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CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS | Q4 2012

InBusiness Q4 2012

AMERICAN DREAM

Obama’s victory and Ireland

DAVID

McWILLIAMS Return of the Mac

PATRICK COVENEY

The Greencore CEO’s recipe for success ISSN 20093934

€2.70 04

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CONTENTS NEWS 03 08 10

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Economist, broadcaster and author David McWilliams spoke to Dean Van Nguyen about his new book, being the subject of parody and why Ireland can pick itself up off the floor.

Business News Movers & Shakers Job Creation

FEATURES 16

REGULARS

Four More Years Now that the dust has settled on the US presidential election, Ruraidh Conlon O’Reilly looks back over the campaign and checks in with some who were more than just fascinated observers.

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Failure to Launch Coping with failure is one of the key characteristics exhibited by some of the world’s strongest entrepreneurs. Carol Ryan explains why.

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Chamber Update

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Travel A vibrant city full of glamour, grit and history, Alyson Gray discusses why Berlin is the European destination to visit.

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Gadgets As big name brands like Apple and Nintendo release their latest designs just in time for the holiday season, InBusiness has a look at their release along with a number of other gadgets.

The Last Word Alyson Gray talks to Clive Bellows, County Head of Northern Trust Ireland, about the growth of their Irish operations.

Food Lorraine Griffin investigates the commercial potential of Irish seaweed and talks to those who harvest, produce and cook with it.

News and opinion from Chambers Ireland, Ireland’s largest business network.

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Motoring InBusiness Motoring Editor Tony Toner found the new model Honda Civic had plenty in common with its ancestors.

Getting Your Business Online Now, more than ever, businesses need to look at how to best utilise the Smartphone technology available to expand their business. Colm Gorey explans how an app can revolutionise how your business interacts with consumers.

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LIFESTYLE

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Radisson Blu My Mind The Radisson Blu Hotel’s new Brain Food initiative attempts to best serve their deligates by offering a menu that improves attentiveness and concentrations, as Jonathan Keane discovered,

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Earning a Crust Greencore CEO and Corkman Patrick Coveney shares with Conor Forrest his thoughts on the convenience food company’s recipe for success.

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Return of the Mac

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The Rise of the Silver Surfers Conor Forrest outlines why getting the older generation online can offer Irish companies a new, highly-profitable market. Editor (Ashville Media Group): Dean Van Nguyen Managing Editor (Ashville Media Group): Ruairi Kavanagh Deputy Editor (Ashville Media Group): Ruraidh Conlon O'Reilly Editorial Assistant (Chambers Ireland): Amy Woods Editorial Contributors: Melissa Byrne, Conor Forrest, Colm Gorey, Alyson Gray, Lorraine Griffin, Jonathan Keane, Carol Ryan, Tony Toner Design and Layout: Maria O’Rourke Advert Design: Alan McArthur, Linda Kavanagh Photography: istockphoto Production Manager: Len Wilson Sales Director: Paul Clemenson Managing Director: Diarmaid Lennon Printed by: W & G Baird Published by: Ashville Media Group, Old Stone Building, Blackhall Green, Dublin 7 Tel: +353 1 432 2200, Fax: +353 1 676 7100, Email: info@ashville.com, Web: www.ashville.com On behalf of: Chambers Ireland, 3rd Floor, Newmount House, 22-24 Lower Mount Street, Dublin 2, Tel: +353 1 400 4300, Fax: +353 1 661 2811, Email: info@chambers.ie, Web: www.chambers.ie All articles © Ashville Media Group 2012. 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_00_02

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Business news

Business News

A round up of all the latest news from the world of business.

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Unique city rebuilding project in New Zealand could lead to 36,000 Irish Jobs

housands of employment opportunities for skilled engineering, construction, accounting and healthcare workers were recently on offer at a unique career expo at Dublin’s Clyde Court Hotel. The positions were part of a recruitment drive in New Zealand to help rebuild the city of Christchurch which was devastated by an earthquake in 2011. The event took place on November 13th and was hosted by Working In, an organisation established in 1998 with the aim of connecting skilled professionals to a range of leading employers and job opportunities in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, through market-leading job-based websites and international job expos. Commencing in the first quarter of 2013, construction in Christchurch will peak during quarter three when

an estimated 36,000 workers will be required on the project. Faced with an acute skill shortage in New Zealand, employers have banded together to recruit around the globe to satisfy demand. As well as employers from New Zealand, representatives from Australia and Canada were also present with information on career opportunities, visa requirements and lifestyle information. “New Zealand’s employers are attracted to Ireland as a recruitment location thanks to the reputation of workers from Ireland as being skilled,

innovative, and motivated,” said Spencer Hawkes, General Manager of Working In. “Ireland also has a strong reputation for educational excellence in the sectors where the skills shortage is most acute.”

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources PLC Report Successful Results From Ground Geophysics Work

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old exploration being undertaken by Conroy Gold and Natural Resources plc at its Clay Lake target in Co Armagh

continues to yield positive results. In a recent announcement made to the Stock Exchange, the company confirmed that successful results have come from ground geophysics carried out at the site which is located 7km along trend from its Clontibret gold discovery in Co Monaghan where the company is proposing to develop its first gold mine.

The Clay Lake gold target – which is larger than the Clontibret gold target and has gold-in-soil values twice those of Clontibret – appears to be a black carbonaceous shale hosted deposit. Such deposits can be very large. Drill intersections of 63 meters at 0.62g/t gold and 1g/t silver and 50.75 meters at 0.61g/t gold have been intersected suggesting potential for high tonnage and overall gold content. According to the statement, the results support the view that the Clay Lake gold target could host a large gold deposit. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 3

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Business news

Ireland’s Leading Tech Companies Recognised at IT@Cork Leaders Awards

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he it@cork, European Tech Cluster, Leaders Awards ceremony took place in Maryborough Hotel & Spa recently. Now in it’s sixth year, the awards acknowledge innovation and excellence across a number of categories spanning different sectors. This year’s winners included YouGetitBack (High Growth), PFH (Sustained Excellence), Crest Solutions (Research & Innovation) and Alanya Animal Health Monitoring (High Potential Start Up). HIQA, the Health and Information Quality Authority, received an award for the leading IT Department, while Scoil Mhuire na nGrást was awarded the Excellence in Education Award. “More than previous years, the indigenous sector performed extremely well this year in the Leaders Awards, and clearly demonstrates the calibre of innovation and technological distinction in Ireland,” said Denis Collins, Chair of it@cork, European Tech Cluster in his address to the 250 strong audience in the Maryborough Hotel & Spa. “The Leaders Award winners are driving progress and excellence in the industry, and it@ cork is delighted to recognise their achievements over the past year. Our IT

Scoil Mhuire na nGrást students with their award.

Hub is thriving and making a significant contribution to the economy – we must continue to cultivate the IT industry to get us on the path to growth.” In particular, Scoil Mhuire na nGrást were lauded for the way the school has embraced technology at every level. From interactive whiteboards, wireless networking in all classrooms, the establishment of an Internet portal

for students and their supporters, to the cloud computing solution used to streamline school administration processes, the school was complimented on its progressive IT strategy. The school also provides laptops for usage by students to complete assignments in non-IT areas and is teaching its students how to program using the MIT SCRATCH system.

Plea to get health and safety message through to Irish SMEs

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ood health and safety will do more than protect people at work in Ireland – it will be part of the national economic recovery. That was the message from health and safety chiefs at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) Ireland Branch International Safety and Health Symposium, an international event held in Dublin that aimed to cut

the number of deaths, injuries and instances of illness in the workplace. The two-day event drew more than 200 delegates from around Ireland. “Any deaths and accidents are too many, but they are also foreseeable and preventable,” said Health and Safety Authority (HSA) Chief Executive Martin O’Halloran, speaking at the convention. “We want to have a joined-up working approach with other organisations here, placing a big

focus on small businesses. We believe that good health and safety is complementary to national recovery.” The inaugural symposium, held on November 8th and 9th, celebrated 30 years of the IOSH Ireland Branch. One of the Branch’s priorities is to help small and medium-sized businesses to see the moral, legal and financial benefits of good health and safety.

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Business news Business news Business news

Dublin to host major conference showcasing transport solutions

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ntelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Ireland will host the ninth European Congress and Exhibition on Intelligent Transport Systems at the Convention Centre Dublin from June 4th to 7th 2013. The congress will focus on real solutions for real needs and particularly innovative ITS solutions that are delivering value for money while solving real transport problems. Dublin has been using ITS for

a long time now and local examples include Dublin Port Tunnel and the HGV Management Strategy that supports it, the dublinbikes scheme, integrated ticketing schemes such as LEAP, M50 free flow tolling, Real Time Passenger Information displays at bus stops and Dublin City Council’s Traffic Management Centre. There are many additional examples throughout Ireland and many of these examples will be showcased to the expected thousands of delegates.

“ITS is all about using technology to support policy on making all modes of transport safer, more efficient and more sustainable,” says Brendan O’Brien who chairs the organising committee and is Head of Technical Services with Dublin City Council’s Roads and Traffic Department. “It has played a key role making roads safer for all road users. ITS also plays a vital role in improving traffic flow and public transport performance.”

Coillte signs contract with 4SiteTelecoms to boost services to mobile operators

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oillte, Ireland’s largest natural resources company, has announced a two year contract with a potential value of €250,000 with 4Site Telecoms to help boost its servicer to network mobile operators. The contract involves design and planning services for telecom towers across the Coillte estate. Coillte operates over 400 site locations for the telecoms sector representing the largest portfolio of telecom sites in Ireland. 4Site will support Coillte in managing and upgrading its tower portfolio so as to maximise revenue. 4Site Telecoms will provide full site design and planning services for the existing portfolio including the implementation of safety and compliance measures to ensure conformance to regulations. Upon the announcement, Ian Duggan, Managing Director and owner of 4Site said, “Coillte has a major opportunity with LTE (Long Term Evolution) and network upgrades coming on-stream and the potential for new tenants on its infrastructure. We were selected against stiff competition.

Coillte’s Mark Foley (left) and 4site’s Ian Duggan (right).

As Ireland’s leading independently owned specialist consultancy in this sector, 4Site is well placed to deliver exceptional value to Coillte during a time of significant change in the telecoms industry. With our attention to detail and comprehensive regional knowledge we are confident that Coillte will realise significant benefits from our relationship.”

Mark Foley, Managing Director of Coillte, added, “4Site’s vast knowledge of the industry, its level of detail and clear ability to deliver set it apart in the tender process. We are confident that 4Site can provide Coillte with an independent and consistent service to meet the demands of the telecommunications sector whilst realising significant returns for our business.”

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Business news

Eircom Launches New Cloud Proposition Powered by Amazon Web Services Move to cloud set to drive greater efficiency and cost control for businesses

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ircom Group recently announced a strategic relationship with Amazon Web Services, Inc (AWS), a world leader in cloud computing, to offer technology services to businesses in Ireland and the UK based on Amazon Web Services technology. The agreement forms a key part of eircom’s latest move into the delivery of IT services, enabling businesses to more easily take advantage of the significant benefits from cloud computing. Eircom announced the news at AWS’s inaugural re: Invent conference for global customers and partners, in Las Vegas. For AWS the agreement expands the AWS Partner Network to include major telecommunications companies. For eircom the new alliance will accelerate the move to provide cloud services to its customers based on a flexible, secure, pay per use, IT infrastructure model. Building on its existing network offering around voice, data, hosting and managed services, eircom’s significant base of customers in Ireland and the UK will now be able to more effectively optimise their use of server technology, as eircom delivers greater technical and financial control to clients. This will enable clients to scale their use of cloud services as their business requirements demand. Ronan Kneafsey, Managing Director, eircom Business, said, “This strategic offering, powered by Amazon Web Services technology, significantly expands the breadth of eircom’s cloud services portfolio, allowing clients to access their data and content anytime, anywhere. Amazon Web Services is the recognised global leader in cloud services. Eircom will now be

able to bring greater efficiency to businesses in Ireland and the UK, working directly with customers to scope, design, migrate and manage the cloud solution most appropriate to their specific needs. Ireland is at the forefront of a growing cloud industry with leading players such as Amazon Web Services providing established best in class services.” Initially the service will be aimed at large and medium-sized enterprises, the public sector and multinationals

with operations in Ireland where IT is critical to the delivery of services. Speaking at re: Invent, Terry Wise, Head of Worldwide Partnerships at Amazon Web Services, said, “We are excited to work with eircom, to help businesses save money, speed and time to market and expand their businesses using Amazon Web Services. We very much look forward to bringing the flexibility and scalability of AWS services to eircom’s customers in Ireland and the UK.”

Terry Wise, Director of Worldwide Partnerships, Amazon Web Services, left, and Ronan Kneafsey, Managing Director of eircom Business Amazon Web Services’ inaugural re: Invent conference. Photograph by Ronda Churchill/AP Images.

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News | Movers & Shakers

Movers & Shakers New appointments in the business community nationwide.

a challenging time for business, I believe that this is also a time of great opportunity for change and adaption. ByrneWallace employs over 200 people and has developed to become one of Irelands top law firms over its 30 year history – our focus is on the continued development and growth of the firm to ensure that we will continue to meet our clients’ needs.”

Catherine Guy – ByrneWallace Law firm, ByrneWallace, has announced the appointment of Catherine Guy as Managing Partner. Guy started her career with ByrneWallace and has been a partner since 1998. She has headed up the firm’s real estate division since 2009 and has specialised in commercial development projects across a range of sectors. Commenting on her appointment, Guy said, “I am delighted to take on this role. My colleagues and I look forward to working even more closely with our clients to anticipate and understand their needs. While this is undoubtedly

Director of the group. Prior to joining IT Alliance in June 2007, Hanlon worked as financial controller for Irish Broadband, a subsidiary of NTR Plc and before that with the Irish operations of WS Atkins Plc., a UK engineering consultancy. Hugh is a Bachelor of Commerce graduate of UCD and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. IT Alliance Group, founded in 1997, currently employs 400 people. Its core competencies include managed services, project management, infrastructure services, testing and collaboration.

Julian Lynch – iProspect

Hugh Hanlon – IT Alliance Group IT Alliance Group, the Irish owned IT services and consultancy company has appointed Hugh Hanlon as Financial

Marketing company iProspect have recently appointed Julian Lynch to the position of Managing Director. With over 12 years experience in online advertising and marketing he has played a major role in the company’s development. Lynch in his new role will continue to drive growth, leverage the company’s international network and ensure that iProspect excels at delivering cutting edge performance marketing solutions to its clients. iProspect is Ireland’s only dedicated performance marketing company. It

Looking to add to your management team? Look no further than The Panel. Accountancy • Financial Services • Insurance • Banking • Funds • Legal • IT

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News | Movers & Shakers

delivers measurable results for many of the biggest brands in Ireland through the provision of PPC, SEO, email marketing, display, analytics, Facebook, advertising, attribution, web development and conversion optimisation.

He specialises in advising on shares registration, redemption, and buyback of shares, company reorganisation and unlimited company structures. Sweeney was also appointed as President of the Irish Region of the Institute at the 2012 annual general meeting.

Elizabeth Ryan – Mason Hayes & Curran

Conor Sweeney – Hughes Blake Chartered Accountants Conor Sweeney was recently appointed as head of the company secretarial department in Hughes Blake Chartered Accountants. Sweeney trained and qualified as a chartered secretary with one of Ireland’s Big 4 accountancy firms. He has extensive experience in advising companies and directors on company law and company secretarial practice.

Elizabeth Ryan was recently appointed to Mason Hayes & Curran’s market leading employment law team. Ryan will act for employers in contentious employment disputes before third parties. She provides non-contentious advice on all aspects of employment law. Ryan has particular expertise in sectors such as technology and financial services. Ryan has extensive experience in the provision of employment law training courses for her clients. She has designed and delivered training courses for a number of client organisations, for UK HR managers and in-house counsel. She is a lecturer and tutor for the Law Society of Ireland and she is regularly asked to speak at conferences on the subject of employment law and related topics. She also advises on all aspects of health and safety law including that which applies to bullying and stress in the workplace.

appointed Anne Dwyer as partner to the restructuring and insolvency department. O’Dwyer has been with the firm since 2007. She has extensive experience in corporate restructuring and formal insolvency appointments. Other areas of expertise include independent business reviews, preparation of business plans, negotiations, business advisory, strategic reviews and financial monitoring. She has advised a number of financial institutions and companies on strategic restructuring options. O’Dwyer has also led a large number of formal recovery and reorganisation assignments.

Anne O’Dwyer – RSM Farrell Grant Sparks Audit, tax and advisory firm RSM Farrell Grant Sparks recently

Tel: 01 637 7000 • www.thepanel.com

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News | Job Creation

Job Creation InBusiness highlights some of the companies that are expanding operations and generating new employment opportunities around the country. Fidelity Investments Financial services firm Fidelity Invesments has announced plans to take on 200 new staff in Galway and Dublin. The company is to hire workers to fill roles in technology, back office operations and enterprise services over the next few years. Having established itself in Ireland in 1996, Fidelity currently employs almost 500 technology and operations professionals at office locations in Galway and Dublin.

LogMeIn Cloud and mobile computing tech firm LogMeIn Inc is to create 50 new jobs within the next year in Dublin. These include positions in sales, customer support, marketing, finance and human resources. 20 of these new employees are expected to be hired by the end of the year. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said the investment fitted in with Government plans to boost employment in the area of cloud computing. Founded in 2003, LogMeIn went public on the US NASDAQ stock exchange in July 2009 in one of that year’s most successful tech public offerings.

Paddy Power Bookmakers Paddy Power will create 600 new jobs in Dublin to support

the company’s international online expansion. The jobs will be in areas such as e-commerce, technology, social media, online marketing and risk management. The positions will be rolled out by 2015 and will be located in Paddy Power’s headquarters in Clonskeagh in South Dublin. The announcement will bring total employment in Paddy Power in Ireland to 2,783.

Jumpzone Jumpzone, Ireland’s first of its kind indoor trampoline park, recently opened in Sandyford, Dublin 18, pledging to create over 50 jobs in its first year. Business partners Paul Quinn and Daniel Begley have plans to open an additional 10 trampoline parks in Ireland and across Europe. Sites have already been identified outside of Dublin and in the UK for the next Jump Zone venues. Built over 20,000 square feet, the inaugural European Jump Zone has capacity for over 50 jumpers at a time, as well as relaxation areas for parents, food areas and kids party/corporate party areas, accommodating a total of 150 children and adults. Corporate packages include an hour of open jump; dodgeball or cardio exercise; an hour of private meeting rooms and light refreshments at a cost of €20 per person, with the option of tailored packages also available.

Butterfield Fulcrum Group Fund administrator the Butterfield Fulcrum Group is to create 150 jobs in Dublin. The new jobs will be in the areas of middle office and customer relationship management. Butterfield Fulcrum established in Ireland in 2009 and since then has reached its 100 employee target with projected employment growth now set to reach 250. Both the Government and the IDA have worked with the company to ensure that Ireland was the site chosen for the expansion.

