is usually partially repayable, but the LEOs do not ordinarily charge interest. In cases where they do, it is usually at a nominal rate. Costs against which a business can apply for funding are limited to 50 per cent (so businesses must provide matchfunding for all grant assistance provided). Also, when deciding on how much to approve, a LEO will always take into consideration the


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Oisín Geoghegan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Fingal

new jobs potential in the business, both immediate new jobs and the potential for future growth over the coming three-year period. While the above is the “core” funding provided by LEOs, there are several other really beneficial schemes available from the LEO and all small businesses should investigate what may be applicable to them as they are sometimes less restrictive in terms of qualification criteria. For instance, all LEOs operate a ‘Trading Online Voucher’ scheme with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, whereby any small business (up to ten full-time employees) can apply for a grant of €2,500 towards the costs they are incurring in developing their E-trading or online strategy. Most small businesses, trading for longer than 12 months, would qualify for this scheme. So, for instance, retail businesses are particularly welcome to apply if they are building an online presence. LEOs also process loan applications, and again most

businesses with up to ten employees will qualify to apply for a loan of up to €25,000 through their LEO. The funding is provided by Microfinance Ireland and if a business applies through a LEO, a discounted interest rate applies. There are also TAME (Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters) grants of up to €2,500 available for businesses seeking to export, and some other schemes include competitive calls which arise from time to time, whereby a competition may be held for a particular stream of investment or funding. The most widely known scheme in this regard is the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which has been extremely successful over the last few years at encouraging and supporting innovative businesses started by young entrepreneurs (who are between 18 and 35 years of age). This scheme has helped 348 businesses who came through the IBYE process by providing €5 million in grant assistance to them and they now generate €124m in annual sales. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Support in Uncertain Times With Brexit looming on the horizon, there are uncertain times ahead for the island of Ireland, but InterTradeIreland is there to offer support.


nterTradeIreland’s quarterly Business Monitor survey is the largest and most comprehensive business survey in Ireland. The monitor covers business owners’ views from both the north and south of the island, based upon interviews conducted with more than 750 SMEs. Through its latest survey, InterTradeIreland has been analysing the response from the business community across the island to the UK’s decision to leave the EU. One of the most alarming pieces of information to emerge is that, when asked about making plans to deal with the post-Brexit world, 98 per cent claimed they had no plans in place. This lack of planning is thought to be driven by two key issues – the first relating to businesses’ understandable focus on the present, and the second with a lack of information available. Even before considering the implications of Brexit, there exists already an intensely competitive market for small businesses across the island of Ireland. This is reflected in the respondents to InterTradeIreland’s All-Island Business Monitor, who are already facing the challenges of rising costs of energy and overheads, new competition and difficulties recruiting appropriate skills, as well as many others. Finding the time and resources to plan for potentially significant structural changes is a perennial problem. The second issue facing businesses is the degree of InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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uncertainty surrounding Brexit, due to a perceived deficit in reliable information. This complicates and constrains the scenario-building process for companies looking ahead. InterTradeIreland’s message is simple – while it recognises the pressures facing small business owners dealing with the here and now, there is, nevertheless, a window of opportunity that must be grasped to prepare for the challenges and indeed the opportunities that will be presented by a new cross-border trading relationship. InterTradeIreland currently runs a Brexit Advisory Service, which can be used by businesses to navigate the uncertain times that Brexit has brought about. The agency also has funding of up to a5,000 available through its sales and marketing programmes, Elevate and Trade Accelerator Vouchers, which are specifically aimed at micro businesses across a range of sectors. This funding can offer businesses sales and marketing consultancy support to identify and capitalise on cross-border sales opportunities. One company that benefitted from support is Sweetspot Sourcing from Naas, a product sourcing, manufacturing, promotional products and consultancy firm founded by Sue Dempsey and Fiona Craul. “Our experience in the market over the past two years in Northern Ireland has been extremely positive,” says Craul. “We started

Sweetspot Sourcing Directors/Owners Fiona Craul and Susan Dempsey

with Elevate, and this allowed us to engage with potential clients in Northern Ireland. Our consultant was invaluable in the support and mentorship she offered, and as a direct result we have a number of Northern Irish clients now and a strong pipeline of business. InterTradeIreland has also supported during the uncertainty of Brexit.” “There is no doubt that without the support of Elevate, we would have had to navigate the dayto-day minutiae, which would have prevented us from properly focusing on the Northern Ireland market,” adds Dempsey. “I would encourage other small businesses to look at the range of supports that InterTradeIreland provides.” To apply and find out more about the Elevate programme visit For other InterTradeIreland supports visit


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Here for the Long Haul Operating in the Irish market since 2004, Grenke is a one-stop service provider for flexible leasing, needs-based banking products and practical receivables management, as Justin Twiddy, MD, Grenke Limited explains.


renke, an international finance and leasing business, is in 31 countries across the globe and provides finance options to SMEs. It supports local businesses, from as little as €500, for new equipment to larger facilities for long-term system requirements. Unlike many competitors in the Irish market, Grenke is backed by its own bank in Germany, which can offer 100 per cent lease financing with efficiency and speed. Customers can expect a 20 minute turnaround for proposals and 24 hour payment to the reseller. “It depends when the goods are delivered, but typically it’s 24 hours,” explains Justin Twiddy, MD of Grenke Limited. “From proposal to payment, it can be quicker if it is an existing suppler and the contract is settled online via our eSignature facility,

allowing the client to sign rapidly and securely anytime, anywhere online.” Operating in Ireland for the past 14 years, Grenke has weathered through a tough economic climate. It stood fast with its customers and partners during a period when many left Ireland, and as a result has seen greater loyalty from customers and partners alike. This goodwill between Grenke and its clients is illustrated through its work with VOYA Organic Beauty and Skincare, a successful business that started out with two founding members and which has now grown into an international brand and highly successful company, with numerous accolades and awards for its products. “We worked with VOYA to realise their cash flow through leasing options for their business, thus allowing them to invest in new business machinery,

Justin Twiddy, MD, Grenke Limited

while maintaining their access to cash, which is critical for any business,” says Twiddy. “As one of the founders, Mark Walton, has said, ‘[working with Grenke] really helps our business, and us personally, when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep’.” Grenke celebrates its 40th anniversary in business this year, which is a significant milestone. Twiddy believes that this anniversary demonstrates Grenke’s commitment to its customers and partners and that it can be relied upon as the trusted partner in business growth. On the leasing side, the business has expanded its offerings and flexibility for customers, with its new eContracts a new online Partner Portal and an expansion of the list of assets it finances – from the traditional assets of IT hardware, to the more recent assets of drones and water filtration systems. “We have expanded our business locally in Ireland in recent years,” says Twiddy. “In addition to the leasing business, the Invoice Finance offering has been very well received locally, and the scope and flexibility of the offering – such as single invoice finance – has been very successful.” Things are looking bright for Grenke, and Twiddy is looking forward to growing the business further in Ireland. “We are very excited in Grenke Ireland about the prospects of strong growth and development in the Irish market,” he concludes. “The economy is buoyant and more entrepreneurs and SMEs are taking the opportunity to start, develop and grow very successful businesses here and taking them internationally, and we are very proud to be a part of that growth, along with our partners.” For more information, log on to the new website


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LEINSTER • MUNSTER • CONNAUGHT • ULSTER Kildare agri-business wins enterprise award, Kilkenny rural areas receive funding boost, and Wexford food tourism initiative launched.

Cork chosen as ‘digital city’, Limerick festival deemed a success, and Waterford redevelopment plans given go-ahead.

Flood plans adopted in Galway, LEADER funding announced for Mayo, and road repairs in Roscommon approved.

CLÁR funding for communities in Cavan, grant to repair historic railway in Donegal approved, and new jobs for Mullagh.

07 JOBS BOOST FOR SLIGO Outsourcing firm Abtran is to create 350 new jobs

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Dublin City Council has partnered with Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank to further enhance its smart city capabilities.




In Association with

Four Fingal start-ups attend a three-day business event in China


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TERRA LIQUID MINERALS WINS ENTERPRISE AWARD An agri-business in Kildare has won the overall title at the 2018 National Enterprise Awards, in a competition organised by the Local Enterprise Offices. The winner, Terra Liquid Minerals, has developed an automated mineral dosing system for farmers, which provides over 50,000 dairy cows with liquid minerals through their drinking water. The Athy business employs ten people and announced a a2 million expansion programme late last year.

Tom and Padraig Hennessy of Terra Liquid Minerals








FOOD TOURISM INITIATIVE LAUNCHED Wexford has launched a new food tourism initiative aimed at improving visitor experiences locally through food. Taste Wexford is a nine-month programme, backed by Fáilte Ireland, which will be gradually rolled out to other food networks throughout the country. Sinéad Hennessy, Fáilte Ireland, said: “We know that high quality local experiences are a major contributor to a visitor’s holiday satisfaction – creating positive memories and return visits – and Ireland’s food and drink offering has a leading role to play in delivering these great experiences.”


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FINGAL START-UPS ON MISSION IN CHINA Four start-ups supported by the Fingal Local Enterprise Office (LEO) were in attendence at the Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fair (GIEF) in May. The fair is a three-day business event in Chengdu, China that was attended by government leaders, scientists, academics, diplomats, entrepreneurs and investors. Mayor of Fingal Cllr. Mary McCamley was invited to participate, along with Fingal Chief Executive Paul Reid and a number of other delegates, as guests of the Chengdu Municipal government. Each of the four Fingal businesses in attendence had an opportunity to address the Deputy Mayor of Chengdu, which is the fourth largest city in China with a population exceeding 16 million.


RURAL AREAS RECEIVE FUNDING BOOST Over 40 groups and initiatives across Kilkenny have received over a1 million in LEADER funding, a programme which supports rural communities and businesses under a range of themes. The news was confirmed by Junior Minister John Paul Phelan. Key beneficiaries of the programme in Kildare include Windgap Community Development, which has been funded for the provision of services to hard-to-reach communities and to support local enterprise. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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CORK CHOSEN AS ‘DIGITAL CITY’ Cork City has been selected to take part in a European challenge to ensure strong economic and population growth is matched with digital transformation. The European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge is aimed at stimulating economic growth and social welfare in designated areas. Cork City Council was chosen to participate as a planned boundary extension and projected levels of population growth look set to make it the fastest growing city in the country over the next 20 years. Claire Davis, Cork City Council Smart Cities and Communities Co-Ordinator, said: “Embracing digital transformation allows us to re-invent the way we manage our cities’ development and respond to the big challenges, such as a cleaner environment, green mobility, and a competitive economy.”

AUGUST 24TH - 26TH DAYTRIPPER 2018 The Gasworks, Co Waterford



TAKE FIVE Among the 42 cities in the EU chosen to take part in the Digital Cities Challenge are:  Antwerp  Athens  Nuremberg  Seville  Graz






MAJOR REDEVELOPMENT PLANS GIVEN GO-AHEAD A a280 million plan to redevelop Waterford City’s North Quays has been given the green light. The move paves the way for what is being described as the most significant development in the history of Waterford and the south-east. Waterford Senator Paudie Coffey, who played a major role in getting the North Quays project designated as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) during his time as Minister of State for Housing and Planning, has said that the landmark development will initially create up to 6,000 jobs in the region. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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NEW DIGITAL SPACE IN TIPPERARY SUMMER FESTIVAL DEEMED A SUCCESS More than 100,000 people were in attendence at RiverFest 2018, Limerick’s largest four-day summer festival at the start of May. The event is worth an estimated a5-7 million to the region. Deputy Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Marian Hurley said: “Limerick looked absolutely amazing in glorious sunshine all weekend. There was just so much happening and plenty of free activities and events to keep all ages happy.”

