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SPECIALIST FERGAL BROPHY MENTORS SERIES INNOVATION ON RE-IMAGINING POST- COVID-19

InBUSINESS USINESS CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

SUMMER

2020

POOLING

InBUSINESS SUMMER 2020

RESOURCES HOW DAVIS VIRTUAL EVENTS PIVOTED ITS STRATEGY

DOUBLING DOWN

DATASOLUTIONS’ IMPRESSIVE UK GROWTH

THE PROMISE NIAMH PARKER OF CEO OF BEACON AI

BACK TO WORK

ON USING TECH TO ADDRESS INDUSTRY GAPS

PRIVACY

SKILLNET IRELAND GUIDES THE WAY

9

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772009 393018

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Editor: Sorcha Corcoran Art Director: Alan McArthur Editorial Assistant: Kiah Townsend (Chambers Ireland) Designer: James Moore Photography: iStock Photo

COVER STORY

THE PROMISE OF PRIVACY

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

Tapping into the growing popularity of artificial intelligence and the need to comply with privacy legislation, Beacon AI looks set to be one of serial entrepreneur Niamh Parker’s most successful undertakings yet with real global potential.

Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

N

iamh Parker believes that one of the essential traits of an entrepreneur is the ability to see gaps and recognise where industries need improvements and advancements. This has been the cornerstone of her work in technology over the past seven years and shines through with one of her most recent ventures, Beacon AI, which released its Data Privacy Compass solution last January. Originally set up in 2017 in Skibbereen, Co Cork in response to the onset of GDPR and the rise in interest in operational software to run privacy teams and programmes, Beacon AI’s solutions are built to easily adapt to emerging global privacy legislations. The leadership team entered into discussions and negotiations for early acquisition as Parker was interested in incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into

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18 Published by: Ashville Media Group, Unit 55 Park West Road, Park West Industrial Park, D12 X9F9 Tel: +353 1 432 2200 Email: info@ashville.com Web: www.ashville.com On behalf of: Chambers Ireland, 11 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 FY84 Tel: +353 1 400 4300 Email: info@chambers.ie Web: www.chambers.ie All articles © Ashville Media Group 2020. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. Opinion and comments expressed herein are not necessarily those of Ashville Media or Chambers Ireland. ISSN 20093934

Niamh Parker, Co-founder and CEO, Beacon AI

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER WINTER 2019 2020

COVER STORY:

The Promise of Privacy

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

POOLING

RESOURCES

Entrepreneur

Michael O’Hara, Group Managing Director, DataSolutions on the UK as a growth driver Set up by Paul Davis in 2013, Davis Virtual Events Agency has successfully pivoted its strategy in response to Covid-19 by working closely with clients to find innovative solutions to the new challenges they face.

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Q: Why did you decide to set up Davis Events Agency (as the company was originally known)? PD: With my past experience in live events and pop culture, I felt there were many areas of brand events and employee engagement that weren’t being fully explored in Ireland and I had an opportunity

Industry

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The resourcefulness of the tourism industry in the face of Covid-19 challenges Words: Sorcha Corcoran

Our Local Government InBUSINESS supplement continues to look at the 112 important role played by local authorities in Irish enterprise 106

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Mayo County Council welcomes a114k Town and Village Renewal Scheme funding, Sligo and Leitrim greenways get a800k, and Sligo awarded a200k in Historic Towns Initiative

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ULSTER

LEINSTER

MUNSTER

Cork County Council welcomes a33.7m CEB loan and a950k NTA funding, Limerick towns get a1.5m boost, and Clare County Council plans new greenway project

CONNAUGHT

Social distancing measures, future Luas plans and greenway investments across Dublin, while Meath County Council Library Service gets funding from Facebook

Belfast plans a “Bolder Vision” for the city, Monaghan signs contract for a17.6m Peace Campus project, Donegal plans new Innovation Centre, and Cavan greenway gets a170k

A “Bolder Vision” for Belfast

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

InBUSINESS speaks to Niamh Parker, CEO, Beacon AI about using tech to address industry gaps

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

NATURALLY, THE PROMOTION OF DATA AS AN INTEGRAL BUSINESS TOOL MEANS THAT COMPANIES ARE, AND INCREASINGLY WILL BE, BUILT ON PRIVACY BY DESIGN, WHICH IS WHERE BEACON AI SPECIALISES.”

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to bring influences to develop this market. In the past three to four years, Davis Events Agency was growing strongly, with an approximate 25% yearon-year growth rate and a creative team of 14. Q: How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your business? PD: Initially, we were busy dealing with the fallout of events being postponed or cancelled.

There was a lot of uncertainty. However, the impact of Covid-19 really brought us closer to our clients and enabled us to work with them to develop a deeper understanding of their business model, why they were doing engagement strategies, what the outcome required was and so on. This led us to develop strategies that enabled us to do what we were expected to do, but in a different way. We developed a partnership approach with clients and pooled our research to find solutions to new challenges.

Q: Can you tell me about your innovation lab and how exactly that works? PD: As one of our strategies to overcome problems presented by Covid-19, we put together our own internal team made up of creative, strategy, design, operations and safety experts partnering with our suppliers, contractors and clients. We started to research not only how we could help clients with physical and tactical barriers such as having to close offices but also to creatively bring solutions to the table for issues and challenges faced. We even set up our own remote studio

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

for events to assist clients and soften the experience. Our innovation lab was a destination to analyse and understand client requirements and how we could improve the event experience. For example, at the time there were many people training for the Cork and Dublin marathons who were facing travel restrictions and the closures of gyms. We worked with fitness guru Gary O’Hanlon to bring live Instagram coaching sessions to the masses. We turned marathons and training into virtual events, allowing people to run their own routes in their own time, encouraging positive mental health and navigating this approach in a more innovative way. We’ve also engaged with clients to create a party atmosphere between employees for online quizzes. In June we created a fireside chat with former President Mary McAleese that was hosted from her home and joined by delegates from across the world. Q: The launch of HanSan represents a new departure for your company. How did you come up with this? PD: We had a client with a pre-lockdown problem – they were rolling out events, needed to keep public spaces

open and required an effective safety procedure in place to manage this. By deploying a quick business pivoting strategy to meet this demand, we developed HanSan, a simple hand cleansing unit that effectively delivers hand sanitiser without the need to touch anything with your hands. HanSan also has no requirement for power or water. The product was developed in-house thanks to our innovation lab team. We brought all challenges together into a collective space between our team of digital and safety experts, alongside contractors and suppliers, to decipher how best to tackle the client’s problem. The unit is mobile, independent, robust, easy, and safe to install anywhere, including retail spaces, public buildings, in parks, on streets and inside venues. We installed our first prototype in the GPO and through the success of this agreed a nationwide rollout with An Post to install 45 units at post offices nationwide. HanSan is now in place at multiple venues including Dublin City Council’s head office, Malahide Castle and OPW parks nationwide with plenty more in the pipeline.

events. We work with theatre companies and TV directors to amplify the impact of virtual and hybrid events for clients, and we have been taking an experiential approach to focus on people, experiences, and human connections. These types of events will continue to be important as there will always be people who cannot attend an event and by taking elements of these events online, it grows the reach to a global audience. Q: How important have your people been through this process? PD: We are grateful to have a team with a range of talents who have been able to adapt, pivot, innovate and very quickly come up with new solutions to new problems for clients. This is what the events industry has always been about – creating solutions immediately as challenges arise. The team has been the backbone of Davis Virtual Events through this challenging time. They have supported clients in ways we didn’t think were even possible whilst in turn managing to devise an effective and successful

pivoting strategy for our company that allows us to continue to grow and maintain our market position into the future. Q: Any other news or expansion plans that you can share with us? PD: There are lots of opportunities to help brands to deliver their vision as we face a new ‘normal’. One of the positive outcomes of Covid-19 has been more of a focus on employee engagement and welfare, which presents a new area of growth for Davis Virtual Events. Physical location is no longer as important for businesses as it was before, and this opens the international market to companies that are creative and innovative. We will soon launch the 2021 Cork City Marathon which will return physically on 6 June, 2021.

Q: How important has been the development of your Creative Virtual and Hybrid Events? PD: Our Creative Virtual and Hybrid Events engage audiences and employees and overcome the technology barrier when hosting online

Paul Davis, CEO, Davis Virtual Events Agency

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

30 Pooling resources

SMALL BUSINESS

Davis Virtual Events has successfully pivoted its strategy to include hand sanitising units

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19/08/2020 17:42 20/07/2020 16:22


Contents

SPECIALIST FERGAL BROPHY MENTORS SERIES ONINNOVATION RE-IMAGINING POST- COVID-19

InBUSINESS USINESS CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

SUMMER

2020

POOLING

RESOURCES HOW DAVIS VIRTUAL EVENTS PIVOTED ITS STRATEGY

DOUBLING DOWN

DATASOLUTIONS’ IMPRESSIVE UK GROWTH

THE PROMISE NIAMH PARKER OF CEO OF BEACON AI

BACK TO WORK

ON USING TECH TO ADDRESS INDUSTRY GAPS

PRIVACY

SKILLNETS IRELAND GUIDES THE WAY

26

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772009 393018

Go to chambers.ie for the online edition

MENTORS:

Fergal Brophy

Founder of Fergal Brophy Innovation and Enterprise Specialist at the UCD Innovation Academy on the rapid re-imagining of business models

[LIFESTYLE]

Words: Sorcha Corcoran

120 INNOVATION Latest products to aid comfortable home working

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Irish companies that have stepped up to the plate with innovative answers to the pandemic

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On the move

Simon Durham, CEO of Kinetic Ireland, on the versatility of digital out-of-home advertising solutions

Governm

T en In

IC seCU on

[REGULARS]

TY rI

o neTA ff

b I L ITY

nfrAsTr

75%

LI T Y

countries with the highest digital quality of life are in Europe

countries have to work more than the global average to afford the internet

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INTERNET is higher in countries with high ICT SPEED adoption rates and internet usage EUROPEAN countries lead in protecting UNION people’s personal data

95%

countries experienced drops in mobile and 44 in broadband speed due to WFH during Covid-19

of people in Scandinavia vs. 35% in Southern Asia

use the internet

Countries stagnate in improving INSTITUTIONAL e-infrastructure once they reach higher DEVELOPMENT than average GDP per capita level

Strong e-security positively correlates INSTITUTIONAL with well developed e-government, DEVELOPMENT except for Eastern European countries

Source: Surfshark Digital Quality of Life Index 2020 (DQL)

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First:

30

Innovation & Tech

THE InBUSINESS INDEX

NORWAY

34

Remote working and how Covid-19 has changed what employees want in the ‘new normal’

123 BOOKS Adapting mindsets and strategies in the face of the coronavirus

hI Gh

26

Skills & Talent

122 PODCASTS A new series by traveller and journalist Joe O’Connor reflects on what travel means in a Covid-19 world

e

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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9 Opportunity Ireland 10 Movers & Shakers 12 Start-Up Central 39 Chambers Catch Up 124 The IB Index

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Skills To Advance Make skills work for your business If you’re looking for ways to grow your business, talk to your local Education and Training Board about subsidised training solutions for your workforce. For more, contact your local Education and Training Board or visit skillstoadvance.ie

“It gave me something of value to offer staff, which helped with retention and recruitment”

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03/03/2020 19/08/2020 14:47 17:42


NE WS AMAZON ON IRISH RECRUITMENT DRIVE

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ver the next two years, Amazon is to create another 1,000 highly skilled jobs in Ireland, which will bring its total permanent workforce to 5,000 people at its Cork and Dublin sites. The new employment opportunities will range from various types of engineers to big data specialists, technical and non-technical programme managers and account managers. There will also be technical management and senior leadership opportunities in both Amazon and Amazon Web Services. In addition to the new jobs, Amazon is investing in a new 170,000 sq ft campus in Charlemont Square in Dublin, expected to open in 2022.

BUSINESS NEWS

Phil Codd, Managing Director for Ireland, Expleo

EXPLEO KEY TO CONTACT

TRACING APP TESTING Dublin tech firm Expleo has announced that its test team carried out roughly 3,400 individual tests on the HSE’s Covid-19 contact tracing app before its launch. Through quality assurance and software testing, the company was responsible for ensuring that the app was user-friendly, fast and reliable, which involved testing it to be able to handle one million downloads in an hour. The work totalled 4,727 man hours – the equivalent of almost 591 working days. A total of 26 Expleo employees were involved in the project, while a core team of 10 led and oversaw testing.

BUDDING ADDRESSES COVID-19 GAP As part of its contribution to getting things moving again through the Covid-19 pandemic, online matching platform Budding is offering to filter and match employers with suitable junior-level candidates for free. “Around one-fifth of those receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment are under 25 years of age, despite the fact that this demographic represents just 12% of the labour force,” says Budding Director Susan Kealy. “Our online platform will profile your role, capturing the strengths, qualifications, interests and personality characteristics you need and our algorithms will work to find you motivated, suitable candidates.”

TIKTOK TO BUILD DATA CENTRE IN IRELAND TikTok intends to establish its first data centre in Europe in Ireland, involving an investment of around a420m and the creation of “hundreds” of new jobs. The video-sharing social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance set up its EMEA Trust and Safety Hub in Dublin at the start of the year, where it rapidly expanded the team. The planned investment in Ireland will play a key role in further strengthening the safeguarding and protection of TikTok user data, with a state-of-the-art physical and network security defence system planned around the new Irish operation, the company stated. Mike Beary, AWS Ireland Country Manager and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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BUSINESS NEWS

APPLE AND IRELAND WIN APPEAL AGAINST THE EU The General Court of the European Union has annulled the Decision of the European Commission of August 2016, which alleged Ireland provided State aid to Apple and the tech giant should pay the country back a13.1bn in tax. A statement from the Department of Finance welcomed the judgment: “Ireland has always been clear that there was no special treatment provided to the two Apple companies - ASI and AOE. The correct amount of Irish tax was charged in line with normal Irish taxation rules.”

EUROPEAN INNOVATION SCOREBOARD RANKS IRELAND NINTH

Ireland has been placed ninth in the European Commission’s annual European Innovation Scoreboard and remains in the group of Strong Innovators, performing above the EU average. Performance in innovation across the EU is assessed using 27 indicators across ten innovation dimensions. For the third year in a row, Ireland is top in the EU for both the employment impacts and sales impacts of innovation. Ireland also performs well in the human resources, attractive research system, and innovator indicators, having achieved overall scores above 120% of the EU average in each of these categories.

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PICTURE

THIS

Broadcaster and TV presenter Lucy Kennedy with Ivan Hammond, Head of Marketing at Brennans Bakeries, launching its new sustainability campaign. Brennans Bread wax packaging is now 100% recyclable and compostable.

Business

BITES

EXPORTS INCREASE Enterprise Ireland client company exports went up by 8% to a record €25.6bn in 2019, with the highest-ever sales to the eurozone and North America.

REDSKY EUROPE SECURES US PARTNERSHIP Based in Kilkenny, fulfillment and logistics company RedSky Europe has activated a partnership with one of the US’s most successful e-commerce logistics companies. It will head the European portion of the firm, which was recently listed by the Financial Times as being one of America’s fastest-growing companies in 2020, with a client base of over 4,000 online merchants selling goods on Ken Byrne, a global scale. CEO and Founder of CEO and Founder, RedSky Europe Ken Byrne identified RedSky Europe particular challenges for North American e-commerce companies gaining access into the European marketplace and the RedSky team developed a suite of services with this in mind.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 11:28


BUSINESS NEWS

MANUFACTURING

BOOST FOR PORTLAOISE

G

reenfield Global is set to start the commissioning phase of its new EU manufacturing headquarters in Portlaoise, Co Laois, which will result in 75 new jobs there over the next five years. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Greenfield Global is a global leader in the production of ethanol, high purity speciality alcohols and solvents. It has operations in 12 locations across North America. Located in IDA Ireland’s Business Technology Park near Portlaoise, the new 3,800 sq metre facility, the company’s first outside North America, will produce Pharmcobranded products serving life sciences customers globally.

Minister for State Sean Fleming opening Greenfield Global’s Portlaoise facility

RISE WITH SODEXO

ANTI-LITTER CAMPAIGN

MORTGAGE PROVISION

Sodexo Ireland has launched a new global programme to support clients when reopening workplaces in meeting health, operational and confidence challenges resulting from Covid-19.

McDonald’s has launched #GetInTheBin, asking for people and local communities to come together to stop those who are littering in public spaces and on roads.

Avantcard is to enter the Irish mortgage market under the name Avant Money, which is expected to lead to increased competition and potentially better interest rates.

PURE TELECOM TEAMS UP

WITH NETGEM

Pure Telecom is entering the tripleplay market through a partnership with TV service provider Netgem. To mark the partnership, Pure Telecom revealed insights from a national survey of 1,000 Irish adults, which found that the majority of the Irish population is now paying for a video streaming service. “Online viewership is now Paul O’Connell, CEO a huge market in Ireland – and even more so in Pure Telecom the past few months. As more TV and streaming providers enter the market, each of them producing more and more original content, consumers are demanding greater choice,” said Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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“Now Now that the panic is subsiding, we can see a clear interest in privacy being rekindled by the public and we predict a large volume of Data Subject Access Requests following the pandemic.” Niamh Parker, CEO, Beacon AI

COVER STORY

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BUSINESS NEWS

CASH FLOW CONCERNS

HIGHLIGHTED

Momentum Support operatives on a Dublin Bus

DUBLIN BUS OPTS FOR MOMENTUM SUPPORT Momentum Support has been contracted by Dublin Bus to provide specialised cleaning services across its premises and fleet of buses in order to ensure the safety of employees and passengers during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the company has created new full-time positions. The services provided include every bus in the fleet being sanitised on a nightly basis and a team providing daytime sanitisation of buses at 24 bus termini locations throughout Dublin City. Momentum Support has developed smart, innovative measures to ensure that all buses can be fully and properly sanitised without impacting negatively on Dublin Bus’s schedules or timetables.

Research by Intuit QuickBooks shows the top three financial management concerns for Irish SMEs at present are: having cash flow data in one place; being able to predict cash flow with supporting insights and getting paid for their work. Regarding cash flow, the findings show that 69% of Irish SMEs say late payments are a considerable pain point when it comes to managing their business finances. The research by Intuit QuickBooks, released to coincide with its launch in Ireland, also revealed that 43% of respondents don’t feel prepared for the impact Covid-19 is having on their business.

PARADYN BRINGS CENTRE OPENING FORWARD

SHAPEMYPLAN SEES SPIKE SINCE LOCKDOWN

D

ublin sisters Marie Duffy and Edel Littleton have signed up their 10,000th client to their online meal plan business, ShapeMyPlan. com, as well as adding Jump Marie Duffy and Edel Littleton, Juice Bars to their list of corporate Co-founders, partners. ShapeMyplan.com was founded in 2018 Shape My Plan following the sisters’ own experience of joining a gym and discovering there was a distinct lack of familyfriendly meal plans available. The girls had signed up the Gym Plus nationwide chain of gyms earlier this year, but that partnership and others had to be put on hold. However, the team has seen a spike in individual sign-ups to the service since the lockdown.

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Rob Norton, Chief Technical Officer, Paradyn, and Paul Casey, Chief Operations Officer, Paradyn

IT and communications service provider Paradyn has accelerated the launch of its new network and security operations centre to help customers identify and manage security incidents in real time. The opening of the Paradyn TotalView Operations Centre was brought forward by two months as a response to the significant increase in malicious threats being faced by businesses during Covid-19. Based in Little Island, Co Cork, the move is the result of a a250,000 investment. The company expects to generate an additional a2.5m in revenue from the services enabled by the Paradyn TotalView Operations Centre over the next two years.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 11:28


JOB CREATION COMPANY: Ardmac COMPANY: Gilead Sciences

SECTOR: Construction

LOCATION: Dublin

COMPANY: UPMC

ANNOUNCEMENT: Construction specialist Ardmac is projecting to double its workforce to 140 people over the next 24 months further to taking an equity stake in Cental, a Carlow-based provider of advanced modular infrastructure to the data centre, utilities and telecoms industry.

SECTOR: Life sciences LOCATION: Dublin

SECTOR: Healthcare provision LOCATION: Kilkenny ANNOUNCEMENT: Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, healthcare provider and insurer UPMC is opening a new global technology operations centre in Kilkenny to support its international expansion. It is expected to employ up to 60 skilled technology workers and support staff over the next three years.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Gilead Sciences is to invest around €7m in the company’s Irish operations, opening a new base in Dublin and creating 140 jobs. As part of this expansion, the company will also establish a paediatric centre of excellence in Ireland.

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

COMPANY: Triggerfish SECTOR: Animation

COMPANY: MTech Mobility SECTOR: Technology

LOCATION: Galway

LOCATION: Wexford

ANNOUNCEMENT: Triggerfish, the animation studio behind Netflix’s first original animated TV series from Africa, is to establish its first international studio in Galway. The project is expected to create 60 new jobs over the next three years.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Florida-based lifecycle and repair services provider for mobile and IT devices MTech Mobility is expected to hire 25 people over the next three years at its new European base in Ardcavan Business Park near Wexford Town.

COMPANY: George Jon

SECTOR: Technology

LOCATION: Dublin

ANNOUNCEMENT: E-discovery specialist George Jon plans to establish its first international office in Dublin, creating 20 jobs over the next three years. From there, the Chicago-based company plans to grow its portfolio of EMEA clients, including professional services firms and multinationals.

Irish office workers seem open to the benefits of automation New research has revealed that 47% of Irish office workers would move to an organisation that embraces more automation. Carried out by Censuswide on behalf of OpenSky, it showed that the top three benefits of such technologies cited by the 1,000 people surveyed were: the ability to minimise boring tasks; to help during situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic; and to enable information to be processed faster.

OpenSky/Censuswide survey – key findings:

35%

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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of respondents think automation will help people to do their jobs more effectively.

26%

of respondents believe automation would lead to the possibility of a four-day week

62%

would like to see their organisation embrace more automation, with the highest demand among workers in Carlow, Dublin and Cork.

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MOVERS & SHAKERS

M vers

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY NATIONWIDE

SHAKERS

KEVIN O’GORMAN

NOEL FREELEY

EDEL CREELY

WAYNE DE VOS

NEW TITLE: Master Distiller EMPLOYER: Midleton Distillery PREVIOUS ROLE: Master of Maturation, Midleton Distillery

NEW TITLE: Chief Executive Officer EMPLOYER: Royal London Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Legacy Division Director, Royal London Group

NEW TITLE: Managing Director EMPLOYER: Arkphire Services PREVIOUS ROLE: Managing Director, Trilogy Technologies

NEW TITLE: Senior Technical Consultant EMPLOYER: Paradyn PREVIOUS ROLE: Technical Consultant, Paradyn

Irish Distillers has announced the appointment of Kevin O’Gorman as the new Master Distiller at Midleton Distillery. Having started his career there in 1998, he is taking over from Brian Nation. O’Gorman will be responsible for protecting the rich heritage of the world’s most famous Irish whiskeys, ensuring the quality of all new pot and grain distillates produced at Midleton while supporting future innovation.

Noel Freeley has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Royal London Insurance DAC, trading under the name of Royal London Ireland. Freeley takes up the role following his position as Royal London Group’s Legacy Division Director. He has a track record of senior roles at Royal London as well as Co-operative Insurance Society and Friends Provident.

Edel Creely has been appointed to the newly created role of Managing Director of Arkphire Services, following Arkphire’s acquisition of Trilogy Technologies, which she co-founded. She will be focused on driving service excellence in the delivery of cloud solutions, digital workspace and cyber security services. Brid Graham has also been appointed as Managing Director of Arkphire’s IT procurement business.

Wayne de Vos has been promoted to Senior Technical Consultant at Paradyn, further to joining the company in January. With 16 years’ technical experience in the IT industry, he will lead Paradyn’s technical consultancy team, which is responsible for analysing existing and prospective customers’ technical and business requirements and developing solutions to meet those needs. He was previously Head of IT at Eurosteel Group for eight years.

TOP CAREER TIPS 10

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Ronan Quinn has been Chief Executive at construction contractor Ardmac since 2013. Ardmac works with many high-profile multinational clients to deliver complex, high-value workspaces and technical environments for the commercial, life sciences, data centre and advanced manufacturing sectors. In 2015, Quinn led the successful management buy-out of the company and since then has driven significant growth with revenues reaching €162m in 2019.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 11:34


MOVERS & SHAKERS

CHANGES AT THE TOP AT AVIVA

KAREN PEACOCK

ELLEN SCULLY

NEW TITLE: Chief Executive Officer EMPLOYER: Intercom PREVIOUS ROLE: Chief Operating Officer, Intercom

NEW TITLE: Digital Marketer EMPLOYER: Esri Ireland PREVIOUS ROLE: Digital Marketing Executive, Irish Institute of Digital Business

Karen Peacock has succeeded Eoghan McCabe as Chief Executive Officer of Irish-founded tech company Intercom. McCabe is to become Chairman. Having joined Intercom in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer, Peacock has been key in helping the company to expand beyond its core client base towards having household names as customers. She previously led the small business products and services division at financial software company Intuit for eight years.

1.

Geographic information systems specialist Esri Ireland has appointed Ellen Scully as Digital Marketer. In this new role, Scully will be involved with the planning and execution of digital marketing campaigns at Esri Ireland. She will also be responsible for the promotion of the Esri Ireland ArcGIS for Schools programme - an initiative which makes the company’s digital mapping software freely available to students across the island of Ireland.

Always say yes to new career opportunities. Often, other people recognise your future potential.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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2.

Knowing the personality traits of your team will help you to be a better people manager.

DAVID ELLIOT Chief Execuitive Officer, Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland Dave Elliot is taking over as Chief Executive Officer of Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland, following Tom Browne’s decision to retire after 40 years of working life. Elliot is currently Chief of Staff to the Group CEO at Aviva plc having previously served as Chief Financial Officer for Aviva International and Director of Investor Relations. A qualified chartered accountant, he joined Aviva in 2009. He has been a Director of Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland since June 2018. DECLAN O’ROURKE Interim Chief Executive Officer, Aviva Insurance Ireland Aviva Insurance Ireland has announced the appointment of Declan O’Rourke as interim Chief Executive Officer. Subject to regulatory approvals, O’Rourke will take up his role on 1 September from Nick Amin who will be moving to take the role as interim Chief Operating Officer in Aviva Group. O’Rourke was previously General Manager at AIG Ireland, a role he held for eight years. A qualified chartered accountant, he worked for AIG for 26 years, holding a number of senior management roles both in Ireland and internationally.

3.

Cultivate a community of success and work towards nurturing young talent into key roles.

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20/08/2020 11:34


START-UPS

Start-Up Central

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

60%

The percentage of entrepreneurs who anticipate a return to normal trading within 12 months, according to the EY Entrepreneur of the Year survey.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

PLASMABOUND CLOSES €1.1M INVESTMENT ROUND University College Dublin spin-out PlasmaBound has closed a €1.1m investment round, led by the Atlantic Bridge University Fund, with Enterprise Ireland and a number of private investors. The company has developed a novel surface treatment technology to enable global manufacturing industries to reduce product weight and meet fuel efficiency and carbon emissions requirements. Called controlled polymer ablation, PlasmaBound’s patented technology uses a repeatable and highspeed one-step process, involving the structural adhesive joining of lightweight materials. It enables global players in the automotive, aerospace/ space and wind turbine industries to achieve light-weighting goals with simplified and fully automated workstreams.

PAUL MCGOWAN

FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR, SEASPRAY FINANCIAL How did you fund your business initially? I used my own personal resources to fund the business. I had previously built and sold a financial services business and was able to utilise some of those proceeds as seed capital for this one.

Paul McGowan

What’s the best advice you were given? When training as a chartered accountant my father told me three business principles, which apply to all aspects of life to this day: ‘One and one is always two …it never changes’, ‘If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck’ and ‘Always watch out for the moral of the story The Emperor’s New Clothes’. What was the most important lesson you learned starting out? Cash flow is key to the survival of a business. So you must cut your cloth to meet your needs and always watch the cash. Your biggest make or break moment? For Seaspray Financial Services I believe it is landing the Seaspray Private Team as part of our new wealth management division, where we have clearly identified an opportunity in the market.

Would you change anything in hindsight? I would have taken the jump to the cloud from the very outset of our business rather than in quarter four of 2019. It has been the greatest positive from a technical point of view as we have been able to be fully operational right through the Covid-19 lockdown with no interruption to our business. Company: Seaspray Financial Services Limited Location: HQ – 25 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 with a presence in Cork, Limerick and Galway Product:

Financial advice, wealth management and mortgage broking

Staff:

12

Website: www.seasprayfs.ie and www.seasprayprivate.ie

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AWS ACTIVATE PROGRAMME UNDERWAY A new collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is providing access to a range of resources, benefits and technologies to entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to help them innovate and grow. The AWS Activate programme is being made available to Enterprise Ireland start-up companies, including New Frontiers Phase II programme participants and High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs). To date, Enterprise Ireland HPSUs have availed of over €4m in AWS credits through AWS Activate. Benefits include access to experts who can offer guidance and support to help businesses leverage the latest secure cloud technologies such as data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 11:36


START-UPS

Conor Fennelly, Founder and CEO, Leveris

Anthony Cronin, Co-founder and CEO, Ordee

LEVERIS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LINK GROUP

STUDENT TAPS INTO RISE IN HOME BAKING Spotting an opportunity during the Covid-19 crisis, 16-year old Tim O’Driscoll has launched a baking mix business called Fastnet Foods and based in Skibbereen, Co Cork. The concept grew originally from a school Home Economics project, during which O’Driscoll saw the cost and potential waste when buying ingredients for baking recipes. “We sold 1,000 mixes in the first 10 days through a network of SuperValu stores across West Cork,” he says. “With customer feedback and demand, we are confident and ready now to scale to target the national market. We are also selling our baking mixes online.”

Tim O’Driscoll, Founder, Fastnet Foods

NE TO WATCH: ORDEE

Technology developed by Dublin-based start-up Leveris has enabled financial services firm Link Group to enter the Dutch market. Since deployment, the Leveris Digital Banking Platform has helped deliver a 70% reduction in average loan application to drawdown time, enabled the on-boarding of additional lenders to the platform in less than four weeks, and delivered a significant reduction in operational costs for Link Group. The platform is also helping lenders to easily manage payment breaks for struggling borrowers during the global pandemic. “If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the future of banking is digital,” said Leveris CEO Conor Fennelly, who founded the company in 2016.

Co-founded by CEO Anthony Cronin and Criostóir O’Codlatáin Lachtna, Ordee was brought to market in May in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Government’s Back to Work Safely Protocol. It is a cloudbased GPS app that allows customers to see where is safe to go in real time, while giving hospitality businesses the ability to monitor and comply with social distancing guidelines and engage positively with customers. Since its launch, around 200 businesses nationwide have requested demos and Cronin expects take-up to soar in the coming months. “Publicans, restauranteurs and many other business owners are struggling to see how they can maintain compliance standards and still operate their business, while keeping costs down. With Ordee, we have taken these key obstacles, developed solutions to address them and centralised the solutions in one easy-to-use app,” says Cronin, who is founder of the international awardwinning app Flexiwage. He and O’Codlatáin Lachtna also co-founded the Wowit app, another geo-tech creation on which Ordee was based.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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20/08/2020 11:37


ENTREPRENEUR

ENTREPRENEUR: MICHAEL O’HARA Michael O’Hara is at the helm of Dublin-based DataSolutions, a specialist distributor of transformational IT solutions which has recorded an impressive growth spurt since entering the UK Market.