Contracting PLUS Accountants for professional contractors, CXC Consultants Exchange, recently announced their new name, Contracting PLUS. Further to their buyout of foreign investors, Contracting PLUS is now a wholly owned Irish company with expansion plans in Ireland as well as in the UK and Europe which will lead to the creation of 30 new jobs, 17 of which will be in their Irish offices in Dublin and Cork. Contracting PLUS has seen a 70 per cent increase in turnover in the last three years with a 50 per cent growth in employee numbers to in excess of 100 people in their offices in Ireland, UK, Russia and India. Contracting PLUS provides solutions to over 3,000 professional contractors in sectors including aviation, engineering, IT and pharmaceutical.

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National Enterprise Week 2012 A week of helping businesses on their way

Wow! What a Week.

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part in National Enterprise Week. Whether you attended, exhibited or inspired, you were a huge part of making the week a success. Our focus will remain on helping businesses achieve more, which is why we believe that getting the right finance shouldn’t be a challenge. We have credit available and we want to lend – so talk to us and we’ll help you in any way we can. Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply

www.bankofireland.com/enterprise

Bank of Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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Getting your business online | apps

Now, more than ever, businesses need to look at how to best utilise the SmartPhone technology available to expand their business. Colm Gorey explains how an app can revolutionise how your business interacts with consumers.

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he past year saw SmartPhone ownership in Ireland pass the halfway point in terms of total mobile phone ownership. According to a RedC survey in 2011, 49 per cent of mobile phones owned were SmartPhones. Current estimates now put that figure at the end of 2012 at 71 per cent – a huge leap that emphasises the potential for businesses who can tap into SmartPhone’s uses, like 24 hour mobile access to the Internet. Right now, the biggest trend that is widely regarded as the most efficient way of opening direct links with consumer is through apps. The concept is relatively simple. By making an Internet-connected application on a person’s SmartPhone or tablet, the consumer can find direct access to a particular product or service that specifically interests them ie banks, high street stores or radio stations. So what can a business do to get involved in an area that may appear to people of limited technological knowledge a daunting task?

The basics Before you can start examining what you want your app to do, you must decide which operating system (OS) you want to establish your app on. Currently there are number of operating systems available to develop apps with but, without wanting to totally rule them out, there is little need for a business to look anywhere else but Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android because of their near dominance of the marketshare. In terms of numbers, SmartPhones that run on the Android OS now dominate the American market in what was, up until only a year ago, Appleruled. Figures released by one of the world’s biggest market analysts, IDC, show that in the United States 136 million Android handsets were sold during Quarter three 2012 year which would put it at covering 75 per cent of the marketshare. This is an enormous boost on the same time last year when it had 56 per cent of the overall US marketshare. This has been in no small

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App-ealing to your customers

part down to the sheer variety across multiple types of devices and varied price structure available to customers compared with Apple who only release their software on their own products. However, when looking to find an app with the greatest available consumer pool, these figures may be misleading. Figures released from Statcounter which monitors the amount of actual usage across the different OSs show that despite Android’s dominance in the market, iOS is still by far the most widely used OS for online browsing and interacting with the phone’s Internet capabilities in Ireland. Figures from October 2012 show that iOS currently has a share of 56 per cent of the users while Android has about half this with 37 per cent. This is gradually changing however, as figures dating between November 2011 and October 2012 show a decrease of 4 per cent for iOS and an increase of 7 per cent by Android. As the first to enter the market in 2008, it is unsurprising that Apple lead the

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Getting your business online | apps

way in the number of apps available to iOS users. There are currently an estimated 700,000 apps available to download from the Apple Store. When you have a proposal for an app, Apple will vet your app to make sure it adheres to its guidelines which are in place to mostly filter any illegal content. To date, Apple ‘vets’, as they’re known, are quite open to all kinds of apps. This will give you a chance to search through apps already available and ask whether it has been done before? If so, how could it be improved upon etc. While it may appear advantageous to release your app on both iOS and Android, it is widely suggested playing it safe in the beginning and releasing on iOS. Given the current Statcounter figures, you may be limiting your audience by going only with Android. If your app is doing very well, then try expanding into Android to secure an even greater audience.

Keeping it simple

unappealing and clunky appearance of standard websites on smaller devices such as SmartPhones. When you begin discussing your app with a designer, work on how you can take what you want to show the customer and condense and simplify it into a four inch screen. Think of it like putting an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper; put the essence of your product or service into it and it will encourage business. Once you have your concept, finding an app developer should be little problem as hundreds of companies have joined the app revolution giving a company plenty of scope to find an app developer that suits their needs. Once it is designed up tested it is now vital to

determine how you will look to market your app.

Putting a price on your business Since the Internet became monetised and a source of downloadable goods, the traditional service of simply paying for a received good has been radically changed. With almost unlimited choice, if a person can get the same product for free, why would they pay for it? The same issue is the basis, and one of the most important factors, when considering releasing an app: will you release it for free or will you charge users to buy it? When deciding this it is largely dependent on the type of business

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Apps and simplicity go hand-in-hand. Apps that link you to a particular service or company developed because of the

“Apps and simplicity go hand-in-hand. Apps that link you to a particular service or company developed because of the unappealing and clunky appearance of standard websites on smaller devices such as SmartPhones.”

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you run. If you intend to use an app as a marketing tool that will create a connection between the company and the customer, it is suggested that you should offer your app for free to get the app to as many people as possible. Media companies in particular use this method as it can provide an app user with a limited amount of content that may encourage them to look further into that group. If you are a small business that may consider it too risky to spend money on getting an app developed, you can investigate whether it would be worth discussing with your designer (if you are getting it done by a separate designer) to include a small clickable advertisement in your app to ease any cost issues as the designer can raise extra revenue through this advertising. Be wary however as apps with too much advertising may dissuade potential clients or customers from using it. If you decide to go with the paidapp option, it must be backed by significant promotion to encourage potential downloaders that it is worth the money they pay for. Despite the majority of apps costing less than the price of a cup of coffee, most people will not buy an app unless it is a proven success or well advertised.

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GeTTinG YOuR Business OnLine | apps

Most importantly of all, include a feedback option and monitor it on a regular basis. When browsing the Apple or Android store you will see many apps have a feedback feature which can be vital for configuring your app to how you want it to appeal to your customers.

IT’s uP To you Once you have your app designed all that is left to do is let people know it’s out there. This is where traditional

means of promotion come back to the forefront as advertisements, press releases, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc) and word of mouth should be used to develop a ‘buzz’ about your app. This may be a slow process as thousands of companies, not just in Ireland but worldwide, are trying to get started in what is considered the future of direct marketing. By taking your time, you can pave the way for a successful digital future.

One of the success stories of the last two years has been the Hail-O app which uses the live mapping applications on SmartPhones to help people find the nearest taxi to them and pay online using the phone. Started in 2011 by three London taxi drivers and a number of Internet entrepreneurs, the app allows people to pay for their taxi using the Hail-O account which the user initially sets up. It also provides a level of safety for wary late-night passengers as the driver’s details will appear on screen before it arrives so you know you are getting into the right taxi. For the taxi driver, it has revolutionised how they conduct their business and, on average, increases the number of fares instead of driving the streets looking and hoping for that next pick up. The service has also gone from strength to strength and has expanded from London to Dublin and now to Boston in the United States. With a simple idea, and a bit of knowledge of technological knowledge, a company app can totally renew how business is conducted.

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haIl-o: a MoDEl For suCCEss

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©2 KPM Inter The regis Inter

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Promoting Ireland Everyone in Ireland is a potential ambassador in helping secure inward investment. Whether you are in business, government or academia, you may have opportunities to sell the benefits of investing in Ireland to your overseas contacts. Make sure you have all the information you need by downloading your copy of Investing in Ireland at kpmg.ie

kpmg.ie

© 2012 KPMG, an Irish partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved. (102468)

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Feature | US elections

Four More Years Now that the dust has settled on the US presidential election, Ruraidh Conlon O’Reilly looks back over the campaign and checks in with some who were more than just fascinated observers.

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resident Romney. Consider that for a moment. If it has a strange ring to it now, there’ll be a time when it sounds utterly ridiculous, like President Dukakis, President Dole or President Kerry. What might have been. Despite predictions of a cliffhanger to evoke memories of the flimsiest of Floridian hanging chads, the result was clear –

even if it caused Donald Trump to blow a gasket and cry revolution. By a margin of 332-206 in the Electoral College, and by the popular vote, Barack Obama rules the roost for the next four years. US elections aren’t just exciting and glamorous from afar; they have a knock-on effect in Ireland, and not just through pints in Moneygall, Paul Ryan’s Graiguenamanagh roots or Mitt

Romney’s IFSC wealth. US foreign and economic policy is in full force here, from Shannon to the IMF bailout to multinational investment; after all, they invented the phrase ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ which seems to pervade every thought and deed these days. And both US parties have significant operations in Ireland, marshalling those overseas votes, raising funds and organising support. For Dennis Desmond, Chairman of Democrats Abroad in Ireland, this was a moment of triumph and his spirits are still high. “It was a wide victory for Barack Obama, and I think it really reflects the American sense of fairness,” he says. “There were two clearly-differentiated candidates this time around, and Obama’s message has been one based

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Feature | US elections

“With US companies investing $188 billion in this country the continued strength of this relationship is of course vitally important.” on fighting for and sticking up for the middle class. I think that translates into fairness. A big part of his message was raising taxes on the most wealthy people in the States: those who are most able to pay, rather than cutting services on the rest of the middle class, which is what the Republican administration would have brought us.” Unsurprisingly, his opposite number is much more downbeat. “It was close, but disappointing nonetheless,” says Tom Plank, trustee and US lawyer by trade, and Chairman of Republicans Abroad Ireland. “I think ultimately Romney didn’t have a good enough get out the vote machine, one, and two, he failed to connect with maybe some irregular voters. I don’t think he was a bad choice of candidate of the crop that presented themselves – with the exception of two things. I think perhaps the fact that he didn’t address Obamacare because of his own health plan in Massachusetts ultimately hurt him, and he didn’t do enough outreach to Hispanic voters.”

Pulling All-Nighters

Tom Plank, Chairman, Republicans Abroad Ireland.

assist the undocumented Irish. He’s also hopeful for another presidential visit to these shores, and has called for an official State invitation this time – far beyond the scope of last year’s quick pitstop. “It left a lasting memory there, so hopefully it will encourage them to come back again… In my opinion, we’ll probably see Joe Biden before we see Obama again,” he says. “We might also possibly see the first lady return with her daughters because she said both privately and publicly to us that she wants her daughters to see Official White House Photo by Pete Souza, courtesy of whitehouse.gov.

Plank’s group were quite active throughout the campaign, and he himself spent the evening on Newstalk and then on TV with Bryan Dobson until 3.30am, “so I did not go to any parties – just as well, with the result.” The Republicans Abroad mostly went to the Westin. Another man staying up late was Henry Healy. He’s probably the most famous eighth cousin in world history, and has been ever since it was revealed that he’s Barack Obama’s cousin – Henry the Eighth, as he was dubbed. Not long later, he had the pleasure of welcoming the leader of the free world to County Offaly on his whistlestop visit in 2011. These days Healy plies his trade as community activation leader with Ireland Reaching Out, helping local parishes to engage with the Irish diaspora. On election night, he started out at the American Embassy’s party.

“We were there up until 1 o’clock, and at that stage the indications and rumours on Twitter were that Ohio was going to go towards Obama,” he says. “At that early stage we were very confident of a win.” He then moved on to join Democrats Abroad at the Arlington until 4am amidst a celebratory atmosphere and watched the acceptance speech back in his hotel room. “It was very exciting, nail-biting, but it was well worth staying up for.” Healy sent best wishes before the election, and congratulations after. The next major date in his diary is the inauguration in Washington DC, come January. He’s also attending the Irish-American Democrats’ Ball and a screening of self-explanatory documentary The Road to Moneygall. Apart from his cuz winning a second term, Healy reckons that the Obama win is good for Ireland in that it provides stability without having to learn the ways of a new US administration; and in the prospect of immigration reform and measures to

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Ireland and see Moneygall.” The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, which represents US multinational companies in this part of the world, is another closely involved party. It’s not the most fashionable of gigs, given how even leading UK Conservatives are enraged by how little tax some household name companies pay. Though careful to be non-partisan, Chief Executive Joanne Richardson sent her congratulations – their message is to emphasise the impact of American business ties. “Ireland enjoys the strongest of relationships with the US, and nowhere is that more evident than in the economic relationship between our two countries,” she said. “More than 600 US companies operate in Ireland to access European and global markets, and together they employ in excess of 100,000 people. Similarly in the US Irish companies directly employ an estimated 120,000 across all 50 states. “With US companies investing $188 billion in this country the continued strength of this relationship is of course vitally important.”

A Week Is A Long Time So what next for US politics? There’s the imminent ‘fiscal cliff ’ causing so much concern, a combination of tax rises, spending cuts and general mayhem that will happen automatically if political consensus isn’t reached soon. Beyond that, there’s Congressional elections in two years and then the presidential carnival is renewed for 2016. “The field will be wide open with qualified, strong Democratic candidates,” says Desmond. “I wouldn’t choose one at this stage – I think that’s a risky endeavour, although if you want to go to Paddy Power I’m sure you can and you’d get pretty good odds.” He can’t see the Republican ticket being any stronger than it was this time around, but then again he would say that. For the GOP, soul-searching is to be expected. Much has been made of the party’s failure to harness the Hispanic vote and break out of the white-andprivileged mould that will get nowhere given modern America’s demographics. Where next? “It’s an excellent question,”

says Tom Plank. “The Republican party really needs to see some magnetic talent rise to the top. Thankfully, I think they actually have an excellent crop of candidates waiting in the wing. They were too young to run for president this time around – we’re talking early 40s – but by 2016 I think that we will have a candidate that will really engage the electorate as a whole.” He mentions Marco Rubio, Cuban-American senator from Florida; Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana of south Asian descent, Nevada’s Hispanic governor Brian Sandoval, and the colourful Chris Christie of New Jersey with his “immense personality.” “Four years is a really long time in politics,” he says. Watch this space. Watch this space, too, for the state of the American economy. As the theatre of American politics moves away from the ballot box and towards the fiscal cliff, American consumer demand, jobs and confidence will be felt around the world. And chances are, they will probably be the fighting ground of the next election too.

Henry Healy (right) with Mike Feerick, founder of Ireland Reaching Out.

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cover story | Patrick Coveney

Earning a Crust

Greencore CEO and Corkman Patrick Coveney shares with Conor Forrest his thoughts on the convenience food company’s recipe for success.

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hile some in Ireland of a more historical disposition might associate Greencore with the sugar industry, the company’s main focus today is on convenience foods, particularly for the UK and east coast US markets. With over 11,000 employees, an annual turnover of £1.1 billion and 30 sites across Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, Greencore is the market leader in the majority of the categories within which it operates and

holds the title of the world’s biggest sandwich maker. At the helm of the Greencore Group is the tall, trim and impeccably dressed CEO Patrick Coveney, who joined the company as Chief Financial Officer in 2005 from advisory firm McKinsey & Company before being appointed to the top spot in December of 2008. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from UCC and a Doctorate in Management Studies from Oxford, there’s no

denying he has the credentials for the job. Coveney chuckles at the use of the term ‘baptism of fire’ in relation to his first year as CEO of Greencore, which coincided with the worst financial crisis since the Wall Street Crash of 1929. “The first year we had challenges all over the place,” he recalls. “Clearly the world was going into recession which impacted on the value of things in our business such as property and consumer demand falling off; a lot of our competitors were in trouble as were some of our customers. That would have been compounded by the fact of a pretty significant internal fraud which we unearthed in May/June 2008 within three months of being in the job.”

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cover story | Patrick Coveney

The fraud was uncovered at the company’s Scottish mineral water division, Campsie, and involved the deliberate concealment of costs which ran to €20 million over the course of three years, resulting in share prices dropping considerably. “That was a pretty big shock first of all,” Coveney concedes, “and also a big challenge to manage through. But looking at it four and a half years later, it was the making of us, in that it gave me the mandate to do a lot of the things I had been thinking about doing – people changes, structural changes and focusing the business on the areas we wanted to focus on. So we just got on with it and fortunately we were able to come through it pretty strongly in the end.”

Leading from the Front Those changes have clearly succeeded as Greencore now perches atop the pile of international convenience food manufacturers. In the realm of ‘food to go’, they occupy the number one market position in the UK with a 36 per cent market share and are leading manufacturers in the prepared meals, cakes and desserts sectors. Grocery and frozen foods wrap up Greencore’s main operations in Britain where they supply own-label cooking sauces, pickles and 600 million Yorkshire puddings per annum – 100 puddings for each inhabitant of Yorkshire. Here in Ireland, operations are in the areas of vegetable oils and molasses through subsidiary companies Trilby Trading and Premier Molasses, a joint venture between Greencore and United Molasses Group Ltd. Around €100 million worth of Irish ingredients are sourced each year from the country for UK manufacturing. The acquisition plan has been the driving force behind their successes, which has seen Greencore swallow a series of businesses such as Marks & Spencer supplier Uniq and Marketfare Foods, while ridding itself of noncore operations. “We’ve probably sold as many businesses as we’ve bought,” says Coveney. “What we’ve done is change the business from being what was largely an ingredients business to a value added food manufacturer, which

is what we are now. The acquisition of Uniq, completed last year, has made a huge difference to us. It’s given us a lot more scale; it has increased our revenues by nearly 50 per cent and it has widened the customers we serve in Britain and strengthened the leadership which we have in the part of the market we call ‘food to go.’ It’s been very important in helping us drive strong cash flows too, which has enabled us to reduce our debt further than most people would have thought.” In recent years, several UK-based retailers and manufacturers have been looking to the US market in the hopes of establishing themselves in what can be a very profitable business environment. But the pitfalls are ready and waiting for those who don’t do their homework correctly and Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer have already been there and withdrawn once more. And supermarket giant, Tesco, who has been extraordinarily successful in Europe, particularly in the UK and Ireland, is

struggling in this somewhat foreign environment – a result, perhaps, of establishing its Fresh & Easy stores as a greenfield investment rather than partnering with local retailers who are firmly established and who understand the local consumer landscape. Greencore, it would seem, is striving to learn from the mistakes of past attempts, establishing itself in the US in 2008 with the acquisition of Home Made Brand Foods, later bolstering their position following the purchases of On A Roll Sales in December 2010, MarketFare Foods in April 2012 and HC Schau in June of the same year. With six manufacturing facilities up and down the east coast, Greencore are quickly developing a profitable convenience foods business in the States, focusing on the ‘food to go’ category in small stores. “The thing which I hope people will see the benefits from in the next two to four years is the work we’ve done this year in reshaping and building our business in America,” says Coveney.

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cover story | Patrick Coveney

“We feel that there is loads of potential in the part of the market we’re in now which is ‘food to go’ products in small store outlets. We’ve probably trebled the size of that business this year with the two acquisitions and some of the big customer wins that we’ve had there.”

