InBUSINESS Summer 2022

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MENTORS SERIES SUMMER

2022

ENTREPRENEUR PEARSE FLYNN ON ENABLING IRELAND’S TRANSITION TO A CLEAN, INDEPENDENT ENERGY FUTURE

CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

MEDTECH MOMENTUM Irish companies winning investment

FAIR

InBUSINESS WINTER 2021

PLAY

INVOICEFAIR TAPPING INTO THE ‘GROWTH FUNDING GAP’

OUT OF THE PARK

WAYLEADR’S VISION FOR WORKPLACE PARKING

€2.70

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FULL SPEED AHEAD

Aidan D’Arcy, Vice-President of Wholesale and Business, Virgin Media Ireland, on crucial connectivity

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Editor: Sorcha Corcoran Creative Director: Jane Matthews Editorial Assistant: Eva-Marie McNamee (Chambers Ireland) Designers: Lenny Rooney Neasa Daly

Contents

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

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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

FULL SPEED AHEAD

InBUSINESS speaks to Aidan D’Arcy, Vice-President for Wholesale and Business at Virgin Media Ireland about its commitment to keeping customers connected, empowered and secure.

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 2022. 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

COVER STORY:

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Industry Irish medtech companies solving global problems and winning investment

Words: Sorcha Corcoran

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Entrepreneur Garret Flower, Founder and CEO, Wayleadr, which is growing fast with its smart solution for workplace parking

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

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In Association with

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Contents Go to chambers.ie for the online edition

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[LIFESTYLE]

108 INNOVATION Recycled products to stay cool

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110 BOOKS Behind the scenes in Russia and the US

SMALL BUSINESS

112 PODCASTS Broadcaster Aideen Finnegan and the How to Pivot podcast

Fair Play InvoiceFair is offering an alternative by focusing on the ‘growth funding gap’

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MENTORS:

Pearse Flynn Tech veteran and businessman Pearse Flynn believes hydrogen and offshore wind hold the key to Ireland’s clean, green energy future

Words: Sorcha Corcoran

[REGULARS]

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Business News

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The Hot Topic

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Opportunity Ireland

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Start-up Central

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Eye on Exports

33 Keen on Green 38 Movers & Shakers 39 Chambers Catch Up

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MEDIA & MARKETING Former Screen Ireland CEO James Hickey discusses fulfilling the potential of indigenous film and TV drama

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BUSINESS NEWS

HCS INVESTING FOR GROWTH

COVER STORY

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IT, security and telecoms company HCS is investing €3.2m to double the size of its workforce to 60 people within the next three years and forecasting increased annual revenues of €9m by 2025. Headquartered in Waterford and with a base in Dublin, this investment has enabled HCS to open a third location in Cork. “We expect to see high growth across cyber security and managed IT services in the face of evolving threats and the rise in hybrid working and anticipate further opportunities for growth in the productivity space,” said CEO of HCS, Neil Phelan. “We also expect continued adoption of hosted telephony, driven by flexible working practices and the replacement of traditional copper wires with fibre lines throughout the country.”

Neil Phelan, CEO, HCS

AMERICAN APPROVAL GREEN FUND

More than 95% of US multinationals have a positive view of Ireland as an investment The Government has location, according to a survey of American launched a new €55m Green Chamber of Commerce Ireland members. Transition Fund, designed to help businesses plan for a sustainable future and move away from depending on fossil fuels.

Business

BITES “Robust protections for businesses are important as we see the increasing use of cloud and digital services. Virgin Media’s connectivity portfolio has options for cybersecurity enablement.” Aidan D’Arcy, Vie-President of Wholesale and Business, Virgin Media Ireland

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Students drawn to work for multinationals Multinationals located in Ireland are the employers of choice for thirdlevel students across the country, according to the Most Attractive Employers Index Ireland 2022, published by Universum, which is part of IrishJobs. Google, Microsoft and Apple are the top three employers for Business/Economics, IT and Engineering students, followed by Amazon and Intel in fourth and fifth places, respectively. In the survey of over 8,000 students, Intel has moved into first place as the top preference for Engineering students, with Google ranked second and Microsoft coming third. The main attributes students associate with the tech multinationals are “market success, a willingness to embrace new technologies and innovation”.

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BUSINESS NEWS

Toast opens new Dublin office US company Toast has opened a new office in Dublin, with plans to hire 100 people this year across several functions. Toast is a cloud-based, all-inone digital technology platform purpose-built for restaurants. Headquartered in Boston, Toast was founded in 2012 and today employs over 3,000 people across the US, Ireland, the UK, Canada and India. It established its first international technology and product development centre in Dublin in 2017. “Toast originally chose to invest in Ireland largely for its concentration of highlevel technical capability; we’ve come to reap so many more benefits since, including ease of collaboration with other Toast teams and Irish hospitality,” said Robert McGarry, Leader of Toast Dublin.

CARBON NEUTRALITY DATA CENTRES

A DataSolutions survey reveals that while 78% of tech companies have plans to The value of investment achieve carbon neutrality, 65% have not in global data centres yet measured their carbon footprint. more than doubled to US$59.5bn in 2021, when there were 117 transactions, according to a DLA Piper survey.

PICTURE THIS

Ad Net Zero, an initiative to help advertising respond to the climate crisis, has been launched in Ireland. Pictured are Pat Mannion, JC Decaux, Suzanne McElligott, IAB; consultant Elizabeth Sheehan, Charley Stoney, IAPI; Anne-Marie Curran, Arrow Films and Barry Dooley, AAI.

FEMALE FOUNDERS PANDEMIC EFFECT

Last year funding into female-founded start-ups surged 120% to reach a record A survey of around €230m, according to a TechIreland report 1,000 office workers in published to coincide with International Ireland by Censuswide Women’s Day. found that 39% say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their company culture.

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FIBRE BROADBAND IRELAND’S TH ATTRACTIVENESS

New data published by Comreg has revealed that fibre-to-the-premises technology in the Irish market is now on a Ireland ranked assubscribers the fifth-most par with cable broadband for attractive labour market in the first time. Europe for international job seekers, according to new research into 21 countries by jobs site Indeed.

INVESTMENT BOOST FOR ROSE CONFECTIONERY

Peter Garvey, Co-founder of Melior Equity Partners and Richard Kennedy, Group CEO and MD of Rose Confectionery

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Irish private equity firm Melior Equity Partners has agreed to invest in Rose Confectionery, a manufacturer and distributor of confectionery, freeze pops and savoury snacks. Headquartered in Ireland, Rose Confectionery employs 87 staff, with 33 in its 18,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Edenderry, Co Offaly, 27 in its distribution centre in Dublin and the remaining 27 in the UK. “After more than 30 years in business and having grown very strongly over the past few years to reach €40m in sales, we knew it was the right time to seek additional investment,” said Richard Kennedy, Group CEO and MD of Rose Confectionery.

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BUSINESS NEWS

&OPEN RAISES US$26M IN SERIES A FUNDING

Kevin Quinn, Head of Commercial and Marketing at Leinster Rugby and Gillian O’Sullivan, Country Leader for BearingPoint Ireland

Leinster Rugby enters the metaverse

Consultancy firm BearingPoint hosted an event showcasing the capabilities of metaverse technology for the Leinster Rugby sporting community recently. Business partners, media and sporting stars attended through virtual reality (VR) technology in four locations across Europe. Guests went on a virtual journey from the BearingPoint offices in Paris, finishing with a pitch-side experience in a VR Aviva Stadium developed by the BearingPoint team. “By entering the metaverse, we are broadening our horizons to identify new digital commercial opportunities and working to develop immersive rugby experiences that provide our community with new ways to interact with our brand,” said Kevin Quinn, Head of Commercial and Marketing at Leinster Rugby.

Irish-headquartered gifting platform &Open has raised US$26m in Series A funding in a round led by Molten Ventures, including participation from First Round Capital, LocalGlobe, Tribal VC, as well as new investor Middlegame Ventures. This brings &Open’s total capital raised to date to US$33.2m. Ciara Flood, Jonathan Legge and Mark Legge founded &Open in 2017 to fix corporate gifting by delivering better gifts at scale. It currently employs over 90 people across Ireland, the UK and the US. “&Open is where some of the world’s best brands come to build loyalty,” said Jonathan Legge.

POINTSBET MAKES THE LIBERTIES ITS EUROPEAN HOME

Johnny Aitken, US CEO and Mark Hughes, Global COO, PointsBet

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Global sportsbook and i-gaming operator PointsBet has announced the opening of its new European headquarters in Dublin’s Liberties. PointsBet acquired Irish start-up Banach Technology in 2021 and plans to grow via its team of technology and product specialists in Dublin – making it the long-term home of its European operations and a driving force behind its US business plans. “We intend to grow our investment in the Irish operation into the future, with our newly announced agreement with Dublin-based Nellie Analytics expected to provide additional sports analytics and quantitative modelling services,” said PointBet’s US CEO Johnny Aitken.

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TOP TRENDS

SPOTLIGHT ON INFLATION

THE HOT TOPIC

Eurostat released sobering data

Rising Costs

on Ireland in recent weeks. First of all, it estimated that inflation here reached 9.6% in June, compared to 8.6% across the overall eurozone. The EU’s statistical agency also published a report which highlighted that the highest price levels for consumer goods and services among EU member states in 2021 were observed in Ireland and Denmark, which were both 40% above the EU average. On July 7, the Central Bank of Ireland forecasted that inflation here will peak at 10% in the third quarter before falling back.

Commentary and findings on economic uncertainty and concerns for business

“Our research shows that despite uncertain economic times, Irish enterprises are pursuing ambitious growth plans. The power of digital infrastructure is enabling organisations to establish a virtual presence that allows them to bring their services and data closer to the end user almost anywhere in the world. It now looks inevitable that soon we will see virtual expansion becoming the de-facto method of scaling up operations. As our homegrown enterprises continue to expand, this level of interconnectedness is opening up an exciting era for Irish businesses and one that they seem increasingly prepared for.”

John Shorten

John Shorten, Senior Director of Operations for Equinix Growth and Emerging Markets, commenting on the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, which showed that 62% of Irish companies plan to forge ahead with expansion despite economic concerns

Services sector weighed down The latest AIB PMI survey on the Irish services economy shows that activity increased at the slowest rate of the year so far, while new business grew by the least since January. Business expectations dropped further, weighed down by inflation concerns and geopolitical instability linked to the war in Ukraine. Input prices and charges both rose at the fourth-fastest rates on record. However, employment growth remained strong despite easing to a five-month low. “Businesses continued to experience severe upward pressure on input prices. This in turn saw prices charged to customers rise very sharply for the fourth consecutive month,” said Oliver Mangan, AIB Chief Economist.

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JOB CREATION

COMPANY: VMWare

SECTOR: Cloud computing

LOCATION: Dublin

ANNOUNCEMENT: VMware plans to recruit 205 new technologists in Dublin by 2025 to focus on “the multi-cloud platform of the future” and contribute to the delivery of new cloud services. The company already employs over 1,000 people in Ireland.

COMPANY: Vitalograph SECTOR: Medtech

COMPANY: Ericsson SECTOR: Telecommunications

LOCATION: Ennis and Limerick

LOCATION: Athlone

ANNOUNCEMENT: Vitalograph, a global leader in the development and production of respiratory diagnostic devices, has announced an investment of €10m with plans to expand its operations in the Mid-West and create 200 new roles over the next two years.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Ericsson plans to hire 250 people at its Irish research and development centre in Athlone, Co Westmeath to support the company’s ongoing development of innovative cloud-native products that orchestrate, automate and power its global 5G portfolio.

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

COMPANY: Waystone SECTOR: Professional services

COMPANY: Framespace Solutions

LOCATION: Cashel ANNOUNCEMENT: Waystone, a provider of institutional governance, risk, administration and compliance services to the asset management industry, is to substantially increase its Ireland-based workforce by creating up to 100 additional new roles in Cashel, Co Tipperary, following its recent growth.

SECTOR: Construction LOCATION: Longford COMPANY: TikTok

SECTOR: Social media

LOCATION: Dublin

ANNOUNCEMENT: Chinese-owned video hosting service TikTok is to hire an additional 1,000 highly-skilled people in Dublin, further embedding Ireland as an important hub for its European and global operations. TikTok has grown rapidly here since 2019, currently employing 2,000 people.

Employees holding more sway in global jobs market New global research has highlighted that employees around the world are feeling empowered to leave jobs if their expectations are not met. The EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey canvassed the views of over 1,500 business leaders and 17,000 employees across 22 countries and 22 industry sectors. It found that 43% of global respondents say they are likely to quit in the next 12 months – driven mostly by a desire for higher pay, better career opportunities and flexibility amid rising inflation, a shrinking labour market and an increase in jobs offering flexible working.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Irish offsite housing supplier Framespace Solutions plans to hire 150 more staff as it opens a new manufacturing facility in Longford. The company, which already employs 100 people, has invested €8m in the refurbishment of the new facility.

Higher pay is now the biggest motivation for changing jobs, a trend we are certainly starting to see here in Ireland.” Laura Flynn, Head of People Consulting, EY Ireland InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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Green skills for a sustainable future • Develop new skills in your team • Green your business for cost savings, competitiveness and profitability • Access highly subsidised flexible training boost skills – boost business Contact your local Education and Training Board or visit skillstoadvance.ie

learning works

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START-UPS

WORKOS ACQUIRES FOUR-YEAR OLD MODULZ

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

€140m

A new fund from Irish firm Act Venture Capital, which intends to back about 35 early-stage tech companies.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

Aidan Finn CEO, BINARII LABS

How have you funded the business to date?

We have raised US$1.6m so far between Irish, UK and US-based angel investors to support the launch of our solutions focused on making blockchain relevant for business.

What’s the best advice you have been given?

If you hold off on taking action until you have the perfect plan, you will never be very active!

What was the most important lesson you learned starting out?

Starting out is the easy, exciting and exhilarating bit. I learned quickly that the demanding work and real test of will comes with sticking at it.

Your biggest make or break moment?

My wife Iarla Dunphy has put in an extraordinary amount of work over the past nine years across different initiatives that made Binarii possible. Knowing I had her full support was a genuine make or break moment.

Is there anything you would change in hindsight? I would have taken the leap an awful lot sooner.

Company: Binarii Labs, founded in September 2021 Location: Kildare and NovaUCD, Dublin. Soon to add Singapore, California and London Product: B2B SaaS solutions that utilise blockchain as an integral part of their design to both protect and create efficiencies for enterprise Staff: 10

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Dublin start-up Modulz has been acquired by San Francisco-based WorkOS, a platform for developers building enterprise software, for an undisclosed sum. Colm Tuite and Stephen Hanley set up Modulz four years ago to fix the disconnect between digital product teams. They created Radix and Stitches, two very successful opensource projects supported by a thriving community. With this acquisition, the Modulz team has joined WorkOS to help developers build apps faster and ship enterprise features effortlessly, according to a WorkOS statement.

IBM SUPPORTING IRISH COMPANIES Enterprise Ireland and IBM are collaborating to provide Irish high-potential start-up and scale-up companies with resources, tools and technology to help them expand internationally. The IBM OpenXChange programme is designed to complement and enrich IBM’s start-up and build partner programmes. The OpenXChange team will design and execute bespoke partnership strategies towards common growth and success objectives with these Irish companies. “Ensuring that Irish companies can access the cutting-edge technology of leading multinationals based in Ireland gives our start-up companies a competitive edge in global markets,” said Jenny Melia, Division Manager at Enterprise Ireland.

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START-UPS

Annie Madden, Co-founder, FenuHealth

PlasmaBound Co-founders Alan Barry, Dr James Nicholas Barry and Xavier Montibert

PlasmaBound completes €2.35m funding round

Ecosystem thriving in Cork CorkBIC has released figures which show that the Halo Business Angel Network’s Boole Syndicate, based in Cork, invested €2.3m in start-ups last year, up 52% on the previous year. With 52 active members (up 24% on 2020), the Boole Syndicate has invested around €11.5m in Irish start-ups since 2013. In May, CorkBIC hosted Europe’s largest international private investment and entrepreneurship gathering, the EBAN Congress 2022. “Cork’s economy is thriving and that is reflected in the start-up ecosystem. Some of the world’s biggest companies are based in Cork, creating a talent pool for start-ups and a knowledge pool of angel investors who can share their expertise with entrepreneurs. As a result, angel investment in Cork is continuing to grow year-on-year,” said Michael O’Connor, CEO, CorkBIC.

Michael O’Connor, CEO, CorkBIC

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NE TO WATCH: FENUHEALTH

University College Dublin spin-out PlasmaBound has completed a €2.35m funding round, led by Act Venture Capital and supported by the Atlantic Bridge University Fund, Enterprise Ireland and a number of private investors. Founded in 2017, the start-up’s goal is for sustainable lightweight materials to be a standard feature on vehicles, devices and structures globally. Its controlled polymer ablation technology is attracting significant interest in several sectors. “Our technology is about getting more renewable, lightweight materials into use faster as we seek a more sustainable carbon-reduced future,” said CEO Alan Barry. “Right now this is limited by cost and complexity to only high-tech applications, or premium price points, with limited real environmental impact. Pushing recyclable composites into mainstream mass-production will move the dial on all our efforts for a sustainable tomorrow.”

FenuHealth, which is based in Co Meath, produces powdered supplements that are added to feed to help prevent and resolve stomach problems in horses and ponies. Its Co-founder, University College Cork student Annie Madden, won Enterprise Ireland’s 2022 Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award on 10 June. The business was built on work done by sisters Annie and Kate Madden as Transition Year students taking part in the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in 2015. FenuHealth currently offers a range of nine products and exports to 15 countries as well as counting five royal families among its customers. One of ten finalists at the Student Enterprise Awards, FenuHealth got €10,000 as part of the prize. The Madden sisters, who were named among top ‘teen CEOs’ in 2018, will also receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of their products.

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MEATof the MATTER

EYE ON EXPORTS

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From the highs of the US lamb breakthrough to the not-so-highs of restrictive beef quotas, it is very much a mixed bag for Irish meat exporters as they head into the second half of 2022, writes EITHNE DUNNE.

he recent news that the path is now clear for Ireland to export lamb to the US undoubtedly marks the start of a new era for producers of sheepmeat here. The US is a huge market with a steadily growing appetite for lamb – something Irish suppliers will now hopefully be able to tap into. Sheepmeat plants here can now formally apply for approval to export to the US. Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue – who has described Irish sheep farmers as “world class” – said it is now up to the industry to get started on the approvals process. “I hope to see exporters take advantage of this niche opportunity as soon as possible,” he said. Meanwhile, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy noted that there has simply never been a better time for Irish companies to export lamb to the US: “Bord Bia research shows that lamb consumption is growing amongst consumers in North America, particularly in the younger age categories.” This burgeoning interest will be further stimulated through a three-year beef and lamb promotion in the US. Starting this summer, Bord Bia’s ‘Working with Nature’ campaign will see numerous marketing and promotional activities take place across the US between now and 2025. According to Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the lamb import market in the US is over 160,000 tonnes in volume and currently dominated by imports from Australia and New Zealand. It welcomes the fact that Irish lamb should be on US supermarket shelves within the next few months – just as soon as exporters complete the final stages of the access requirements.

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This latest news aside, the EU27 continues to be Ireland’s most important market for sheepmeat. Demand has traditionally been biggest in France, but both volume and value to certain other EU markets have been increasing in recent years – most notably Germany, Belgium and the Nordic countries.

ENCOURAGING TRENDS Beyond the EU27, there are some encouraging trends. Bord Bia notes that Switzerland, for example, took €23.5m worth of Irish sheepmeat in 2020 – up from just €15.3m in 2019. Meanwhile, one of the State food board’s top priorities is securing direct access to China for Irish sheepmeat. This is because China continued to drive the global sheepmeat market in recent years; its imports during the first quarter of 2021 alone came to 123,460 tonnes – up from 99,378 during the same period in 2020. Last year, tighter global and EU supplies of sheepmeat, combined with a stronger demand in general, created an extremely positive market for Irish produce. This was reflected in the strong growth in value (15% up on 2020) despite a 9% drop in export volumes. Irish exporters benefitted from reduced exports of sheepmeat from the UK and falling production in the rest of the EU. There was also less New Zealand lamb available in our key export markets. Speaking in the Dáil in February, Minister McConalogue said that tighter supplies – and the redistribution of those supplies – have certainly helped to drive higher export values for Irish producers, adding that it is a trend that looks set to continue throughout this year. However, while the expected 2% reduction in EU sheepmeat production this year creates opportunities for Irish exporters – particularly in the absence of international imports – it also creates challenges. “Lower availability of product results in higher retail prices, a reduction in dedicated shelf space and ultimately a negative impact on consumption,” says Bord Bia’s latest Export Performance and Prospects InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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EYE ON EXPORTS

“Bord Bia research shows that lamb consumption is growing amongst consumers in North America, particularly in the younger age categories.”

report. “As a result, the EU Commission has forecast a 1.8% decline in sheepmeat consumption during 2022.”

GENERAL CONTEXT Although sheepmeat constituted the biggest growth area last year, our largest meat export continues to be beef. According to Bord Bia, beef exports in 2021 were worth about €2.1bn, an increase of 9% on the previous year. Meanwhile, pigmeat exports were worth €542m, down 3%, and poultry €128m, a fall of 15%. The Minister for Agriculture pointed out earlier this year that the average 2021 price for pigmeat was marginally lower than the five-year average. “This reduction in price has occurred in tandem with an increase in input costs, causing serious difficulty for the sector,” he said. Department officials, he said, are continuing to monitor the situation, and seeking ways to help pig InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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farmers through what he termed a “significant market disturbance”. According to Bord Bia, although China continues to be Ireland’s biggest export market for pigmeat, a slowdown in demand there meant that most of last year’s growth was driven by other Asian markets such as Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. With regard to beef, the Minister said that the outlook for Irish exports to the EU27 and the UK is very positive for this year. “Global market demand seems set to remain good as global supplies look to be tight as a result of pressure on output from both North and South America,” he said. However, MII has warned that action is needed to address quota barriers on beef exports to the US market. The quotas Irish exporters normally operate under are being used up far earlier in the year than previously – as early as April this year, for example. “This means that since April Irish beef sales into the US market [valued at €36m for 7,000 tonnes] are facing a 26% import duty, which is clearly prohibitive to trade,” said Cormac Healy, Senior Director, MII.

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EXPERT TIPS

Balancing Security and Convenience Phil Goff, Head of Cybersecurity Channel Engineering at Cisco advises on mitigating the risks of hybrid working to find a balance between data security and convenience

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lthough Cisco’s own employees have been hybrid working for many years already, the last two years have accelerated the trend globally for their customers. Phil Goff, Head of Cybersecurity Channel Engineering, EMEAR at Cisco, reflects, “Organisations have had to make some changes pretty quickly, whereas in the past, they would have taken time to plan, implement and review risks.” Previously, when all an organisation’s employees and, crucially, all their data, were centralised in one office or data centre it had advantages from a security point of view: “You had clear boundaries, clear perimeters that you could defend and protect with security technologies. That’s completely changed.” Now, Goff says, with people “working from pretty much wherever they want to—cars, airports, coffee shops, etc.—and the advent of cloud computing, a lot of those perimeters have broken down. In a lot of cases now, an organisation’s data is possibly in a different country, or on a different continent. All that does is to complicate the security story.” With few organisations willing to publicly admit to security breaches,

unless their hand is forced by statutory requirements, Goff says it can be hard to quantify the increase in attacks that have occurred over the past number of years. EMPLOYEE EDUCATION His number one piece of advice to any size business owner is first and foremost to educate their workforce, whether that be something as simple as keeping your screen angled so other people can’t see it if you are working in a coffee shop or public place and changing passwords regularly if you are working on confidential information. He notes, “If you make security policies too difficult, people will tend to find ways around them. If you make your password policy so long that people can’t remember that password, they’re going to write it down, and they’re going to stick it on a sticky note on the back of their keyboard, so there’s always a balance.” TARGETING TRENDS In terms of trends in how businesses are being targeted, Goff says “ransomware is still pretty high on the list”. Email is the number one attack vector: “People get emails, they see

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Phil Goff Head of Cybersecurity Channel Engineering, Cisco

interesting links, and it’s human nature to want to click on a link,” he says. With even the smallest organization relying on information and information systems, Goff warns, “It could be the end, as far as some organisations are concerned if they don’t have access to their data. There are some very simple steps you can take to defend against those, but no solution is 100 per cent guaranteed, because there are many attack vectors.” To this end, many small businesses look at managed security services, such as those that Cisco offer, to give them peace of mind. “One of the challenges with security solutions is they can be very complex. They require a level of experience and knowledge that small businesses may not have.” MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION After educating the workforce about security, the next important step, Goff advises, is, “make sure that whoever is connecting in is who they say they are”. While he underlines that “passwords are always the first stage”, he adds, “We’re moving to what we call multi-factor authentication.” Many people are already familiar with this from making purchases online, where they are asked to input a code that is texted to their phone. “Using technologies like Duo from Cisco gives us the option to

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EXPERT TIPS

ONE OF THE CHALLENGES WITH SECURITY SOLUTIONS IS THEY CAN BE VERY COMPLEX. THEY REQUIRE A LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE THAT SMALL BUSINESSES MAY NOT HAVE. have multi-factor authentication— so that is something you know, which is your password, something you have, which is your phone, or something you are, which would be a fingerprint or a retina scan.” He cites Touch ID on the newer model MacBooks, and Face ID on phones as other widely used examples of this. When talk turns to password managers, which automatically remember your passwords for you, he suggests, “You have to trust that technology. Research suggests that it is secure, and it can be trusted, but again, nothing is ever 100 per cent guaranteed. It comes back to a balance between security and convenience for the user; you need to find that middle ground which is acceptable. When you

add multifactor authentication like Touch ID or Face ID, for instance, that bumps the security up to a whole different level.” ZERO TRUST Another pertinent issue, particularly for small businesses, is ‘Zero Trust’. In a nutshell, this means only giving employees access to what they need to do their work—the very bare minimum systems access they need to do their job. “I’ve seen organisations, for instance, where they don’t have individual logins, they just use the admin account because it’s easier, and if you use the admin password, there is nothing you can’t do on that system.” Nobody wants their colleagues poking around

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in their HR files, he jokes. On a more serious note, he warns, “If somebody compromises your login, then they have full access to that system.” While this does mean extra work for IT staff to ensure all the permissions are set correctly, the upside is that in the event of an employee’s user account being compromised, “you’re restricting and limiting the access that the compromiser has to that environment.” He adds, “It’s important to say that ‘Zero Trust’ doesn’t mean an organisation is not trusting their employees, but they want to make sure that they have access to the appropriate data—a company’s data is probably one of their most valuable assets—so we do trust users, but we trust them to do their job and we give them the access they need to do that job.” For enquiries email Ireland.Cisco@exertis.com or visit exertis.ie/cisco-info

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ENTREPRENEUR

OUT

Serial entrepreneur Garret Flower has always had a good nose for an idea with growth potential. With his latest venture Wayleadr, he is striving to solve workplace parking problems in an increasingly flexible working world.