A new space for creative digital companies has been launched in Tipperary. The new space, dubbed BuzzQuarter, is the result of a partnership with Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), Enterprise Ireland, Tipperary County Council and the Local Enterprise Office (LEO). Tipperary County Council hopes to establish a digital media corridor between Thurles and Clonmel, both to benefit the local economy and directly contribute to building the careers of LIT graduates in the multimedia, gaming and animation fields.


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LEADER FUNDING FOR MAYO Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring has approved LEADER funding of a49,000 for four communities and businesses in Mayo. Minister Ring said: “I’m delighted to have approved support for these projects which will provide a social and economic benefit for these rural communities in Mayo.”

FUND RECIPIENTS  L eave No Trace Ireland, Westport....................a23,000  South West Mayo Development Company CLG, Newport.................................................................a20,850  C laremorris Agricultural Show, Claremorris... a5,896



SEPTEMBER 8TH JOBS EXPO Salthill Hotel, Co Galway




ROAD REPAIR IN ROSCOMMON Senator Frank Feighan has welcomed a funding allocation of a565,000 for Roscommon under the Community Involvement Scheme to repair local roads. The scheme provides an opportunity for communities to have road repair work carried out at relatively modest cost on local roads and cul-de-sacs that would not normally be included on the Council’s main roadworks programme. Roscommon’s grant allocation for the Community Involvement Scheme in 2018 is a300,000 and a265,000 for next year, bringing a total allocation of a565,000.


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Galway County Council has adopted the CFRAM Flood Risk Management plans for the county. At a meeting of the local authority in July, councillors were presented with a report on the CFRAM programme, which was established to assess the existing and potential flood risk in several areas in Galway and across the country. In some areas, projects are already underway, such as Derrymullan Flood Defence Works, Clare River Claregalway Advance Works, Dunkellin Flood Relief Scheme and Gort Lowlands. Councillors also heard that the Office of Public Works has facilitated many minor works schemes across the county too.



JOBS BOOST IN SLIGO Irish outsourcing firm Abtran has said it will create 350 new jobs in Sligo, in a development supported by Enterprise Ireland. Founded in 1997, Abtran currently employs over 2,000 people in Cork, Dublin, Kildare and Southern India. It will base its new regional operations centre at Finisklin Business Park, to the west of Sligo Town, and says the offices will be up and running later this year. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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CLÁR FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES Some a725,000 in funding has been announced for 18 schools and community projects in Cavan and Monaghan under the 2018 CLÁR Programme. Minister Heather Humphreys says the funding under the scheme is targeted at playgrounds and improving games and recreational areas at schools and community facilities. “This funding will go towards projects such as new playgrounds, astro turf and sports facilities, multi-use games areas and sensory gardens,” she said.


ABOUT CLÁR The Ceantair Laga Árd-Riachtanais (CLÁR) is a targeted investment programme which provides funding for small-scale infrastructural projects in rural areas that have suffered the greatest levels of population decline.






NEW JOBS FOR MULLAGH A new a3.3 million finishing and packing facility in Mullagh is to begin producing milk replacers in Ireland. As a result, up to 16 new manufacturing jobs will be created by the dairy nutrition company Volac, supported by the Irish government through Enterprise Ireland. Minister for Business and Enterprise Heather Humphreys said: “Driving job creation in the region is a priority for the Government and this investment is good news for the local economy. Ireland’s agri-food industry is part of our heritage and, combined with our reputation for strategic innovative activity and ease of doing business, we are well-positioned to attract FDI in the area.”


GRANT TO REPAIR HISTORIC RAILWAY Minister for the Irish language, Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh, has sanctioned a grant of a5,756 for Fintown Railway-Cumann Traenach na Gaeltachta Láir for essential repair works to historical equipment. Commenting on the importance of the grant, Minister McHugh remarked: “This grant will give some financial security for the project in the coming months and help guarantee workers’ jobs and their invaluable knowledge of railway heritage and the work that they do to support the revival of the Irish language.” InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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BOOST FOR DONEGAL FOOTBALL FANS Minister Joe McHugh has welcomed a a304,000 Sports Capital grant to design a new home for League of Ireland football club Finn Harps. The grant will go towards commissioning a design team to advance plans for the works. The new stadium is to be built on a site in Stranorlar that was awarded to the club by Donegal County Council. It will replace Finn Park in Ballybofey.


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to Learn NUI Galway offers an extensive range of part-time courses to allow adult learners to upskill, as Nuala McGuinn, Director Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway, explains.


t NUI Galway, adult learners undertaking part-time courses are representing a growing number of the overall student population each year. The university offers an extensive range of professional, part-time and flexible courses in a variety of subject areas, with awards offered at foundation, certificate, diploma, degree and master’s level. It also provides a range of specialist support services, which will assist adult learners in their progress through their chosen course. Nuala McGuinn, Director Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway, explains that the university’s strategic plan, Vision 2020, has set itself an ambitious target of having 20 per cent of its student population on a part-time, flexible or blended-learning course by 2020. Already, over 18 per cent of students are taking a course at NUI Galway on a

part-time, flexible basis, so the university is well on its way to achieving its target. This, according to McGuinn, is a positive development, not only for individual adult learners, but for society at large. “While the opportunity to engage in a lifelong learning course ensures the development of technical skills and competencies in a particular field, the wider societal benefits of learning are also significant in the contribution that these individual’s make to the wider society,” she says. “By connecting work, citizenship and knowledge and skills, universities are places where you can prepare for employment – at any stage in your life – but also develop other professional development skills such as innovation and entrepreneurship, effective leadership and expert communication skills.” Each year the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development works on new course developments to ensure that its range of courses and curriculum development are aligned with industry needs. There is a close partnership between academic awards, professional requirements and the students’ learning experience, as it is essential that the academic credentials achieved are relevant to the workforce

of today. Course content is continuously reviewed, with course assignments based on real-life situations ensuring that learning is authentic, relevant and immediately transferable to the workplace. NUI Galway’s graduate attributes include a focus on the development of professional transferable skills of critical thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, oral and written communication, creativity and entrepreneurship. These skills are explicitly integrated into the course learning content, and assignments and assessments are built around these skills. The focus on technical knowledge and these transferable skills ensures that NUI Galway aims to produce well-rounded graduates who are independent and adaptable. “Flexibility in course design and delivery is a hallmark of the part-time courses on offer,” says McGuinn. “Over 60 per cent of the courses on offer through the Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development are delivered in a blended or fully online mode. We understand that learners have many demands, and offering courses on a flexible basis ensures that they can study at a time and place which suits them best.” For further information, log on to or call 091 494 066.

NEW COURSES FOR 2018/19 ACADEMIC YEAR AT NUI GALWAY INCLUDE: Nuala McGuinn, Director Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development at NUI Galway


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• Higher Diploma in Arts (Politics and Society) • Diploma in Learning and Development • Diploma in Earth and Ocean Science

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Smart Move FOR DUBLIN Dublin City Council has partnered with Japanese telecoms firm SoftBank to further enhance its smart city capabilities.


ublin City Council has announced the arrival of SoftBank to its smart city testbed and detailed how the two parties will facilitate the exchange of smart city solutions across Japanese and Irish cities. SoftBank’s key focus is on developing Internet of Things (IoT) business opportunities to expand its business domain and this is the first European IoT outreach for the company. SoftBank, which already provides smart solutions for a number of local authorities in Japan, plans to roll out next generation of IoT solutions to address the current and future needs and challenges of Dublin and other cities, learning and adapting to scale globally. The SoftBank team, led by VicePresident of the Global Business Strategy Division, Hidebumi Kitahara, is in Dublin to finalise project details while also setting out its vision for global IoT and smart city expansion. “The development of an innovative IoT platform is a key strategy for SoftBank and we are delighted to collaborate with Dublin, with its unique smart city testbed, supported by a cluster of technology companies and an open and collaborative approach from Dublin City Council,” said Kitahara. “We want to deploy technologies that can make the lives of citizens and companies easier and more productive in a variety of ways.” SoftBank says Dublin was chosen InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council and Hidebumi Katahara, SoftBank

for this unique collaboration due to its open approach to smart city development through the Smart Dublin programme. The city council alongside the Connect centre for future networks based in TCD provides excellent opportunities for SoftBank to pursue its IoT strategy and smart city developments in Dublin. “Our Smart City Programme has gone from strength to strength with many of the world’s leading companies now collaborating with Dublin to deliver technologies that can transform city life,” said Owen

Keegan, Chief Executive, Dublin City Council. “SoftBank has a great vision for the city of the future and we are proud to be the first city outside Japan to work with them to deliver solutions for our citizens and those across the globe.” A key emphasis on the partnership will be to collaborate to solve city challenges and build new solutions and services in areas such as transport and movement (sustainable mobility); environment, disaster prevention and mitigation; and safety and security.


Dublin City Council, through the Smart Dublin initiative, has an ambition to be at the forefront of global smart city technology innovation. Smart Docklands is Dublin City Council’s smart city testbed and has unique potential as a Smart City District. Within the area there is a high concentration of new buildings and investment as well as a wide range of connectivity and ‘smart’ assets. It is also home to many of the world’s leading global technology companies. Smart Docklands is the result of a collaboration between the council and the SFI CONNECT Centre based in Trinity College Dublin. CONNECT is Ireland’s Research Centre for Future Networks and Communications. For more information visit


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

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In this issue of InBUSINESS we explore how Irish business and industry engages with third level institutions in order to access top talent and collaborate in the development of new products and ideas.

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niversities and the world of business, when afforded the opportunity, can serve to be of crucial importance to one another. While universities and industry have distinctly different missions and cultures, they can both provide the other with necessary resources that allow them to grow and improve – whether that relates to research, funding, receruitment, facilities or otherwise. If both universities and industry are flexible when approaching collaborations with one another, it can lead to strong results for both sides. When they work well, strategic partnerships merge the creative culture of a given university with the innovationdriven environment of a company. For universities, such partnerships might, for instance, enable them to access substantial streams of external funding that would otherwise be unavailable to them. There might be enhanced opportunities for professors and graduates to work on groundbreaking research. Ties with industry mean that the third-level institution is sitting at the cutting-edge of a given discipline, getting experience in ways that academia cannot replicate. On the flip side, third-level institutions also bring a lot to the table for business. Universities work within rigorous research methods and standards, and have access to a wide variety of resources, from physical infrastructure to the unique perspective of young and creative minds. There is huge potential for both research and industry to excel as a result of a collaboration, and in Ireland, we can see many examples. Over the following pages, we explore how Irish business and industry engages with third level institutions in order to access their top talent, and to collaborate in the development of new products and ideas. We speak to the business schools within University College Cork and Dublin City University about the various parternships that they have developed and how they have led to the successful commercialisation of thirdlevel academic research and, ultimately, to companies taking their product or service to the next level.