Humble Beginnings This is quite a leap from the company which began life in early modern Ireland. The first modern sugar factory was opened in Carlow in 1926, built by the Irish Sugar Manufacturing Company. In less than ten years, the need for a dramatic increase in production became obvious. Spurred on by the fact that only seven per cent

of the national requirement was being produced and, as a result of the then Fianna Fáil government’s commitment to a policy of self sufficiency, the Sugar Manufacture Act (1933) was passed, leading to the nationalisation of sugar manufacture in Ireland and the creation of Cómlucht Siúicre Eireann Teo, the Irish Sugar Company, and factories were built in Mallow, Thurles and Tuam, the latter two closing during the 1980s. The Sugar Act (1991) privatised the company once more and it became known as Greencore. Production ceased in Carlow in March 2005 and in Mallow, the last remaining Irish sugar factory closed in May 2006. EU reforms on sugar had reduced the quotas and

subsidies which, it was claimed, made manufacture unprofitable in Ireland and Greencore moved into being a regional ingredient and agri-business player, before moving to food production and then finally reinventing itself as a focused international convenience food manufacturer. And this is a position Greencore are quite happy to be in, and one in which they can grow and really prosper. Their focus on the production of convenience food is supported by statistics from Rabobank’s EU Consumer 2030 report which forecasts that as people become more time constrained, the need to save time regarding food preparation will rise, and that by 2030, an increased amount of food will be consumed on the go. Greencore, Coveney stresses, is only one of several Irish companies involved at the top of the chain. “One of the great things about the industry is that it’s a very real industry; you can touch and feel what you do all the time,” says Coveney. “One of the consequences of all of the economic problems that have been happening all over the world – though we live with them very significantly here in Ireland – is that industries in which Ireland have always performed well in have become less high profile amongst other things, and food would be the biggest single example of that. Looking at what we have now, there are a number of very strong Irish based food companies that are actually world leaders in the sectors they are in – companies like Glanbia, Kerry Group, ABP, Kepak and ourselves; it’s a very strong manufacturing sector which is going from strength to strength. I wouldn’t take things for granted but Ireland performs well in this sector – we’ve got a good heritage in it and we’ve got good people who are choosing to go into it.”

Commander and Chief Alongside his duties as Greencore Group’s CEO, Coveney has been living a double life as the President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce for 2012, a position that gives him an even better view of the commercial landscape in both Dublin and further afield. Under his guidance, Dublin 22 Q4 2012 | InBusiness

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cover story | Patrick Coveney

Coveney headed up Dublin Chamber of Commerce’s executive committee in 2012.

Chamber has had a busy year having held over 130 business events – a record number – the vast majority of which were free for members to attend. “That’s been very good for creating real and tangible business networking and mentoring opportunities for members,” he says. “We’ve also done two very well attended trade missions; one to Manchester and one to Brussels, where we’ve had between 30 and 40 companies join us. We’ve also had a number of very high profile things we’ve taken on in the interest of business in Ireland and in Dublin, including being very actively involved in the fiscal treaty referendum in May.” From his time spent trying to forge business connections and as part of wider efforts in trying to breathe life back into the Irish economy, Coveney is cautiously optimistic. “I think there are a lot of good stories and good pockets of momentum but the two big problems that have to be tackled are getting confidence and activity into the domestic economy rather than the exporting economy,

and, of course, all over the economy we have too much debt – too much national debt, too much corporate debt, too much household debt. That’s why it’s important that we get some restructuring of the national debt. I think that will go a long way towards helping to build confidence.” During a speech at the Dublin Chamber annual dinner in October, he noted that a momentum is building in the Irish economy, referencing the

recent expansion of Paddy Power and the Kerry Group; investments made by global, industry leading and highly skilled Irish companies. “I do think there are more good things going on in parts of the economy than people might see,” he continues. “I’m not surprised that people don’t see it or talk about it because when you’ve had the kind of shock we’ve had, that’s how things are. But I’d be hopeful that would start to come through in time.”

Quick fire Round What was the first job you ever wanted? Central midfielder for Liverpool.

Who is your favourite fashion designer? Hugo Boss.

What’s your favourite film? The Godfather Part 2.

What’s the last song you listened to on your iPod? ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’ by Labrinth & Emeli Sande.

What’s your favourite sandwich? Italian Sub at 7-Eleven.

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©Thinkstockphotos.com/Hemera

Feature | Surviving failure

Failure to Launch

Coping with failure is one of the key characteristics exhibited by some of the world’s strongest entrepreneurs. Carol Ryan explains why.

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obody really wants to talk about it – not even the Internet. Type ‘business failure’ into Google and the search returns articles on ‘how to avoid it’ but little about what it is actually like to fail in business. Other than the searingly honest Ivan Yates, few Irish entrepreneurs have spoken about the experience of losing their business despite some very public downfalls that have been splashed across the nation’s front pages. That these stories remain hidden says something about Irish attitudes to failure, but as tens of thousands of business owners have had to shut up shop as the economy deteriorated, we may need to start talking about it.

A Badge of Honour There is a middle ground between valorising failure and sweeping it under the carpet. It’s an unpleasant fact of business that 50 per cent of start ups won’t make it to their fifth birthday. Some of the world’s biggest business heroes wear their failures like badges of honour. Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times, unashamedly using it as a business tool to restructure debt and free up capital. Scratch below the surface of Richard Branson’s slick selfpromotion and you’ll see a graveyard of failed ventures. Steve Jobs spent his wilderness years between being kicked

out of Apple in 1985 and returning in 1996, working on NeXT, a dodgy computer workstation for educators that vaporised tens of millions of investment dollars. Bill Gates, Harvard’s most successful dropout, is a firm believer that you learn more from your failures than successes. “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Does this country reward entrepreneurs who take risks? Or does it unwittingly punish them after a business failure and make it difficult for them to have a second shot at success? The picture is mixed. A study by Barclays into global attitudes to

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Feature | Surviving failure

adversity found that contrary to our reputation for begrudgery, the Irish value traits such as persistence and optimism. Our views are more closely aligned with those of eastern economies than European when it comes to viewing failure positively and 89 per cent of Irish respondents said they respect people who persist when faced with failure. However, there are structural obstacles that make life difficult for Ireland’s indebted entrepreneurs There are issues around access to social welfare for the self-employed, poor bankruptcy options, the lack of a MABS equivalent for business and no support groups to deal with the personal fallout of business failure. The reduction in bankruptcy from 12 to three years should help but it is still very hard for people to get up off the ground again once they have lost their business. Even in Northern Ireland they have second chance programs to get people back on their feet. We have nothing like that in place. In terms of support available for

Does this country reward entrepreneurs who take risks? Or does it unwittingly punish them after a business failure and make it difficult for them to have a second shot at success? failing entrepreneurs, there is only the two page document Managing Out of the Crisis, published in September by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton and Minister of State for Small Business John Perry. Among its ‘7 Golden Rules for Successful Turnaround Management’ are: “It is easier to solve problems at an early stage”, “Use the power of initiative and decide on your company’s future,” and, “Turning a business around is a greater challenge than everyday management”. Could this rather obvious advice really be the extent of the government’s support for business owners in difficulty in a country where 1,700 firms entered some form of insolvency process in 2011?

Author and entrepreneur George Mordaunt.

Strategy The dearth of support makes little sense economically as entrepreneurs are such key drivers of job growth. 655,000 people are employed in 200,000 small businesses in Ireland and of the 1 million new jobs generated in the last decade, it was indigenous companies that saw the biggest job growth. Business owners who are trying to set up again after a failure are statistically more likely to succeed next time because of what they have learned. Business owner George Mordaunt was hugely successful during the Celtic Tiger but as the recession took hold, he realised that his car dealership in Tipperary was heading for a crash landing. He battled to stay in business, downsized significantly and published Shepard’s Pie last year, detailing the terrible stress he experienced as his business took a turn for the worse. It touched a raw nerve. Not only did the book pique the interest of The New York Times, Irish business owners were soon beating a path to his door thanking him for voicing their experiences and asking for advice. “I was the first person to go public on the trauma of being self employed and the difficulties it was causing emotionally and financially,” says Mordaunt. “I knew that the story was going to be relevant but wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of correspondence I got – the emails, Facebook messages, the people who just got into their cars and arrived at my office looking for me. It has been a fairly stunning reaction.” Mordaunt is critical of the lack of government leadership on the issue. “They are focused on multi-nationals and indigenous Irish business is not being protected. The reality is that a lot of self-employed people whose business has gone down in the last year are unable to even open a bank account and start over. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 25

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There is nothing in the upcoming insolvency legislation, nothing from our government that in any way affirms that we are all entitled to a second chance.” He is also concerned about a certain mentality in Ireland that stops people from fighting back when adversity strikes. “The ‘fight’ of the Irish people has not been seen compared with say the resilience of the Americans when the BP oil disaster happened two years ago. Their attitude the very next day was to pick up and fight on. I don’t see that in Ireland and it is holding us back because there has to be a street fighting attitude to give yourself a second chance in business.”

Valuable Experience

©Thinkstockphotos.com/ Brand X Pictures

John Beckett of Eirtight Technology is a highly successful Irish entrepreneur who has been involved in over a dozen businesses and is unusually open about

an early business failure. He won Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 for a biometrics start up called ByamSys that ultimately failed, an event he found very difficult both personally and financially. “It was extremely challenging. I personally guaranteed all the debt of about €100,000 and we lost €250,000 of investment. So the guts of €350,000 was gone, I’m getting depressed just thinking about it. I had so much time, money, debt and personal pride invested in the business, it was extremely difficult to detach myself and evaluate things using cold, hard numbers. When I eventually did, I realised I should have cut my losses at least six months earlier. I will never make that mistake again”. The experience left him with an understandable abhorrence of personal guarantees and convinced that failure is an inevitable, even valuable part

Eirtight Technology’s John Becket.

of being an entrepreneur. “I feel very passionately that failure as a concept needs to be embraced. There is always lots of failure before you get to success, it is probably inevitable if you are trying something new and taking risks. Until you have experienced some level of failure, you are not nearly as qualified to be an entrepreneur and run a business because you don’t know what to do when things go wrong and you haven’t experienced the warning signs – all the things you learn when you go through a complete and utter failure.” To help business owners, he would like to see an end to the practice of personal guarantees which remove all risk for the banks, access to some form of social welfare for failed entrepreneurs and perhaps a programme to get them back on their feet. “In terms of support for failed entrepreneurs, I would say there isn’t any – you are left to your own devices. If my business has failed, I need to go away and think, ‘How do I get back on my feet?’ and it can be a lonely place having failed. You put so much work into the business, all your cash and you are walking away with nothing but a slap in the face and a big pile of debt. While I don’t like the idea of setting up a ‘losers organisation’ where guys who have failed get together to tell war stories, I would much rather something that would focus on what have you learned and what to do next.”

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Feature | Brain Food

Radisson

Blu My Mind!

Dr Eva Orsmond celebrates the launch of Brain Food.

The Radisson Blu Hotel’s new Brain Food initiative attempts to best serve their delegates by offering a menu that improves attentiveness and concentration, as Jonathan Keane discovered.

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ometimes meetings and conferences can feel like running a marathon and keeping your attention and concentration on highalert for the duration can require a lot of stamina and resolve. Diet plays a huge part in this. According to various studies undertaken by the HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research at University College Cork, there are intrinsic links between diet and behaviour, and specifically, how we pay attention and concentrate. The Institute of Health Sciences (IHS) lays out appropriate diets for increased concentration such as taking in more of the ‘good fats’ and balancing your sugar

levels during the day with simple but carefully thought out meals.

Brain Food Radisson Blu Hotels have attempted to utilise these studies in their meetings and conference services. Their Experience Meetings package now includes Brain Food, an initiative that sets out a healthy food option for improved concentration, attention and alertness. “The idea behind it is that if you’re organising a meeting, you want your delegates to be alert, not to be drowsy, – to give their brain stimulation,” explains Philip Mahoney, Area Vice President of Radisson Blu

& Hotel Missoni for UK and Ireland. Mahoney was appointed at the start of 2012 to oversee more than 20 hotels here and across the UK. “It’s one of these things that’s almost stating the obvious, but I guess some of the best things in life are fairly simple.” Taking proven principles of healthy eating, the Brain Food menu fuels attention spans for those long meetings and keeps delegates’ creative juices flowing. With less meat and more fish options, and a concerted effort to use natural sweeteners to reduce sugar content as much as possible, Mahoney simply describes Brain Food as “absolute common sense”. Q4 3012 | InBusiness 27

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“I guess what we’re really doing is positioning a package with a suite of products to capitalise on that recovery, to make sure we’re gaining share as the market is growing as well.” It’s a venture that benefits both perspectives of meetings – the organiser and the participant. The former knows that the meeting can potentially reap greater benefits and results from more alert delegates, while the delegates themselves can gain even more from their participation than usual. “From a meeting participant perspective, the idea is that you want to be alert and you want to make sure you have an active mind during a meeting,” says Mahoney on the importance of staying alert, and ultimately creative, during those long and sometimes testing meetings. However, it’s rarely as easy as giving people the food that is simply good for them. If it was, various health organisations worldwide wouldn’t be embroiled in so many battles with fast food chains. Preference is obviously a huge factor, so how does the Brain Food initiative address that? “Brain Food follows a series of principles and we attach those to the development of the menus,” explains Mahoney. “[For example], a vegetarian diet is more suited to Brain Food than a typical animal protein diet, but nevertheless, a pure fish option doesn’t necessarily translate well into a western European palate. So we have to adapt them according to what market we operate in. It all follows a set of principles that effectively make what Brain Food is.” Radisson’s hotels in Sweden and Norway were among the first to roll out Brain Food and its success, including the endorsement of nutritionists, eventually led to its adaptation for other markets, namely the UK and Ireland. But Brain Food’s main principles of using as much locally-sourced produce as possible remains the same. “It makes absolute sense for us from our environmental [plan] that there are effectively low miles attached to the

food that we bring into the hotels,” Mahoney asserts. “We can’t do it with everything but where we can we do.”

A Re-emerging meetings business Brain Food is one of three elements that the Radisson describes as ‘core components’ of their Experience

Meetings package, the other two being Brain Box, a room designed to elevate efficiency and to stimulate creativity, and free WiFi across all Radisson Blu hotels for meeting delegates. The Experience Meetings package as a whole was a response to the fall of meetings and conferences business for hotels. “I guess what we’re really doing is positioning a package with a suite of products to capitalise on that recovery, to make sure we’re gaining share as the market is growing as well,” explains Mahoney. “We’re seeing a re-emergence this year and we’ve got growth in both Ireland and the UK, in the meetings business.” Taking inspiration from the creative

A Radisson Blu Hotel Brain Box room.

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Feature | Brain Food

industries, Brain Box harnesses the work done by Brain Food and puts that vibrant attention and concentration into practice. “There are two component parts to it,” says Mahoney. “First, the idea of having a relaxed environment for people to unleash the creative side of their brain and, if you think about it, most of us have our best ideas when we’re relaxed.” The other side of Brain Box is the visualisation of ideas, an approach that allows participants to visualise thoughts and ideas at a meeting with their colleagues. “It’s not an innovative approach but we’re thinking about what is the right environment for a particular sort of meeting,” Mahoney clarifies. “So, if you want to set a meeting that’s death by PowerPoint then fine, but if you want people to interact and engage and to offer substance then give them space where they can roam around, visualise things, they can stick stuff on the wall, write on the wall and really engage.” Additionally, Radisson Blu have rolled out high speed WiFi (up to 100MB) across all their conference hotels where the infrastructure will allow and Brain Food, while an integral part of the package, is just one spoke on the wheel that is Experience Meetings. “We hope it’s here to stay. It’s been really positively received in all markets that we’ve launched it. It’s a core part of our business and an integral part of our space selling strategy, and it reinforces our customer service ethic, which is about delivering a great product consistently with real, genuine, unforced hospitality, and that’s what we’re about as a brand.”

Endorsement The feedback continues to mirror that, with approval from The Hotel

Philip Mahoney, Area Vice President of Radisson Blu & Hotel Missoni for UK and Ireland.

Booking Agents Association (HBAA), the trade association for meetings and accommodation in the UK, but critically, from event organisers too. “The crucial thing from a meetings organiser perspective is that they want peace of mind,” says Mahoney. “They want to know what they’re buying, see what they’re buying and the website

“If you want people to interact and engage and to offer substance then give them space where they can roam around, visualise things, they can stick stuff on the wall, write on the wall and really engage.”

functionality has already started delivering that. The proposal we put forward is very transparent and very easy to follow”. Radisson Blu’s meetings venue services are nothing new, but the package makes a concerted effort to refresh what has been offered for years. As Mahoney explains, the hotel chain continues to aim for a ‘what you see is what you get’ approach to the meetings service available to organisers. “We’ve always had a 100 per cent guest satisfaction guarantee in place. We extended that out to meetings many years ago, it’s just that we didn’t tell anyone about it and now we’re saying we guarantee the successful delivery of a meeting.” Q4 2012 | InBusiness 29

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Feature | Silver Surfers

The Rise of the Silver Surfers Conor Forrest outlines why getting the older generation online can offer Irish companies a new, highly-profitable market.

I

In recent years businesses have been getting the message and migrating some services online; in some cases we have seen businesses operating entirely from the digital world. Websites are often the first port of call for potential customers searching for information and the added bonus of operating online stores is that it offers the consumer the opportunity to complete their shopping with the click of a mouse from the comfort of their own home. The virtual marketplace is experiencing effects which are the complete opposite of the traditional shop floor according to figures from

the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Throughout 2011, 43 per cent of Irish adults shopped online, a sizeable jump from a figure that hovered around 33 per cent in 2007.

Changing Trends A growing proportion of Europe’s population is over 65, a trend which is reflected in Ireland. A figure in the region of 533,000 sit in this age bracket and, in 2010, Superquinn founder Feargal Quinn announced a predicted figure of 1.89 million by 2041 at a ‘Business of Ageing’ conference in

©Thinkstockphotos.com

rish businesses searching for new markets to tap into needn’t look as far afield as the emerging countries of India and Asia for fresher prospects. Right here at home, one the biggest segments that often gets either overlooked or underestimated is that which encompasses the over 50s age group. As a society we are moving our lives increasingly into the digital world. People communicate more often through social networks and instant messaging, spend hours on the Internet, watching digital television or browsing through online stores and catalogues.

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the capital. We don’t really associate this particular range of people as being particularly computer savvy, the overarching presumption is that people of a certain age are either uninterested or unable to use such technology. And the data would seem to back such a presumption up. Research released last year by Amárach Research has indicated that less than 20 per cent in the elderly age bracket use the Internet each day while 61 per cent admitted to never using it at all. A general feeling also exists concerning other age groups being prioritised. In actuality, this is the generation which stands to benefit the most. Ageing so often comes with physical limitations and decreased mobility and should the elderly in our society become more computer literate, then the world will be able to come to them. However, the most recent large-scale research carried out by the Work Research Centre in combination with Age Action Ireland in 2009 showed that while usage numbers are still low, the desire is there, with many interested in learning and attending information courses and events. “Although the figures are low, they’re going in the right direction,” says Sinead Gibney, Head of Social Action at Google Ireland. “We’ve seen the number of older people [50 plus] online rise from 25 per cent in 2009 to 35 per cent now. And from the work that we do, we see a growing interest from this part of our population.” Nearly 50 per cent of those interviewed in the 2009 survey used the Internet to purchase items online while 70 per cent utilised it for travel arrangements and booking tickets. “The two most popular activities that students want to learn about are connecting with people in video calls and booking tickets such as flights and concerts,” says Gibney. “There’s also plenty of interest in using email and social networking sites to stay connected, accessing news services

©Thinkstockphotos.com

Feature | Silver Surfers

online, and television and radio players. This is a very diverse group of people, spanning the largest age group in society and each individual has their own reasons for accessing the Internet, so destinations of choice vary really.”