OF THE

PARK

ENTREPRENEUR: GARRET FLOWER Q: What factors influenced your entrepreneurial drive? Garret Flower (GF): Looking back on my early days growing up in Longford, it’s clear that I would have always been an entrepreneur. I was surrounded by inspiring people who had an entrepreneurial flair. I was lucky and fortunate to have incredibly encouraging parents who had tried multiple businesses themselves. One of my friends in college in Dublin was Devan Hughes, who was also very entrepreneurial-minded. Living in Temple Bar, we spotted an opportunity to provide a space for people to go before heading out to pubs and clubs. We charged €10 a head for drink and food and an average of 40 people would turn up a night. This really kick-started my entrepreneurial ventures. We went on to start a number of businesses together in the renewable energy space. These never made it past the last recession but laid the foundations for the journey. Devan is now running the successful Irish grocery delivery service Buymie. I truly believe entrepreneurship will be as common as plumbing in a few years’ time as people are starting to realise how beneficial it is to follow your dreams.

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ENTREPRENEUR

Garret Flower, Founder and CEO, Wayleadr.

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ENTREPRENEUR

ACCELERATING WITH SODEXO

Wayleadr was the only Irish company to be accepted into the Sodexo UK and Ireland Accelerators programme in May. Over 400 start-ups applied, and Wayleadr was one of 21 selected to pitch at live events in London and Dublin. The ten-week programme will allow Wayleadr to test, refine and adapt its proposition in a live operational environment, supported by Sodexo. “The world is becoming more flexible about where and how people can work. We provide a quick, awardwinning solution to solve the pain of flexible parking management for offices. As a world leader in services that improve quality of life, Sodexo recognised that and made the smart, forward-thinking decision of opening up its portfolio to new, innovative and impactful technology,” says Wayleader Founder and CEO Garret Flower.

“OUR VISION IS REIMAGINING THE LAST MILE OF EVERY JOURNEY BY CONNECTING SMART BUILDINGS AND VEHICLES, SAVING MORE TIME AND CURBING CARBON EMISSIONS.” Q: What motivates you to start and run businesses? GF: For me it has generally been less about the passion initially for a particular area, but more that I’m creating something new. For example, with Krüst Bakery, which I founded with Rob Kramer in 2012, I knew nothing about baking – and I still don’t. Starbucks was growing fast at the time and we felt we could create a better version incorporating a bakery. I could see people’s positive reactions to the pastries we were selling and it became clear to me this was a great industry to be in. Within three years we were employing several hundred staff. Krüst Bakery was really exciting, but I got burnt out and had to take time off and exit the business. After that I started to look for new ideas. The big thing for me was to find something that created meaningful solutions to the world’s problems and that I could see a future in. One day while struggling trying to park my car, I noticed

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open space in front of people’s driveways and thought: ‘Why not rent out driveways in the same way as Airbnb rents out houses?’. Q: How did this lead to you setting up proptech start-ups? GF: I am a firm believer that if you put yourself in the right position and make the effort you’ll get the results. I was doing a catering event for Krüst and saw a tech team pitching a new idea for a marketplace for gyms. This inspired me to build out the minimum viable product for Parkpnp – a marketplace for parking. I knocked on doors to sign up renting space and scaled to 24,000 spaces within four years. I then started to realise there was also an opportunity in enterprise parking and went from the B2C model to B2B software-as-a-service with ParkOffice in 2016. This was a great lesson for me: that sometimes as an entrepreneur where you begin is not where you end. And you won’t get to the Holy Grail unless you’re open to this. Now rebranded as Wayleadr, we try to understand the unsolved problems customers are experiencing and address those using technology. We are quickly eliminating all parking management pains and adding flexibility to the office through software. Our vision is reimagining the last mile of every journey by connecting smart buildings and vehicles, saving more time and curbing carbon emissions. The technology is a stepping stone to autonomous driving where vehicles and buildings will require the right infrastructure to communicate with each other. Q: How are you growing and developing the business? GF: Founded in Ireland, Wayleadr is now headquartered in New York. We are a growing company that has clients in over 21 countries from New Zealand to Los Angeles and we are now seeing some exciting growth in the US market. Our latest funding was led by Third Prime, a US venture capital firm that specialises in next-generation proptech companies. The US$4m investment is enabling Wayleadr to rapidly expand its global footprint and client base, which currently features high-profile companies such as eBay, Sanofi, L’Oreal, CBRE, WeWork and more. It will also result in a doubling of the team size across the US and worldwide to around 50 people and allow us to build out a new product to help residential tenants and landlords across the world to save time and cut down on carbon. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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13/06/2022 16:56 25/07/2022 12:41


COVER STORY

COVER STORY

Already delivering the fastest broadband speeds in Ireland, Virgin Media Business is firmly committed to ensuring that connectivity, security and reliability continues for businesses of all sizes.

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V

irgin Media Ireland recently appointed Aidan D’Arcy as Vice-President of Wholesale and Business with immediate effect, reporting to CEO Tony Hanway. Having first joined the business as an engineering graduate in 2004, in his new role D’Arcy will be responsible for the strategic growth and development of Virgin Media Business, while also working closely with the Tech Solutions and Consumer functions. An important area of responsibility for D’Arcy will be to oversee the expansion of Virgin Media’s full-fibre network – the focus of a current €200m investment by the company. The upgrade is expected to take three years to complete and create over 500 jobs, eventually delivering speeds of up to 10Gbps (Gigabits per second) to 1 million premises nationwide.

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COVER STORY

“With many workplaces adopting a hybrid model of working, reliable and fast connectivity lies at the heart of this journey for small firms as they endeavour to empower their people.”

Aidan D’Arcy, Vice-President of Wholesale and Business, Virgin Media Ireland

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COVER STORY

“If any customer doesn’t have cyber protection – which we would encourage all businesses to have – we have options for them to review this with our expert team.”

“Virgin Media’s full-fibre investment is an exciting development for customers across Ireland. It demonstrates our commitment to providing the best-connected entertainment experiences to Irish consumers and provides a step towards a 10G broadband service,” says D’Arcy. The investment also offers the potential to work with other service providers at a wholesale level, he adds. “Wholesale is an interesting opportunity for Virgin Media and we will continue to monitor any potential place we could take in this area.” Businesses will see benefits from going full-fibre from the perspective of speed superiority being maintained with flexibility to upgrade to 1G and also to add on tailored business services such as Virgin Media’s Cloud Voice product and Business WiFi.“Additionally, our business TV offering is going from strength to strength with our TV360 platform and some exciting current and new content in the pipeline,” D’Arcy notes. PARTNERING WITH PURPOSE Virgin Media Business is very mindful of the unprecedented challenges facing businesses at the moment and is helping them as a trustworthy and reliable partner. “Certainty is a key condition that businesses need and arguably the most illusive one over the past few years. Covid-19 was a difficult period for many businesses to navigate through and now there are fresh challenges emerging from inflation and supply-chain uncertainty – to name just

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two. On top of this, cyber threats are more prevalent now than ever,” says D’Arcy. “Robust protections for businesses are important as we see the increasing use of cloud and digital services. Virgin Media’s connectivity portfolio from SDWAN to Dedicated Internet Access and broadband all have options for cybersecurity enablement. If any customer doesn’t have cyber protection – which we would encourage all businesses to have – we have options for them to review this with our expert team.” The Central Statistics Office’s ‘Survey on E-Commerce and ICT 2021’ revealed that 59% of businesses had purchased cloud computing services, up from 51% in 2020. It also showed that one third of enterprises made use of interconnected devices or systems that can be monitored or controlled remotely via the Internet. With the more widespread move towards a more digital future, it has become essential for businesses to be equipped with better connectivity InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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COVER STORY

and collaboration to fully embrace this transition. The gap in connectivity capabilities between larger enterprises and SMEs became apparent during the pandemic. However, the pandemic also presented an opportunity for smaller businesses to bridge the divide and increase their appetite for digital transformation. In its white paper, The Road to the Digital Future of SMEs, IDC stated: “From Voice-over Internet Protocol [VoIP] to accessing the cloud, the benefits of flexible working, improving digital marketing and enhancing customer experience mean that reliable, high Internet-connection speed is a necessity for the future.” According to D’Arcy, this is especially true for SMEs taking their first steps towards a future that looks exponentially more digital than ever before and where hybrid working will become the norm. The third annual National Remote Working Survey, released by NUI Galway in May, revealed that, of those employees who could work remotely, 52% were currently working hybrid, 40% fully remotely and only 8% were fully onsite. Compiled from responses from over 8,400 employees, the research highlighted that 30% of all respondents indicated that they would change job if their future remote working preferences were not facilitated. “With many workplaces adopting a hybrid model of working, reliable and fast connectivity lies at the heart of this journey for small firms as they endeavour to empower their people to do their job wherever they are, whenever it matters and however works best for everyone,” says D’Arcy. “Good connectivity is crucial for SMEs in helping people to collaborate better with colleagues and customers remotely. It has the potential to improve productivity for individuals working remotely, in the office or anywhere else – allowing people to do their jobs in a healthy, sustainable way in this new normal.” BACKING BUSINESS Another important way that Virgin Media Business has shown its commitment to SMEs in recent years has been its #BackingBusiness initiative, which involved a €1m support fund being pledged in 2020. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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“Our goal is to create opportunities for all businesses to grow through digital technology. With #BackingBusiness, we wanted to support them by sharing their inspiring stories of resilience and promote their businesses across our Virgin Media television channels and our social media platforms,” D’Arcy explains. “With a reach of around 2.7 million people every week across our channels, we were able to support over 300 businesses through promotions, helping them to get back to business. We took our shows on the road, broadcasting on Ireland AM, Elaine, The Six O’Clock Show and The Tonight Show from Limerick, Cork and Kilkenny, showcasing some wonderful local businesses.” Virgin Media Business then took the initiative a step further in partnership with Digital Business Ireland (DBI), Permanent TSB, Milk Bottle Labs and Local Enterprise Offices. Five successful applicants benefited from a complete digital transformation to enhance their e-commerce offering and trading platform so they could compete globally. The digital transformation package, funded by Permanent TSB, included a professionally built e-commerce store on Shopify by Milk Bottle Labs; one year of free fibre business broadband with Virgin Media Business; dedicated training in digital marketing from their Local Enterprise Office; business development support and full membership of DBI’s extensive network; and expert support to boost their digital delivery. “The idea was to help these small businesses make the most of new online consumer spending patterns with support from industry experts to help raise their e-commerce offering to the next level,” says D’Arcy. “#BackingBusiness proved so popular and impactful to indigenous Irish SMEs in 2020 and 2021 that we will be continuing the programme in 2022 and beyond. The next phase of the initiative will bring together two of our passions – sustainability and supporting Irish businesses – and the focus will remain on innovative, forward-thinking and ambitious businesses.”

A no-brainer network Virgin Media Business’ network provides reliable and high-speed connectivity based on the three pillars of ‘Connect’, ‘Secure’ and ‘Empower’. CONNECT With such rapid change, one thing has the power to hold your progress back or drive it forward faster: the quality of your network infrastructure. As well as paving the way for people to work flexibly, securely and efficiently, having a robust network in place allows your business to scale up and down as required. SECURE Having a secure network helps to protect your business against cyber crime so you can keep your employee and customer data safe as more people work remotely. Security and connectivity should work as one and as such cyber security should be embedded into your network. EMPOWER While empowerment starts with culture and leadership, technology makes it possible. Businesses need to put the right tools in people’s hands wherever they happen to be, from communication platforms to mobile technology, underpinned by secure connectivity.

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

Irish companies founded within the past six years are impressing investors lately with their innovative devices to improve patients’ quality of life and recovery, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

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INDUSTRY FEATURE “To receive this level of funding is a massive endorsement of the need for a better treatment for this crippling condition.”

Gerry Clarke, CTO, Dr Brendan Boland, CEO, and Fiona Mangan, engineer, Loci Orthopaedics

I

n June, Loci Orthopaedics was awarded over €8m in funding and financial support from the European Commission via the highly competitive European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Programme – a major validation for the new implant it has developed for the treatment of thumb base joint arthritis. The Galway-based company will receive €2.5m in grant funding initially, followed by a €5.5m equity investment, supported by the European Investment Bank. Over 30 million people in the EU and 20 million people in the US are affected by thumb base joint arthritis, a condition which causes pain and decreased hand function. Driven to improve the lives of sufferers and address the “Because of its comparative unmet clinical need they identified, Dr Brendan Boland similarities to human and Gerry Clarke founded Loci Orthopaedics in 2017 as a bone structure and spin-out from NUI Galway, University College Cork and inherent strength and KU Leuven in Belgium. purity, marine coral is “We used the most recent biomechanics research to a highly effective ensure the implant we designed fully recreates the natural bone grafting biomechanics of the joint for superior clinical outcomes,” substitute.” says Clarke. “To receive this level of funding is a massive endorsement of the need for a better treatment for this crippling condition. It will enable us to complete a clinical trial we started recently and pursue regulatory clearance in the EU and US, prior to full-scale commercialisation and clinical use,” adds Boland.

Marine coral being harvested by Zoan BioMed in Connemara

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Revolutionising bone repair Also in the field of orthopaedics, Zoan BioMed recently announced a partnership with Swedish 3D bioprinting company Cellink, which it

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

Colin Henehan, HBAN’s Medtech Syndicate with Tim Jones and Dr Michelle Tierney, Co-founders, SymPhysis Medical

hopes will lead to a future where bone breaks can be repaired by 3D printing bones made from marine coral. Founded in 2016 by Declan Clarke and Ronnie Robins, Zoan BioMed designs and develops orthopaedic devices from the ethical and sustainable cultivation of marine coral, grown at its state-of-the-art facility on the shores of Lough Inagh in Connemara. Along with leading clinicians around the world, Zoan BioMed recognised the huge potential of marine coral to improve patient outcomes and reduce the costs associated with bone repair. “Because of its comparative similarities to human bone structure and inherent strength and purity, marine coral is a highly effective bone grafting substitute,” says Stephen Wann, CEO, Zoan BioMed. The company has developed the world’s first, scalable indoor coral production system with ISO 13485 accreditation. When harvested, refined into granules and implanted by a surgeon into the bone trauma site, the material accelerates healing, safeguards against infection, reduces surgeon operating time and ultimately gets patients back on their feet and enjoying life quicker. “With Cellink, we have the ideal partner that can build upon the encouraging trial results we have observed with our coral material. It is incredibly exciting to envisage that we can mimic and improve these results with a 3D-printed solution that can offer customised patient devices,” says Wann. To date, Zoan BioMed has been funded through private investment, along with backing from the European Fund, Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission and Údarás Na Gaeltachta. In May it announced its latest fundraising round of up to €5m, to allow it to scale and grow internationally.

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“The team will quickly follow the rollout in the US by seeking the CE Mark in the EU and, by Q4 2025, we expect turnover to reach €49m.”

Easing discomfort Meanwhile, three angel syndicates from the Halo Business Angel Network led a recent €1.925m investment in SymPhysis Medical, which is developing a device that eases the discomfort and distress of fluid in the chest for cancer patients undergoing palliative care. Company founders Dr Michelle Tierney and Tim Jones uncovered the under-met need for effective treatment of fluid in the chest, or malignant pleural effusion, as part of the NUI Galway BioInnovate Fellowship programme. The condition is experienced by roughly half of metastatic cancer patients and can cause severe shortness of breath and chest pain. Often patients are fitted with an invasive and uncomfortable pleural catheter. Using novel technologies, Tierney and Jones are working on a discreet, patientcentric drainage device called ‘Releaze’, which is less invasive to place than leading competitor devices on the market and can be removed after just 30 days. Crucially, a usability study carried out with the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing has shown that the device can be managed by patients themselves without the assistance of a nurse. “The ability to successfully drain the fluid and to perform this with confidence in an outpatient setting InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

“We are currently carrying out pilot studies of our technology in hospitals in Ireland, Europe and the US. They see it as a nobrainer.”

will greatly benefit patients,” said Dr David Breen, a leading interventional pulmonologist in Galway University Hospital, who has been advising the team for the past four years. SymPhysis Medical has filed two patent applications relating to the novel aspects of the technology used to create the new device. According to the co-founders, the funding will be used to complete product development and target Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. It will also help the company to expand its team from three to seven people by the end of this year. “Following FDA clearance, we expect test market sales in the US to reach €1.5m in the first year, starting in Q4 2023. We are already working with two of the top five cancer care centres in the US. The team will quickly follow the rollout there by seeking the CE Mark in the EU and, by Q4 2025, we expect turnover to reach €49m,” says Jones. Addressing air bubbles Moving down to Cork, Gasgon Medical recently raised €2.25m as part of a funding round led by DBIC Ventures and including a number of private investors in the US. This comes on top of the company’s success in winning a €3m Fast Track to Innovation grant from the EIC last December and being awarded the top Seedcorn prize of €100,000 in 2021. Founded by Vincent Forde in 2018, Gasgon Medical has developed a low-cost device called AirVault that attaches directly to intravenous (IV) drips in hospitals to eliminate air

bubbles. These can be fatal for patients if they enter the bloodstream and potentially dangerous for nurses, who must break the IV line if air bubbles form, which exposes them to medications that can be harmful over time. “We are currently carrying out pilot studies of our patent-pending technology in hospitals in Ireland, Europe and the US. They see it as a no-brainer and our aim is for every IV system worldwide to have an AirVault attached as the de-facto solution to eliminating air bubbles,” says Forde. Currently employing six people, Gasgon Medical plans to hire in Ireland and the US with this new round of funding. The money will also be used for marketing and expanding into new markets, including veterinary and human use. “The resources required to track and eliminate air from IVs is a constant drain for nurses and health systems. Our priority is in accelerating development work to attain regulatory approval, to be ready to launch products into hospitals, with an initial focus on the US,” says Forde.

Gasgon Medical Founder and CEO Vincent Forde with nurse Niamh Allen at a trial of AirVault

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

R PLAY

Trading platform InvoiceFair is providing an alternative funding source to SMEs at a time when the need for capital to grow is greater than ever. Its Co-founder and CEO Helen Cahill is a 2022 EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist.

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

Q: What led to you to founding InvoiceFair in 2015 with Peter Brady and Ivan Fox? HC: We all became aware that ambitious, mid-sized companies were struggling to find growth funding that matched their business circumstances, the scale of the opportunity they had or was designed to help them fulfill their true potential. A clear lack of innovation, fresh thinking or any evidence of truly understanding business was painfully clear. Whatever funding was available was full of restrictions. We also felt that the traditional funders adopt a sort of parent/child relationship with their customers. We set about looking at ways that we could change this outdated attitude and put control of the financial destiny of businesses developing truly innovative solutions into their own hands. The fact that our backgrounds were diverse was crucial. Ivan and I both had over 25 years’ experience in financial services and investment management, while Peter spent much of his career in manufacturing, so could empathise with companies trying to grow. Q: What is compelling about what you’re doing with InvoiceFair? HC: We don’t ‘lend’ money. Instead, we help companies to fund their own future by converting their sales orders, work in progress, invoices or future revenues into upfront growth capital. We focus our attention on what we describe as the ‘growth funding gap’ and how we can close it. The idea is that the speed that cash is released from the business it ‘wins’ has a direct impact on a company’s growth trajectory. Our legal structure means we have fewer restrictions around customer concentration or geographic limits. Unlike traditional providers, which lend off a single balance sheet, we can spread the risk across multiple institutional funders – all with diverse risk appetites but all focused on the quality of your customer receivables. Q: How have you grown and developed the business? HC: InvoiceFair has provided over €1bn in funding to hundreds of scaling companies across all sectors in the past five years. The team has expanded to 35, with 20 of them joining in the past 15 months alone. We have an extremely high-performing leadership team, packed with subject experts across all of the key functions – sales, marketing, funding, finance, trading and technology – to drive the business forward. We have a large number of experienced accountants, which we feel is an important skillset in solution sales, underwriting and the risk monitoring process. We’re investing heavily in the digital platform, both from a customer experience perspective but also how we ingest data from open banking, accounting and billing platform integrations to augment all of these critical workflows. This results in safer underwriting and decision making for institutional funders and faster, more flexible funding for the end customer. The company started by offering single invoice finance on a single or multiple basis. As we became more successful, we started to expand our offering and now uniquely we offer funding solutions across the entire credit and trading cycle. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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We help companies to fund their own future by converting their sales orders, work in progress, invoices or future revenues into upfront growth capital.”

Q: How have your solutions made a difference to client companies? HC: Incredibly for many growing companies, winning business can often be the start of a credit crunch. At various stages of a project, they’ll need to fund any number of working capital items such as supplier payments and workforce obligations. Releasing funds from this ‘won business’ earlier in the cycle of a project allows them to manage the contract more effectively, negotiate better terms with their suppliers, improve supplier and workforce relationships as well as plan and fund other projects – in other words, scale. Equally we see many companies whose real assets are their loyal customers and the recurring revenue generated from selling to them. While traditional financial providers don’t like unsecured lending of this nature, InvoiceFair offers a revenue-based finance solution where we advance funds today, based on the next three months’ recurring revenues. Thereafter we advance up to 70% of the monthly revenue which is generally always growing. Access to this type of funding, which is directly aligned to a company’s growth in monthly recurring revenue, can postpone dilution and push equity raising 12-18 months down the road when the company valuation is significantly higher. Q: What potential do you see for InvoiceFair going forward? HC: Alternative finance represents a small – but growing – percentage of the overall business funding market. For now, from our base in Dublin, we aim to lead the growth of alternative, fit-for-purpose funding solutions, making businesses aware of the growing number of choices they have in the UK and Irish markets. We already operate in other geographies and will certainly be looking beyond Ireland and the UK in the near future. Q: Any other news or future plans you would like to share? HC: We’ve a packed pipeline of innovation in the works. Apart from ongoing product innovation, we’re looking at ways to innovate funds collection to reduce debtor friction and investigating emerging technologies, data and the use of artificial intelligence and blockchain to underpin the credit engine behind our business. We have a constant and relentless drive towards self-service and automation that will allow our customers to truly take control of their finances and fund their own future.

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MENTORS

MENTOR: PEARSE FLYNN

HYDROGEN

HERO

Cork-native and seasoned entrepreneur Pearse Flynn is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to finding solutions to the energy crisis and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

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After decades living and working overseas, Pearse Flynn now chooses to spend most of his time in the small, picturesque village of Ballycotton, Co Cork where he grew up. Chatting to local fishermen there switched him on to the idea of investing in green energy companies. “I saw the struggles they were experiencing and wanted to do something. I visited towns in Scotland and saw how renewable energy projects were transforming these communities and wanted that for Ireland. Given the vast amount of wind that Ireland has, I knew that the same could take place here,” he says. Flynn has invested €10m of his own money so far into a group of companies focused on the delivery of clean and renewable energy – Green Rebel, EIH2 and ActionZero, which recently InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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MENTORS

REMOVING FOSSIL FUELS Pearse Flynn’s climate technology company ActionZero recently announced the establishment of its new manufacturing, research and development centre at the former Borg Warner facility in Tralee, Co Kerry. Projecting sales growth of €50m over the next two years, ActionZero will continue to develop and expand its EscoPod product range from the new facility where it will employ up to 50 people. The EscoPod modular thermal energy system uses innovative heat-pump technologies to decarbonise heat by completely removing fossil fuels across industrial, enterprise and global consumer markets. “Through our patented design and engineering integration, the EscoPod provides fossil-fuel-free heating and chilling at higher temperatures, efficiencies and reliability. This avoids the need for the expensive retrofitting of buildings and business interruption,” says Flynn. “ActionZero is rolling out the EscoPod technology across a number of key clients, including Kepak and Bon Secours Health System, with a combined deal value of €20m.”

Entrepreneur Pearse Flynn

moved into state-of-the-art headquarters at Penrose Dock in Cork City Centre. Over 100 people are employed by the three companies, with plans to grow that number to 150 by the end of the year. “In the earlier parts of my career, I worked in sectors that were based on convincing people to buy things they didn’t need. But the green energy sector is a chance to help communities and the planet and give something back,” says Flynn. Now aged 58, Flynn’s career has certainly been high-flying. A graduate of Cork Institute of Technology, he emigrated to Scotland after college and held impactful senior roles in major tech companies including Compaq and Alcatel before becoming a serial entrepreneur. The businesses InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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“This would be a game changer for Ireland, helping the island to become a net exporter of green energy in a relatively short space of time.”