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Strong Links with Business Prof Thia Hennessy, Dean of Cork University Business School tells InBUSINESS about her school’s ties to industry and the benefits such a relationship entails.


ork University Business School was established only three years ago, yet already it has become the largest provider of undergraduate business education in Ireland, as well as the second largest for postgraduate, with over 3,500 students and 150 staff. University College Cork (UCC) is the leading provider of executive education in Ireland, following its recent merger with the Irish Management Institute (IMI), and it is continuously looking to develop and grow further. “There are a number of exciting initiatives underway within the Business School,” explains Prof Thia Hennessy, Dean of the Business School. “For example, we are applying for international accreditation from AACSB, the body that accredits the top 5 per cent of business schools globally. We are in the middle of a

Prof Thia Hennessy, Dean of Cork University Business School


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recruitment drive, having recently appointed sixteen professors; we are about to open our new executive education centre at Lapps Quay in Cork; and we are currently searching for a site for a new business school building in the heart of Cork City.” Prof Hennessy joined UCC in September 2016 as a professor of agri-food economics. Prior to this role, she had been the head of economic research at Teagasc, the Irish agriculture and food development authority. In April 2017, she was appointed as the acting dean of Cork University Business School, before being formally appointed to the role in February 2018. Her role as dean, she explains, is a diverse one, dealing with staff, students, and stakeholders, both internal and external to the university. “When I was appointed to the role, I was determined that the Business School have the strongest links possible with industry, both locally and nationally,” she says. “To achieve this, I put myself forward for election to the board of Cork Chamber, and I was delighted to be appointed in April of this year. I see this as a valuable opportunity to both communicate the developments in the business school to industry, but also to learn from our business and industry partners about how to make our Business School even more fit-for-purpose.” All UCC’s undergraduate programmes – which include the BCommerce, BSc Accounting, BSc Finance, BSc Business Information Systems, BSc Food Marketing & Entrepreneurship and BSc

International Development – offer a work placement opportunity or applied research project. Every year, the Business School places almost 1,000 students in businesses nationally and internationally. This gives students an invaluable workplace experience in companies involved with banking and finance, food and drinks, telecoms, pharmaceutical and healthcare, retail and distribution and the public sector. The feedback from many of the host companies is often extremely positive, with several re-hiring their placement students as graduates. More generally, Prof Hennessy explains that UCC is in the process of establishing an advisory board for the continued development of the Business School. This board will be populated with leaders from the business world and will provide strategic direction about the development of the school, new programmes, and placement opportunities for students and potential areas of research.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP Entrepreneurship is a key aspect of education within UCC’s business school. An illustration of this can be seen in an undergraduate programme offered by the school which is dedicated to food marketing and entrepreneurship. “One of the most interesting components of this degree program is the final project, where students take their own food product from the development stage right through to a business and marketing plan,” explains Prof Hennessy. “Students pitch their product in a Dragons’ Den type situation, which is adjudicated by business leaders from the food sector. This aspect of the degree programme has proved InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 09:54


enjoyable, interesting and beneficial to students and staff alike, and a number of successful food companies have emerged as a result.” At the postgraduate level, there is a Master’s in Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, which is aimed at individuals that have an advanced business idea. The business school also supports entrepreneurial education for second level students, through summer camps that are run throughout the summer. Across the university, there are a number of programmes and funds to support students at the undergraduate, postgraduate and postdoctoral level in the development of start-up and spin-out companies. A number of successful companies have developed with this support. Cork University Business School is representative of what can be achieved when there are close ties between industry and academia. Prof Hennessy suggests that such a relationship can deliver benefits in two directions. “First, greater contact with industry can ensure that the educational programmes offered by universities are relevant and up-todate and can ensure that graduates are InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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I put myself forward for election to the board of Cork Chamber, and I was delighted to be appointed in April of this year. work-ready,” she says. “Having a steady supply of graduates with the relevant skills that can hit the ground running when appointed to an organisation is critical to the future success and competitiveness of industry in Ireland. Furthermore, through executive education, business schools play an important role in developing the leadership skills of managers in Irish business. Indeed the quality of our workforce is one of the reasons often cited by multinational corporations when locating in Ireland.” The second benefit, suggests Prof Hennessy, relates to the things that industry can learn from universities. “Academic staff are often involved in basic research that might not be conducted by companies, and the dissemination of this research to industry can be hugely beneficial,” she says. “For example, researchers within Cork University Business School are active in research and

development in relation to financial technology, regulation technology and the business of health. Projects in these fields have developed technical solutions, models and research ideas that have been directly adopted by industry.” Cork University Business School is still a new institution, yet it is already reaping benefits for both its students and the business community itself. Prof Hennessy explains that growth is on the agenda for the next few years, with the school hoping to attract more international students to its campus. It also hopes to achieve its business plan growth targets of a staff and student body of over 4,000, and also to be located in its new building in the centre of Cork City. “University rankings also very important to us,” says Prof Hennessy, looking ahead to the coming years. “The decreased level of funding and investment in our universities in Ireland over the last five to ten years has resulted in us slipping down the league tables internationally. We are strategically focused on quality teaching and research within Cork University Business School and within the next five years we plan to make substantial improvements in our international ranking.”


17/08/2018 09:55


Partnering with Industry DCU Business School has embraced industry engagement since its foundation, writes Anne Sinnott, Executive Dean of DCU Business School.


CU prides itself on being known as Ireland’s University of Enterprise. Our students have been going on INTRA (paid work experience) for over thirty years as part of their degree requirements, and we have always viewed industry engagement as fundamental to education. Collaboration with industry prepares graduates to understand the real world applications of their academic learning, and it produces relevant research based on real business challenges. Our industry partnerships provide a guiding thread through undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education programmes. For example, our undergraduate students complete a final year project where they develop a business idea and pitch to senior executives in a Dragon’s Den environment. The majority of postgraduate students will complete a practicum project with a partner company. Executive MBA participants apply their learning and assignments to their own workplaces. Companies see the immediate benefits of supporting these MBAs. We see our connection to industry as part of our mission to educate, particularly in the SME space, where indigenous industry is so important to our economy and society. We help many businesses which are either start-ups or SMEs seeking to scale up which, in turn, contributes to the Irish economy. We’ve provided leadership training to 75 SMEs this year alone through our partnership with Enterprise Ireland’s Go Global for Growth programme. This year,


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we received Small Business Charter accreditation in recognition of our work with the SME sector. As a small, open economy which is an English-speaking member of the EU, we have an immediate advantage in Ireland on our international peers. The vibrancy of our SME sector, combined with the presence of large multinational companies, means that our students are uniquely exposed to entrepreneurship and the experiences of global brands based here. Ireland is a well-networked society, meaning that access to the right people in industry can be easier here. Talent Garden, one of the largest European networks of co-sharing spaces, has recognised these traits and has chosen DCU as its destination to set up in Dublin. We believe that having a vibrant mix of digitallyfocused start-ups, freelancers and corporate innovation teams from Talent Garden join the broader DCU community will open up new opportunities and synergies for DCU Business School and for our students

to work with industry in new and synergistic ways. DCU is home to many exciting start-ups in its innovation and enterprise centre, DCU Invent. For example, last year an MSc in Electronic Commerce student won DCU’s ‘Ustart Best StartUp’ with a business called Happy Scribe, a transcription tool that helps researchers and journalists transcribe interviews and audio files. This business recently received Competitive Start Fund (CSF) funding from Enterprise Ireland to boost its growth. This is just a single example of a start-up nurtured by DCU Invent. Last year, DCU emerged as the top business school in Europe for faculty gender balance. The Business School was the first faculty in DCU to have a female dean. The numbers of males and females at entry-level is equal. Translating DCU policies into action has been key to our success in this area. Crucially, greater inclusion and representation has been a conscious goal for DCU, and our achievement has been underpinned by universitywide initiatives to support diversity and inclusion, such as the Women in Leadership activities.

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

14/09/2018 11:31


Top Talent Stephen Kennedy, Managing Director and founder of executive recruitment company Talent Partners, gives InBUSINESS the low-down on his company. Q. Could you tell us a bit about Talent Partners?

A. Talent Partners is an award-winning recruitment business that I founded in 2003. I have over 20 years recruitment experience in Ireland and overseas, and as a passionate sports fan I am focused on helping client companies build high performing teams to maximise on business opportunities. Our client base is very varied – we work with blue chip multinational clients, enterprise-level clients and indigenous Irish companies looking to attract the right talent into their teams to take their businesses to the next level. Q. Any industry trends shaping your business right now?

A. My 20+ years in recruitment has taught me how cyclical recruitment can be. Today it is a candidatedriven marketplace and companies are finding it difficult to secure the talent they want due to the competitive industry landscape. Top candidates typically have several offers which they are comparing, InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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and a high percentage of them are also receiving counteroffers from their current employers, who want to avoid the time and expense of having to rehire someone for the role.

Q. What are your views on the current landscape for recruitment in Ireland?

A. The Irish economy continues to grow and develop, and recent reports suggest 100,000 new jobs will be created by the end of 2019. The question that many hiring managers are asking is where can they find the talent they need? There is a limited talent pool in the local marketplace, and the increased demand on talent here will create wage inflation, which will ultimately come back to bite employers and employees. Q. What advice would you have for businesses aiming to recruit high performing professionals?

A. They should appoint an external talent scout to be their trusted adviser and eyes and ears in the marketplace. Search experts who recruit mid to senior management

Stephen Kennedy, Managing Director, Talent Partners

professionals on a daily basis have a strong understanding of market trends and issues. When the relationship is that of a trusted business partner or adviser, these insights can be very beneficial. Often, companies engage too many organisations to recruit a role on a no foal, no fee basis. Ironically this can slow down the recruitment process, leaving hiring managers frustrated. This is where engaging a trusted recruitment partner really adds value.