The Wealthy Generation So why should businesses care about securing the attention of an older generation slowly finding their feet online? Combined with an interest in purchasing online is spending power. Across the world, the over 50s control the bulk of the wealth. Figures from the Ageing Well Network here in Ireland reinforce this and further entrench this generation’s importance. In around 15 years, older people will make up an even more significant percentage of the population. In the UK, the over 60s age group are predicted to be at the forefront of the economic recovery as they have the wealth, savings and spending power

“Combined with an interest in purchasing online is spending power. Across the world, the over 50s control the bulk of the wealth.”

that the younger generation, crippled with debt, does not. For a good deal (though not all) of people over the age of 50, there is both spending power to varying degrees coupled with a lifetime’s shrewdness, and other people besides themselves on whom to spend – children, grandchildren etc. However advertising and marketing agencies tend to be staffed by a younger generation and the results are evident. For example, most car advertisements will either feature younger people or families, despite older consumers making up a huge chunk of vehicle purchases. There are some positive signs of change regarding interest in the older consumer and recognition of the opportunities there. Nintendo in the UK have in the past used actress Helen Mirren in promoting their Wii Fit game. Nintendo appears to be one of the few companies actively anticipating the ageing society and has developed a series of brain training and simple sports games designed to appeal to the older age group, and has even supplied Wii consoles to Bupa care homes in the past. The success is in its simplicity, something which Q4 2012 | InBusiness 31

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Feature | Silver Surfers

has to be considered when moving to cater for elderly people online, and designing websites to accommodate their varying skill levels.

Business of Ageing Partnership

©Thinkstockphotos.com

One organisation which is attempting to highlight these very significant opportunities for businesses in Ireland is the Business of Ageing Partnership, comprised of members including IBM, IBEC, Chambers of Commerce and others. A not-for-profit enterprise, the BOA Partnership aims to make the business community aware of the rapidly growing and changing market of older consumers, giving them an understanding of their behaviours and attitudes while broadening understanding of the market’s needs and providing knowledge as to how businesses might develop products and services to best meet these needs. “I think we’re starting to see a shift but it’s long overdue and very slow,” says Gibney. “People in this population group are often not hamstrung by mortgage debt and therefore it can be

“The older generation has an active interest in using computers and getting online and when combined with the spending power they often enjoy, Irish businesses should put two and two together.” an extremely lucrative audience. For businesses that are Internet based, it comes with the added challenge that the older population is generally not online. But there are some great success stories. For example, rip.ie saw a niche and went for it, and it’s now a resource that many of our students seek out.”

Embracing the Online Revolution Clearly those who slot into these age brackets and with certain lifestyles and income levels have both the money and the desire to spend it, on themselves and the people around them. Irish businesses need to recognise this and both join in and help speed up the efforts already underway by organisations

like Google and Age Action Ireland who are pioneering initiatives across the country. Multinational enterprise Google one of the biggest names both on the Internet and across the global IT sector – has stepped firmly into the Irish arena, bringing a staff who boast impressive skillsets in their respective roles. Staff have reached out to the older community, passing on skills which seem simple to the computer literate; powering on machines, using the mouse, navigating the computer and, of course, the Internet itself. For those at home, getyourfolksonline.ie was launched last year in partnership with Age Action Ireland, a free tool aimed at helping Ireland’s younger generation pass on their knowledge and which uses course materials adapted from Age Action’s own Getting Started computer training course, which has been used to train over 12,000 people over the past six years. Meanwhile, Google and Age Action also host the annual Silver Surfer awards, celebrating and rewarding Irish people over the age of 50 who have embraced the internet. On the business side of things, An Post ran an initiative entitled ‘Log On, Learn,’ providing one-on-one learning while International Business Machines (IBM) Software Group in Ireland ran ‘Silver Surfer’ classes in conjunction with Age Action Ireland as part of their centennial celebrations in 2011. The message such efforts send is clear; the older generation has an active interest in using computers and getting online and when combined with the spending power they often enjoy, Irish businesses should put two and two together and not only recognise the potential of this market but actively engage with it, online.

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interview | David McWilliams

Return of the Mac Economist, broadcaster and author David McWilliams speaks to Dean Van Nguyen about his new book, being the subject of parody and why the Irish economy is on the floor.

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eing Ireland’s most recognisable and noted economist must be an incredible weight to bear. These days the word ‘economy’ rarely gets banded about without negative connotations, so in terms of the scale of popular career choices, David McWilliams may as well have been the country’s most visible taxman or clamper. Since voicing his concerns about the Irish property bubble some time before the crash, the 46-year-old broadcaster and author’s profile has soared, making him a target for

criticism and satire. And the media have come at him from all angles, often lampooning his affable Dún Laoghaire accent and floppy haired stylings – the satire veering from the humorous to the downright indecent. But McWilliams has thick skin, and can take a joke when it’s in the right spirit. He laughs heartily when I mention the physical comparisons sometimes drawn between himself and CSI: Miami actor David Caruso. “The David Caruso of Irish economics,” he repeats to himself with considerable amusement. “Certainly

I do take my fair share of flak from people, but I suppose that comes with the territory. I don’t think you should expect to make public analysis without having anyone saying it’s wrong. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the criticism I take is personal – it doesn’t seem to be based on economics at all. What you find is that people with no qualifications to talk about economics feel entirely justified in pronouncing in papers on economics that they know nothing about. It’s like getting lessons in astrophysics from Father Dougal.” While McWilliams asserts that he’s

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interview | David McWilliams

"There was no silver spoon involved in McWilliams’s youth and he speaks of his father’s struggles with unemployment as the chief catalyst for his career choices." never hurt by the criticism leveled at him (he even uses the old sticksand-stones analogy), he does admit being baffled by the mentality of his detractors. “Some of the stuff is bitter and twisted, and it’s usually written by a certain type of individual. I’ve been attacked by some people but you might have noticed it’s never been the other way around. I’ve never publically attacked somebody. I just can’t understand why you’d do that. If somebody did a documentary or wrote a book, I can’t imagine – particularly if you weren’t qualified – why, A, you’d pretend you were qualified and then, B, attack the person. I can’t understand the mentality behind that; it’s not something I can really recognise in my friends or myself.”

Early life Perhaps what irks his critics is the misconception that McWilliams comes from wealth – how dare this well-spoken member of the Trinity College alumni tell the less fortunate how to spend their money? In reality, there was no silver spoon involved in McWilliams’s youth and he speaks of his father’s struggles with unemployment as the chief catalyst for his career choices. “My father was unemployed and I saw what it did to my family,” he explains. “Maybe that’s what drives me. I saw what it did to him and it destroyed him – I don’t think he ever really recovered. He worked really hard all his life, [was a] really decent man, never very extravagant, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, all that sort of stuff. When I saw him being made redundant – it’s a horrible thing to say, ‘You are redundant. You have no role in our society’ – it makes you very empathetic to the feelings of others. I saw my dad put on a shirt and tie and pretend to go out to work because he was so

ashamed of being out of work. When you see that in your own father it changes your world view.” Like seeing his father struggle with unemployment, McWilliams sees money, career and financial problems destroy good, honest Irish people all the time. “I got to see it first hand and its one of the reasons I got into economics. I’ve seen what it does to people on the downside – it destroys them. So I think it’s really important to making human these stories, and if it leads to people parodying me and having a go then, frankly, that’s fine by me. It’s a small price to pay personally. If you see your own father, it was when I was the same age of my son who is now ten. At that stage your dad is the biggest thing in the world, he’s the big guy in the house and you love him unconditionally. When you see that dad of yours being humbled and humiliated, that really changes how you look at the world, and that really changes you from the age of ten into your mid-40s. Then you see people and friends on the dole, and people losing their houses and people in negative equity, all those memories come back to you and you realise how important it is.”

A Room with a View Regardless of the criticism he receives, a lot of people care what McWilliams thinks. Educated at Trinity College Dublin and the College of Europe Bruges, Belgium, he spent ten years in banking, first as an economist with the Irish Central Bank and then with the investment banks UBS and BNP before moving into broadcasting. During the early noughties he hosted various TV and radio shows including Agenda on TV3, chat show The Big Bite on RTE 1 and The Breakfast Show on Newstalk 106. In 2006 he released his first book. The Pope’s Children was the best selling Irish non-fiction book of the year spending 52 consecutive weeks in the top five bestsellers. He followed it up with The Generation Game and Follow the Money, completing a trilogy of sorts. Recently released, The Good Room is McWilliams’s fourth book and his first since 2009– his longest break between publishing since his debut. It represents a departure from his previous work, utilising a new halffact-half-fiction style. ‘The Good Room’ refers to what was once a regular space in the Irish home – an area reserved for important visitors. In the book, McWilliams uses the comparison to the mentality of the Government, who he accuses of being more concerned with the perception of uprightness. His usual style is intercut with the story of fictional character Olivia Vickers, a young pregnant woman struggling to repay her mortgage. “I’ve always believed that economics

McWilliams on the property crash: “I would go back to 2001, because I think the Irish crisis didn’t start in 2007. It started in 2001 which is why I was very vocal in saying, ‘This is going to end up in tears’. The crisis started when the banks began to lend, and the government and the landlords and the developers all got into bed together. So I would say you’ve got to look at it over a ten year period.”

McWilliams on his work as an economist: “I’ve always had an urge to teach – to explain things to people. I think economics is far too important to be left to economists and dry academics. You might do cartoons, you might write books, you might do documentaries, and you might do public speeches. For example, two years ago with The Abbey Theatre I did a one man show called The Outsiders. The impulse is always to make economics as accessible to as many people as possible.”

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interview | David McWilliams

"The whole thing about economics is you’ve got to give people hope. I’m sure you’ve made mistakes, I’ve made mistakes; can you imagine if the mistakes you made in your life are held against you indefinitely?” is nothing more than the business of everyday life,” explains McWilliams on this new style of writing. “I decided to look at the world through the eyes of a pregnant woman who is a school teacher who finds herself trying to deal with the upcoming birth of a child – the fact that she’s in negative equity, the fact that her husband's career isn’t going too well; basically someone we recognise in our circle of friends.” Olivia is a member of the same generation McWilliams wrote about in The Pope’s Children – those who were born either side of the pope’s visit to Ireland in 1979 and came of age when the Celtic Tiger was at its peak. Returning to that demographic felt natural for the author as he still views those who are now in their early thirties as a group affected by the economy in a way previous generations were not. “They were told that the country was going to be fantastic and they borrowed against that promise. They are now the ones who have emigrated in great numbers. In a way they still are the crucial generation and Olivia is just one of them. Whereas The Pope’s Children was more satirical, [Olivia] is the real thing.”

economic thinkers on this issue and I’ve amalgamated it to conclude what we’re doing is basically putting an anorexic on a diet, and hoping that person will get strong.” Moving forward, McWilliams is passionate that whatever road we take to recovery, the mistakes that have destroyed human beings like in recent years can never be repeated. “The whole thing about economics is you’ve got to give people hope. I’m sure you’ve made mistakes, I’ve made mistakes; can you imagine if the mistakes you made in your life are held against you

indefinitely? That’s what happened to people. Yes, people made mistakes financially but we’ve got to give people a second chance. That’s the nature, I would hope, of forgiveness and humanity. Chasing people for 100 grand they don’t have, it drives people to suicide, it drives families apart.” McWilliams clearly remains committed to fighing the good fight, but for him, it’s not all about work. He's a devout family man with a wife and two children, 12-year-old Lucy and 10-year-old Cal. With wife Sian he organises the Dalkey Book Festival each summer and is involved in the Kilkenomics festival, an economics and stand-up event that takes place in Kilkenny. “The interesting thing about a recession,” says McWilliams, “is you’ve got to keep working, and sometimes the work you do in a recession makes a bigger difference then the work you do in a boom.”

Forward thinking It’s now five years since the pope’s children had their world turned upside down. Emigration remains prominent, while house prices continue to fall, and McWilliams is baffled by the Government’s recovery effort. “The Irish economy is really on the floor,” he bemoans. “The Government are making mistakes. If you look at economics, or the great economic thinkers on the left wing and right wing, they all conclude that following austerity without debt forgiveness or a debt deal is totally bonkers. What I’ve done is I’ve actually looked at all the great 36 Q4 2012 | InBusiness

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Chamber Update News and opinion from Chambers Ireland, Ireland’s Largest Business Network.

40. Chamber News

A round up of all the news and events from Chamber networks nationwide.

44. Budget 2013: A Lack of Ambition

Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot picks through the positives and negatives of Budget 2013.

46. Recognising Excellence

DĂşn Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council scoop top award at the 2012 excellence in Local Government Awards.

48. Measuring Risks

As Ireland prepares to tackle its sixth year of a difficult austerity programme, Director of Broker Distribution at Zurich Insurance Conor Brennan talks to Melissa Byrne about the methods used by Zurich to help sustain SMEs in the current environment.

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Chamber news

Chamber Catch-up A round up of news and events from the Chamber network nationwide.

Limerick Chamber Focus on Internationalisation at Seminar

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he Limerick Chamber brought the International Trade and Embassy exhibition and workshop to the Irish Innovation Showcase, held at Dell Ireland’s Limerick campus. 12 international embassies exhibited at the showcase and presented opportunities for trade in their countries. Countries represented included Argentina, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Poland, France, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Czech Republic. At the showcase Limerick Chamber hosted a seminar and panel discussion on internationalisation. The seminar encompassed all international activity which can help a firm increase cost efficiencies, generate economies of scale and gain competitive advantage. There was also focus put on how to export a product or service. Neil Kelly from Enterprise Ireland spoke about the potential exporters division that Enterprise Ireland established in response to the Irish Government’s 2012 Action Plan for Jobs. Breda Coffey of Surecom

Network, Sam Shine from Samco and David Jeffries of Action Point spoke about their real life experiences on how they internationalised their businesses. At the seminar it was discussed how Irish companies are losing out on huge export opportunities because of a simple fear of doing business in countries with different cultures and languages. Companies attending the event were also told to not be afraid to venture into other markets. Speaking at the showcase, Maria Kelly, CEO of Limerick Chamber said that many Irish companies cannot survive unless they look at export markets. “With disposable income and consumption falling, firms who rely solely on our domestic economy are vulnerable and need to look at foreign markets to survive,” she explained. “Cracking these markets will not alone ensure the survival for these companies but spur employment and economic growth.” Also addressing the showcase was David Jeffries, founder of Limerick-based software and IT services business Action Point Technology, who expects 70 per cent of its sales to be from export markets over the coming years. “While Ireland is a small economy, people need to think big because there are great opportunities abroad for Irish companies,” said Jeffries. “There is a tendency to look outside of Ireland without first getting things right at an organisational level back home. There is an opportunity cost with exporting that could very easily end up just being a cost if

companies don’t get it right. A lot of Irish companies try to fund breaking export markets also themselves without talking to Enterprise Ireland, Enterprise Boards and mentors. By doing this they can save themselves a lot of money.”

Education Key to Ireland’s Recovery

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hambers Ireland welcomed the announcement of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning at Third Level on November 21st. Speaking about the announcement, Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive said “Education is critical to our economic recovery and future growth. While unemployment remains high, there are a number of positions in this country that cannot be filled due to a major skills gap in certain areas. Reform of the education system is vital to ensure that our higher education institutions meet the requirements of a modern, dynamic economy and give students the best chance to gain meaningful employment when they leave education.” “It is important that there is meaningful engagement between the Forum and business organisations to strengthen the relationship between the education sector and the economy,” he concluded.

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Chamber news

Ballyhaunis Chamber Approve Local Man’s Idea

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ocal Ballyhaunis man Kieran Henry has developed the idea of the ‘Foxes and Chickens’ board game which has been launched for Christmas this year. It is recognised as the first board game created in the West of Ireland. Henry came up with the idea from watching his brother work in his farm “One day in November 2009 I was visiting my brother Dermot, he was putting his chickens in for the night and was telling me how a fox had called earlier that day and taken two of his chickens which put the idea of the board game into my head. I set about doing rough drawings and eventually I had a rough prototype. Next I tried the game out by playing it with my two sons and other family members. After a few months of tweaking and changing

bits we were happy with the game.” Henry and his two brothers then formed the company HENCRO LTD and made a more professional prototype. After two years of research they arrived at their finished product. The product has been launched and is available for the Christmas market. Ballyhaunis Chamber of Commerce applauds Henry for his creativity and will help to promote the product as much as possible. The board game is widely available at Smyth’s Toys, Toymaster, Totally

Toys in Castlebar, World of Wonder, Newsround Ballyhaunis, The Gem Ballyhaunis and Flanagan’s in Tulsk. You can view the full details of the game and how to buy one by checking out their website www.hencro.com.

Galway’s Chamber Week 2012 Event

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alway Chamber delivered the ‘service businesses success strategy’ workshop as their main event for Chambers Week 2012. During two and a half hours the event provided owners of established or recently launched

service businesses with new insights into how they could develop success strategy for their business. Working with other service business owners and managers, participants explored the four key elements any service business must get right if it is to really prosper. They named these as; reaching your customer’s desires; making paying for your service easier; managing yourself and your staff; and managing your customer. The workshop was delivered using a highly engaging facilitation process with participants discussing the

challenges of running a service business in informal coffee table groups and moving between groups through the workshop. Workshop facilitator Pádraig Cleary of May Day Management Consultants is renowned for his engaging, challenging and entertaining workshops where the emphasis is on the participants and how they can make more of their businesses using practical marketing tools he has developed over many years as a consultant, trainer and mentor to service businesses. The atmosphere in the Galway Bay Hotel on the night was electric with participants fully engrossed in the process. The unusual format appealed to everyone and was conducive to high interaction. Galway Chamber plan to host a follow up event.

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Chamber news

World Chamber Business Expo 2012

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exford Business Expo 2012 was held in association with Wexford County Council, Wexford Borough Council and Wexford County Enterprise Board. It brought together 84 businesses for a day of networking and exhibiting. The trade show which was held during Chambers Week, attracted close to 750 visitors from all across the South East. The Expo took place in Whites of Wexford on Wednesday October 3rd and featured exhibitors from sectors including hospitality, information technology, marketing, security, training, food and banking amongst others. Admission to the Expo was free and this resulted in a strong footfall throughout the day. Attendees learned about lifestyle changes from health conscious businesses and how to consult with banks, accountants, service providers,

and training and education providers. Visitwexford.ie was promoting the excellent tourism product that Wexford has to offer and Wexford Borough Council together with Tidy Towns volunteers were celebrating their recent success in achieving a bronze medal in the 2012 Tidy Towns competition. Wexford Chamber who organised the event welcomed speakers Eamon Fitzpatrick of the Irish Times, David Walsh of Eircom and Fred Karlsson of Donedeal.ie to the Expo. Commenting on the success of the Expo Madeleine Quirke, Chief Executive of Wexford Chamber said “The third annual Wexford Business Expo was a huge success showing once

again that Wexford is a vibrant business location with a lot to offer. Events such as the Expo are essential for helping people build contracts, generate business leads and network. Already we are looking forward to the 2013 Expo which will be bigger and better.”