Q: Would you say you always had a

business head on your shoulders? MOH: My career started at a tender age, working in my family’s pub in Granard, Co Longford. That’s where my interest in business was born. I studied accountancy when I finished school. While working in an accountancy practice, I was first drawn to the IT sector when I was sent on a nine-month secondment as Acting Financial Controller for Datacode Electronics, a company that manufactured modem technology. I really enjoyed the innovative nature of the industry as well as the fast pace and continual change within it. I returned to the accountancy firm but when two former Datacode Electronics colleagues asked me to get involved with a new venture, DataSolutions, I jumped in and haven’t looked back since. I joined the company as Financial Controller in 1993, was appointed Financial Director in 1995 and then became Group Managing Director in 2000. Q: What would you say has been the secret

to the success and growth of DataSolutions? 14

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MOH: The short answer is it comes down to the team of colleagues I work with in DataSolutions every day and the world-class service they give our partners. Our company mantra is ‘Service powering success’, which means not only delivering cutting-edge technology solutions but offering in-depth expertise across the areas of mobility, security, networking, hyperconvergence and enterprise cloud. This knowledge and experience set us apart; they allow us to offer what other, often bigger, distributors don’t – a specialist service which is both professional and personal. Of course, we have to back up the customer service with innovative solutions, so choosing the right technologies and partners has been crucial. Q: Why did DataSolutions decide to enter

the UK market and what has this meant for the business? MOH: The move into the UK was a big turning point for us in terms of growth. While we have only been there since 2016, our UK operations now account for 50% of the overall business. We were considering the InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 11:38


ENTREPRENEUR

I always come back to the fact that people are the secret ingredient to success. When you hire the right people, it makes a world of difference.

Michael O’Hara Group Managing Director DataSolutions

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ENTREPRENEUR MOH: It isn’t so much a mantra, but I would say that I live by the lesson that ‘Communication is key’. This is something that we have really tried to instil within the company. With so many people still working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, communication with both staff and customers has never been more vital for team morale, service delivery, customer interaction, and so on. Again, the latest technologies are really showing their value here. Q: What key lessons have you Michael O’Hara, Group Managing Director, DataSolutions

INNOVATIVE PARTNER INITIATIVES During the lockdown, DataSolutions ran a ‘Service powering success’ webinar series with high-profile guest speakers. One of these included a representative of Formula One who spoke about how businesses can adapt and evolve in the lockdown. When motor racing was stopped worldwide, it evolved to offer fans a credible online alternative with virtual F1 racing events. “We understand that we can’t physically meet our partners at the moment, but we are still dedicated to engaging with them, educating them and providing the same level of customer service they have come to expect. The webinars are just a small part of this,” says Michael O’Hara, Group Managing Director, DataSolutions, which is planning to launch Cloud Security Sales Workshops designed for reseller organisations later this year.

learned as Group Managing Director of DataSolutions? MOH: I always come back to the fact that people are the secret ingredient to success. When you hire the right people, it makes a world of difference. That’s why we put a lot of effort and time into recruitment. We don’t just want talented people; we want talented people who are also a good fit for the organisation. Taking the time to get this right has worked very well for us and played a major part in getting us to where we are today. Q: Can you highlight some recent key

achievements at DataSolutions? MOH: Any business can have a spike in

“IT ISN’T SO MUCH A MANTRA, BUT I WOULD SAY THAT I LIVE BY THE LESSON THAT ‘COMMUNICATION IS KEY’. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE REALLY TRIED TO INSTIL WITHIN THE COMPANY.” move for well over a year before we actually did it. As well as the UK being the sixth biggest market in the world, there is an affinity with the Irish business landscape. Entering the market has enabled us to achieve our goal of doubling the business within three years. From a Brexit perspective, we have only known what it’s like to operate in the UK with it as the backdrop so it hasn’t really changed our approach or objectives.

terms of growth, but I think when you can do this steadily and consistently over a number of years, it’s a good indicator that you are doing something right. We have achieved 30% growth for the past four years, culminating in a 57% increase during our most recent financial year. At the end of March, we hit €74m in turnover which was a huge achievement for the 31-strong team. The goal now is to continue this and try to double the business every three years. We have done it already and we can do it again.

Q: How do you see general business growth progressing in light of Covid-19? MOH: There is no doubt that we are in a recession and many industries – such

Q: Where would you like to be with

as retail, tourism and transport – are suffering. A lot of small businesses have been forced to close and may not reopen. All of these are customers of our partners, so if their businesses are struggling, or indeed no longer trading, that will affect revenue opportunities for everyone. Having said that, IT has been somewhat of a hero during this crisis because it has enabled people to work from home. Technology allowed businesses that shut their doors to continue working and trading online throughout the lockdown. We are very lucky in that IT has proven to be more resilient than other sectors but also in that it is helping to support those that are facing new challenges.

MOH: I would like to be in the

Q: What are your mantras in business and how have they kept you going

and your business growing? 16

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DataSolutions in five years’ time? Caribbean! Why not? Assuming the Covid-19 situation settles down and there are no more big surprises, we would like to meet our aim of growing the business to a turnover of €100m by 2022 and €200m three years after that. Expansion into new markets in Europe is also part of the plan but for now we are focused on supporting our partners in whatever way we can to help them overcome the challenges they’re currently facing. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 11:38


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19/08/2020 17:44


COVER STORY

THE PROMISE OF PRIVACY Tapping into the growing popularity of artificial intelligence and the need to comply with privacy legislation, Beacon AI looks set to be one of serial entrepreneur Niamh Parker’s most successful undertakings yet with real global potential.

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N

iamh Parker believes that one of the essential traits of an entrepreneur is the ability to see gaps and recognise where industries need improvements and advancements. This has been the cornerstone of her work in technology over the past seven years and shines through with one of her most recent ventures, Beacon AI, which released its Data Privacy Compass solution last January. Originally set up in 2017 in Skibbereen, Co Cork in response to the onset of GDPR and the rise in interest in operational software to run privacy teams and programmes, Beacon AI’s solutions are built to easily adapt to emerging global privacy legislations. The leadership team entered into discussions and negotiations for early acquisition as Parker was interested in incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into

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NATURALLY, THE PROMOTION OF DATA AS AN INTEGRAL BUSINESS TOOL MEANS THAT COMPANIES ARE, AND INCREASINGLY WILL BE, BUILT ON PRIVACY BY DESIGN, WHICH IS WHERE BEACON AI SPECIALISES.”

Niamh Parker, Co-founder and CEO, Beacon AI

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the solution offering. Now based in Glandore, one of Cork City’s prestigious flexible office spaces, Beacon AI’s acquisition by Algo Data Group concluded in July 2019. “AI is becoming a more leveraged business asset as more companies are undertaking digital transformation, making data-driven decisions and using AI and automation to free up their teams to work on high-value tasks,” says Parker, who is Co-founder and CEO of Beacon AI. “Naturally, the promotion of data as an integral business tool means that companies are, and increasingly will be, built on privacy by design, which is where Beacon AI specialises.” The Data Privacy Compass is Beacon AI’s automated workflow solution that demonstrates endto-end compliance for privacy. It is designed by privacy professionals to be user-friendly to non-privacy professionals. “What sets this software-as-a-service apart is that it is a simple tool to help organisations manage their privacy requirements without stress, confusion or complication. Our clients tell us they couldn’t operate their privacy office without it,” Parker explains. Further to the acquisition, Beacon AI deepened its relationship with its anchor client Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) and became one of its ‘Hive’ partners. This meant it could develop the Data Privacy Compass closely with AMS. “Developing this solution ‘in the room’ with a customer gives it an edge enviable to competitors. It helped us to avoid ‘scope creep’ and allowed us to drive efficiencies in the privacy office,” says Parker. Thanks to its automated solution, Beacon AI is one of the few companies with the capability to service a Subject Rights Request (SRR) end-to-end. Recently selected by Gartner as one of the top data privacy companies in Europe, Beacon AI also features in Gartner’s 2020 Market Guide for Subject Rights Request Automation. “When an SRR comes in, the clock starts ticking, placing huge pressure on the organisation to respond within 30 days – the legal timeframe 20

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Niamh Parker, Co-founder and CEO, Beacon AI

under the GDPR you have to comply with to avoid fines,” says Parker. “The automation in our solution has brought the time it could take to respond to an SRR down from 18 days to three days.” Parker sees significant potential for Beacon AI globally: “Privacy is only starting! GDPR has been the starting point for it globally so we are in a strong position to achieve early adoption. India and Canada have mature privacy legislation and we see many countries across the world gearing up to put privacy legislation in place.” Beacon AI has developed a standalone solution for the California Consumer Privacy Act [CCPA], the first US privacy legislation of its kind, and is focusing on exporting to California in the third quarter of this year. “A lot of our leads come from the US where they are just getting started with privacy policies and statements, so we see huge potential in the Americas,” Parker notes. APPROACH TO INNOVATION Parker says she is passionate about privacy and lives for innovation. “I have a really good intuition for calling gaps in markets and industries that could be enhanced with technology.” A key example of this was her first tech project in 2013. While studying law, Parker realised there was a huge gap in the matching of graduates with employers, so she developed GrifAlgo, a matching algorithm based on a candidate’s personality traits rather than their skills and competencies. “When I should have been looking for the right match for myself as a graduate to enter InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 11:39


into the legal industry, I couldn’t do it as I was so busy trying to solve the problem I had identified,” she recalls. With Beacon AI, Parker’s approach to innovation to drive the business is to keep an eye on the big picture. For example, when Covid-19 happened, the team accelerated the launch of Beacon AI’s ethical hacking and digital forensic services as there was an acute need for these with the dramatic shift to remote working. “Now that the panic is subsiding, we can see a clear interest in privacy being rekindled by the public and we predict a large volume of Data Subject Access Requests following the pandemic,” notes Parker. “Healthcare will now be a huge focus for Beacon AI. We are looking at our SRR portal and upgrading it to comply with the latest emerging legislation globally, namely those in the US such as CCPA 2.0 and the New York Privacy Act, which is hoped to be implemented by 2021.” AN ENTREPRENEUR AT HEART Parker’s entrepreneurial spirit first emerged when she was 17 and studying sports science with leisure management in the UK. She set up ‘Healthy You’, a weight management programme built on a questionnaire-based lifestyle assessment, which she successfully sold to hotels and leisure centres. In 2003, at the age of 23, she opened a Thai restaurant in Kinsale, Co Cork that went on to become The Thai Cottage franchise. “While in the UK I worked part-time in a Thai restaurant. Later on, back in Ireland, I had a car crash which was a lifechanging moment. I returned to the UK to help a friend in her Thai restaurant and we decided to open one in Ireland,” she says. The credit crunch following the 2008 recession prompted Parker to do an LLB followed by an LLM in European and Comparative Law focused on Information Technology Law and Privacy at the University of Malta. This represented the turning point towards becoming a tech entrepreneur and that first project, GrifAlgo, which is named after her son Griffin. A business she set up later, InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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Alana, was named after her daughter of the same name (see panel). “I’ve been running my own business from a young age so keeping the lights on isn’t an issue for me and being an employer isn’t a challenge. This year I studied interpersonal communication at University College Cork to help me communicate more effectively. It has been the best investment in my professional career thus far,” Parker notes. During Covid-19, she became very mindful of Beacon AI’s team of eight people and how best to support them. “With an all-female leadership team, it was important to act quickly as they were trying to juggle childcare, working from home and home-schooling. At the beginning we used daily Zoom meetings to check in on everyone. Then we decided to introduce an employee assistance programme with a counselling option built-in and a business coach to help people realise their potential,” she explains. “Our culture is very proactive. The team was very quick to pivot to the needs of our clients in launching the ethical hacking solution in late March to assist them in protecting sensitive data and intellectual property when working from home. We enlisted a highly regarded trainer to help us to lock down a winning sales process and implement it. This was a very collaborative exercise with all departments consulted to make sure we are working at our best.” In general, Parker believes that women are great when leading a team as an entrepreneur as they foster strong loyalty in their people by tuning into their personal goals and aligning those to the company mission. “Women innately understand the need for flexibility to allow their teams to respond to issues that arise in family life and move schedules around to fit in with what’s important at home. To invest trust and value in a team creates incredible loyalty down the line and makes a real difference when it comes to winning in business,” she says.

ALANA a passion project

After Niamh Parker’s third child was born in 2016, she started thinking about a solution for on-demand shopping. She worked through the process while participating in the Ignite programme at University College Cork, then went on to take part in the CorkBIC Entrepreneur Experience where mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs made her realise this was a viable and scalable business. “My passion led to Alana launching earlier this year with its own executive team. It is getting considerable traction in retail technology with its unique selling point – using artificial intelligence to learn about users’ style and recommend looks and products to them,” Parker explains. Her husband Allan Beechinor co-founded Alana with her, as well as Beacon AI and Altada Technology Solutions, where he is CEO. “I’m an ideas person and while I am great at identifying gaps and problems, as a technologist, Allan is key in helping me build the solution.”

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

Hit ďŹ rst, hit hardest and expected to take the longest to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, the tourism industry is tackling unprecedented challenges through collaboration and clever rethinking of individual offerings.

Tourism PUT TO THE TEST Ring of Clare Cycle

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

H GUINNESS STOREHOUSE – SOON IS NOW In July and August, Guinness Storehouse became the exclusive exhibition space for ‘Creatives Against Covid-19’. The ‘Soon is Now’ exhibition featured all of the artwork from the campaign, which saw creatives around the world reframe the crisis into a showing of hope by exploring ideas of togetherness, solidarity and resilience. Anyone who bought a print was offered complimentary admission to the Guinness Storehouse until 31 August. As well as having a newly revamped Gravity Bar, Guinness Storehouse has also opened its restaurant to the public for the first time, without the need for an experience ticket. To mark this, it is collaborating with Fire & Smoke on a selection of dishes paired with Guinness products.

ardly a day goes by lately without another piece of news to hammer home how devastating the Covid-19 pandemic has been for the Irish tourism industry. Whether it’s the Government’s decision not to re-open ‘wet’ pubs, the two-week lockdown in the Midlands or Central Statistics Office figures showing a 97.1% drop in overseas arrivals in June, there’s just no getting away from the harsh reality. International visitors usually account for around three quarters of the Irish tourism economy. In the short- to medium-term, the dramatic loss of these visitors has meant a wholesale shift in strategy towards appealing to a much smaller domestic market and encouraging “staycations”. Fáilte Ireland has been leading the charge in this with its ‘Make a Break for It’ domestic marketing campaign and 23 local Destination Recovery Teams, amongst other initiatives. Mark O’Connell is Managing Director of consultancy Repucon, which was recently involved in the creation of the Niche Destination Plan for Ennis, Co Clare. This three-year recovery plan is focused on getting tourism providers across the county to work together to promote Ennis as a safe base from which to explore the wider region, including the Wild Atlantic Way, Loop Head and Hidden Heartlands. “The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a heightened level of partnership and collaboration generally in the tourism industry,” says O’Connell. “It has introduced opportunities to tap into local culture and activities that may have previously been lost. Destinations have become more savvy in terms of marketing and how they communicate. The narrative is more about reassurance, being welcoming and providing compelling reasons to visit. Every campaign is calling out natural resources and intriguing experiences to reawaken the domestic visitor’s mind as to what’s on their doorstep.”

Ennis, Co. Clare

Carbon Tax Fund 2020 is another positive in terms of investing in the future of walking and cycling. Accommodation providers are tapping into Ireland’s greenways and outdoor activities to create packages. Whereas previously hotels or guesthouses may have had a strong product focus, now they are talking up the destination and providing itineraries, according to O’Connell. “All of a sudden the tastes and motivations of the domestic market have changed. Instead of transitioning out of areas after one or two nights, Irish people are staying in one place for a week or two as their main holiday, so they will want to explore around them and have things to do,” he explains. The family market is front of mind until the end of August (providing that schools actually reopen) and after that couples and the older generation will become a new focus for tourism providers, in O’Connell’s view. The Stay and Spend Incentive announced in the July Stimulus Package is hoped to provide an impetus for such people to take breaks in the off-peak season of October/November. Adare Manor in Limerick, which reopened on 30 July, has introduced a new ‘Scaycation-moon’ experience, specially designed for couples that were planning to marry in the Spring or Summer

REASSURANCE RHETORIC The widespread uptake of Fáilte Ireland’s Covid Safety Charter has been important in terms of the reassurance agenda. And the announcement of €4.5m in funding for 26 greenway projects at the end of July under the Horse-drawn carriage, Adare Manor

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

in their lives without compromising the luxury experience they were first seeking.” Adare Manor has introduced new outdoor dining experiences and enhanced its 840-acre grounds where a wide range of activities take place, including the new additions of yoga, meditation, treasure hunts and bush trail adventures.

Stateroom, Adare Manor

SIXT – CAR RENTAL FIRSTS Very early in the crisis, carhire company Sixt identified that there may be longer term shortages in passengers coming through Dublin Airport, its traditional major source of business. So it pivoted towards the domestic market with the introduction of a a9.99 a day rental deal. “We believed that we needed to prove that, given the current circumstances and people’s reluctance to share public transport due to the virus, car rental is a safe way to travel that is also affordable,” says Adrian Treacy, Corporate Sales and Channel Manager at Sixt, which has been in Ireland for nine years. “To the best of our knowledge this is the first offer of its kind currently available on the market.” Sixt is working on other promotions in Ireland, such as the first car rental offering on Pigsback.com, where you can purchase a voucher towards the cost of your car rental at a significant discount. It is also in the process of launching partnerships with a select number of hotels around the country to create packages such as two nights B&B, dinner and car rental.

of 2020 and had to postpone or cancel their plans due to the pandemic. The personalised three-day escape includes the option of a professional photo shoot. “We have received many enquiries and requests from guests looking for something very special on the date they were due to get married or go on honeymoon,” says Anita Higgins, Director of Business Development at Adare Manor. “Our hope is to provide a safe and secure space for them to celebrate this milestone

OUTDOOR ADVANTAGE There is no doubt that having grounds and outdoor capacity is a distinct advantage as we continue to live with the coronavirus and tourism providers with these attributes are doing all they can to embrace this while delivering safe experiences. Set in the middle of a 1,500-acre estate in the heart of the Boyne Valley, Co Meath, Slane Castle is a case in point. “Like everyone in hospitality, the Slane Castle Estate has faced significant challenges as a result of Covid-19, but it’s giving us the chance to rethink and adapt our business model,” says Alex Conyngham, the Earl of Mount Charles and Co-founder of Slane Castle Distillery, which opened on the grounds in 2017. “We are rethinking the use of our spaces, inside and out. On Rock Farm, we have turned our events venue into a successful farmers’ market every Thursday and have developed a family-friendly walk with views across the Boyne to the castle. In addition, we plan to launch a combined tour of the castle and distillery and are

Slane Castle

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

Walled Garden, Airfield House

excited to be working on plans for 2021 to celebrate 40 years of the legendary Slane Castle Concerts.” Before the pandemic, Airfield Estate, Gardens & Farm in Dundrum in Dublin was already doing things differently in terms of an outdoor visitor experience. This social enterprise operates on an actual working farm, producing organic vegetables to supply its restaurant and milking its Jersey herd daily and pasteurising the milk on-site. “Over 300,000 people visited us annually to see our ornamental gardens, learn about food and farming, attend our workshops and cookery school and support our producers’ market,” says John O’Toole, Director of Operations and Sustainability at Airfield Estate. “Our board agreed that all 100 staff should be retained through the lockdown and it was an opportunity for the team to use their time, knowledge and expertise to contribute to the community.” The first initiative was to produce a range of ‘click and collect’ market boxes containing fresh, seasonal products. The team also prepared around 15,000 meals for the most vulnerable people in the community. “Instagram accounts kept our customers connected with the gardens and all newborn arrivals and our chefs posted simple baking and cooking options for children and adults,” says O’Toole.

The estate reopened on a phased basis from 20 May and visitor numbers have been steady, he adds. The Stables and HorseBox cafes are open for food and beverages and people can now preorder a picnic to eat on the estate. “We have been able to start afternoon tea in Airfield House and the walled garden, which is a unique experience supported by our events and culinary team. Our weekend producers’ market remains a hive of activity supporting local Irish producers and we are holding pop-up outdoor dining experiences in August and September,” notes O’Toole. “There are certainly challenges ahead. Our food festival in September has been cancelled, events are slowly returning but we remain optimistic that people will staycation and seek out and find this hidden gem in the city.”

The HorseBox Cafe, Airfield House

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MENTORS

: @dexaldesign

MENTOR: FERGAL BROPHY

RAPID RE-IMAGINING Facilitator, mentor, event host, speaker, Founder of Fergal Brophy Innovation and Enterprise Specialist at the UCD Innovation Academy Fergal Brophy is in the thick of things when it comes to businesses having to quickly adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic and seek out new opportunities.

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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MENTORS

In

2008, Fergal Brophy was in the throes of agreeing a trade sale to Irish Life of Open Financial Services, a fintech company he co-founded, which was subsequently completed in 2014. He distinctly remembers at the time that the entire narrative was around retrenchment and cutting back and the sense that everybody had to do this immediately. This time around as the country and the world deal with unprecedented economic turmoil as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, he finds it interesting that the consensus is the exact opposite as regards a response – creativity and innovation are the way to solve the problem and we’re going to have to spend our way out of the crisis. “This way of thinking applies now to everything from politics, society and healthcare to business; everything is up for grabs. A recent YouGov survey showed that 91% of people in the UK don’t want to return to life as it was before the pandemic – they want fairer lives for everyone, a greener environment, more investment in healthcare and better value for customers. To me, this is a turning point. People are saying enough is enough and they want things to be different from now on,” says Brophy. “Everybody I speak to – whether it is in the public sector, large corporates, SMEs or business associations – is saying we need to re-imagine our relationship with customers, the way we work, processes, systems, even our business models, in order to capture, create and deliver value.” Brophy cites the McKeon Group, a 70-year old, third-generation construction firm in Ashbourne, Co Meath as a prime example of this in action. Using Microsoft Apps, the team reacted to Covid-19 by developing the ‘Good2Go’ solution to allow construction firms to get their workers back on sites safely and efficiently in a hassle-free, paperless way. The family business plans to invest significantly in innovation between now and Christmas. LEARNING TO LISTEN The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a new kind of supportive nature within our culture, in Brophy’s view. “In the past where people may have been dismissive or blocked things InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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for their own egos or silos, now that kind of negativity is gone and people are much more prepared to listen to each other. This is a real impetus for innovation, the very essence of which is collaboration and mutual accountability,” he says. “Young people have had an amazing opportunity and earned a new-found respect within organisations – more senior or older colleagues who might have been afraid of virtual tools and collaboration are turning to younger people and asking them ‘how do we do this?’. Working with numerous companies in the past few months on various innovation projects, Brophy has noticed a significant change in attitude. Innovation is now seen as such a positive thing rather than a waste of time or a nice-to-have. “This will have a huge impact long-term as bosses increasingly go with it,” he predicts. Practising what he preaches, Brophy looked at re-inventing his own business, Fergal Brophy Innovation, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He quickly switched from doing everything inperson to running programmes and hosting events online. He has since MC’d the National Treasury Management

“EVERYBODY

I SPEAK TO

– WHETHER IT IS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR, LARGE CORPORATES, SMES OR BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS – IS SAYING

WE NEED TO RE-IMAGINE

OUR

RELATIONSHIP WITH CUSTOMERS, THE WAY WE

WORK, PROCESSES,

SYSTEMS, EVEN OUR

BUSINESS MODELS, IN

ORDER TO CAPTURE, CREATE AND

DELIVER VALUE.”

Fergal Brophy

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MENTORS

FERGAL BROPHY ON… ONLINE VERSUS IN-PERSON “Doing something online is not better or worse than in person, just different. We need to stop comparing the two. For example, the chatbot function during Zoom meetings allows participants to send messages of support or share relevant links. This is something we don’t have in physical meetings and can result in gold.” EARLY INFLUENCES “In my early career, I was blessed to work with Nivea, PepsiCo and Kellogg’s and was involved in the R&D departments of all three. These companies are so focused on customers’ needs and so innovative. Nobody in the world is better at knowing how to develop new products and services for existing customers.” ATTITUDES TO INNOVATION “When working with companies, I look at innovation in terms of new products or services, new ways of working, processes and new business models. As a result of Covid-19 there has been a big shift towards new ways of working – an online poll of Irish businesses showed that 60% want to focus their innovation effort on this now, compared to 0% this time last year.”

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Agency (NTMA) Innovation Awards, hosted a series of Agile Innovation Supports webinars for Enterprise Ireland, spoken at webinars for Drogheda, Dundalk and Meath Chambers and facilitated a two-week problem-solving sprint for PwC. “As a conservative public sector organisation, the NTMA would not consider doing events online initially, but then accepted this was part of the ‘new normal’. We ran its innovation awards online as an hour-long, high-tempo, immersive and fun event. Hundreds of people across the organisation tuned in and we had various games to get people to flex their creative muscles, share and laugh,” notes Brophy. One of these games was a challenge to come up with alternative uses for the Poolbeg chimneys in Dublin. Online events can overcome networking challenges too, according to Brophy. “At the Collision tech conference in Canada recently, people were able to go into virtual break-out rooms based on sector or size of business with a facilitator to get everybody chatting. There was also a type of speed dating, where two people could talk to each other in a virtual room for two minutes,” he says. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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MENTORS

FRESH APPROACH During lockdown, Brophy devised a programme called Business Model Blitz, designed to allow owner managers to take time out to work with peers on re-imagining their business. He has already piloted the five-day programme with Shannon Chamber members Get the Shifts, Core Optimisation and Troy Packaging. All that was required was to commit to two to four self-directed hours per day online, during which they would be energised, motivated and supported to re-evaluate their businesses and identify new opportunities in light of the current situation and its impact on the future. Brophy sent the participants a simple instructional email appropriate to their business at 8am each morning, accompanied by links to short, highly relevant explainer videos. “I set them daily tasks and called them each evening to share outcomes and examine creative, innovative ways to address the following day’s tasks. They had to generate and assess potential business models, prototype and test a chosen model, and at the end of the week, pitch an implementation plan for that model,” he explains. “On the first morning, I asked all three companies ‘How many of your customers have you been talking to?’. There can be a reluctance to reach out to customers and find out what their immediate needs are. In Ireland we’re not very good at empathy in business, as our instinct is to sell. We find it hard to ask customers what their pain points and hassles are as a result of Covid-19. The Business Model Blitz participants couldn’t believe how quickly customers responded to their emails and to find that everybody wanted to support them.” The insights the companies gained from customers helped to drive innovations. For example, Get the Shifts, whose main focus is supplying staff for shift work to hospitality companies, has gone into partnership with a carpentry company in Limerick. It is providing an end-to-end service helping clients to adjust InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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the layout of their premises and introduce concierge-type staff to monitor the flow of people. Meanwhile, by the end of the week, digital marketing company Core Optimisation had redesigned its website and gone live with an offering around helping retailers maximise their online presence using a Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme grant. A year ago Brophy decided to split his time equally between his own business and the UCD Innovation Academy, where he is an Entrepreneurial Specialist and designs and delivers enterprise and innovation modules. In the next academic year, all of the UCD Innovation Academy’s programmes will be run online. “The two sides of my work are complementary. It’s great for the students at the academy to have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in

the corporate and SME world as I am out there all the time,” he says. “I learn from them too. Undergraduates have been somewhat forgotten with Covid-19 and a lot of their big concerns are around wellbeing. The aim of the UCD Innovation Academy is to foster creative mindsets so that people can be more flexible, agile and resilient. The pace of change is savage now. We encourage students to be open to change, but to take the knocks and get back up again.” 29

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

POOLING

RESOURCES Set up by Paul Davis in 2013, Davis Virtual Events Agency has successfully pivoted its strategy in response to Covid-19 by working closely with clients to ďŹ nd innovative solutions to the new challenges they face.

Q: Why did you decide to set up Davis Events Agency (as the company was originally known)? PD: With my past experience in live events and pop culture, I felt there were many areas of brand events and employee engagement that weren’t being fully explored in Ireland and I had an opportunity

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to bring influences to develop this market. In the past three to four years, Davis Events Agency was growing strongly, with an approximate 25% yearon-year growth rate and a creative team of 14. Q: How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted your business? PD: Initially, we were busy dealing with the fallout of events being postponed or cancelled.

There was a lot of uncertainty. However, the impact of Covid-19 really brought us closer to our clients and enabled us to work with them to develop a deeper understanding of their business model, why they were doing engagement strategies, what the outcome required was and so on. This led us to develop strategies that enabled us to do what we were expected to do, but in a different way. We developed a partnership approach with clients and pooled our research to find solutions to new challenges.

Q: Can you tell me about your innovation lab and how exactly that works? PD: As one of our strategies to overcome problems presented by Covid-19, we put together our own internal team made up of creative, strategy, design, operations and safety experts partnering with our suppliers, contractors and clients. We started to research not only how we could help clients with physical and tactical barriers such as having to close offices but also to creatively bring solutions to the table for issues and challenges faced. We even set up our own remote studio

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

for events to assist clients and soften the experience. Our innovation lab was a destination to analyse and understand client requirements and how we could improve the event experience. For example, at the time there were many people training for the Cork and Dublin marathons who were facing travel restrictions and the closures of gyms. We worked with fitness guru Gary O’Hanlon to bring live Instagram coaching sessions to the masses. We turned marathons and training into virtual events, allowing people to run their own routes in their own time, encouraging positive mental health and navigating this approach in a more innovative way. We’ve also engaged with clients to create a party atmosphere between employees for online quizzes. In June we created a fireside chat with former President Mary McAleese that was hosted from her home and joined by delegates from across the world. Q: The launch of HanSan represents a new departure for your company. How did you come up with this? PD: We had a client with a pre-lockdown problem – they were rolling out events, needed to keep public spaces

open and required an effective safety procedure in place to manage this. By deploying a quick business pivoting strategy to meet this demand, we developed HanSan, a simple hand cleansing unit that effectively delivers hand sanitiser without the need to touch anything with your hands. HanSan also has no requirement for power or water. The product was developed in-house thanks to our innovation lab team. We brought all challenges together into a collective space between our team of digital and safety experts, alongside contractors and suppliers, to decipher how best to tackle the client’s problem. The unit is mobile, independent, robust, easy, and safe to install anywhere, including retail spaces, public buildings, in parks, on streets and inside venues. We installed our first prototype in the GPO and through the success of this agreed a nationwide rollout with An Post to install 45 units at post offices nationwide. HanSan is now in place at multiple venues including Dublin City Council’s head office, Malahide Castle and OPW parks nationwide with plenty more in the pipeline. Q: How important has been the development of your Creative Virtual and Hybrid Events? PD: Our Creative Virtual and Hybrid Events engage audiences and employees and overcome the technology barrier when hosting online

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events. We work with theatre companies and TV directors to amplify the impact of virtual and hybrid events for clients, and we have been taking an experiential approach to focus on people, experiences, and human connections. These types of events will continue to be important as there will always be people who cannot attend an event and by taking elements of these events online, it grows the reach to a global audience. Q: How important have your people been through this process? PD: We are grateful to have a team with a range of talents who have been able to adapt, pivot, innovate and very quickly come up with new solutions to new problems for clients. This is what the events industry has always been about – creating solutions immediately as challenges arise. The team has been the backbone of Davis Virtual Events through this challenging time. They have supported clients in ways we didn’t think were even possible whilst in turn managing to devise an effective and successful

pivoting strategy for our company that allows us to continue to grow and maintain our market position into the future. Q: Any other news or expansion plans that you can share with us? PD: There are lots of opportunities to help brands to deliver their vision as we face a new ‘normal’. One of the positive outcomes of Covid-19 has been more of a focus on employee engagement and welfare, which presents a new area of growth for Davis Virtual Events. Physical location is no longer as important for businesses as it was before, and this opens the international market to companies that are creative and innovative. We will soon launch the 2021 Cork City Marathon which will return physically on 6 June, 2021.