Q. Where do you see the business going in the next five to ten years?

A. We want Talent Partners to expand its international footprint and become a global recruitment partner of choice to businesses operating out of Ireland. As part of MRINetwork, we have access to an international network where we engage with MRINetwork offices in the US, Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Europe to deliver exceptional talent for our client companies, providing them with a onestop recruitment solution. If you are looking to hire top talent into your team call Talent Partners on 01 687 3746 or email


17/08/2018 16:03


Securing the Future of the Port The Port of Cork has commenced an €80 million Cork Container Terminal development in Ringaskiddy.


he Port of Cork has marked a major milestone with the launch of the new Cork Container Terminal development in Ringaskiddy. The Cork Container Terminal will initially offer a 360 metre quay with 13 metre depth alongside and will enable larger ships to berth in Ringaskiddy. The development also includes the construction of a 13.5 hectare terminal and associated buildings, as well as two ship-to-shore gantry cranes and container handling equipment. The requirement for the development of new container handling facilities at Ringaskiddy was identified in the Port of Cork’s Strategic Development plan in 2010. It will accommodate current and future container shipping which can be serviced by modern and efficient cargo handling equipment with innovative terminal operating and vehicle booking systems. The Port of Cork anticipates that Cork Container Terminal will become operational by 2020. “The Port of Cork’s redevelopment at Ringaskiddy is a key growth enabler for both Cork City and the region – as well as the national economy – and will enable the Port to deliver more efficient container handling facilities, replacing the existing container terminal at Tivoli, and securing the Cork Container Terminal as an international gateway for trade well into the future,” commented Chairman of the Port of Cork, John Mullins. “The transfer of Port


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Port of Cork Chairman John Mullins pictured with An Tánaiste Minister Simon Coveney

related activities from the city and Tivoli will create a real opportunity for Cork Dockland sites to be redeveloped in the near future.” The facility is the most significant single investment in marine infrastructure and superstructure in the history of the Port of Cork Company. Representing an investment of €80 million, the development is being funded by the Port through an awardwinning financing structure comprising Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c, the European Investment Bank, and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), and also by including European Union Connecting Europe Facility funds and self-finance. The Port of Cork awarded the development’s civil engineering contract to BAM Civil Ltd., part

of the multi-national construction group, Royal BAM Group of the Netherlands. The Port of Cork Chief Executive, Brendan Keating, has praised the development. “This development will secure the future for the Port of Cork, and ensure the trade gains are translated into significant economic benefits for the people of Cork and the Munster region, as well as the national economy,” he said. “As part of this redevelopment, the Port of Cork will deliver a public marine leisure amenity at Paddy’s Point and has also committed a €1 million community gain fund for the Ringaskiddy area for the development of an enhanced public realm scheme. We look forward to supporting the community and Cork County Council as they prepare and implement the scheme.” InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 09:59


Simple Answers to Complex Problems InBUSINESS talks to Philip Lee, who tells us about his eponymous law firm’s involvement in the Port of Cork development at Ringaskiddy Port.


hilip Lee started his law firm 25 years ago, and in that time has managed to build a recognised and capable team around him. Today, this team is involved with the Port of Cork development at Ringaskiddy Port, as Managing Partner Lee himself details. “Kerri Crossen, who heads up procurement with Hugh Cummins, led the teams on the procurement and contract side. They are amazing lawyers,” he says. “Jonathan Kelly led the project finance team. When things got a little rough, Clare Cashin jumped on board with her powerful litigation team. She has amazing focus and ability

to drive complex litigation forward. My role was to make sure everyone was coordinated and that we achieved the client’s objectives. Generally the less I did, the more effective was the outcome!” Lee explains that the project appealed to the firm’s team for a number of reasons. First, they viewed the project as having the potential to transform the city of Cork – which itself is a worthy cause. Second, it is a major civil engineering project involving planning issues, project finance, foreshore lease difficulties, procurement and construction issues

– in other words, matters that the firm specialises in dealing with. “Our job is to provide simple answers to complex problems,” summarises Lee. “We pride ourselves on ensuring our letters of advice are clear and easy to understand. We also have unparalleled expertise to take a client from the beginning of a major infrastructure project to the very end. In the case of Ringaskiddy, this meant assisting at various stages in the planning process, right through the final procurement process, and the drafting of the construction and finance contracts.”


Our partners and consultants are specialists with top tier expertise, knowledge and experience. We can help you in the areas of: > Banking and Finance > Commercial Contracts > Corporate Advisory and Governance > Data Privacy and Technology > Dispute Resolution and Litigation > Employment and Pensions > Intellectual Property > Pocurement > Tax

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13/07/2018 12:45

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Supporting the Port Following a funding process of over two years, AIB Corporate Banking is supporting the Port of Cork’s development plans at Ringaskiddy Port. InBUSINESS catches up with Conor Morgan of AIB Corporate Banking to find out more. Q. Why is it important for AIB Corporate Banking to provide financing for the Port of Cork’s development plans at Ringaskiddy Port?

A. AIB’s purpose is to back our customers to achieve their dreams and ambitions. As banker to Port of Cork, our relationship has spanned decades, across many phases of the port’s history and development. AIB Corporate Banking is delighted to provide financing to Port of Cork and to back the management team’s longterm ambition to create a state-of-the-art container

terminal at Ringaskiddy, securing the future of the port. As Ireland’s number one corporate bank, it is important for AIB to support this project which supports jobs and trade in the region.

Q. How do you view the economic landscape of Cork and Munster? A. These are exciting times for Cork and Munster. The Ringaskiddy development will secure Cork Container Terminal as an international gateway for trade into the future. It also creates opportunities to develop

Brendan Keating, CEO, Port of Cork; Eoin Gunn, Head of SME, Cork; Aodhan Hobbs, Deputy Head of Corporate Banking; Tánaiste Simon Coveney; John Mullins, Chairman, Port of Cork; Conor Morgan, Head of Transport Sector, Corporate Banking; Mark Fitzharris, Head of AIB, Cork City; and Ian Smith, Relationship Manager, Corporate Banking


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sites at Cork Dockyard, following the move of port activities from Tivoli to Ringaskiddy. This will bring benefits to those areas and the city in general. This is only one of a number of developments in the pipeline for Cork, and as Ireland’s second largest city, it is key to AIB’s strategy to be at the forefront of the region’s development.

Q. What makes AIB unique in the corporate banking sector?

A. AIB Corporate Banking is the market-leader due to our relationship management approach with our customers. We bank Ireland’s most successful companies, offering a flexible and innovative approach. We have a proven ability to deliver complex financing solutions to enable companies to achieve their dreams and ambitions. Q. Tell us about Ireland’s corporate banking sector and how AIB fares within it.

Q. Tell us about AIB

A. The Irish corporate

Corporate Banking’s relationship with Port of Cork.

banking sector is currently a competitive space; however, we are growing our market share by staying close to our existing customer base and continuously adding new customers. Despite the uncertainties around Brexit and other geo-political issues, Irish companies are still seeking to undertake capital expenditure and development to secure future growth. AIB Corporate Banking supports this. The ports sector is a good example of large scale development, with projects under development at all three Tier 1 ports of Dublin, Cork and Shannon Foynes, as well as developments at other smaller ports. AIB Corporate Banking continues to be active in this sector.

A. AIB has a long-standing relationship with Port of Cork, spanning many phases of their history. AIB Corporate Banking’s relationship management approach ensures that we partner with our customers for the longterm, enabling them to achieve their dreams and ambitions. Both Port of Cork and AIB have a rich history throughout Cork, and our relationship has been mutually beneficial over the years. We see the Ringaskiddy development as the latest opportunity to support the management team and we look forward to supporting them into the future as the Masterplan continues to progress.

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 10:03


Prepared for the Digital Age KPMG’s first Global Female Leaders study has shown that Irish female business leaders embrace disruption and are confident about future growth.


ccording to a recent study conducted by KPMG, female business leaders – including those in Ireland – are well-prepared for the challenges of the digital age. The Global Female Leaders study, KPMG’s first such study, showed that almost half of Irish female business leaders (47 per cent) believe their company to be the disruptor of their sector, rather than being disrupted by competitors. 88 per cent of female business leaders in Ireland expect revenue growth over the next three years, with 45 per cent seeing organic growth as the most important. These results are aligned with expectations for headcount growth – a majority of

female business leaders in Ireland (59 per cent) expect employment to grow in the next three years – marginally below the level expected by their global peers (62 per cent). However, Irish respondents are cautious when it comes to the impact of artificial intelligence on headcount, with only 50 per cent saying that it will create more jobs than it will eliminate – which is reflected in the global findings, at 47 per cent. Almost four in five of Irish respondents see the need to improve innovation processes and execution over the next three years, in comparison with their global peers at 93 per cent. Almost nine in ten

Artificial Intelligence?

will increase usage of predictive data models/analytics, compared with 77 per cent worldwide. According to Shaun Murphy, Managing Partner of KPMG in Ireland, digital transformation offers significant opportunities but is challenging business leaders to ensure they have the right people and resources in place. “For example, the speed at which decisions have to be made in response to customer expectations is accelerating,” he says. “Leaders need to possess the skills and the conviction to lead their companies through these disruptive times.” Find out more at


Irish CEO Outlook 2018

of Irish CEOs believe artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys. © 2018 KPMG, an Irish partnership

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Learn more at #CEOoutlook

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Time to Consolidate Mark Reilly, Pension Sales Manager, Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland, explains why consolidating your pension funds could prove to be a very wise move.


he days of spending our working lives with just one or two employers are becoming a thing of the past. Forty-three per cent of those surveyed in the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey see themselves leaving their jobs within two years, with only 28 per cent planning to stay beyond five years. It’s not unreasonable then to assume that a 30-year-old today might work for multiple employers by the time they’re 65 – indeed, according to research from LinkedIn, people might change jobs up to 15 times during their working lives. As pension pots are

accumulated across a multitude of employers, retirement funding can get complicated. This is why consolidating your pension pots could be a smart move. It’s much easier to estimate the income you can expect to receive from a single pension rather than, say, half a dozen. Plus, you’re more likely to take an interest in your pension if you see it as a larger amount of money, rather than a collection of smaller pots. Your current pension may limit your fund choices or, in the case of some trust-based pension schemes, the trustees may dictate the funds you can choose from. Transferring to a single pension allows you to take control, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to pick your own investments if you don’t want to. Our advice would be to discuss your fund choices with a financial broker. Most pension funds will offer some form

Your current pension may limit your fund choices or, in the case of some trust-based pension schemes, the trustees may dictate the funds you can choose from.

Mark Reilly, Pension Sales Manager, Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland


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of lifestyle strategy, which will be tailored to your needs. Aviva currently offers a range of funds from three managers, including lifestyle and multi-asset funds. Where you have multiple pension benefits – which can date back over 20 years or more at retirement – it can be difficult to ensure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. Even if you have retained

AVIVA’S OFFERING • A choice of products • Attractive allocation rates and competitive fund management charges • No policy fees • Free independent trustee services • Flexible contributions • A range of lifestyle strategies • A choice of three world-class fund managers

up-to-date details on your various pension entitlements, it can still be challenging to locate the current trustees to sign the benefits across to you. It can also be difficult to monitor the fees you are paying to your pension providers, but if you combine your pensions into a new plan, you may be able to save money on fees through a lower fund management charge and not paying policy fees. If you do decide to consolidate, there are a few things to watch out for. For example, some pension schemes may charge an exit fee charge if you move your money – usually a percentage of your fund value. You should also consider whether you’ll lose any benefits tied to your old pensions – for example, an attractive guaranteed annuity rate or a loyalty bonus. Your financial broker can help with these decisions. Talk to them about Aviva’s range of options, and if you decide to consolidate your pension benefits, they can help you find a solution from Aviva that works for you. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 10:08

RAISING THE BAR Ireland’s legal professionals continued to set the standards in excellence at the seventh Clinch Wealth Management Irish Law Awards.


he who’s who of Irish law descended upon the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road on May 11th 2018 for the Clinch Wealth Management Irish Law Awards. Over 90 Irish law firms, legal practitioners and in-house legal teams were represented at the event, which was opened by Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and hosted by RTE’s Miriam O’Callaghan. The awards set out to identify, commend and honour


Banking, Finance/Restructuring & Insolvency Firm/Lawyer of the Year BYRNEWALLACE, DUBLIN Sponsored By RSM Ireland Criminal Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year SHALOM BINCHY & CO., DUBLIN Employment Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year RICHARD GROGAN & ASSOCIATES SOLICITORS, DUBLIN Munster & Connacht/Ulster Employment Law Firm/ Lawyer of the Year ALASTAIR PURDY & CO., GALWAY

excellence and achievement in Irish law and showcase the best of Irish law firms, legal practitioners and in-house legal teams throughout the four provinces of Ireland. Among the winners on the night were Beauchamps who were crowned Law Firm of the Year. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the Honorary Miss Justice Susan Denham in recognition of her remarkable contribution to the legal profession in Ireland over the last 30 years. For a full list of finalists and award recipients and further information on the Clinch Wealth Management Irish Law Awards 2018 visit