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MENTORS

PEARSE FLYNN ON… GIVING SOMETHING BACK “To support my village, I’ve invested in a number of businesses creating employment; now I’m looking at establishing a housing trust so our staff can afford to live locally.” GAINING INDEPENDENCE

he got involved in ranged from a call centre operator to Scottish football club Livingston. In 2007, he purchased Creditfix, which has since grown to become one of the largest personal insolvency practices in the UK and one of Flynn’s most successful businesses. It is now part of the Flynn family’s Finbora Group, along with EIH2, Green Rebel and Action Zero – and hospitality ventures Cush and Sea Church in Ballycotton. “When I look at potential investments, I want to know what the risks are; whether costs are increasing or decreasing and identify untapped opportunities. In the renewable sector, I see a resource that will never run out – unlike fossil fuels, wind is completely renewable. That, coupled with the decreasing cost of renewable electricity makes this sector very attractive,” he says. “However, there are already big established companies in the market. So I looked at servicing that market through Green Rebel and giving an additional route to market for wind as green hydrogen. This is particularly relevant on

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“We have 800% of the energy we need for a green independent energy future, which means we can help Europe achieve independence from Russian oil and gas, thus playing a huge role in establishing a new energy map.” CORK AS A KEY LOCATION “We are looking to significantly invest in Ireland’s green economy and we believe Cork has a key strategic role to play in that growing sector.”

the west coast of Ireland where the electricity grid isn’t that strong.” Providing site investigation and data services to the offshore wind sector, Green Rebel recently announced a partnership with Energia to carry out geophysical surveys for Energia’s proposed new offshore wind farm off the coast of Co Waterford. EIH2 was established in March 2021 as Ireland’s first green hydrogen company. Flynn believes it will become “a key enabler of Ireland’s transition to a clean, independent energy future” as it works hard to kick-start and grow Ireland’s hydrogen economy. So far, EIH2 has been involved in a number of feasibility studies on green hydrogen facilities in Ireland. “In parallel with our joint venture with Zenith Energy at Bantry Bay, we’re also looking at a number of other sites along the western seaboard,” says Flynn. “Right now, Ireland imports over 50% of our energy but our abundant wind means we could change that. Renewable electricity from wind can be used to separate hydrogen out of water to use instead of fossil fuels,” he explains. According to Flynn, Ireland has the potential to generate 75GW of renewable electricity from offshore wind. He and the EIH2 team are focusing on the opportunity they see to bring excess wind energy ashore and convert it to green hydrogen directly for export, and without connecting into the grid. “This would be a game changer for Ireland, helping the island to become a net exporter of green energy in a relatively short space of time. As well as meeting our own need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, we could supply as much as 2.5% of Europe’s projected electricity needs by 2050. “Not all energy needs can be met efficiently by electricity – for heavy goods vehicles or airplanes for example. Also, energy can’t be easily stored as electricity so we need a zero-carbon fuel to replace fossil fuels for when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. For these reasons, we must develop green hydrogen production and distribution infrastructure to support the renewable electricity.” Flynn is convinced that the offshore wind and green hydrogen industry will help Ireland to achieve its climate ambitions while creating clean, green jobs and an enduring source of revenue for our citizens through exporting wind as hydrogen and giving hope to young people. “Ireland has a chance to demonstrate leadership in green energy as well as supporting Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent,” he says. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

15/07/2022 16:37


SUSTAINABILITY

InBUSINESS

GREEN TALK

Left to right: Tommy Keane, Operations Director, Conor McQuaid, CEO and Chairman, Irish Distillers and Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland

PLAN FOR IRELAND’S FIRST CARBON NEUTRAL DISTILLERY Irish Distillers is to invest €50m in Midleton Distillery over the next four years to deliver a carbon neutral operation by the end of 2026. The ambitious plan will involve a roadmap of several ground-breaking projects, which will see Midleton Distillery entirely phase out the use of fossil fuels to power its operation. “With the climate crisis at a critical juncture, Irish Distillers is committed to reducing our environmental impact across our entire value chain. An area that we cannot ignore is how we power our distillery,” said Tommy Keane, Operations Director at Irish Distillers. “While the technical challenges the team face in transforming our operations are considerable, we believe that with the help and support of our partners at home and across the globe, this is possible.”

Car dealer gets ahead with solar PV Finlay Motor Group in Naas, Co Kildare has become one of the country’s first commercial sites to be granted an energy export connection to the grid through the newly established ESB Networks MiniGeneration process. Pinergy SolarElectric has installed 60kWp of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on Finlay Motor Group’s roof and made one of the first NC7 export connections in Ireland. This will enable the Ford dealership to take advantage of the Micro-generation Support Scheme. “The investment in solar PV will allow us to benefit from lower energy costs, security of energy supply and eventually earn an income from our excess energy,” said Gary Finlay, Dealer Principal at Finlay Motor Group, which has previously completed a project to replace every bulb on its site to LED units and is looking at a project to harvest rainwater.

Prof Andrew Keane, Director, UCD Energy Institute

Gary Finlay, Dealer Principal at Finlay Motor Group and Michael Norton, Head of Commercial Sales at Pinergy SolarElectric

CLIMATE AND TECH Karen O’Connor, General Manager, Datapac

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A survey of 150 Irish SME owners by Datapac has found that 54% say the climate change agenda is more important than or equal to price when it comes to IT purchasing decisions. “Organisations need to fully re-assess and strengthen their IT and security infrastructures and strategically plan how their IT can best support a greener, more sustainable, hybrid future,” said Karen O’Connor, General Manager, Datapac.

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MEDIA & MARKETING

STREAM of consciousness Ireland could be responsible for many more worldwide TV drama hits like ‘Normal People’ when a levy on pay TV and services such as Netflix comes to pass. But the film and TV sector says this isn’t happening fast enough, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

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n May, global production and distribution giant Fremantle announced it had acquired a majority stake in Element Pictures – the independent Irish production company behind the worldwide phenomenon that was ‘Normal People’ in 2020 and more recently ‘Conversations with Friends’. This is a major stamp of approval for Irish creative talent at a time when the indigenous screen production industry appears to be on a roll in terms of international recognition. For example, feature film ‘God’s Creatures’ produced by Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly of Sixty-Six Pictures played in the Cannes Director’s Fortnight in May and Irish short film ‘LAMB’ – produced by Copper Alley Productions in Dublin — was officially selected from 7,200 short film submissions to have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in June.

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15/07/2022 16:54


MEDIA & MARKETING

Former CEO of Screen Ireland James Hickey

Funding from the levy could mean an extra six TV drama series a year totally focused on Irish cultural content with the potential to be streamed internationally.”

to compete internationally by bringing local stories to a global audience – a compelling prospect in light of the increased consumption of international premium content on commercial services. “Minister Catherine Ryan still holds the view that the Media Commission should decide how and when to introduce the levy. But the Media Commission is not even formed yet and is likely to be very focused on online safety when it is. This is difficult from an industry point of view as we feel an opportunity is being lost. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland needs to start work and research on the levy now,” says James Hickey. “Particularly for high-end TV drama and films, if 25% of the costs of production are covered, it makes it much easier for a producer to raise the other 75% from other sources. The average six-episode TV drama costs around €10m to make. Funding from the levy could mean an extra six TV drama series a year totally focused on Irish cultural content with the potential to be streamed internationally.”

Aoife Duffin in the short film LAMB, which premiered at Tribeca

Former CEO of Screen Ireland, film producer and media policy consultant James Hickey is Chair of Copper Alley Productions and father of its Co-founders Lara and Jack Hickey. Always a prominent figure in the industry, he is one of many calling on the Government to urgently introduce a levy on pay TV and streaming services to boost homegrown production in line with other EU member states. The Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, passed recently by Seanad Éireann and due to go to the Dáil, provides for such a levy to create a new National Media Creative Content Fund. An Indecon report published in December stated that a 3% levy on advertising and subscriptions collected for pay TV and streaming services would create an annual fund of €25m a year, which could deliver €100m in indigenous production activity a year. The new Media Commission proposed in the Bill would be authorised to introduce it. Funds raised would allow the Irish production sector InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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RECORD-BREAKING YEAR According to Screen Ireland, the total production spend across feature film, documentary, animation and TV drama in the Irish economy in 2021 was €500m – 40% higher than 2019’s previous record spend. The sector is currently supporting 12,000 local jobs. “Irish production companies have been developing really strongly in the past few years. We do have very successful production activity, but much of this comes from inward investment. It has created highquality jobs and strengthened Ireland’s production capacity, which is all very good for the economy. But there needs to be more balance and greater focus on work created by Irish creative talent,” says Hickey. The Screen Ireland figures show that international production activity grew by 45% in 2021. A standout project was Disney’s ‘Disenchanted’, which was filmed on location in Dublin and Wicklow and hired up to 98% Irish crew, representing 1,000 jobs on the production. Local Irish film activity did increase by 52% in 2021 compared to 2019, reaching the highest year ever for the category. Since Screen Ireland’s introduction of development funding for TV drama in 2015, local TV drama spend has gone up by 145%. The agency expects upcoming new series ‘Holding’, based on Graham Norton’s novel, ‘The Dry’ and ‘Redemption’ to make waves with Irish and international audiences later this year. “Irish production companies are creating wonderful films and TV series. ‘An Cailín Ciúin’ breaking the UK and Ireland box office record for an Irish language film [earning more than €600,000 since its release in May] is a particularly interesting development,” says Hickey.

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COMING In an increasingly competitive labour market, awareness is rising among employers that introducing a four-day working week could be the new magnet for talent, writes SORCHA CORCORAN.

S

eventeen Irish companies are currently trialing a four-day working week as part of a pioneering, six-month pilot programme run by Four Day Week Ireland and in collaboration with 4 Day Week Global. The first of its kind in the world, the trial started in February and has involved upfront support in the form of training, mentoring, networking and research since last November. “Since we started promoting the Irish trial in June 2021, momentum behind the idea globally has come on to a huge extent. We recently started a similar programme in the US involving 40 companies and one in the UK with over 70 companies taking part.

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EF

ORE

SKILLS & TALENT

H T TO

Programmes will be coming onstream in Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well as in Europe,” says Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, who moved to New York to take on the role last September. 4 Day Week Global is a not-for-profit community to provide a platform for like-minded people who are interested in supporting the four-day week as a part of the future of work. The idea was born out of a successful programme at New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian in 2018. “The employee benefits of a four-day week are well established; research from the Perpetual Guardian programme and other case studies has shown how it improves wellbeing and work-life balance and helps to reduce stress and burnout. Midpoint employee surveys from the Irish trial back this up,” says O’Connor. (Researchers at University College Dublin will be publishing insights from the Irish trial when it is finished.) InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

15/07/2022 16:58


EMPLOYER EXPERIENCES O’Connor used to work for Fórsa, which, in 2018, was the first trade union in Ireland to set out the ambition of achieving a four-day working week. It is part of The Four Day Week Ireland campaign along with the National Women’s Council, Friends of the Earth Ireland, as well as a number of Irish businesses, academics and global advocates. One of the businesses involved in the Irish campaign is recruitment, training and HR services firm ICE Group, which was the first organisation in Ireland to adopt the four-day working week model, in July 2019. It employs 62 full-time staff in Galway.

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“Employer benefits are coming more into the spotlight now. The four-day week has been shown to create greater focus on productivity and working smarter rather than longer. Interest in the topic is likely to be turbo-charged in the coming year,” he adds. “The big thing coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic is that more and more companies are turning to the fourday week as a recruitment and retention tool. Remote and flexible working gave them a degree of competitive edge two or three years ago, but this has now become standard so they need to find something new.”

“Our vision was to become a worldclass organisation that inspired others. To that end, we believed by adopting a four-day week operational model [100% productivity/100% pay], we would give back to our people the gift of a three-day weekend,” says Director Margaret Cox. “Since then we have increased our productivity by 27% and reduced single-day absence to almost zero. Staff commute/travel times have fallen by 20% and we’ve had a very limited amount of unplanned attrition over the past three years. Our turnover and profitability have increased year on year and our staff wellness scores are up by 33%.” Managed IT and cyber security solutions provider Typetec saw taking part in the Irish trial as the next step in its evolution since successfully moving to remote-first back in 2018, according to Director Ken Tormey. “What was evident through that transition, and amplified through Covid-19, is that time as a commodity is highly valued by our staff,” he says. “Everyone embraced the idea and came with solutions to the challenges to make it work effectively. Energy and motivation across teams have increased as everyone now shares common goals and productivity has improved through focus, prioritisation and elimination of waste.” Currently employing 37 people, Dublin-based Typetec is in recruitment mode at the moment. In June, for example, it announced the appointment of Pamela O’Toole to the newly created role of Head of Projects. “Staff retention is high and the four-day week has been a key ingredient in our success in hiring new talent onto our teams,” notes Tormey.

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Remote and flexible working gave employers a degree of competitive edge two or three years ago, but this has now become standard so they need to find something new.”

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SKILLS AND TALENT

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NOTHING BUT POSITIVES Healthcare start-up Soothing Solutions began its recruitment journey being able to offer a four-day working week to new hires. Founded by Sinead Crowther and Denise Lauaki, Soothing Solutions has taken on 10 staff since March, further to starting on the Four Day Week Ireland trial in February. With €800,000 in seed funding, Soothing Solutions has set up its own manufacturing facility in Co Louth and launched its first product – a dissolvable honey jelly pop called Tonstix – in April. It’s available in 600 pharmacies nationwide and coming to every Boots store in Ireland in July. “Since we started the trial, staff morale and productivity is extremely high and we are exceeding our production outputs every day,” says Crowther. “Staff have reported that they have felt much happier in their personal lives and are energised returning to work on Mondays. We envisage that we will implement the four-day week as a company policy when the trial is over.”

Launch of Four Day Week Ireland campaign in June 2021

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MOVERS & SHAKERS

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY NATIONWIDE

VAL GABRIEL

BRÍD GRAHAM

CONOR MCGINN

PAUL STAPLEY

NEW TITLE: Managing Director for Ireland

NEW TITLE: SVP, Presidio Europe and APAC

NEW TITLE: Executive Director

NEW TITLE: Practices & Portfolio Director

EMPLOYER: EDC

EMPLOYER: Logicalis UK&I

PREVIOUS ROLE: M&E Design Engineer, Mercury

PREVIOUS ROLE: Cloud Practice Director, Logicalis UK&I

Cork-headquartered engineering consultancy EDC has appointed Conor McGinn as Executive Director of its Dublin office. McGinn has worked in the construction industry for over 18 years, including at Delap & Waller, Smith + Anderson and Ethos. He has extensive experience in delivering large-scale projects.

IT solutions and managed services provider Logicalis UK & Ireland (UK&I) has appointed Paul Stapley to the role of Practices & Portfolio Director, following two years as Cloud Practice Director. Prior to that he was MD of the UK business for a European managed services provider and spent around 20 years working for BT, Tandberg Television and Ericsson.

EMPLOYER: HP

EMPLOYER: Presidio

PREVIOUS ROLE: Marketing VP, HP

PREVIOUS ROLE: MD, Product Procurement, Presidio Global digital services and solutions provider Presidio has promoted Bríd Graham to the role of Senior Vice President of Presidio Europe and APAC. This will see her assume overall leadership for the Presidio business that operates out of Dublin, where it currently employs over 300 people. She is taking over from Paschal Naylor, former CEO and Co-founder of Arkphire, who is retiring.

Val Gabriel is taking over from Gary Tierney as Managing Director for Ireland at HP, having held various leadership roles at HP over the past 25 years. Gabriel began his career there as a manufacturing engineer at the manufacturing site in Ireland. In his current role, he has successfully built the worldwide Search COE Marketing function covering HP’s full product portfolio.

WORKER ATTACHMENT TO EMPLOYERS BETTER THAN EXPECTED

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Despite a tighter labour market in Ireland, recent research suggests worker attachment to employers remains high. According to WTW’s latest Employee Attraction & Retention research, 70% of employees intend to remain with their employer for at least the next two years. This is an increase from 61% in 2019 and 58% in 2017. Security is top of mind for the 800+ employees in the 2022 survey: pay (50%) and job security (37%) are the key factors to attracting and retaining talent, followed by flexible work arrangements (32%).

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

22/07/2022 14:34


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

CHAMBERS NEWS

Alison Browne, President, Laois Chamber, Honor Deevy, Local Enterprise Office Laois and Caroline Hofman, CEO, Laois Chamber

Vacant property scheme introduced in Laois Laois County Council and Laois Chamber launched the Vacant Commercial Property Incentive Scheme in Portlaoise recently to encourage the uptake of empty premises in the town centre by new and potential businesses. The scheme offers business owners a potential package of up to 11 different grants, supports and incentives. These include the Shop Grant Improvement and Accessibility Scheme, the Shop Fit Out Scheme and a business promotion package with Laois Chamber. Portlaoise has been designated as the pilot town for the scheme, and it is envisaged that it could be extended to other towns around the county in the future.

Female leadership in Letterkenny

CHAMBER COMMENT

“This move by the British Government is irresponsible and reckless. Ordinary people across the island simply want to be able to move on with their lives without politicians playing to the party-political gallery.” Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland, on the publication of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

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Letterkenny Chamber’s executive team

Letterkenny Chamber announced the second female President in its history, Kristine Reynolds, in early 2022 and now seven out of a total of 17 Chamber Council members are women. This year, five of them have stepped into leadership roles. Aside from Reynolds, they are: Claire McDonough, Owner of La Maison Interior Design Studio; Fionnuala Rabbitt, MD of Donegal Highland Radio, Patricia Hill of Stateside American Restaurant and Karoline Sweeney of Castlegrove Country House Hotel. “We feel we can act as advocates for other women – and in particular young women – who are thinking of going in to business,” said Reynolds.

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CHAMBERS NEWS

Sligo champions project management

Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber, Verne Harnish and Eoin Gavin, President, Shannon Chamber

Guru shares scaling-up insights in Shannon Attendees at a recent scaling-up workshop organised by Shannon Chamber, in association with Enterprise Ireland and supported by Shannon Chamber Skillnet, left Dromoland Castle Hotel with a workbook filled with inspirational nuggets acquired from the world-renowned business guru Verne Harnish. On his second visit to Co Clare, this global expert in business and entrepreneurship shared his knowledge gained from scaling businesses over four decades with an audience of over 130 businesspeople. “Scaling up a significant business requires discipline and focus. It requires replacing the words winning or losing with winning and learning,” he said.

Sligo Chamber recently hosted the latest partner meeting of P3 Express, a new EU-funded course designed to change how project management is performed across Europe. Available free online, this practical course created in 2016 has been used by around 70,000 people to date, according to the Professional Training Centre of Excellence (PTCoE), the Belgian group leading the project. Partner meetings are attended by organisations from six EU countries. Sligo Chamber is Ireland’s sole representative. “Sligo Chamber has its finger on the pulse in terms of educational requirements, what people want, how they actually operate and how they learn in a company setting,” said Frank Turley of PTCoE.

Ireland’s energy future discussed in Cobh Cobh & Harbour Chamber’s May Business Breakfast sponsored by Port of Cork was held in the Commodore Hotel in Cobh, Co Cork. Hosted by President Johanna Murphy, the meeting focused on Ireland’s energy future and the crisis the country is facing regarding supply and security. A panel of experts within the energy sector discussed the reality of the current energy crisis and highlighted where we need to be by 2030, together with the obstacles facing the country. The key message voiced was the need to plan a framework to lead the way.

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Adam Cronin, DP Energy, Sean Crowley, Gas Networks Ireland, Johanna Murphy, Cobh & Harbour Chamber, Henry Kingston, Port of Cork, Mike King, Irving Oil and John Mullins, Amarenco

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CHAMBERS NEWS

CHAMBER CAPTION The Waterford Chamber Business Expo sponsored by Waterford Local Enterprise Office took place on 12 May at Tom Murphy Car Sales. Over 100 businesses were there. Pictured are Dervela Lenehan and David Cooke of OfficeMaster.

Jobs for Ukranians in West Waterford

Jack Woolley, Alan Sullivan, Meditec Medical and Orla Comerford

Insights from athletes in South Dublin Two athletes shared their experiences and insights from taking part in major global sports events at the South Dublin Chamber President’s lunch in the Maldron Hotel Tallaght recently. The two Olympians who joined the chamber for a fireside chat were Jack Woolley and Orla Comerford. Hailing from Tallaght, Woolley made history by being Ireland’s first Taekwondo Olympian in Japan. He has won honours at European and world levels. Comerford started running at six years of age with Raheny Shamrocks. The accomplished athlete at European and world levels made her Paralympics debut in Rio in 2016.

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Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber is collaborating with a multi-agency team led by the Waterford Council to match the skillsets of displaced Ukrainians with local employment opportunities. The process involves an initial contact with Chamber members, identifying employment opportunities within their sector, compiling a database of those opportunities, followed by individual consultation with the Ukrainians. The individuals’ skillsets/professions and their availability are then matched with positions on offer. Examples include a pharmacist being placed in full employment within a week and a mother of two milking cows three hours a day.

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CHAMBER CEO Q&A

A hive of activity InBusiness caught up with Aisling Coleman, Office Manager, Mullingar Chamber, to hear about encouraging developments in the area.

Mullingar town centre

Q: How is life and business in Mullingar? A: Mullingar retail is faring well against online competition. At present on the main street there are 14 vacant units out of a possible 144, equating to just under 10%, which is less than the national average. Our mission is to promote Mullingar and the surrounding areas as a place to live and work with obvious benefits for employees and employers as well as the local daytime and night-time economy. We see this agenda as being even more important now. Chamber membership grew by over 50% in 2021 and we are building on this in 2022. Q: Any recent developments which should stimulate business growth? A: Mullingar hopes to see huge changes in the next few years as it is set to get its first dedicated third-level educational facility, with Columb Barracks having been chosen as the base for a new hi-tech national centre of excellence for electrical vehicle management. Other significant events and investments are Fleadh Cheoil

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na hÉireann at the end of July, bringing around 500,000 visitors with an estimated value to the local economy of €50m; IMR's FactoryxChange moving one step closer to being fully approved as a European Digital Innovation Hub and Hammerlake Studios’ €70m international film studio currently in the planning stages. BGF has led a €3m investment in Ostoform, a specialist medical device business in Mullingar, while the e-Working Centre at the County Buildings is to receive €75,000 as part of a raft of new measures being introduced to make remote working more attractive and accessible. Lidl is investing €75m in the extension of its Mullingar distribution centre. Chamber events including our Career Expo in September and Winterfest in November will attract a further 50,000 people to the town. Q: What are the burning issues facing your members at the moment? A: Members have expressed challenges in relation to attracting talent, specifically those from outside the region as people

“Mullingar hopes to see huge changes in the next few years as it is set to get its first dedicated thirdlevel educational facility.” are less willing or able to relocate due to the lack of rental properties. Other issues facing our members are international trade, climate change and supply chain management. Q: Any other interesting initiatives you would like to highlight? A: Mullingar Chamber runs the Mullingar Shopping Voucher scheme which sold more than €280,000 of shopping vouchers in 2021. We have maintained the town’s Purple Flag accreditation for the past six years and are in the process of renewal for our seventh year. We have a proactive 19-person voluntary board of directors who cover a range of areas of expertise and sit on over 22 other local and national committees. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

22/07/2022 14:35


CHAMBER FEATURE

Skills to succeed It is more important than ever for employers to invest in quality training programmes and educational opportunities that will diversify employee skills and experience, writes Aoife Quinn, Research and Policy Executive, Chambers Ireland.

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reland is on the cusp of an employment crisis. The CSO reports we now have more people employed in the country than at any other point in the history of the State. While these statistics indicate a buoyant economic outlook for Ireland, they shine a light on the issue of attracting new talent and upskilling the current workforce. In the National Further Education and Training Strategy, globalisation, climate change, digitalisation and aging demographics are the main factors that will affect the future world of work. By committing to continuous professional development and adopting a culture of lifelong learning, employers can ensure they have a talent pool of current employees who are ready to react to a changing professional landscape. It also increases competitiveness in recruitment and helps attract new talent. Further education and training improves productivity and increases job satisfaction for employees. Employee-led learning and supporting the development of new skills leads to improved retention rates and increased resilience to change in the workplace. Focusing on skills development and training creates greater opportunities for businesses to adapt their operational models by moving into new growth areas for the economy, such as IT, green construction and climate change mitigation – all of which currently lack sufficiently skilled workers.

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“Focusing on skills development and training creates greater opportunities for businesses to adapt their operational models by moving into new growth areas for the economy.” Scope for leadership An EU benchmark has been set for member states to attain an average of 15% of adults participating in lifelong learning. Ireland is still below this level at 12%, while the rate of those in employment who are participating in formal education and training falls to 5.9%. There is scope therefore for employers to take the lead in fostering and promoting a culture of education and continuous professional development. In January 2021, the Government launched a new

further education and training hub called The Right Course', a one-stop shop for education and training options open to businesses, employees or unemployed persons. In 2021 it was the most viewed non-Covid-19 campaign on Gov.ie, emphasising the level of interest and engagement from the public on the topic of skills development. It contains information on apprenticeships, training courses, third-level courses, upskilling resources for employers, as well as supports for unemployed people. For businesses, there is specific information on enterprise-led business supports, targeted upskilling opportunities for employees and free online training programmes delivered by Skillnet, SOLAS, Regional Skills Fora and the online learning platform eCollege. Businesses should be taking steps now to future-proof their growth and development by strengthening their workforce. Investing in skills development is one way of improving employee retention, enhancing productivity and ultimately increasing business preparedness for the future world of work.

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CHAMBER FEATURE CEO Q&A

More for Less

The energy mix of your business will need to guide your actions, but doing nothing is clearly not an option to tackle rising costs in the current environment, writes Shane Conneely, Director of Policy and Communications, Chambers Ireland.

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hile still adjusting to the aftermath of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, we are now affected by a war. This has resulted in increased costs, which has led to calls on governments to reduce the burden on households and businesses. Even before the energy shock, electricity prices in Ireland were high; in the first half of 2021 we had the fourth-highest prices in Europe. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine many governments intervened by attempting to reduce the price of fuel in the market. In Ireland these expensive measures reduced VAT on fuel to 9% and reduced the excise duty on petrol by 20c per litre and diesel by 15c. Had this been a short crisis that may have been an effective policy, however prices quickly returned to their high levels, but with more of the share of the price going to fuel retailers. This ‘reduction’ saw the margins increase for producers and tax revenues fall. It’s a sticky situation, as returning the taxes to normal levels in Budget 2023 will look like a tax hike to most consumers. Even if the war were to end now, fuel costs will remain high for a considerable period because increased risk, stranded assets and market volatility will be priced in. At the systemic level there are options which could see our national energy costs reduce. The Electricity

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Association of Ireland has argued (in ‘Our Zero Emission Future’) that, with appropriate investment in renewables and our grid infrastructure, Ireland could have not only among the cleanest but the cheapest energy in Europe. The EU's advice to fast track the planning process for renewable generation and infrastructure projects because of their 'overriding public interest" must be heeded.

Need for action now

“Even if the war were to end now, fuel costs will remain high for a considerable period because increased risk, stranded assets and market volatility will be priced in.”