K Club Open Evening

T

he Five AA Red Star K Club, in Straffan Co. Kildare held a corporate night and opening evening at the Smurfit Conferencing and Banqueting Centre. The evening was held in conjunction with North Kildare Chamber during Chamber Week 2012 in order for companies to view the meeting and conferencing facilities on offer at the K Club and to network with each other. The evening was attended by over 45 different companies based in

Kildare and Dublin. The K Club can cater for meetings and events right up to 500 people and offers a range of meeting and function rooms. Facilities include complimentary WIFI, free parking and attractive day and overnight delegate rates. The K Club is home to the Kildare Hotel, two championship golf courses, a resort spa and several restaurants and bars. In attendance were representatives from the Kerry Group, HP, Pfizer and Miele.

HP’s Martin Murphy Elected President of Dublin Chamber for 2015

M

artin Murphy, Managing Director of HP Ireland has been elected to the position of Deputy Vice President of Dublin Chamber of Commerce. In line with the Chamber’s order of succession, Murphy will become Vice President in 2014 before taking the chain of office of President in 2015. Commenting on his appointment, Murphy said, “I am delighted to take up the position of President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce in 2015. Dublin’s future is very bright and lasting prosperity can be achieved by strengthening our indigenous enterprise base, driving an

entrepreneurship ethos and maintaining and increasing foreign direct investment in the region. Competition is immense and while Dublin is an attractive location, we are going to have to work hard to make sure it maintains that attractiveness into the future.” Dublin Chamber CEO Gina Quin said, “We are delighted that Martin has been elected to the position of Deputy Vice President. He has been an active member of the Chamber’s Council for many years and he is thoroughly deserving of the role. We look forward to working with him over the next few years as he prepares

to take up the role of President of the Chamber in 2015.” Murphy is MD for HP Ireland, the largest technology services provider and a leading IT employer in Ireland. An education advocate, he is chair of JobBridge, the first national internship scheme. He is also a member of the government’s Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC) and serves on the board of the Smurfit School and the Institute of Directors. He holds an MSc in Electronic Engineering from Trinity College Dublin and is married with three children.

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Chambers Ireland | Budget 2013

Budget 2013: A Lack of Ambition Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot picks through the positives and negatives of Budget 2013.

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udget 2013 was always going to be tough for Ireland. As the sixth in a series of ‘austerity budgets’, it was always likely to result in more losers than winners. The Government was committed to achieving a budgetary adjustment of €3.6 billion and this, to some extent, limited their options. However, there were still choices to be made and Chambers Ireland had engaged in a concerted lobbying effort to ensure the decisions taken would help to stimulate the economy by helping businesses to retain existing employees and take on new staff. Prior to the budget we suggested the Government faced two major challenges: how to reduce the deficit; and how to deal with the unacceptable levels of unemployment. Reflecting on what was announced by Ministers Noonan and Howlin on December 6th, it is clear that the proposed budgetary adjustments have been made. However, a sustainable recovery will be more difficult to achieve given the lack of ambition in the measures announced.

Creating Employment The route to sustainable recovery is job creation. Getting people back to work will not only increase revenues through taxation, it will also reduce the pressure on public services. This budget has not gone far enough

in creating the right environment to achieve this. In particular, many businesses will be disappointed with the decision announced by the Department of Social Protection to abolish the redundancy rebate. By international standards, Ireland currently has generous redundancy entitlements of two weeks wages per year of service plus one added week. This was introduced in 2003; however, it was only possible as the Government paid employers a rebate of 60 per cent of this cost. Now we have a situation where employers still have to shoulder the full cost of redundancy without the ‘safety net’ of the rebate. This will have major consequences

for employers seeking to retain existing staff and create new jobs. A financially challenged company that can only survive through layoffs, thereby protecting some jobs, will have no choice but to close, resulting in the loss of more jobs. While the 10 point tax reform plan and credit specific initiatives for small business are welcome, they could be more ambitious. For instance, we welcome the raising of the turnover ceiling before companies become liable for VAT on invoices issued rather than on payment received; however, the chamber network called for an increase in the ceiling to €2.5 million and we are disappointed that it has only been increased to €1.25m as several thousand more companies could have qualified at that higher level. The retention of the 9 per cent VAT rate for the hospitality sector will also help to secure employment and grow job opportunities in these areas. Additionally, we are pleased that the Government took note of calls not to transfer the cost of sick pay to employers or increase the rate of PRSI paid by employers. The issues of PRSI and sick leave were at the core of our prebudget submission and

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Chambers Ireland | Budget 2013

were recurring themes throughout our lobbying interactions with Government ministers and officials. Despite both policies being ‘flagged’ in advance, we view the fact that they were not implemented as a ‘win’ for the chamber network. This is evidence of the strength of the organisation and shows what can be done when local chambers work with the national secretariat in calling for such measures. We also view the new ten year €175m venture capital fund for new and expanding Irish companies over the medium term, along with the expansion of the R&D tax credit as welcome announcements.

Essential Savings There is no doubt that budgetary adjustments are necessary in order to get the country’s finances back on a sustainable footing; however, we maintain that this must be achieved primarily through cost containments. In this context, we welcome the renewed impetus relating to identifying and implementing savings in the public sector. The public sector sick leave bill alone cost tax payers in excess of €500m in 2011 and is exactly the sort of saving the Government should be targeting. The Croke Park Agreement has not gone far enough yet in delivering essential savings. This new energy must produce quantitative results. A major concern for many of our affiliate chambers was the introduction of the local property tax. Now that all speculation is over and the rates of 0.18 per cent on properties valued up to €1m and 0.25 per cent on properties above that are known, we need to turn our attention to ensuring these new taxes are applied fairly and distributed appropriately. We believe that the ultimate goal of the property tax must

Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot.

be to put local authority budgets on a sustainable basis for the future. We look forward to charges on business declining in the future now that they will no longer be the ‘funder of last resort’ for local government.

The Issue of Fairness Staying in the area of local authorities, it was confirmed that city and county enterprise boards will be abolished, with their functions being transferred to local enterprise offices. We recognise the potential value of having these ‘one

"Much of the post-budget analysis has focused on the issue of ‘fairness’. However, fairness is a problematic concept and can mean very different things to different people."

stop shops’ for business. However, there is a major concern that they will merely duplicate services already provided by the private sector. We believe local enterprise offices should engage and utilise the expertise of those involved in local business who understand the environment and marketplace. Much of the post-budget analysis has focused on the issue of ‘fairness’. However, fairness is a problematic concept and can mean very different things to different people. We believe that, while the country continues to borrow €1bn every month, the higher priority is regaining financial sovereignty and getting the nation’s finances back on a sustainable footing. We maintain that this is best achieved by creating a fiscal and legal environment which supports the efforts of business to grow, develop and create new employment. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 45

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CHAMBERS IRELAND | LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS 2012

Awarding Excellence Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council scoop top award at the 2012 excellence in local government awards

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ún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council was named the top County Council at the 9th Annual Excellence in Local Government Awards. Navan Town Council was named Town/Borough Council at the event held in association with the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. Commenting on the awards, Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive said, “In a time of change for the entire system of Local Government in Ireland, these awards remind us of what it does best: provide essential services, supports and activities for local people and local businesses. Chambers Ireland remains committed to working

with the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and individual local authorities to ensure the best outcomes for all stakeholders in our local communities.” On presenting the awards, Jan O’Sullivan, TD, Minister for State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government commented, “It is a source of pride my department continues to be associated with this event. The award ceremony offers the opportunity to pay tribute to those in local authorities who through their dedication, creativity and ingenuity continue to meet the dynamic and diverse needs of our changing communities”.

Winners were presented with a specially commissioned trophy designed by Tipperary Crystal from their Louise Kennedy range. Judging Panel  Donal Enright, Principal Officer, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government  Tony O’Brien, Consultant, TOB Associates  Brian Cawley, Director General, Institute of Public Administration  Madeleine Quirke Chief Executive, Wexford Chamber  Dónall Curtin, Partner, Byrne Curtin Kelly

Council of the Year – Dún Laoighaire-Rathdown County Council.

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CHAMBERS IRELAND | LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS 2012

The Winners City Council of the Year Dún Laoighaire-Rathdown County Council

Town/Borough Council of the Year Navan Town Council

Sustaining the Arts sponsored by Tipperary Crystal Roscommon County Council – Roscommon County Youth Orchestra

Supporting Active Communities sponsored by Optic Nerve Dundalk Town Council – Open 24 Hours Art Gallery

Festival of the Year sponsored by Eirgrid Waterford City Council – The Tall Ships Races 2011

Online – Portal to a Brighter Future and Wexford County Council – MapAlerter – Free text and email alert system for the public

Smarter Travel sponsored by ESB Networks Dublin City Council – Real Time Passenger Information System

Sports Development sponsored by An Post Leitrim County Council – Community Club Fitness Programme

Sustainable Environment sponsored by ERP Ireland

Outstanding Customer Service sponsored by Zurich South Dublin County Council – Choice Based Letting Scheme – Empowering the Customer

Local Authority Economic Efficiencies sponsored by arvato Fingal County Council – The Process of Organisational Change in Fingal County Council 2009 - 2011

County/City Development Board of the Year sponsored by CBRE Carlow County Council – Rohingya Resettlement Programme

Westmeath County Council – Pride of Place – Eco Friendly Schools Competition

Best Library Service sponsored by Eirgrid South Dublin County Council – Ready2Read – Promoting Early Literacy Development

Parks & Recreation sponsored by Tipperary Crystal Limerick City Council – Baggot Estate Amenity Enhancement Works

Supporting Tourism sponsored by Corrib Natural Gas Enniscorthy Town Council – Enniscorthy Castle – A View from the Keep

Supporting Active Communities award – Dundalk Town Council.

Supporting Tourism award – Enniscorthy Town Council.

Partnership with Business sponsored by arvato Navan Town Council – Navan Town Renaissance Project

Joint Local Authority Initiative sponsored by GloHealth Local Government Management Services Board – Local Authority Safety Management System

Innovation in Technology sponsored by ERP Ireland – Joint Winners Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council – Higher Education Grants

Sustainable Environment award – Westmeath County Council – Ballingore School. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 47

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Chambers Ireland | Zurich

Measuring risks As Ireland prepares to tackle its sixth year of a difficult austerity programme, Director of Broker Distribution at Zurich Insurance Conor Brennan talks to Melissa Byrne about the methods used by Zurich to help sustain SMEs in the current environment.

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fter the release of the 2013 Budget and the onslaught of money saving measures, it would appear that Ireland’s financial situation is as precarious as it ever was. Austerity is still a word that nobody wants to hear and businesses around the country are struggling to stay afloat. Responsible for the management of broker distribution, Conor Brennan believes that SMEs need support and understanding to prosper, particularly in the present climate. To accomplish this, Zurich has invested heavily in its Centre of Excellence in Wexford, where its team work to put the customer at the centre of everything they do. “From what we can see, SMEs probably faced their toughest years in 2008, 2009 and into 2010 when a lot of them made quite significant adjustments to their business to manage their cost base and their expenses. Unfortunately in some cases, that meant reducing staff numbers,” says Brennan. “But the other focus has been around management of cost, procurement cost, energy utility costs, and insurance costs, so it’s been quite a difficult time. However, our sense would be that the companies who have come through that

are probably stronger and fitter in terms of their expense base. Fundamentally what the Irish economy needs is some sort of growth on the horizon, just to stimulate some demand.”

CUSTOMER CARE Zurich has focused on increasing engagement with customers. Talking to customers and understanding their difficulties is their preferred method to attempt to generate original solutions. “Insurance is a once a year bill, and it’s an important bill. If a business has to make a claim it can be traumatic and debilitating for the business, so they really need an insurance partner who understands that and reacts quickly to get them back up and running as quickly as possible," he says. "The other thing we’ve been focusing on is how we can help small businesses having difficulty making their insurance payments every year. We’ve been more flexible through our brokers with payment plans that work for businesses because they need support at this time and if that support comes through a payment plan then Zurich is very happy to work with that business,” Brennan explains.

"If a business has to make a claim it can be traumatic and debilitating for the business, so they really need an insurance partner who understands that and reacts quickly to get them back up and running as quickly as possible."

Director of Broker Distribution at Zurich Insurance Conor Brennan.

Technology is one of the main innovations in helping the insurance company process applications. Zurich predominantly works through brokers and has recently developed their online tools. “We can get the risk assessment, risk management, all of that information completed and on cover for your insurance in six minutes,” says Brennan. After trialling the online procedure with a number of brokers, feedback has been strong. “We’ve looked at the market, looked at what our competitors do and broadened out our range of cover over the market so in terms of the product itself, we would feel it’s the strongest

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Chambers Ireland | Zurich

“I think it’s great to win awards but when you win them a second time in a row it just shows there is consistency in the business, so we’re consistently meeting a service level which we’re getting recognised for in the industry which is fantastic” small business product on the market at the moment.”

OPTIMISTIC SIGN Brennan agrees that the economic environment has been incredibly tough on businesses but that the company is beginning to see some small signs of growth. “When we get submissions in from businesses who want to be insured with Zurich, we’ve seen very small increases in employee numbers,” he says. “But that’s significant because if you look back over the last four or five years on most submissions we’ve been seeing a decrease in the wage roll and turnover. So this is the first year where we’ve started to see small increases in wage roll.” Another hopeful sign that circumstances for SMEs are improving is the increase in the amount of companies winning contracts, particularly internationally. In the manufacture and services, and export led companies, Zurich has experienced more activity in 2012 than the previous five years. Brennan says that the businesses they insure are cautiously optimistic. “Businesses have made those painful adjustments to their cost base, to their expense base and they’re now able to compete at a better level both domestically and internationally because they’ve got a stronger cost base than they’ve had previously.” However, in order to build on this progression, he believes that supportive relationships are essential. “We try and do that from an insurance point of view and they certainly need that from the banking sector in terms of access to credit and being able to cashload their business. They are also looking for leadership from the

Government around creating some sort of stimulus for the small and medium size businesses in Ireland.”

THE FUTURE For the second year in a row, Zurich Insurance Ireland won both the Professional Insurance Brokers Association (PIBA) Service Excellence Award and the Irish Brokers Association

(IBA) Service Awards. “I think it’s great to win awards but when you win them a second time in a row it just shows there is consistency in the business, so we’re consistently meeting a service level which we’re getting recognised for in the industry which is fantastic,” says Brennan. 2013 is Zurich’s year for the farmer as they enter a brand new market. The recent launch of their agricultural product means that they are now in the business of farm protection. “We spent well over 12 months researching our proposition and product and we feel we’ve got the best farm protection insurance product on the market now. We already insure a lot of farmers, their houses and cars, so it just seems like a very natural market for us to go into and we’re quite excited about that.”

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IB Survey | Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce

Islam’s Profit Prophecy The Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce is working to promote trade between Ireland and the Muslim world – and the benefits of Islamic finance could be harnessed to provide growth rates of 8 per cent and deliver ambitious projects such as an Irish Sea tunnel, as chairman Muhammad Hafez tells InBusiness.

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he Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce (IICC) was established in Ireland in April 2011: it is a non-profit organisation registered in Ireland with the backing of Chambers Ireland. Its strategies, services and activities are designed and delivered to meet the following objectives: 1) Promote bilateral trade (mainly export) and cross-investments between Ireland and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC). 2) Introduce and develop Islamic business standards in Ireland, such as Islamic financial services, Islamic commercial arbitration services, halal food certification and other similar activities.

3) Enhance the contribution of the Irish Muslim community to the Irish economy. In April 2012, the IICC officially joined the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture as an affiliate member – the umbrella body of national Chambers of Commerce in the OIC countries.

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IB Survey | Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce

"Last year, total exports from Ireland to OIC countries exceeded €3.1 billion; Malaysia was Ireland’s top trading partner, followed by Turkey and the GCC countries of the Gulf." The OIC is the second largest intergovernmental organisation in the world after the UN, and represents 57 Muslim countries. There has also been an important memorandum of understanding signed between the IICC and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture covering halal food certification; per this agreement, food exported from Ireland to OIC needs to be certified halal from the IICC to have smooth access to OIC countries. The Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce issues and certifies halal to the following sectors: 1) Meat producers and abattoirs 2) Consumer food 3) The catering sector 4) Restaurants and takeaways 5) Retail outlets 6) Pharmaceutical sector (coming soon) The IICC works very closely with commercially-orientated entities in Ireland, whether state, semi-or private companies, to assist them in expanding their business to OIC countries. Therefore, the IICC has recently launched a series of electronic directories of top companies in the Muslim world, and works to provide all the necessary information and details to help Irish businesses to conduct business in the OIC countries. Last year, total exports from Ireland to OIC countries exceeded €3.1 billion; Malaysia was Ireland’s top trading partner, followed by Turkey and the GCC countries of the Gulf.

Islamic Finance in Ireland Supporting his initiative to make Ireland the hub of Islamic financial services in Europe, the IICC submitted its strategic study to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and to the Department of Finance demonstrating best practice

and policy to achieve this goal. Among all the European countries, Ireland has the highest potential to play this role, with low CT rates and as the only primarily English speaking country in the eurozone. Additionally, if appropriate and accurate strategies are implemented, Ireland can attract nearly €500bn in investment in this promising industry within the next ten years. Also, in tandem with the four-year economic recovery plan (2011-2014) adopted by the Irish government, the IICC has launched its strategy for economic recovery (2012-2015) which, if implemented, foresees Ireland taking control of its economy again: GDP growth will reach eight per cent at the end of the four year period, provided the external trade surplus remains at 2012 levels. The basic concept of the IICC strategy for economic recovery is to reform fiscal policy and introduce the Islamic taxation model, replacing the conventional taxation system which is full of flaws and deficiencies. Unlike conventional taxation, Islamic taxation generates sufficient revenue to government and does not impede the motion of the economic cycle. The Islamic taxation system is fair and encourages people to take jobs.

Government to take the necessary steps to duly regulate the industry and prevent mistakes or poor practices that affect the reputation and the credibility of the financial sector in gaining the benefits of Islamic finance. In time, therefore, financial firms must be obliged to obtain proper licenses allowing them to offer Islamic financial services, whether inside Ireland or to overseas clients.

Institute of Islamic Finance of Ireland (IIFI) Realising the importance of skilled and qualified employees in the IF sector led the IICC to form the Institute of Islamic Finance of Ireland, which will be the research and educational wing of the Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce. It will hopefully run long and short courses in Islamic finance starting from September 2013, the next academic year. The IIFI will also publish new studies and research related to Islamic finance and economics, whether in Ireland or overseas.