Connacht/Ulster Family Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year BERWICK SOLICITORS, GALWAY Leinster Family Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year SUSAN WEBSTER & COMPANY, KILDARE Munster Family Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year ANNETTE SHEEHAN - FITZGERALD SOLICITORS, CORK Dublin Family Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year KEITH WALSH SOLICITORS, DUBLIN In-House Legal Team of the Year CLÚID HOUSING, DUBLIN

Leinster Employment Law Firm/ Lawyer of the Year RICHARD GROGAN, DUBLIN

Law Firm Innovation Award TRACEY SOLICITORS, DUBLIN Sponsored by Documatics

Excellence in Client Service MICHAEL MONAHAN SOLICITOR, SLIGO Sponsored by Ormond Meeting Rooms

Law Student of the Year CLAIRE JULIETTE JOYCE - UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK Sponsored by Institute of Legal Research & Standards

Excellence in Client Service Connacht/Ulster MICHAEL MONAHAN SOLICITOR (SLIGO) Sponsored by Ormond Meeting Rooms Excellence in Client Service - Leinster TIM KENNELLY SOLICITORS, KILDARE Sponsored by Ormond Meeting Rooms

Legal Executive of the Year JENNIFER WEAFER - LAVELLE SOLICITORS, DUBLIN Litigation Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year PHILIP LEE, DUBLIN

Excellence in Client Service - Munster PG MCMAHON SOLICITORS, LIMERICK Sponsored by Ormond Meeting Rooms

Connacht/Ulster Litigation Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year P. O’CONNOR & SON, MAYO

Excellence in Client Service - Dublin BYRNEWALLACE, DUBLIN Sponsored by Ormond Meeting Rooms

Munster Litigation Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year PIERSE FITZGIBBON SOLICITORS, KERRY

Excellence in Marketing & Communications DILLON SOLICITORS, DUBLIN Sponsored by Financial Times Family Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year KEITH WALSH SOLICITORS, DUBLIN

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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John White, Managing Partner, Beauchamps, Miriam O’Callaghan, Host and Tom Clinch, MD, Clinch Wealth Management

Connacht/Ulster Property, Planning, Probate Firm/ Lawyer of the Year BLAKE & KENNY SOLICITORS, GALWAY Sponsored by ENKI

Solicitor of the Year STUART GILHOOLY - H.J. WARD & CO., DUBLIN Sponsored by MedLaw

Munster Property, Planning, Probate Firm/ Lawyer of the Year SWEENEY MCGANN SOLICITORS, LIMERICK Sponsored by ENKI


Leinster Property, Planning, Probate Firm/ Lawyer of the Year REDDY CHARLTON SOLICITORS, DUBLIN Sponsored by ENKI Public Sector Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year JUDICIAL REVIEW TEAM, CHIEF STATE SOLICITOR’S OFFICE, DUBLIN Service Provider to the Legal Profession DIPLOMA CENTRE LAW SOCIETY OF IRELAND, DUBLIN Sponsored by 3M Sole Practitioner/Sole Principal of the Year DEIRDRE BURKE - D.M. BURKE & CO., WICKLOW Connacht/Ulster Sole Practitioner/ Sole Principal of the Year JASON O’ SULLIVAN - J.O.S. SOLICITORS, GALWAY Leinster Sole Practitioner/ Sole Principal of the Year DEIRDRE BURKE - D.M. BURKE & CO., WICKLOW

Leinster Litigation Law Firm/Lawyer of the Year PHILIP LEE, DUBLIN

Munster Sole Practitioner/ Sole Principal of the Year KIERAN MULCAHY SOLICITOR, LIMERICK

Property, Planning, Probate Firm/Lawyer of the Year REDDY CHARLTON SOLICITORS, DUBLIN Sponsored by ENKI

Dublin Sole Practitioner/ Sole Principal of the Year SHARON SCALLY - AMORYS SOLICITORS, DUBLIN

Leinster Solicitor of the Year ALVARO BLASCO - BLASCO SOLICITORS, KILDARE Munster Solicitor of the Year FLOR MCCARTHY - MCCARTHY & CO., CORK Dublin Solicitor of The Year STUART GILHOOLY - H.J. WARD & CO., DUBLIN Law Firm of the Year BEAUCHAMPS, DUBLIN Connacht/Ulster Law Firm of the Year MACSWEENEY & COMPANY, GALWAY Leinster Law Firm of the Year HANAHOE AND HANAHOE SOLICITORS, KILDARE Munster Law Firm of the Year JRAP O’MEARA SOLICITORS, CORK Dublin Law Firm of the Year BEAUCHAMPS, DUBLIN Lifetime Achievement Award HONORARY MISS JUSTICE SUSAN DENHAM, DUBLIN Sponsored by Institute of Legal Research & Standards Special Merit Award MICHAEL IRVINE


16/08/2018 15:53


Versed in Family Law Annette Sheehan is a family law solicitor with Cork-based FitzGerald Solicitors who this year took the title of Munster Family Lawyer of the Year at Irish Law Awards 2018.


amily law can sometimes be a difficult area to work within, particularly given its often personal nature with direct implications upon people’s lives. Practitioners working within the area must of course have an intricate knowledge of family law, but they must also possess human qualities which allow them to deal with intimate scenarios that may make clients uncomfortable. “My work deals primarily with family law and childcare, but I also have a particular interest in medical negligence cases affecting women,” explains Annette Sheehan, Family

Annette Sheehan, family lawyer at FitzGerald Solicitors


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Lawyer at FitzGerald Solicitors. “International family law issues are becoming more prevalent these days, and we have a number of international clients seeking family law advice in relation to issues in Ireland and cross-border jurisdictional issues. Our work is very specialised, and therefore we have developed a high level of expertise in the area of co-habitation proceedings, pre-nuptial agreements and the Children and Family Relationships Act, 2015.” The legal sector is constantly evolving, and 2018 has been a positive year for Sheehan and her firm. Sheehan herself points to an upturn in the economy as being evident this year across several different areas of her practice, including conveyancing and commercial activity. In family law specifically, she suggests, people who once could not afford to separate because of negative equity attached to properties can now do so, as property prices are on the rise. Furthermore, the introduction of the Mediation Act has been a significant development, whereby solicitors are now obliged to sign a statutory declaration confirming that they have advised their client of the benefits of mediation prior to issuing proceedings. This is a positive development, as mediation can be very effective in bringing resolution to parties and providing the framework for

a comprehensive agreement to a relationship breakdown. Another recent change that is worthy of note has been the prevalence of women becoming qualified solicitors. In FitzGerald Solicitors, for example, one of the firm’s partners, Sinead McNamara, is the first female County Sheriff in the history of the State, becoming the Sheriff for Cork County in 2013. The firm’s founding partner, Ann FitzGerald, is a practising barrister, and Annette Sheehan’s work has been recognised with her recent win Irish Law Awards 2018. “Most of our nominations are client-based, so it is wonderful to see the regard and appreciation that clients have for the work carried out on their behalf,” says Sheehan, in response to being named Munster Family Lawyer of the Year. “To be recognised amongst my peers, who are all highly accomplished practitioners, is such an honour. Family law can be a difficult and challenging area to work in, but equally it is very rewarding.” Looking ahead, Sheehan and FitzGerald Solicitors will spend the remainder of the year working towards delivering the firm’s key objective – continuing to expand its client base. “We hope in particular to expand our medical negligence practice,” says Sheehan. “Unfortunately for the women of Ireland, there continues to be new issues emerging which will require legal expertise for the parties involved.” For more information on the suite of services FitzGerald Solicitors offers, visit InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 10:09


Boutique Firm with Big Ambitions Richard Grogan & Associates picked up the coveted Employment Law Firm of the Year Award at Irish Law Awards 2018.


ichard Grogan & Associates is a law firm which specialises in employment law and litigation cases. In accepting the Employment Law Firm of the Year Award 2018, Richard Grogan, the principal of the firm, commented: “We are delighted to have won this award. As a specialist firm, we believe we can best service the needs of our clients by providing a service limited to our particular areas of expertise. This allows us to provide a structured and dedicated specialist advice and assistance. By limiting our services to those areas where we have particular expertise, we are able to provide a streamlined and

cost-efficient value added service to our clients.” Michelle Loughnane, head of the Litigation and Contentious Business Practice at the firm, said: “As a boutique law firm, we provide a very personal legal service to our clients, tailored to the needs of each particular case. We understand that employment law disputes are very personal to those involved. The services we provide are both professional and supportive. We regard this as important in giving a quality service to our clients.” For more details call 01-9695781 or email

Michelle Loughnane, Head of the Litigation and Contentious Business Practice, and Richard Grogan, Principal of Richard Grogan & Associates

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LEGAL EXCELLENCE The Law Society of Ireland’s Diploma Centre has recently scooped a prestigious industry award.

than 1,000 participants. We strive to provide a flexible approach to learning with courses available both on-site and online and designed to satisfy CPD requirements of the profession.” The Diploma Centre recently launched the autumn 2018 programme which has something for everyone with a wide variety of courses to choose from, including five new courses, such as a Diploma Pictured at the Irish Law Awards are in Advocacy Skills, Certificate in Ken Murphy, Director General, Brendan Immigration Law and Practice and Twomey, Chair, Education Committee, Freda Grealy, Head of Diploma Centre, and Certificate in Agriculture and Food Law all are delivered by Rory O'Boyle, Diploma Centre Executive experienced and leading practitioners in an engaging and flexible learning Grealy, Head of Diploma Centre as she environment. accepted the award on behalf of the team. “We run over 30 certificate and You can learn more about the Diploma diploma courses annually, with record Centre by visiting: attendance numbers last year of more


he Law Society of Ireland’s Diploma Centre has been awarded the coveted ‘Service Provider to the Legal Profession’ for a third successive year at the recent Irish Law Awards 2018. The award recognises excellence in the provision of services to the legal profession and highlights the diverse range of courses and innovative use of technology in delivering content to course participants. “We’re delighted with the profession’s recognition for our programme,” remarked Dr Freda

DIPLOMA CENTRE Leaders in legal education with professional focus and practical insight Introducing our flexible on-site and online CPD recognised courses COURSE NAME Diploma in Law Diploma in Trust & Estate Planning Certificate in Aviation Leasing & Finance LLM Advanced Legal Practice Certificate in Company Secretarial Law & Practice Certificate in Data Protection Practice Certificate in Writing and Drafting Skills (new) Diploma in Finance Law Diploma in Healthcare Law Diploma in Construction Law Certificate in Conveyancing Diploma in Judicial Skills & Decision-Making Diploma in Insurance Law Certificate in Agriculture & Food Law (new) Certificate in Commercial Contracts Certificate in Construction Dispute Mediation (new) Diploma in Sports Law Diploma in Education Law Certificate in Trade Mark Law Certificate in Immigration Law and Practice (new) Diploma in Mediator Training Diploma in Advocacy Skills (new)

DATE 7 September 2018 15 September 2018 27 September 2018 29 September 2018 2 October 2018 4 October 2018 5 October 2018 9 October 2018 11 October 2018 13 October 2017 16 October 2018 17 October 2018 18 October 2018 20 October 2018 20 October 2018 23 October 2018 24 October 2018 2 November 2018 8 November 2018 8 November 2018 9 November 2018 15 November 2018

FEE €4,400 €3,200 €1,550 €3,400 €1,550 €1,550 €1,550 €2,500 €2,500 €2,500 €1,550 €2800 €2,500 €1,550 €1,550 €1,550 €2,500 €2,500 €1,550 €1,550 €3,000 €2,500




01 672 4802


All lectures are webcast, allowing participants to catch up on course work at a time suitable to their own needs. Please note that the Law Society of Ireland’s Diploma Centre reserves the right to change the courses that may be offered and course prices may be subject to change.