In the short to medium term businesses will not be able to rely on government policy to significantly alter the energy environment. If companies want to see a reduction in energy costs they need to take action now to transform their business practices. The first step is conducting energy audits to establish where businesses are vulnerable to increases and the Government has just introduced a ‘Climate Planning Fund’ to create such a plan, with matched funding for delivery.Heating, lighting, and office equipment will affect businesses with premises, and most businesses will have been actively reducing costs there; heating and cooling systems will be where the greatest savings are likely to emerge. For businesses with large transport costs the quickest gains can be made by reducing weight and trips. Deliveries should be scheduled at times when there will be reduced congestion. Vehicle maintenance will also all have an impact, but driving efficiently will be the most effective way to reduce the impact of fuel increases. For businesses that consume large amounts of electricity, solar combined with storage also helps guarantee security of supply, whereas those that use large amounts of hot water should look towards solar-thermal systems. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

15/07/2022 16:56


CHAMBER FEATURE

Shock to the system Government policy has to account for inflation and supply chain difficulties as two interlinked crises, instead of addressing either in isolation, writes Shane Hughes, Policy and Research Executive, Chambers Ireland.

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usinesses are currently experiencing continually higher prices and shortages for commodities, fewer consumer goods, inflated energy prices and increased production costs. This is anticipated to continue – the Central Bank of Ireland estimates consumer price inflation to reach 6.5% this year and to increase by 2.8% in 2023. Similarly, supply chains for commodities, energy and food are heavily disrupted. Both problems are interlinked, and their source stems not only because of sanctions but because of Brexit and the lasting effects of Covid-19 lockdowns. From a business point of view, constant geopolitical unrest translates into a supply chain headache. The additional red tape from Brexit – especially problematic for food supply chains – will continue. Apart from food products, the EU largely depends on Russia and Ukraine for several key goods: chemicals, fertilisers, and metals such as iron, nickel and palladium. Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus are also producers of commodities that are used in everyday items such as pig iron and neon. Of course, this does not account for InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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the numerous suppliers who have stopped trading since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and who will not be returning. In terms of energy supply chains, the sudden increase in running costs such as the cost of fuel could be detrimental for many businesses. The increase largely results from the crisis in Ukraine, which has provided a watershed moment for the EU’s reliance on Russian fossil fuels. From late 2022, 90% of Russian oil will be banned from accessing the Single Market. This has put additional pressure on countries to accelerate their transition to renewable energy sources. However, though such long-term policies are necessary, they aggravate the immediate cost and supply chain problems for businesses.

Where do we go from here? What can businesses do to mitigate these problems? Firstly, increased inventories and sourcing goods closer to home – which

“Increased inventories and sourcing goods closer to home – which was a constant during the initial Covid-19 years – is a must.” was a constant during the initial Covid-19 years – is a must. Secondly, rising input costs mean some businesses will have to obtain alternative sources for their products. However, from whom and for what price are the big questions. Thirdly, businesses in the construction, agricultural, and haulage sectors urgently need supply reliability. Such businesses will have to continually review their inputs and value chains, re-evaluate the markets they buy products from, or even rethink their business structure entirely. Clearly, this is a worrying scenario for businesses that may not have the capacity to take such measures.

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CHAMBER FEATURE

A recent address by Luc Frieden, President of Eurochambres, to the network

Stronger together Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland, discusses the importance of working with Eurochambres and his role as Deputy President of the Europe-wide body.

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e live in what Minister Paschal Donohoe calls a “shock-prone” world. And in Ireland it feels like we have been living in it for some time. Over the past 15 years, only the period from 2012 to 2015 was free from some sort of financial, political or economic convulsion. Since 2015 we have moved from Brexit, through Covid-19 and now onto the Russian invasion of Ukraine with all three likely

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to have lingering, long-term effects. These repeated waves of international volatility have shown us the benefit of working with our peers to face these common problems collectively. At the European level, Chambers Ireland does this through Eurochambres. Eurochambres was established in 1958 in response to the founding of the European Economic Community (EEC) to support the businesses that underpin the economic prosperity of our peoples. Chambers Ireland joined shortly after Ireland’s accession to the EEC. Today we continue to engage with the Commission and the institutions on policy, while implementing EU co-financed projects and InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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helping business members to network across the bloc. Throughout the recent crises, the Commission has kept focus on the 2019-2027 policy priorities which centre on the twin green and digital transitions, including the launch of the EU Green Deal and Fitfor55 Package and the Digital Decade files such as the Digital Markets Act, the Digital Services Act, as well as the Artificial Intelligence Act. Beyond the Commission’s action plan, we have six key primary areas of policy advocacy: • Sustainable Europe • Single Market • Skills & Entrepreneurship • SME & Economic Policy • Global Europe • Neighbourhood and Enlargement SUSTAINABLE EUROPE Sustainable Europe has become a busy portfolio in recent years. Between the European Green Deal, the REPowerEU programme and the Fitfor55 package, a huge amount of the EU’s efforts are channelled towards supporting the green transition and the decarbonisation of our energy networks. With our enormous sea resources, Ireland is uniquely placed to benefit from this policy change. And the Commission’s decision to support the “overriding public interest” of renewable energy projects offers us a pathway to fast-track our much-needed infrastructure upgrade to support the build-out of renewables.

“Through Eurochambres, Chambers Ireland will continue to work to strengthen the EU so that our members know the peace that allows them to prosper.”

and our pressure to reduce red tape we challenge the Commission to ensure that the policies introduced minimise disruption for smaller firms. GLOBAL EUROPE Here I co-chair the International Trade Committee, which is a primary area of importance for Eurochambres, working on elements such as Brexit, the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, EUMercosur and Transatlantic Trade. NEIGHBOURHOOD AND ENLARGEMENT Ordinarily our work in this area involves Eurochambres supporting the expansion of businesses across the EU borders. We are at work in the Western Balkans where many of the countries are already on the pathway of accession to the EU helping to secure market access and ensure that businesses there are applying EU rules and standards. In recent months, with the escalation of the terrible invasion of Ukraine by Russia, our activities here have become increasingly important, with Eurochambres acting as a conduit to Brussels and our national capitals for our sister Chamber in Ukraine. The EU is a cornerstone of the rules-based order that makes our corner of the world a safe place for small countries and, through Eurochambres, Chambers Ireland will continue to work to strengthen it so that our members know the peace that allows them to prosper.

SINGLE MARKET The integrity of the Single Market came under significant pressure during the Covid-19 period with national lockdowns, public health differences and supply chain pressures leading to a retreat from the cross-border trade that has underpinned the EU. Eurochambres has remained a champion for deeper integration of our economies across the union with a major focus on digital integration to secure our prosperity for decades to come. SKILLS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP Chambers train and up-skill millions of workers across Europe each year. Here at home we work with Skillnet Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices and thirdlevel institutions to support skills development and maximise the funding that we can draw down from Europe. SME & ECONOMIC POLICY With our Annual Economic Surveys, our advocacy for the SME test and the ‘Think Small First’ principle InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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Marina Rožić, Secretary General of the Croatian Chamber of Economy and Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland

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CHAMBER AWARDS

Reason to celebrate In Thursday, 2 June, Chambers Ireland hosted the first in-person Chamber Awards since 2019. Sponsored by Zurich, the awards are an opportunity to celebrate some of the many innovative projects carried out by Chambers across Ireland this past year.

President of Chambers Ireland, Mags Brennan, presenting CEO of Galway Chamber, Kenny Deery with the Chamber of the Year Award with Head of Corporate Life and Pensions at Zurich, Joe Creegan

Galway Chamber staff and President Aengus Burns

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Chambers Ireland CEO, Ian Talbot, presenting Carlow Chamber President Colin Duggan with Marketing Campaign of the Year award, with Joe Creegan of Zurich

Ian Talbot with James O’Doherty, representing Westport Chamber, receiving Event of the Year award and Joe Creegan of Zurich

Ian Talbot, Athlone Chamber CEO Gerry McInerney awarded for Local Authority Collaboration and Joe Creegan

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he annual Chamber Awards seek to recognise the outstanding work of our Chamber network around the country. These awards are a chance for local and county Chambers to showcase their achievements across a variety of categories, from innovative projects to successful events, as well as creative collaborations between companies, local authorities and more. Presenting the awards to winners were Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland CEO, Mags Brennan, Chambers Ireland President, and Joe Creegan, Head of Corporate Life & Pensions at Zurich Ireland.

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CHAMBER AWARDS

This is a group of strong communicators, relationship builders and people who care deeply about their city and county. Ian Talbot, Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber, receiving Most Innovative Project and Joe Creegan

Chamber of the Year

Helen Downes, CEO of Shannon Chamber awarded for Most Successful Policy Campaign with Ian Talbot and Joe Creegan

Galway Chamber received the 2022 Chamber of the Year award in recognition of its high level of activity throughout the year despite challenging operational conditions. The Chamber also took home the award for Supporting Enterprise and Social Enterprise as well as being nominated in several other categories. “What truly impressed our judges was how much Galway Chamber engaged with its community. This is a group of strong communicators, relationship builders and people who care deeply about their city and county,” said Mags Brennan, President of Chambers Ireland. “The Chamber produced a series of excellent projects which undoubtedly contributed positively to the economic resilience of Galway and put it in a better position as we move forward. Overall, the quality of the applications across all categories showed the high level of work being done by our Chambers across the country”.

Mags Brennan, Chambers Ireland President, presenting Jenny Beresford, CEO of Dungarvan and West Waterford Chamber, with the award for Most Successful Policy Campaign

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THE WINNERS Best Marketing Campaign County Carlow Chamber - Carlow Elves – Shop &Support Local Online & Offline

Drogheda & District President Robert Murray receiving the award for Partnership for Business

Event of the Year Westport Chamber – Dare to Include Initiative Local Authority Collaboration Athlone Chamber – Athlone Sustainable Digital Innovation Hub Most Innovative Project Cork Chamber - Cork's Place in Europe - Communicating Europe Initiative Most Successful Policy Campaign Shannon Chamber - Shannon and Regional Airports Covid Traffic Recovery & Support Scheme (TRSS)

Galway Chamber President, Aengus Burns

Best Membership Initiative Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber - ‘Why We’re Chamber Members’ Membership Campaign Partnership For Business Drogheda & District Chamber - Embrace the Change Supporting Enterprise and Social Enterprise Galway Chamber Engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals County Kildare Chamber - Sustainable Kildare

Kildare Chamber CEO, Allan Shine, accepting the award for Engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals

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CHAMBER OF EMBASSY FEATURE BRAZIL IN IRELAND PROFILE

Transformative winds of change Brazil is advancing with wind energy generation to address climate change. Since the first wind farms were installed there in 2011, the power generation capacity of this source has grown 18fold, according to local agency ABEEólica.

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n the face of the challenges posed by the need to curb carbon emissions and mitigate climate change, renewable energies play a vital role in addressing the global energy transition underway. Wind technologies are in the centre of this revolution, averaging one of the highest growth rates among renewable energy sources. The high quality of the wind blowing across Brazil means that this energy source is critical to the country’s drive to diversify away from polluting fossil fuels as well as to face the growing constraints on hydropower – for decades the mainstay of cheap, clean energy in Brazil. Since 2018, wind power has become the second-largest source of electricity generation in Brazil. US$4bn (R$20.6bn) was invested in wind power in 2020, 45% of the total investment in renewables (solar, wind, biofuels, biomass, waste, PCHs, small hydro and other sources). Wind energy added 2.30GW to the country’s power grid in 2020, faster than other sources of energy and responsible for 43.17% of the new installed capacity. As a result, wind generation now accounts for 10.13% of the country’s total generation potential. On favourable days, it supplies up to 20% of the country's energy needs. IMPRESSIVE GLOBAL STATUS Boasting some of the most favourable wind generation conditions in the world, Brazil already comes sixth in the Global Ranking of Onshore Installed Capacity. Wind energy has recently surpassed the 21.5GW mark of installed capacity, with 795 wind farms and over 9,000 wind turbines in operation. Last year, on average, 9.7% of all generation injected into Brazil’s National Interconnected System came from wind farms. The wind energy generated, on a monthly average, is enough to supply 28.8 million homes per month, or a population of 86 million people. Home to 80% of the country’s wind farms, the Brazilian Northeast region stands out globally, with 45% of its electricity coming from renewable sources.

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“Wind energy has recently surpassed the 21.5GW mark of installed capacity in Brazil, with 795 wind farms and over 9,000 wind turbines in operation.”

According to estimates from the Brazilian Association of Wind Energy and New Technologies - ABEEólica, by 2024 Brazil will boast at least 30GW of wind energy installed capacity. (ABEEólica is a private sector agency bringing together roughly 100 companies, including wind turbine and blade manufactures, wind farm operators, investors and suppliers). A multi-year schedule provides for new auctions to add more installed capacity over the coming years. The advantages of wind energy are well-known. As well as being a sustainable energy source indispensable in achieving the Climate Agreement goals, it is highly cost-effective. In Brazil, every Brazilian Real invested in wind power generates 2.9 Brazilian Reais in GDP terms. Wind energy covers only 8% of area set aside for wind farms, allowing more room for other productive activities, such as growing crops and raising livestock. Furthermore, the leasing out of plots of land for wind towers generates much-needed income for often relatively impoverished landowners and the surrounding community. This translates roughly into the creation of 11 jobs per installed InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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ABEEólica/Vale dos Ventos Wind Farm

MW and a boom for the local economy, which on average sees a GDP and HDI increase of around 25%. The upshot is better social, cultural, healthcare and environmental services for the local population. RESILIENCE AND DYNAMISM In April 2022, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) released its in-depth report, which highlighted that the global wind industry had its second-best year in 2021, with nearly 94GW of capacity added globally (only 1.8% below the number for 2020). Given Covid-19 and the associated economic downturn, GWEC considers these numbers as a sign of the resilience and dynamism of this industry. Despite this notable growth, the challenge remains for wind generation to quadruple if we are to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and keep temperature from rising more than 1.5°C. Brazil’s next challenge is to expand wind energy generation offshore. According to Elbia Gannoum, CEO of ABEEólica, this option offers a vast and largely untapped potential with InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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scope for fast gains in performance and productivity. Many of the favourable meteorological conditions that make Brazil one of the leaders in onshore production also apply to the country’s vast coastline. With over 1,500GW of onshore and offshore wind potential, the Brazilian wind industry can play a crucial role in addressing the global climate emergency. With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, new auctions are expected in the Brazilian regulated energy market to meet rising demand. Simultaneously, the free market for wind energy has undergone profound change in recent years, with an array of new custom-designed solutions and highly differentiated products and services coming onstream. Generators and traders can now negotiate directly with consumers on innovative, tailormade solutions for new client requirements. These may include partnerships to design, build or operate wind farms. As the world moves ahead towards a green economic recovery, wind power has taken centre stage as one of the most cost-effective and sustainable alternatives, both environmentally as well as in terms of positive economic and social knock-on effects. Embassy of Brazil in Ireland/ABEEólica

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CHAMBER FEATURE

Backing sustainable manufacturing As manufacturers continue to embrace sustainability as part of their business models, AIB’s €10bn Climate Action Fund will help the sector to enhance its green credentials.

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he AIB Manufacturing Outlook report 2022 published in Q2 of this year provides insight into the manufacturing sector’s progress in its transition to a more sustainable footing. It highlights some of the sustainable initiatives that operators are implementing in their businesses and also provides direction to the supports that are available. For this report, AIB partnered with key industry stakeholder, Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR), to undertake a survey assessing the progress of the sector. The report features insights from the AIB team and industry commentary from Micheal Cassidy (Chief Technology Officer, IMR), David McCormack (Director of Sustainable Manufacturing, IMR), along with examples of AIB customer progress in the space from Niall Fay (Director, Grant Engineering) and Rosy Temple (CEO, Magee Clothing). The report highlights the difficulties the sector has experienced throughout the past two years – including pandemic-related shutdowns, Brexit uncertainty and supply chain blockages. It also reflects the current energy and commodity price inflation challenges.

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“AIB is committed to supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, reducing our own carbon footprint and helping our customers to do the same.”

Despite those challenges, the report highlights that the sector has outperformed even the most optimistic expectations. This is evidenced by the AIB Purchasing Managers’ Index, which has maintained an expansionary position since October 2020 and even hit an all-time high of 64.1 in May 2021. Some of the report’s key findings include: • The Government’s Climate Action Plan requires industrial emissions to drop by 40% by 2030, but 64% of manufacturers do not have a formal sustainability plan in place. • Cost, lack of management time and lack of expertise in the area are key hurdles to change. • The vast majority of manufacturers view sustainability as a business opportunity which will improve their bottom line, with a significant proportion planning to introduce sustainable initiatives in their business in the next 12 months. “At AIB, we are acutely aware that we have a crucial role to play in supporting both individuals and businesses to make the transition to a more sustainable footing,” says John McGeown, Head of Manufacturing, AIB Sector Strategy and Sector Specialists. “In October 2021, we doubled our Climate Action Fund to €10bn. We are targeting lending of €1bn per annum for green and transition lending over five years from 2019 – a target which we aim to substantially exceed by the end of 2023. “The potential upsides for manufacturers with environmental credentials are clear, with scope for increased access to environmentally-conscious customers, markets, labour, green equity and support from local communities. AIB is committed to supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, reducing our own carbon footprint and helping our customers to do the same.” The full AIB Manufacturing Outlook Report 2022 is available to read on www.aib.ie/outlook. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

Net zero facilitator Ellen Diskin, Programme Manager of ESB Networks’ National Network, Local Connections Programme is motivated to leave something better behind for the generations to come. She explains what the programme is about.

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SB Networks’ National Network, Local Connections Programme aims to meet our national climate action targets and stakeholders’ expectations to deliver a network for net zero, while also enabling customers to take control of their energy demand. The programme will deliver its goals by giving customers the choice and ability to manage how and when they use renewable electricity in their daily lives by rapidly adapting how we manage the existing electricity network for more renewable connections. Officially launched in September 2021 by Minister Eamon Ryan, the programme is expected to run until 2030. Some of the key issues being addressed in the programme are: • Building a smarter network and working with customers to adopt smarter energy technologies. • Working with customers and stakeholders to build awareness and energy education and identify motivations, barriers and enablers of behavioural change. • Working with businesses and communities to define new solutions for groups that want to take control of their own energy demand and generation. Stakeholder participation is central to delivering a solution for all of us to use, consume and store electricity in a more sustainable way. Small businesses are at the heart of every community and can play a leadership role by participating in local pilots and demonstrating the benefits of

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Ellen Diskin, Programme Manager of ESB Networks’ National Network, Local Connections Programme

Uniquely qualified With an impressive track record in leading out the ESB Networks’ investment plan for 2021-2025, Ellen Diskin has around 15 years’ experience in the energy industry working in operations, research and development, regulation and investment planning and has recently completed a PhD in power system engineering and techno economics at University College Dublin. She is uniquely qualified in leading out the National Network, Local Connections Programme and realising her personal ambition of making the world a better place.

taking control of their energy, driving down their costs and their carbon footprint. Earlier this year nine delivery plans were published based on extensive consultation. These delivery plans are built around a programme of seven pilots delivered in over 100 locations on the ground across the country from now until 2025. These pilots will involve customers and industry from all parts of Irish society. To ensure collaboration, an advisory committee has been set up with participants ranging from energy customers, government departments and industry representative groups. A wide range of perspectives are being considered as the programme is rolled out. If you would like more information on the programme, please register with engagement@ esbnetworks.ie for updates or go to https://www. esbnetworks.ie/who-we-are/national-network-localconnections-programme

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

A tour fit for royalty The House of Waterford was delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on 24 March.

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s part of their Royal Visit to Ireland, Their Royal Highnesses went to counties Waterford and Tipperary and visited various businesses incorporating their interests and passions, including heritage, farming, and the arts. On the morning of the 24th, you could feel the anticipation as the staff made final preparations. Members of the public had lined up behind the barriers opposite House of Waterford to catch a glimpse of the special guests. On arrival, Their Royal Highnesses took the time to meet and shake hands with many of the staff who had lined the entrance to the factory. They were welcomed by the team, introduced to the history of the Waterford brand, which dates back more than 200 years, and then guided through the factory to witness Waterford’s crystal craft. The first stop was the mould-making area, where the Master Mould Maker was preparing a mould for the Solheim Cup trophy. Next, they headed to the blowing

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platform – where they witnessed the magic of the molten crystal being transformed into beautiful shapes. At the quality and finishing department, they had the opportunity to smash a rejected piece – once smashed it is re-melted and recycled to be made into something new. His Royal Highness seemed apprehensive about smashing the beautiful, large designer studio vase. But, it was explained to him that it had a crack down the side which occurred during the cutting

stages and so it would have to be broken and made again. He seemed to enjoy it! A CUT ABOVE At the cutting department, the craftsmen showed the royal guests how to cut a classic star at the base of a tumbler and explained the various techniques used when making Waterford Crystal products. Examining Prince Charles’ work, one of the craftstmen exclaimed, “You can start tomorrow!”, to which the whole room erupted in laughter. Next they entered the final area of the tour – the sculpting and engraving departments where many bespoke pieces are created. Her Royal Highness was fascinated by the display - spotting the crystal telephone, she said, “You don’t see these anymore!”. When the tour was finished, Their Royal Highnesses emerged to the House of Waterford showroom, where the team presented them with a beautiful pair of Irish Lace flutes and an Irish Lace bowl. A group photo was taken with the team and a selection of local Waterford businesses, including Trilateral Research, NearForm and Waterford Whiskey, were on hand to share what they do. InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Waterford is Winning The sunny southeast city of Waterford is having a moment, after a year of plaudits including ‘Best Place to Live’ and ‘Chamber of the Year’ and earning a new status as a university city

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From L-R: Colm Blake, Zurich Ireland; Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber; John McSweeney, President, Waterford Chamber and Ian Talbot, CEO Chambers Ireland.

Waterford A University City on the Rise T

he past year has seen exciting developments in the city of Waterford. One of Ireland’s oldest cities, it is on a trajectory that surpasses its glory days as a medieval centre of some standing, and when the city was abuzz in the 1980s in the heyday

of Waterford Crystal. Lately the Suirside city has been elevated to university city status, been voted the best place to live in Ireland by readers of the Irish Times, and welcomed a visit from Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who were

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Photo: David Murphy Studio

IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

treated to a tour of the Viking Triangle and a performance of street theatre from Spraoi. Quite a big year, overall. And Waterford Chamber has been actively supporting, lobbying and planning through it all. UNIVERSITY STATUS On May 1st 2022, after decades of campaigning by Waterford Chamber and other key stakeholders, Waterford finally became a university city, with Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) merging with IT Carlow and transforming into the South East Technological University (SETU). Minister Simon Harris confirmed that all students currently attending their final year in WIT would

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

graduate with a university degree. The impact of the university will have a dramatic impact on Ireland’s oldest city and will transform the wider South East region, as campuses will extend to Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow. The challenge now is to maximise the opportunity and Waterford Chamber has already begun a campaign to revitalise the city centre to include a student hub. Gerald Hurley, CEO, Waterford Chamber explains, “As the university’s student figures grow exponentially in the coming years, we are mindful of the lack of student accommodation, along with a city centre that is in serious need of revitalisation. Looking at both factors, we have engaged EY to conduct a feasibility study, with the support of SETU and Waterford City & County Council, to assess the existing assets in the city centre, which could be transformed into student accommodation and off campus teaching space if required. We expect the report to be complete by the end of the summer with clearly defined actions that we can move forward with.” REVERSING THE BRAIN DRAIN Waterford has fallen victim to the ‘brain drain’ over the past number

of decades as students leave the city in their droves to attend university elsewhere. SETU will now reverse that trend and as well as retaining regional students, it will attract young people from all over the country who want a quality education. The skilled graduates will also have tremendous job opportunities within the region, which is home to hundreds of tech, pharma and life science companies. The strength of the research and innovation offerings in the region is worldclass and industry will thrive as a result. “The appointments of Prof Veronica Campbell as President of SETU and Dr Paddy Prendergast as Chair of the Governing Body, are strategic appointments and most welcome. They both bring the perfect mix of academic and industry experience and this will have a very positive impact on the future direction of the university and its ongoing collaboration with the business community”, says Hurley. Dr Prendergast is former President and Provost of Trinity College, Dublin (TCD), while Prof Campbell, who holds a PhD in Neuropharmacology, and has held several senior leadership roles in TCD, is an inspired choice to

Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber

THE IMPACT OF THE UNIVERSITY WILL HAVE A DRAMATIC IMPACT ON IRELAND’S OLDEST CITY AND WILL TRANSFORM THE WIDER SOUTH EAST REGION lead a new university in a region with a strong history in pharma and biotechnology. “Our agenda now will focus on ensuring that SETU receives fair and equitable funding to realise the ambition and we are calling for a review of the current practices, whereby funding for students in traditional universities is higher and there is also a distinct gap in wages for teaching staff,” says Hurley. “We have the opportunity to create a best in class higher educational experience with a strategic plan to support the agenda of regional development at our fingertips and Waterford Chamber will work hand in hand with SETU to ensure its delivery. We want the entrepreneurs of the future to leave SETU with the world at their fingertips, having received the best in education – nothing else will do.” CHAMBER OF THE YEAR Working alongside key stakeholders is to the forefront of Waterford

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

staff and one part-time person – and yet they achieve so much. They are masters at their craft and highly respected within the community. To walk away with the overall Chamber of the Year accolade was a testament to their hard work and commitment to building a better Waterford for everyone.”