Paul Davis, CEO, Davis Virtual Events Agency

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SKILLS AND TALENT

SKILLS& TALENT

RE MOTE

P

OSS

IB IL I T Y

Working from home has been one of the key features of the Covid-19 pandemic and it looks like formalised remote working options will become more commonplace into the future.

In

recent weeks both Twitter and Facebook committed to making their current remote working practices available to staff in Ireland on a more permanent basis. A number of other companies have made similar noises and Maureen Lynch, Director of Hays Ireland, predicts that remote working will be central to many new company policies going forward into 2021. “Employers offering employees the opportunity to maintain a more flexible work-life balance by remote working is one of the positives that has emerged from the ‘new normal’,” she says. The Hays Ireland ‘Wellbeing Matters: What Workers Want Report 2020’ shows that half of employers in Ireland are planning flexible remote working policies as their top long-term change to workplaces going forward. At the same time, the research, which surveyed 1,700 people across the country, highlights that 30% of employers think establishing remote working arrangements with their people will be the greatest challenge when transitioning back to workplaces. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has conducted a public consultation to inform the delivery of guidance on remote working for

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both employers and employees. Clarity in areas including equality, health and safety, employment rights and the right to disconnect and data protection is due to be published. According to the Hays research, almost 40% of employees rate their current work-life balance as “average” or “poor”, with a lack of social interaction being the greatest challenge to their overall wellbeing (cited by 31% of respondents). It also revealed that 36% of employees plan to ask their employers for more flexibility when it comes to remote working. “Undoubtedly, companies will now see increased requests for flexibility and remote working options from InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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SKILLS AND TALENT

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EO, ACOI

CAREFUL COMMUNICATION Good, clear and regular communication will be key to achieving what Milton talks about. The Hays research shows that although two fifths of employers say the communication aspect of their organisation has gone through the most change since the pandemic, this is the area 50% of employees believe their employers should improve on. “Employers can look to improve their communications approach by checking in and updating employees on a more frequent basis; developing closer relationships with employees through communication both about work and outside of work duties; and monitoring wellbeing and work-life balance,” says Lynch. “This will foster an open communications channel between employers and employees, helping to achieve optimum productivity.” As organisations work hard to balance business sustainability and employee experience, there is a need for more action to maintain employee wellbeing through this crisis – in other words, tangible measures and policies that make a difference to people. For example, the Willis Towers Watson survey shows that 60% of employers surveyed have introduced shift flexibility to support those juggling childcare considerations, while 56% have already increased access to counseling. However, Lynch points out that the Hays research finds that 76% of Irish employees believe their employer has a responsibility to provide wellbeing support during the Covid-19 outbreak, yet less than half (45%) currently provide such supports. “Wellbeing support has proven to be important to employees during the pandemic and this will be a key factor for people considering a new role in the future. Over one third [36%] of employees want to prioritise their health and wellbeing more in their job now,” she notes.

Remote working risks

,C

Director, Talent and Rewards at Willis Towers Watson. “Effective leadership can rally employees to feel invested in a common purpose and embrace new ways of working.”

ag h

their staff, and while this could be an extremely positive development overall, it’s important to be mindful of pitfalls,” says Susan Kealy, organisational psychologist and Director of Buddingcareers.ie, which is an online employer/jobseeker matching platform. “Aside from the challenges faced by many parents who feel more as though they’re ‘parenting from work’ and doing both jobs badly, cabin fever and a lack of social interaction can be problematic. Social interaction, if defined by informal workplace relationships, has been scientifically proven to mitigate stress as well as minimise the development of negative attitudes about work.” This type of interaction is more difficult to accomplish over Zoom, and so it may be helpful for employers to consider what measures they can put in place to keep their people social, Kealy advises. “Options for one or two set office days per week or a greater emphasis on staff outings could help to ensure that the benefits of remote working are realised – without the problems.” Willis Towers Watson Covid-19 pulse survey research shows that the typical Irish organisation now has three quarters of its workforce working remotely – up from less than 10% prior to the Covid-19 crisis. According to this survey, employers in Ireland were quick to establish successful remote working environments while managing to broadly maintain productivity. Furthermore, 96% of organisations have put in place measures to keep employees updated through regular communication, with 85% making good use of platforms such as Slack, Teams and WhatsApp. On top of this, 84% of employers say that their people working from home have the technology, tools and resources needed to work productively for an extended period of time. “In an unprecedented and very global situation, employees need to see a joined-up company strategy that is able to balance a sustainable work environment and a viable business operation,” says Ian Milton, Senior

n va Ka l e a Mich

Increased risks of financial crime and cyber-attacks are being felt by nearly nine in ten Irish businesses as they adapt to new remote working practices, according to a survey of 600 members of the Association of Compliance Officers Ireland (ACOI) (mostly in the financial services sector). “This is an evolving story and the financial crime compliance community is having to adapt accordingly. Regulators around the world have been developing, issuing and updating guidance to firms,” says Michael Kavanagh, CEO of the ACOI. “Some of the risks we’re hearing a lot about include issues around fake documentation, the reliability of information sources, and data privacy and protection.”

THIS IS AN EVOLVING STORY AND THE FINANCIAL CRIME COMPLIANCE COMMUNITY IS HAVING TO ADAPT ACCORDINGLY. REGULATORS AROUND THE WORLD HAVE BEEN DEVELOPING, ISSUING AND UPDATING GUIDANCE TO FIRMS.

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MEDIA & MARKETING

ON THE Consumer behaviour – Covid-19 Kinetic Ireland conducted an industry study at the end of May in partnership with Spark Research, which identified four strong themes to consider when adapting OOH advertising strategies:

IMPORTANCE OF LOCALISED FORMATS: In Phase 1 of restrictions, consumers chose to shop local,

35%

shopping with within 1km of their home and

31% shopping within

1-2km of their home.

SPENDING POWER:

35%

of respondents agreed they would be spending more money once restrictions are lifted, with a further

41% planning to

spend money they saved during lockdown.

DESIRE TO VISIT PHYSICAL STORES: Two thirds of respondents planned on visiting a physical store when shops reopen,

47%

while agreed that they will reduce their online shopping post-lockdown.

VISIBILITY OF OOH:

23%

of respondents claim to have seen more OOH advertising during lockdown.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the flexibility of digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising when it comes to brands having to quickly adapt to changing environments.

The

prospect of a lockdown sent Irish consumers to supermarkets in their droves, stockpiling on toilet rolls and cleaning products, amongst other things. In mid-March grocery sales in Ireland shot up by 22% compared to the same period last year, according to Kantar Ireland research. Consumers were inclined to spend more, with an average increase of €122 a week being spent on groceries compared to the previous 12 weeks. All supermarket groups reported increases in sales. In response to the marked increase in footfall in these retail settings, specialists in innovative out-of-home (OOH) communications Kinetic Ireland worked with a number of Irish brands to adapt their strategies using digital out of office (DOOH) solutions. “Although classic OOH plays such an important role for brands, DOOH gives them the flexibility to change their messaging and display multiple creatives – all of which can be managed remotely,” explains Kinetic Ireland CEO Simon Durham. “We had several clients which ran a campaign at a moment’s notice in response to the pandemic using DOOH. For example, KBC ran a very effective campaign encouraging consumers to use contactless payments to protect retail workers. Brennans Bread used the pandemic to play on the humorous elements of it such as gardening and the lack of hairdresser services. All campaigns were strategically planned and executed on pointof-sale formats with long dwell times as people queued for groceries.”

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GETTING INTO DIGITAL DOOH first emerged in Ireland in 2009 when Bravo Outdoor introduced four large-format digital screens in key commuter stations in Dublin – Pearse, Tara Street, Heuston and Connolly. In that year Exterion Media was the first media owner to launch a DOOH retail format, which was dPods in premium shopping centres in Dublin. Fast forward to 2020, where there are now over 1,800 screens nationwide across multiple environments. “The media owners in Ireland have invested heavily in DOOH. It is now possible to buy a multi-environment DOOH campaign. Clear Channel Ireland launched Tesco Live in 2018. Since then Adtower launched its Digitower and DigiXtower formats, most recently installing digital units in SuperValu branches nationwide,” Durham explains. Probably the most noteworthy development in DOOH is that of the roadside formats, in his view. For example, last year JCDecaux launched its Digishelter digital bus shelter units on premium routes in Dublin, which followed on from its digipanel format and the Digipole. As with any medium, there are certain brands which lean more towards DOOH formats, but most of Kinetic Ireland’s clients use a multi-format approach across classic OOH and DOOH, according to Durham. Heineken, Warner, Unilever, JD Sports and Subway are among Kinetic Ireland’s clients. It also works with key media agencies such as Mindshare, Mediacom and Wavemaker. “OOH has many advantages, the key point being that it has the greatest potential daily InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 11:52


MEDIA & MARKETING

Simon Durham, CEO, Kinetic Ireland

: @dexaldesign

reach of any medium. It cannot be switched off; it is omnipresent and always visible to the audience across multiple environments,” he explains. “A powerful medium for brand launches and awareness campaigns, OOH works effectively in isolation but also in conjunction with other media. There is compelling evidence to prove how well TV and OOH work together and more recently OOH, digital and mobile formats.”

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SIGNS OF RECOVERY One of the oldest forms of advertising, OOH currently accounts for around 10% of total advertising revenue in Ireland. The captive retail audience aside, the Irish and global OOH environment has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in an overall decline. However, Kinetic Ireland is very positive for what lies ahead for OOH and DOOH. For a start, Locomizer data indicates a 42% growth in both vehicular and pedestrian traffic since 6 April, and that this trend is continuing to grow rapidly. “This highlights the importance of the OOH format for targeting consumers in the current environment, as many choose to travel by car rather than public transport,” says Durham, who is confident in the growth of the OOH audience returning to preCovid-19 levels this summer. Kinetic Ireland has developed a bespoke ‘Reigniting OOH’ series which examines how the OOH advertising industry is adapting to the Government’s phased approach to reopening the economy by tracking audiences and consumer behaviour. It has utilised the data to work with brands such as Now TV and Seat to help them to reach audiences on the move. The Reigniting OOH series has found that exposure to OOH advertising and its audience are beginning to gradually increase. “We can assume that the lifting of lockdown restrictions means that audiences will want to be out of their homes as much as possible,” says Durham. “Travel restrictions abroad mean that Irish people will be ‘staycationing’ for the summer of 2020, further strengthening the case for OOH. The flexibility of DOOH and its ability to complement digital and mobile puts OOH in a dominant position.” 35

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INNOVATION AND TECH

INNOVATION

ANDTECH

Ireland and indigenous Irish companies appear to be punching above their weight on the global stage in coming up with ways to respond to Covid-19 by leveraging cutting-edge technologies.

CORONAVIRUS CRUSADERS Within weeks

of the World Health Organization declaring Covid-19 a pandemic back in March, more than 100 Enterprise Ireland client companies had responded with innovative solutions. Largely thanks to this, Ireland came sixth in a global ranking of those countries responding best to the pandemic in terms of innovation. The survey was compiled by StartupBlink, a Swiss-Israeli producer of global start-up ecosystem maps, in association with the UN-backed Health Innovation Index and other partners. Inventive Covid-19 solutions coming out of Ireland range from medtech devices and diagnostics solutions to contact tracing software. The Irish contribution to tackling the virus is set to be boosted with the announcement of a â‚Ź25m Life Sciences Fund as part of the July Stimulus package. This follows EU Commission approval for a facility to provide up to â‚Ź200m in State aid for Covid-19-related products. The details of the life sciences scheme are currently being finalised and should be published soon.

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INNOVATION AND TECH HERE IS A FLAVOUR OF SOME OF THE IRISH COMPANIES WHICH HAVE STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE ALREADY IN TERMS OF LEVERAGING THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGIES TO ADDRESS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC:

APC – vaccine acceleration In June, Dublin-based research and development company APC announced a partnership with Vaxine, an Australian biotech company, which aims to accelerate the development and launch of a Covid-19 vaccine. Established in 2011 by Dr Mark Barrett and Prof Brian Glennan, APC utilises its proprietary technology platforms and research team to expedite how drug manufacturing processes are researched and developed. Working with both biological and synthetic molecules, APC’s processes help to reduce the time, cost and risk associated with the development of new medicines. The company employs 130 people, mostly chemical engineers and chemical, biotech and analytical scientists. “The world needs scientists to collaborate like never before,” said Barrett while being interviewed on RTÉ’s ‘Open for Business’. “We are hoping to move to clinical trials with Vaxine’s COVAX-19 vaccine in the coming months with a view to making it available to those who really need it at the start of 2021 and to be more widely accessible later in the year.”

HiberGene Diagnostics – towards faster testing

patientMpower – home monitoring of respiration A recipient of Science Foundation Ireland Covid-19 funding with Prof Madeleine Lowery of University College Dublin, patientMpower has developed a remote monitoring solution for Covid-19 on behalf of the Health Service Executive. It is helping to preserve hospital resources for those who need them most. The application enables remote monitoring of otherwise healthy patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms who are in self-isolation. Already live in several hospitals across Ireland, the application, on a patient’s phone or tablet, links to a wireless pulse oximeter which measures patients’ oxygen saturation – known to be a key indicator of coronavirus severity. All information captured by patients in the app is immediately available for health service staff to view in a secure patient data portal. patientMpower also has a separate “hospital avoidance” solution, which can be used to remotely monitor patients with underlying respiratory conditions.

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In May, HiberGene Diagnostics successfully completed CE marking of a new fast molecular Covid-19 test, which is now available for sale in Ireland and internationally. The announcement followed the completion of a clinical evaluation study at the Mater Private Hospital which demonstrated the efficacy of the product. Expanding HiberGene’s product range to 13 tests, the new Covid-19 test employs the company’s proprietary molecular reagent format to accurately detect the virus in nose and throat swabs. It uses a small, portable instrument to test four samples concurrently. Positive results are returned within 30 minutes on average, with negative results returned within 60 minutes. The project is supported by a €930,000 Horizon 2020 grant, which HiberGene CEO Seamus Gorman says has been instrumental in its delivery. “HiberGene has responded to this global challenge by leveraging our proprietary technology to accelerate the development of an accurate and reliable test for Covid-19,” he says.

Aalto Bio Reagents – critical raw materials for testing Aalto Bio Reagents announced in June that its Covid-19 proteins are part of assays being run in Europe and the US on the frontline screening for detection of the virus. Founded in 1978, the Dublin-based company is a developer and provider of raw materials to the in-vitro diagnostics industry and research laboratories globally. From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Aalto Bio Reagents has supported over 50 global diagnostic companies and vaccine developers to build tests for Covid-19 with critical raw materials. In February, it began offering its first neucleocapsid Covid-19 protein soon after the Wuhan strain of the virus came on stream. This was followed in April by its new Covid-19 Lysis buffer reagent for pre-treating Covid-19 samples prior to testing and its Viral transport media to transport Covid-19 samples. “The early availability of our Covid-19 proteins has helped diagnostic manufacturers and vaccine developers alike build high-quality assays to faster determine the clinical status of Covid-19,” says Philip Noone, CEO of Aalto Bio Reagents.

NOVAERUS – air disinfection on the front line An air disinfection device developed by Dublin-headquartered Novaerus has been shown to be effective at reducing a surrogate for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing Covid-19) by 99.9% in 15 minutes. The Defend 1050 combines rapid air disinfection and purification into one safe and portable device. There is mounting research to suggest that clean, disinfected air plays a vital role in preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Aerosol Research and Engineering Laboratories carried out the independent experiments in the US to assess how the Defend 1050 might work on capturing the particles that carry infectious diseases. Many hospitals worldwide have installed Novaerus technology to help reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among healthcare workers and patients. “To successfully control the spread of pathogens and viruses, we need to close the infection control loop – hands, surfaces and air,” says Dr Kevin Devlin, CEO at WellAir, the parent company of Novaerus, employing around 45 people. “Our unique technology is a facility’s first line of defence against infectious outbreaks.”

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FEATURE

SNAP

CHAT Michael Broderick, Co-founder and Managing Director of Tradeforus

“Long-term, the Tradeforus platform will have a big impact on the beef sector by remedying some of its major structural flaws. The online nature of Tradeforus will allow farmers and processors to maintain business in situations such as those presented by Covid-19.”

Launched in June and developed by Irish agrifood veteran Michael Broderick, Tradeforus enables farmers and meat processors to buy and sell livestock in a transparent online marketplace. The company has secured financial backing from investor and former senior food sector executive Hilliard Lombard.

There’s no question that Ireland’s beef sector is in need of change; there is an absence of trust between farmers and processors. If we want to see the sector flourish, we must look for solutions to these problems now. Our main objective is the delivery of savings for farmers and meat processors alike. For both, we’re providing the means for more transparent transactions, making the whole business of buying and selling livestock more efficient.

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With Tradeforus, farmers and purchasers bypass traditional supply chain fees and instead pay a fee of €2 per animal. With 1.8 million cattle slaughtered in Ireland in 2019, a saving of even €3 per animal is worth €5.4m to the sector and its 78,300 beef farmers.

Tradeforus is securely synced with the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Identification and Movements (AIM) database, which provides up-to-the-minute animal movement information. The Bord Bia status of all “Initially facilitating the trading animals is also recorded on the platform. of cattle only, Tradeforus will

soon expand to incorporate the sale of other livestock for

processing and live export, as well as forestry and marine produce.”

For farmers, we’re providing easy-to-use tools to form formal and informal producer groups. Even more importantly, we’re giving them back their time by revolutionising what is typically a very time consuming and uncertain trading process. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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Chambers

CatchUp

ICC UPDATE

New Chair of ICC elected MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga was elected Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at a video meeting of the ICC’s World Council on 23 June, attended by Ian Talbot, Secretary General of ICC Ireland. Banga, who has served as ICC’s First Vice-Chair since June 2018, succeeds Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever. Prior to joining Mastercard, Banga served as CEO of Citigroup Asia Pacific. He was also a member of former US President Barack Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity and his Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

Ajay Banga, CEO, Mastercard and ICC Chair

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

CHAMBER COMMENT “Every business should plan for a Brexit which will be on World Trade Organisation rules. Should that occur, it will make trade with and through Britain increasingly difficult.” Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot on the need for businesses to prepare for a hard Brexit.

Chamber of the Year title goes to Cork

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Conor Healy, CEO, Cork Chamber, Paula Cogan, President of Cork Chamber and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

ork Chamber was named ‘Chamber of the Year’ at the Chambers Ireland annual Chambers Awards, sponsored by Zurich, on 2 July. “2019 was a milestone for the Chamber celebrating 200 years of championing Cork. 2020 is an exceptional year for us all for very different reasons, but the spirit of Cork Chamber members has empowered a steadfast ambition for the region,” said Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber on receiving the award. “Through both positive and challenging circumstances my colleagues at Cork Chamber have proven to be exemplary professionals, with a dedication to our members and the organisation that goes above and beyond.”

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CHAMBERS NEWS

Dee Ryan, CEO, Limerick Chamber

Limerick Chamber champions local retailers

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ee Ryan, CEO at Limerick Chamber, issued a stark warning in June that unless local shoppers return to spend instore, some Limerick retailers won’t make it through the winter. “It is critical that support for Limerick retail continues beyond the initial pent-up demand,” she said.  In recent times Limerick Chamber has called for the development of a shop canopy scheme and a ‘paint your building’ scheme along with other measures to increase the city’s appeal as a destination of choice for shoppers. Ryan welcomed the appointment of Celia Larkin as City Centre Revitalisation Manager in February.

CHAMBER COMMENT “The priority now must be to ensure that the schemes and funds announced are immediately available to business. There needs to be rapid implementation, clear communications, and equity in how these supports are administered around the country.” Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland’s response to the July Stimulus

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CHAMBER CAPTION

Tapit Co-founders, Garrett Gunn and Gavin Duffy, with local business owners and members of the Drogheda & District Chamber, in advance of the launch in Drogheda and Dundalk of Tapit, a new app designed to reward people for shopping local.

Life is Sligo podcast series launched

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ligo Chamber has launched a series of podcasts called ‘Life is Sligo’ featuring inspiring business leaders who are running their global business from Sligo. So far these have included Richard Kennedy, CEO of Devenish and Des Power, MD of Fitbit International in conversation with Chamber CEO Aidan Doyle.  Kennedy shared his insights into the incredible shifts the Covid-19 crisis has brought to the way that we all work – hence his pledge to cut back on the amount of travelling he does. Meanwhile Power talked about the energy and passion in Sligo and the search for work/life balance that so many people are now seeking. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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CHAMBERS NEWS

Facebook gives Meath businesses a boost

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Mark Hunter, Manager, Facebook Clonee with Paula McCaul, Chief Executive, County Meath Chamber and John V Farrelly, President of County Meath Chamber

ounty Meath Chamber has announced that over 320 businesses across the county will receive funding as part of the Covid-19 Support Fund for SMEs funded by Facebook. The initiative involves a250,000 being distributed among a range of businesses based in the county. Facebook has been part of the Meath community since it broke ground on its data centre in Clonee in 2016. The fund aims to support businesses applying innovative solutions to respond to the challenge of Covid-19. Facebook’s business team also hosted a series of free online webinars and provided information on how to boost digital skills, build resilience and be inspired by fellow entrepreneurs.

Dublin Chamber partners with DMI Future Mobility Campus for Shannon

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Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke and Digital Marketing Institute CEO Ken Fitzpatrick

ublin Chamber has struck a new partnership with the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI), which will see Chamber members provided with free access to the institute’s suite of training courses and resources for three months. This includes over 500 assets, ranging from toolkits and live webinars to short courses and case studies. “We want to make sure companies have the skills they need to recover quickly over the coming months. We know from listening to our members that there is a big demand for help with digital skills. This partnership will be a game-changer for businesses,” says Dublin Chamber CEO Mary Rose Burke.

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The large audience who logged in to a recent Shannon Chamber webinar heard about the decision to establish a Future Mobility Campus at Shannon Free Zone. This testbed will stimulate research, development and innovation in the area of autonomous connected electric shared vehicles, including connected and autonomous vehicles in Ireland.  It will benefit development and innovation not only for the automotive industry but also for a range of other industries including telecommunications, computing, and artificial intelligence.

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Support local to lift us all

AllAll Rise Rise ChampionGreen.ie Pledge online today

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CHAMBER FEATURE

other Member States because pharmaceuticals and ICT (which have not been as badly affected by the pandemic) account for a significant share of Irish growth. However, new forecasts from the European Commission project that Ireland will see an 8.5% decline in GDP with a return to growth in 2021. How this will impact Ireland’s receipt of EU funds remains to be seen.

SOME ISSUES TO CONSIDER

Post-pandemic packages Michaela Reilly, Policy and Research Executive at Chambers Ireland, provides an update on what has been happening in relation to Covid-19 at EU level.

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he onset of the Covid-19 crisis saw the European Commission set out ambitious plans, not only to mitigate the economic fallout from the pandemic, but also to map the way ahead for the eventual recovery.  One of the Commission’s first responses was the relaxation of State aid rules, enabling Member States to provide significant financial assistance to domestic economic sectors. Further measures intended to curtail unemployment included a a100bn SURE Instrument fund, while the European Investment Bank’s a25bn guarantee fund aims to shield SMEs facing liquidity shortages. These funds have been bolstered by a a540bn European Stability Mechanism Pandemic Crisis Support Instrument, which is intended to

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act as a safety net for both workers and businesses across the bloc. The most significant economic and financial plan came in late May, consisting of two key elements – the Next Generation EU Instrument and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The former is a recovery fund that will provide a750bn of additional expenditure for the regions and sectors most impacted by the pandemic, while the latter is a mammoth allocation of a1.1tr in the EU Budget between 20212027 with a focus on economic recovery, climate and digital transformation.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR IRELAND? It is unlikely that Ireland will experience the same level of negative shocks to GDP as

As Covid-19 had a disproportionate impact across the EU, it is proposed that the allocation of funding factors in the economic damage experienced by a country along with its financial stability. The more fiscally conservative Member States want to ensure strong “conditionality” measures are linked to the funds, meaning that grants awarded must be used for specific investments that align with the EU’s aims. However, Member States that were involved in the EU bailout from the 2008 financial crisis are less receptive to such strong levels of conditionality. Repayment options are also proving contentious as some worry that liability will be jointly held by all Member States. One repayment option is to increase Member States’ contributions to the MFF over the coming decades, while another is to introduce new revenue streams, such as taxes on large corporations, a digital tax or a variation of a carbon tax, that would be payable directly to the EU. Agreement has yet to be reached on this and so forthcoming EU Council Summits will be ones to closely watch. As the proposal must be ratified by all Member States, compromise and a shared sense of solidarity on the current proposal will be critical to its success.

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CHAMBER FEATURE

ISSUES TO FACE

Shaping the response Shane Conneely, Senior Policy and Research Executive at Chambers Ireland, discusses the impact of Covid-19 and the important role that Chambers Ireland surveys play in steering the necessary policies.

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nprecedented is a word that has become much used over the past number of months during the Covid-19 crisis, and the crisis has been exceptional. There have been two principle ways in which businesses in Ireland have been affected – by sector and by size. While businesses in almost every sector have suffered considerably, certain sectors have had their business operations entirely undermined by the requirements of social distancing. The culture/entertainment sector and the hospitality sector were the worst hit along with tourism where the client base evaporated with the crash in international travel. Worryingly, across sectors there has been a greater effect upon smaller businesses than on larger ones, which often had both sufficiently diversified revenue streams and the communications and technological infrastructure in place to cope with the shift to remote working.

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This suggests that Covid-19 is going to have a disproportionate effect on regional areas, which are overly dependent on tourism and also lack the large employers that can act as a counterweight to fluctuations in tourism demand. A large debt overhang is building up across sectors too. Many, particularly micro and small enterprises, have an increasing volume of outstanding invoices. This suggests that by delaying payments, in typical recessionary behaviour, larger firms are using smaller ones as involuntary lines of credit.These practices create a lot of economic friction, which is why Chambers Ireland has been championing policy responses that increase liquidity, particularly for smaller businesses. One of the more useful tools for this has been the set of surveys we have been conducting over the period of the Covid-19 crisis. We are working with officials across many State bodies and institutions to understand the data and use it to shape the State’s policy responses. If you have been part of our surveys, thank you for the time you have spent on them. We have been able to gather information that has been otherwise impossible to estimate. This was critical in decisions to extend the wage supplements, the shift from loans to grants, and the commercial rates waiver. As important as keeping businesses ticking over through the lockdown is, creating the stimulus package that will allow our economy to rebound will be the next challenge. If you have not been part of our surveys and would like to be, my email is shane.conneely@chambers.ie, drop me a line and I will include you in our future ones. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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CHAMBER FEATURE

rights, and governance of how any future agreements would be enforced. All of this remains to be fleshed out in a very tight timeline over the coming months.

NORTHERN IRELAND AND TRADE DEVELOPMENTS

Brexit – where are we now? Jack Neilan O’Connor, Policy and Public Affairs Assistant, Chambers Ireland, outlines the latest developments in relation to Brexit and what businesses need to bear in mind. A SLOW TRANSITION

WHAT NEXT?

Since the UK formally exited the EU in January, there have been several rounds of intense negotiations to develop a trade deal before the December deadline this year. Following a round of negotiations on 5 June, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier remarked that there had been “no substantial progress”. This was further echoed by his UK counterparts at a meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee on 12 June where the UK confirmed its longstanding position that it would not seek an extension to the transition period beyond 31 December, 2020, in line with the Withdrawal Agreement.

Now that there is no possibility of a longer transition, representatives from both sides agreed to intensify negotiations with six rounds of further negotiations set to take place between 29 June and 21 August, with the hope of a deal before the Council summit on 15-16 October. This leaves just enough time to ratify any deal in both EU and UK Parliaments.

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STICKING POINTS Poor progress from the negotiations has been due to certain “sticking points” that will need to be addressed ahead of any agreement. These include what is known as the “level playing field”, which is to ensure fair business practices, issues related to fishing

The NI taskforce under the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee is still endeavouring to develop a working solution to implement the Protocol but progress has been slow. A further sticking point is the future movement of goods between NI and the UK. The EU insists that goods are accompanied by an “exit declaration” in the post-transition period. However, the UK is thus far resisting such a level of oversight. The UK has also indicated its plan for border checks and controls with immediate effect after the transition period on 1 January, 2021. A temporary light-touch regime will be introduced to help businesses to adjust to the regulatory changes. It is proposed that the implementation of these border controls will be split into three stages up until 1 July, 2021 for goods travelling between the EU and the UK. The European Commission, on the other hand, has stated that full border controls will be in place immediately after Brexit.

PREPARING FOR A NO-DEAL Amid growing fears of a No-Deal, the Irish Government is set to approve a major Brexit readiness plan. Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has warned that it is “totally unrealistic” that a full trade deal will be agreed in the given timeframe. This is a reality which must be considered as a real possibility and businesses must ensure that they are sufficiently prepared for a No-Deal Brexit. The team in Chambers Ireland will be continuing to monitor developments and urge members to continue to prepare for the worst, even if we are hoping for the best.

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CHAMBER FEATURE

A close eye on the coalition Emma Kerins, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Chambers Ireland, reviews the recently agreed Programme for Government and its ability to get the economy back on track.