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17/08/2018 16:37


Adopting Standards in Times of Change Companies that adopt international standards are in a strong position to build customer confidence, writes Geraldine Larkin, NSAI Chief Executive.


ince I was appointed Chief Executive of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), the two statements I hear regularly from business owners are, “standards don’t apply to my business,” and “I can’t afford to get certified”. My answer is always the same – standards are designed for everyone. They are the language of business, an affordable answer to the fundamental question: “What is the best way of doing this?” More than 3,000 Irish businesses of all sizes agree that international standards are the best way to build customer confidence in

their products, meet regulation requirements at a lower cost, reduce costs across all aspects of a business and gain market access across the world. Research backs this up. A Harvard study of 1,000 Californian companies has shown that adopters of the ISO 9001 standard for Quality Management Systems have a greater chance for survival, suffering less “firm deaths” than non-ISO adopters. In addition, adopter organisations had higher growth rates for sales, employment, payroll and average annual earnings. While it is true that there is a cost for implementing standards in your business, it may not be as high as you think. For example, if you take a company that employs between five and 20 people, the cost of achieving certification stands at around 1,500 per year, over a three-year certification cycle. While this is still a sizable amount

Just 2 per cent of businesses, north and south, have a plan in place to prepare for the effects of Brexit

Geraldine Larkin, Chief Executive, NSAI

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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of money for any organisation, it is probably less than expected, and oftentimes the cost of not being certified can be greater. Businesses can also choose how far they want to go along the standards journey. For example, the ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems standard itself is reasonably priced and can be purchased from NSAI. Getting certified to the standard – which is not compulsory – will incur extra costs that can vary. For example, some companies may

decide to use an external consultant. This is not strictly necessary, however, and a lot of helpful advice can be found in supporting publications from NSAI. Now more than ever, Irish businesses need certainty. A recent survey conducted by InterTradeIreland revealed that just 2 per cent of businesses, north and south, have a plan in place to prepare for the effects of Brexit. With just over a year to go, business groups and political leaders may be wondering why some SMEs are failing to prioritise this momentous shift. The cost of doing business may be one explanation. The National Competitiveness Council says high insurance costs and rising salaries are putting pressure on companies, leading to reduced profitability or higher consumer prices. This in turn can force them to divert funds away from company growth and investment purposes, including any potential response to Brexit. One of the most effective ways that SMEs, particularly those that trade with Britain, can prepare for such significant change is by getting certified to international standards. Standards cover everything from shoes and stairs, to the Wi-Fi networks that connect us, meaning consumers can have confidence that their products are safe, reliable and of good quality. With certification to international standards, there’s no reason why that confidence can’t extend to businesses themselves. NSAI’s Business Excellence team is available to answer any queries relating to Management Systems Certifications. For more information, visit


17/08/2018 10:13

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17/08/2018 28/05/2018 09:30 09:54


Building on Reputation Sintel is looking to expand its product line and client base, building on its reputation for high quality solutions and customer-first approach.


intel is a Microsoft-certified partner which has been building solutions on Microsoft technologies for the past eleven years. The company’s core areas are in SharePoint and Office 365, but it also develops reporting solutions and mobile apps. It recently moved into the SharePoint app space, releasing products for SharePoint online and Office 365. These apps focus mainly on extending the out-of-the-box functionality of SharePoint. “We have a great team of dedicated and experienced people and continue to get repeat business from our existing clients, while also getting significant work from new clients based solely on referrals,” says Eoin McMahon, Consultant, Sintel. “In contrast with some of our competitors, we are not a huge company, which makes us more agile and better able to adapt to meet the specific needs of our clients. We always strive to deliver the best work for a competitive price. This approach has worked very well for us, as our clients always feel they receive impartial advice and value for money.” The majority of Sintel’s clients are within the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, and a significant amount of its work is for multinational clients. Some of these have operations in Ireland, yet much of Sintel’s work is for locations outside of Ireland such as the US, Switzerland, Germany and Dubai. “From our perspective, the tech sector is booming and companies appear to be investing heavily in InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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The possibilities with cloud services are improving on an almost daily basis, and clients that embark on projects to move towards it are seeing big savings.

new technologies and moving to the cloud in a big way,” says McMahon. “Almost all apps we work on now are assumed to be cloud-based by default, which is a significant shift from even a year ago. The possibilities with cloud services are improving on an almost daily basis, and clients that embark on projects to move towards it are seeing big savings, both in terms of cost and ongoing support, compared to remaining on-premise. The world of technology moves fast, and 2018 has been a big year for Sintel. Take the implementation of GDPR, which came into force in May. “GDPR will have much the same impact on us as other companies,” says McMahon. “We followed the guidance on and undertook a review of the personal data we held - mainly contact information for clients we regularly work with. We had to update our privacy policy, and in cases where we collect contact information, we clearly stated why we collect it, what we use it for and if we share it with third parties.” Looking ahead to the remainder of 2018, Sintel will increase investment in product development, given the

positive response the company has received for its first Office 365 product, Sintel Forms for SharePoint. This product allows companies who have already invested in SharePoint, to build applications and automate their business processes quickly and easily, at a fraction of the cost of other solutions. “We receive great feedback from both our existing and new clients, and have an aggressive release cycle where we add new features every month,” says McMahon. “We also have a number of other products, including data grids and charting components which, when combined with Sintel Forms, will permit our clients to build full solutions with reporting on SharePoint with no code. Apart from products, we will continue to deliver projects for our existing client base while striving to identify new clients.”

Eoin McMahon, Consultant, Sintel


17/08/2018 10:16


End to End Stuff Based in Cork, Itero helps start-ups and SMEs to build software products, as its founder Richard Skinner explains.


iven the specialised nature of software development, many in-house software projects fail after a huge investment of time and resources. Yet software has become such a pivotal part of our world that many businesses simply cannot afford to fall behind. It might then be necessary for these businesses to look to external providers for support in developing software – companies like Itero. Itero is an end-to-end software product company which helps startups and SMEs to realise their vision and build software products. “Because software is the engine of everything now, people want to start companies or improve their work with software. Many come up with great ideas for products and services and want to start companies. That is where Itero comes in. “We take the vision and help to make it happen. We take subject matter expertise and a great idea and help to make it a coherent technology product,” says Itero founder Richard Skinner. “We work for small companies and start-ups, but because our startups work with bigger B2B companies, indirectly we end up working for big companies too.” Itero provides a wide range of services, working with its clients through every step of the software development process. Its CTO consulting service sees it working with companies as their technical co-founder, helping to build their vision and liaising with customers, investors and stakeholders to make


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sure the technical vision is in sync with the overall vision of the company. Its product management services see it helping companies to plan their products from inception, creating an infrastructure and giving them the tools they need to be able to build the software product. As project managers, the Itero team is experienced in agile software development, helping companies to create its own team and manage a given project. It works in two-week sprints, giving maximum agility by delivering working software in iterations, allowing features to be changed and improved. Once the project is planned, Itero has a team of developers that will work on mobile, frontend, backend and API services to create the product, along with the client company’s team. After the build is complete, Itero works with the product management team to make sure that the product is working as intended. It sets up analytics and reporting to support users to allow them to use the product. It also works to build an in-house team within the

client company to allow it to support the product long-term. After almost three years in this line of business, Skinner offers some insight into the environment for Irish tech companies. “I think there’s huge opportunities around Ireland at the moment,” he says. “However, there needs to be more support from government institutions. There needs to be more help with infrastructure within the country.” Given how quickly technology moves, it is also important for Itero to keep an eye upon prevalent industry trends. “We’re seeing a huge need for visualisation of analytics, to make sense of all the data that is out there,” says Skinner. “All of our customers have rich datasets that they’re really struggling to get a handle on, make profitable and understand. The big trend for us is helping them to analyse these massive datasets and make them coherent and insightful.” For more information visit or call 01 254 9595. InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 10:17


Embracing Remote Working Remote working is increasing in popularity and businesses would do well to embrace the trend, writes Joe Roche, Head of Content at Blueface.


ork has changed. Congestion and limited commercial office space has forced employees and businesses to reconsider the way they work. People are now reconsidering the fixed office space in favour of remote workplaces or coworking spaces, like WeWork or Dogpatch Labs. This trend is accelerating, as 50 per cent of the UK’s workforce expect to have the facility to work remotely by 2020, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Companies are beginning to embrace remote working for a litany of strategic human resources purposes. This has yielded benefits, with a recent Gallup Survey highlighting that 41 per cent of telecommuters were more likely to feel engaged than regular officegoers. Well-documented talent gaps in STEM fields have forced companies – particularly those operating in software – to seek and enable global remote talent. Barriers to remote working – usually associated with legacy culture or senior management reluctance – are beginning to melt away, as 74 per cent of Americans over 60 would prefer flexibility in the workplace. This syncs up with Blueface’s BCT Research, which revealed 78 per cent of Irish employers now embrace remote work. No longer restricted by physical office spaces, communications infrastructure

has evolved with the global workforce. Modern phone systems – such as Blueface’s Unified Communications – are IP-powered and backed up by an ever-evolving internet infrastructure. Furthermore, they feature an arsenal of collaboration tools that used to be spread across multiple machines and software. Virtual numbering has enabled companies to immediately set up new locations with familiar locally dialled numbers — regardless of where they are. Importantly, some systems, like Blueface’s, now enable in-platform video conferencing, which, according to the HBR, helps 87 per cent of remote workers feel more connected. For these reasons, it is vital that employers understand their strategic approach to the flexible workforce mindset sweeping the business landscape.

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on 1890 20 42 20 17/08/2018 10:42 05/10/2017 17:11 17/08/2018 10:43

LIFESTYLE: motoring


THERE’S LIFE IN DIESEL Diesel, apparently, is drawing its final breaths for passenger vehicles. Major car manufacturers have confirmed their move towards petrol and hybrid engines, and the European Commission has recently warned that diesel cars are “finished”. But there may be some hope for the beleaguered fossil fuel block as engineers at Bosch have developed a new diesel exhaust system (for new cars) that cuts nitrogen oxide emissions far below upcoming limits.