John McSweeney, President, Waterford Chamber

WE WANT THE ENTREPRENEURS OF THE FUTURE TO LEAVE SETU WITH THE WORLD AT THEIR FINGERTIPS, HAVING RECEIVED THE BEST IN EDUCATION – NOTHING ELSE WILL DO Chamber’s agenda and its collaboration with Waterford City & County Council was recognised as it received the Local Authority Collaboration Award at the Chambers Ireland Awards last year, before going on to be named Chamber of the Year. According to Waterford Chamber President John McSweeney, “We value our close working relationship with the Local Authority in Waterford. There is a

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strong collaborative approach to key issues for our city and receiving the category award last year has not only cemented that relationship, but strengthened it. We were also shortlisted this year for our collaborative work on the ‘Shop Waterford Support Local’ campaign. “Winning the Chamber of the Year award was such a highlight in what was a very difficult year for everyone. Our team is very small – just four full-time

EXCITING TIMES AHEAD Waterford Chamber is also a previous winner of the Event of the Year Award at the Chambers Ireland Awards for Toys4Engineers. The week-long event is very much in the planning for October 2022 and will include a live Expo at SETU Arena with over 100 companies from all over Ireland showcasing their innovative products and services. “Toys4Engineers is one of the highlights on our calendar”, explains Hurley. “This year will feature a Meet the Buyer offering, industry training, a conference focusing on the Green agenda, indoor and outdoor exhibitions, an online jobs fair and two careers seminars, one for students and one for parents. We are delighted to have partnered with Engineering the South East for this event and Energia, as our Energy Partners, are the event sponsors.” But there’s plenty on the Chamber’s agenda before that – a President’s Lunch, its annual Golf Classic, the launch of the Waterford Business Awards and the fifth Regional Leaders Programme, a Corporate Evening at the August Racing Festival in Tramore, business breakfasts and monthly Business After Hours. Meanwhile, the Chamber also runs the Tourist Information Office in Tramore, where a team of volunteer welcome ambassadors will be out and about over the summer months. The Chamber’s sister company Waterford Chamber Skillnet also has a packed schedule of training and events lined up to year end and it continues to grow and expand under the leadership of Network Manager Tommie Ryan. “Overall, Waterford Chamber are just delighted that in person events are back and we’re going to make the most of it”, concludes Hurley.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Second Life for a Flower Show Garden How one Irish business is focusing on sustainability by donating its RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden to an environmental charity to reuse

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arden designer Sarah Eberle designed a stunning garden for this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show using by-products from the timber industry to create imaginative structures and water features, nestled amongst a carefully curated display of planting. The materials used were courtesy of the garden’s sponsor, the Irish company MEDITE SMARTPLY, a division of Coillte. Eberle’s design, ‘MEDITE SMARTPLY Building the Future’, was inspired by the new period of building innovation we now find ourselves in, with elements of fantasy influencing the grotto nestled amongst the woodland. It combined a nod to industrialism with a natural organic feel, to stunning effect. Now, it has been broken apart but thankfully not wasted, with plans to reuse the entirety of the garden’s elements. The main recipient will be Andover Trees United, a volunteerled environmental charity which works closely with schools and local authorities. Many of the trees will be rehomed in the charity’s woodland site ‘Harmony Woods’, a 10-year planting project, which gives young people in local communities the chance to help turn 12 acres of farmland to the north of Andover (in the English county of Hampshire) into a natural urban woodland, increasing biodiversity and providing a wealth of opportunities for learning in and about the environment. The impressive garden structure,

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TO BE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY AND EDUCATE PEOPLE FROM A YOUNG AGE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF TREES AND HOW THEY CONTRIBUTE POSITIVELY TO THE CLIMATE CHANGE EMERGENCY IS AN INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY made from MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME, and including SMARTPLY STRONGDECK in its roofing, will be relocated to a local school in Andover to be used as an outdoor learning space. The buttresses, turf and gravel from the garden will also be relocated to the community school. “We are extremely delighted to be donating this astonishing garden to benefit local school children and students,” stated Chris King, Managing Director – Commercial at MEDITE SMARTPLY. “To be able to contribute back to the community and educate people from a young age about the importance of trees and how they contribute positively to the climate change emergency is an incredible opportunity. The garden name ‘Building the Future’ really does encompass the ethos of the garden and its longevity. As a company, we are very proud to be taking a steer on this.”

Even the fencing will be reused. Landform Consultants, who constructed the garden, will keep the 38 sheets of SITEPROTECT PLUS panels used in the boundary to reuse them as site hoarding on future projects. As part of MEDITE SMARTPLY’s legacy campaign, every part of the garden has been relocated for reuse in new projects, thereby reducing waste and continuing to store the carbon captured within the wood panels. “The construction industry needs to do more to avert the climate crisis. We need to embrace the concept of a circular economy; to reuse, recycle and refurbish existing materials to reduce waste and be more sustainable. Our engineered wood panels are an example of just what can be achieved,” King concludes. To find out more about MEDITE SMARTPLY visit mdfosb.com

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Energia Group proud Sustainable Energy Partner of Waterford Chamber As Waterford Chamber’s sustainable energy partner, Energia Group is collaborating with businesses and communities to help make Waterford carbon neutral by 2040

Energia Group operates 15 Wind Farm sites across the Island of Ireland

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s Waterford Chamber’s sustainable energy partner, Energia Group is supporting the ‘Waterford Green Deal’ initiative which aims to make Waterford carbon neutral by 2040. Energia has worked with Irish businesses and communities for over twenty years to support their sustainability journeys. The company offers green energy tariffs and is the supplier of choice to over 50,000 Irish businesses.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS Energia offers energy efficiency grants through its Cash for Kilowatts scheme. This scheme offers businesses a grant of

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up to 20% for a range of energy efficiency projects for businesses. Grants are available for energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology, to carry out process machinery upgrades or to invest in heat recovery to reduce energy consumption. Our Lighting Solutions Scheme enables customers to upgrade their lighting and repay the capital costs through their energy bills. Connect360 is a realtime data analytics tool to help business customers reduce consumption, eliminate waste and improve their sustainability. Speaking about our sustainable business offerings, Tricia Murray, Energy Services Manager, Energia says, “At Energia we

understand the importance of collaboration as we work together to achieve Ireland’s climate action ambitions. These offerings allow businesses to monitor and reduce their energy use, lower their bills and lower their carbon emissions.” POSITIVE ENERGY With over 20 years’ experience in the Irish energy market, Energia Group currently supplies approximately 20% of the island of Ireland’s total electricity requirements and is responsible for approximately 25% of wind power capacity installed on the island. The Group supplies over 820,000 homes and businesses across the island of Ireland with electricity and gas and is continuing to make progress on its €3 billion Positive Energy investment programme, focused on renewable energy projects. Aligned to the Government’s Climate Action targets that by 2030, 80% of Ireland’s electricity should come from renewable sources, Energia Group’s Positive Energy commitment will have a significant beneficial impact at a national and regional level in Waterford and the Southeast. Ongoing projects include onshore and offshore wind, solar, battery storage and green hydrogen. It is anticipated that Energia’s programme will add approximately 1.5 GW of additional renewable capacity to the system by 2030 to facilitate the achievement of Government targets and maintain momentum towards the overall objective of Net Zero. The Group’s commitment to renewables is underpinned by its ambition to reduce the carbon intensity of its electricity generation by 50% by 2030, and to ensure a threefold

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

wind developments. This has included two introductory public consultations that yielded over 11,700 views of the dedicated project websites and 1,840 visits to the project virtual consultation rooms, culminating in a total of 167 submissions. This level of engagement with local communities is of vital importance to inform the development of our renewable energy projects.

Energia Group, Waterford Chamber and char.gy unveiled the first lamppost attached electric vehicle charging points in Waterford

increase in the volume of renewable electricity generated from onshore wind and solar projects. The achievement of Ireland’s climate action ambitions and the transition to a sustainable, green economy will rely on the construction of at least 5,000MW of offshore wind by 2030. Energia Group is currently progressing the development of two significant offshore wind renewable energy projects, the North Celtic Sea project located off the coast of Waterford and the South Irish Sea project located off the coasts of Wexford and Wicklow. Highlighting the significance of these projects, Eoin Mc Partland, Offshore Project Manager, Energia Renewables says, “As well as creating jobs and benefiting the local communities, these projects could provide up to 1600MW of renewable offshore wind power capable of generating enough green electricity to power over 1 million homes and avoid more than 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions.” COMMUNITY COLLABORATION Energia Group has a long-standing record of working in collaboration with the local communities in which they operate. In the last six years, the company has invested more than €3 million through their community benefit funds, supporting groups such as sports clubs, and community association as well as providing scholarship grants for third level students. Speaking about the company’s community benefit funds, McPartland notes, “Our funds are all about showing the communities where we operate the tangible benefits of renewable energy and

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Energia Group’s Off-Shore Wind Energy Team attend Waterford Chamber’s Business Expo

ELECTRIC VEHICLES In addition to offshore wind development, the Group is also progressing new onshore wind and solar projects, green hydrogen production and battery storage projects and EV charging. Earlier this year, Energia Group, Waterford Chambers and char. gy unveiled the first char.gy lamppost and bollard attached electric vehicle (EV) charging points at Waterford Airport Business Park. Access to EV charging is a key enabler of sustainable transport solutions ensuring convenient, cost effective, open-access charging. Towns and cities will require publicly available charging points in order to accommodate the anticipated increase in the uptake

WE WANT TO WORK WITH THE COMMUNITIES TO SUPPORT SUSTAINABILITY IN THESE TOWNS AND VILLAGES ACROSS THE ISLAND OF IRELAND FROM AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND A SOCIAL PERSPECTIVE. making a positive impact on them. Given our extensive experience of building large scale renewable projects, we know just how important it is to maintain regular communication and consultation with local stakeholders and we are committed to this throughout the lifetime of all our projects. We want to work with the communities to support sustainability in these towns and villages across the island of Ireland from an environmental and a social perspective.” An important aspect of the Group’s collaborative approach is regular engagement and consultation, underpinning all the Group’s projects. For example, Energia have been consistently engaged with stakeholders across the Southeast regarding the two offshore

of electric vehicles in coming years as we transition to net zero. Integrating the charging points into existing street infrastructure such as lampposts is an efficient way of increasing the coverage of EV charging points in our towns and cities. Looking to the future, the opportunity for Waterford and the Southeast region in terms of its sustainability journey and broader development is undeniable. Well served by established communities, connections, academic institutions, a vibrant business community and strong ambition, Energia Group is looking forward to continuing to work with the Waterford Chamber, its members and broader community to help realise Ireland’s ambition to achieve net zero.

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The Best Keeps Getting Better Michael Walsh, Chief Executive, Waterford City and County Council, on how Ireland’s Best Place to Live is continuously improving with exciting new projects in the pipeline

allocation has allowed Waterford City and County Council to bring significant investment into the centre of Ireland’s Oldest City and create opportunities for people to live, work and play in a variety of re-imagined public spaces and places. INVESTMENT & TALENT

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merging as the Irish Times Best Place to Live in Ireland is a wonderful endorsement of Waterford as a great place, with strong community ties, a rich arts and culture scene and a bright future. Judged on broad criteria including natural amenities, buildings, community initiatives and spirit, presence of clubs and societies, good local services, transport links, employment opportunities, diversity, the price of property and housing supply, and cost of living, Waterford performed strongly in all categories. HEART OF THE CITY

With a residential core that brings a sense of life to the city, a city centre brimming with old streets full of character, a buoyant tech and pharma sector, the region’s first University, and significant investment in infrastructure and public realm spaces, Waterford is an adaptable city with its eye firmly on future development and growth. From the Applemarket, through to the

Viking Triangle and towards the Cultural Quarter, Waterford wears its public realm spaces well, running the gamut from medieval structures to modern architecture.

WITH 15,000 STUDENTS AND 5,000 GRADUATING ANNUALLY FROM A RANGE OF COURSES, WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON STEM, WATERFORD HAS A TALENT PIPELINE THAT IS BROAD, DEEP AND EXCEPTIONALLY VERSATILE The addition of enhanced public spaces adds life and light to any area and Waterford City and County Council is committed to continue delivering into the future under the Urban Regeneration Development Fund (URDF). The

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Waterford, traditionally renowned as an industrial centre, has evolved and is attracting global tech and pharma companies and talent. We still retain a strong manufacturing sector with an impressive global reach, however the diversity of sectors means that more overseas tech, pharma and life science companies are choosing Waterford. This is evidenced by recent investment in Waterford by EirGen Pharma, Horizon Therapeutics, Infosys BPM, Tegus, Sanofi and Bausch + Lomb, amongst others. The growth in employment in these high value sectors is enhanced by access to a strong academic talent pool from the region’s first technological university, South East Technological University (SETU). With 15,000 students and 5,000 graduating annually from a range of courses, with a strong focus on STEM, Waterford has a talent pipeline that is broad, deep and exceptionally versatile. DEVELOPMENT & CONNECTEDNESS

Waterford Greenway has been an unprecedented success. Not only recognised as Ireland’s Best Visitor attraction by travel readers of the Irish Independent, it also took silver at the European Greenways Awards. With construction underway to extend the greenway right into the city centre, it will be more accessible than ever, connecting the City to its region by a network of three major greenways. In all, 150km of greenway will intersect in the heart of Waterford at the new sustainable transport bridge. Works are underway on the first

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

TOURISM & AMENITIES

phase of construction that will link the existing Waterford Greenway and Meagher’s Quays on the South Quays to the North Quays Strategic Development Zone, leading on to the new Southeast Greenway from Waterford to New Ross. The Waterford City Marina will also be accessible from the South Plaza. Michael Street development will deliver a mixed-use development combining housing, student accommodation, retail and market space, while the revitalisation of Waterford’s North Quay offers the opportunity to develop a sustainable and exemplary city centre and regional development.

Along Waterford Greenway, Mount Congreve is another jewel in Waterford’s crown. Further grant funding was recently made available for the redevelopment and restoration of the house and gardens, in addition to €3,726,00 granted in 2019 under the Rural Regeneration & Development Fund (RRDF) and Project Ireland 2040. Upon completion the project will deliver a tourism destination which will attract 150,000 visitors annually, an enhanced visitor experience to the gardens and planted woodlands, and generate additional employment and revenue opportunities. Within metres of each other, Waterford has some of the best museums, galleries, and theatres in the country. In the Viking Triangle, Ireland’s two newest museums, the Irish Museum of Time and the Museum of Silver opened last summer. The Theatre Royal and Garter Lane bring an eclectic programme of culture, music, art, and drama to the city, while

our festivals—Spraoi, Harvest Festival, Winterval and Waterford Walls—are nationally renowned. Simply put, Waterford has a city centre brought to life by world-class spaces of unique character, a great retail offering, a phenomenal heritage and back-story that is interpreted to the very highest standards in our museums and a cutting edge arts and culture scene. All of this is complemented by wonderful natural amenity in the city and our immediate environs. Above all else we have a creative, innovative, and diverse population, wonderful community activities and volunteers aplenty all seeking to make Waterford even better.

Waterford Ireland's Best Place To Live

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LIMERICK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Limerick Looks to a Sustainable Future With ambitious plans around infrastructure, transport and renewable energy projects in the Shannon Estuary, the Limerick region is looking to a sustainable future

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Policy, People and Public Realm Dee Ryan, CEO of Limerick Chamber, on its strong focus on economic policy, using city streets more flexibly, and placing citizens at the heart of local government

Deirdre Ryan, CEO, Limerick Chamber

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eflecting on the work of the Limerick Chamber over the past couple of years during the pandemic, chief executive Dee Ryan, considers that, although their usual eventsheavy calendar was cleared, “We never got quiet. Our emphasis went to different areas.” Limerick Chamber lobbied heavily for the introduction of wage subsidy schemes and submitted a proposal to government in late March 2020, which pointed to similar wage subsidy schemes and short-term working schemes that were implemented in Germany. “We have a particular policy focus in the Chamber,” Ryan states, “and we have engaged a chief economist as a core resource to the Chamber and a core piece of output from the work of that team is to produce independent policy positions that we then go on and lobby for.” To this end, their submissions to Government on what their members needed was research based. “In the end, what the Government arrived at was very similar to what we had asked for.” She commends both Chambers Ireland, which “think really came into its own and performed very well and very importantly for our members over the course of the pandemic” and the Government “for the very responsive way that they produced supports for businesses. The business community really saw the value

in what was brought through very quickly.”

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EMPLOYMENT & ECONOMY A recent report produced for Limerick Chamber states that the unemployment rate in the region is lower than pre-Covid, and the labour force has also grown. However Ryan is cautious about this positivity. “While we are at a record low level of unemployment, which is obviously very welcome, you will have fears and concerns for the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on households and what that may in turn do to the domestic economy and the service industry in particular who have had a very difficult few years.” Countering this she points out that “We are definitely blessed with a strong industrial base in Limerick, and a good broad mix of different clusters of industry, along with excellent announcements of new companies coming to the area, like Eli Lilly, and growth and investment in established companies like Regeneron.” TOURISM & HOSPITALITY With the speed of reopening of the hospitality sector this year, Limerick has seen the same challenges as the rest of the country in staffing. “It has been very challenging for members of the hospitality sector to ramp up their workforces as quickly as needed to, in response to the immediate demand that there was for experiences and revelry and fun that was missed over the last number of years,” she notes, adding that even prepandemic, in 2019, there were staff shortages issues.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: LIMERICK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

“Businesses in the hospitality sector on the West Coast were very vocal about the challenges they faced in recruiting and retaining staff for a season. I would think that we’re probably returning to the challenges that we faced in 2019.” With conferences, events and corporate travel in the city, the sector had a balanced mix, which has lessened its exposure to downturns in international travel. “Companies have started to use hospitality spaces for meetings and for reconnecting their teams over the course of the last year.” Last year’s Chamber President, Donnacha Hurley is General Manager of Absolute Hotel Limerick and together they convened a city reopening task force and met with the local authority for critical biweekly meetings in the run up to the reopening.

OUR HOPE WOULD BE THAT MEANINGFUL CHANGE WILL ALLOW LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO BETTER PLACE THE CITIZEN AT THE HEART OF GOVERNMENT “While not directly employed in that sector, I’ve been close enough to feel and to understand pain that they went through, and to commend them on the resilience, and the strength of character that they showed.” TRANSPORT STRATEGY A matter of great concern and interest on the table at the moment is the Revised Draft Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS). “It’s an unusual strategy in that it encompasses the metropolitan

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area of Limerick, the suburbs and all the way out to Shannon in Co Clare, recognising the critical importance of Shannon, as not just a factor in our local travel ecosystem and transport ecosystem with the airport, but also the high number of people who commute every day from the Limerick area out to employment in the Shannon industrial zone.” While there are plenty of welcome inclusions, including urban rail and plans for implementation of a BusConnects system, discussions are ongoing around some issues. One sticking point is around proposed plans to use O’Connell St, Limerick city’s primary city centre artery, as a twoway bus corridor. While the street, at the heart of the city, has seen some “beautiful upgrades” recently, with new limestone paving, wider footpaths and cycle lanes, Ryan notes that “Our thinking on it has evolved. There’s a lot of interest in using the space in a more flexible way and potentially in a pedestrianised way. “From an individual citizen perspective, there’s an enhanced appreciation for public realm, and for the contribution that public spaces make to quality of life.

In addition to that, the business community has an enhanced appreciation of making use of those attractive public spaces. And so we really welcome this investment that the local authority are making on the street.” DIRECTLY ELECTED MAYOR Another big hope for the coming years is to see the introduction of a directly elected mayor for Limerick city. “Our Chamber is supportive of what we see as meaningful local government reform.” To Ryan, this would translate as “a strengthened, empowered, and resourced head of local government for Limerick, which will be directly elected”. In an ideal situation, where a directly elected mayoral system came to pass, she envisions, “that they will be adequately empowered for efficient decision making, and responsibility is given from national government to local government. We believe that it can be a huge success for the citizens of Limerick. Our hope would be that meaningful change will allow local governments to better place the citizen at the heart of decision making and allow us to better respond to the needs of people living across Limerick city and county.”

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Becoming the Battery of Europe Limerick Chamber President Donal Cantillon on infrastructure tracking, FDI success and the opportunity to become the ‘battery of Europe’ with renewable energy

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riginally from Tralee, Co. Kerry, Donal Cantillon has been living and working in Limerick since 2015, and joined the Chamber Board in 2017. He is a Partner with Focus Capital Partners, a boutique corporate finance business specialising in debt advisory, equity fundraising, M&A, tax and foreign capital. His spare time is taken up with three young children, charity work on the committee of Comfort for Chemo Kerry (raising funds to buy a new chemotherapy unit) and coaching underage sports in Limerick City with Garryowen (Rugby), Summerville Rovers

The Chamber has established a cross sectional housing task force to look at the issues, make recommendations and lobby the minister for housing directly. “Those who can solve the supply issue first will be at an advantage as regards further investment and attracting new FDI businesses to their region.” ENERGY OPPORTUNITY Offshore renewable energy is an area where Cantillon sees huge opportunities for the wider region, with Shannon Foynes poised to become the epicentre for the offshore renewable energy off the west coast of Ireland.

IRELAND HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE A NET EXPORTER OF ENERGY AND THE ‘BATTERY OF EUROPE’. I WELCOME THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SHANNON ESTUARY TASK FORCE (Soccer) and Ballinacurra Gaels (Hurling & Football). He managed to carve out some time in his very busy schedule to chat with INBusiness about his focus for his year as President of Limerick Chamber. Housing and infrastructure are the two topics that preoccupy him most. Housing in particular is an issue that “our FDI members advise is acting as an inhibitor to further growth as they are unable to expand and attract new talent due to supply issues.”

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“Ireland has an opportunity to be a net exporter of energy and the ‘battery of Europe’. I welcome the establishment of the Shannon Estuary Task Force which is tasked with exploring these opportunities and making recommendation in its report to Government due later this year.” FUTURE LIMERICK In the wake of the Chamber’s recently commissioned ‘Future Limerick’ report, produced by Indecon, Limerick Chamber is

Donal Cantillon, President, Limerick Chamber

launching an infrastructure project tracker, which will go live later this year to “track the progress of key infrastructure projects, both public and private, whose delivery will be key to unlocking Limerick’s enormous economic potential.” Cantillon sees that “in many respects, Limerick has the perfect mix from a work, live and play perspective” and is excited for the future. “Limerick has won more than its fair share of FDI jobs announcements recently and this isn’t by accident,” he notes, citing Shannon airport and “UL and TUS producing a steady conveyer belt of world class graduates for the various employers in the region” as key to this success. “What’s great about Limerick is that it punches above its weight; it is a fantastic sporting city, and this passion translates well across the business divide.”

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: LIMERICK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

A Vision for Limerick 2030 Limerick City and County Council is focused on maintaining momentum with ambitious targets for enterprise and investment in the region

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imerick is on a mission to become one of Europe’s most exciting sustainable living environments. The past decade has been about planning and the next decade is about delivering for the future of Limerick. That process began when a new vision and strategy was launched, ‘Limerick 2030 an Economic and Spatial Plan for Limerick’. This was the first of its kind in Ireland, a once in a generation opportunity, developed to guide the economic, social, and physical renaissance of the city centre and the wider county/mid-west region.

BD; Legato; Indigo; Vitalograph; Three Ireland and Eli Lilly. These are on top of ongoing investments by the likes of Johnson & Johnson, Northern Trust, Croom Medical, Regeneron and Analog Devices. Job creation has not only been confined to larger multinational firms; the Local Enterprise Office has also supported the creation of almost 200 new jobs in 2021 alone.

JOB CREATION

MAINTAINING MOMENTUM

The Limerick 2030 plan had a topline target of attracting €1 billion in enterprise and investment infrastructure and 12,000 new jobs. Such has been the success of the plan, that these job targets were surpassed within five years and the trajectory since has continued upwards.

The momentum is strong, but the focus is on keeping it maintained, and while strategic planning has been essential, so too has collaboration. Elected members of Limerick City and County Council have just approved the new Limerick Development Plan 2022-2028

LIMERICK WILL GROW ITS POPULATION BY ALMOST 30,000 ADDITIONAL PEOPLE, PROVIDE ALMOST 16,000 NEW HOMES AND CREATE SIGNIFICANT ADDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT GROWTH BY 2028 In 2012, employment levels in the region were at 191,000. By December 2021, that number had climbed to 238,000. Investments and new job announcements are continuing to flow into the region. To date in 2022, there have been jobs announcements from

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that sets out the strategy for how the city and county will develop over the next six years and beyond. This new Development Plan details how Limerick will grow its population by almost 30,000 additional people, provide almost 16,000 new homes and create

significant additional employment growth by 2028 and beyond. The new Development Plan is underpinned by a strategic vision intended to guide future sustainable growth, a vision for Limerick to become a Green City region on the Shannon Estuary connected through people and places. It is a powerful plan that will be a game changer for Limerick. Green is synonymous with Limerick from a sporting perspective, and it is very much going to be its international calling card as well. Limerick and the Shannon Estuary are set to become a supply-chain hub for the global offshore wind industry revolution along the west coast, largely thanks to the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce, recently established by the government, and the Shannon Foynes Port Company. That is where Limerick wants to be—a city region at the cutting edge of innovation, embracing inclusivity and a champion of sustainability.

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Powering workers in the Mid-West The Engine Hubs network is your go-to for remote working facilities across the Mid-West region, with participating hubs in Limerick, Tipperary and North Kerry

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ngine Hubs, the first collaborative cluster of business hubs spanning the Mid-West, is an Innovate Limerick initiative which provides a hybrid working infrastructure for remote workers and business owners, as well as full landing pad services to multinationals looking to set up or expand their operations. The network of 19 hubs recently secured €408,250 in funding, one of 81 nationwide projects to be awarded funding as part of the national hubs network development plan. This funding will enable hubs to enhance and expand the remote working infrastructure available across Limerick city and county. CEO of Innovate Limerick and Head of LEO Limerick, Mike Cantwell explains the rationale for the Engine Hubs: “How and where

we work is changing and our goal in Innovate Limerick is to facilitate this change. Our members realise that there is more to life than a long commute and living somewhere they don’t enjoy. Engine Hubs will help people to create a better work-life balance, by providing highquality co-working facilities in the Mid-West and North Kerry. We are challenging traditional urban-rural divides and offering flexible work locations in cities, towns, and villages.” Visit enginehubs.ie to book a desk, location, or meeting room across any of the 19 hubs in the network, located across Limerick, Tipperary and North Kerry.