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n 26 June, more than four months after polling day, a new coalition Government of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party agreed and ratified a new Programme for Government. Entitled ‘Our Shared Future’, the coalition set out a vision to support the recovery of the economy post Covid-19, while also addressing the challenges of public services, housing, and climate change. Looking back to the election in February, in many ways it seems like another lifetime. The coronavirus pandemic had not yet reached Irish shores, and Ireland’s economic prospects looked to be in good health. With the Government finances in surplus, unemployment at less than 5% and continued growth on the cards, the immediate focus of Chambers Ireland was to ensure

that the next Government delivered on commitments in the National Planning Framework and Climate Action Plan and ensure delivery of important infrastructure needed to support the competitiveness and sustainability of our economy. Fast forward to July 2020, and the outlook is drastically different. When you include those in receipt of “Covid” payments, unemployment is at approximately 22%, higher than the peak of the financial crisis more than a decade ago. In the European Commission’s summer forecast, it noted that Ireland’s GDP is projected to contract by 8.5% in 2020, with it then due to rebound and see 6.1% growth in 2021. At the time of writing, the new Government is due to announce measures as part of its promised ‘July Stimulus’, which aims to address ongoing liquidity gaps in the business community, while confirming what the longer term approach for wage supports will be. Research and survey data that we published in June demonstrates that the scale of fiscal intervention needed to support business as the economy re-opens is inordinate. From a Chambers Ireland perspective, our message is clear: Government needs to commit to an ambitious set of interventions, including the extension and reform of the Wage Subsidy Scheme for vulnerable sectors, a 12-month waiver of commercial rates for impacted businesses, and the launch of a significant package of grants for business. If this comes to pass, we have a much better chance of protecting local economies all over the country. Without a bail-out of this kind, the economic outlook is bleak.

PERSISTENT CHALLENGES But back to the Programme for Government. While the outlook back in February looked positive, the Irish economy was not without

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its challenges. Although job creation was at an all-time high, this prosperity was not being felt in all parts of the country. Underinvestment in infrastructure, particularly housing, was keenly felt across society. It was detrimental to our quality of life and a substantial threat to our competitiveness and the sustainability of our economic recovery. These challenges did not disappear following the outbreak of Covid-19, and in many ways, instead have been exacerbated. If we are to achieve a sustainable recovery, the new Government will need to move away from planning policies that encourage sprawl and do more to integrate our strategies on land management, planning, and public transport so that we create urban spaces which benefit everyone. In addition, substantial investment in the low-carbon economy will be essential. Our collective inaction over the past decade to tackle climate change and decarbonise means that we not only risk breaching our 2030 climate targets but also risk seriously undermining our attractiveness as a place to invest and do business. The new Government, to its credit, recognises these challenges and is seeking to address them. At the time of writing, we are reviewing the detail of promised commitments and examining the strategic focus of new ministers and their new portfolios. Commitments to continue investment in infrastructure, particularly public transport, are welcome. It is also positive to see commitments on remote working, planning reform, support for “above-the-shop” living and the significant investment in renewable energy.  

MEASURE OF SUCCESS However, as with any policy framework, the delivery will be the measure of its success. Our

members will want to see how policy commitments will be financed, and what the timeline will be.  Without adequate funding, without definitive targets and metrics and without project milestones some of these commitments will exist only as good intentions. Our own manifesto, published ahead of the election in February, called on political parties to put ‘Place’ at the heart of their vision for Ireland. While the Programme for Government makes explicit reference to Balanced Regional Development, which is welcome, there is an absence of ambition for the regions and the millions of people who live in the hinterlands of our cities and beyond. The need for regional development and investment cannot be understated, but support for rural Ireland should not be conflated with support for regional development. Further, the commitment to a ‘Town Centre First’ approach to policy making is a step in the right direction as our regional towns and urban areas have specific needs in terms of investment and job creation. However, a much more strategic approach than what is outlined in the Programme for Government is required. Any programme of reform will need to be resourced in such a way that

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we can address vacancies, build active transport infrastructure, and support urban living. Specifically, section 28 guidelines will be essential to revitalising our cities and towns throughout the country. Local and regional bodies will need to hire in the professional and technical skills to ensure success in this agenda. The broader role for the National Transport Agency is something we support and welcome, but there is concern about how it will integrate into the decision-making processes without legislation, and there is no timeline for that yet. These are just a sample of some of the areas we will be looking at closely as the new Government settles in. Its approach to skills and re-training, remote working and climate mitigation will of course be watched by our members. Further, the fallout from the UK’s exit from the EU continues to loom on the horizon. Brexit, combined with the continued economic fallout from the pandemic, will make the work of the 33rd Dáil and the new Government even more challenging. As the consequences of these challenges unfold, we will be working closely with our members to ensure that the voices of our members are heard.

FROM A CHAMBERS IRELAND PERSPECTIVE, OUR MESSAGE IS CLEAR: GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO COMMIT TO AN AMBITIOUS SET OF INTERVENTIONS, INCLUDING THE EXTENSION AND REFORM OF THE WAGE SUBSIDY SCHEME FOR VULNERABLE SECTORS, A 12-MONTH WAIVER OF COMMERCIAL RATES FOR IMPACTED BUSINESSES, AND THE LAUNCH OF A SIGNIFICANT PACKAGE OF GRANTS FOR BUSINESS. 47

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CHAMBER FEATURE

St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh, Cork

Places matter Shane Conneely, Senior Policy and Research Executive at Chambers Ireland, explains why the effective delivery of the Government’s ‘Town Centre First Initiative’ is so important and much needed at this time.

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he two-speed economy is a cliché in Irish discourse, but not wrong. The foci of activity may change, but we rarely see broadbased sustained growth in both our domestic and traded sectors. This dual economy appears in many forms, but most obviously in the vacancy rates we experience in our cities and towns – towns which are often ringed by peripheral retail parks and residential zones. The Irish regulatory environment creates a paradox where we have empty buildings that are too costly to renovate, and new builds that are too costly to buy – for both commercial and residential properties – which has led to much of the economic life of our town centres being hollowed out. It is critical that the new Government makes good on its promise to re-enliven our cities, towns, and urban spaces through an effective ‘Town Centre First Initiative’, taking immediate action on the issue of vacancy.

VACANCY RATES The Heritage Council’s Town Centre Health Checks typically find that vacancy rates in our old market towns stand at more than 15%. In our smaller towns and villages that were looked at as part of the Town Centre Living Initiative Report published by the Department of Rural and Community Affairs, the rate is typically the same, but there are areas of many towns, such Cappoquin, Co Waterford, where the vacancy rate is 40%. Across the country our typical commercial vacancy rate is 13%. This is not a just a problem for the regions; using GeoDirectory data,

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EY estimates that in Dublin the vacancy rate is 12% and in Cork it is 11.6%. This is better than the national average but terrible when compared to countries such as Denmark where the national commercial vacancy rate is only 6.6% (the residential vacancy rate there is less than 4% whereas there are parts of Boyle where the residential vacancy rate is 80%). Town centres are far from rotten in Denmark, but they have failed to thrive here, which is why Chambers Ireland has welcomed the commitment to the Town Centre First Initiative in the Programme for Government.

Galway cityscape

extends our urban dwelling population by another 250,000 people. Finally, there are 200 small towns and villages together with 400 ‘straid baile’, which collectively are home to about 300,000 people across the country.

URBAN IRELAND Ireland has become an urbanised country and it is critical that our policy and regulatory systems recognise that fact. In 2016 almost two thirds of our population lived in urban areas. Next year, with the new census that will be taking place, we will have a clearer picture of where we are now, but even the most conservative estimates suggest that 16 of our 31 Local Authority areas will have populations that are mostly urban. We can expect Dublin and our growth cities (which include Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford) to have a total population of between 1.8 – 2 million people; there’s a little fuzziness in this as the counties of Cork and Galway are divided into city and county Local Authorities, where the urban spillover from the city spreads into the adjacent ‘rural’ areas. Outside of the cities our next 100 major towns (which include all the county towns and all the major old market towns from around the country) will likely have a further 1.2 million people living in them come 2021. Then there’s the third tier of towns, which are greater than around 1,500 people, and so would be classified as ‘Urban’ by the Central Statistics Office; this

A TAOISEACH-LED APPROACH

Waterford cityscape

Limerick cityscape

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Dublin cityscape

Transforming the built environment for the 3 million people that are living in the urban areas where the National Planning Framework seeks to focus growth and development in the coming decades is the largest task that our State will have undertaken. It needs the leadership and sufficient resourcing for such a task, if it is to succeed. And we need it to succeed: our towns and cities have become sumps that absorb our productivity – creating long commutes along congested roads that eat into our time and quality of life. There are better ways of nurturing our towns and cities so that they can become both economically and socially sustainable. It will be the Local Authorities around the country that will ultimately be tasked with delivering for our towns and our communities, but their funding flows from across different Government Departments in an uncoordinated fashion. The Department of Housing will have its requirements for its schemes, but the Department of Transport will have different requirements for its programmes. These will not sync with the activities of the Department of Enterprise nor the Department of Climate Action – all of which will have to be involved in the plans for our cities and towns. Without a strong hand marshalling the Departments and causing them to act together, multiplying the effectiveness of their spending in a coordinated fashion, we will continue in our piecemeal approach which has failed our towns so often before.

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very positive feedback from the participants, better engaged employees, more job satisfaction and greater pride in the company.

WHAT DOES OPEN DOORS DO?

Breaking Down Barriers Chambers Ireland has started working with the Open Doors Initiative to help create pathways to employability for marginalised groups, writes Open Doors Initiative CEO Jeanne McDonagh.

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ast year, Open Doors Initiative members helped over 2,300 people on pathways to work with 33 companies. Membership and support have since increased to 45 organisations (a mix of multinational, SME, education and semi-State), Government departments and 24 supporting partners, including various non-profit organisations (NGOs). We are delighted to be now working with Chambers Ireland as well to further our work. Our key role is to support marginalised groups in accessing training, work experience, mentoring and employment. These include:  efugee, asylum seekers and migrants R Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds People with all disabilities. These groups face higher barriers to employment than most others. Even before Covid-19, nearly 70% of people with a disability couldn’t gain access to the labour market. An early school-leaver is twice as likely

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to be unemployed than another person aged 18-24. Employers are not sure about the permits and visas required for hiring refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and how much effort or cost is involved. We are actively looking for companies to join us and build on this work.

BENEFITS There is a business case for inclusion and diversity – A study of 1,000 companies across 12 countries by McKinsey found that companies with ethnic and cultural diversity showed a 33% increase in performance. It positively affects the bottom line, increases employee morale and develops lateral thinking, which leads to innovation and paves the way for others from different backgrounds - “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” Our companies reported

We help to make organisations disability aware and culturally confident in their employment practices. The hiring procedures are based on merit to ensure the person works out well for the organisation and vice versa. The cross-section of companies involved works very well, as each gets advice from each other, which leads to lateral and creative programmes. We offer bespoke supports – the needs of a multinational will be different to those of an SME.

HOW IS THE SOLUTION INNOVATIVE? Open Doors is led by people with lived experience in these issues who put best practice in place in companies in terms of the hiring and retention of marginalised people. This is the first time that this particular cross-section of business, NGOs and government has come together to address the issue of a lack of employability for marginalised people. It is providing solutions to employers; thereby encouraging them to assist more employees of all types. Government is a key sponsor of the initiative. We work with various government departments on addressing issues or removing barriers that impede successful training and placement programmes. 2,300 pathways to employment in our first year is a great start but we can do far better with your help. View our website on www. opendoorsinitiative.ie and please feel free to contact us at info@ opendoorsinitiative.ie. We would be delighted to explain in more detail how your company can really impact on people’s lives for the better. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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Why EAPs are essential David Price, workplace wellbeing expert and CEO of Health Assured, provides advice on employee assistance programmes and why they are important.

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he care you provide can be makeor-break in terms of recruiting and keeping staff. More and more, people want to be looked after by their employers – life is ever more stressful, and it’s always good to know that those in authority have your back. Almost half of employees know someone who left their job due to stress. Eight out of ten workers have felt stressed at work in the past 12 months. Statistically, someone close to you is feeling the strain enough to consider leaving. This could be some of your best talent – how do you stop them? A solid employee assistance programme (EAP) is a must-have. When you prove that you’re looking out for the health — both mental and physical — of the people who work for you and show that you’re doing everything you can to lessen their stress, they’ll be much more likely to reward you with their loyalty.

David Price, workplace wellbeing expert and CEO,Health Assured

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HERE ARE A FEW WAYS AN EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS: R  ETAIN EMPLOYEES When employees know that their employer genuinely cares about their physical, mental, social and financial health, they’re much more likely to be happy, productive, and stick around for longer. According to ADP research, 49% of polled employees agree with the statement ‘The benefits offered were an important reason why I came to work for this employer,’ while 60% state that those benefits are ‘…an important reason why I remain with my employer’. Providing the best care you can is essential to recruiting — and keeping — the best talent. R  EDUCE ABSENTEEISM Those with mental health issues are three times more likely to suffer long-term sickness. When you have an open and supportive workplace, you can help to reduce this. Given that absenteeism costs the economy billions of euros every year, it’s not hard to see the benefit of helping your people to talk about their issues. Offering structured return-to-work plans can make the end of a long period of sickness seem less daunting too.

I MPROVE PRODUCTIVITY Employees who are struggling with their health and wellbeing can find it difficult to concentrate on their work. As well as this, if they don’t feel as though they are valued in the company, their motivation levels will fall. Ensuring staff have access to structured support and can talk about any issues they face can counter these worries. And when these worries are dealt with, your people are free to concentrate on the working day.

E  NHANCE REPUTATION As an employer, you’ll find the care you provide — or don’t — for your employees will affect your reputation. Online reviews of workplaces often mention the attitudes of senior management towards others. To ensure that you come across as an appealing employer, it’s essential that you put a good wellbeing plan in place. You’ll find that the best talent search you out and reward you with their loyalty when you treat their problems with care.

Health Assured is committed to making your people feel safe, happy and productive. Contact us today for more details of our award-winning EAP.

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

(PPE) created significant pressure on manufacturers to accelerate their production. As Covid-19 continues to pose a threat not only to our health, but to our way of life, working together has never been more important. The dire consequences of the global PPE shortage were acutely apparent for healthcare workers and nursing home patients, as evidenced by the elevated risk of infection. Zurich prides itself on its commitment to making a difference in the local communities in which it operates and supports several important causes across the country. So, when a school recently ran out of acetate material while making protective visors for frontline healthcare workers, Zurich Ireland proudly stepped in.

A SCHOOL WITH A BRIGHT IDEA

Zurich helping communities help each other In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Zurich stepped up to the frontline by engaging with schools, colleges and businesses to support the manufacture of vital personal protective equipment.

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ust as is the case in so many other countries, the Covid-19 pandemic poses a grave health threat to some of the most vulnerable citizens in Ireland such as those on the frontline and in nursing homes. In the face of the crisis, the sudden spike in demand for personal protective equipment

Eoin Kennedy, a second-level teacher, and the staff at St Ailbe’s School in Co Tipperary had been making a difference in their community by using their limited supplies to produce protective facial visors, essential PPE worn by frontline health workers across the country. When word of their altruistic operation spread, Kennedy and the school’s staff were soon inundated with requests for help, but source materials were quickly becoming scarce on the open market. Hearing about this local initiative through an employee, Zurich stepped in to provide the much-needed materials to kick-start production once again. “We saw that the school was doing something really positive and proactive for its local community in such a difficult time. There was a great InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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opportunity for us to get behind that and help this local movement gain nationwide momentum,” said Anthony Brennan, CEO of Zurich Ireland. With an influx of materials, St Ailbe’s was able to level-up its production capabilities and manufacture significantly more visors than originally planned. Teachers specialising in woodwork and metal work at the South Tipperary school gave up much of their Easter school holidays to manufacture the visors and organise distribution to nursing homes, residential care centres, pharmacies, hospitals, dental practices and GP surgeries. To date, the school has successfully delivered over 2,000 visors to local nursing homes, hospitals, and GP surgeries in Co Tipperary. “Thank you to Zurich for supporting us with their donation – we, as well as the recipients of the visors, were overwhelmed with their support as without them our reach would have been far less,” said Kennedy.

CREATING A GROWING MOVEMENT Following the success at St Ailbe’s, Zurich worked to leverage its resources and create a robust production process of the protective visors across the country, both by establishing a production network through several schools, and supplying the national network with the materials required. Solidifying its focus on the manufacturing of PPE for nursing homes, Zurich appealed to 10 schools, colleges, or local businesses across the country – which also had access to a laser InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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acrylic, 30,000 sheets of acetate, and 20,000 elastic bands. By its close, the initiative saw Zurich working with 20 schools and colleges to provide over 6,000 fully re-usable protective facial visors to over 150 nursing homes across Ireland.

cutter – to become involved in the initiative. In return, Zurich provided the materials and guidance to enable each school to produce the vital protective equipment for nursing homes in their community. As the schools and colleges were based across the country, Zurich worked with a number of suppliers to centralise the materials so that they could be delivered quickly to schools and colleges once they were ready to take them in. Since the launch of the nationwide initiative on 9 April, Zurich has had a staggering response from schools, colleges, and businesses wanting to help. In total, the materials provided by Zurich consisted of 456 sheets of

WE SAW THAT THE SCHOOL WAS DOING SOMETHING ZURICH IN THE REALLY COMMUNITY POSITIVE AND While formal production of PPE has stabilised in Ireland, PROACTIVE FOR ITS LOCAL Zurich is committed to providing its continued support to local COMMUNITY communities at this crucial time. IN SUCH A The ability to co-create a successful DIFFICULT pandemic response, and forge TIME. THERE links between business and the WAS A GREAT local community, has helped to OPPORTUNITY provide critical support to the most vulnerable communities FOR US TO across the country. Community GET BEHIND THAT AND HELP investment and support is a core focus at Zurich, and it will continue THIS LOCAL to proudly share its resources MOVEMENT and expertise to help build more GAIN resilient communities, now and NATIONWIDE into the future, adding value MOMENTUM.” beyond its core business activity. 53

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

An Post Chief Executive David McRedmond pictured as An Post celebrated its achievements in going all-electric with its city centre mail fleet with an electric An Post truck in the background

Fuelling the fightback As Ireland starts to consider life on the far side of Covid-19, the country slowly emerges from lockdown and thoughts turn to national recovery, An Post looks to harness its potential to help fuel the fightback.

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efore Covid-19 An Post had been on a transformational journey, moving towards a new world of e-commerce, parcel delivery and financial services. In the first months of the pandemic An Post joined the many individuals and organisations that redefined the essence of public and community service. But the national crisis also highlighted the untapped potential of this State-owned, essential postal and delivery infrastructure

across so many areas of public, commercial and community life in Ireland. An Post’s view is that this potential will be required as Ireland moves to recover from the crisis and re-float its economy. Through the lockdown, An Post kept its network of 950 Post Offices open, servicing the cash welfare payments system and providing financial services, especially to the elderly and isolated – 1.5 million transactions per month; developing a temporary agent system so over-70s could cocoon; and launching a new payments system for the Irish Prison Service. An Post’s mail and parcels business has continued to operate and has become the essential delivery component of Ireland’s e-commerce infrastructure, delivering over a million parcels InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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per week. An Post’s postmen and women have responded to the crisis by meeting citizens’ needs through the introduction of new sociallyoriented initiatives. These have included calling in on the elderly (140,000 call-ins each week), issuing 5 million free postcards, delivering newspapers and collecting mail from people’s homes. All of these initiatives were complemented and supported by leading digital capability: every parcel tracked and traced; elderly relatives registered online for physical check-in by a postman or woman; online temporary agent forms used for physical collection; and landing pages established for newspaper orders. An Post has proven to be a unique omnichannel connection for Government with citizens across every community. It has demonstrated how a State-owned company with a particular mandate can accommodate rapid change within its core activities and emerge stronger, more resilient and responsive to customers’ needs. An Post has achieved this while giving full vent and expression to its strong public service mandate. Now, as the country looks towards recovery, An Post’s transformation continues and the company along with the new Government can re-imagine the future for An Post and the unique infrastructure resource it presents to Ireland. We will do this through:  eveloping the role of An D Post beyond its current core functions to act as a primary and complementary contact point between Government and citizens by leveraging An Post’s unique omnichannel capability and trusted independent status. U  tilising our Post Office network, delivery network and digital connections for customers – a unique omnichannel for InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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Government to connect with people, offering a wide range of postal, financial and e-commerce services, including identity and verification (ID&V) and emerging new models in testing, health and social support. This also includes An Post being an exemplar in electric vehicles, carbon reduction, green loans/ hub for citizens, and the last mile consolidator for all deliveries.  he Post Office network becoming T a conduit for the delivery of all Government services to citizens – bringing access to government services directly to every community in Ireland.  roadening the financial services B offering of An Post to offer an extensive range of financial services including green loans, SME loans,

mortgages, and all elements of community banking services through a financial services framework, ensuring no citizen is left behind and every community has local banking services. Some 500 post offices are located in communities that do not have a bank within a 5km radius. S upporting An Post to contribute to national economic recovery with regeneration initiatives at local level and supporting businesses and SMEs trading locally but seeking a national and/or international reach with e-commerce and financing solutions. In short, it’s all about harnessing An Post’s potential in the public good and fuelling the national fightback.

BACK TO BUSINESS An example of one of the measures An Post introduced to assist Irish business was a a1m ‘shot in the arm’ for 1,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs). An Post offered businesses nationwide a a1,000 direct mail campaign though An Post’s Admailer service to help them to get their message out to customers across the country. Admailer enables a company to create a tailor-made and targeted direct mail campaign. The campaign was offered on a first-come, first-served basis and was eagerly snapped up. In all, An Post committed a total a2m package of practical supports to help Ireland’s SMEs get back to business and sell online successfully and sustainably. There were two further strands to the An Post package, including discounted prices, starting with a 25% discount on An Post parcel services through the An Post Advantage card for the period of Covid-19. There was also a dedicated e-commerce advice hub providing information and expert tips to help SMEs to start trading online. With links to the Local Enterprise Offices and other SME networks, small businesses gain access to the best information and inspiration in just a few clicks.

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EMBASSY OF BRAZIL IN IRELAND PROFILE

Sugarcane Ethanol: Solutions for Ireland’s Sustainable Future UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, puts forward a renewable option which has the potential to work particularly well for Ireland in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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he ambitious target of a 40% reduction in EU-wide emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels has been the basis of the environmental strategies of EU member states for many years, and Ireland is no exception. This year has brought fresh challenges to Europe however, as the community’s target is hoped to be raised to 50% by the European Commission and the Covid-19 pandemic set the sustainability agenda back.

Seen as an opportunity to re-set environmental policies for the next few decades, the Covid-19 pandemic economic recovery plan is a critical point in Europe’s future in relation to climate ambitions and targets, and all member states are taking their response seriously. Ireland already has an ambitious environmental strategy: the 2019 Climate Action Plan. By committing to invest heavily in renewable energy and clean infrastructure, to increase areas of biodiversity and more, Ireland has demonstrated its determination to step up actions in the environmental domain. In that renewed effort to tackle the emissions reduction target of the Paris Agreement, there are opportunities for further environmental diversification in Ireland’s industries. Sugarcane ethanol is an option that can contribute to Ireland’s vision of a better environmental future, by enabling the further preservation of biodiversity, by providing solutions for green transport and sustainable sugar, and even by creating innovative green packaging.

REDUCING EMISSIONS Since the introduction of E85 fuel led to severe supply and demand issues, ethanol fuel has been a somewhat controversial issue among the Irish population and business community. Already behind the rest of Europe when it comes to E10 fuel adoption, the Irish government has now set a target date of 2030 for this. In the meantime, progress has been made in Ireland: providing tax incentives to extra ethanolblend cars has increased the appetite for ethanol-blend fuels, and the largest ethanol refinery in the EU, ClonBio, is owned by an Irish company. As Ireland moves to further

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diversify its fuel supply, ethanol provides a much-needed answer. For its part, Brazil sources large amounts of its energy from sugarcane, including ethanol. This has brought improved air quality to the country, among other benefits. Brazil continues to be one of the least carbon-intensive countries in the world thanks to its use of ethanol and innovative flexfuel vehicles. In 2019, Brazil saved 47.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions thanks to the use of ethanol instead of fossil fuels. From reducing carbon emissions and pollution to contributing to a thriving bioeconomy, ethanol could provide a serious option for the needed diversification towards a cleaner future in Ireland.

of disinfectant and alcohol gel, ethanol has proved essential in the production of medical devices, especially where sustainable plastic solutions are few and far between.

AGRICULTURAL FOUNDATION Both Ireland and Brazil can be considered as agricultural leaders. The similarities between the two countries regarding bio-economies and agricultural dependence mean they have a lot to learn from each other. Given that agriculture remains a staple in the economy of both countries, Brazil is a case study of a unique tropical agricultural system which integrates sustainable solutions. One innovative agricultural

sugarcane processing. Biomass is another agricultural solution for supporting the decarbonisation of Ireland’s emissions-intensive industries. Utilising sugarcane biomass, forest residues and black liquor present in the pulp and paper industry, this unique energy solution has overtaken the use of natural gas in Brazil. In fact, Brazil’s diverse energy mix allows the country to meet 45% of its energy demand with renewable sources, making Brazil’s energy sector one of the least carbon-intensive in the world, a fact which could soon be the reality for Ireland. Brazilian sugarcane ethanol is much more than a fuel: it is the ideal sustainable solution to build

SUGARCANE ETHANOL INNOVATION As the discussion around a reduction in the use of singleuse plastic such as cups, cutlery, bottles and packaging increases at a European and global level, consumers are craving more sustainable plastic solutions. A raw material alternative for the production of plastic items, sugarcane ethanol is manufactured from renewable sources. It can be biodegradable in countries such as Brazil, which is one of the leading global producers of bioplastic solutions made from renewable polymers. While it remains an underused and little-known sustainable solution in many parts of the world, sugarcane ethanol is surprisingly versatile and can already be found in food, beverages, electricity provision, cars and packaging.  Bioplastics are even found in pharmaceutical and medicinal products. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the light is shining even brighter on alternative and sustainable medical solutions. As well as the production

solution in Brazil which has proved successful is biodiversity corridors, which were implemented in the country nearly a decade ago. Sugarcane producers have ensured their existence and maintenance. These corridors help to protect the habitat of many species, including large mammals such as the jaguar, which in turn help to keep rodent populations in check. Furthermore, Brazilian sugarcane producers have developed innovative organic fertilizers as a by-product of

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upon Ireland’s existing culture of innovation across industries. And as Ireland forges ahead with its environmental pathway for the next few decades, the ambitions of the European Green Deal and Paris Agreement can certainly be achieved. This article was produced by UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association. For more information on the Brazilian ethanol sector, visit www.sugarcane.org or follow it on Twitter @SugarcaneOrg.

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

Spirit of the Caribbean The House of Waterford Crystal has the largest collection of Waterford Crystal products in the world to provide the perfect gift, including its collection of drinking glasses for rum as part of the Mixology collection.

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um is enjoying a moment as the spirit of choice, inspired by younger drinkers discovering its authentic heritage and enjoying new flavours and experiences. The trend is being driven by speciality bars reflecting rum’s colourful Caribbean origins. Providing innovative ways to

enjoy and celebrate this new trend, the crystal Mixology range brings stylish glassware with a linear Circon cut inspired by the lines of sugar cane, the essential ingredient of rum, and the concentric bands around distilling barrels used to age this rich spirit and create a deeper colour. With seven different categories of rum – white rum, gold rum, spiced, flavoured rum, dark rum, premium rum and over proof rum, Waterford Crystal has skilfully created a different drinking glass tailored to savour each drink, whether sipped as a single measure, mixed into a refreshing iced cocktail or added to coffee and tea as a warming addition. A partnership between Waterford, as the leading name in crystal craftsmanship since 1783, and this historical spirit, first distilled in the 17th century and epitomising the relaxed Caribbean lifestyle, seems entirely natural. Both follow modern tastes and styles with the aim of providing an exciting mixology experience. ​ Our retail experience is 12,000 sq ft of crystal heaven in the largest retail and brand showcase of Waterford Crystal in the world. You can select the perfect gift for any occasion, key customer or employee award. We can gift wrap, include personalised cards and ship directly to any destination worldwide. Area Sales Manager Tom Walsh can look after all your requirements for gifts.

PERSONALISE THAT GIFT There is nothing better than to receive the gift of Waterford Crystal with your name, the occasion or company log etched onto the glass. At Waterford Crystal we take pride in being able to provide that individual touch for your gifts.

AT YOUR SERVICE Why not take advantage of our gift card, wrapping and global shipping service. Many clients enjoy the service Tom Walsh and his team can provide corporate customers and consumers at Waterford Crytal. Why not contact him on 087 1209143 or email tom.walsh@fiskars.com

TAKE A TOUR Why not visit the home of Waterford Crystal, located in the centre of Waterford City. Our factory and brand experience welcome over 200,000 visitors per year. Take the opportunity to witness the manufacture of these and many other Waterford Crystal products. For more information go to waterfordvisitorcentre.com or call 051 317000.

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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BACK TO EDUCATION OVERVIEW

A new learning landscape

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BACK TO EDUCATION OVERVIEW

As

it stands, Irish educational institutions are continuing to make preparations to welcome new and returning students, while some edtech firms have continued through the pandemic with a range of online learning options. Lockdown has been an eye-opener in terms of how important education is. One certainty from the upheaval of the education system during this pandemic is the fact that digital skills are more important than ever. By remotely supporting learners through a digital offering, as well as providing more traditional teaching, a blended form of learning has become evident. As we move through the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, traditional educational providers have made a commitment to provide engaging content, while also complying with social distancing guidelines. The new learning experience is likely to be substantially different from previous years as we all adapt to the new measures. Nevertheless, there is a range of options and information available to people who are thinking of returning to education. Online learning has shown significant growth over the past decade as the Internet and education collaborate to provide people with the opportunity to gain new skills. The current pandemic has proved that it’s possible to improve our digital skills through online education. In a world post-Covid-19, there will be a dramatic shift towards lifelong learning and online learning. If Ireland is to retain its reputation as an ecosystem of tech start-ups, online education should be a key priority and should be central to an institution’s strategic planning. Undoubtedly, the future will be more remote and increasingly digital. Online communication is changing the way instructors and learners interact and learn and blended learning will dramatically increase with the advancement of remote teaching. LET’S GET DIGITAL Nowhere is the post-Covid-19 future as positive or as interesting as in the realm of learning. We will come out of Covid-19 with a better understanding of digital tools and the management of online learning will be integrated into existing academic leadership structures. This post-pandemic understanding will change how educational organisations plan for the future. In these challenging times, individuals should consider investing in their education. This is the perfect opportunity to seize the moment and take an ambitious step towards a better professional future. It’s time to get digital in this rapidly changing world.

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IN THIS FEATURE

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the education and training sectors, but has the pandemic changed the face of learning forever?

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OLIVE GROUP

As the rise of virtual learning continues, Irish edtech company Olive Group provides a unique Irish solution to a global problem in education and training for tutors, students and education and training organisations during this challenging time.

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UCD SMURFIT EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT

UCD Smurfit Executive Development has for the first time been featured in the prestigious 2020 Financial Times Executive Education Rankings for both its open enrolment and customised programmes as we collectively face the defining challenge of a generation.

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IT SLIGO

In these difficult times, IT Sligo is encouraging everyone to consider investing in their education, whether that is a free short online course or a masters qualification in a specialist field. Now, more than ever, is the time to take that next step and master your ambition.

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TU DUBLIN

Colin Hughes of The Graduate Business School at TU Dublin talks about the entrepreneurial outlook needed at this challenging time.

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AMERICAN COLLEGE DUBLIN

Rowland Crawte explains how the college seeks to offer the best characteristics of Irish and American higher education during these unprecedented times.

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BACK TO EDUCATION – IB PARTNER PROFILE

Brendan Kavanagh, CEO, Olive Group

The Rise of Virtual Learning Irish edtech company Olive Group provides a unique Irish solution to a global problem in education and training for tutors, students and education and training organisations.