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16/08/2018 15:53

LIFESTYLE: motoring

f you’ve got €90,000-odd to spare and it’s burning a hole in your pocket, you might consider buying a house in Leitrim, a lengthy jaunt around Europe and the Far East, or the latest version of BMW’s X3 M Sport (option three please). The shiny SUV (SAV or Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW terminology) that recently arrived outside my office complete with gleaming 19-inch wheels and a rich dark navy paintjob would set you back exactly €86,628. For that sort of money you get a 3.0TDi making 261hp, M Sport styling, all-wheel drive, and quite a few extras including a panoramic sunroof, a technology pack that includes gesture control, and a head-up display. BMW’s fancy display key is also thrown in, which comes equipped with a small LCD colour touchscreen displaying information such as fuel range and whether your doors have been locked. It’s marvellously unnecessary. This is BMW’s third-generation X3 (the first was rather poor, the second an improvement), a sensible family car that builds on its premium feel. They’re not all as expensive and the range starts at a more reasonable €58,847, a few grand more than the last edition but justified through an increased list of standard equipment. Previous versions weren’t quite as easy on the eye – the latest is much sleeker and aggressive and all the better for it. The kidney grilles up front have been enlarged, and the headlights are a new addition that add to the flowing front with a more contoured bonnet. Inside you’ll discover what you might expect from a premium German SUV – a solid, well-made interior replete with soft touch materials, comfortable leather seats, and plenty of room for three kids (or adults) in the back, not to mention a variety of good-sized cubby holes and storage bins scattered throughout. The practicality extends into the boot which measures 550L with the back seats up and a decent 1,600L once dropped – perfect for a set of golf InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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matter the conditions. clubs and the kids’ Opt for M Sport and the soccer gear. suspension is a little Seats, you might stiffer, which is great argue, are among when you’re taking the most important bends but a little less features in any comfortable on the back car (alongside the roads and byways. steering wheel) Under the bonnet as they need to be (which I did have a little comfortable enough difficulty closing on to sit in every day. one side) you’ll find the And the X3 doesn’t monstrous 3.0L engine, disappoint here a surprisingly refined either – these are diesel block with a mobile armchairs pleasant grumble that that hug your body offers plenty of prompt and can be altered poke via the sharp in quite a variety of steering as you power ways depending on from 0-100km/h in 5.8 the current shape BMW X3 XDRIVE seconds. It’s hard to of your spine. So far, 30D M SPORT do that without a smile so good. POWER: 261hp on your face. There The touchscreen TORQUE: 620Nm are very capable 2.0L media centre isn’t 0-100KM/H: 5.8s options available in both quite as impressive petrol and diesel, but as what you might ANNUAL TAX: €390 this one adds a certain find in Volvo’s PRICE (AS TESTED): hyperdrive feeling that’s SUVs – which I €86,628 hard to ignore. If you think are best in find yourself off-road, class – but it’s quite BMW’s xDrive system, easy to use. It is coupled with a generous application designed as a standalone unit rather of torque and a decent ride height, than integrated into the layered should see you through quite easily dashboard, resulting in a more open (within reason). Fuel efficiency is also space beyond the steering wheel. quite decent for its size, averaging My model also featured the optional 8.6L/100km (33mpg). Technology Pack, which includes Going up against the likes of the gesture control, very handy when Audi Q3, Jaguar F-Pace, Volvo XC60 you want to switch settings without or Mercedes’ GLC, the X3 is a capable, feeling around for the control dial refined, premium mid-size SUV by the gear lever. Be warned – you with plenty of space and a decent may be on the receiving end of funny list of standard equipment. There looks from other drivers. The colour are no real surprises but there is a head-up display is another option marked difference compared to the that is well worth getting on any car, previous version – this one is much allowing you to keep your eyes on the more upmarket with more room and road at all times. an improved driving experience. It’s all nice inside, but where the M Having driven the Volvo XC60 shortly Sport version of the X3 really excels beforehand I’d be a little tempted is on the tarmac. It’s a comfortable towards the Swede given the choice motorway cruiser that’s nice and agile (personal preference really), but with whether you’re driving at low speeds the advances made on the second or having some fun on winding generation, this is a handsome vehicle roads. All X3s comes with all-wheel that is one of the best mid-size drive and a fantastically smooth SUVs on the market at present, and eight-speed automatic transmission, undoubtedly the best X3 so far. which makes life a little easier no


16/08/2018 15:53

LIFESTYLE: motoring



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ver the last year or two, some surprising car manufacturers have launched SUVs, from the Lamborghini Urus to the RollsRoyce Cullinan. It’s not too hard to understand why – Audi believes that SUVs will make up half of its sales by 2025. Alfa Romeo is following the same trend with the new Stelvio. The name alone shows the Italian manufacturer’s high hopes for its first SUV. The Stelvio Pass is a famous mountain road in northern Italy, the second-highest in the Alps and, depending on who you ask, among the greatest driving roads in the world. But does it live up to the name? There’s a certain checklist you need to achieve to make it in the premium SUV market. For starters, the Stelvio is one of the best-looking SUVs on offer at the moment, combining

that recognisable Alfa prow with a sweeping roofline, a sleek rear end and double barrel exhausts. Overall it’s a bit like a Giulia on steroids, which makes sense given that it’s based on the saloon car’s platform. The base model comes with 17-inch alloys, LED lights front and back, a black honeycomb front grille and those twin chrome tailpipes. My version, the mid-range Speciale, gets a few visual enhancements such as fancy 19-inch alloys and gleaming red brake callipers emblazoned with ‘Alfa Romeo’. All relatively subtle but it enhances the look and feel. Next up, you need an engaging experience on the road. The Stelvio manages that, too. My test model featured the rather rumbly 2.2L TDi with 210bhp and 470 Nm of torque. When you hit the accelerator it delivers a grin-inducing burst of acceleration, with 0-100km/h flashing by in just 6.6 seconds. Expect mileage return in the region of 5L/100km (56mpg) with a bit of care. Handling is decent – if a touch wobbly in the bends – given the Stelvio’s lower stance on the road, as is the steering (Alfa’s DNA system tweaks throttle response and steering). There are petrol engine options available, but the 2.2L diesel version will probably be the most popular in Ireland, the perfect combination of power and fuel economy. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard across the range. Third on the list – a quality interior. The Stelvio more or less checks this box, with

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

16/08/2018 15:54

LIFESTYLE: motoring

plenty of soft-touch ALFA ROMEO materials STELVIO 2.2JTD and chrome SPECIALE detailing. The POWER: 210bhp seating position 0-100KM/H: 11.8s is high, seats are TOP SPEED: figure-hugging 189km/h and really ANNUAL TAX: €190 comfortable, and PRICE: €36,575 there’s plenty (including options) of head and legroom. Boot space is decent at 525L but falls short of the likes of the BMW X3. Standard equipment on the base model includes cruise control with speed limiter, a colour instrument cluster and a variety of safety equipment such as forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and hill hold control. When it was tested last year, the Stelvio earned an impressive five-star Euro NCAP rating. The only place it really falls down is the media centre. I can’t help comparing it to the likes of the BMW X3 and the Volvo XC60, and though it’s intuitive enough and integrated nicely within the dashboard, the screen quality itself is basic in parts and controlled by a finicky BMW-esque dial. Will it prove popular? The competition is stiff, going head-to-head with the likes of the X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Audi Q5 and the Porsche Macan, priced competitively starting at €47,295 for the base model. Price aside it’s a worthy contender, a stylish vehicle with some punchy driving dynamics and a quality interior – Alfa has done an admirable job in migrating to the world of the SUV. If you love the feel of a Giulia but prefer a loftier view and a little more in the way of practicality, this is the one for you.



SUNGLASSES Keep a pair of sunglasses in the glovebox for dazzling days.

SPEED Reduce your speed in the countryside – summer months often mean more tractors and heavy machinery.

RETURN OF THE EDD Good news for fans of Edd China – the mechanic, inventor and former co-presenter of ‘Wheeler Dealers’ is returning to our screens with Built by Many, a real-time restoration series on YouTube that will see Edd and friend Al Cox rebuild a 1968 Jaguar E-Type Series 1. “We want to celebrate our automotive heritage by keeping classics cars on the road. Not just housed in museum collections or rusting away at the back of a shed!” Edd explained. “I’m all for the preservation of historic vehicles and want to get this beauty back on the road for all to enjoy. I’m looking forward to being a grease junkie again and inspiring others to join me on this road trip.”

OVERHEATING Keep your coolant topped up to avoid overheating.

SKODA GOES BALLISTIC Skoda has built a reputation for safe and reliable cars, but a special edition Super Estate takes that to a whole new level – this one is armoured. Think bullet-resistant glass, high-strength steel and composite materials, upgraded suspension and braking, emergency lighting and a siren system, as well as the usual huge boot for assorted weaponry. Perfect for the despot on a budget.



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16/08/2018 15:54

LIFESTYLE: innovation


InBUSINESS looks at the latest innovations and technologies that are shaping our future. In this issue: smart speakers.

AMAZON ECHO Echo, a brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon, is an Alexa-enabled speaker you control with your voice. The device connects to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service, which responds to the name ‘Alexa’, however, this ‘wake word’ can be changed by the user. The device is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real-time information. meetalexa

It’s being reported that the next SAMSUNG smartphone to hit the market could have a flexible screen that’s unbreakable, delivering the first truly foldable handset.


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InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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LIFESTYLE: innovation GOOGLE HOME In June, the new Google Home devices were launched in Ireland. Tríona Butler, the Tipperary-born user experience lead who worked on Google Home in Silicon Valley, flew home to help publicise the products. Google Home is a smart speaker range which enables users to speak commands and interact with various services such as Netflix and Spotify through Google’s intelligent AI platform. As well as managing home automation with your voice, the device also converts the internet into a sonic experience by getting information from weather to news, as well as playing music on a full-size speaker. google_home

BOSE SOUNDTOUCH 10 This small wireless speaker lets you play music directly from a phone or tablet using Bluetooth, or connect the speaker to your Wi-Fi network for instant in-home listening, giving you access to 20,000 internet radio stations, your personal music library and online services like Spotify.

Electronics giant NIKON has confirmed that it is working on a full-frame mirrorless camera. It is speculated that there will be two models with sensors of different resolutions.

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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NETFLIX has announced a makeover of its selection of user profile icons. The company is adding dozens of new options, including characters from its own original shows.

SPOTIFY’S second earnings report as a public company shows that the Swedish firm reached 83 million paid subscribers, up 8 million from Q1. However, it also saw an operating loss of €91 million this quarter.


16/08/2018 15:53


Bali THE




t the time of writing, Indonesia is still reeling from the powerful earthquakes that struck the island of Lombok in early August killing upwards of 400 people. Just weeks before that, frequent lava eruptions from volcano Mount Agung on neighbouring Bali forced thousands of residents to flee their homes. While the Department of Foreign Affairs is recommending that tourists heed the advice and guidance of local authorities,


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adhere to exclusion zones around volcanoes, and maintain contact with their airlines and tour operators before travelling, Bali's lucrative tourism sector will undoubtedly bounce back. The following will serve as a reminder of precisely why.

A Tropical Paradise With its unique culture, breathtaking scenery and endearing people, it's no wonder Bali is top of many bucket lists. The mere mention of the island evokes images of a tropical paradise awash with never-ending beaches, lush greenery and cascading waterfalls, but the Balinese temples, ceremonies and rituals define the Bali tourist experience just as much as its beaches and sunsets.