EngineHubs ASKEATON

WHAT DO WE OFFER? The Hubs network is so much more than office space. It is an integral part of a much greater, connected business ecosystem. We call it the Engine Ecosystem – here to help individuals and businesses connect, collaborate and grow across the region and beyond. Visit enginehubs.ie

BRUFF

CONNECTED HUBS LIMERICK The Yard

Broadford Enterprise Centre

Engine

Kantoher Development Centre

The Boat Club

WorkBase Abbeyfeale

Engine Collaboration Centre

Bruff Hub

Spark Hub, LEDP

Askeaton Hub

ACM Community Centre

KERRY

Rathkeale Enterprise Centre Manor Fields Adare Croom Community Enterprise Centre

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WorkBase HQ Coworking HQ Tralee HQ Listowel

Bruree Food Hub

TIPPERARY

Ballyhoura Heritage

Tipp Digital Hub

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: LIMERICK CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Boosting Skills to Boost Business Limerick and Clare ETB are providing employees with targeted and flexible training courses to boost both their careers and enterprise growth

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he national Skills to Advance initiative is helping create a sustainable future for Irish industry by supporting companies to adapt to fast-paced market changes through targeting potential skills gaps. It also helps increase productivity by providing staff with flexible training opportunities that fit in around their working hours. As part of this, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board is offering

up-skilling and re-skilling programmes to those in the Mid-West region who are currently employed. The large range of part-time QQI Level 4-6 programmes— including Lean4Green Tools, Certificate in Leadership and Management, Communications, Software Development, Social Media with Multimedia for Business—are offered through online and in-person classes in locations throughout Limerick and Clare as part of the multi-campus College of Further Education and Training. One of these fully-funded Skills to Advance programmes is ‘Environmental Sustainability in the Workplace’. A 10-week online programme that provides employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to strengthen environmental sustainability

within their organisation. Starting in Autumn, this project-based programme will help employees produce an action plan for their workplace concentrating on areas like water, waste, energy, material use, supply chains and biodiversity. For more information see collegeofFET.ie/skills

Empowering industry with tailored training programmes that deliver work-ready skills.

COLLEGE OF FURTHER EDUCATION & TRAINING #FindTheBestInYou Programmes co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union

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GALWAY CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Growing Galway for the Future Urban planning and placemaking will ensure the City of the Tribes develops into a city of the future, with its cultural melting pot and vibrant mix of arts and industry

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Innovation and Diversity in Galway With CEO Kenny Deery at the helm, Galway Chamber is innovating and pushing forward with diversity and inclusion initiatives and always learning from global connections

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hen we speak, just a few days after the annual American Chamber dinner, Kenny Deery, CEO of Galway Chamber, reflects that it was a “phenomenal celebration of FDI companies in Galway”. With 92 investments, as of that week, and more in the pipeline, he says “the sustained continuity of new announcements coming into the city is really powerful. It’s really a testament to what we can deliver and the ability of companies in particular to attract talent.”

HYDROGEN HUB

Another exciting development which could unlock huge opportunity for Galway is the idea of positioning Galway as a “hydrogen hub”.

The Galway Hydrogen Hub

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The Galway Hydrogen Hub (GH2) consortium consists of NUI Galway, the Port of Galway, CIÉ Group and Bus Éireann, Aran Islands Ferries, Lasta Mara Teo, Aer Arann Islands, and SSE Renewables. The GH2 consortium’s intention is to develop an initial flagship demonstrator project at The Port of Galway, for the indigenous production and supply of clean green hydrogen fuel for public and private vehicles. Deery sees great potential for “generating our own energy supply for public transport across all modals,” and positioning Galway the home of Ireland’s first Hydrogen Valley. He recently took part in a delegation visiting one of Galway’s town twinning partners, the town of Lorient in North-Western France,

which last year announced a €22 million investment in hydrogen, to include a passenger ferry, 12 buses, and three stations. “It’s really exciting to see how they’ve positioned themselves. They’re probably a decade ahead of us in terms of seizing the offshore opportunity. They’re at the tendering stage for the largest and the first offshore floating wind project globally, planned to be delivered in 2029. We’re forming partnerships with them, and we’re learning from their lived experience, which is really exciting.” TOWN TWINNINGS

Lorient is not Galway’s only twin town – the city has bonds with over 60 other locations across the globe. Deery puts this down to “the magnetic effect that Galway has because of the arts and culture scene in particular.” Apart from Lorient, the other very active connections at this moment in time are Bradford in the UK and Chicago in the USA. “East Coast, USA and the West of Ireland have such a unique natural diaspora connection and business flow. If we look at the footprint of many of the investments in Galway they are headquartered in Boston, Chicago and New York so it is hugely exciting for us to explore those further.” The relationship with Bradford is developing along two strands—

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Kenny Deery, CEO, Galway Chamber

from being disappointed with the loss of live programming, Deery points out the immense global opportunity gained from an agile pivot towards running virtual events, opening up to a worldwide audience. “At a European level, as the Commission are evaluating their capitals of culture, it was the only large-scale project that continued to deliver. It delivered over 1,200 events to a global audience… this actually is a phenomenal achievement. It’s amazing the way that we’ve been able to really showcase our innovation and technology. It has become the benchmark now of what the next capitals of culture will be doing.” Evaluation of the tourism bounce from being a capital of culture

THE SUSTAINED CONTINUITY OF NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS COMING INTO THE CITY IS REALLY POWERFUL. IT’S REALLY A TESTAMENT TO WHAT WE CAN DELIVER AND THE ABILITY OF COMPANIES IN PARTICULAR TO ATTRACT TALENT exploring medtech opportunities, and “particularly clustering opportunities in health tech that we can explore between both locations. There’s a lot of synergy already, there’ll be a lot of cross contamination in terms of businesses”. The other strand of the relationship is cultural, with Bradford having been at the pitching stage to be the UK Capital of Culture for 2025, when Galway was named European Capital of Culture for 2020. “We’re now looking at howsome of the cultural organisations within Galway form part of their programme for 2025.” CULTURE SHOCK

While Galway had great plans for its year as European Capital of Culture in 2020, everything was turned on its head during the pandemic. Far

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tends to be measurable and visible in the decade to follow, and, anecdotally, Deery maintains he is seeing interest from international delegations—the reach of virtual programming kept Galway in the spotlight. REMOTE WORKING

The appetite for moving West is strong, since those able to take advantage of remote working looked to the lifestyle benefits of escaping Dublin and its commuter belt. The most recent results from an annual survey run by the Western Development Commission in partnership with the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway revealed that among workers considering relocation Galway was the most popular destination in Ireland, claiming 10.1% of the votes. “For remote working we have

a fantastic network across the city and county of co-working spaces and innovation spaces,” notes Deery. “We’re adding €11 million worth of expansions to Portersheds and Galway Technology Centre (GTC), another five projects have received regional enterprise funding and Údarás na Gaeltachta have rolled out their gteic network as well, so we have phenomenal set of places to go.” DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

Deery is proud to have made strides on diversity and inclusion since he joined Galway Chamber, with the board achieving a 50:50 gender split last year, and the announcement of a female Deputy President. With a formal partnership with the Irish Centre for Diversity in place, he is eager to roll its training out to the Chamber’s member businesses. “Members are struggling with the language of diversity and trying to get it right. The larger corporates have very well-informed internal arms of their organisations, who have brilliant capacity, but many of those in the SME space are not quite sure how to interact with it, what’s appropriate to say and what’s not, so I very much wanted us to take the leadership position on this.” An inclusive pathway to employment project has seen the Chamber receive funding to employ a staff member to connect marginalised groups with employment opportunities from Chamber businesses. “It’s about building confidence and enabling capacity building, and some of the employers have been phenomenal.” Much work has already been done but with nine different pillars of diversity, which Deery is focused on working through, it sounds like there is much more to come on this journey.

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Planning Ahead for Galway’s Future Galway Chamber’s new President Dermot Nolan is looking to the future, with urban planning and the continued growth of Galway on his mind

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iversity is a recurring theme in the work of Galway Chamber and as newly inaugurated president, Dermot Nolan has been focused on pulling together his nominations to the council. With 20 directly elected members making up the major part, he has five nominations with which to make up the final

VISION 2070 Coming into the role, there are of course, some issues that are close to his heart. One such is the continuing evolution of what started out as Vision 2040 and is now looking as far ahead as 2070. In partnership with a group called Architecture at the Edge, it is working on public engagement

I’M A STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF GALWAY, I BELIEVE IT HAS FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITIES — IT OFFERS SO MUCH, BUT WE NEED TO KEEP PUSHING FORWARD.” number of 25 and his choices are important to judiciously fill out any gaps. “We try to use the five to give us a good mix, looking at the various sectors, the genders and the type of experience that they have.” Nolan brings his own unique perspective and insight to the role from his background, as Group Finance Director with HeadSpace, a real estate owner, developer and management firm (no connection to the meditation app with a similar moniker). One exciting project in the group’s pipeline at the moment is the redevelopment of the Printworks into an indoor food market and dining experience— with great potential for incubating small food businesses while providing a fantastic amenity and dining destination for locals and tourists alike.

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and running a series of workshops “to inform people as to what good urban planning looks like, and the things that you have to think about when you engage with urban planning”. Through his work with Evolving Galway he has spent a lot of time on the Vision 2070 project and is passionate about youth involvement in the vision – “not just a load of old people sitting around a board table, because we’re not actually going to be the people who are going to be working when it gets to 2070. We ran a number of projects with schools and TY classes to ask them to come up with what they’d like Galway to look like and be like.” The continuing success of FDI in the region and promoting Galway as a place to live, work

Dermot Nolan, President, Galway Chamber

and visit are also areas he keeps top of mind. “I’m a staunch supporter of Galway, I believe it has fantastic opportunities— it offers so much, but we need to keep pushing forward.” He highlights the strengthening relationship between Galway Chamber and Galway City and County Council as being vital to the continued success of their individual and combined efforts, particularly when it comes to key issues such as transport and housing. “Whatever we can do to address those issues has to be fundamental to the future growth of Galway.”

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WestBIC - Supporting & Scaling Start-Ups WestBIC provides tailored, high level supports to entrepreneurs to convert their innovative ideas into a commercial reality

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nterprising people and the concepts they develop require enterprising supports. WestBIC provides tailored, high level supports to entrepreneurs to convert their innovative ideas into a commercial reality, assisting entrepreneurs to start and scale-up their enterprise. This journey involves navigating and directing the entrepreneur through the stages of market and technical validation, gaining international traction and building out the team, with the principal aim of getting entrepreneurs investor ready. A quality High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) proposal will attract the attention of State and private funds. WestBIC works closely with Enterprise Ireland and other leading organisations in the region that it

including sportstech, traveltech and sustainable innovation. The Irish EU-Business and Innovation Centres (BICs), including WestBIC, are specialist providers in the Government’s portfolio of supports to Irish Industry and work to an EC Quality Standard with innovative start-ups and early stage SMEs. While the Irish BIC’s are regionally based organisations, they are also represented and network internationally, through the European Business Innovation Centres Network (EBN). WestBIC uses the extensive international networks available through EBN to provide connected access for its client companies to source partners, technologies and markets while also presenting a real opportunity to benchmark their product offering internationally. BECOMING INVESTOR READY According to WestBIC CEO, John Brennan, “To secure seed and growth finance you must become investor ready and to become investor ready you must have a compelling offering.” Becoming investor ready requires an in-depth and practical

TO SECURE SEED AND GROWTH FINANCE YOU MUST BECOME INVESTOR READY AND TO BECOME INVESTOR READY YOU MUST HAVE A COMPELLING OFFERING serves, including Údarás na Gaeltachta, Western Development Commission, Local Enterprise Office, the accelerators and the third level sector. WestBIC supports innovative start-up companies across the West and Northwest of Ireland to scale their businesses internationally. Over the last 30 years, a broad range of industry sectors and a wealth of knowledge has passed through its doors ranging from medtech and edtech and more recently

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analysis of the product/service technology, its market potential including international traction, and a team with the right skillset to drive and build the business. Brennan further outlines that, “WestBIC works with entrepreneurs and companies to qualify and quantify these dynamic variables, providing a custom roadmap of supports to arrive at a robust business plan and a compelling investment pitch.” Financial modelling is a key element of

John Brennan, CEO, WestBIC

the WestBIC tailored supports to start-ups. Assistance with the development and proofing of a financial model and business plan is essential to secure the right type and level of funding. This financial model is the cornerstone to securing interest and commitment from public and private sources of funding. WestBIC examines different financial options available to the company and connects entrepreneurs to the most appropriate sources of funding with a direct link into the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN). HBAN is the all-island umbrella group responsible for increasing the number of angel investors and the development of business angel networks and syndicates. In highlighting the key role that HBAN plays in WestBIC’s supports to the start-up community, Brennan describes this as “providing qualified deal flow to investors who want to be part of the journey in creating great Irish companies who can scale globally and make a return to their shareholders”. Through HBAN, WestBIC seeks to match pre-screened investment opportunities with private investors in start-up, early stage and developing businesses. For more information see westbic.ie

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Galway: Smart and Sustainable Growth Galway City Council is focused on placemaking and the provision of the infrastructure to serve the ambitious growth envisaged for the city

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small city with a big personality, Galway is the regional urban centre for the west coast of Ireland and is envisaged to grow significantly over the coming years. It’s an exciting time, but also one which requires careful consideration and planning by Galway City Council. Project Ireland 2040 sets the scene for Galway as a critical driver for regional growth to counterbalance to the continued growth of Dublin and its surrounding region and estimates that the population of Galway City and Suburbs will grow by between 40,000 and 48,000 people (5060%) by 2040. “In order to accommodate that population growth, our focus has to be on placemaking and the provision of the

necessary infrastructure that enables the city to grow,” says Brendan McGrath, Chief Executive of Galway City Council. DIVERSE BUSINESS MIX As a location for business, Galway is home to a diverse mix, with traditional and newer sectors operating side by side, while a globally recognised creative sector has contributed to the visibility of Galway on the world stage. Many foreign multinational companies have long been based in Galway City and its surrounds, and the medical device and medtech sectors are particularly important to the local economy. The medical device cluster includes Medtronic, Merit Medical and Boston Scientific being among the biggest employers. In addition, Galway

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is home to four of the five leading global ICT companies – IBM, Sap, Oracle and Cisco. Third-level educational institutions NUI Galway and Atlantic Technical University along with public research organisations, such as the Marine Institute, are significant assets in Galway and they provide far-reaching benefits to the region. There has been significant investment in the provision of support infrastructure for entrepreneurship and start-up companies. The growing interest in entrepreneurship and start-ups is particularly evident in the ICT and food sectors. “Richness of culture and the natural environment, coupled with diversified sectors, are key elements of place-based innovation and they are key assets for future development in Galway,” states McGrath. FOCUSED ON DEVELOPMENT Galway City Council has a focused Economic Development Unit, which aims to facilitate economic activity in the city, and assists with developing specific

initiatives to promote Galway City as a place to invest, work and do business.

water connections” and more. There is also a range of supports available

The unit also manages two Enterprise Centres - Sandy Road and Westside Enterprise Centre. Brian Barrett, Head of Economic Development & Culture Unit at Galway City Council notes that, for businesses, “Galway City Council also has advice on planning, environmental issues, rates,

for enterprises from the Galway Local Enterprise Office operated by Galway City Council.

IN ORDER TO ACCOMMODATE THAT POPULATION GROWTH, OUR FOCUS HAS TO BE ON PLACEMAKING AND THE PROVISION OF THE NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE THAT ENABLES US TO GROW.

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ECONOMIC DRIVER As the major city on the west coast, Galway is a key part of the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) initiative, stretching down the west coast, from Donegal to Kerry. The AEC aims to maximise the assets of the region, attract investment and create jobs and prosperity, and to bring about more balanced regional development and economic growth along the Atlantic Coast. Conor Kelly, Atlantic Economic Officer on Galway City Council, says the city aligns perfectly with the key goals and objectives of the AEC to attract investment and drive job growth and prosperity in the region. “Galway City has an ambitious vision based on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. This is been driven by Galway City Council through the development of a coherent policy framework. A suite of plans, strategies and projects have been prepared, consistent with the Galway City Development Plan, Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy, Galway Transport Strategy and the National Development Plan addressing transport, public realm, economic growth, innovation and culture.”

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Potential’, and ranked number 9 in the top 10 European Cities for Innovation & Attractiveness. All these accolades, which speak to the thriving business environment are complemented by the culture, natural beauty and community in the city. It’s a coastal city people gravitate towards, with a great lifestyle on its doorstep. A study by e-learning company Preply recently rated Galway as one of the top 10 European cities to raise a family, ranking it across categories of Education, Health & Safety, and Lifestyle & Leisure, with scores being

HUB NETWORK Kelly notes the part Galway has played in the success of the AEC, with success stories such as the Galway Innovation District, SCCUL Enterprise Centre and Galway Technology Centre, which have helped build the models for the AEC Enterprise Hubs Network and the National Hubs Network. “Work done by the AEC Officers on the initial Hubs Network project enabled the prompt rolling out of remote working solutions across the region during the Covid-19 pandemic and provided a proven concept for the National Hubs Network which now boasts over 240 hubs nationally.” Galway’s Portershed is a shining example of a hub creating a space for remote working, as well as supporting start-ups and companies seeking to scale up and grow. “Hubs like Galway city’s PorterShed have supported companies such as Rent the Runway to start and build their large operation in the city,” notes Kelly. “Equally important is the ability of hubs to create knowledge and skills connections between their members.” The pandemic has demonstrated the opportunites for a highly skilled workforce to live and work along the Atlantic Economic Corridor, but, says Kelly, “It has also demonstrated to employers and investors that embracing this remote working model can give them access to an extremely creative and talented workforce that can deliver for their organisations.”

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OUR PUBLIC REALM STRATEGY, COMBINES WITH THE CROSS CITY LINK TRANSPORT STRATEGY; AS WE TAKE CARS OFF STREETS IT THEN ALLOWS US TO REIMAGINE WHAT THOSE SPACES MIGHT BE… IT COULD BE EVERYTHING FROM OUTDOOR DINING, CULTURAL AND PERFORMANCE SPACES AND SO ON. GALWAY: GREAT PLACE TO LIVE Galway’s strong mix of its medtech cluster, four out five of the world’s top ICT companies, the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, the Council’s Economic Development Unit and renowned cultural reputation saw it designated as the ‘Best Micro City for fDi Strategy’ in the fDi European Cities & Regions of the Future 2020/21. The city was also ranked 10th for ‘Best Micro City for Economic

awarded based on a combination of factors including teacher to student ratios, educational attractions, recreational spaces, free healthcare, length of maternity/paternity leave and more. Galway City was ranked 6 out of 130 European Cities. While many of the amenities and cultural highlights are well-imprinted on the public consciousness (from the swimmers on the Prom, to the craic at

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the Galway Races, and the spectacle of the Galway Arts Festival and Macnas Parade), a new plan is underway which will add another layer of recreational facilities to the city, with the Galway Corrib Blueway and Recreational Watersports Project. The old Terryland Water Plant is to be transformed into a new water sports amenity under the city’s new Blueway plan. Through this project, Galway City Council aims to create more recreational water sports and walking trails along the Corrib River, all the way from Nimmo’s Pier to Lough Corrib. The water plant, which dates from 1867, will provide a backdrop rich in history, and a great location to launch water sports activities from. PLANNING AHEAD With around 30,000 people commuting into Galway City every day for work, and a third level student population of around 25,000, provision of adequate infrastructure and public transport is high on the agenda for Galway City Council. McGrath also notes that with the numbers of tourists passing through the city every year expected to increase to 3 million in this decade, the numbers of people they are planning for far exceeds what the official census figures state the resident population as. “The city urgently requires a fifth bridge and that’s an integral part of what the Galway City ring road project is about,” McGrath explains. “In order to develop public transport and expand cycling, pedestrianisation and a general modal shift, we need to remove cars from the city centre; the road space in the city centre that frees up as a result of redevelopment the roads will be given to cyclists, pedestrians and public transport.” Plans include a new pedestrian and cycling bridge with direct access to the university campus, park and ride sites, a new city bus service and dedicated bus and cycle lanes. The council is also working with employers in Parkmore

industrial estate to provide rapid and frequent access via public transport for workers. PUBLIC REALM Public realm is a phrase that is taking up more and more space in the thoughts of city planners, and its in Galway, a city famed for its street theatre, thanks to Macnas and their world-famous parades, part of this means creating public spaces that lend themselves to gatherings / events and performance. McGrath reveals that the Council has identified “about €4 billion worth of structural development that will be rolled out in Galway over the next decade”. This encompasses projects across transport, housing and facilities including libraries, health, and arts and creative spaces. “We have identified 20 regeneration sites, largely in the heart of the city,” he explains, listing sites owned by Galway Port Company, Irish Rail and a significant land bank owned by Galway University on Nun’s Island. “These brownfield regeneration sites make us unique compared to some other cities in that we can redevelop our city at its core.” He envisions harnessing construction at scale and height “to build our homes in the city centre and create the spaces and the places for

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people to enjoy proper urban living”. Exciting developments already underway include the Bonham Quay development adjacent to the harbour and Crown Square, which will include offices, apartments and a hotel. With these new developments come new visions for the space and amenities that will surround them. “Our public realm strategy, combines with the Cross City Link transport strategy; as we take cars off streets it then allows us to reimagine what those spaces might be… it could be everything from outdoor dining, cultural and performance spaces and so on.” As the future unfolds for Galway, the next few years are sure to bring exciting developments as the city grows, in size, in importance and in substance.

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Sustainable Strategies to Keep Irish in Business Údarás na Gaeltachta has made huge strides working to ensure that Irish remains the main community language of the Gaeltacht and is passed on to future generations

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espite the obvious challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years, Údarás continued to make huge strides in the areas of job creation, community development and language planning, while also launching its ambitious 5-Year Strategic plan for 2021-2025. When asked about the challenge faced by Gaeltacht communities during the pandemic, Údarás na Gaeltachta CEO, Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, said: “Gaeltacht communities and companies deserve huge recognition for their perseverance during this pandemic. The resilience shown has resulted in an increase in Gaeltacht employment over the past year. The challenges placed on Gaeltacht businesses and communities by this pandemic and Brexit are yet to be overcome but it is a source of considerable encouragement to see green shoots of recovery.” JOB CREATION Last year proved to be a landmark year in terms of job creation, with Gaeltacht companies creating 825 new full-time jobs - the highest number in one year since 2008. The new roles mean that companies supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta now employ 7,809 people full-time and an additional 485 individuals in part-time roles. The past 12 months have seen language

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plans being implemented in 20 of the 26 recognised Gaeltacht Language Planning Areas (LPAs) with total investment of €2.2 million as well as 19 Language Planning Officers and four Assistant Language Planning Officers being employed at the end of 2021. In recent years, Údarás na Gaeltachta has developed gteic, the biggest network of innovation and digital hubs in Ireland, with 30 locations throughout the country’s Gaeltacht regions. The gteic network was a crucial and intuitive investment in the Gaeltacht’s business infrastructure and despite COVID-19 restrictions over 320 people, in excess of 180 of which are not included in employment figures, were working in the 27 digital hubs that had been developed at the end of 2021. SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Looking towards the next 12 months, a particular emphasis will be placed on supporting and encouraging Gaeltacht client companies to take steps in terms of renewable energy and climate change activities. In addition, the development of Ros an Mhíl as a strategic location to meet the needs of the offshore wind energy industry will continue to be supported. Specific focus will be placed on the tourism sector throughout 2022 with the objective of assisting its continued recovery through the Tourism Development Scheme, which has been operating on

a pilot basis in recent years. This year will also be a decisive moment for the language planning sector as it progresses from the plan preparation phase to the implementation phase. Looking to the future, Ó hÉanaigh says, “During 2021, we presented the Gaeltacht with an ambitious strategy which looks to

WE PRESENTED THE GAELTACHT WITH AN AMBITIOUS STRATEGY WHICH LOOKS TO STRENGTHEN LANGUAGE AND BUSINESS, ENABLE COMMUNITIES AND PLACE A SUSTAINABLE GAELTACHT AT THE HEART OF OUR VISION strengthen language and business, enable communities and place a sustainable Gaeltacht at the heart of our vision for the years ahead.” He continues: “As Chief Executive, I am extremely grateful to our clients, to community development organisations, Gaeltacht communities, State colleagues and in particular to the staff and Board of Údarás na Gaeltachta for their commitment and support.”

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Hazelwood Distillery, Co.Sligo. Taken from the new WDC image bank.

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Westernjobs.ie Find out more about what we do at: westerndevelopment.ie

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Success in the West CEO of the Western Development Commission Tomás Ó Síocháin says the future is bright for the region thanks to collaboration across Western counties between key stakeholders

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n challenging times, the ongoing shift to working remotely meant that much of the mandate of the Western Development Commission (WDC) was fast-tracked, and the agency is now supporting many of the key projects focused on remote working, innovation in the region and the promotion to move west. Leading out on ConnectedHubs.ie, the National Remote Survey with NUIG, launching WesternJobs.ie and investing in scaling companies across the region are just some of the elements of its current work. Initiatives the Western Development Commission is supporting include Creative Enterprise West (CREW) which has just received planning permission for a new state-of-the-art Innovation Hub in Galway

partnership with global tech giant Zoom,” states Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO, Western Development Commission. In recent weeks The Department and the WDC have launched the first national Connected Hubs Voucher scheme allowing 10,000 hot desk working days to be provided free of charge over the course of the scheme, which is aimed at both existing hub users, as well as those accessing hub facilities for the first time. INVESTMENT FUND The work of the WDC in regional needs analysis continues to inform policy-making on economic and social development, and respond to the demands of enterprise by supporting innovation. In 2021 the WDC Investment

THE CORE STRENGTHS OF THE REGION ALLIED WITH THE SHIFT TO REMOTE WORK AND THE EMERGING LONG-TERM OPPORTUNITIES IN RENEWABLE ENERGY SUCH AS OFFSHORE WIND, MEANS THAT THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT for creative industries; Future Mobility Campus Ireland, a testbed for autonomous vehicles on land, sea and air in Shannon, Co. Clare; and Atlantic Studios, a new state of the art, 40,000 sq. ft. high-tech film and TV studio in development in Galway. REMOTE WORK

Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO, WDC

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Facilitating remote working, and a key part of the Government’s ‘Our Rural Future’ strategy, there are now more than 250 connected, digital, enterprise, scaling and community hubs on the connectedhubs. ie platform and this is expected to grow towards the target of 400 in the later stages of 2022. “Our connected hubs team are working with hub managers across the country to build relationships with public and private partnerships to take the project to the next phase in 2022. We have already launched a number of these, including a

Fund approved more than €9m in investment and lending into the western region. This reflects the impact of the of the €75m evergreen fund over its 20-year lifetime in generating a pipeline of investment in the region, bringing bold ideas to life. Highlights during 2021 include investments in Atlantic Therapeutics and Sligo-based Nektar Technologies among others, culminating in November with Donegal-based Content Llama raising €2.5m with the WDC among its investors. Ó Síocháin concludes; “The challenge now is for the region to build back better but do so together. The core strengths of the region, allied with the shift to remote work and the emerging long-term opportunities in renewable energy such as offshore wind, mean that the future is bright – allowing this generation and the next the opportunity to build a career in the West.”