Irish Sea Tunnel The long-held dream of connecting Ireland to Britain and Europe via a sea tunnel represents one of the most ambitious infrastructural strategic projects for the 21st century, with an

IICC Strategy for Economic Recovery (2012-2015) The IICC believes that the financial sector in Ireland has the capability to gain advantages and benefits from Islamic finance – but it is also concerned about the extent to which the Government is willing to cooperate with the IICC to monitor this promising new industry in Ireland in order to prevent misleading of customers, poor standards and bad practices by these financial firms. Hence, the IICC urges the

Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, President of Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, with Muhammad Hafez. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 51

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IB Survey | Irish Islamic Chamber of Commerce

estimated cost of ₏20bn as per the constructive study conducted by the Institute of Engineers back in 2004. The IICC has proposed Islamic bonds (known as sukuk) to fund such a project and is prepared to work with stakeholders to revive it. Islamic bonds are a cost- and risk-free source of finance. Initial funding plans require cooperation between the IICC, Department of Finance and the Irish Stock Exchange. The feasibility of this project turns on making Ireland the hub of shipping lines between America and Europe. Generally speaking, sukuk is an appropriate way to fund infrastructural and major projects, and can be used by State and private companies. Sukuk’s advantage over conventional bonds is that it is backed by the asset: bondholders receive a percentage of the profit generated by the asset funded by sukuk. The IICC also sees a great opportunity to introduce Islamic

"The IICC offers all possible support to help Muslim entrepreneurs do business in Ireland or to build successful business relations between Ireland and the OIC countries in support of the Irish economy. " finance to the local market, due to its extra competitive advantages over conventional financial services. IF is a profitable, fair and risk-free financial system, as interest and uncertainty do not exist. For example, Islamic insurance (takaful) is the only co-operative insurance model growing rapidly worldwide, due to its feasibility and fairness to all parties involved. The IICC will be delighted to work with sponsors and patron members to host major conferences in Ireland related to IF.

The IICC and the Muslim Community The Muslim community in Ireland has grown significantly in the past decade, and the IICC offers all possible support to help Muslim entrepreneurs do business in Ireland or to build successful business relations between Ireland and the OIC countries in support of the Irish economy. The IICC also reviews Irish economic policies and comments on them from the perspective of Islamic economic and finance. For more information, see www.islamic-chamber.org

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Ulster Bank | IB SURVEY

Encouraging SMEs and Female Entrepreneurs New developments in the bank’s long-running awards for SMEs, as well as new initiatives to promote female entrepreneurship areon the cards, as Ken Murnaghan, Head of Business Banking at Ulster Bank tells InBusiness

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he Ulster Bank Business Achievers Awards is now its 19th year, and according to Ken Murnaghan, Head of Business Banking at Ulster Bank, it’s natural enough that things should evolve. “It is an award for all Irish SMEs, north and south, and it’s all about promoting the best in Irish enterprise. This year, we’ve spent a little more time thinking about what entrants really want to get out of a competition like this. To my mind, what businesses typically are looking for is a way to promote themselves; to have their own success celebrated more widely.” It’s early days in the cycle, but the number of entrants this year is well ahead of this time last year. The big trend that Murnaghan has noticed is that companies are entering through channels other than Ulster Bank. This year, he and his team hooked up with Small Business Can, and social media is now the source of many entries. “Perhaps people are a little more networked and not relying entirely on their bank as the primary way of opening up new relationships,” he says. “Entrance is open until the end of February, so we have a reasonably long window because we want to get the largest possible number of entrants into the system – and in many ways this competition is almost as much about the journey as the destination. We want to showcase people for as long as possible.” The regional award finals are in April, followed by a national award final in May. Throughout the competition there are eight categories in each of Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster. “The winners from each of those regions will effectively be the national finalists. It’s

L-R: Thomas Hunter McGowan, CEO, Intertrade Ireland; Barbara-Ann Hitchens, TG Eakin and Ken Murnaghan, Head of Business Banking, Ulster Bank.

a pretty big competition and this year we’re hoping to far exceed the number of entrants we’ve had in previous years.”

Business Women Can Another item high on Murnaghan’s agenda is Business Women Can. “It’s an initiative very much about generating local connectivity for female entrepreneurs,” he explains. “It’s something our parent company, RBS, has been running for a number of years and we’ve looked at it enviously from here – in fact it’s one of a number of things that we’re looking to bring in from the parent company.” It aims to provide female entrepreneurs with access to people who understand their particular needs. “It’s less about a product or proposition, it’s more about a network that will help customers and help ourselves better understand what the precise needs are of female entrepreneurs.” It launched about a month ago with 28 ambassadors across the country: 50 per

cent Ulster Bank staff and 50 per cent female entrepreneurs. “At this stage, as we build out, we’re trying to achieve a networking infrastructure and identify what the specific needs of the female entrepreneur sector are as a whole. It’s early days, but it’s going well. “RBS discovered that as a segment, female entrepreneurs tend to be a bit more risk-averse, they tend to have a little bit less support in terms of their own particular needs, and from an RBS perspective, it was very good business for us.” Murnaghan says that there is a growing number of female entrepreneurs in Ireland: statistics are a little hard to come by but he recognises a different dynamic among them; a different risk profile and a slightly different set of demands. “It’s early days, so rather than wait, what we wanted to do is get started and learn what some of these issues are as we go along. From my point of view, having started only a month ago, I think we’re on the right track. We’ve had very good feedback.”

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IB Survey | Clarke Energy

The Energy Experts Providing for a company’s energy needs can be a complicated business at the best of times, but Clarke Energy is on hand to guide clients through a range of power generation, heating and cooling options, as they tell InBusiness. as embedded power plants (i.e. power plants located at the site of use).

Trigeneration, Combined Heat, Power and Cooling (CHPC)

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ith energy costs representing such a sizable chunk of companies’ outgoings, a reliable, efficient and cost-effective source of power and heat is a key concern for businesses today. Step forward Clarke Energy, the authorised distributor and service provider for GE gas engines in Ireland. The whole island, north and south, is covered from Clarke Energy’s dedicated operation in Newtownmountkennedy, County Wicklow. We are committed to delivering high quality installations and to providing reliable, accountable, long term maintenance support for your generation equipment. Our installations meet the highest levels of environmental performance by deploying renewable energy systems, and through high-efficiency generation from natural gas. GE’s gas engines are leaders in the harnessing of renewable fuels such as landfill gas, biogas, syngas, coal bed and coal seam methane, together with a variety of other specialist industrial gases.

Dedicated Service We have a dedicated team of engineers who provide 24/7 maintenance services in Ireland. This is supported by the largest supply of genuine GE Jenbacher spare parts outside of

GE Gas Engines' Jenbacher gas engine.

Austria. Our service engineers are dedicated to providing you with a reliable, accountable local service. We also operate a 24-hour hotline to provide you with the fastest response time to any unplanned maintenance requirements.

Cogeneration, Combined Heat and Power Cogeneration (cogen) through combined heat and power (CHP) is the production of electricity along with the recovery and utilisation of heat. It is a highly efficient form of energy conversion, and can achieve primary energy savings of approximately 40 per cent compared to the separate purchase of electricity from the national electricity grid with a gas boiler for onsite heating. Combined heat and power plants are typically embedded close to the end user and this therefore helps to reduce transportation and distribution losses, improving customer primary energy efficiency when compared to the delivery of electricity from central generation plants via the electricity network. For power users where security of supply is an important factor for their selection of power production equipment and for whom gas is abundant, gas-based cogeneration systems are ideally suited

Trigeneration – or combined heat, power and cooling (CHPC) – is the process by which some of the heat produced by a cogeneration plant is used to generate chilled water for customer consumption. An absorption chiller is linked to the combined heat and power (CHP) to provide this functionality. There are a number of benefits to trigeneration, including:  On-site, high-efficiency production of electricity and heat  Reduced fuel and energy costs  Lower electrical usage during peak summer demand  Engine heat can be used to produce steam or hot water for onsite use  Significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions Meanwhile, quadgeneration can take this process one step further with the addition of systems to refine carbon dioxide from the engine’s exhaust.

Grid Connection and Synchronisation Clarke Energy are experts on the requirements for grid connection in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We are ready to support you in the completion of your grid connection forms, and can provide grid synchronisation support for G10 (ROI) and G59 (NI) tests. For more information on how Clarke Energy’s solutions can help your business, visit www.clarke-energy.ie

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CEL_i


Gas to energy solutions, CHP specialists

Clarke Energy provides an integrated, one-stop-shop approach for gas engine generators. We offer a total life-cycle solution including engineering, installation and long term maintenance support for your generator. GE Jenbacher gas engines can be applied to a variety of gases including biogas, sewage, landfill gas, syngas, natural gas and combined heat & power solutions. Our extensive experience includes an installed and commissioned base of over 2,500MW of GE Jenbacher gas engines across the world. We have unparalleled knowledge and experience to help you, so please contact us to discuss your requirements.

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Shell E&P Ireland | IB SURVEY

Corrib Project a “Godsend” The economic downturn, especially in the construction sector, has not affected Erris and the north Mayo area in general as much as other parts of the country – principally because of the employment and economic investment created in the area by the Corrib gas development.

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espite the national economic downturn, the Corrib gas project has consistently employed between 400 and 1,150 people since 2008. Employment levels on the project are currently just above 900, as tunnelling under the Sruwaddacon Bay estuary is due to commence before the end of the year. Because of the emphasis on local content, 50 per cent of those employed on the project come from the local area: the parish of Kilcommon (where the majority of the project’s activities and work sites are based), the wider Erris region and Mayo combined. Employees external to Mayo require accommodation and services during their time on the project, meaning that the local economy also gets a boost from their presence in the area. Goodbody Economic Consultants, in a recent report, estimated that the Corrib gas project would benefit the Irish economy to the tune of more than a6 billion over the expected 20-year life of the field. According to the report, completion of this final phase of the project – the onshore pipeline, the laying of the offshore umbilical and some final work at the terminal – will contribute the equivalent of approximately 700 full-time jobs, approximately 400 of which are in Mayo and Donegal, as well as adding up to a730 million to Ireland’s GDP. In Erris, as well as the accommodation and service industries, local quarries, drivers, transport companies, small-scale contractors and security operators are engaged in supporting the on-going development. Brendan Hegarty, a member of the Erris Chamber of Commerce and an electrical contractor who has worked on the project over the past number of years, views the Corrib project as a “godsend” in the present economic climate. “While there have been impacts in

Shell E&P Ireland Limited MD Michael Crothers (left) is taken through a drawing of the tunnelling site by, from left: Pat McAndrew, BAM Deputy Project Manager; Keith Amond, BAM Quality Manager; Sven Hoffman, BAM Electrical Foreman; Paul Hughes, SEPIL Tunnelling Construction Lead; and Pat Hannon, BAM Commercial Manager.

the construction sector here and in economic terms generally, there is no doubt the Corrib project has staved off the worst effects of the recession,” he says. “This area would always have suffered from a lack of investment in terms of infrastructure and large-scale development. Corrib has shown how beneficial a big project can be in an area.”

 An Erris Development Fund of a5m, which supported a variety of entrepreneurial, sporting, cultural and social initiatives put forward by community groups.

Investment in the community

 Investment of a17m (through the local authority) to strengthen and improve the road network in the vicinity of the project.

Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) has recognised that the presence of a major development in a rural setting does impact on the local community and has established a number of initiatives to help offset those impacts. Included in these initiatives has been:  A successful scholarship scheme, which has invested a1m in supports for local students to attend third level education (to date, 61 students have received grants of a4,000 per year for the three or four year duration of their degree course).

 A hugely successful local grants programme which has assisted more than 130 local groups.

SEPIL and the other Corrib partners – Statoil Exploration (Ireland) Limited and Vermilion Energy Ireland Limited – are also supporting a community gain investment fund (CGIF) over the final phase of the project (onshore pipeline). This a8.5m fund, which will run until 2015, is administered by Mayo County Council, which has recently allocated the first tranche of grants to successful applicants.

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IB Survey | UPC

Irish Businesses Set to Hire A new report by communications provider UPC has revealed that 55 per cent of Irish businesses will hire in the next 12 to 24 months, as they tell InBusiness.

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onsumers are very much aware that we offer products and services to the residential market, but we also offer a range of voice, broadband internet and data services to business customers. Our B2B services are designed with a wide variety of options to meet the specific needs of the business customer. Our business customers range from SoHo (small office home office) to medium and large enterprises.

The Digital Business In a recent report undertaken by Amárach on UPC Ireland’s behalf, it revealed how businesses are using the internet and the contribution this makes to our national competitiveness. It appears that eight in ten businesses are optimistic about their growth prospects over the next two years. Two thirds expect to expand in Ireland in the coming years, and nearly half plan on expanding abroad. Furthermore, a majority of businesses intend hiring new staff in the next two years, with a strong emphasis on IT and digital skills. According to Gavan Smyth, Business Services Director of UPC, “it is great to get a fantastic insight into how businesses are thinking. To think that 80 per cent of businesses are optimistic about their growth prospects in the coming two years is indicative of the sentiment amongst the business community. “As we look ahead, our focus on investment remains strong and we hope to contribute even more in the future. We believe that UPC’s story provides a good example of the important contribution that a successful leading long-term multinational in Ireland is making to our economy.”

Key findings from the report  55 per cent of Irish businesses say they intend hiring in the next 12 to 24 months.  Over 75 per cent of companies supply smartphones and laptops to about a third or more of their staff.  A third of adults already use the internet at home for work purposes.  Six in ten workers are expected to work from home some or all of the time by 2016.  Half of all adults would be interested in running their own business from home at some stage, facilitated by digital technologies.  Nearly half of all businesses have observed an increase in online feedback from customers in recent years.  One in four businesses think they

could have an extra five per cent growth on top of their current prospects with the right online strategy. “Being part of a global company allows us to deliver world class products and services to Irish businesses at marketleading prices which can only be good for competition. I call this the power of the firm,” he says. Through our parent company, UPC has invested in excess of €500 million to upgrade its cable infrastructure to a world-class fibre network that is delivering new and innovative services and products to businesses around Ireland. Measure your own UPC Digital Business Index by answering a few simple questions on our special website. To access the UPC report on Ireland’s digital future, check out www.upc.ie/digitalindex

Gavan Smyth, Business Services Director, UPC. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 59

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Bank of Ireland | IB SURVEY

National Enterprise Week a Success Access to credit was the key focus at Bank of Ireland’s seventh National Enterprise Week

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ank of Ireland is celebrating the success of its seventh National Enterprise Week in support of new and existing SME customers. The biannual event, which has become a feature in local business diaries across Ireland, ran from Friday November 16th until Friday November 23rd. The key focus this time around was on getting access to credit. Bank of Ireland is hoping that the broad range of events and seminars during Enterprise Week will encourage customers from all sectors to come and discuss their borrowing needs. The ‘show your business‘ aspect of the enterprise event remains a highlight for local small and medium enterprises, as they get the opportunity to set up shop in local branches across the bank’s network. The business flurry created during these events gives a boost to the entire community.

SME Credit Clinics A new feature of the event was the introduction of free credit clinics across the branch network. The clinics aim to explain the small business lending application requirements and to improve micro and small business access to credit. It is also aimed at giving startups valuable advice on how to write a solid business plan, manage working capital, and understand cashflow and financial projections. SMEs can contact their local branch for more details of a credit clinic near them or check out www.allaboutbusiness.ie.

Junior Dragons’ Den This marks Ireland’s first ever Junior Dragons’ Den, a concept aimed at young entrepreneurs and an extension of Bank of Ireland’s existing sponsorship of RTE’s Dragons’ Den. Almost 200 second level students competed in the regional

finals at a number of Bank of Ireland flagship events during Enterprise Week. The regional winners went on to the national final on December 8th where 20 finalists were selected to pitch in front of the Dragons and received a cash investment of a2,000 for their business.

Shop Local mobile app The bank also invites SMEs to register their interest for a new Gerry Prizeman, Head of Small Business and Agriculture, Bank of Ireland location-based ‘Shop Business Banking and Anne Marie Mooney, award winning chef at The Oar House in Howth Harbour, Co. Dublin, launching the bank’s bi-annual National Local’ mobile app, Enterprise Week. which is designed to date. These customers have advised us to give SMEs a chance to increase their that they are using this additional finance footfall by promoting exclusive offers to increase output, create efficiencies, and discounts to customers. The app will sustain employment, find new markets, launch in early 2013. Entrepreneurs can and invest in their businesses, farms, log on to bankofireland.com/enterprise for more information on how get this free premises and people. promotion for their business. “The free events during National According to Gerry Prizeman, Head Enterprise Week cater for all sizes of of Small Business and Agriculture at businesses and all sectors. We invite new Bank of Ireland Business Banking, “we and existing customers to stop by their expect to reach our €3.5 billion approval branch to get information on how to target by year end by providing new and be part of it. Activities throughout our increased lending to the SME sector. We branch network, our credit clinics and the are fully aware of how vital cashflow and Shop Local mobile app are examples of credit is to small businesses and want how we support the SME sector through to lend. We have received 42,000 formal actions rather than words. We earn the lending applications from SME and agri trust of thousands of SMEs every day customers up to the end of September, of and are working with them to help their which over 35,000 have been approved businesses move forward,” Prizeman says.

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IFG Corporate Pensions | IB SURVEY

A Rewarding Lifestyle IFG’s active lifestyling pension product has landed an Irish Pensions Award, as Samantha McConnell, Chief Investment Officer tells InBusiness.

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FG’s active lifestyling product will be no stranger to readers of InBusiness, but a new milestone was recently passed when it won the consultant innovation award at the Irish Pension Awards dinner. “The reason we developed active lifestyling was because of client demand,” explains Samantha McConnell, Chief Investment Officer. “A lot of the clients are with traditional active Irish managers and there’s really been no consistent outperformance because most of them follow the herd. In reality, most clients have had very little access to large international fund managers, predominately because of the size of their schemes: they don’t have the fund size that would get a lot of these managers excited; many of them would have minimum deal sizes of a2 million plus.” But there are ways around that, and what IFG bring to the market is a combination of best-in-class managers and a world class asset allocation model. IFG uses a firm called Barrie and Hibbert, based in the UK, who are leaders in the provision of asset models. “Basically, that means they tell us where are the best places, on a strategic level, to put our clients’ money. They do that from cradle to grave, so whether you’re 40 years or two years from retirement, they’ll tell us where to put your money,” she says. Underlying that asset allocation are best-in-class investment managers from around the world; managers who would be out of reach for most schemes.