The Indonesian island is rich in a culture steeped in tradition and spirituality. Temples are located in every village across the island, while ceremonies, rituals and sacred offerings are visible almost everywhere you go – don't be surprised if you see small floral offerings, known as canang sari, scattered along footpaths in the morning. Bali's Hindu culture is unique to the island and permeates all aspects of everyday life. It is a culture expressed through music, dance and art and the town of Ubud is indeed the island's cultural hub. Located in the centre of Bali, surrounded by lush green forests and rice fields, Ubud is a vibrant town with a lively art scene. It is home to many talented painters, InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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The origin of Bali’s unique culture and religion dates back to the early 1520s when a group of intellectuals, priests and noblemen moved to Bali.


Ayodya Resort Bali Ayodya Resort Bali in Nusa Dua provides sophisticated private venues, catering options and hi-tech equipment to ensure the smooth running of conferences, meetings, seminars, receptions, private dinners and functions. meeting/outdoor


Sarong One of the island’s best-loved restaurants, you will need to make a reservation if you want to dine in this sumptuously decorated open-air venue. The menu is a wonderful mix of delicious Asian dishes packed full of flavour and plenty of spice.


wood carvers and sculptors and is also the best place to experience traditional Balinese dance and Gamelan music with daily performances in Ubud Palace. To truly appreciate the spirituality of the Balinese people, you can also visit some of the many temples located on the island. Cleanse your soul at the Tirta Empul Holy Spring Water Temple or join the locals in pilgrimage to the “Mother Temple”, located on the slopes of Bali's active volcano Mount Agung. Tanah Lot Temple, perched on a giant rock InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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BY AIR: Bali’s only airport is located in the capital city of Denpasar. There are no direct flights from Ireland but many airlines including Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qatar and Etihad offer connecting flights with just one change.

surrounded by crashing waves in Tabanan, and the sacred water temple of Ulun Danu in Bedugul located on the shores of Bratan Lake are also popular with tourists.

Feast for the Senses From traditional restaurants to trendy beach clubs, Bali's food scene serves up some of the tastiest meals out there in a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere. Try a traditional Nasi Goreng or indulge in a rainbow smoothie bowl – whatever you choose will undoubtedly be packed full of flavour and colour.

Hanging Gardens of Bali Surrounded by jungle, the Hanging Gardens of Bali provide luxury accommodation immersed in a secluded tropical environment, yet you are just a ten minute shuttle bus ride from Ubud. The boutique hotel is the first of its kind to be awarded seven stars.

SEE... Pura Besakih The largest and most sacred Balinese temple is the Pura Besakih, the “Mother Temple”, located high on the slopes of Mount Agung, where Balinese people come from far and wide to worship their gods.


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WEATHER The best season to travel to Bali is between May and October, as it is the dry season. However, the weather is always mild and even in rainy season, the downpours don’t last long.

VISAS If you go to Bali for less than 30 days, your passport will be enough to enter the territory. Beyond 30 days, you will need a tourist visa that you can get from the Indonesian embassy for €40.

CURRENCY The national currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah. You can exchange money before you go or withdraw from ATMs in Bali. I recommend using a top up travel card such as the Revolut card.

TRANSPORT You might feel slightly overwhelmed by the hoards of taxi drivers waiting in the arrivals lounge at the airport all vying for your business. Take my advice and pre-book your airport transfer through your hotel and avoid the stress.


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Balinese kecak fire dance performance in Pura Dalem Taman Kaja temple at sunset Ritual purification at the Tirta Empul Temple

Bali is also home to the world's most expensive brew – Kopi Luwak. The famous coffee is made with beans which have been digested by a cat-like mammal called a civet before being collected and cleaned. The enzymes in the stomach of the civet are thought to take away the bitterness of the bean, giving it a smooth and mild taste. You can visit coffee plantations across the island to see how the famous coffee is made. Look out for plantations that trade in ethical or free range luwak coffee, although more expensive, it is definitely a worthy investment.

Breathtaking Landscapes For an island that's average temperature is over 30 degrees, Bali is impossibly green. The island's two active volcanoes, Mount Agung and Mount Batur, attract heavy rainfall. For a breathtaking view of the landscape, there are many companies offering sunrise treks up Mount Batur but be sure to check if nearby Mount Agung is spewing before you book your climb. Bali's World Heritage

listed rice terraces are another must see. Tegallalang Rice Field, located 20 minutes from Ubud, is perhaps the most famous. It is certainly a tourist hotspot but don't let that put you off. The drive through the idyllic countryside alone is worth it. You have to pay a gratuity to the local farmers as you meander through the fields, but it is a small price to pay to experience such unique surroundings. The island is also home to many breathtaking waterfalls including the highly photographed Tegenungan. For a more off the beaten track experience, you can hike 40 minutes to the secluded Sekumpul Waterfalls. For adventure beneath the waves, Indonesian coral reefs are some of the most diverse in the world. Top sites include Menjangan Island, where you're almost guaranteed to see reef sharks, and Nusa Penida's Manta Point where divers encounter dozens of schooling manta rays.

The west coast of the island is a surfer's paradise with huge waves and strong currents. Check out Uluwatu in the Bukit Peninsula and head to Blue Point Beach or Padang Padang. Relax afterwards and watch the sunset at Single Fin's beach club. Whether you want to go alone with your backpack, on your honeymoon, with friends or with family, there is something for everyone in Bali. Relax and enjoy the slow pace of life or indulge in some adventure. If you're like me, you will already be planning your next trip before boarding the plane home.

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Plan International is among the charity organisations on the ground in Lombok working to support children and families living through the earthquake's aftermath. If you wish to make a donation please visit InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

17/08/2018 10:22



CYBER WARS: Hacks That Shocked The Business World

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



onflict is an inevitable part of our personal and professional lives. In the workplace, business and our communities, most people try to avoid confrontation, hoping that disputes will ‘blow over’. However, failing to address conflict from the outset allows it to escalate into something more unmanageable. Leading mediator Louisa Weinstein’s new book shares the practical tools needed to resolve a conflict internally within a business, before it escalates to mediation. The book focuses on developing conflict coaching skills, allowing business owners, managers and employees across the company to work together to create a company culture that can resolve conflicts early. The insights in this guide are illustrated with real-life case studies – showing what successful conflict resolution looks like and providing warnings about what can happen when appropriate resolution techniques are not applied.

AUTHOR: Louisa Weinstein PUBLISHER: FT Publishing RRP: 24.78 AVAILABLE:


Love and Death in Bali

AUTHOR: Vicki Baum PUBLISHER: Tuttle Publishing AVAILABLE:

Written within living memory of the bloody events called the puputan (the “ending”), Love and Death in Bali is the story of a peaceful and deeply spiritual people who defy Dutch imperial forces. First published in German in 1937, Love and Death in Bali is considered by many to be the finest novel ever written about the island.

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“Mindfulness is now the go-to fix for our stressful lives.”

AUTHOR: Dr Michael Sinclair, Josie Seydel and Dr Emily Shaw PUBLISHER: Pearson AVAILABLE:

In his new AUTHOR: Charles Arthur book Cyber Wars, PUBLISHER: veteran Guardian Kogan Page technology editor RRP: Charles Arthur 17.06 explores the AVAILABLE: most significant barnesand cyber attacks that have shaken the business world in recent years. He discusses hackers’ techniques, the dramatic consequences and the lessons that every business should learn from these assaults. The book explores how some attacks were possible, talking to different hackers to help better understand motives and techniques. The author gets first-hand accounts of how these attacks managed to infiltrate computers, steal data and force businesses to pay for the attacks to stop, and also looks at the rise of new vulnerabilities that Internet of Things devices bring.

Written by three psychologists, Mindfulness for Busy People arms readers with the tools they need to survive a high-stress lifestyle. Split into bite-sized sections, the book advises on how to deploy mindfulness as your secret time-saving weapon – identifying the time we waste and how to make it meaningful, increasing productivity and reducing stress.


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LIFESTYLE: podcasts


You were one of the early adopters of podcasting in Ireland. Where did the idea for An Irishman Abroad come from? It came from two places. The first was loneliness and the second was struggle. I was alone a lot, trying to figure out how to start my life again in London. I devoured hundreds of hours of podcasts. They were my lifeline. They kept me company and gave me hope. I knew from listening to them I wasn’t alone in my struggles, creatively, emotionally and financially. Meeting other Irish people who had scaled the mountain made sense. You’re currently 248 episodes in – how are you enjoying working on the podcast? It is everything you can imagine all at once – heartbreaking, exhilarating, aggravating, uplifting, painful, torturous and satisfying. I love it with every bit of myself and now that we are releasing two entirely new series, it’s back to being frightening again!


You have CurrencyFair on board as a sponsor. How do you view the challenge of monetising podcasts? The short answer is, the challenge is to find someone who believes in you and your podcast. Crucially, you need to believe in and trust them too. Currencyfair has been that for An Irishman Abroad and I am very grateful to them. There’s a much longer answer of course. Any other podcasts you’d recommend to our readers? Here’s The Thing, Fresh Air, You Made It Weird, Industry Standard, Doug Loves Movies, Dream Gun Film Reads, The Rewatchables and, of course, our new podcast Irishman Behind Bars. What do you believe are the key ingredients that make a great podcast? Commitment, attention to detail, a sense of humour, honesty and hard work. What can we expect from your podcasting in the future? Our new series Irishman Behind Bars is a true crime series about wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice. It started in July and season one is six episodes long. Episode one is about the Guildford Four and features Paddy Armstrong. You can get access to the series and our full archive of episodes on our patreon page:

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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MOTHERS OF INVENTION Over six episodes, comedian Maeve Higgins and former president Mary Robinson explore the big issues of climate change and celebrate the women doing remarkable work in pursuit of climate justice. It’s an unlikely pairing, but it works!


DEATH IN ICE VALLEY Earlier this year, Marit Higraff of Norway’s public radio service NRK and Neil McCarthy of the BBC launched Death in Ice Valley, a true crime podcast that seeks to uncover the details surrounding the discovery of a woman’s body in Norway’s Isdalen Valley in 1970. The result is a gripping 10-part series.


THE ARCHITECTS OF BUSINESS Brought to you by JOE, The Architects of Business is a weekly podcast exploring the human stories behind some of the best known companies in Ireland. Each week, Tadhg Enright speaks to an entrepreneur about the successes and failures they have faced in their careers.


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CCorruption oorrr rrupt ptition on ENMARK









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In this issue, InBUSINESS takes a glance at the winners and losers from the latest annual Corruption Perceptions Index.




Compiled by Transparency International, the Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43. Unfortunately, compared to recent years, this poor performance is nothing new.

Ireland’s ranks of 19th out of 180 states and is perceived to be more corrupt than developed European countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK. However, on a more positive note, with a score of 74 out of 100, the country did better than the western European average. The result shows a need to commit more resources, strengthen legislation and ensure adequate enforcement of the framework of laws already on the statute book that help prevent corruption.


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Alan McArthur

New Zealand has been rated the least corrupt country in the world for the third consecutive year. While it was ranked in the top spot, its score has dropped compared to previous years, receiving a rating of 89 out of 100, down from 90 in 2016. Responding to the results, New Zealand’s Open Government Minister Clare Curran said: “While we continue to hold the position of least corrupt country, and already have high standards of conduct and integrity, we must not be complacent.”

InBUSINESS | Q2 2018

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