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Astute Advice JP Gilmartin, Partner in Charge of law firm RDJ’s Galway office, reflects on the dynamic, innovative business community which it advises

JP Gilmartin, Partner in Charge, RDJ Galway Office What attributes make Galway a great place for businesses, and for your business? Key amongst these are: the collaborative and evolving business eco-system, accessibility to a diverse range of talent from our two third level universities and the quintessential culture and lifestyle on offer here. It’s no secret that Galway has a globally renowned cluster of leading life science companies and is home to many of the world’s leading ICT companies. Combine this with innovative entrepreneurs building emerging businesses with talent from our universities and established businesses and you get a sense of the dynamic, innovative business community. Last year I had the privilege of serving as the President of Galway Chamber, a respected and impactful voice for the business community. The role of Galway Chamber is to be the leading voice for the Galway business community in order to develop the city and region as a world class location for business, investment and people in an inclusive and sustainable manner. Excitingly there is alignment from all key stakeholders to deliver on this.

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Galway is thriving with indigenous and multinational companies, particularly in the Medtech sector. How does RDJ fit within this ecosystem? Through years of deal and advisory experience, we have developed a deep understanding of the business needs of clients in the medtech sector. We don’t believe in providing advice in a vacuum and that’s why we invest time and resources to get to know our clients’ businesses and the sectors in which they operate. That knowledge and insight enables

What new developments and innovations is RDJ bringing to the table to align with its clients’ needs? We just completed a technology project that involved significant investments in smart technology and business management solutions that have allowed us to digitally transform how we deliver our services and provide added value to clients. Earlier in the year RDJ joined TerraLex®, one of the world’s leading international legal networks with member firms

WE DON’T BELIEVE IN PROVIDING ADVICE IN A VACUUM AND THAT’S WHY WE INVEST TIME AND RESOURCES TO GET TO KNOW OUR CLIENTS’ BUSINESSES us to deal not just with the legal issues faced by our clients but also to think outside the box and provide commercially astute and tailored advice. What areas of RDJ’s business in Galway are core, and which are seeing the most interesting growth? With the prominence of medtech and ICT companies operating in the region it’s no surprise that the Corporate and Commercial team are heavily involved in supporting clients operating in those sectors in areas including M&A, venture capital and private equity transactions, corporate governance and data protection, to name but a few.

covering 113 countries. This strong network of international independent law firms means our clients have seamless access to lawyers across multiple jurisdictions for cross-border transactions and advice. What have the highlights of the last year been? Trading in 2022 has been very good – on the corporate and commercial side of the house, M&A activity together with equity and debt financings are particularly strong with a very good deal flow across a whole range of sectors. Investors, many of them from outside Ireland, continue to look for opportunities here.

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SOLAS Green Skills Initiative Skills to Advance is developing a range of Green Skills Programmes to equip employees to compete in a low carbon, resource efficient circular economy

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limate change and sustainable development are a key focus for Further Education and Training (FET) to harness its strong capabilities in energy, building and the environment to make a strong contribution to the Government’s call to action on climate change. Companies need to ensure that their employees have the right skills to compete in a low carbon, resource efficient, and circular economy. GREEN SKILLS In response to the ongoing critical challenges that businesses are facing, SOLAS is developing a range of green skills programmes in collaboration with the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and strategic partners Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Environmental Protection Agency, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Irish Water and Regional Skills Fora. These Skills to Advance programmes include QQI accredited microqualifications at Level 5 in the areas of Environmental Sustainability in the

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Workplace, Lean Practice for Sustainable Business, Resource Efficiency in the Workplace, the Circular Economy, Sustainable Procurement and Greening the Supply Chain. These programmes are

areas are central to the core mission of the Skills to Advance initiative. Businesses can avail of Skills to Advance development opportunities that will help their business into the future to help develop that agile workforce.” STACKABLE MODULES To ensure all learners participating in FET can develop green skills, a Level 4 Environmental Sustainability Awareness module has been developed and will be rolled out by the ETBs from Autumn 2022. The Level 5 programmes are being developed under the Skills to Advance initiative and will be delivered by the 16 Education and Training Boards around the country. The initiative supports ETBs in embedding a strategic, consistent, and structured approach to enterprise engagement to meet enterprise and employee skills needs. In the last three years, over 25,000 employees have benefitted from upskilling opportunities provided by their local ETB through

THE FOCUS ON AGILE UPSKILLING TO FUTUREPROOF OUR WORKFORCE IN VULNERABLE OCCUPATIONS, BUSINESSES AND SECTORS AND OPTIMISING OPPORTUNITIES IN EMERGING AREAS ARE CENTRAL TO THE CORE MISSION OF THE SKILLS TO ADVANCE INITIATIVE of short duration, stackable and will be delivered in a blended learning format incorporating tutor led support and provide access to online digital resources that will enhance and support the learning experience. Mary Lyons, Director of Enterprise, Employees and Skills, SOLAS, states, “The focus on agile upskilling to futureproof our workforce in vulnerable occupations, businesses and sectors and optimising opportunities in emerging

Skills to Advance. This initiative assists employers to develop new skills in their teams, improve their cost savings, competitiveness, and profitability through highly subsidised training. For employees, Skills to Advance provides upskilling opportunities to develop new skills in emerging areas and future proof their jobs. For further information contact your local ETB or visit

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Supporting Irish businesses through Covid-19, Brexit and rising costs The SBCI’s strategy is grounded in its mission to support growth, prosperity, and the transition to sustainability writes June Butler, CEO, SBCI

June Butler, CEO, SBCI

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ver the past number of years, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) has continued to evolve the ways in which it supports Irish SMEs to adapt, innovate, protect and grow their business. The support and assistance offered through the SBCI’s loan products and risksharing schemes has helped Irish businesses to face the challenges of both Covid-19 and Brexit, and with the introduction of its new energy scheme, will now encourage businesses to invest in their energy efficiency and sustainability. LOW-COST FUNDING The SBCI continues to supply low-cost liquidity into the SME finance market

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through its many non-bank partners from which SMEs can access significantly lowercost funding which would otherwise not be available to them. Bibby’s Trade Finance Product, funded by SBCI, is an example of the value the SBCI has provided to the SME market. SMEs availing of this product are able to buy and sell goods before payment, allowing them to easily source new suppliers. This is of significant benefit to SMEs given the challenges Covid-19 and Brexit still pose to Irish businesses. The Covid-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) will closed at the end of June, to

these schemes, businesses were able to purchase additional stock, acquire new storage facilities, explore new markets beyond the UK or look for new suppliers, scale-up the business to address multiple markets and diversify their production. As of mid-June 2022, almost 1,500 loans, valued circa €200m, have been sanctioned to businesses dealing with Brexit. SUSTAINED GROWTH The SBCI’s strategy is grounded in its mission to support growth, prosperity, and the transition to sustainability by driving competition, enabling innovation and

AS THE ECONOMY TRANSITIONS INTO THE POSTPANDEMIC PHASE, THE SBCI’S JOB IS TO HELP BUSINESSES DURING THE RECOVERY PERIOD AND BEYOND AND STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY IN THE PROCESS. be replaced with a new Covid-19 Loan Scheme, offering similar loan types and interest rates. Since the inception of CCGS in September 2020, almost 9,600 loans totalling approximately €666m, have been drawn down by businesses from multiple economic sectors. Businesses have used this Government funding for working capital, to fund necessary investments as they adjusted their business models through the crisis, and for the refinance of Covid-19 related expenses that were initially funded through short-term or temporary finance facilities. BREXIT SUPPORT The SBCI Brexit and Brexit Impact Loan Scheme enabled SMEs to finance the changes needed to adapt and react to Brexit. Through

improving access to finance in the Irish credit market. As the economy transitions into the post-pandemic phase, the SBCI’s job is to help businesses during the recovery period and beyond and strengthen the economy in the process. The SBCI has developed a 10-year loan guarantee scheme to focus on increasing investment in energy-efficient measures, such as heat pumps, solar panels, LED lightning and other energy-saving technology. The SBCI Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme, to be launched in the coming weeks, will be made available through multiple on-lending partners and will help SMEs and farmers to cut their energy bills and improve their sustainability. For more information visit sbci.gov.ie

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Connecting People through Meaningful Partnerships As a global logistics company, DHL is all about connecting people, and through its GoHelp Programme its employees are helping to benefit society

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s the logistics company for the world, it’s 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. Leveraging our global network, logistics knowledge and the skills of our employees, our corporate GoHelp program is aimed at maximising benefits for society, both global and local. Now more than ever, employees want to work for a company that has a clear strategy of creating long-term value for business and society while also giving back to local communities. As the most

by working together with our employees. In DHL Express Ireland our Charity Committee (made up of members from across the business) work together to promote and fundraise for our chosen charity partner. In 2021, we were delighted to announce Children’s Health Foundation (CHF) as our charity partner. The year presented many challenges to fundraising but despite this our employees found creative and innovative virtual ways to raise vital funds for CHF. Now that restrictions have eased we are delighted to be involved in the Dare to be Brave adventure series and employees from across the business have already taken part in the Wicklow Jailbreak, the Assault Course Challenge and the Abseil

WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HOW OUR EMPLOYEES FUNDRAISE FOR AND GET ON WITH THE 24-HOUR WILDERNESS SURVIVAL CHALLENGE AND THE SKYDIVE!” international company in the world, DHL takes this responsibility very seriously and strives to lead by example. We believe that we can successfully achieve this goal

Challenge in Croke Park. With only two more challenges left in the series they’ve left the best until last and we can’t wait to see how our employees fundraise for and get on with the 24-Hour Wilderness Survival Challenge and the Skydive! MOTIVATED PEOPLE Nothing creates motivated people quite like seeing the impact that the company you work for can have on your local community. Partnering with the FAI over the last 25 years has given DHL Express ample opportunity to connect people and improve lives in our local area but nothing more so

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than the most recent joint venture Roisin the Robot. In April of this year the DHL X FAI BEAM Robot (since named Roisin) was launched with the aim of offering unique football experiences to young Irish fans suffering with illness, injury or incapacitation. They are provided with the opportunity to visit a stadium, attend a match, a training session or indeed any football event remotely. Boh’s superfan Liam even got an all access pass to see what goes in the dressing room prior to a big game! Our partnership with CHF ensures the biggest football superfans in hospitals across Ireland are connected with their heroes and have an experience they will never forget. More than ever, we are committed to our corporate responsibility and having a positive impact on our employees and society. In the toughest of times, our people have highlighted their resilience, determination and togetherness. Through our GoHelp Programme we continue on our mission of connecting people and improving lives.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Get Finance Right Know your financing options and get the right finance to support your business and ensure it survives and thrives

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fter two years of turbulent trading compounded with continuing supply chain disruption, increasing costs (especially energy) and rising inflation, it is important that Irish businesses have the right finance in place to support the business and ensure it survives and grows. For short-term working capital requirements an overdraft, stocking loan or invoice discounting facility might be most suitable. For capital purchases, a term loan or hire purchase/ leasing agreement may be more appropriate. The term of the loan should match the length of time the asset will contribute to the cashflow of the business. The shorter the term, the higher the annual repayments – too much short-term debt means businesses can be in danger

of running out of cash; cash required for immediate day to day payment of wages and suppliers. During the Covid crisis, short term debt was a temporary quick fix; this may need to be restructured over a more appropriate period now. Before you approach your bank, either to restructure existing debt or for additional working capital, you need to realistically assess your cash needs and cash flows, putting together a short business plan with associated costings that considers the financial needs of your business over the next two to three years. Consider the need for flexibility and having a cushion to meet any future shocks. As a first step, talk to your accountant or financial advisor and know your options – an informed borrower will be able to negotiate a more suitable solution from their financial institution. If you are having difficulty engaging with your bank for credit or a restructuring arrangement, see creditreview.ie or contact Credit Review on 0818 211 789.

Credit where it’s due. Having trouble getting a business loan from your bank? Have your credit facilities been reduced or declined? Credit Review is here to help. Call our helpline on 0818 711 289 or visit creditreview.ie

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Elegant Surrounds and Fine Dining in the Sunny Southeast Chef Kevin Dundon’s Dunbrody Country House offers unparalleled gourmet dining and supreme relaxation in the gracious surrounds of a stunning Georgian estate

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long-time member of Ireland’s Blue Book, the go-to directory for elegant country house retreats, Dunbrody Country House epitomises the Georgian manor house experience, but with a few modern twists. Wellknown TV chef Kevin Dundon and his wife Catherine are co-proprietors, and the guest experience reflects their joint passion for excellence in hospitality across all aspects of the estate. Set in picturesque surrounds of woodland, by the estuary where the Three Sisters – the rivers Nore, Barrow and Suir – meet the sea on the Hook peninsula in Co Wexford,

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Dunbrody Country House offers luxury accommodation, modern Irish cuisine and a friendly welcome within its centuries-old walls. REDEFINING EXPECTATIONS The small hotel is elegant but homely, due to its boutique size, with just under two dozen luxurious rooms and suites. A stay here will redefine your interpretation and expectations of a traditional Irish country house hotel. Yes, you will find the expected relaxed elegance of its Georgian origins with the original 1830s Irish oak floors, pitched pine window shutters, high ceilings, twinkling

chandeliers and crackling turf fires in the classically-styled antiquefilled rooms. But this is all mixed with a palette of rich, earthy colours, plenty of natural sunlight streaming in the picture windows, and all the modern must-haves such as complimentary Nespresso in all rooms, wi-fi throughout and natural eco-friendly bathroom amenities from Damana and Apple Radio. Sustainable, eco-friendly luxury is a focus throughout the hotel and in the bedrooms you will find, paraben-free, herbal-based toiletries in refillable units, water bottled in-house and cut flowers from the estate gardens.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

GOURMET DELIGHTS Dunbrody’s award-winning restaurant, the Harvest Room, decorated in a vibrant deep red, sets the perfect atmospheric backdrop to sample the best of local Irish produce lovingly prepared by chef-patron Kevin Dundon and his team. Think scallops fresh off the boat, from just a few miles down the road, seared in Irish country butter, succulent and delicious. Follow with tender mountain lamb cutlets, falling off the bone, cooked to perfection. Enjoy heirloom variety fruit, vegetables and herbs fresh from the garden outside. And if you’re opting for dessert, don’t forget you’re in Wexford, a county famed for its luscious, succulent strawberries! For a casual bite, Dundon’s Champagne Seafood Bar offers an appetising selection of seafood and charcuterie and small plates to share (or not!) as well as an extensive selection of cocktails and wines and Champagnes by the glass. During summer months the Dunbrody Classic Afternoon Tea is served on the sunny terrace, while in winter it moves indoors to the opulent surrounds of the Opera Suite. If you’re inspired to try and recreate some of the gourmet treats you’ve delighted in, why not book in for a course at the on-site cookery school? Dunbrody Cookery School caters for all levels of cooks, from budding enthusiasts to experienced gourmets. There is a variety of course options, from basic to more specialist, ranging from one day to week long, under the expert guidance of Chef Instructor Julien Clemot.

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ENJOY HEIRLOOM VARIETY FRUIT, VEGETABLES, AND HERBS FRESH FROM THE GARDEN OUTSIDE. AND IF YOU’RE OPTING FOR DESSERT, DON’T FORGET YOU’RE IN WEXFORD, A COUNTY FAMED FOR ITS LUSCIOUS, SUCCULENT STRAWBERRIES!

IDYLLIC GETAWAYS For a more secluded getaway, on the grounds of the estate, why not opt for one of the Dunbrody Estate Escapes accommodation options. The 1830’s Steward’s House, the original Gate Lodge offer fabulous self-catering options, steeped in history and atmosphere. Or why not plump for the Cosy Cabin woodland retreat, tucked away in the woods beside the Herb Garden. Facing west, overlooking the valley it’s perfectly situated to take full advantage of the fabulous sunsets. You’ll feel inspired to switch off the phone and really get away from it all in this back to nature escape. There is plenty to keep you busy

in the area too, from touring Hook Lighthouse to Tintern Abbey, or venturing across to Waterford (a short hop via the DuncannonPassage East car ferry) for a day out cycling the Greenway. Dunbrody House makes the perfect base to explore the sunny southeast. And when the day is done, indulge with some precious me-time— unwind with a good book and a glass of bubbly on the sunny terrace, or sink into a relaxing bath to soak away your cares—enjoy life the Dunbrody way. For more information and booking see irelands-blue-book.ie

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County Champions Donate local and support a child in your community with the Jack and Jill County Champions programme

and designed around the family’s requirements, never forgetting the siblings who may also require extra time with their parents. Parents call it their “gift of time” - time to do the normal family things, like sleeping, shopping, work and school. COUNTY CHAMPIONS Community is important to Jack and Jill. The charity’s community reach and County Champion programme appeals to people who want to support local and donate local in the knowledge that their donation supports local children

PARENTS CALL IT THEIR “GIFT OF TIME” - TIME TO DO THE NORMAL FAMILY THINGS, LIKE SLEEPING, SHOPPING, WORK AND SCHOOL.

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he Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation is a nationwide charity that funds and provides in-home nursing care and respite support for children with severe to profound neurodevelopmental delay, up to the age of six. Another key part of the charity’s service is end of life care for all children up to the age of six, irrespective of diagnosis. The charity was set up 25 years ago by pioneering parents Mary Ann O’Brien and Jonathan Irwin, based on their family’s experience. They cared for their son Jack at home in Kildare with the help of local nurses, until he passed away at the age of 22 months, on 13th December

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1997. Jack’s home nursing care plan became the blueprint for over 2,700 children who’ve been supported by Jack and Jill since then, as Mary Ann and Jonathan vowed that no parents should have to walk this difficult care journey alone. They set about establishing a practical home nursing care model and raising funds to deliver it. Its vision then and now is: “That all families with children who need our care can access us” and they strive to fulfil this with a mission of empowering parents to care for their child at home, in communities across Ireland. Every child Jack and Jill supports is unique, as is every family situation, therefore its service is bespoke

and families with specialist home nursing care hours from local nurses. Now, in its 25th Anniversary year, Jack and Jill is asking local businesses to support a child in their local community by signing up for the County Champion programme. One of the County Champions, Jeff Greene, Principal, Greene Solicitors, says, “As a long-established general practice law firm based in the heart of Dublin, it made sense to support Jack and Jill and the 97 families it continues continue to look after all over Dublin. It’s important for us as a local business to support a local charity and give back to the community by donating and raising awareness about the amazing work and support Jack and Jill provides to children and families in need.” For more information and to sign up your business to the Jack and Jill County Champion programme, see jackandjill.ie

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River Blackwater boardwalk opens in Mallow, Cork County Council invests €3.6m in North Cork Roads, Limerick City and County Council launches tourism campaign, and over €10m is allocated to Limerick Active Travel schemes.

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Dublin region Local Authorities launch county’s first Electric Vehicle Strategy; e-bikes roll out across Fingal; Phase 2 of Lagore Lawn, Dunshaughlin begins; and Kildare agri-food tourism projects get €25k funding.

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Belfast Met joins Innovation City Belfast partnership, sod turned on Phase 1 of LK Green Connect in Letterkenny, and Donegal County Fire Service receives Water Tanker and Incident Command Unit.

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Fingal County Council expands Community Car service Fingal County Council gathered volunteer drivers, local councillors and representatives from partners Local Link and GoCar in Skerries to celebrate the relaunch and expansion of the Community Car service, which offers lifts to older persons and those with limited mobility so they can make it to essential medical appointments, pharmacy visits, shops, services and social gatherings. The service is a lifeline for those who find it impossible to travel alone or struggle with access to public transport. The Community Car service was the first of its kind to be implemented by a Local Authority in Ireland in 2019, initially serving Howth and Skerries, offering a vital lifeline to older persons and those with mobility limitations. The Community Car will be based in Skerries; however, Fingal County Council in partnership with Local Link and GoCar is delighted to now expand the provision of this service to new areas across the county to also include trips from Donabate, Portrane, Rush and Lusk. The Community Car was initiated to fulfil the Rural Transport Programme’s mission to “provide a quality nationwide community-based public transport system in rural Ireland which responds to local needs”. An electric vehicle has been provided for this project by Ireland’s leading car sharing brand, GoCar, which offers cars and vans for rent by the hour throughout Ireland.

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[ COUNTY MEATH ]

Boyne Blueway Trim opens

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eas-Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council Cllr Mike Bray launched the Boyne Blueway Trim at the Blueway trailhead on Jonathan Swift Street, marking the opening of an 8km water stretch from Trim to Bective Mill for water activities, suitable for beginners and intermediate level paddlers. Meath County Council welcomed the accreditation status in April when the Boyne Blueway was among the first three Blueways to gain accreditation at an event which took place by the National Blueway Partnership in Trim. Blueways are a brand-new outdoor recreation offering currently unique to Ireland. The Blueway was developed by Meath County Council in partnership with a number of organisations including Meath Local Sports Partnership, Canoeing Ireland, Boyne Valley Tourism, Trim Canoe Club, Boyne Valley Activities, OPW along with local landowners and supported by Fáilte Ireland. The Boyne Blueway is in line with accreditation criteria and Blueways are now considered best in class destinations for waterbased and waterside activities. “The Boyne Blueway provides a wonderful opportunity to maximise the potential of the River

[ COUNTY KILDARE ]

€25K

funding for Kildare agrifood tourism projects Kildare County Council welcomed the announcement by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue confirming €25,000 in funding to support the council’s agri-food tourism projects. The funding is made available under the 2022 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and will support the implementation of activities outlined in the council’s food, beverage and hospitality strategy and allow Flavours of Kildare Food Network members to strengthen business connections, build confidence in their offering and increase sales.

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Leas-Cathaoirleach Cllr Mike Bray with Cllr Joe Fox, Trim Municipal District Chairperson; Cllr Aisling Dempsey, Chair, Boyne Valley Tourism; and Barry Lynch, Director of Services, Meath County Council at the launch of the Boyne Blueway Trim.

Boyne for Meath and for visitors,” says LeasCathaoirleach Cllr Mike Bray. “It is important for us as a council to invest in tourism facilities for the greater benefit of our citizens.” “Adventure tourism is worth €1.2bn to the Irish economy,” adds Cllr Aisling Dempsey, Chair, Boyne Valley Tourism. “The Boyne Blueway provides immense opportunities for businesses across many sectors within the Boyne Valley to attract the adventure tourist.”

Sod turned on Phase 2, Lagore Lawn, Dunshaughlin Pictured at the official sod turning of Lagore Lawn, Dunshaughlin Phase 2 was Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, Cllr Sean Drew; Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien; Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne TD; and Deputy Chief Executive, Des Foley.

A sod turning ceremony to mark the start of Phase 2 of works in Lagore Lawn, Dunshaughlin was led by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, and supported by Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, Cllr Sean Drew; Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne TD; and Deputy Chief Executive, Des Foley. Phase 1 of the development was completed in November 2021 with a total of 26 houses constructed and included the provision of nine affordable sites to be sold to qualifying individuals and families to build their own homes. Phase 2 will see the construction of an additional 42 houses and a further five affordable sites. Welcoming the residents to Lagore Lawn, Cathaoirleach Cllr Sean Drew said: “We are all acutely aware of the importance of having a secure and comfortable home, and this is what has been achieved for so many families through Phase 1 of this project. I want to welcome the residents to their new home and to the community and to wish each family every happiness in the years ahead as they make this development their home.”

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[ COUNTY DUBLIN ]

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EV charge points for Dublin region by 2025 The Dublin region Local Authorities launched Dublin’s first Electric Vehicle Strategy, which will see 1,650 charge points deployed by 2025. Ireland’s Climate Action Plan targets 100% EV sales with approximately one million EVs planned to be on the road by 2030. The region represents 25% of Ireland’s car fleet and has a significant role to play in the decarbonisation of the country’s transport system.

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[ FINGAL COUNTY ]

Fingal County Council partners with TIER to bring e-bikes across the county

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ingal County Council has announced the arrival of its first e-bike sharing scheme, a project that involves the initial rollout of 100 battery-power-assisted bicycles, also known as e-bikes, in Blanchardstown, Swords, Malahide, Baldoyle, Mayor of Fingal Howard Mahony with Fingal County Council staff, councillors and the TIER team in Blanchardstown. Portmarnock and Howth. With up to 80km battery life, TIER e-bikes are ideal for longer journeys, as the battery power kicks in after a moment or two of pedalling. Peadar Golden, Ireland Country Manager, TIER says: “Sustainability is a key driver of TIER’s mission to change mobility for good. As the first fully carbonneutral provider of micro-mobility, we aim to drive the transition towards lowcarbon transport. Building on our e-scooter trial at Dublin City University and our experience of operating in over 530 towns and cities around the world, we’re thrilled to have been selected to introduce our service across Fingal and look forward to supporting the people of Fingal as they explore the county by TIER e-bike.”

100 urgent actions to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) announced that matches of the 17th Women’s Softball World Cup will be held in Ireland in July 2023, with Fingal set to co-host the prestigious event with locations in Italy and Spain. This is only the second time the World Cup has been held in Europe, with the final to be played Italy. “St Catherine’s Park will be a superb venue for what is the premier tournament for women’s softball and help put Fingal in the spotlight as games are broadcast internationally,” says former Mayor of Fingal Seána Ó Rodaigh. Melanie Cunningham, Director of Fastpitch, Ireland adds: “The awarding of the World Cup to Ireland is a testament to the standing of Team Ireland and the Irish Federation in the WBSC.” Pictured: Team Ireland

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Fingal County Council has published a Draft Biodiversity Action Plan for Fingal covering 2022 to 2030. This plan puts forward an ambitious programme of 100 actions required to address biodiversity loss and reverse decline in biodiversity by 2030. Hans Visser, Fingal County Council’s Biodiversity Officer, says the loss of biodiversity is a threat on the same scale as the climate emergency and requires urgent attention. The Fingal Biodiversity Action Plan provides a framework for action over the next eight years, set out over 100 action points. Fingal County Council has placed special priority on 32 of these actions which it says are achievable with support from partners including Birdwatch Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service and local Tidy Towns groups.