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nline communication is changing the way instructors and learners interact and learn. Online learning has shown significant growth over the past decade as the Internet and education collaborate to provide people with the opportunity to gain new skills. But up to now there have been significant gaps in the delivery, and the current providers fall short of creating a user experience that ticks all the boxes. The cost of education and training in its current form in Ireland is artificially high and hugely inefficient. “We are now ready to be a market leader in this space and to disrupt based on price, features and quality,” says Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Olive Group Brendan Kavanagh.

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Irish-founded global educational tech firm Olive Group has been involved in the digital transformation of companies for the past ten years, saving up to 90% of the cost of delivering practical training for companies. Having grown a number of tech companies in the downstream retail space, Kavanagh’s passion for education resulted in the formation of the company in 2006. Today, Olive Group employs 30 direct staff in its Dublin facility, not to mention in excess of 350 people globally. “With the advent of cloud tech and video streaming, and also using artificial intelligence chatbots, I wanted to create a model where any amount of education should be available 24/7,” says Kavanagh, “and

that was my vision for Olive.” “We want to empower training and education institutions and individuals with software-as-a-service platforms that are easy to onboard and navigate, for students and teachers alike, and also have the inbuilt features to promote their businesses.” The company offers a range of education products focused on corporations, recruitment agencies, coaches, tutors and training organisations, including e-learning and virtual classroom, which have proven to improve learning retention. Olive Group has developed a platform using groundbreaking tech to deliver fit-for-purpose education to suit any learning style. “From 2015 onwards we have been creating tools to educate,” says Kavanagh. “Classroom-based training is highly inefficient due to the cost and downtime involved, so we’ve invested heavily in technology and created a feature-rich solution for individuals and education and training organisations that provide all types of learning.” The platform Kavanagh is referring to is My Virtual Tutor, an innovative software solution specialising in remote learning, upskilling and regulatory compliance. The platform is currently providing essential assistance for firms as they deal with

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – BACK TO EDUCATION

the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 has decimated the education and training sectors. Tutors have been trying to deliver training using broadcasting platforms like Skype and Zoom which are not learner-centric and provide no candidate tracking or evidence-based learner outcomes. “There’s been about two years’ worth of digital transformation in the space of a few months due to Covid-19,” says Kavanagh. “A massive amount of training organisations and educational institutions are behind on technology. Our platform allows training organisations to on-board and customise their own solutions. They can host their own training and also make it available on a ubiquitous basis increasing their offer to a much wider audience.” “Because we come from an education and regulatory compliance background we have been ready with solutions for SMEs struggling with the impact of the pandemic. That’s why we created an online classroom environment where training can be tailored to suit the individual’s needs.”​ In the B2C market as unemployment rises, and job hunting becomes increasingly competitive, My Virtual Tutor has advanced technology to connect candidates not only with relevant online courses but also to job opportunities that are aligned to

qualifications and certifications. “Now, more than ever, is the time for people to upskill and become an agile learner,” explains Kavanagh. “Our algorithm allows companies to post jobs based on the candidate’s training, and it can also help individuals find jobs based on training they’ve taken. We will drive jobseekers to the training organisations and tutors that use our platform to help grow their businesses.” AHEAD OF THE GAME As we enter a new era of the revolution of online education, more and more businesses are becoming aware of the advantages of virtual learning platforms. The education technology sector is set to be worth a staggering US$3tr in value by 2024 as an increasing number of individuals and firms register for training courses. “This type of training allows people to learn anytime, anywhere, and from any device – and Covid-19 has accelerated this further,” says Kavanagh. “Companies have found themselves in a position where they cannot train staff or communicate with clients without a virtual platform. What is unique about what we are doing is that we offer everything in one box, allowing your company to communicate directly to thousands of people on a global basis.”

The global lockdown has caused major disruption in students’ learning and education. However, the outbreak of Covid-19 has paved opportunities for the growth of the e-learning sector. The rise of virtual platforms has changed the perception of learning. This is not the time for trepidation around new technology, and Kavanagh is encouraging CEOs and business-owners to embrace digital change. In line with what’s happening with data protection and GDPR, there are growing concerns about how tech giants are using personal data as consumers show a greater understanding of online privacy. “Our goal is to take on the bigger Silicon Valley corporations,” says Kavanagh. “But they are really chasing your data, and for us, the data should be the property of either the company or the educational institution.” Deploying training to one million users each year in the US, Australia, the Middle East and Western Europe, Olive Group looks set to continue its international growth. “We consider ourselves part of the fourth industrial revolution in terms of addressing problems such as technological redundancy,” says Kavanagh. “We see ourselves as being the bridge to employment, just as much as upskilling workforces, and we are passionate about working to bring the price of education down, ensuring that the traditional barriers to education are eliminated. We want to transform lives and ensure that everybody can benefit from lifelong learning and much more accessible education.” “We provide everything in a onestop solution and at a much better price than anyone one else in the world,” he concludes. Visit www.olivegroup.io​to discover more about Olive Group’s low-cost online training courses that are custom-built to assist SMEs during this challenging time.

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CHANGE

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – BACK TO EDUCATION

Helen Brophy, Director, UCD Smurfit Executive Development and Prof Anthony Brabazon, Dean, UCD College of Business

Moving up the rankings UCD Smurfit Executive Development has for the first time been featured in the prestigious 2020 Financial Times Executive Education Rankings for both its open enrolment and customised programmes.

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CD Smurfit School has now been listed among the world’s top business education providers by the Financial Times (FT) for two decades,” says UCD’s College of Business Dean Prof Anthony Brabazon. “This milestone comes at a time when we are seeing extraordinary changes to ‘business as usual’ as we collectively face the defining challenge of a generation. Now more than ever, investment in the development of leadership talent is essential.” “Our high ranking results across multiple categories demonstrate our commitment to delivering premium, executive-level programmes,” says Smurfit Executive Development Director Helen Brophy. “We are bolstered by the breakthrough ranking of our customised programmes which have now been recognised among the world’s best. Our sustained and strategic investment in high-calibre faculty

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and innovative staff, growth of elite, global alliances and maintenance of prestigious accreditations have advanced our position on the global stage.” The move up the rankings has been going on for some years, according to Brophy. “We went in at entry level and have worked our way up to 42nd,” she says. “One thing we tried to make sure of is that we don’t jump around a lot. Other courses can be quite unstable in the rankings. Our aim first was to get into the top 50 and then to improve. We got to 48 two years ago then went up to 43 and now to 42. That hasn’t been easy. There are always new entrants coming along from Latin America, Asia and Africa and the differences between placings can be very small.” That achievement puts the school in quite stellar company. “Being in the same league as the London Business School is fantastic,” says Brophy. “The credit goes to the

faculty and all the team here as well as to the course participants.” Having established the open courses in the rankings it was time to look at the customised offering. “We decided to look at this last year. Our business is split 50:50 between open and customised courses but such an intensive effort goes into entering the rankings there is no point in doing it if you are going to drop considerably or even fall out after a while.” She adds: “Our first objective was to enter the rankings. From there it was to steadily work our way up to the global top 50. The way the rankings work it takes a number of years to work your way up. The hard part is getting into them.” The benefits of the rankings run much deeper than just recognition. “When we started out on the FT rankings some years ago our philosophy was not to spend time and resources unless it benefits us,” Brophy explains. “And it really has. Being ranked benchmarks us against the very best in the world. The criteria help us to look at what we do here and make sure it is world-class.” There are also benefits for clients of the customised programme. “Our clients are making very significant investments in their people and it is important that it is recognised that what they are doing is worldclass. That’s an important retention mechanism for them as well.” Brophy sees the rankings as part of the overall continuous improvement system at the school. “As director, I work with my counterparts in business schools around the world to see what bestin-class looks like and bring that back and apply it here. We look at where executive education is going in the future and where the market is going. We ask how we can make things better and try to improve continuously. It’s great to get independent validation from the FT rankings that we are doing it right.” For more information, visit www.smurfitschool.ie/ executivedevelopment

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In 2019 over 12,000 students studied online with IT Sligo, the Irish leaders in Online learning since 2002. Students choose Online Learning at IT Sligo for the range of courses, affordable fees and because it fits in with life, work and home. With 140 accredited and industry relevant qualifications to choose from, Master your Ambition with Online Learning at IT Sligo. Applications Now Open for September 2020. Download 2020/21 Online Learning Prospectus www.itsligo.ie/onlinelearning

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Leaders in online education Mastering ambition and upskilling for the future of work are key themes for Institute of Technology Sligo’s innovative range of new programmes.

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n a world post Covid-19, there will be a dramatic shift towards lifelong learning and online learning. In response to this, Institute of Technology Sligo (IT Sligo) has launched a new Online Learning Prospectus for the 2020/21 academic year. With a portfolio of over 140 online programmes and 35,000 graduates over the past ten years alone, IT Sligo continues to strengthen its leadership in online learning in Ireland. Working closely with employers and employees, IT Sligo develops and delivers programmes to support upskilling in a range of areas in demand by industry, enterprise and the community. The renowned educational institution has developed over 20 new programmes for the forthcoming academic year. Examples include a new full-time online degree programme in Health and Medical Information Science, a new Work-Based Learning degree programme in Mechatronic Systems Engineering and a joint international delivery masters programme in Leadership and Advocacy in the Early Years with with one of IT Sligo’s partner institutions, Fanshawe College in Canada. IT Sligo’s mission is to advance economic, social, and environmental sustainability through education, innovation and engagement to produce graduates who are innovative, confident and capable of leading the development of the region and beyond. Consistent with this mission is IT Sligo’s continued growth and strength in online learning, placing IT Sligo in a leading position in Ireland. Professor Jacqueline McCormack, Vice President for Online Development, commented: “In our desire to educate students to reach their full potential, we strive to respond to economic and societal challenges through the delivery of excellent

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higher education learning opportunities and a supportive environment with a strong focus on pastoral care of our growing student body.” With the largest cohort of online students in Ireland, IT Sligo is continuously evolving the online learning experience. The Centre for Online Learning has launched a comprehensive suite of student support services, ensuring that although students are off-campus, they can still avail of supports such as access to an Academic Writing Centre, Maths Support Centre, Learning Support Service, Yeats Library and student health and wellbeing services. Launching the 2020 online recruitment campaign, Master Your Ambition, IT Sligo’s Marketing and Student Recruitment Manager, Rosie Gilleece, stated: “We recognise that online students may have previously engaged in higher education and have reached a life stage where they have gained industry experience and want to progress in their chosen career path. With flexible, part-time courses, the online learning option offers that opportunity to upskill while maintaining work-life balance.” Alongside a comprehensive list of online programmes, the prospectus also shares many student success stories, highlighting personal journeys taken by IT Sligo’s online students across Ireland and the globe. In these challenging times, IT Sligo is encouraging everyone to consider investing in their education, whether that is a free short online course or a masters qualification in a specialist field. Now, more than ever, is the time to take that next step and master your ambition. For more information on IT Sligo’s Online Learning Prospectus, visit www.itsligo.ie/onlinelearning.

GROW YOUR OWN ENGINEERS In September 2020, Institute of Technology Sligo will be accepting the first cohort of students onto its new, highly innovative WorkBased Degree in Engineering. Students, who have completed their Leaving Certificate, will work for three years with a suitable employer for three days a week and study online for two days a week. Lectures will be delivered online and there will be occasional attendance required at IT Sligo for laboratory work, much of which is also available online. This new course in mechatronic systems engineering addresses several challenges that engineering education has faced over the years, namely the lack of practical work experience of new graduates. The programme is aimed at automation within Ireland’s high-end manufacturing sector and has support from employers who believe that this will be a more effective way of educating engineers.

Interested employers and students should contact admissions@ itsligo.ie for more information.

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Infinite Possibilities

TU Dublin Executive MBA Challenge your thinking and transform your future with the TU Dublin Executive MBA. Designed for experienced professionals seeking to excel in leadership roles, TU Dublin's Executive MBA programme provides an engaging and supportive learning environment and a pathway to career success. ''Through the MBA, I acquired more confidence, knowledge, and a belief in my capabilities. The MBA brings together all the knowledge – you may not even realise you have stored – and provides the frameworks to succeed as a Senior Leader, thus making it a truly transformational experience.'' Barbara Skerritt, Director Data & Analytics, ICON, Dublin 2019 TU Dublin Executive MBA Graduate

e: mba@tudublin.ie w: tudublin.ie/mba Scholarships now available

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – BACK TO EDUCATION

Graduating to success InBUSINESS chats with Colin Hughes, head of the Graduate Business School at TU Dublin, about options for individuals and businesses looking to equip themselves with the business frameworks and entrepreneurial outlook needed at this challenging time. Q. Can you tell InBUSINESS readers about what the School’s offering?

CH: The Graduate Business School is a leading provider of postgraduate and executive education. Our portfolio includes over 30 postgraduate programmes, with a range of customised offerings designed for leading businesses, representative bodies and industry networks. So we have an extensive portfolio of highquality programmes, many of which are unique to TU Dublin.

Q. What offerings do you have that are tailored for people working full-time?

CH: 800 plus postgraduate learners are studying with us on a part-time basis. We know that busy professionals need a flexible learning pathway, so we offer a range of delivery modes, including: monthly, in block delivery format; weekly, in the evenings; and blended, featuring online and on-campus delivery. We also ensure that our programmes are at the cutting-edge of business

and really add value for our learners. Our industry partners and graduates not only feed into the design of our programmes, but they engage in programme delivery, expert seminars, company visits and live case studies.

Q. How has programme delivery changed due to Covid-19?

CH: We are planning for a blended model – on-campus delivery paired with virtual learning. We have run blended programmes for about 20 years now, so we have strong expertise in online delivery. We have also invested heavily in new technology to enable live streaming of lectures for postgraduate learners who cannot attend oncampus classes.

Q. What do you think sets TU Dublin apart when it comes to business education?

CH: There are a number of things. Firstly, our programmes are designed to ensure a balance between academic excellence and real-world

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relevance. Our learners learn through engaging with our experienced faculty and expert guest speakers and by applying their learning to their own organisation and to a range of exciting projects and live case studies with leading businesses. Secondly, we work hard to ensure a very engaging learning experience where students learn a huge amount from

Colin Hughes, Head of the Graduate Business School, TU Dublin

are joining a really strong network which benefits you throughout your career.

Q. Are your programmes recognised by accreditation bodies?

CH: Yes, our programmes are recognised by leading professional bodies, such as CIPD, IMCA, ACCA, CPA, CAI, CIMA, the Marketing Institute of Ireland, etc. We are recognised by PRME as a provider of responsible

...I CHOSE TU DUBLIN BECAUSE OF THE RELEVANCE AND APPLICABILITY TO YOUR ACTUAL WORK. A LOT OF THE PROJECTS ARE FOCUSED ON PARTICULAR PROBLEMS IN YOUR ORGANISATION.” Darren Connolly, Senior Insights Manager - LinkedIn

each other – about their organisations and industries, and about how they approach leadership, strategy and problem solving. Our graduates are leaders in every field and actively engage with us to enhance the learning experience of the students who follow in their footsteps. When you join TU Dublin you

management education and our Executive MBA programme is AMBAaccredited, placing us in the top 2% of global business schools. For more information about how the Graduate Business School at TU Dublin can help you take that next step in your career, visit www. tudublin.ie/PGBUSINESS.

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A stimulating syllabus American College Dublin seeks to offer the best characteristics of Irish and American higher education in an environment tailored to the needs of students during these unprecedented times.

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aving grown from a single house on Merrion Square to one which occupies three buildings within walking distance of each other spread out across Dublin City Centre, American College Dublin facilities have expanded to include an enlarged library, computer laboratories, student dining and recreation facilities. The college offers undergraduate and graduate degree courses in liberal arts, business and performance and its mission is to engage all students in an educational experience that is active, participative and challenging. Due to Covid-19, the college has had to evolve and adapt, while retaining its commitment to teaching that is responsive to the needs of students

WE HAVE RETOOLED OUR LECTURERS TO ENSURE THEY ARE USING INNOVATIVE EDUCATION METHODS TO ENGAGE THE STUDENTS.

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of varying abilities and backgrounds – actively involving students in the learning and assessment processes. “We’re lucky in that one of our selling points has always been that we use small classes,” says Rowland Crawte, Director of Administration. “A typical lecturer-to-student ratio would be in the region of 15-1. This is useful in the sense that it was easy enough for us to switch to an online learning scenario quickly last semester.” Although Crawte sees the future of teaching moving to an online model, he stresses the importance of retaining a face-to-face element. “Going forward, we will continue to switch to a more blended learning offering, as opposed to purely online,” he says. “From September, we’ll have students

alternating between in-class learning and online learning on a weekly basis. This means students will get some of the in-class experience, while we also keep everyone safe through our robust social distancing procedures.” This new outlook for the delivery of education has posed challenges that the college has had to contend with. “The main challenge is the training of our top-class lecturers,” admits Crawte. “We have retooled our lecturers to ensure they are using innovative education methods to engage the students. “We can’t just switch to lecture delivery by only using Zoom – that doesn’t work. With online learning, you have to actually change how you’re delivering the material. You need to think about how to keep it fresh and stimulating.” As well as offering programmes accredited by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), American College Dublin is also accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education – an organisation responsible for higher education accreditation in many US states. “We are dual accredited and try to extract the best of both the Irish and US systems,” explains Crawte. “The US accreditation allows us to be a little more flexible and we are committed to providing tailored courses for students, whether they are already working in a full-time job, for example.” He continues: “We’ve also been touching on areas that other colleges have only recently put a focus on over the past 15 years, such as entrepreneurship. Internships are also a major part of our masters courses – we understand the importance of offering a real-world experience that provides invaluable experience to our students.” “Looking to the future, our focus is to hone our skills in this online delivery market, ensuring that we’re not just doing it because we have to, but because we have a commitment to excel in this new educational landscape,” concludes Crawte.

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“Our growth and success is dependent on the growth and success of our clients.” – MARK HOMAN, Managing Partner

Study with us on our blended learning programme for one year and obtain two degrees, an MBA from America and MB in International Business from Ireland. Centrally located at 1 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Corporate | Real Estate Banking & Financial Services Litigation & Dispute Resolution Employment & Benefits Healthcare & Life Sciences

“Our growth and success is dependent on the growth and success of our clients.” – MARK HOMAN, Managing Partner

MARK’S CONTACT DETAILS + 353 (0)1 440 8300 mhoman@bhsm.ie

Corporate | Real Estate

6-7 Harcourt Terrace Banking & Financial Services Dublin 2& Dispute Resolution Litigation Employment & Benefits

www.bhsm.ie Healthcare & Life Sciences

“Our growth and success is dependent on the growth and success of our clients.” – MARK HOMAN, Managing Partner

Phone: 01 676 8939 Email: info@iamu.edu Website: iamu.edu 249978_4C_American College_JM_BB Q2_V3.indd 1

MARK’S CONTACT DET + 353 (0)1 440 830 mhoman@bhsm.i

Corporate | Real Estate Banking & Financial Services Litigation & Dispute Resolution Employment & Benefits Healthcare & Life Sciences

6-7 Harcourt Terra Dublin 2

www.bhsm.ie

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What’s on your

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

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BACK TO BUSINESS & RESTRUCTURING OVERVIEW

Restarting Ireland: Getting Back To Business

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InBUSINESS gets the lowdown on the steps businesses need to take to reopen with a degree of certainty as they return to business after the Covid-19 lockdown. 73

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IN THIS FEATURE

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SKILLNET IRELAND To help Irish businesses get back to business safely, Skillnet Ireland has launched a programme of free specialist webinar training and mentoring support.

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HEALTH AND SAFETY AUTHORITY The Health and Safety Authority has designed measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace as the economy begins to slowly open up.

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MYNET

The

Covid-19 pandemic has been a transformative global event. It took the world by surprise and as the virus spread it had a huge impact on global markets. As the situation evolved, firms across Ireland bore the brunt of the severe economic implications. Unfortunately, this pandemic continues to be particularly difficult for Irish businesses, but we will learn from this crisis, just like we do with any other obstacles we have faced in the past. But, now, Irish companies are responding and adapting to ensure they survive the downturn, while at the same time positioning themselves for future growth. Step by step, we’re seeing the economy starting to come back to life. We’ve seen how agility has already enabled firms to pivot and move forward. And as we take the necessary steps in what we know will be a long journey, it is a welcome sign that we are moving in the right direction. Equally, employers have been aware that rushing a return to work without the correct safeguards in place is an unnecessary risk. Through innovative learning, Irish firms can reimagine work practices and reskill to be ready for the ‘new normal’. In this feature you’ll find advice on how to evolve in accordance with Government safety guidance, while we also take a look at how the Irish business community is getting back to work and review what needs to be done to get Irish firms on the road to recovery.

A monitored security system is more important than ever, according to MyNET CEO Jack Raeburn.

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LIDAN DESIGNS Dan O’Brien explains his approach of maximising the use of sustainable and natural material, whilst also creating the perfect work environment.

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BUSINESS WORKS CONSULTING Business Works Consultant Marina Bleahen believes disruption offers huge opportunities for individuals and companies that want to grow.

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ARVO Arvo has been in R&D mode during lockdown, researching revolutionary technologies to determine how it can better serve remote clients in future.

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IN THIS FEATURE

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IRISH SOCIETY OF INSOLVENCY PRACTITIONERS Companies need to look at restructuring their debt while retaining sufficient working capital to survive, according to Des Gibney.

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BHSM With considerable experience advising businesses in commercial disputes, BHSM’s Mark Homan discusses the steps that need to be taken during the current economic downturn.

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PKF O’CONNOR, LEDDY & HOLMES

FOCUS ON RESTRUCTURING

As businesses reopen and begin to trade again, PKF can assist with the preparation of business plans and financial forecasts.

At this perilous time, it’s all about saving as many businesses as possible. As business owners will be all too aware, overcoming debt is no easy task at the best of times. Today, many businesses are experiencing substantial challenges and hardship as they grapple with the realities of Covid-19 and attempt to recover their losses and remain viable. During a pandemic, it’s vital to have a clear understanding of the alternative solutions that are available when entering negotiations with creditors. The current economic landscape is changing rapidly and it’s one companies are finding difficult to assess. What type of restructuring to undertake can depend on a myriad of factors and, ultimately, it’s really about what’s best for each individual business. It can involve the renegotiation of debt, new funding, changes to management or an operational reorganisation. Unprecedented situations often call for new ways of thinking. Through a community that actively helps businesses to transform and grow their businesses, Irish firms have the power to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the country. More difficult decisions lie ahead for business owners across the nation, of that there is little doubt. Coordinated solutions to restructuring will be required to efficiently navigate the financial impact of Covid-19. However, by seeking advice from industry experts on all aspects of restructuring, Irish companies can take the required steps to minimise the impacts of the pandemic.

RBK

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91 RBK prides itself on being able to adapt to changes in business, and never has that adaptability been more important than now.

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DUFF & PHELPS The world of corporate finance has been dramatically impacted, forcing Irish firms and financiers to look for solutions to unexpected debt or cashflow issues.

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WILSONS AUCTIONS Family-owned auction house Wilsons Auctions is offering invaluable support for firms when it comes to valuing and selling assets.

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FITZGERALD LEGAL & ADVISORY David Swinburne and Sinead McNamara on how the firm can provide robust practical advice and solutions as a package to clients.

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KENNY SOLICITORS Graham P. Kenny dispels some of the myths around legislation and explains some of the lifelines to help save your company.

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CREDIT REVIEW Credit Review’s team are experts in reviewing credit applications and restructuring proposals to help businesses through the challenges of Covid-19.

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PJ LYNCH & COMPANY As we face an uncertain future with many firms moving into insolvency, industry expert PJ Lynch provides advice for firms fighting for survival.

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Rebound to Succeed To help Irish SMEs get back to business safely, Skillnet Ireland has launched a programme of free specialist webinar training and one-to-one mentoring support.

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s Irish businesses begin to reopen and employees gradually return to the workplace, many will have to adjust to the practical changes required to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Responding to the new normal will involve several steps, from implementing the Return to Work Safely Protocol, to adopting workforce management measures, and examining new ways of working. Skillnet Ireland’s ‘ReBound – Back to Business. Safely’ initiative is

being offered in conjunction with industry and government partners including the Small Firms Association, Chambers Ireland, Ibec and the NSAI. The objective of the ReBound initiative is to provide practical, relevant and actionable support to adopt the official guidance, specifically aimed at SMEs. Participating companies receive a combination of webinar training to understand and apply the Government’s Return to Work Safely Protocol and mentoring to help them create and implement a bespoke Return to Work Safely plan. Business owners and managers will be equipped with immediate practical and tactical actions to deploy in their business. In launching the ReBound initiative, Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland said: “Skillnet Ireland is focused on supporting Irish SMEs as they reopen their business and begin the road to recovery. The ReBound initiative provides owners and managers with the practical tools and knowledge needed to help

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navigate the new protocol, whilst also mitigating business disruption. With the training and supports delivered through digital platforms, businesses nationwide can benefit from ReBound. We are delighted to be working with industry and Government on this important issue,

Each participant is assigned an industry-relevant mentor, specifically matched to their business. The mentor covers a range of topics to support companies in developing a Return to Work Safely Plan, including how to communicate with relevant stakeholders, developing new work schedules and social distancing rules and return to work training plans for employees. A Return to Work Safely Plan template is provided ahead of the initial online session and the business owner/ manager develops a draft plan and

SKILLNET IRELAND’S ‘REBOUND – BACK TO BUSINESS. SAFELY’ INITIATIVE IS BEING OFFERED IN CONJUNCTION WITH INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT PARTNERS INCLUDING THE SMALL FIRMS ASSOCIATION, CHAMBERS IRELAND, IBEC AND THE NSAI. and we urge SMEs to avail of the fully subsidised support.” The weekly webinars, presented by Ibec, NSAI and Optima Training, will provide the latest guidance and best practice on implementing return to work protocols. Structured across three levels, with nine unique webinars repeated weekly, topics covered will include how to conduct a risk assessment, details of checklists, guides and templates required, and the appointment and responsibilities of Covid-19 response teams. Businesses taking part can sign up to as many sessions as required, to gain the help and support they need. PROCESS FOR REOPENING The ReBound Mentoring Programme provides one-to-one help and guidance from an industry-relevant mentor who will support in creating and documenting a Return to Work Safely Plan. All programme mentors are experts in the field of health and safety and provide an external viewpoint to help identify previously unseen gaps and considerations in the business.

roadmap for implementation, which is finalised with the mentor in a follow-up session. In addition, a number of the Skillnet Learning Networks are also developing sector-specific responses to the crisis in areas such as healthcare, childcare, retail, legal, manufacturing and aviation, restaurant and hospitality, food production, hair and beauty and leisure and fitness. Visit www. rebound.ie for more information. The Skillnet Ireland ReBound initiative upskills business owners and managers to take action, now. It is available to 3,000 Irish SMEs with up to 250 employees operating in the private sector that have already reopened or are in the process of reopening.

GET IN TOUCH Qualifying businesses are encouraged to register for the initiative through the Skillnet Ireland ReBound website at www.rebound.ie

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – BACK TO BUSINESS

Helping businesses grow, compete and succeed post-COVID Skillnet Ireland is the ideal partner to help Irish businesses recover and adapt, advises Mark Jordan, Chief Technologist, Skillnet Ireland.

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oth businesses and workers will need to adapt and innovate in a post-Covid-19 environment. Skillnet Ireland and the 70 Skillnet Networks are providing supports to organisations of all sizes and in all sectors to prepare for the realities they are facing. Skillnet Ireland helps companies grow, compete, and succeed in rapidly changing markets through enterprise-led development. Research undertaken by the agency has identified four key areas where upskilling will assist businesses to address the current challenges. These are: COVID-19 PROTOCOLS Redesigning processes and adopting technology help companies plan and implement new health and safety guidelines. BUSINESS MODELS Leadership teams must re-examine pre-pandemic business structures and incorporate lessons learned from recent experiences when developing new strategies.

WORKFORCE MANAGEMENT Remote working requires the workforce to be increasingly agile, flexible, and skilled as processes adapt. Employees must also ensure their skills are transferable and less sector-specific.

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Mark Jordon, Chief Technologist, Skillnet Ireland

DIGITAL ADOPTION The rate of digital adoption will increase as companies appreciate the security and business continuity afforded by the cloud, eCommerce, automation, and cyber security. In partnership with Chambers Ireland, Skillnet Ireland is supporting SMEs through its regional Chamber Skillnet Networks. One business that has benefitted from M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet’s support is The Design Gallery, a luxury giftware and jewellery store in Drogheda, Co Louth. Lockdown meant its owner, Lelia Doolan, had to shut her small business and without an eCommerce strategy in place, The Design Gallery’s business ceased immediately.

DEVELOPING DIGITALLY Unsure of how to create an online customer platform for her store, Lelia engaged with M1 Drogheda Chamber Skillnet, the training arm of Drogheda and District Chamber, and undertook courses in online retail strategy and in brand development. Lelia says: “There were so many learnings from the two courses I took. I gained an understanding of customer trends and agile trading, which gave me the confidence to develop a digital strategy and online shop.” The access to business expertise and continued support and advice has helped her to embrace new sales platforms and ways to engage with her customers and access to a brand strategist has helped her in developing and strengthening her brand. She adds: “It has put me in touch with other small business owners who face similar challenges to me. Being able to network with them has been so valuable in thinking through the future of my business.” Because of the disruption inflicted by this crisis, many companies in Ireland will require a level of financial and operational support on a scale never seen before. Supporting over 18,000 businesses and 70,000 trainees annually, Skillnet Ireland is the ideal partner to help Irish businesses develop a highly skilled and agile workforce in order to effectively recover to growth.

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BACK TO BUSINESS – IB PARTNER PROFILE

Managing Safely as you Reopen for Business The Health and Safety Authority has designed measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace as the economy begins to slowly open up.

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he Covid-19 pandemic has caused the greatest challenge in living memory to our businesses, the economy and the country. As workplaces have reopened, national travel restrictions lifted and people return to going about their daily business, it is vital that we do not become complacent in managing to prevent the spread of this virus. Exposure to Covid-19 may present a health risk to workers and other persons at a workplace. The Department of Health is leading the Government response in Ireland to this national public health risk and, along with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, is providing up-to-date information and advice at www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-health. It is essential that employers and workers keep upto-date with the latest public health advice. Employers are advised to follow this public health advice and identify and implement suitable control measures to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 infection in the workplace. They can start to do this by implementing the Return to Work Safely Protocol, available at www.gov.ie/en/ publication, launched by the Government in May 2020. The Return to Work Safely Protocol is a critical component of the Government’s roadmap for reopening the economy as the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. It should be used by workplaces to adapt their workplace procedures and practices to comply with the Covid-19related public health protection measures.

Position Yourself Well Adjust seat so that: · • •

the desk is just underneath forearms; hands, wrists and forearms are parallel to the floor; your thighs are fully supported on the chair and parallel to the floor; use a footrest if needed; your thighs, knees and back of legs are clear of surfaces.

Sit upright and all the way back in the chair. Sit facing work area. Shoulders relaxed and head naturally balanced.