The IFG Team Effectively, the product as it stands has about 13 investment managers, spread

around the regional equity markets of the world, and a number of bond managers as well. “I have been a big supporter of going passive: it’s good value, and you know what you’re going to get. In a market where, traditionally, Irish managers are not producing good outperformance, why bother paying for active management fees? “By combining world class managers and accepting higher costs, active lifestyling allows you to achieve significant outperformance over the average managed fund. You need significant outperformance, or why would you bother?” McConnell and her team started developing this product around June 2011, and spent time researching who was the best manager research provider: they went with Jefferies. Jefferies also gave access to the trading platform to allow clients to get over the minimum deal issue. What next? “We’ve got quite a lot in the pipeline,” says McConnell. “Ultimately we want to have a consistent product offering regardless of whether you’re a corporate pension scheme, a private pension scheme or an individual. We’re now working with a domestic insurance company

Samantha McConnell, CIO, IFG Corporate Pensions.

to make those offerings available to individuals, whether contributing to a pension scheme or to a savings account. It sounds like more innovation is on its way.

“By combining world class managers and accepting higher costs, active lifestyling allows you to achieve significant outperformance over the average managed fund. You need significant outperformance, or why would you bother?” Q4 2012 | InBusiness 61

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GloHealth | IB SURVEY

GloHealth –

tailored health insurance a perfect fit for your employees Companies looking for simple and easy to understand health insurance solutions that deliver great benefits for employees while reducing the overheads associated with managing health insurance schemes should look no further than GloHealth.

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t a time when most businesses are facing increased financial pressure there is really good news - since the entry of GloHealth into the health insurance market in 2012, businesses now can get access to quality health insurance cover at a great price. This is good news for businesses. While every company is focused on reducing its cost base, there is a compelling case for both larger corporates and SMEs to maintain a health insurance benefit for employees. The reasons for this are simple – in a tough economic environment, it is more important than ever for companies to attract and retain the best possible talent and employee benefits are one of the most effective ways to do this. Research conducted by the HIA in 2012 showed that health insurance is the second most valued employee benefit after a pension and that the percentage of people who believe that private health insurance is the most important employment benefit has risen from 18 per cent in 2010 to 29 per cent in 2012. For young people (18 to 34-yearsold), health insurance was listed as the most valued employee benefit, ahead of pension, company car or flexible working arrangements.

insurance cover to suit their own needs and no longer need to accept ‘one size fits all’ cover. Over recent years health insurance cover has become very difficult to understand with a proliferation of plans and regularly changing benefits and exclusions. However, GloHealth has fixed that and choosing health insurance is now easier than ever, with just five easy to understand plans simply named Good, Better, Best, Ultra and Ultimate to select from. GloHealth customers choose from one of the five core plans and then tailor their cover by selecting additional Personalised Packages of benefits which

best suit their needs. The selected Personalised Packages are included in the health insurance cover at no extra cost. These Personalised Packages include unique benefits such as free annual multi-trip, worldwide travel insurance; a fully covered paediatric first aid course with the Irish Red Cross; or a €30 contribution towards sports club fees for your children and many more.

Real Value GloHealth offers real value, real savings and really great cover for businesses. For example, with GloHealth’s Better, Best, Ultra and Ultimate Plans, all children are covered for FREE until they are three

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GloHealth | IB SURVEY

– part of GloHealth’s commitment to providing better value and delivering real and sustainable savings for families. With cover for every public hospital in the country and excellent cover for private hospitals and scan centres, GloHealth members can access the hospitals and scan centres most convenient to them to ensure fast access when they need it most. With GloHealth’s five core plans, customers simply choose which hospital plan best suits their needs. An additional benefit for GloHealth members is unlimited telephone access to a 24/7 Nurse Line, where a team of qualified nurses are available to provide confidential advice and non-emergency medical information. At any hour of the day GloHealth members can discuss

their health concerns and worries and receive comprehensive information on a range of health-related topics.

Paying Claims Your Way When it comes to paying members’ claims, GloHealth understands the need to provide an efficient service to its business customers. The only health insurer to support a ‘‘Scan and Send’’ service for customer claims submission, it allows employees to claim by simply taking a photo of their receipt and emailing it to the company. Claiming this way makes it even easier for customers, with claims paid within just three days. And customers who have already completed their waiting periods with another health insurer will not have to serve any new waiting periods for

"GloHealth members is unlimited telephone access to a 24/7 Nurse Line, where a team of qualified nurses are available to provide confidential advice and non-emergency medical information"

benefits they already had. Whatever type of scheme your business may have in place, from salary deduction to fully company paid or any variation in between, GloHealth will save you money while at the same time enabling customers tailor their cover and access better and more relevant benefits. More and more people are questioning the value they get from their health insurance, as a result of price increases and confusion about what customers are covered for in their plans. People are actively shopping around to get better value for themselves and their company schemes. With the arrival of GloHealth, customers can get access to the latest thinking in health insurance and switching has never been easier. Switching for great benefits and better value health insurance is really easy. Contact our corporate business team by calling 1890 720 720 or by emailing corporate@GloHealth.ie.

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what’s on your

You’re not alone when it ComeS to CopinG www.turn2me.org

Forums, Group Support, 1to1 Counselling, iphone enabled

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5:05:50

ESET Ireland | IB SURVEY

Can your Company Name be Abused by Cybercriminals? Companies of all sizes may be vulnerable to a variety of scams, and the good name of their company may be at risk according to ESET Ireland.

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hat do AIB, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, EBS, PayPal, DoneDeal.ie, Western Union, Apple, Sony and many others have in common? Apart from being recognisable brands, their names are constantly being abused by cybercriminals to scam people. There are many cases of faked online shops, faked online banking sites, phone texts saying some big brand is offering a reward, etc. Hardly a day goes by without us receiving some form of spam email which pretends to come from some known bank or service, warning us that our “account has been suspended” or we “must update our login info”, or other more or less believable calls to action which try to fool users to click some compromised link and type in everything from their names, bank account numbers, online passwords and pins to their shoe size – and send it to the bad guys. But the end user being fooled is one side of the story. What if you’re the company whose name is being abused? How damaging can this be to the company’s reputation – and can it have financial consequences? Well, much of this depends on the reaction of the company itself. If an abuse of a name of a particular service is not kept in check and the end users are not properly warned and informed not to fall for the scams, they may lose trust in the actual company, consider it untrustworthy and take their business elsewhere. While it is not likely that an end user scammed by cybercriminals would take legal action for damages against a company that has had its name used in the scam, it is not impossible that they would hold it against the company if they didn’t warn them of the scam clearly enough. ESET Ireland recently came across a

scam email that offered quick loans in the name of a known business loans institution. Upon checking their website for any warning, we didn’t find any. One could be led to believe that the email was legitimate if their website doesn’t warn against it, and could therefore potentially have grounds for claims that the company, through their negligence to warn people, contributed to the success of the scam. Abusing brands is not limited to banking and financial institutions. Scammers are after people’s personal information in any way they can get it. They’re likely to target any known brands, retail companies, popular websites and so on. And in the case they get their hands on any customer lists that find their way to the black cybermarket after data-loss incidents, they’re going to target those with specific scams as well.

good practice Companies should monitor whether their name is appearing in any scams through services and websites that track

cybercriminal activity. If they do come across their names being abused, they should issue clear warnings to their customers and the general public through their websites and media releases. Irish banks, PayPal, DoneDeal and many other services, for instance, already have comprehensive warnings posted, with clear instructions on how to act when receiving a scam, who to call and where to report it. These warnings should always appear in a visible place on companies’ websites so that people can’t miss them. In case of data loss or theft where the personal info of customers may fall into unwanted hands, the customers should be regarded as potential victims of cybercrime and immediately notified and warned to be vigilant. Early disclosure is the best policy as it can avert further damage whenever company data is compromised. Keep your reputation and customers’ trust intact by preventing cybercriminals taking advantage of the power of your brand. www.eset.ie Q4 2012 | InBusiness 65

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Lifestyle | motoring

Civic-Minded Serenity InBusiness Motoring Editor Tony Toner found the new model Honda Civic had plenty in common with its ancestors.

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rom any angle you know it’s a Civic, but it’s an all new Civic that sits gripping the tarmac. Honda’s eight generation, five-door, family hatchback manages to look the same while being completely different. Though wider and a tad longer, it inherits the profile of the previous model with a coupe look that is eye-pleasing back and front, albeit the rear poses an issue with the driver’s rear vision. Having sampled the Civic in its 1.4 petrol mode, I was keen to see how their proven 2.2 i-DTEC would harmonise with a very well sorted car in basic mode. Internally, the driver sits facing a splendid two-tier dash and a centre console that could be straight from NASA. Everything falls easily to hand and eye, the leather steering wheel providing a very tactile introduction to the Civic, even before the off. As mentioned, it will take a little time to get used to the view out the split rear screen – outer design winning before inner function. Getting in and out of the coupe-like

Civic is easy, although tall folk like me will have to stoop a tad in the rear. The rear seats split and can be folded to allow for some serious cargo to be loaded in association with the substantial boot space available. Having already sampled the 2.2 diesel in their new CR-V and their Accord, its 150bhp attachment to the smaller, more nimble Civic was going to be interesting. Honda have announced that their all new 1.6, 120bhp, (99g/km CO2) diesel will be here next year, where it will undoubtedly find a home in the Civic, which will open it to a new audience, particularly fleet. The 2.2 engine is a fabulous unit, being smooth, responsive, economical and currently in tax band A, it starts at €25,820. An Econ mode button, auto stop/start and gearshift indicator will keep drivers with good self-discipline hitting the 6L/100km marker on the Civics’ on-board computer. This system ‘educates’ drivers subtly by indicators right and left of the high-rise digital

speedo, which stay green as long as you are being good, reverting to blue when a change of your driving is required. This also alters the engine mapping and adjusts the air-con to achieve optimum economy. Driven through a six speed gearbox, my test car made easy work of city driving, ably assisted by the Civic’s compact car size. When needed the addition of extra pressure on the throttle put distance between slower traffic at a blink. A colour reversing-camera took the iffy-ness out of those tight spots. Out on the secondary roads, the car is very capable. Steering is nicely weighted, with only the baddest of bad surfaces transferring upset to the car. Covering ground cross-country is simply great fun, bringing a driver interaction to my journeys that many car manufacturers fail to include. Motorway miles are disposed of with a haughty distain, the Civic all but asking, ‘Is this it?’ Quiet and potent, the 2.2 diesel is an ideal trans-continental companion. Conversation or chosen music is audible at the legal limit of 120kph, the rev-counter needle sitting on a lowly 2k. As the arrival of their 1.6 diesel is over next years horizon, anyone looking for a high-mileage, civilised hatchback in the meantime, should take the current car for a test drive – like the way it drives – it takes no effort at all.

Prices range for 2.2 i-DTEC: 2.2 i-DTEC SE - €24,445 2.2i-DTEC ES - €25,820 2.2i-DTEC EX - €28,825

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Lifestyle | motoring

New A-Class is ready to rumble The latest edition of Mercedes popular A-Class series comes to Ireland.

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was impressed with the completely revised and rejuvenated new frontwheel-drive Mercedes A-Class at the Geneva show last March, and now it has now landed on our emerald shore. Originally launched in 1996, this new model firmly aimed at the premium hatchback C-segment, is built on the B-Class, sits lower by some 160mm’s and has a visual street presence that is hard to ignore. Whereas the ‘96 model placed the driver in a chair-like sitting position, this latest model places you in a more conventional feet forward, straight back deportment, the multiple adjustments available from seat and steering optimising your choice. Carrying the front-end profile of its sibling SLK and new CLS Shooting Brake, the A-Class is easily identifiable and will be up to date for years. Being a hatch, the rear end is suitably chunky, its 341 litres of boot space capable of two decent size suitcases.

Two models are available – an A180 petrol version at €26,435 (excluding works) and an A180 CDI diesel version at €28,550. Both will come in a choice of three specifications and equipment lines – Style Pack, Urban Pack and Sports Pack. The entry model Style Pack option includes items which, were they purchased separately, would have a value equivalent to €1,600. All engines have an idle-stop system as standard, linked to a six-speed manual or 7G dual-clutch automatic transmission. iPhone and iPad compatibility will add to the lure for the younger customer. Those with iPhone 5s and iPads can use the Siri voice-activation to play music and apps through the A-Class’s infotainment system. Driver room and view provide little to complain about. The small windscreen and thick A and B pillars require an extra go before committing to change direction in a hurry. That aside I found the cabin

to be well thought out, airy, (five facia air vents!), and roomy, rear seat passengers of the same elevation as myself (6-foot plus), finding it a tad tight – normal individuals having no issue whatsoever. This new A-Class drives so much better than the model it replaces. My test route took me across urban, rural, secondary and motorway roads, all with no complaint from the car, and importantly, me! Carrying the wiring loom from its bigger brothers allows the new A-Class owner to splurge on the accessory list, the standard features of Collision Prevention Assist, Attention Assist, Adaptive Brake Assist and Brake Hold, all silently looking after your transit. Mercedes-Benz has elevated the A-Class’s appeal across every aspect of design and function. Up against the Audi A3, the BMW 1-Series and the Volvo V40, the A-Class was never more ready for the fight. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 67

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Lifestyle | motoring

Cool Custom from Ford Ford’s new Transit Custom is a real smooth operator.

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ord’s all new Transit Custom has a street style that will dispel most peoples’ notion of commercial vans. It is the first vehicle in its class developed with the latest Euro NCAP Protocol for pedestrian protection in mind, with curtain airbags that are also available for the front seat occupants. Seriously stylish, this new Transit Custom is one of the most user-friendly cargo carriers available. It will also come in people-mover format via the Tourneo Custom, aimed at private buyers and commercial users. Those who normally never drive a commercial vehicle will love its drivability, with all the modern Ford facia, console layout and Ford’s latest safety technologies, including Ford SYNC voice-activated, in-car connectivity system with the emergency assistance feature, lane keeping alert, driver alert, auto high beam, and a rearview camera system. It is all easy on the eye and provides users with multiple stowage areas for the usual bottles, phones and papers. Powered by their latest 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine with a choice of 100, 125 and 155bhp units,

it drives silently smooth, the internal quietness is really good due to the solid bulkhead to the rear – not a rattle or hum to be heard. I love the way it drives. My LWB, 125bhp, (178g/km), test van performed well through the city, across the motorway and on a dark, dismal cross-country run, it was really impressive. Visibility is good through the mirrors and with options like a rear-view camera, all those times when pedestrians

choose to walk behind as you reverse will be less religious. An integrated roof rack system and a load-through hatch through the full steel bulkhead are very helpful for those long and awkward items. The Transit Custom Irish specification includes: rake and reach adjustable steering; auto start stop, trip computer, power durable locks, tinted glass, ABS and ESP.

Prices:

Base Series Standard Features:

Custom LWB start from €25,850 Entry price for Transit Custom from €22,450 (Excluding delivery and related charges)

 Rake & Reach Adjustable Steering  Auto Start / Stop  Trip Computer  Power Double Locks  Tinted Glass  Sealed Load Floor  ABS & ESP with Hill Launch Assist  Full Steel Bulkhead with Load Through Hatch  Single Side Load Door  Rear Twin Hinged Cargo Doors  Radio / CD

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Lifestyle | motoring

Daily Delight The new Volvo V40R feels right from the first time you climb into the driver’s seat.

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ow and then it happens. I get into a new car and it feels right from the off. The seat, the driving position, the layout, the look, the smell, the ambience – and you haven’t even started it yet. I have no idea if Volvo intended to deliberately include those ingredients in their new V40, but their inclusion makes it my surprise car this year. A replacement of the S40 and the V50,

this new V40 is against other premium hatchbacks like BMW’s 1-Series, Audi’s A3, Alfa-Romeo’s Giulietta and the new Mercedes A-Class, so it has to possess more than its family inheritance of being super-safe, albeit with a hint of boring. Suffice it to say that it wipes away all previous ills and is brilliant company, on any road, in any place. Starting from €30,195 for the

introductory manual T3 1.6 litre petrol and rising to €35,695 for the geartronic D3, 2.0 litre Diesel, the R-Design V40 looks great from any angle, its exterior looks and interior styling very easy on the eye. The R-Design has taken cues from its R-Design stable mates in the rest of the range, with a re-profiled front bumper, rear diffuser, five-spoke 17-inch Ixion wheels, silver matt door mirrors, R-Design embossed nubuck upholstery, sports floor mats, sports steering wheel and pedals. As standard, the V40 R gets a TFT crystal display screen with blue colouring, illuminated gear-knob, R-Design aluminum trim and vertical LED dayrunning lights. Those with the need can complement the standard specification by adding active bending xenon headlights with cleaning system, rain sensor, leather-faced R-Design embossed seats, cruise control, keyless start and rear theatre lighting. Being a hatch, it offers flexibility on those awkward loads, while it has normal accommodation for the weekly shopping and the daily transport needs of the average family. It is not overly big, but then it doesn’t pretend to be.

Kings of Europe Irish company Reynolds Logistics recently picked up the European Transport Company of the Year 2012 award.

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ounded over 80 years ago, Reynolds Logistics is a familyrun company now stewarded by CEO Andrew Reynolds. They employ 260 people and specialise in the moving of a variety of liquid products from hydrocarbon fuels, lubricants and their derivatives, chemicals and bitumen. Seen around the country hauling tankers in particular, Reynolds Logistics have also come under notice on a European scale with the award of European Transport Company of the Year 2012 at a ceremony held in Dublin. This prestigious European award recognises the achievements of the company against the very best that

Europe has to offer, covering all aspects of their business, management skills, customer dedication and all-round professionalism. A justifiably proud Andrew Reynolds said, “To win the European Transport Company of the Year 2012 is a great accolade and the award is a testament to all of our staff. Each and every one of them contributed to this award”. With two main bases in Dublin and Ellesmere Port, UK, Reynolds is shaping the company to continue its growth into new markets with safety, innovation and customer satisfaction as the key drivers. He also confirmed that they have just secured a €50 million plus contract

with Topaz Energy, ahead of some other blue chip international companies in the same field, commenting, “It’s the biggest logistics contract won by an Irish company in many years and proves that we can compete with some of the top names in the business and additional trucks, tankers and staff will be taken on as a result”.

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Lifestyle | FOOD

Sea of Abundance Lorraine Griffin investigates the commercial potential of Irish seaweed and talks to those who harvest, produce and cook with it.

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ccording to Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland has an estimated national harvest of 25,400 tonnes of seaweed annually with 185 employed full-time in the industry. Most of the three to six tonnes of edible seaweed produced here is consumed in Ireland. Produced in 2006, a BIM report entitled Sea Change Strategy A Marine Knowledge, Research & Innovation Strategy for Ireland’ for the period 20072013 set out a target to increase the value of the Irish seaweed sector from €18 million per annum to €30m per annum by 2020. Seaweed harvesting has long been a traditional activity in Ireland. Historically, seaweed was used as a fertilizer in potato growing, and it was burnt in kelp kilns for the extraction of soda and potash to make glass and soap. It also formed part of the staple diet, especially in coastal areas.