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allocated to 70 different Active Travel schemes in Limerick

Cork County beaches have been awarded a total of 26 flags by An Taisce at the National Awards for 2022. In all, 11 Blue Flags and 15 Green Coast Flags were won, for beaches that achieve consistently excellent water quality as well as meeting beach infrastructure standards. Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, says: “Cork County now boasts more flags than any other county in Ireland. The highest number of flags awarded to date for Cork beaches reflects the ongoing efforts of our local coastal community groups and Cork County Council working hand-in-hand.”

More than €10m has been allocated to 70 Active Travel schemes ranging from new footpaths and pedestrian crossings to greenway connections and junction tightening that will improve connectivity for communities in Limerick City and County. This latest tranche of approvals from the National Transport Authority is part of an overall allocation of more than €24m for Limerick’s Active Travel team in 2022.

[ COUNTY CORK ]

New boardwalk over River Blackwater opens in Mallow

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new boardwalk, designed to provide a safe way for pedestrians to cross the River Blackwater, has been officially opened in Mallow. The ribbon on the 130m-long walkway, Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald Boardwalk, was cut by the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, Mary Fitzgerald and Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey. The segregated boardwalk runs along the length of Mallow Bridge and at three metres wide is designed to safely and comfortably accommodate pedestrians, wheelchair users and people pushing buggies. An additional lane has also been created on the bridge, giving extra capacity and reducing the journey time for vehicles travelling across it. Mallow bridge has been in existence for more than 400 years with the early timber structures dating back to 1615. The first stone bridge was constructed in 1712 and despite being damaged by the Great Flood of 1853, four of the arches remain. The bridge spanning

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A plaque was also unveiled at the event. The boardwalk has been named in honour of former Councillor Dan Joe Fitzgerald. Popular localman, businessman and politician, Dan Joe was first elected to Mallow Town Council in 1994 and to Cork County Council in 1999 where he served until his death in March 2016. Pic: Brian Lougheed

the river today was reconstructed with four new arches in 1856 and carries approximately 15,000 vehicles every day. The boardwalk has been named in honour of former Councillor Dan Joe Fitzgerald. Popular local man, businessman and politician, Dan Joe was first elected to Mallow Town Council in 1994 and to Cork County

Council in 1999, where he served until his death in March 2016. The Boardwalk Project was funded by Cork County Council, the National Transport Authority and the European Regional Development Fund/Southern and Eastern Regional Programme 201420 managed by the Southern Regional Assembly.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

20/07/2022 10:30


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[ COUNTY LIMERICK ]

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[ COUNTY CORK]

€2.8M

Phase 1 Bandon Traffic and Public Realm Enhancement Plan (TPREP)

Photo by Kieran Ryan-Benson

Limerick City and County Council launches Limerick 11 summer 2022 tourism campaign

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imerick is giving a special nod to a rich heritage dating all the way back to the 10th century with its Limerick 11 summer 2022 tourism campaign. Reflecting its authentic and rich history yet embracing the finest trappings of today, the national tourism campaign leverages the city’s 10th century foundation with 11 themed itineraries and experiences to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, including hidden gems, family fun days, Wild Atlantic Way discovery points and free things to see and do. The multimedia campaign will roll out eleven ways to enjoy and get to know the real Limerick – county and city. Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Daniel Butler says: “Limerick 11 Summer 2022 is representative of the wonderful and rich diversity across Limerick’s tourism offering this summer. We’ve had 11 centuries here so we’ve had plenty summers to learn from. The advances in our tourism offering over recent years, in particular, and the unbeatable value Limerick has as a city base mean that this will be our best yet.” Denis Tierney, Head of Marketing and Communications at Limerick City and County Council, adds: “Limerick has an incredible history as a city and county and we chose this year to make that the theme of our summer tourism promotion, marking the foundation year of our city. But it’s not just about the past; there’s so much to celebrate about Limerick today from our latest tourism offerings such as our Greenway and vibrant entertainment offering.”

€3.6M

investment by Cork County Council in North Cork Roads Cork County Council appointed Lagan Asphalt for the Kanturk/Mallow & Fermoy Municipal Districts Road Resurfacing Contract 2022. The resurfacing contract is valued at €3.6m and incorporates 25 sites extending to 23km of rural and urban road improvement works throughout the county.

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Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Gillian Coughlan and Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey have signed the contract for Phase 1 of the Bandon Traffic and Public Realm Enhancement Plan with West Cork contractor Pat O’Driscoll Plant Hire and Civil Engineering, signalling the first phase of the larger Bandon TPREP Implementation project. Bandon TPREP provides for a complete upgrade of Bandon’s town centre streets with enhanced footpaths, public space, and landscaping, making Bandon a more userfriendly place for pedestrians and cyclists while facilitating increased footfall and vibrancy in the town core. The street upgrade and enhancement work will extend from St Peter’s Church at Ballymodan Place to Market Street junction. The installation of a new distribution watermain and service connections, new drainage and underground utility diversion and renewal work, new widened footpaths, and a realigned road with natural stone finish will also feature. Also included are public lighting upgrades, additional pedestrian crossing facilities, hard and soft landscaping including trees, seating and bike parking. “Recent public investment of more than €50m in Bandon has delivered a comprehensive range of infrastructure additions and improvements for the town,” says Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey. “This current investment by Cork County Council will, in tandem with recent investment by the council in a new library, and a range of community projects, add vibrancy and prioritise community in this important heritage town.”

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[ COUNTY SLIGO ]

Cathaoirleach Cllr Paul Taylor at the launch of Bolt e-bikes in Sligo

Bolt e-bikes launch in Sligo Town

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olt has launched its first Irish electric bike service in Sligo. The 100-bike pilot scheme will trial a range of parking options for the e-bikes, which aim to provide ease of use for cyclists and ensure the scheme is mindful of pedestrians and other road users. The launch in Sligo comes as part of a wider push for Bolt to deploy 16,000 e-bikes across Europe this year. Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council Cllr Paul Taylor says: “This is an excellent initiative which will enable us to promote the many benefits of sustainable travel to the people of County Sligo.” Head of Public Policy for Ireland at Bolt Aisling Dunne adds: “Sligo is an ideal town in which to launch Bolt’s e-bikes in Ireland; with the growing university, recently increased investment in cycling infrastructure and real public support for making sustainable choices. We’re excited to support a forward-thinking council determined to provide alternatives to private car use.”

[ COUNTY LEITRIM ]

Free hot-desk spaces available at remote-working hubs in Leitrim A new voucher scheme for remote working hubs announced by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Rural and Community Development, gives workers the opportunity to access remote hubs for free at a variety of locations across the country. Over 10,000 free access days are being handed out at remote working hubs. The scheme will run until August 31st.

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Three vouchers have been credited to the accounts of all registered ConnectedHubs.ie users, with each voucher redeemable for a day’s hot-desk working in participating hubs. They can be redeemed at any of the seven remote working hubs in Ballinaglera, Carrick-on-Shannon, Kinlough, Manorhamilton or Mohill, County Leitrim.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

20/07/2022 10:31


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[ COUNTY SLIGO ]

Sligo benefits from Community Monuments Fund 2022

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he Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan has announced the award of grants for a wide range of archaeological heritage projects under the department’s 2022 Community Monuments Fund. Building on the impact of the scheme last year under which 139 awards were granted to an amount of just under €4.2m, this year 128 projects are being supported with an overall investment of €6m. The core objective of the Community Monuments Fund is to support the conservation, maintenance, protection and promotion of local monuments and historic sites. It contains a number of different measures aimed at enabling conservation works to be carried out on archaeological monuments which are deemed to be significant and in need of urgent support.

A number of Sligo projects are set to benefit under the Community Monuments Fund in 2022 to the tune of €230,000, including Moygara Castle (€85,000) for conservation works to the west tower. The fund will also see the Heritage Office, Sligo County Council working in partnership with local communities to deliver projects at Easky Abbey (€85,000), the Green Fort Sligo (€30,000), and St Feichin’s Church, Ballysadare (€30,000).

Moygara Castle is to benefit from a grant award of €85,000 under the Community Monuments Fund 2022. From left: Colm O’Riordan, Kate O’Neill, PJ O’Neill (all of Moygara Castle Consevation CLG), Grellan Rourke, John Kelly (David Kelly Partnership Chartered Engineers) and Kevin Blackwood (Blackwood Associates).

€107,500

Return to Sport funding allocated to 88 Mayo clubs and organisations

The National Famine Museum | Strokestown Park has been transformed with a €5m investment via Fáilte Ireland and Westward Holdings in partnership with the Irish Heritage Trust and opened its doors on the 1st of July for visitors to enjoy a new state-of-the-art National Famine Museum, telling the complete story of the Great Famine for the first time. The new visitor experience includes a three-in-one ticket offering for the enthralling new National Famine Museum, the historic walled gardens and woodland walk at Strokestown Park and the Palladian House with its original furnishings and features. The house re-opens for tours later in July once conservation works have been completed.

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Eight-eight clubs and organisations in Mayo have been allocated €107,500 through the Mayo Sports Partnership’s 2022 Return to Sport small grant scheme supported by Sport Ireland and the Dormant Account Board. One of the largest amounts ever distributed through the partnership comes through phase 3 Covid-19 government support funding combined with annual Special Participation Grant and Volunteer Support funding. 103

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[ COUNTY ANTRIM ]

Belfast Met joins Innovation City Belfast partnership

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elfast Met has joined Innovation City Belfast (ICB) to help the partnership champion the skills agenda as it drives the city forward as a global destination for innovation. Located in the heart of the Innovation District, Belfast Met becomes the seventh anchor institution in ICB which also includes Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. Commenting on the growth of the cohort, ICB Chair and Queen’s University Belfast Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Greer said: “The addition of Belfast Met to ICB is a welcome and a natural step forward for the partnership, aligned with our mission of driving collaboration, bridging the gap between education and industry, and harnessing the growth in sectors such as fintech, health and life sciences, greentech and beyond. The latest expansion of ICB means we are now partnered with three key tertiary academic institutions focused on cultivating the innovators and skills for tomorrow. Supporting the digital skills pillar of the £1bn Belfast Region City Deal, Belfast Met, alongside our other key partners, enables inclusive innovation via pathways to jobs in the growing digital economy.”

From left: Eileen Montgomery, Digital Innovation Commissioner at ICB; Damian Duffy, Interim Director of Curriculum at Belfast Met; Louise Warde Hunter, Principal and Chief Executive at Belfast Met; Professor Ian Greer, ICB Chair and Queen’s University Belfast ViceChancellor; Clare Guinness, Innovation District Director at ICB; and Aidan Sloane, Director of Development & Digital at Belfast Met. Picture: Darren Kidd/PressEye

The college, which has four campuses situated across Belfast, will bring 30,000 new students to the Innovation District from September.

[ COUNTY DONEGAL ]

Sod turned on Phase 1 of LK Green Connect walking, cycling and public realm infrastructure in Letterkenny town centre

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Pictured turning the sod on Phase 1 of LK Green Connect is Cllr Jack Murray, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council; Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh, Mayor of Letterkenny-Milford MD; John McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council; and Sean Slane, ACS Civils Ltd.

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athaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Jack Murray together with the Mayor of LetterkennyMilford MD, Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh and the Elected Members of the Municipal District haved turned the sod on the first phase of LK Green Connect. The development will deliver high-quality walking, cycling and public realm infrastructure in the town centre. It forms the first phase of the wider planned network known as LK Green Connect that will ultimately connect across a series of town centre destinations. The project is co-funded by Donegal County Council and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, which is a flagship element of Project Ireland 2040. “The council is progressing an ambitious programme of regeneration projects in Letterkenny which is focused on strengthening the county’s largest town and Regional Centre as an attractive, accessible and thriving place,” says Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Jack Murray.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

20/07/2022 10:31


In Association with

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN BUSINESS NEWS: ULSTER

€15M Donegal County Council in collaboration with digital hubs across the county are offering the chance to work for free from one of 11 digital hubs in Donegal until September 30th through a new working holiday campaign. Speaking at the launch at Inishowen Innovation’s Buncrana Hub, Leas-Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Martin McDermott stated: “Recognising the need to support both businesses and remote workers, Donegal County Council was the first local authority in Ireland to adopt a Remote Working Strategy for Business.”

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Community Centre Fund launched Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD announced a new €15m capital fund to support community groups for the upgrade and refurbishment of community centres. This is an investment in both rural and urban communities across the country. Funding will be available under three categories with grants of between €10,000 and €300,000.

[ COUNTY DONEGAL ]

Water Tanker and Incident Command Unit handed over to Donegal County Fire Service

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lected representatives, council officials, and members of Donegal County Fire Service gathered at Letterkenny Fire Station to mark the official handing over of the new state-of-the-art Water Tanker and Incident Command Unit to Donegal County Fire Service by Cathaoirleach Cllr Jack Murray. The new Water Tanker, which costs €183k, and the Incident Command Unit, which costs €73k, funded by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, will be based in Letterkenny Fire Station, serving all stations in County Donegal and according to Chief Fire Officer, Joseph McTaggart, “will enhance the ability of Donegal County Fire Service to deliver the operational fire service to the community it serves”. The Volvo FE 350 Water Tanker appliance is a specialised vehicle with seating for a crew of two. The primary purpose of the water tanker is to transport water to the scene of operations. The vehicle has a water carrying capacity of 8,500 litres for fire-fighting purposes. The Incident Command Unit is a Mercedes Sprinter 519CDi high roof, extra-long wheel-base

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Chief Executive John G McLaughlin, Donegal County Council, checking out some new fire-fighting equipment with Firefighter Barry McMenamin. Photo: Clive Wasson

van converted to a specialised Fire Service Incident Command Unit. The vehicle may be deployed at complex incidents as a support vehicle or where large numbers of Fire Service personnel have been deployed. Supplied by Sídheán Teoranta of An Spidéal, Co Galway, the vehicles are also equipped with the most up-to-date emergency lighting, high-visibility markings and come fully equipped with many features, which represents the very latest in modern fire-fighting technology.

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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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20/07/2022 10:31


Unleash Productivity With the new DC-648

The all-new DC-648 is here to revolutionise your print finishing process. Like the other DC family, the DC-648 has been designed to allow one operator to fulfill multiple finishing processes in one pass. Speed, durability, and versatility have been enhanced, but where the DC-648 stands out is through its greater automation, ease of use, and connectivity into the user’s workflow. To find out more go to: go.quadient.com/3ityc5U or Scan the QR code.

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18/07/2022 29/03/2022 17:09 25/03/2022 10:33 15:22


INNOVATION

Living an earth-friendly summer does not mean giving up on looking cool in a heat wave. InBusiness introduces some Irish companies providing eco-friendly and fully-recycled summer essentials

RECYCLE WITH STYLE

Full of Beanies Irish summers can be unpredicatable. Keep warm with this stylish and earth-friendly beanie from The Human Collective, an Irish Urban Leisure clothing range that’s environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. The range is made with organic cotton and recycled polyester. The classic beanie, €25,00, wearehumancollective.com

The future is bright The average household generates 7.7kg of waste per week! The fashion industry generates 4% of the world’s waste each year (92 million tonnes). 41 million trees are cut down each day and deforestation accounts for 20% of global carbon emissions. To help balance this, Irish company Crann takes stainless steel, PE plastic and wood that would have ended up in landfill or in the ocean and turns this waste into handcrafted, fashionable sunglasses and watches. The company is also making a local impact by partnering with the Native Woodland Trust (NWT) and donating €2 per product. NWT is dedicated to the preservation of Ireland’s remaining ancient woodlands. It is also committed to the restoration of Ireland’s original climax ecosystem through the re-creation of woodlands using only native seed. Sunglasses from a selection at www.crann.co

Sail on Mamukko is a brand of upcycled lifestyle bags and accessories. This Kinsale-based family business sees sixth-generation leather worker Attila Magyar combine salvaged nautical materials such as ocean-race sails, decommissioned rubber life rafts and airplane parts with upcycled or top-quality Italian veg tan leather.“We do it for the love, not for the ‘likes’,” says Magyar. “We are proudly carrying on our family heritage and hope to pass on our knowledge and skills to the next generations.” Shop the full range at www.mamukko.ie

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InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

21/07/2022 15:52


INNOVATION

Plate Up Company BBQs are an opportunity to promote eco ethos. While single-use tableware may be the only option, there are alternatives to plastic and paper. Invetsigate some of the newer products such as palm leaf and sugarcane tableware, available from Down2Earth, suppliers of Ireland’s largest range of certified compostable products and packaging. When you’re finished your fully compostible cups and plates go into the brown bin and not the recycling bin. Shop the selection at www.down2earthmaterials.ie

How do you like those apples? Sitting pretty Available in four vivid colours, this stylish Adirondack lounger and matching foot stool set has been engineered from Metem: a unique recycled HDPE material made from recycled milk packaging. Every lounger set saves around 400 US-gallon plastic milk bottles from going to landfill. And, at the end of its useful life, the furniture can be easily recycled again. This contemporary set is easy to clean and maintenance-free, so you can sit back and put your feet up knowing you are saving the planet.

For stockists nationwide, ie.envirobuild.com

Based in Ireland, Sampla is made up of a small group of friends that have shared interests in design, humanitarianism and the environment. Sampla is the Irish word for example. Their elppá shoe is a classic white tennis shoe shape, however, the upper material of the shoe is made from a vegan material called AppleSkin™. It’s a material that is made using repurposed apple waste from the juice industry in Bolzano, Northern Italy. elppá Emerald Vegan Appleskin™ Shoe, €139.00, samplafootwear.com €139.00

Rugged and recycled From m the Mahonys in 1823 to the Kellehers in 1975, there has always been an Irish family driving the Blarney Woollen Mills business. While its wool is 100% natural and renewable, it is now producing a range woven from 100% recycled wool. This set has been re-spun to create a traditional check throw in an assortment of colours – an environmentally-friendly product ideal for sofas, beds and outdoor picnics. Recycled Wool Throws (Set Of Two), €49.90, blarney.com

Leave no trace The VivaGreen Tru Eco™ range is made from plant-based and biodegradable ingredients. The bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic and are reusable, recyclable and refillable. Irish company VivaGreen has developed the Tru Eco™ range, which is Guaranteed Irish, veganfriendly, cruelty-free and septic-tank safe. Tru Eco™ offers a refill solution, which creates a circular economy product and closes the loop on plastic waste. All Purpose Cleaner Spray 500ml; Washing-Up Liquid 500ml; from a selection of products, vivagreengroup. com, for stockists

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LIFESTYLE: books

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

AUTHOR: Mark Leibovich PUBLISHER: Penguin AVAILABLE: easons.com

FREEZING ORDER:

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVITUDE

A True Story of Russian Money Laundering, State-Sponsored Murder,and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath

Donald Trump’s Washington and the Price of Submission

When Bill Browder’s young Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was beaten to death in a Moscow jail, Browder made it his life’s mission to bring his killers to justice. He began by investigating the $230 million tax refund scheme that Magnitsky was killed over. Browder and his team tracked the money flowing out of Russia through the Baltics and Cyprus and on to Western Europe and the Americas. They were shocked to discover that Vladimir Putin himself was a beneficiary of the crime. As law enforcement agencies began freezing the money, Putin retaliated. He and his cronies set up honey traps, hired process servers to chase Browder through cities, murdered more of his Russian allies, and enlisted some of the top lawyers and politicians in America to bring him down. Putin will stop at nothing to protect his money. At once a financial caper, an international adventure and a passionate plea for justice, Freezing Order is a timely and stirring morality tale about how one man can take on one of the most ruthless villains in the world.

AUTHORS: Bill Bowder PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster AVAILABLE: dubray.ie

In the early months of Trump’s candidacy, the Republican Party’s most important figures, people such as Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, were united—and loud—in their scorn and contempt. Even more, in their outrage: Trump was a menace and an affront to democracy. Then, awkwardly, Trump won. Thank You for Your Servitude is Mark Leibovich’s unflinching account of the moral rout of a major American political party, tracking the transformation of Rubio, Cruz, Graham, and their ilk into the administration’s chief enablers, and the swamp’s lesser lights into frantic chasers of the grift. What would these politicos do to preserve their place in the sun, or at least the orbit of the spray tan? What would they do to preserve their “relevance”? Almost anything, it turns out. Thank You for Your Servitude isn’t another view from the Oval Office: it’s the view from the Trump Hotel. We can check out any time we want, but only time will tell if we can ever leave.

AUTHOR: Bo Seo

HOLIDAY READ

Death on Ireland’s Eye: The Victorian Murder Trial that Scandalised a Nation

AUTHOR: Dean Ruxton PUBLISHER: GILL BOOKS AVAILABLE: easons.com

Shortly after Maria Kirwan died in a lonely inlet on Ireland’s Eye, it was decided that she had drowned accidentally during a day spent with her husband on the picturesque island. But not long afterwards, suspicion fell upon Maria’s husband, William Burke Kirwan, as whispers of unspeakable cruelty, an evil character and a secret life rattled through the streets of Dublin. Now, this compelling modern analysis revisits the key evidence.

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PUBLISHER: Penguin

Good Arguments

How Debate Teaches Us to Listen and Be Heard

AVAILABLE: amazon.com

Drawing insights from its strategies, structure, and history, Seo teaches readers the skills of competitive debate, and in doing so shows how they can improve their communication with friends, family, and colleagues alike. He takes readers on a thrilling intellectual adventure into the eccentric and brilliant subculture of competitive debate, touching on everything from the radical politics of Malcom X to artificial intelligence. Seo proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that, far from being a source of conflict, good-faith debate can enrich our daily lives.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

20/07/2022 11:04


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11/07/2022 15:11

“My Business

helped safely

deliver

a baby in

Find out what your business can do by partnering with Trócaire: Sinéad Christian, Company Giving Officer T: 01 654 9149 E: sinead.christian@trocaire.org

Somalia”

www.trocaire.org Photo: John Byrne,Owner Maynooth Bookshop, Trócaire Supporter. Charity Reg. No. CHY 5883

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EAR TO THE Could you tell us about How To Pivot and why you created this podcast? How to Pivot is about radical career changes. I created the podcast because I, like much of the world, had a serious bout of career introspection in 2020. The “how” is the essence of the podcast – what exactly did the podcasts guests including Ciara Kelly, Derval O’Rourke and Tommy Bowe do to make the transition?

GROUND

InBUSINESS RECOMMENDS THREE PODCASTS TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS QUARTER.

What is the message/goal of the How To Pivot podcast? Change is possible. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even if your life circumstances are making you feel paralysed. There are ways of pivoting and our guests tell you how.

InBUSINESS SPOKE WITH BROADCASTER AND PODCASTER AIDEEN FINNEGAN, HOST OF THE HOW TO PIVOT PODCAST, ABOUT REASSEING CAREER GOALS, LEARNING FROM OTHERS’ SHARED EXPERIENCES AND WAYS OF PIVOTING.

How To Pivot gives your listeners some insights about changing careers through your guests’ experiences. Is there anything new you have learned or have your own views changed during the making of the podcast? I could never have imagined how much I’d learn from my interviewees. The experiences they’ve shared and advice they’ve given has been so heartfelt and solid and completely stripped of that inauthentic Instagram sheen. One of my big learnings has been around focusing on what you want. It sounds painfully basic, but you’d be surprised how challenging that can be. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many people had the opportunity to reassess their careers and work/life balance. Do you have any advice for those who want to take the leap but are intimidated to make a change? This podcast is really aimed at those of us who are fearful of making the change, as opposed to entrepreneurs who are at home with the feeling of risk-taking. The episodes featuring Anne Marie Boyhan (banking to sleep wellness) and Anne Morgan (model agent to psychotherapist) are great if you’re of that trepidatious mindset. Aideen Finnegan

The How to Pivot podcast is available to download online.

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Do you think people’s view on their long-term career goals has changed? There’s no doubt the past two years have made people reassess their long-term career goals. I think it’s helped clarify what’s important to people and how a career can serve their needs at a given point in life. What can we expect from How to Pivot in the future? I have some very exciting guests coming up on Series 3 of How to Pivot including Tommy Bowe for the July launch. I have secured sponsorship for the upcoming season so I’m working on making the pod even bigger and better over the next year.

Follow How to Pivot host Aideen Finnegan on:

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/aideenfinnegan

/aideenfinnegan

MADE IN IRELAND

BEO AR ÉIGEAN Showcasing the Irish language in a modern, fresh approach, Gaeilgeoirs Sinéad Ní Uallacháin, Áine Ní Bhreisleáin and Siún Ní Dhuinn discuss issues from their daily lives.

NOT TO BE MISSED

HOT MONEY: WHO RULES PORN?

Financial Times reporter Patricia Nilsson digs into the porn industry to reveal a shadowy power structure that includes billionaires, tech geniuses and the most powerful finance companies in the world.

THE BUSINESS PICK

INSIDE BUSINESS WITH CIARAN HANCOCK

Irish Times Business Editor Ciarán Hancock looks at business and economics from an Irish perspective and gives insights into major events in business and economics both at home and abroad.

InBUSINESS | SUMMER 2022

15/07/2022 17:02


Support local to lift us all

AllAll Rise Rise ChampionGreen.ie

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18/07/2022 28/10/2021 10:33 14:59


Don’t wait for inflation to eat into your hard earned cash Talk to us about investing today bankofireland.com/exploreinvesting

Premiums are paid to a life assurance investment policy and are subject to a Government levy (currently 1% of the premium amount). Exit tax (up to 41% currently) applies to any gains on life assurance investment policies. Terms and conditions apply. New Ireland Assurance Company plc, trading as Bank of Ireland Life is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Advice on Bank of Ireland Life products is provided by Bank of Ireland. Bank of Ireland, trading as Bank of Ireland Insurance & Investments, Insurance & Investments, or Bank of Ireland Private is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Bank of Ireland is a tied agent of New Ireland Assurance Company plc trading as Bank of Ireland Life for life assurance and pensions business. Members of Bank of Ireland Group. Information correct as at May 2022.

Warning: The value of your investment may go down as well as up. Warning: If you invest in this product you may lose some or all of the money you invest.

1C_BOI_Chambers Ireland Summer 2022_ND_V1.indd 1

19/07/2022 14:09


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