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HSA Business and Education Support Manager Joanne Harmon says: “Even if all of your people are back in the workplace, you need to ensure that you have put in place all of the requirements of the Return to Work Safely Protocol. It’s essential that employers or workers do not become complacent around preventing Covid-19.” The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has prepared Covid-19 checklists and templates (available at www.hsa.ie/eng/topics/covid-19) that can help all employers and managers do just that. “The HSA checklists and templates will give your business a clear approach for a safe return to work,” adds Harmon. “They will help you to put good systems in place to manage your workplace on an ongoing basis through the pandemic.” In addition, individual sectors have developed sector-specific guidance that gives additional information for specific businesses, such as hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. Once implemented, these public health measures must be communicated to all relevant employees and others at the place of work. One of the first things to do is to prepare a Covid-19 Response Plan, if you have not already done so. This details the level of risk associated with the workplace and work activities, the measures put in place to control the risk, as well as highlighting who is responsible for implementing these measures and monitoring that they stay in place. The template Covid-19 response plan, at the link above, will guide you through this process. CONTROL MEASURES To help with implementing the control measures, making sure they remain in place and that everybody complies with them, each workplace is also required to appoint at least one Lead Worker Representative. Strong communication and a shared collaborative approach between employers and employees is key to protect against the spreading of this virus. This is where the Lead Worker Representative comes in. Again, there is a checklist at the link above to help the appointed employee understand their role as well as a poster.

Visit www.BeSMART.ie Adjust monitor so that: •

the screen is as far away as is comfortable or about an arm’s length away;

the top of screen is at or slightly below eye level.

Avoid twisting the upper body. Position the keyboard and mouse next to each other and near enough so that elbows are close to the body.

Take breaks and stand and/or move frequently

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 12:15


IB PARTNER PROFILE – BACK TO BUSINESS

An online Lead Worker Representative course is also available at www.hsa.ie. Once the required control measures have been identified, every employer needs to review their risk assessments and safety statement to take account of any changes that may arise as a result of implementing the public health recommendations. Safety statements and risk assessments can be reviewed at www.besmart.ie. It is also essential to provide Covid-19 induction training to every worker to the workplace to cover all information relating to Covid-19, as well as reminding them of their responsibilities, emergency and first aid procedures, etc. As well as an induction checklist, the Authority has developed a new online learning course entitled ‘Return to Work Safely Induction’, which is available at www.hsa.ie. There are also 30 free e-learning courses available at www.hsalearning.ie, all of which enjoy a group management function, to allow an employer to manage the learning of a group of employees, and a certificate of completion. LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES Employees must be made aware of the signs and symptoms of Covid-19 and they must know that if they feel unwell they must not come in to work but should seek professional healthcare advice, by contacting their doctor or the emergency services by phone. The most important actions employees can take to protect themselves are to undertake frequent hand-washing, practise good respiratory etiquette and follow physical distancing guidelines. As part of this, knowing how to wash their hands properly is also essential. If there are occasions when employees must come within two metres of each other or others in the workplace, then additional measures must be put in place to minimise the risk. These measures include sneeze guards, maintaining as much physical distance as possible, wearing face coverings and having hand-washing facilities or hand sanitiser readily accessible as soon as the work task is complete. Of course, many people are still working from home. As an employer your legal responsibilities towards employees working from home are the same as for those physically in the workplace. The Authority has developed guidance to help you manage this also. Consult the Covid-19 FAQs for Employers and Employees in relation to homeworking on a temporary basis available at www. hsa.ie/eng/topics/covid-19. Whether working from home or returning to the workplace, workers may be feeling an increased level of stress. Employers need to be

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COVID-19 Return to Work Safely Protocol Role of Lead Worker Representative(s) The Government’s COVID-19 Return to Work Safely Protocol requires each workplace to appoint at least one Lead Worker Representative to work with the employer to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. This poster aims to help you to understand the role of a Lead Worker Representative.

What will my employer do?

What is the role of a Lead Worker Representative? • Help out with putting in place the COVID-19 control measures. • Communicate regularly with your employer, and assist in providing COVID-19 health advice to your co- workers. • Carry out regular checks that COVID-19 control measures are in place. • Keep a record of non-compliance with COVID-19 workplace controls. • Report to your employer / manager any problem areas or non-compliance. • Listen to the concerns of fellow workers and raise them with your employer. • Help keep your fellow workers up to date with the latest COVID-19 advice from Government. • Help as part of a response team in managing someone with symptoms of COVID-19 at the workplace.

Your employer will: • provide you with the information you need to carry out the role • provide you with relevant training • provide you with a COVID-19 Induction • consult with you when putting control measures in place to keep you and other workers safe • make you aware of the control measures they have put in place • tell you about any impact on or changes to emergency plans or first aid • agree a system for addressing concerns and regular communication with you.

How do I prepare for the role? • Be familiar with the Return To Work Safely Protocol and the public health recommendations. • Complete the COVID-19 return to work form and give it to your employer. • Complete the COVID-19 Induction that your employer provides. • Keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 advice from Government. • Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. • Understand how to stop the virus from spreading. • Know the cleaning requirements needed to prevent the spread of the virus.

Where can I get further information on preventing COVID-19 in the workplace? For Daily Updates visit: www.gov.ie/health-covid-19

www.hse.ie

www.hsa.ie/COVID19

Contact HSA on: wcu@hsa.ie LoCall HSA: 1890 289 389

Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19: www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/symptoms.html How COVID-19 is spread: www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/how-coronavirus-is-spread.html Return to Work Safely templates and checklists: https://tinyurl.com/HSA-Template-and-Checklists Return to Work Safely Protocol: www.gov.ie/en/publication/22829a-return-to-work-safely-protocol/

THE HSA CHECKLISTS AND TEMPLATES WILL GIVE YOUR BUSINESS A CLEAR APPROACH FOR A SAFE RETURN TO WORK. THEY WILL HELP YOU TO PUT GOOD SYSTEMS IN PLACE TO MANAGE YOUR WORKPLACE.

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Magenta 76% to mindful of this and should encourage ways Yellow 0 Black 27% improve coping mechanisms. Employers need

to be supportive and to be aware of what and how they communicate with staff. More guidance on this is available in a recent podcast by the Health and Safety Authority at www.hsa.ie/eng/ topics/covid-19/covid19_advice_for_employers_ and_employees. The www.workpositive.ie website is also a useful tool that employers can use to develop strategies to encourage better practices and help alleviate workplaces stress. Employers need to be constantly vigilant for complacency creeping in in order to correct it immediately. As Harmon states: “Preventing the spread of Covid-19 in your workplace involves the cooperation of everyone at work. All of us must remain vigilant and take every practical measure to ensure we take our personal responsibilities seriously.”

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Preventing crime, rather than just recording it!

24/7Monitored MonitoredSmart Smartcamera camera CCTV. 24/7 CCTV. LiveAudio Audiowarning warningdirect directfrom fromour ourMonitoring Live Monitoring agents. agents. Superior security solution for any business. Superior security solution for any business, From Irelands newest monitoring station. From Irelands newest monitoring station. Unparalleled system support and warranty. Unparalleled system support and warranty. 249875_1C_MyNet_JM_BB Q2 .indd 1

19/08/2020 17:52


IB PARTNER PROFILE – BACK TO BUSINESS

Providing peace of mind InBUSINESS asks Jack Raeburn, CEO, MyNET about the importance of reviewing security measures for SMEs as they get back to business. Jack Raeburn, CEO, MyNET

Q: How has the world of security changed since Covid-19 broke?

A: Now is not a time for complacency. Commercial properties are now a lot more exposed due to Covid-19. With closures across so many industries, there are properties not being operated from, so there is absolutely an increased risk for business premises now. Criminals see the opportunity in every situation, and Covid-19 has definitely provided them some new opportunities. Access control is far more important now than ever for businesses trying to open their doors safely. There are a number of technological solutions we have installed to help businesses to control this. These types of systems, once professionally set up, are reliable and accurate and work in the background while the business and staff can focus on other more productive tasks.

Q: What are the most common security problems faced by SMEs?

A: Break-ins are still the number one crime concern across the

board, with commercial properties, in particular, at an increased risk. Security is not something people or businesses can afford to skimp on, regardless of what is taking place in the world. The biggest problem a lot of businesses have is that their security systems are not monitored. Monitored systems are becoming less expensive thanks to companies like MyNET, which is important to make them more available to businesses of all sizes.

Q: How does MyNET prevent crime before it actually happens?

A: The critical thing with any security breach is speed. The most effective system is a combination of a monitored external CCTV system and monitored alarm on the property. Our monitored CCTV systems will detect an intruder almost instantly, notifying our monitoring agents who confirm an intruder is on site and use the onsite live audio to deter them so that they know they are being watched live and Gardaí have been notified often before they even reach the door of the building.

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Q: What sets MyNET apart from its competitors?

A: With every business now attempting to cut costs, we are absolutely committed to offering customers the best value for money in an industry that is without doubt overpriced in a lot of areas. We can now offer business clients a complete endto-end service, providing them with broadband, IT, security, maintenance and installations all from one point of contact. Businesses want hasslefree, end-to-end service with one accountable provider looking after everything. Our customers know they can rely on us and that is the brand we want to continue to build moving forward. We are the first company to build a brand new monitoring station since the certification standards changed. It’s a significant asset for us moving forward and it allows us to control the quality and cost of our security services from end-to-end. None of our customers will rely on third parties in the delivery of our services, which is important for us in order to be able to stand over what we offer.

Q: What does MyNET hope to achieve for the remainder of 2020?

A: The first half of 2020 has obviously been a rollercoaster with Covid-19 creating some unexpected disruption with the construction of our monitoring station, but it has grown our broadband business massively due to the work from home movement. We are very determined to grow our brand as one of Ireland’s trusted go-to security providers for quality monitored systems. We have already secured a number of major clients in different industries which has been a great boost considering the current market turbulence. For the remainder of 2020 we have a laser focus on aggressively growing the business across the board particularly in the monitored CCTV and alarm area nationwide. We have a great team of people here now and will continue to grow our workforce, which we have already tripled since January to keep up with the growth of the company. A very exciting end to the year is definitely in store here at MyNET. For more information, visit www.mynet.ie.

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Innovative design tailored to your needs • BER A Rated • Certified Near Zero Energy Building  • Passiv Level Buildings • Bespoke Design • Turnkey Solution • Modular Housing & Large Offices • Home Working Offices • Community Centre's & Amenitiy Facilities • Leisure Spaces  • Extra Space Accommodation 

TEL: 0906 630 583 / 01 901 1680 E: info@lidandesigns.com Find us on Facebook at Lidan Designs or visit www.lidandesigns.com

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19/08/2020 17:52


IB PARTNER PROFILE – BACK TO BUSINESS

Creating the perfect work environment InBUSINESS asks Dan O’Brien about his approach for maximising the use of sustainable and natural material, whilst also fostering sustainable job creation in the west of Ireland.

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s people’s lifestyles have changed dramatically in recent times, the need for additional space has never been greater, whether it’s for a home office, additional accommodation or a leisure space, such as home gym, children’s playroom, art or music studio.

crafted individually by our team of experienced joiners and carpenters in our custom-built premises,” explains O’Brien. “We pride ourselves on the quality of our products and our goal is that our customers get as much satisfaction out of our products as we do making them.”

Lidan Designs specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of premium wood products and structures. Recognising the need for near-zero energy wood buildings, the company has created a product that maximises the use of sustainable and natural material, leveraging cuttingedge design. Director Dan O’Brien has spent 25 years working in corporate strategy, including 14 years as a management consultant, and has extensive experience in corporate finance, business development and growth strategies, research and innovation, advising companies like Microsoft, AT&T, France Telecom, Hewlett Packard, Telecom Italia, Telenor, Telstra, China Mobile, eir and Vodafone. Having travelled extensively, O’Brien, originally from the west of Ireland, jointly formed Lidan Designs to meet the growing need for living, business and entertainment space driven by changes to modern lifestyles. “Craftsmanship is at our core and each of our products is hand-

CHANGING WORKPLACE The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of employees working from home as many SMEs face brand new challenges. “One of the outcomes from this current crisis will be that people, and, indeed companies, will realise that working from home has many advantages,” says O’Brien. “It doesn't work in all cases, but it does in a lot more cases than has been hitherto considered. “As a provider of home offices, among other things, we have looked at this over the last few years and had many discussions with the C-suite of large global corporates on the same. They sort of 'got it', then but I strongly suspect they will 'get it' now. The advantages are well documented, and actually, well researched by leading universities. This is 'scientific' and not just a 'gut feeling'.” He continues: “What potential home workers need to also consider is the need for separation of the working environment from the house.

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Home Office, Lidan Designs

Remember, a separate, detached and bespoke working space is what's required for optimum remote or home working.” NATURAL SURROUNDINGS Almost 80% of Lidan Design’s buildings are modularly built in its facility in Roscommon and transported to site. Apart from the natural advantages of using a modular build system, this allows the company to create sustainable jobs in the west of Ireland, while leveraging local skilled tradespeople and professions. This is a core strategy of Lidan, and it is fundamental to the business. Lidan’s work is now almost equally split between the private residential and public sectors. Work to date includes sports and community centres, homes, and amenity facilities for heritage and environmentally sensitive areas where they sit seamlessly with their natural surroundings. “Our buildings offer a highquality, cost-effective alternative to other types, particularly in the current economic climate, where cost, quality and speed of delivery is so important,” says O’Brien. For more information, call 090 66 30583 email dan@lidandesigns.com, or visit www.lidandesigns.com.

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BACK TO BUSINESS – IB PARTNER PROFILE

Growth during disruption Business Works Training & Consulting’s Marina Bleahen believes disruption offers huge opportunities for individuals and companies that want to grow.

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rutal. That’s what 2020 feels like for so many of us as leaders. It’s unlike anything we’ve experienced before in our careers. Everyday I’m on the phone with our clients – SME owners, their senior leaders and managers. All of them are dealing with lots of change and agree this disruption has come too soon. They’re trying to grow through disruption. Disruption is a virus that can destroy your team’s culture and its impact is magnified with remote working. STEP 1: CLARITY When disruption hits, people tend to segment themselves into three groups: panic, stunned and create. It’s important to understand where you and your team are. 10% of us go into blind panic, become totally paralysed, the majority of people will be stunned. These are the 80%, who didn’t see the disruption coming, don’t know what to do, so they hunker down and await direction. Then, there are 10% of people who go into create mode. These people assess and adapt really fast. The reason so many teams become stagnant and go backwards in a time of disruption is that 90% of people are stuck in the panic and stunned groups.

The lesson is to learn fast and move fast. The leader must establish the key results or expectations the team must deliver in the next 30-90 days. Redefining short-term results is where it’s at. Teams that aren’t clear on what they need to prioritise or deliver on immediately rarely grow, or even survive major disruptions. STEP 2: VISIBILITY If your ambition is to grow during disruption, the three leadership traits that will most dramatically impact the success

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or failure of your company are being more visible, more accessible and more transparent with your team. How you lead your team matters. Managing culture is the most underdeveloped and yet most critical leadership skill as teams that thrive and grow their results during disruption have cultures built for moments like this. You’ve got to ensure your team sees you communicating transparently and can gain access to you in a meaningful way. STEP 3: AGILITY Disruptions punish the status quo. To successfully navigate you must be agile and innovative. Speed to market isn’t a skill, it’s a mindset. Collaboration isn’t a task, it’s a choice. Execution and urgency aren’t genetic, they’re cultural. How can you make sure you’re leading in an agile way that increases speed to market? Our Agility Engine gives you a framework to use with your team to get them from ‘below the line’ to ‘above the line’ where they learn fast and move fast to deliver results. STEP 4: ACCOUNTABILITY The fourth step to grow through disruption is to take accountability for the results you have to deliver in the next 30-90 days and help your team take accountability by assessing their agreement and involvement with the key expectations you establish. So, what does accountability really mean and how do I know if I’m truly demonstrating it? It’s a battle to not get stuck blaming everyone and everything for any dip or downward slide in results. And, yet, the only way to change our results is to choose to focus on what we control. That’s a daily and often an hourly battle during massive disruptions when there’s so much impacting us that we can’t control.

Marina Bleahen, CEO, Business Works Training & Consulting

YOU’VE GOT TO ENSURE YOUR TEAM SEES YOU COMMUNICATING TRANSPARENTLY AND CAN GAIN ACCESS TO YOU IN A MEANINGFUL WAY.

STEP 5: EMPATHY The fifth and final step to grow through disruption is to increase the amount of empathy you’re demonstrating to your team. Empathy is curiosity. It’s seeking to understand someone’s experience from their point of view. Leaders who demonstrate empathy during disruption see accelerated performance from their team. We perform at our highest levels when there is urgency and safety. Visit www.businessworks.ie and find out how you can build a culture of positive accountability.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 12:17


IB PARTNER PROFILE – BACK TO BUSINESS

A Post-Covid Rebound Arvo has been in R&D mode during lockdown, researching revolutionary technologies to determine how it can better serve remote clients in future.

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rocurement, like

most functions, had a significant jolt to operations since Covid-19 broke, proving to be an incredibly challenging time for departments and individuals as global supply chains melted under pressure from this unforeseen pandemic. “Early in the Covid crisis, procurement was called upon to support panic buying and restocking of vast amounts of PPE and related health and safety items,” says Arvo CEO Mike McGrath. “The old purchasing adage of balancing ‘time, quality and price’ in every buying decision was thrown out the window, as typical six-week sourcing and buying decisions were completed in six hours. This resulted in reduced time for sourcing due diligence and highlighted the lack of readily available supplier data to make informed decisions quickly. This is where we expect significant procurement changes in the years ahead, to improve supplier relationship management, specifically supplier information management.” Uncertainty is the only certainty there is at the moment, according to McGrath. “SMEs are really struggling at present with the fundamental decisions to achieve short-term and long-term objectives, such as budgeting, planning and forecasting.

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Mike McGrath, CEO, Arvo

For many SMEs, cashflow and revenues have taken a turn for the worse, which weakens the foundation to rebuild each business. We all live in hope that a Covid vaccine will return some normality and predictability to our personal and business lives.” There is never a bad time to reduce costs and risks within your supplychain, but post-Covid and preBrexit, there has never been a more important time for Irish businesses to improve efficiencies across their supply base. McGrath comments: “There are many strategic sourcing techniques to reduce costs in small business, but the most important step is to undertake a ‘spend analysis’ and know your data. This exercise will unearth immediate opportunities to reduce costs and risks within the supply chain which will help SMEs rebound post-Covid.”

WEATHER THE STORM Brexit has had a few false starts, but it is finally happening on 1 January, 2021 when the current transition period ends. Frustratingly, the specifics of the EU-UK relationship are still unknown with many potential supply-chain risks such as regulatory divergence, customs and tariffs, immigration and the fallout from implementation specifics of the ‘Irish Protocol’. “We at Arvo have always been more concerned for businesses on the island of Ireland about the divergence of EU standards and regulations in the UK/NI,” says McGrath. “Tariffs on goods would lead to cost increases, inflation, and shortage of certain products in the worst-case scenario. However, the lack of alignment of non-tariff barriers will cease the delivery of some services.” SMEs need to prepare for Brexit by improving their relationships with strategic suppliers. Not all suppliers are equal and building closer relationships with strategic suppliers is of paramount importance to every SME on the island. “Undertake your research to confirm your key suppliers can weather the storm. Thereafter, confirm their suppliers can weather the storm,” states McGrath. “If specific risks are insurmountable and suppliers are not proactively engaging, sourcing alternative suppliers across Europe has to be prioritised as a viable solution to build resilience into each supply chain. Post-Covid this is not easy, so Arvo is developing automated tools to assist all Brexit-exposed businesses with this challenge.” Arvo is a boutique procurement consultancy and its practical customer-led service continues to serve its client base. Any SME interested in early access to this groundbreaking platform, should email info@arvo.ie.

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RESTRUCTURING – IB PARTNER PROFILE

Trading Through the Crisis

Following Covid-19, many companies will need to look at restructuring their debt, while retaining sufficient working capital to survive, according to Des Gibney.

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lthough there are a number of restructuring options available under Irish law, Des Gibney, Chairman of the Irish Society of Insolvency Practitioners (ISIP) says there is no one-size-fits all solution. “In an examinership, creditors approve a Scheme of Arrangement which deals with the debt owed to the creditor,” he says. “Each situation is different but, in most cases, creditors are generally happy to continue trading with the restructured business after the examinership if they have been fairly treated. “Other options include an informal arrangement with creditors, but it needs the cooperation of all creditors to be effective, unlike examinership where one class of creditor can impose the scheme on all creditors. Companies can add credibility to their informal arrangements by appointing a

Des Gibney, Chairman of the Irish Society of Insolvency Practitioners (ISIP) restructuring professional to negotiate the arrangement and provide creditors with estimated outcomes under various scenarios, i.e. what a creditor would get on liquidation versus the proposed arrangement.” Lastly there is the part nine voluntary Scheme of Arrangement which requires support of 75% of creditors in value and is

confirmed by the Court. The relatively high approval threshold is difficult to achieve in this type of restructuring. Gibney comments: “In order to protect themselves from restriction or disqualification it is critical that directors monitor the company’s financial position, prepare regular management accounts, hold regular board meetings and support the view that the company can trade out of a difficult situation. If in doubt as to the viability of the company, directors should seek the advice of a restructuring professional. Such actions demonstrate the directors were aware of the financial position of the company and took steps to protect the interest of their creditors.” Des Gibney is a director with McStay Luby, Chartered Accountants, Dublin.

Downlo

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eBook

today

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RVO.IE

The Irish Society of Insolvency Practitioners, an organisation comprising of accountants and solicitors working in the insolvency profession in Ireland, was established in 2004. From a small beginning membership has grown to several hundred. ISIP has a number of objectives, including:

• • • •

Providing a forum for consideration and discussion of Insolvency matters. Promoting best practice in the area of Insolvency. Liaising with Government agencies and making recommendations on legislative reform governing Insolvency. Promoting the study and learning of Insolvency practice. For more information about what we do, please go to our website www.isip.ie

Expertise in Challenging Times

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – RESTRUCTURING

Seeing out the crisis With considerable experience advising businesses in commercial disputes across all jurisdictions, BHSM’s Mark Homan discusses the steps that need to be taken during the current economic downturn.

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s Managing Partner of BHSM, Mark Homan heads up the Insolvency and Corporate Restructuring Department and specialises in advising liquidators, receivers, examiners, companies and lending institutions in all aspects of corporate restructuring and insolvency matters. With the continued impact of Covid-19, BHSM is assisting its clients to deal with the negative implications of the pandemic during this challenging time. “In my view, I don’t think the Irish economy has ever experienced something like this,” explains Homan. “It’s less like a recession and more like an economic shock. There’s no playbook for any of this, but if businesses fall behind in a crisis like this, it’s hard to get back.” “We have seen an increase in demand for advisory work in terms of how Covid-19 has impacted the economy and clients’ businesses,” he continues, “and this has predominantly centred around insolvency, restructuring work, employment, landlord and tenant issues and litigation work that relates to the downturn.” “We advise all our clients to have a Covid-19 plan and to project cashflows into the future – really being on top of this developing situation means staying ahead of future challenges and unanticipated events that may cause a sudden reduction in their turnover.” BHSM is available to assist

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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Mark Homan, Managing Partner, BHSM

option due to insolvency. Homan lays out the firm’s hopes for the immediate future. “We will continue to implore businesses to keep their business on a health check and to take the appropriate advice at the right time before matters become unrecoverable. It’s the businesses that are ahead of the curve that will survive.” “We want to continue to consolidate and grow our presence in the market, despite the challenges that are thrown up by Covid-19. We’ve grown tenfold since our formation in 2012, and we wish to continue focusing on strategic hires and widening our practice base”. BHSM is a full service corporate law firm with a strong depth of expertise, combining practical advice with a superb level of service. The firm works with clients across the full spectrum of sectors from fast-growing businesses and multinational companies to innovative start-ups and private individuals. “Key to our success is great communication and commercial awareness of our clients’ challenges and objectives,” states Homan. “We’re very hands-on and partner-led in terms of delivering that personal touch to our clients – we are fully engaged and invested in our clients’ businesses. “We like to be approachable,

“WE ADVISE ALL OUR CLIENTS TO HAVE A COVID-19 PLAN AND TO PROJECT CASHFLOWS INTO THE FUTURE – REALLY BEING ON TOP OF THIS DEVELOPING SITUATION MEANS STAYING AHEAD OF FUTURE CHALLENGES AND UNANTICIPATED EVENTS THAT MAY CAUSE A SUDDEN REDUCTION IN THEIR TURNOVER.” businesses with any legal challenges that they may face during these difficult times. As businesses start reopening their doors as we emerge from this global pandemic, many will face the hard reality that restarting their businesses or continuing to trade is no longer an

straightforward and efficient. We are highly meticulous, at no cost to the broader view, and we strive to achieve the best outcome for our clients.” For more information, visit www. bhsm.ie or call (01) 440 8300.

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O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes

Right people, right place, right solutions PKF O’Connor Leddy Holmes is a full service accountancy firm and a part of PKF International, a global family of accounting and business advisory firms. Our Services Audit and Assurance

Taxation

Corporate Finance

Corporate Recovery

Business Services

Payroll

Our Corporate Finance Services

Mergers and Acquisitions

Debt Advisory

Due Diligence

Valuations

Contact us

David Lucas Corporate Finance Partner d.lucas@pkf.ie

01 496 1444 info@pkf.ie www.pkf.ie

PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes is a member firm of the PKF International Limited family of legally independent firms and does not accept any responsibility or liability for the actions or inactions of any individual member or correspondent firm or firms.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – RESTRUCTURING

Global Expertise, Local Knowledge As businesses reopen and begin to trade again, PKF can assist with the preparation of business plans and financial forecasts, while carrying out an independent review of working capital and cashflow requirements.

David Lucas, Corporate Finance Partner, PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes

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hartered accountant David Lucas has over 15 years of experience helping Irish-owned businesses manage debt and achieve financing goals. As Corporate Finance Partner at PKF O’Connor Leddy Holmes, a Dublinbased firm in a global network of firms present in 150 countries, Lucas specialises in assisting SMEs gain access to funding. Lucas believes that open communication is crucial at this difficult time. “From a business owner perspective, you need to be extremely well prepared when looking for finance. Approaching the banks for lending can be painstaking and time-consuming. At PKF we work closely with clients to streamline the process by preparing an information memorandum with all the material the funders need.” There are a number of Governmental supports available for Covid-19 impacted businesses to help kick-start the economy. “Obviously, with the pandemic and lockdown, there’s been a lot of strain and stress on businesses,” explains Lucas. Lucas points to the Credit Guarantee Scheme, Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme, Future Growth Loan Scheme, Sustaining Ireland Fund, Business Restart Grant, Trading Online Voucher, Local Enterprise Office grants, Microfinance Ireland, and the Retail Alliance Scheme as key vehicles of support for Irish SMEs during this time. Liquidity and cashflow are key concerns for many businesses right now. “At a time like this, cashflow is critical for businesses to stay in operation,” says Lucas. “People talk about loan-to-value and property values, but at the end of the day it’s cash that repays debt. Banks are not in the business of selling businesses unless they have to, but what they want to see is the cash being generated to repay that debt.”  He adds: “Ensure you review how you can generate cash to repay debt and keep your business alive. Can you optimise by selling slow-moving stock? Debtor management sounds obvious too, but assets can become tied up, so try and collect your debts as quickly as possible. The longer it remains unpaid the less likely it is to collect.” Lucas views the Covid-19 warehousing provisions as an excellent opportunity for businesses: “It has been a very well-received benefit for companies. You can warehouse your VAT or PAYE payments

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and it effectively turns into an interest-free loan for 12 months and then a 3% loan for the following 12 months. I would recommend everybody should be discussing it with their accountants or advisors.” On the advisory side, PKF is committed to helping businesses prepare for the future. “We prepare business plans and financial forecasts – providing an independent review of your working capital and cashflow requirements. We also build financial models to present to potential funders or stakeholders.” Lucas warns that in this volatile business landscape, SMEs may need to renegotiate covenants, or even a complete restructuring of debt. PKF can enable businesses to optimise their debt profile and liaise with lenders to achieve the ideal situation for their clients. “We help to run a competitive process and can facilitate SMEs to negotiate with current lenders which is vital in the current environment.” It’s important to know the different options that are available on the market, according to Lucas. “In terms of alternative lenders, they can be less onerous in terms of covenants, but they will still have policies and procedures to comply with to access funds.” He adds: “They tend to lend a little bit more than the traditional banks, but they will charge you more, so you’re paying 6 or 7% interest levels.” Lucas states that raising capital from private equity funds requires an advisor experienced in working with them. “Equity can enter as a minority or a majority stake,” he comments. “It has become very popular in the last while because these investors are not only bringing the capital, they’re also bringing experience.” Lucas reiterates the value of an experienced advisor who can negotiate with financial institutions on behalf of their clients. “Where we add a lot of value is negotiating those covenant levels. We want to try and achieve as much flexibility as we can to allow you to do what you do best.” PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes is a member of PKF International, an international network of accounting and business advisory firms. For more information, visit www.pkf.ie.

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Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers

A Different Perspective....

Contact us

There are many reasons why businesses experience challenges, either on a temporary or more sustained basis.

David Gleeson Managing Partner E: dgleeson@rbk.ie

As one of Ireland’s leading business advisory and accountancy firms, we provide a wide range of Financial Planning, Cashflow Management, HR, Tax, Wealth Management, Technology, Restructuring and Recovery solutions.

Talk to the experts We have worked with many business owners and their stakeholders to provide clear and practical solutions.

Chris Ball Corporate Finance Partner E: cball@rbk.ie Brendan O'Donoghue Restructuring & Insolvency Partner E: bodonoghue@rbk.ie Yvonne Clarke HR Solutions Manager E: yclarke@rbk.ie

Offices Dublin Athlone Roscommon

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T: (01) 644 0100 / (090) 6480600 W: rbk.ie

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – RESTRUCTURING

Adapting to change RBK prides itself on being able to adapt to changes in business, and never has that adaptability been more important than now as businesses begin their phased reopening after the Covid-19 pandemic.