Natural Superfood Today, however, relatively little is known about how to prepare and cook seaweed. A renowned food writer and seaweed aficionado, Sally McKenna has been foraging and cooking with seaweed for a number of years and her book on the subject, called Extreme Greens (Estragon Press), is due out in early 2013. “Once I started I was like someone possessed. It is such a fabulous ingredient in an astonishingly beautiful environment.’’ McKenna goes on to explain the many nutritional benefits: “The health benefits of seaweed are legendary. It is twice as rich in Vitamin C than oranges, 50 times higher in iron than spinach and 10 times

richer in calcium than cow’s milk. [It] is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and contains natural antibiotics. In short, it’s a superfood.” Harvesting seaweed is a lengthy and labour-intensive process but huge potential exists. According to McKenna, “The future is in processing the seaweed, because it’s quite a skill to harvest it, and quite a difficult business. In Japan a lot of seaweed is processed into snacks – its often toasted, which brings out the flavour. No-one is doing this yet in Ireland. I think there is huge opportunity for growth there.” In order to attract new entrepreneurs to the seaweed sector, improvements

“[It] is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antifungal and contains natural antibiotics. In short, it’s a superfood.” Q4 2012 | InBusiness 71

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Lifestyle | FOOD

Sally McKenna (right) and a friend enjoy some fresh seaweed.

are required to standardise and simplify the harvesting process. Dr Susan Steele, Innovation Co-ordinator at BIM, outlines the opportunities facing the industry: “BIM is working with the seaweed industry to grow new businesses and to grow the value in existing businesses. Ireland has an incredible natural resource in seaweed that can be harnessed for the benefits of creating employment and value for the economy.” To this end, BIM has developed and equipped a multi-functional seafood innovation centre at Clonakilty, Co Cork. Dr Steele explains how this works: “BIM’s Seafood Development Centre helps entrepreneurs and established companies to develop innovation ideas. Entrepreneurs get in touch with the centre, firstly market possibilities are investigated and the resource that the company has. An example of this is Oceanaboost – a seaweed drink packed with antioxidants which is being developed by three 16-year-olds from Clonakilty. These three won at the Young Scientist and recently beat off top notch adult competition to win Entrepreneur

of the year at the Clontrepreneur event.” BIM regularly runs workshops and events to help businesses in this industry, including a recent seaweed innovation day that encouraged more business in this area.

A Sea-foraging Heritage Originally an army man from Kildare, life is very different now for Waterfordbased Tom Jones and his wife Ria. They started their seaweed company Sea of Vitality in April 2012. They first began by selling seaweed smoothies and seaweed brown bread at the farmers’ market just outside Dungarvan.

According to Jones, there was “a great response, especially to our brown bread – people were amazed at it. Our parents and grandparents would have seen it before but amongst the newer generation it created a lot of interest”. Currently working from home, and selling their products locally in The Country Store and Eurospar, Abbeyside, they are looking to open up a bakery to produce this at larger scale in 2013. Recent winner of the Eurotoque Food Awards, Manus McGonagle has been running seaweed harvesting company Quality Sea Veg in Donegal since 1986. He first began foraging with his father at an early age, and says it was, “the tradition in the area –people used to carry around dulse [seaweed] as a snack”. McGonagle supplies seaweed both directly and indirectly to healthfood shops, supermarkets and restaurants in both its dry and fresh forms. He regularly gives talks and exhibits at events such as the ‘Rude Health Show’ in the RDS, where he is “very encouraged by the amount of young people who know about seaweed”. 12 years ago he gave catering packs to a number of chefs to try to encourage usage but feels the time wasn’t right. “There was a lack of knowledge. Restaurants’ individual clientele might not have been ready.” According to McGonagle, over the years chefs became increasingly “more open to having a go at using it” and he now supplies award-winning Irish restaurants Chapter One, The Cliff Town House, King Sitric and Aniar.

Dishes with a difference Enda McEvoy, chef at Galway-based Michelin-star restaurant Aniar started

Common Irish seaweeds found and used in cooking  Dilisk and carrageen, which were traditionally eaten in Ireland.

 Various types of kelp, such as Atlantic wakame; sugar kelp (kombu royale); oarweed (kelp or kombu)

 Channel wrack  Sea grass  Sea lettuce  Nori  Pepper dulse

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Lifestyle | FOOD

cooking with seaweed eight years ago. He has always been interested in it for, “its flavour and its abundance around the Irish coast”. A parallel interest in Japanese cooking inspired McEvoy to experiment further with seaweed to create Japaneseinspired dishes, “Kombu [seaweed] provides a natural unami flavour so we would use it in stocks such as dachi [Japanese stock]. We also use Sea lettuce to pickle cucumber.” Currently supplied by Quality Sea Veg, he supplements this by foraging himself along the west coast, “Every second morning we gather a lot of our own for example sea lettuce and dilisk”. Frankie Mallon, chef proprietor at An Port Mór in Mayo, has been using seaweed for over three-and-a-half years. He sources it from a company called Lo-tide, who harvest the sewaweed from Clew Bay, off the coast of Mayo. He was initially drawn to using seaweed due to the fact that “it’s a local, natural and organic product” and says that when people first see seaweed on his menu they are, “intrigued by it

Sally McKenna’s tips for cooking with seaweed  Add a teaspoon of ground/milled seaweed into anything eg soup, pasta sauces or casseroles and get all the benefits without even tasting it.  Add it to roasted or stir-fried vegetables it makes a great seasoning.  Use it in bread, sauces and dressings eg a seasame dressing with seaweed water, seaweed, seasame seeds and oil flavoured with soy sauce and mustard.

and tend to go for it as… it’s a little bit quirky and different”. Mallon currently incorporates seaweed into his food in three ways: seaweed caviar made with dilsk, seaweed tagliatelle and seaweed soda bread, the latter two made using ground-down seaweed. He points out, “Chefs can be afraid of it, unsure of what to do with it but once you start using it and cooking with it, you get more experimental”.

Pooling the potential On the word’s economic stage, Ireland is very much trading on its clean, green image in the positioning and promotion of Irish made food. The Government seeks to position Ireland Inc as a brand

that stands for provenance, good value and quality. In addition, Ireland is garnering a reputation as a culinary destination, with a growing restaurant industry, proliferation of artisan farmers’ markets and established export trade in Irish seafood. There is huge scope to tap into this by nurturing and improving the seaweed harvesting process and educating consumers on the rich benefits of this resource. This is best summarised by Dr. Steele. “Seaweed is an enormously valuable natural resource which has a global market presence. The challenge for Ireland is to capitalise further on this resource.’’

Frankie Mallon in his An Port Mór restaurant.

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lIFesTyle | tRAVeL

berlIn: you Take my breaTh aWay

A vibrant city full of glamour, grit and history, Alyson gray discusses why Berlin is the European destination to visit.

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ince the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the German capital has transformed rapidly. Yet few cities manage to marry the old and the new quite like Berlin. Torn apart after the Second World War and divided by the Cold War for many years, the city manages to appropriately pay respect to its dark past. Today the Holocaust memorial stands next to the site of Hitler’s bunker, the remnants of the Berlin Wall are located next to shopping and entertainment districts, and Potsdam, the location of a major post-World War II conference famously attended by Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman, is today a quaint tourist town. With 135 million visitors a year, Berlin has something for every visitor.

rememBering the past Despite its beauty, Berlin is probably most famous for the darker side of its history, and the city manages to pay homage to its past with a number

of museums, monuments and tours. Berlin saw the fall of the Weimar Republic and the growth of the Nazi party, the first extradition of Jews and the Battle of Berlin, which destroyed the city, bringing an end to the Third Reich. While you could spend your trip visiting a vast range of World War II sites, two stand out in particular. Firstly, the memorial to the murdered

InsIder Tours

There is no better way to take in the sites of Berlin and learn about its history than walking around the city. Insider Tours offer walking and cycling tours of Berlin led by experienced and entertaining tour guides. The company offers a range of tours, including a tour through the Third Reich – tracking the final days of Hitler and WWII, the Cold War tour, day trips to Dresden and Postdam, and a memorial tour of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. The group also do a Berlin pub crawl each night of Berlin’s best bars and clubs. Tickets cost 12 per person with discounts for students, pensioners, City Tour card holders and for those who book online. The tours are an all day affair so prepare for a lot of walking and a history overload.

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Lifestyle | TRAVEL Jews of Europe is one of the most visually magnificent sites in the world. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold, the site is covered with 2,711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The slabs are designed to create an uneasy and confusing atmosphere emulating the terror felt by Jews affected by the Holocaust. Located just outside the city, the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp played a central role in the Holocaust. Built in 1936, the camp originally facilitated the removal of those considered ‘anti-social’ while Berlin hosted the Olympic Games. Nazis imprisoned more than 200,000 here, of which 50,000 were brutally murdered. Unlike other concentration camps, Sachsenhausen victims were a mix of political opponents, later expanding to anyone thought racially or physically inferior. The trip to the concentration camp is a haunting one, but necessary for anyone wanting to learn more about the events of the Second World War.

A Modern City More light hearted options include a trip to The Berlin Zoo. Located in Berlin’s Tiergarten, it’s Europe’s most visited zoo and boasts 1,500

Where to Stay

With nearly 800 hotels Berlin has something for all price ranges. Best Hostel: @

Pfeffersbett The 19th century brewery converted into a hostel was voted one of the top ten hostels in Germany. It has a 24 hour café and bar with dorms starting from €14.

Best Budget Hotel: @@

Holiday Inn Express, City Centre West Located in the heart of the city near to the main train lines, the new Holiday Inn Express starts from €51 per night, including breakfast.

Best Boutique Hotel: @@@

Schlosshotel im Grunewald Recently restyled by Karl Lagerfeld in the early 90s the hotel has a champagne bar and cigar cellar. Rooms start from €219.

different species and around 17,500 animals, making it the most wideranging collection of species in the world. Berlin also has a huge amount of shopping options, from high street shops to vintage boutiques. If you like sausages, veal and all things deep fat fried, then Berlin is the place for you. The city mainly has a mix of local cuisine and American food outlets. Specialities include currywurst, bockwurst, wiener

schnitzel and the Berliner – the jam doughnut JFK made reference to in his famous ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ blunder. But what Berlin lacks in culinary diversity, it makes up for in bars and nightlife. It is very much a party town with a year round calendar of events from concerts to street parties to festivals. Renowned for its hipster counterculture, Berlin is home to some of the best and hippest clubs and bars on the continent. Pacing yourself is important however as most clubs don’t open until 2AM and then stay open all night. For a quieter drink, the idyllic Prater Garten is Berlin’s oldest beer garden and serves both food and its home-brewed nectar. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus offer regular flights into Berlin Schönefeld, located just outside the city. The airport is well serviced by trains, taxis and buses, as is the city itself. The Berlin Welcome Card is a must have for those wanting to use public transport. The card covers all transport for your stay and is available for 48 hours, 72 hours or five days. Berlin’s train network is by far the most efficient form of transport with options of both the S-Bahn (the urban line) and U-bahn (the underground system) depending on where you need to go. Their underground system runs every few minutes and services 170 stations across the city. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 75

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lIFesTyle | gAdgetS

getting to the core As big name brands like Apple and Nintendo release their latest designs just in time for the holiday season, InBusiness has a look at their release along with a number of other gadgets. imaC Just in time for the Christmas rush, the Apple iMac 2012 hit stores at the end of November. The newest creation in the Apple family claims to be the most advanced desktop they have ever built. But what makes it special? Initially, there does not seem to be a huge difference in appearance between the iMac 2012 and the last generation iMac. However, swivel your chair to the side of your desk and take a look at how compact it really is. Only 5 mm thick at its edge, it’s the slimmest Mac yet, with up to 40 per cent less volume depending on whether you get the 21 or 27-inch model. Features include the sleek new design, brilliant display with 75 per cent reduction in reflection, faster processors and an innovative new storage option called Fusion Drive, which is responsible for improving performance. The iMac is for those who need or simply want a fast computer with a large and impressive display that definitely earns bragging rights for the owner. The best all-in-one device out there at the moment.

21.5-inch from â‚Ź1399, 27-inch from â‚Ź1949 in the Apple Store

KinDle fire The mini tablet computer version of the Kindle e-book claims to be 40 per cent faster performance wise than the old Kindle Fire. New 1.2GHz processor and 1GB RAM account for this difference. The 7-inch LCD display is ideal for reading, watching shows, surfing the net and playing games. Small and light with a huge selection of games and apps, it is also being advertised now as a device to entertain and distract your kids. It supports the primary function of the Kindle as an e-reader but is a great choice as a mini tablet too. The screen is on par with the iPad so videos look nearly as big on the Fire as they do on Apple's larger device. The brilliant display and cheaper price make it a more appealing option than the iPad mini. Probably the best budget tablet on the market.

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lIFesTyle | gAdgetS

nintenDo Wii u The release of Nintendo’s first new home console since 2006 saw hundreds of fans queue outside game shops in London waiting for midnight to get their hands on the Nintendo Wii U. Focus lies on the Wii U Gamepad, a 6.2-inch touchscreen display. The wireless input device has a large screen, two analog sticks, a directional pad, eight input buttons, a front-facing camera, a near field communication sensor and can even control your television. While the gamepad is meant to enhance your big-screen games, either as a standard controller or a screen for inventory and map info, it also works independently from the TV. However, if you are playing on the small screen in a different room, range varies and the battery usually lasts for between three and five hours. Popular games are available for the Wii U including Nintendoland, Super Mario Bros, Assassin’s Creed, ZombiU and a range of games inspired by the latest film releases. Finally in high definition the Wii U graphics will compete against Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and the latest offering will certainly pique the curiosity of any Nintendo fans.

From €324.99 in Harvey Norman

smartWatCh Gadgeteers will love the new Sony SmartWatch. Two inches across, it can be worn with any 20 mm wrist strap and used as digital or analog. The gadget connects to your Android smartphone via Bluetooth and after you download the SmartWatch app you can download lots of other apps, including Facebook, Twitter and Music Player. Along with the array of entertaining apps it provides a discreet way for you to keep check of incoming calls, messages, notifications and email. You choose you settings to suit your lifestyle. Battery life is supposed to last about a week when fully charged. It’s a good idea to keep your phone close by as you cannot reply to communications through the watch, only your phone. A quirky kind of creation that would be of great use to those who spend a lot of time on their phone.

€99.99 in the Vodafone Store

sennheiser hD 201 noise-CanCelling heaDphones While some dedicated music fans might wish they could afford Dr Dre’s Beats Headphones, the new Noise Cancelling Headphones from Sennheiser will be far less brutal on your bank balance. Boasting powerful sound reproduction, good attenuation of ambient noise and a rich, crisp bass response, these headphones are aimed at the music lover on a budget. Unlike the many styles and colours the Beats headphones appear in, the sleek black design is the only version of this set. However, they are made of high quality leather, have adjustable size settings and are extremely rugged. Great for blocking out disruptive noise when you are travelling, though you may have to tie up the long cord, these are a really decent set of headphones, especially at this price.

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WE DON’T WANT TO SAVE CHILDREN’S LIVES Children’s lives shouldn’t need saving from entirely preventable causes. Every day tens of thousands of children worldwide die needlessly from illnesses such as measles, tetanus and diarrhoea. UNICEF wants you to help prevent these deaths. We believe that one child dying is one too many. We believe in zero and we desperately need your help. Call 01 878 3000 or visit unicef.ie today to give your support.

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the last word | clive bellows

Putting Trust in the Future Alyson Gray talks to Clive Bellows, Country Head of Northern Trust Ireland, about the growth of their Irish operations.

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orthern Trust has been a significant player in the fund administration business since its beginnings in Ireland in 2001. The Chicago-based bank have about 18 per cent market share of the registered fund administration in Ireland and acts as one of the biggest providers of wealth management services in the North American market.

Irish Pride Clive Bellows was appointed Country Head of the Irish division in May 2011 after 30 years of working in the

financial services industry. In this role he is responsible for the 950 people the bank currently employ in their Dublin and Limerick offices. Bellows explains that he is responsible for the strategic

direction of the Irish operations which they run as a stand alone business. “We have over 200 clients that are part of our Irish business and a major part of my role is making sure those clients all

Northern Trust Bio Northern Trust was established in Chicago in 1889. It provides investment and asset management, banking services, and fund administration through a network of 85 offices in the United States and 12 international offices in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The bank opened its Irish office in Dublin in 2001 and expanded to Limerick in 2006. They currently employ 950 people in Ireland, a number which is set to grow over the next four years. Q4 2012 | InBusiness 79

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the last word | clive bellows “We’ve been stable right through the financial crisis which is why our clients have gravitated towards us because we have a very strong balance sheet and ultimately our job is to look after our client’s money and make sure it’s safe” feel important to Northern Trust,” he says. “We are a high touch, high client service business and client service ethos is something that is a major part of my role; to make sure everybody understands that clients come first.” Bellows also asserts that the strategic direction of the business has changed dramatically with some of the regulatory changes coming both from EU and more globally. This will become particularly evident when the EU introduce their proposed changes to bank regulation in 2013 – the proposal is that all banks operating in the EU will be supervised centrally by the European Central Bank. “Everything we do needs to be done against a strong compliance frame work and making sure we’re in line with regulation issued by the Central Bank of Ireland and other regulators around the world,” Bellows explains.

Stability Unlike many of the other banks in Ireland and abroad, Northern Trust has remained stable throughout the financial crisis. This is mainly because they are not an investment bank, nor are they involved in commercial lending or credit cards, which eliminates many of the risks other banks have. “We’ve been stable right through the financial crisis which is why our clients have gravitated towards us because we have a very strong balance sheet and ultimately our job is to look after our client’s money and make sure it’s safe,” says Bellows. This has left Northern Trust in an excellent position throughout a time when many other banks are struggling. This position has also meant they have been able to achieve significant growth in Ireland. This growth is mainly in their Limerick office which they opened in 2006. They have recruited over 100 people into their Limerick office this year and plan to add 100 staff members

a year over the next four years. Bellows explains that the new workforce will be used to support Northern Trust in other parts of the world, mainly their London office. This expansion will double their work force and give a huge job boost to the Limerick area. It will also encourage many graduates of University of Limerick and Limerick Institute of Technology to remain in the area after graduation. This is evident in that of Limerick’s 350 staff members, 200 of them have come from the local education system. While Bellows says this has been of great benefit to them, he explains that it is necessary to supplement graduates by recruiting experience people from other locations, meaning it is a combination of using the local education system plus recruiting experienced people who are prepared to move to Limerick. “What we are seeing is a great opportunity for people from the Munster region who have maybe worked in London, Luxembourg, Australia or Dublin who can now go and

get a good quality financial senior job back in their home region.”

Stability They also plan to expand their Dublin office by recruiting 12 people to supplement the team put in place to manage Northern Trust’s new company Omnium – a hedge fund administration which was a part of Citadel. Omnium is currently a North American based company but the plan is for Northern Trust to globalise it, with Dublin being the European centre from which this is achieved. Bellows is positive about the future for Northern Trust in Ireland and is anticipating significant business growth in their Irish business over the coming years. “At the moment we’re predicting 10 per cent growth for next year and that is a direct correlation to jobs in Limerick and to the amount of work we do here in Ireland.”

Clive Bellows Bio Bellows has worked in the financial services industry for nearly 30 years. He started his career at Barclays International and spent his career post-Barclays with three global banks: Northern Trust, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank. Bellows joined Northern Trust from JP Morgan were he was Managing Director.

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