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BK is the largest branded accountancy firm in Ireland, with offices in Dublin, Athlone and Roscommon. As a significant number of SMEs are facing hardship at present, the firm has put an emphasis on offering a range of immediate actions that can address trading shocks and cashflow impacts. Managing Partner David Gleeson discusses how his firm is helping SMEs to get back to business. “What we say to our clients is that they need to make a thorough assessment of their own situation and their own market,” he explains. “It’s important to remember that cash is king and they need to be very proactive in terms of addressing that. We would sit with them to help them evaluate how much cash they have, how long it will last, and what supports are available to help with that.” When it comes to attaining and maintaining working capital, SMEs have several options. Government grants through entities like Enterprise Ireland provide a welcome port in the storm to access funds. But Gleeson advises that at an unprecedented time such as this there are a number of additional options too. “When there is debt and a business is unable to pay it, a cost-effective solution can be schemes of arrangement,” he says. “This underused system facilitates an agreement between a company and its creditors to restructure the company’s liabilities over a

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prescribed period. While a scheme of arrangement does not protect a company from its creditors, if approved by 75% of creditors in value, it is legally binding on the remainder.” Gleeson acknowledges that debt isn’t the answer at all, but at the moment he sees it as a “necessary evil to get businesses back up and running”. RBK isn’t interested in just finding financial solutions; the firm also offers a wide range of business advice from HR and corporate recovery to technology solutions. Gleeson is keen to point out that health and safety is an important aspect to focus on at present, but that financial and logistical costs need to be taken into consideration. “Staff and customers are critical to any business and you do what you have to do to protect them,” he says. “But, of course, these measures may lead to less efficiency for businesses. When companies have experienced a decrease in sales or are operating at a decreased capacity, it’s vital that they also adjust their cost base. And that’s where supports such as the Wage Subsidy Scheme come into play to reduce the cost base to allow the company to continue to operate. It is vital for some sectors that wage subsidy is continued beyond August.” Gleeson believes there have been some positive aspects to the changes since the pandemic, particularly with regard to worklife balance. RBK is finding that about one-third of workers want to

David Gleeson, Managing Partner, RBK

continue working remotely, while others want to return to the office or want the flexibility to decide for themselves. This shift towards remote working could be the saving grace of rural Ireland in Gleeson’s opinion. “This perceived need that we all had to be in the middle of Dublin, that’s going to be diluted now as people realise that they may be able to work from home three or four days a week. That means people could rethink decisions on where they live. In fact, in rural Ireland, recently, there’s been an increase in the demand for housing. This move away from office-bound work in the capital presents savings for businesses, as they can start to consider downsizing their office space and reducing their overheads. There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that working from home is often more efficient than office-based work.” He concludes: “However the offices of the future work, staff will remain key to a successful business, and having effective HR procedures in place is absolutely essential for businesses.” RBK has recently launched a dedicated, confidential Corporate Recovery Helpline on (01) 644 0103 to support directors, managers and owners at this difficult time. For more information, visit www.rbk.ie.

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GOOD GOVERNANCE. TRANSPARENCY. TRUST. Some things can’t be bought, sold or traded. Duff & Phelps can help clients tackle issues from financial difficulties and bank repayment problems to funding and working capital management. Balancing proven technical skills with deep industry expertise, we help our clients address their most complex business needs.

To discuss your requirements, contact: Declan Taite Managing Director +353 (0) 1 472 0740 declan.taite@duffandphelps.com www.duffandphelps.ie

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – RESTRUCTURING

The Lifeblood of Business The world of corporate finance has been dramatically impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing small and sedium-sized enterprises (SMEs), funders, and everyone in between to rethink their business models and look for solutions to unexpected debt or cashflow issues.

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uff & Phelps is a multinational financial advisory firm whose aim is to help businesses get back on their feet. The company is not your typical accountancy firm. It doesn’t provide audit or tax services and Managing Director Declan Taite describes how this is advantageous for clients. “The fact that we don’t do audit or tax work means we’re independent, so unlike the large accountancy firms that have audit and tax practices which may cause conflicts, we tend not to have that level of conflicts.” Taite has noticed several worrying changes in the world of corporate finance since the outbreak of Covid-19. One of the key difficulties he pinpoints is the lack of certainty SMEs and lenders face. “There is an element of uncertainty which is pervading the entire business community at the moment,” he explains. Taite points to the general slowdown in corporate finance, particularly with regard to mergers and acquisitions, coupled with the government moratorium on banks’ and private equity firms’ ability to enforce their security, leading to a lag in business restructuring. This climate of uncertainty has created several challenges for businesses, the primary one being the question of discretionary spending and whether people will still be willing to spend once businesses reopen. “My sense is

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Declan Taite, Managing Director, Duff & Phelps

THE TECHNICAL DEFINITION OF INSOLVENCY IS THAT YOU’RE UNABLE TO PAY YOUR DEBTS AS THEY FALL DUE there will be a reluctance amongst a large cohort of the spending public to start frequenting businesses until there is greater clarity around the health risks. The turnover levels that businesses had enjoyed preCovid-19 simply will not be there post-Covid.”

ABILITY TO PIVOT Another significant challenge that Taite sees for businesses, particularly SMEs, is how they manage their cashflow once the government stimulus packages are removed. “The various support packages, particularly the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and the recently introduced replacement, The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, are lifelines to SMEs at the moment. The challenge a lot of businesses will have will be the impact on working capital within those businesses once those packages are withdrawn.” These challenges will require businesses to be able to pivot and change their model to a position that’s sustainable. As an expert in corporate restructuring and debt advisory, Taite is well informed on the options available. “The first thing I’d advise would be to make sure companies benefit from whatever support packages and grant aiding is available to them,” he says. The next step is to make an honest appraisal of the company’s trading and solvency. “The technical definition of insolvency is that you're unable to pay your debts as they fall due,” he warns. If there is a gap between income and debt, a business needs to look to how it can plug that gap. “Personal resources is one option,” adds Taite. “Businesses also need to engage fully with the banks in terms of extensions to things like overdrafts or term loans.”  Taite acknowledges that there will be some businesses that can’t bridge the gap and will need to look at formal forms of insolvency. However, even within that, there are some forms of rescue insolvency that companies can avail of such as examinership and schemes of arrangement.  Taite’s final rejoinder is: “Cash is the lifeblood of any business. Businesses don’t typically fail because they don’t make profit, they fail because they run out of cash.”

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ASSETS TO VALUE OR SELL? WILSONS AUCTIONS - ASSET ADVISORY AND REMARKETING SOLUTIONS We achieve dramatic revenue returns for our customers by offering a range of remarketing options. We provide clients with the most appropriate solution for the scale and nature of the assets to be sold.

WE CAN VALUE AND SELL ALL OF THE ASSETS ABOVE AND EVERYTHING IN-BETWEEN Why use Wilsons Auctions? - Established in 1936 – over 80 years experience in the industry

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Specialist departments that can re-market and sell any asset

- Our website is in the top 1% most visited website in the world

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Fast and efficient method to sell in the most transparent way

Contact: Ricky Wilson BSc (Hons), RICS, SCSI, MIPAV PSRA Licence: 001527-001778 DIRECTOR / AUCTIONEER

Rebecca Wilson MA (Hons) M.N.A.V.A. PSRA Licence: 001527-001774 HEAD OF CORPORATE SERVICES

T: 01 464 2800 M: 087 286 7500 E: rickywilson@wilsonsauctions.com

M: 086 607 1561 E: rebeccawilson@wilsonsauctions.com

T: 01 464 2800

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – RESTRUCTURING

Releasing liquidity in your assets Family-owned auction house Wilsons Auctions is offering invaluable support for firms when it comes to valuing and selling assets.

Rebecca Wilson, Director, Wilsons Auctions

Ricky Wilson, Director, Wilsons Auctions

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ilsons Auctions is the leading provider of premium asset advisory and remarketing services across Ireland and the UK and has a reputation for providing responsive customer service and dynamic commercial solutions. Now in its 85th year, the firm has assisted customers through many different challenging trading conditions and has always made the personal customer approach the forefront of its services. Rebecca Wilson says Wilsons Auctions is pleased to offer a multi-disciplinary team of valuation, logistics, marketing and IT specialists alongside its highly experienced auction team to be able to offer tailor-made services for each client. “The pandemic impacted many businesses overnight, completely stopping many of them from carrying out any sort of trade, which of course in turn affects the cashflow into their business,” she says. “But this is something we can help with as we can provide alternative routes for businesses to generate revenue by freeing up the equity in assets. “We see so many businesses with assets sitting unused in a warehouse or yard and taking up valuable space so we would say, ‘why not sell them?’ At Wilsons Auctions we provide tailored solutions for each customer, whether they have one asset to sell or hundreds, we can walk our customers through all the services we have on offer. We can provide valuations on any asset, collection and secure storage and, when remarketing our customers’ assets, they can rest assured that they are receiving the best possible exposure as our website is now in the top 1% of the most-visited websites in the world.” Wilsons Auctions’ asset advisory services are utilised by a range of clients from small businesses to multinational blue-chip companies and from financial institutions and accountants to government bodies. The firm is dedicated to assisting everyone through this challenging time. Ricky Wilson explains: “When we say we sell everything, we

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mean it as we have specialist departments in vehicles, plant and machinery, including agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, land and property, aviation and marine, retail and hospitality, fine art and jewellery and, over the last few years, we have even been auctioning cryptocurrencies for government bodies. He adds: “Since the pandemic, we have had so many different companies approaching us to see if we can help release equity in their assets, from large shops that have aged stock sitting in their warehouse to logistics companies that have trucks and trailers not being used and from multinational IT companies that have numerous laptops and other IT equipment which they are no longer using. And we are happy to initially provide valuations on assets to the company or their accountants so they can decide on their next steps.” Once the customer decides they would like to sell an asset, or assets, the process is very simple as Wilson Auctions’ dedicated team looks after everything from collection of the assets through to advertising via the best marketing medium and then selling by public auction. This is an excellent way to sell assets in today’s climate as it is fast, clear and transparent. The auctions are open to everyone to bid and with modern technology purchasers can bid from anywhere in the world from the comfort of their own home. “Where a client has a number of assets, we can leave them in situ and sell them directly from the premises, again Wilsons Auctions looks after the entire process,” says Rebecca. “We are seeing very strong prices for many different kinds of assets, which is why we are in contract with many government departments, main dealers, large wholesalers and manufacturers – as they see an auction as a fast and efficient remarketing method. And we understand that these are very challenging times for everyone, so all calls are held in the strictest of confidence.” For more information, visit www.wilsonsauctions.com, call (01) 464 2800 or email assetadvisory@wilsonsauctions.com

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Left to Right are Sean O’Riordan, Managing Partner with Sinead McNamara and David Swinburne, Legal and Advisory Restructuring and Insolvency Partners

Our Legal Restructuring and Insolvency practice led by Sinead McNamara provides advice to SME clients on options available to navigate through challenging times and our Advisory Restructuring and Insolvency practice is led by Chartered Accountant David Swinburne who acts as Examiner, Liquidator and Receiver. Contact Information: A: 4 High Street, Skibbereen, West Cork T: 028 21 000 A: 6 Lapps Quay, Cork, T12 XHE6 T: 021 427 9800 E: law@fitzsols.com W: fitzsols.com 249956_1C_Fitzgerald_JM_InBus 13.02_Rev.indd 1

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – RESTRUCTURING

A robust solution David Swinburne and Sinead McNamara chat with InBUSINESS about how firms can adapt to the new normal. Q. What are you finding are the most common problems faced by SMEs in the wake of Covid-19?

Q. What restructuring options are available to SMEs that have been hit hard by the pandemic?

DS: Covid-19 has disrupted SMEs

SMcN: An underutilised option in

in lots of different ways. The most immediate impact which is still an ongoing concern for businesses in cash. Certainty of cash inflows diminished overnight which in turn had a knock-on impact on businesses’ ability to pay all their stakeholders within their usual timeframe. Remote working and the impact of Covid-19 on the wellbeing of employees continues to be a challenge. There is little appetite for SMEs to take on additional loan facilities due to market uncertainty.

this country is examinership. It is often not considered as it is viewed as too expensive. We have also found that looking at the prospective outcomes of restructuring options with clients and presenting them to their stakeholders has resulted in all parties working together on a consensual, informal way forward.

Q. Is engagement and communication in this difficult time important?

SMcN: Ongoing communication and transparency with all stakeholders both within and outside the business is key. The impacts of the disruption that Covid-19 has had on business life continues to change and this will be the ‘new normal’ that every business is adapting to and you need to always be communicating the impacts that evolving changes are having on your business.

Q. How detrimental can a lack of cash be to an SME at this time? Sinead McNamara is a Solicitor and Head of Legal Restructuring and Insolvency at Fitzgerald Legal and Advisory and is also the Cork County Sheriff and has extensive experience acting for Examiners, Liquidators and Receivers.

SMcN: If it is non-essential, then it must be cut back. There is a balance to be struck here in terms of ensuring that a business allocates its cash to essential items only and there must be robust debate within a business to agree what is considered essential and non-essential. Q. What sets FitzGerald Legal & Advisory apart from its competitors?

DS: Prior to Covid-19, crisis

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working capital at this time has to be a number one priority. If a lack of cash is the only topic on the agenda in a business, it can be fatal. So early engagement to assess the position and options on how you trade out of it are vital.

Q. How vital is it that non-essential expenditure is cut back?

Q. Should firms be focusing on crisis management and business continuity plans? management and business continuity plans were something that very often never got the attention they truly deserved. Crisis management plans have by and large been successful, but the real challenge is the constant need to be updating continuity plans as matters continue to evolve in the longer term.

DS: A constant review of your

DS: What makes us different is David Swinburne is a Chartered Accountant and Head of Advisory at Fitzgerald Legal & Advisory. He holds an Insolvency Practising Certificate from Chartered Accountants Ireland and is a member of the Irish Society of Insolvency Practitioners.

that we have the blended skills and experience under one roof. We are in a position to provide robust, practical advice and solutions as a package to clients. For more information, visit www.fitzsols.com

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – RESTRUCTURING

Calm and Confidential Graham P. Kenny dispels some of the myths around legislation and explains some of the lifelines to help save your company.

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he Covid-19 crisis has thrown most businesses into disarray. While some very good initiatives and supports have been implemented by government, the reality is that many businesses are now simply insolvent. But there is hope. The Companies Acts present a robust arsenal for directors in these difficult times. I am constantly disappointed by the misinformation that continually appears about these mechanisms. These are some of the common questions I am regularly asked: WHAT IS EXAMINERSHIP? If your company is insolvent then you can, in specified circumstances, ask the Court to appoint an examiner. The primary role of the examiner is to form a Scheme of Arrangement, which generally writes down creditors’ debts and allows the company to continue to trade. HOW IS AN EXAMINER APPOINTED? Ordinarily, the company or its directors will ask the Court to appoint an examiner. The company is required to obtain the report of an independent accountant, which must confirm that following a restructuring, the company would have a reasonable prospect of survival. HOW DOES THE COMPANY GET BREATHING SPACE FROM CREDITORS? When an examiner is appointed by the Court, an extended period of up to 100 days may be granted in which creditors are prohibited from taking action against the company. During this time, the examiner will endeavour to formulate a Scheme of Arrangement. No creditor can liquidate the company during this time and all outstanding and new litigation against the company is stayed.

Graham P. Kenny, Principal Solicitor, Kenny Solicitors

WHAT EXACTLY IS A SCHEME OF ARRANGEMENT? The examiner will generally seek investment into the company and will then divide those funds amongst existing creditors in what is known as

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a Scheme of Arrangement. Creditors will vote on any such proposed scheme. However, the rules allow for the imposition of the examiner’s proposal, even where all creditors do not agree. CAN THE COMPANY FORCE A WRITE-DOWN OF DEBTS? This is the fundamental attraction of examinership. If a creditor will not voluntarily reduce their debt a company may, following the approval of the Court, compel a writedown of such debt on its creditors. As business owners are quickly realising, many creditors will not negotiate debt write-off voluntarily. Similarly, many creditors will not agree to a restructuring of such debt in realistic terms. The laws surrounding examinership are not drafted to impose further hardship on creditors, but rather to force them to accept that the company cannot pay its debts and that the alternative is liquidation, where creditors may in many instances get nothing. WHO RUNS THE COMPANY DURING EXAMINERSHIP? With limited exceptions, the directors maintain their executive powers and continue to run the company as normal. The examiner does have reporting obligations and will compile reports for the Court during the tenure of the examinership. IS EXAMINERSHIP EXPENSIVE? In order to qualify for examinership, the company must be insolvent. What most people fail to realise is that in almost all examinerships, external funds are paid by an investor in return for a shareholding in the company. It is the new investor monies that are used to pay both the examiner’s expenses and a dividend to creditors. In almost all examinerships, fees and expenses are paid from new investor monies. IS OUR COMPANY TOO SMALL FOR EXAMINERSHIP? There is no legislative provision which precludes small companies availing of examinership and the law was even changed to permit such applications in the Circuit Court. Our team has successfully completed examinerships for large-scale multinational companies and smaller firms, where investments and fees were simply tailored accordingly. For more information, visit www.kennysolicitors.ie.

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RESTRUCTURING – IB PARTNER PROFILE

Review and Reflect Credit Review’s team are experts in reviewing credit applications and restructuring proposals to help SMEs through the challenges of Covid-19.

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he Covid-19 emergency has had a huge impact on small businesses in Ireland. Government supports, such as the Temporary Wage Support Scheme, grants and low cost loans and deferred taxes, have helped businesses keep going or resume activity quickly when the crisis eases. Banks have offered payment breaks to their business customers to enable a breathing space while the business owners adapt to the new environment post-Covid-19. All of these initiatives have greatly helped many businesses survive the initial lockdown period. But what will happen next when the payment breaks and financial supports finish up? Businesses will need ongoing funding to continue to operate. For most small businesses, the main source of funding (outside of their own cash reserves) is bank finance – typically overdrafts, stocking and term loans or debtor finance. Business owners can ensure there is enough cash to sustain business in two ways: 1. By reducing cash outflows by carefully controlling costs and payments, including restructuring existing debt repayments.

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Catherine Collins, Deputy Head, Credit Review Office

2. By seeking additional credit from their banks and other finance providers. Borrowers and banks will need to work together to ensure successful outcomes to requests for forbearance, restructuring or new lines of credit. CREDIT REVIEW CAN HELP The good news is that Credit Review is here to help borrowers having difficulty accessing credit from their banks – and can consider both new requests for credit, as well as restructuring proposals. Credit Review offers a simple, effective and affordable appeals process for SME and farm businesses which have either been refused credit or have had existing

facilities (up to a value of €3m) reduced or withdrawn. It also reviews restructuring proposals, where the proposal is made either by the borrower or the bank. Participating banks include AIB, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and Ulster Bank. Credit Review appeals are successful in 90% of the cases it supports, resulting in SME and farm businesses receiving a lending/credit solution from their bank. WHAT IS INVOLVED? When an application is received from a disappointed borrower, a Credit Reviewer is assigned, who contacts them to discuss their case and better understand their business. Credit Reviewers are expert credit professionals, with frontline SME and farming finance experience. After receiving information about the business (its market, management, debt and finances) from the borrower, and the bank, the Reviewer forms an opinion as to whether the business is viable and will make enough cash to pay back the loan or meet restructuring obligations. Even if the Reviewer can’t recommend the particular facility requested, they will suggest a roadmap to make future bank applications more likely to succeed. In some cases, bank funding may not be the solution – in which case the Reviewer will highlight other alternative supports that may help the borrower and the business. INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE In addition to reviews and appeals, Credit Review provides accessible, easy to understand information notes on current credit issues on the website www.creditreview.ie. Get immediate assistance by calling the Credit Review helpline on 087 121 7244. For more information, visit www.creditreview.ie or email info@creditreview.ie.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE – RESTRUCTURING

Expertise in an era of uncertainty As we face an uncertain future with many firms moving into insolvency, industry expert PJ Lynch provides some vital advice for firms fighting for survival.

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he Covid-19 pandemic has left an indelible impact on societies around the world. People are coming to the realisation that, along with a health crisis, we also have the financial effects of a pandemic that is shattering businesses. The Covid-19 lockdown has caused a myriad of issues to businesses both large and small and has resulted in significant financial stress to all types of business, especially to the small and mediumsized varieties. The effect on the global economy has also had a knock-on effect on Ireland and the financial implications caused by Covid-19 could result in our society being

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significantly damaged for the foreseeable future. The pandemic’s effects will be widespread and sustained. It will cause a drop in economic activity, resulting in cashflow difficulties and many businesses becoming insolvent. If your company is struggling at this difficult time, it’s important to act fast. The best approach is to discuss the matter with your financial advisor, and decide if the company has the financial resources to trade out of its difficulties. If it’s clear that the business has no future, it can be placed in voluntary liquidation by a process known as a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation. This process is

THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS CAUSED BY COVID-19 COULD RESULT IN OUR SOCIETY BEING SIGNIFICANTLY DAMAGED FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE.

relatively straightforward if the entire procedure is well planned, with the directors seeking professional advice from their accountants and guidance from a licensed insolvency practitioner. If the directors of an insolvent company are transparent and are in a position to demonstrate that the company was operated in a sincere manner, then the winding up of the company can be concluded quite quickly. If the directors of a solvent company decide not to continue to trade, the company can be wound up through a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation. For this to be effective, all admitted claims against the company must be discharged in full. For a company formed prior to the pandemic that has never traded, it is imperative that the company should not be deserted. Instead, it should be a voluntarily struck off the register pursuant to the Companies Act 2014, which has increased the responsibility for directors to act in good faith. However, companies should be aware that a court liquidation is very unlikely to happen during a national crisis of this level if they are unable to trade out due to the financial impacts of the pandemic. SUPPORTS AND COOPERATION There are some supports in place. By introducing the Covid-19 subsidy scheme, the Revenue Commissioners have offered welcome assistance to companies during the ongoing crisis. In addition, Revenue is prepared to consider a period of forbearance as regards payments once the returns are kept up to date under all relevant tax heads. The fast action of the Revenue Commissioners is to be commended. If your business has been impacted by Covid-19, your Local Enterprise Office can also help. Email info@pjlynchco.ie, see www.pjlynchco.ie or call (01) 707 9662 for an action plan to suit your requirements.

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June Butler, Head of Sectors, Bank of Ireland, provides an overview of how Bank of Ireland is helping businesses to cope with Covid-19 and sector specialists share their specific insights.

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ank of Ireland has been on hand to help businesses nationwide deal with the fallout of the Covid-19 crisis, across all sectors of the economy. In early March we quickly rolled out a range of business supports such as payment breaks for loans, the provision of emergency working capital and payment flexibility on June Butler, Head of Sectors, loan facilities, and in early Bank of Ireland April we announced the fast-tracking of payments to over 1,000 of our own SME suppliers to help them navigate cash flow challenges during the public health emergency. Now as the economy opens up, we are focused on the ‘Next Normal’, and putting the right supports in place for businesses to repair and rebuild in the new world in which they have reopened. We recently announced €1.4bn in new funding for home building and green investments for businesses and home buyers and owners. And we also donated another €1m to help local communities get back on their feet. We have a team of sector specialists within our Business Banking division – including food and drink, healthcare and agriculture. They work day in, day out with businesses from right across the country, supporting the reboot of our economy and getting businesses back up and running. It’s clear that different sectors face different challenges right now, so as each one adapts to the Next Normal I have asked three of my colleagues to provide key advice in their own areas.

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FOOD AND DRINK SECTOR

Dealing with the Next Normal

Roisin O’Shea, Head of Food and Drink Sector, Bank of Ireland When the foodservice sector closed its doors at the start of lockdown, many suppliers had to adapt quickly in order to survive. One of the most pressing issues was what to do with stock on hand. For some, storage and freezing was an option, while others repurposed stock in order to sell it to retail. Others looked to open up direct-to-consumer channels – setting up their own websites or collaborating with others in a producer group. As the lockdown continued, innovation from new product development started to emerge, a good example being distilleries that developed alcohol-based hand sanitiser products. As the foodservice sector continues to adapt, businesses are reviewing their operating models. With many consumers continuing to work from home, supermarket delivery slots will be at a premium going into winter. There is no doubt that online demand will continue to be a feature of the market. Businesses therefore have to decide whether their direct-to-consumer model was a temporary survival mechanism or if it will now remain part of their core business. If it’s the latter, this will need investment and focus in order to grow profitably. From a foodservice perspective, while demand has begun to recover it is unlikely that it will return to previous levels in the near term. Businesses need to consider what scale and cost structure will be appropriate to service this level of demand and whether longer-term structural change will be needed in order to thrive in the Next Normal.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

When the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic it noted its alarming levels of spread and severity. Pharmacists are the most frequently accessed healthcare professionals in Ireland, with 2 million people visiting a community pharmacy monthly and 20 million prescriptions being filled annually. Pharmacists and pharmacy staff know and understand their communities. They very quickly responded to Covid-19, introducing innovative changes that focused on patient and community needs. Some examples of innovation include introducing apps for ordering, dedicated telephone helplines, and medication delivery for “at risk” and older patients. We have also seen a shift to online sales and retail spaces being repurposed to meet local community needs, including sanitisation products (gels and cleaning products), thermometers, blood pressure apparatus, vitamins and wellness products. Other solutions introduced to reduce the risks of Covid-19 spread include “one in, one out” queuing systems and Perspex screens. From early on in the pandemic, Bank of Ireland’s teams have proactively engaged with customers to offer support, providing additional finance to support both the purchase of stock and offer payment breaks to protect pharmacy groups’ cash flows. Bank of Ireland understands the challenges faced by the community pharmacy sector and will continue to work closely with our customers and communities to enable them to thrive in the coming year as they adapt to the Next Normal.

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AGRICULTURE SECTOR

HEALTH SECTOR - PHARMACIES

Hilary Coates, Head of Health Sector, Bank of Ireland

Eoin Lowry, Head of Agri Sector, Bank of Ireland As Ireland’s most important indigenous industry, agriculture plays a vital role in the country’s economy and is a key sector for Bank of Ireland. Since the lifting of dairy quotas, the sector has been in growth mode. Bank of Ireland has supported this growth and is committed to working with farmers and agri businesses into the future. Volatility in commodity prices will be a key issue in the Next Normal. Through our dedicated agri team, we understand that financial ups and downs are part and parcel of farming today, recognising the challenges of fluctuating product prices, adverse weather patterns and everchanging input costs. To help cope with these fluctuations, Bank of Ireland offers farmers flexible borrowing solutions, including interestonly periods on their borrowings when product prices are low or when exceptional unplanned events occur – like weather events, or herd health issues – that can impact on farm cash flow. We also want to enable growth in the agri sector and help farmers develop their businesses sustainably to ensure future viability. With that in mind, we recently collaborated with farm accountancy firm IFAC to bring FarmPro, a financial management tool, to Irish farmers. We are confident in the future of Irish agriculture and that Ireland’s farmers working on high quality land around the country are well placed to capitalise on future opportunities.

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Cork County Council welcomes €33.7m CEB loan and €950k NTA funding, Limerick towns get €1.5m boost, and Clare County Council plans new greenway project

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Social distancing measures, future Luas plans and greenway investments across Dublin, while Meath County Council Library Service gets funding from Facebook

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Belfast plans a “Bolder Vision” for the city, Monaghan signs contract for €17.6m Peace Campus project, Donegal plans new Innovation Centre, and Cavan greenway gets €170k

A “Bolder Vision” for Belfast

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FINGAL COAST WAY

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BOOST FOR LIMERICK

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HISTORIC INITIATIVE

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[ DUBLIN CITY ]

Dublin City Council trials Grafton Street area pedestrianisation

Fingal County Council welcomed the publication of the Emerging Preferred Route for Luas Finglas, the proposed extension of the Luas Green Line from Broombridge to Charlestown, which will provide a high capacity radial service from Charlestown into the city centre with four new stops.

[ FINGAL ]

€200,000 Carbon Tax Fund goes towards Fingal Coastal Way

Dublin City Council trialled pedestrianisation in the Grafton Street area over four consecutive weekends. The measures were taken to support the economic recovery of the city by providing more space for pedestrians during weekends to encourage people to return for shopping and to dine at cafés and restaurants in the area. Temporary street furniture permits were issued to a number of cafés and restaurants on South Anne Street, Duke Street, South William Street, Drury Street and Dame Court to assist them in the re-opening of their businesses and provide for social distancing requirements. Tables and chairs for customers were permitted in allocated on-street areas.

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ingal County Council was awarded a200,000 towards the Fingal Coastal Way, a 32km walking and cycling route stretching from Newbridge Demesne in Donabate to the county boundary, north of Balbriggan, under the Carbon Tax Fund 2020 by the Department of Climate Change, Communications Networks and Transport – part of a total allocation of a4.5m towards the planning and design of 26 greenways around the country. The flagship project will ultimately connect to the a12m Broadmeadow Way, a 6km off-road cycling and walking route linking Malahide and Donabate across the scenic Broadmeadow Estuary. A third project underway is the Malahide to Sutton Greenway, part of which – the a2.5m Baldoyle to Portmarnock section – was opened in June. Design and planning work on the next phase of the project, linking the greenway to Sutton and Malahide through Portmarnock village, is underway and public consultation is expected to take place later in 2020.

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[ SOUTH DUBLIN ]

€809,100

Donation by Facebook to Meath County Council Library Service The Laptop for Loan initiative donation will enable the purchase of nearly 900 laptops and WiFi dongles, which will support 50% of fifth year and Leaving Certificate Applied students who don’t have digital devices to continue studies from home during Covid-19 restrictions. The laptops will be made available for the wider community when restrictions are lifted.

LEO South Dublin wins European Enterprise Promotion Award Local Enterprise Office (LEO) South Dublin has been named as national European Enterprise Promotion Awards (EEPA) winner for “Improving the Business Environment”. The competition rewards innovative initiatives from public bodies and public-private partnerships which support entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), while the category recognises innovative policies at national, regional or local level that promote enterprise start-up and growth, simplified legislative and administrative procedures for businesses and implementing the ‘Think Small First’ principle in favour of SMEs. LEO South Dublin will move on to represent Ireland at the SME Assembly in Berlin in November – the most significant event for small and SMEs in Europe. “LEO South Dublin are delighted to receive this recognition for the assistance we provide to the development of new small and micro business opportunities through our financial supports for feasibility and employment development,” says Tom Rooney, Head of the LEO South Dublin.

FROM LEFT: County Librarian Ciaran Mangan, Senior Executive Librarian Maedhbh Rogan-McGann, Cathaoirleach Cllr Wayne Harding, Chief Executive Jackie Maguire, Beaufort College Navan Principal Angela Crowcock, and Community Engagement Development Manager at Facebook’s Clonee Data Centre Aoife Flynn.

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Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley with Conor Mooney (Ieft), Head of Business Transformation (CEB) and Tim Lucey, Chief Executive, Cork County Council at the virtual contract signing with the Council of Europe Development Bank. Photo: Brian Lougheed.

[ COUNTY CORK ]

Council of Europe Development Bank provides €33.7m loan funding to Cork County Council

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he Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) signed a a33.7m loan agreement with Cork County Council to support its Social Sustainability Investment Programme, which aims to maximise potential for growth under the National Planning Framework Project Ireland 2040 and ensure a sustainable future for Cork County. A portfolio of projects totalling in excess of a250m have been identified by the council and is planned for delivery over an eight-to-ten-year period. The signing of a framework loan agreement between the CEB and Cork County Council took place at a ceremony in County Hall, in conjunction with the Governor of the CEB Rolf Wenzel via a teleconference to CEB offices in Paris. Urban infrastructure and public spaces, public and culture buildings modernisation, flood protection and drainage, broadband and business incubation, walking/cycling facilities, flood prevention and adaptation to climate change are all expected to benefit from the investment.

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[ COUNTY CLARE ]

West Clare Railway Greenway Project given €255,000 funding Minister for Climate Change, Communications Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan announced funding of a4.5m to 26 greenway projects under the Carbon Tax Fund 2020, with a255,000 allocated to the West Clare Railway Greenway Project. Clare County Council is committed to developing a greenway that will become a world-class tourism attraction, providing economic, social, health and environmental benefits for both visitors and people living in Clare. It is envisaged that the greenway will follow the 85km route of the old West Clare railway line where feasible and the council will work with local landowners to ensure a suitable route is selected.

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[ COUNTY LIMERICK ]

€1.5m boost for five Co Limerick towns from Rural Regeneration and Development Fund The Co Limerick towns of Abbeyfeale, Ardagh, Askeaton, Bruff and Rathkeale have received funding worth a1.5m allocated to tackle derelict sites in the five towns and villages – the largest amount awarded to a single project in the country under this round of funding, while a further half a million euro will be provided by the council’s own resources. The aim of the project is to bring derelict properties in the core of the targeted towns and villages across rural Limerick back into use with an emphasis on re-use for housing, based on the delivery of demonstrator housing projects. It will also develop plans for the re-use of identified derelict properties/brownfield lands in the same towns and villages as community, social and economic infrastructure. The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund is a commitment by the government to invest a1bn in rural Ireland between 2019 and 2027. The purpose of the fund is to support job creation, address de-population of rural communities and support improvements in towns and villages with a population of less than 10,000, and outlying areas.

NTA funding for Cork County

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€950,000+

Midleton’s Lodge Park is now home to four new sculptures carved by artist Will Fogarty, Fear na Coillte and commissioned by Cork County Council. One features a pair of barn owls perched on a double tree trunk, another is a fairy house in the woods, a third features a heron with a hare underneath and squirrel peeking out from a hole in the tree trunk, and the fourth is a bee on a flower head with a honeycomb motif. “These charming, wooden creatures marry Midleton’s tradition of sculpture to the Pollinator Plan in a perfect partnership,” says Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Mary Linehan Foley.

Cork County Council secured over €950,000 from the National Transport Authority for 50+ initiatives developed through the council’s Project ACT, established to activate the local economy in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The funding will enhance safety and accessibility, as well as increasing the availability of public space in each of the council’s eight Municipal Districts. 109

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At the launch of the Mayo Economic Recovery Plan were Cllr Richard Finn, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council; Peter Duggan, Chief Executive (Interim) Mayo County Council; Elaine Moyles, Head of Enterprise, Mayo County Council; Seamus McCormack, WestBIC; Sean O Coisdealbha, Údarás na Gaeltachta; Stephen Carolan, Western Development Commission; Joan Fahey, WestBIC; Sue O’Toole, South West Mayo Development Company; Fionnán Nestor, Fáilte Ireland; and John Magee, Director of Services, Mayo County Council. Photograph by Alison Laredo.

[ COUNTY MAYO ]

Mayo Economic Recovery Plan is launched

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he agencies involved in enterprise support and economic development in Mayo have come together to agree the Mayo Economic Recovery Plan, which contains a series of actions to support the local economic recovery effort. The plan contains four key themes, which focus on coping with the current economic situation through to planning for 2021 and beyond. “It is essential that we work together to support our business community in these challenging times,” says Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council Cllr Richard Finn. “Mayo County Council and all of the enterprise support agencies in Mayo are working extremely hard to deliver the various supports available to businesses at this time. Initiatives like the Restart Grant and the Government’s Economic Stimulus package of supports are critically important, but it is essential that these are complemented by actions that address local issues and help local businesses to prepare for the future.” The Mayo Economic Recovery Plan contains 12 actions covering areas such as practical support for businesses’ online activities, the development of campaigns to support the work of the Mayo Tourism Recovery Task Force, a family business resilience programme, a programme to support the local food and drink sectors and an initiative to engage with the Mayo diaspora to help them to buy and support Mayo produce, plus actions on remote working and working with businesses to help them access industry specific training. The agencies involved in the Economic Recovery Plan include Mayo County Council, through the Local Enterprise Office, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, WestBIC, the Western Development Commission, Údarás na Gaeltachta, local development sector companies including South West Mayo Development Company, Fáilte Ireland, Mayo Chambers of Commerce and the Regional Skills Forum. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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[ COUNTY MAYO ]

Over €114k from Town and Village Renewal Scheme goes to Mayo projects Mayo County Council welcomed the Department for Rural and Community Development’s first tranche of funding under the enhanced Town and Village Renewal Scheme supporting rural businesses and communities to rebuild following Covid-19. Four Mayo projects received a114,325 in total; a39,600 was provided for broadband connection points at community centres in ten locations in Mayo, while office furniture and IT equipment will also be provided; a25,000 was allocated to Cong to carry out works in the public realm to allow safe queueing on footpaths and safe placement of outdoor tables and chairs; a24,725 was allocated to improvements to Lahardane Village for enhancement of the public realm to increase visitor footfall to the outdoor Titanic museum and park; and a25,000 was allocated for the acquisition of large mobile parasols to provide sheltered external space in Westport for festivals, markets, tourism and community events. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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[ COUNTY SLIGO ]

€200,000 Historic Towns Initiative for Sligo The Heritage Council has awarded a200,000 to a heritage-led regeneration initiative in Sligo town. The Heritage Office of Sligo County Council in partnership with Sligo BID, the property owners and the local community were awarded the funds under the Historic Towns Initiative 2020. The award is being further supported with a50,000 in funding from Sligo County Council as well as private investment from property owners. “There is a growing recognition that the survival and successful regeneration of our towns and villages needs to be based on, and informed by, an appreciation of and investment in our built heritage,” says Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Cllr Dara Mulvey. “Experience has shown that places that have a strong civic pride in their historic buildings, invest in their historic environment and employ best conservation practice, are those that make the most attractive places to live, work and visit.” Along with Sligo, five other towns countrywide benefitted under this year’s Historic Towns Initiative, including Ballina, Co Mayo (a140,000); Clones, Co Monaghan (a103,000); Roscommon, Co Roscommon (a157,000); Ramelton, Co Donegal (a200,000); and Tralee, Co Kerry (a200,000).

€800,000

, Allocated for Sligo and Leitrim Greenways

Greenways in Sligo and Leitrim were allocated €800,000 from the €4.5m Carbon Tax Fund 2020. Sligo County Council secured €300,000 towards preliminary design and environmental evaluation costs for the Charlestown / Bellaghy to Collooney Greenway Project, while Leitrim County Council was awarded €500,000 for the Sligo Leitrim Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR) Greenway Project from Sligo to Blacklion. 111

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A “BOLDER VISION” FOR BELFAST

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elfast City Council and Executive Ministers backed an ambitious blueprint to explore a shared approach to creating a more attractive, accessible, safe and vibrant city centre. The “Bolder Vision” document – which follows a joint study by Belfast City Council and the Department for Infrastructure and Department for Communities – outlines a Belfast City Centre with the focus moving to a greener, walkable and connected core. “A ‘Bolder Vision’ looks at ways of reimagining the city’s heart and key connections to local communities, where streets and open spaces are designed to meet the changing needs of a diverse range of users, as well as supporting existing businesses and encouraging inclusive growth,” says Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey (left). The vision sets out four goals; by 2035, Belfast will be: a healthy, shared, vibrant and sustainable environment, where people of all ages will choose to live, work and visit; a city that prioritises walking, cycling and public transport; lively and safe with green streets that celebrate Belfast’s built heritage with new leisure spaces and a variety of cultural activities; a city with barriers to movement removed, ensuring communities are well connected to the city core with the River Lagan a focus.

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€167,553

[ COUNTY ANTRIM ]

Funding announced for five new Donegal projects

Donegal’s Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) approved funding of €167,553 for five new projects under the LEADER Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. The projects include the development of local community festivals, provision of digital media training courses and facilities, and the development of Irish traditional music training, as well as the construction of community sporting facilities.

[ COUNTY CAVAN ]

€170,000 FOR CAVAN RAILWAY GREENWAY STUDY Cavan County Council has secured a170,000 in funds under the Carbon Tax Fund to pursue options selection for the 26km section of the Cavan Railway Greenway, linking with the Ulster Canal Greenway north of Castle Saunderson and with the Cavan – Leitrim Greenway at Belturbet. The announcement was made by Minister for Climate Change, Communications Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan, with funding of a4.5m divided among 26 greenway projects. Meanwhile, the proposed Sligo Leitrim Northern Counties Railway Greenway, which will link Blacklion in West Cavan with Sligo Town, was allocated a500,000 from the Carbon Tax Fund.

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Monaghan County Council signed the contract for The Peace Campus project, a a17.6m project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), which awarded a9.5m to Monaghan County Council to deliver the project. The Peace Campus will provide community space, a youth facility, a new town library and a cultural heritage area, and is expected to be completed early 2022. At the signing of the contract was Cllr Colm Carthy, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council, with representatives of the contractors and funders. Photograph © Rory Geary/The Northern Standard.

[ COUNTY DONEGAL ] [ COUNTY ANTRIM ]

Belfast Waterside development to boost city’s regeneration Plans have been approved for the extensive Waterside development at the former Sirocco works site in Belfast. The Belfast Waterside scheme is set to transform the city’s east bank through a mixed use waterfront development made up of offices, apartments and a hotel, with retail, hospitality and professional service units and community and leisure facilities. A “creative cluster” building will include a public square, reflecting the site’s industrial heritage, and providing new spaces for community and arts use. The 2.6 hectare site will be opened up through extensive public realm works, including a new street network and linear park and a replacement pedestrian bridge over the River Lagan.

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€3.7m funding for Letterkenny’s Alpha Innovation Centre

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inister Heather Humphreys announced a3.7m funding for the development of a new innovation centre in Letterkenny under the Border Enterprise Development Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland. The purpose built, hightech workspace facility will include a bespoke pre-accelerator programme for early-idea entrepreneurs along with a programme of supports for businesses. “This dedicated space will provide an innovative ecosystem and business centre where both new and existing businesses will have the opportunity to operate their day-to-day business activities, to collaborate and share ideas and to explore and develop the potential of new ideas into viable and scalable propositions, contributing to greater resilience in the enterprise base and economic growth in the county,” says Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr Rena Donaghey.

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

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Living Responsibility As the logistics company for the world DHL Express takes its responsibility to society and environment seriously.

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s the logistics company for the world, it is DHL’s mission to connect people and improve lives. Our aim is to facilitate trade and help businesses to grow—all in a responsible manner. Operating in 220 countries across the world, we take our responsibility to our employees, society and the environment very seriously. In light of this, we have established a corporate GoHelp program aimed at maximising benefits for society—both global and local—by leveraging our global network, logistics knowledge and the skills of our employees.

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PEOPLE ACROSS THE WORLD ARE STRUGGLING MORE THAN EVER AND AS A GLOBAL COMPANY, WE UNDERSTAND OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP An excellent example of this on a global scale is our Disaster Response Teams (DRTs), established in cooperation with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to assist airports with the handling of relief goods in the aftermath of a natural disaster. This global network consists of 400 trained DHL volunteers, who can be

deployed to the affected airport within 72 hours. In the past two years alone, teams have assisted in Peru, Guatemala, Mozambique, India and Indonesia. At a local level, 2020 brings to an end a fantastic four-year partnership with Pieta House. Over these years, events like DHL Does Strictly Come Dancing, our DHL OsKaRs, the Pieta 100K Cycle, and numerous Darkness Into Light events, have raised over €70,000 for this incredible organisation. While Covid-19 forced the cancellation of many planned fundraisers, our employees still rallied together with thousands of people around Ireland for the Pieta House Darkness Into Light Sunrise Appeal, proving the power of Irish people when they come together to support those in need. In these uncertain times, people across the world are struggling more than ever and as a global company, we understand our responsibility to help. A new Irish charity ‘Comfort 4 Covid’ was formed to fund and source tablet devices to donate to hospitals and care homes around Ireland, to enable Covid-19 patients to connect with their families using video conferencing. ‘Comfort 4 Covid’ received a huge number of donations but had one major issue—distribution! So they contacted DHL and to date, ‘Comfort 4 Covid’ has delivered over 700 tablets to 295 nursing homes and hospitals, helping over 14,000 residents and patients across the country, all with the help of our DHL superstars. Throughout the current pandemic, our employees have shown more than ever that not only are they committed to ensuring the highest level of service to our customers, but they are willing to give freely of their time and effort to support our charitable and societal goals. As one, our DHL Ireland employees are constantly striving towards our mission of connecting people and improving lives.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Maximising the value of data We recently chatted to Dara Keogh, CEO of GeoDirectory, Ireland’s leading address data provider, to find more about location data and services used in business.

Q: Tell us a little about GeoDirectory?

DK: GeoDirectory was jointly established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI). With 5,600 delivery staff on the ground, we take An Post’s knowledge of every building in every village, town and city in the country and combine it with OSI’s advanced technology which has thoroughly mapped the Republic of Ireland over the past 150 years and has unmatched geographical expertise. This union enables us to provide our clients with the latest, most accurate location information available.

Q: What services do you offer your clients?

DK: We have a wide range of address data services that provide clients with access to 2.2 million building addresses, both commercial and residential, in Ireland. These include GeoAddress SmartData, which helps our clients target by name, location, sector, phone number, turnover and employee size, or go after prospects digitally with email addresses, websites or social media platforms and add even more value to their own data. We’ve have lists for Northern Ireland too.

The maximising the value of data offering is a DIY online service that allows businesses to clean their customer data list in just minutes. It’s a simple threestep process leaving your list error free, ready to target your customers and deliver their needs in a prompt and precise manner. To help people see how powerful their data could be we have developed a free award-winning app called GeoFindIT. It’s a very handy tool if you’re out and about and need directions, want to find things in your local area, check out things like property prices or realtime transport times and availability.

Q: What kind of benefits can be gained by using data services like yours?

DK: There are huge benefits to having your customer data clean, accurate and up to date. For real examples of our service I would urge people to visit the case studies on our website (geodirectory.ie). Quite often a combination of services are used to generate deeper customer insights and to assess risk and opportunity. When applied correctly clients can expect to plan better and

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work smarter, to manage the delivery process and make it more efficient and cost effective, provide better customer service and foster loyalty, spot new opportunities and identify new prospects and markets. It’s not how much data you have, it is the quality of what you have and how you use it that counts.

Q: Are you launching anything new this year?

DK: Yes, we have lots of activity going on. We’re delighted to announce the launch of our latest service offering, an Application Programme Interface (API) called GeoAddress Checked. GeoAddress Checked provides direct automated integration between your website and/or CRM system and GeoDirectory’s bullet-proof address location lists. It is estimated that the cost of a failed delivery can be up to €15, but once installed, the API prompts customers or staff with address options as they start to type, which results in a correctly formatted version making it impossible to enter an inaccurate Irish address. With this you can be more confident that

deliveries will reach their intended destination first time, every time and that your customer data is completely accurate. We’re also preparing to launch our eCommerce site where SmartData will be available to purchase and download instantly. This will allow you to build enhanced address datasets to grow your business. You can define your search by location, choosing residential or commercial, or both, and access data by county, city or even town. Residential searches will further enable you to filter by social demographics while commercial searches can be broken down into business sector. We’re really excited to show this off and it is due to launch in August.

Q: What’s next for GeoDirectory?

DK: We’re still in the early stages of research but we are very keen to expand into international markets. Hopefully next time we chat I’ll have lots more to tell you about that! For more information visit www.geodirectory.ie or email info@geodirectory.ie

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Getting directly to your customer Julie Gill, Commercial Marketing Director, Mails & Parcels, explains how An Post Commerce is supporting SMEs to sell online and build brand awareness.

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n response to the Covid-19 crisis, An Post Commerce launched a €2m support scheme for SMEs in May. The range of supports on offer included a €1m Direct Mail grant, 25% off Standard Parcel rates with the Advantage Card, and an eCommerce Support Hub. “We had a phenomenal response to the grant,” says Julie Gill, Commercial Marketing Director, Mails & Parcels. “Customers that used it were able to communicate reopening dates for their businesses and facilities for online orders, and received really positive feedback.” With the increased discount on Advantage Card parcel labels, over 2,000 SMEs signed up to avail of the reduced rates. “It’s a great solution for those who are established eCommerce sellers, and for those just looking to get started with eCommerce selling,” says Gill. An Post is now partnering with Google to develop a free SME workshop on Google Digital Garage. “Through this, we will offer training on getting started with eCommerce and selling online in a successful and sustainable way that navigates the current uncertainty,” Gill explains. Details on the workshop will go live on the An Post Commerce eCommerce Hub, which is full of information and expert tips to help SMEs to start trading online. GET THE ADVANTAGE An Post Commerce’s Advantage Card scheme was already in place to

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sophisticated. No matter what your size or ambition, we are here to help,” says Gill. “Prior to and through the crisis there has been a surge in parcel volumes that has come from the shift to online shopping and eCommerce. Consumers want their items with them as quickly as possible, and they want options.”

Julie Gill, Commercial Marketing Director, Mails & Parcels, An Post

BE DIRECT While marketing budgets are traditionally the first to be cut when the belt is tightened, marketing experts maintain that every cent invested in brand building at this time will work harder than it would in the recovery phase. An Post Commerce Direct Mail is an effective and affordable targeted solution for SME

OUR SERVICES ALLOW BUSINESSES TO CONNECT DIRECTLY WITH CUSTOMERS IN THEIR LOCALITY, SO IT TARGETS EXACTLY THE AREAS AND THE CUSTOMERS THAT THEY WANT TO REACH. CUSTOMERS SEE THE VALUE IN RECEIVING A PHYSICAL PIECE OF MAIL FROM BUSINESSES, AND IN TURN THAT DRIVES A HIGHER SPEND. help SMEs get started with selling online, and when the crisis hit, it was clear that online sales would be crucial to help small businesses survive. “We want more local boutiques, pharmacies and independent shops using An Post Commerce to connect with their customers. Your online business doesn’t need to be ultra-

advertising, which has been shown to improve brand recall by 70%. “Our services allow businesses to connect directly with customers in their locality, so it targets exactly the areas and the customers that they want to reach. Customers see the value in receiving a physical piece of mail from businesses, and in turn that drives a higher spend.”

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Skills to Advance SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) have developed a new Leadership and Management training initiative, in collaboration with employers, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Skills Fora.

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his programme is part of the national Skills to Advance Further Education and Training initiative, which supports businesses to develop their workforce. It is being rolled out by the four ETBs in the North East and North West region initially – Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB, Cavan and Monaghan ETB, Louth and Meath ETB and Donegal ETB. The highly subsidised training will be available to upskill staff during Covid-19.

productivity, competitiveness and growth. “Supporting the skills development of the Irish workforce is a priority for SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards. Collaborating with companies, ETBs, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Skills Fora, our ambition is to develop a strong talent pool in industry through our new Leadership and Management programme.” John Kearney, Chief Executive of Cavan and Monaghan ETB, said: “This

THIS INITIATIVE ENABLES COMPANIES TO UPSKILL AND DEVELOP THEIR FUTURE LEADERSHIP WHICH WILL ADD TO THE PRODUCTIVITY AND COMPETITIVENESS OF THE REGIONS STRENGTHEN THE BUSINESS The Leadership and Management programme aims to upskill supervisory staff in areas including change management, motivating workers, digital skills and

innovative programme is based on the key business needs of companies and represents a targeted response to boost management skills in the region to deal with both Brexit and Covid-19 challenges.”

remote working. Launching the initiative, Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said: “It’s vital that companies across all sectors and regions are given access to innovative training. Particularly during these challenging times, this new online programme will equip front-line managers with the right skills to sustain and grow their business. Strengthening management skills is critical to achieving greater

BUSINESS RECOVERY Commenting on the collaboration, Aidan McKenna, Regional Director, North East and North West at Enterprise Ireland, stated: “Given the current challenges with Covid-19, international competitiveness and demand for highly skilled talent, this course will deliver benefits to Enterprise Ireland client companies in the region at a critical time. Enterprise

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Ireland was delighted to have partnered with SOLAS, the Education and Training Boards and IDA Ireland to deliver this initiative to companies in the region.” Denis Curran, Divisional Manager, Regional Business Development at IDA Ireland, spoke of the initiative. “Access to talent is one of the key criteria considered by investors when choosing to locate and grow their business in the regions,” he said. “This initiative enables companies to upskill and develop their future leadership which will add to the productivity and competitiveness of the regions.” Alison Richie, Managing Director with Polar Ice Ltd, speaking about the firm’s experience of Skills to Advance training added: “Working with the ETB has been an incredibly positive experience. They brought so much to our table and I’m delighted to be taking part in the training they have to offer.” SOLAS, the ETBs and their enterprise partners encourage employers across all industry sectors to avail of this opportunity to upskill key managers at this critical time for business recovery. Companies will benefit by having access to local high-quality online training to deal with the new business environment, its challenges and opportunities. Further information is available at www.skillstoadvance.ie or by contacting your local Education and Training Board.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 12:32


IB PARTNER PROFILE

Waste prevention for economic growth The Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy funding call is open for applications until 14 August – a flagship initiative of Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme.

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ircular economy is the economy of the future – waste is prevented or reduced at each stage of the economic cycle (design, production, distribution, retail and consumption), materials are used efficiently, and the value of those materials stay in the economy for as long as possible. Waste prevention, reuse, repair, the sharing economy, avoidance of single-use products, finding new uses for by-products and high levels of recycling are all elements of a circular economy. Putting circular principles at the core of Ireland’s economic model offers the opportunity to rebuild our economy, generate new jobs and respond to climate change and is at the centre of the EU’s Green Deal, the Government’s Jobs Stimulus Plan and Climate Action Plan. A survey conducted by Ibec in association with the Environmental Protection Agency last year found that 49% of respondents acknowledged that moving to a circular economy presents a business opportunity in the long-term, however only one in ten companies had a specific budget in place to support circular economy initiatives and 39% said funding availability would be a major challenge. STIMULATE THE ECONOMY There are huge opportunities for Irish businesses engaged in circular economy activities to reduce waste and emissions and reduce their costs. There is also growing consumer and customer demand for less resource-

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intensive products and services. Green Enterprise is a key support for this transformation and is tailored to stimulate innovation for sustainable products and services. Applications are invited in the areas of food, construction and demolition, plastics and resources and raw materials. Projects that stimulate circular economy are the focus; including, but not limited to, sustainable design to prevent waste during the economic cycle, increasing the durability and recyclability of products, supporting repair and reuse activities, avoidance of single-use plastics and other singleuse items, new business models for sharing/leasing products to reduce consumption and finding new uses for by-products. Funding of up to €100,000 per application is available. Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy is an initiative of

Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme. The National Waste Prevention Programme is a Government of Ireland initiative, led by the Environmental Protection Agency and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The National Waste Prevention Programme was established in 2004 and has led innovative programmes to drive waste prevention and circular economy. The programme provides tools and information to businesses, households and the public sector to influence behavioural change and support sustainable choices. For further information on the funding call, visit www.epa.ie/ researchandeducation/research/ epafunding/greenenterprise. Queries can be sent to research@epa.ie.

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INNOVATION NATION InBUSINESS looks at the latest innovations and technologies that are shaping our future. In this issue: WORKING FROM HOME.

READYDESK 2 STANDING DESK CONVERTER Designed to give you perfect posture, the Readydesk 2 standing desk converters and laptop stand risers are designed for people who want a simple way to stand up more often while using a computer. The adjustable, wooden stand up desks are lightweight, sturdy, portable, and can turn any sitting desk, table or countertop into an adjustable standing desk for one or two monitors. thereadydesk.com

HERMAN MILLER MIRRA 2 CHAIR With dynamic surfaces that respond to your slightest movements and simple, intuitive adjustments to fine-tune the fit, Mirra 2 balances immediate comfort and personalised ergonomics in a single sophisticated design. hermanmiller.com/

EMBER MUG2 Designed for home or office, Ember Mug2 does more than simply keep your coffee hot. This smart mug allows you to set an exact drinking temperature, so your coffee is never too hot, or too cold. ember.com

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

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LOGITECH MX MASTER 3

LIFESTYLE: innovation

The MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse is Logitech’s most advanced Master Series mouse yet, offering instant precision and infinite potential for the advanced users such as designers and coders. Featuring the new electromagnetic MagSpeed scroll wheel, the MX Master 3 offers the fastest, quietest and most addictive scrolling experience ever. logitech.com

MICROSOFT has launched a global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the 2020. The key goal is to give access to digital skills for people hardest hit by job losses due to Covid-19.

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In a recent survey by PEOPLESOURCE, approximately 80% said they would like to work from home for at least two days each week and one in 10 expressed a preference to work from home full-time.

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EAR TO THE

THE IB

Could you tell us about The Itchy Feet Travel Podcast and why you started it? The Itchy Feet Travel Podcast is a podcast series where different guests reflect on the trips that have shaped their lives, consider what travel means to them and share stories from destinations they’ve visited. Travel is one of my true passions and I’ve been lucky to both visit and report from many different countries. Hearing other people’s travel stories always fascinated me and so, this seemed like the ideal podcast to start. With the current travel restrictions due to Covid-19, how does this affect a travel podcast? Due to the travel restrictions, it felt as good a time as ever to think about what travel really means to us, how privileged we have been to travel abroad and to consider what travel might look like in a post-COVID world. The podcast provided an opportunity to become an armchair traveller at a time when we couldn’t travel.

InBUSINESS SPEAKS TO TRAVELLER AND JOURNALIST JOE O’CONNOR ABOUT INSIGHTS ON TRAVELLING FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR ARMCHAIR AND REFLECTING ON WHAT TRAVEL MEANS IN A COVID-19 WORLD.

Who has been your most interesting guest on the podcast so far? I’ve been very lucky to secure a really high calibre of guests. They’ve all been engaging and each brought something different to the table. If I had to choose one, I’d say writer and documentarian Manchán Magan. He has some really interesting travel stories and recently took the decision to give up long-haul travel, so it was fascinating to hear his thoughts on that. Is there anyone you would love to appear on the podcast? Given the subject matter, I’d love to chat to Michael Palin. I’ve always loved his travel books and documentaries and his sense of humour isn’t bad either! I have tried to secure him as a guest but I might just try my luck again after this. What are the key ingredients that make a great podcast? For interview-based podcasts, I think the key ingredients are engaging guests and a host who gets the best out of them. I’m not sure if I’m in the latter category but I’m still learning!

Joe O’Connor

The Itchy Feet Travel Podcast is available to subscribe online at shows.acast.com

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What challenges do you face producing your own podcast? Given that the first series was recorded remotely during the lockdown, it was challenging to ensure that the recording was of high-quality for each episode. Luckily, I’ve had a brilliant editor in my corner.

What can we expect from the podcast in the future? At the time of writing, I’m wrapping up the first series. After that, I’ll take a break and consider how I might approach a second one. It might be an opportunity to mix up the format a little or to get in a studio with my guests for the first time.

GROUND

InBUSINESS RECOMMENDS THREE PODCASTS TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS QUARTER.

MADE IN IRELAND

INSIDE POLITICS Hosted by the Irish Times Arts & Culture Editor Hugh Linehan, Inside Politics examines the current state of Irish politics with regular contributions from politicians, journalists and political thinkers. New episodes every Wednesday and most Fridays.

NOT TO BE MISSED

GROUNDED WITH LOUIS THEROUX Stuck at home during Covid-19, documentary filmmaker and journalist, Louis Theroux uses the lockdown to track down some high-profile people he’s been longing to talk to - from all walks of life and on both sides of the Atlantic.

THE BUSINESS PICK

GUARANTEED IRISH BUSINESS Guaranteed Irish CEO Brid O’Connell talks to leaders in Ireland’s business network covering all enterprising topics from business news to industry expert opinion and key trends.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 12:36


LIFESTYLE: books

InBUSINESS looks at the latest books offering insights for executives, budding entrepreneurs, and other professionals, seeking to change and adapt their strategies through the global pandemic of 2020.

Who Cares Wins: Reasons For Optimism in Our Changing World

ACCOUNTABLE: How we Can Save Capitalism

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n Accountable, authors Michael O’Leary and Warren Valdmanis offer a blueprint for everyone to take responsibility for using their economic power as consumers, as investors, as employees, and as voters to trigger a fundamental shift away from an economy that is unethical, unfair, and destructive to our environment and institutions. Their investigation cuts through the tired dogma of current economic thinking to reveal a hopeful truth: if we can make our corporations accountable to a deeper purpose, we can make capitalism both prosperous and good. Trenchant and gripping, this is an indispensable guide and call to action for citizens to take control of our economic power and hold corporations to a higher standard.

Notes from an Apocalypse AUTHOR: Mark O’Connell PUBLISHER: Granta Books AVAILABLE: amazon.co.uk

In Notes from an Apocalypse, Dublin-based writer Mark O’Connell crosses the globe to meet the men and women preparing for the end of the world. One thing unites them all: their certainty that we are only years away from the end of civilization as we know it.

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Publisher: Penguin Business Available: amazon.co.uk

Must Read

YOUR QUARANTINE COMPANION

Authors: Warren Valdmanis & Michael O’Leary

Lily Cole has met with some AUTHOR: of the millions of Lily Cole people around PUBLISHER: the world who Penguin Life are working AVAILABLE: easons.com on solutions to our biggest challenges and committed to creating a more sustainable and peaceful future for humanity. Exploring issues from fast fashion to fast food and renewable energy to gender equality. This book is a rousing call to action that will leave you feeling hopeful that we can make a difference. We are the ancestors of our future: a generation who will either be celebrated for their activism or blamed for its apathy. It is for us to choose optimism, to make a change and to show what is possible.

Coronavirus - A Book for Children Axel Scheffler, award-winning illustrator of The Gruffalo series, has illustrated the digital book, Coronavirus: A Book for Children, for primary school age children, which is free to read on screen or print out, about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it. A great resource for children, the book has had expert input from The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, teachers, and a child psychologist.

AUTHOR: Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson & Nia Robert PUBLISHER: Gill Books AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD: gillbooks.ie

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THE InBUSINESS INDEX

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of countries have to work more than the global average to afford the internet

49 of 85 95%

countries experienced drops in mobile and 44 in broadband speed due to WFH during Covid-19

of people in Scandinavia use the internet vs. 35% in Southern Asia

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INTERNET is higher in countries with high ICT SPEED adoption rates and internet usage EUROPEAN countries lead in protecting UNION people’s personal data stagnate in improving INSTITUTIONAL Countries e-infrastructure once they reach higher DEVELOPMENT than average GDP per capita level

Source: Surfshark Digital Quality of Life Index 2020 (DQL)

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countries with the highest digital quality of life are in Europe

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2020

20/08/2020 12:38


Empower your data to deliver your services more efficiently

Cut Costs

Increase Revenues

Target Services

Connect Quicker

Find out how to empower your address data w www.geodirectory.ie

T

01 705 7005

Backed by:

E info@geodirectory.ie

M12843 - Geodirectory - Full page ad for Better Business publication) and In Business publications.indd 1 249864_1C_Geo Directory_JM_InBus 13.02.indd 1

02/07/2020 19/08/2020 16:02 17:59


Employers COVID-19 supports are available at www.hsa.ie Update your risk assessments and safety statement at

Free health and safety courses at

Further Information: www.hsa.ie telephone 1890 289 389 email wcu@hsa.ie

249844_1C_HSA_JM_InBus 13.02.indd 1

19/08/2020 17:59

Profile for Ashville Media Group

InBUSINESS Summer 2020  

The official publication of Chambers Ireland.

InBUSINESS Summer 2020  

The official publication of Chambers Ireland.

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