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MENTORS SERIES

KINGSLEY AIKINS, CEO, THE NETWORKING INSTITUTE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING CONNECTIONS CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

InBUSINESS InBUSINESS WINTER

2020

FROM HR TO

ETERNITY TECHNOLOGY USE InBUSINESS WINTER 2020

MORE WIDESPREAD

REAL INNOVATION CULTURE ERIC CONWAY

OUTGOING COUNTRY MANAGER FOR IRELAND, BEARINGPOINT,

ON CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT HOW NUTRITICS IS BRINGING ITS SOFTWARE TO THE WORLD

REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY

Life Scientific’s unique approach to R&D 16/12/2020 11:15


“The course is tailored to the needs of our business”

Skills to Advance Highly subsidised Supervisory Management training ₀ To help team leaders and supervisors meet the business challenges of Covid-19 ₀ To upskill in people management, digital and remote working Contact your local Education and Training Board or visit skillstoadvance.ie

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Editor: Sorcha Corcoran Art Director: Alan McArthur Editorial Assistant: Kiah Townsend (Chambers Ireland) Editorial Contributors: Eithne Dunne Derek Nagle Designers: James Moore

COVER STORY

Front Cover Photography: Aurora Photography

REAL

Photography: iStock Photo

CULTURE

Infographics: www.flaticon.com

Instead of bandying it about as a term, BearingPoint has made innovation a core part of its identity by both thoroughly involving its people and developing its own intellectual property and unique methodologies and techniques.

Production Executive: Nicole Ennis Sales Director: Diarmaid Lennon Managing Director: Gerry Tynan

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InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020 2019

COVER STORY:

Real Innovation Culture

Industry

The more widespread use of technology to support human resources management Words: Derek Nagle

Our Local Government InBUSINESS supplement continues to look at the 95 important role played by local authorities in Irish enterprise Page

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Mayo clubs get a25,600, Sligo Leitrim An Garda Síochána launches coastal plan, and Galway City Council announces a102.5m 2021 budget

ULSTER

LEINSTER

MUNSTER

Cork County Council launches campaign for improved diversity in local government, while work commences on a200m Opera Site in Limerick

CONNACHT

Dublin City Council launches women’s committee, Fingal’s Our Balbriggan shortlisted for European award, and Meath schools get a25k music funding

Patrick Kavanagh Centre wins European award, Belfast’s Templemore Baths get £17m restoration, and Donegal Thatch Repair Grant Scheme is honoured

DISCOVER DONEGAL

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WELLBEING INITIATIVE

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nd e at d ed ur se rel by cc in ve iab bro ga s ra le the rin on . l s fo ive ati rs ec od rs Da del nis yea tor inf mia s, r orm n and s on orga ven g e esu atio ’ focu Ciaran O ’Kelly, Nutritics -thinkin ast s n ltin p d r g in has been em a e w r h t braced by fo impr over essive i InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020 nternational growth

Q: How has the business grown and were there some key breakthrough moments? DOK: Since 2013, Nutritics has quickly grown to be the food information management software of choice for clients across more than 165 countries. Early in our journey, we were fortunate to have

the support of some great both our direct online clients who saw our vision software-as-a-service for the product and wanted sales to the SME sector to be a part of what we were and developing out our doing. In the education local presence to serve space, Oxford University large corporates. was our first client which The key element to both opened the door to a strategies is localisation. number of UK universities. For every new territory On the sports side, we we enter, we have built started working with the specific local websites, English Institute of Sport added local foods, and their athletes translated into the as part of their local language preparation for the and regularly Rio Olympic cycle. delivered local These clients content to brought us build up instant trust credibility with our within clients their and respective show sectors and them allowed us to that we’re Ci ara s expand quickly. nO itic committed to ’Kelly, CTO, Nutr Our early focus on their region. This the education, healthcare allows us to be different, and sport markets changed speak our clients’ language overnight when an EU and show them that we law was introduced in are passionate about 2014 that mandated all their region. To date, over food operators to provide 95% of our sales are to allergen information for the export markets. food they serve. Our food data catered for this, so we Q: How important were quickly able to pivot has it been to build and provide the foodservice relationships with sector with the information regulators? they needed. DOK: Regulatory alignment is an This combination of important part of our regulatory changes and some international growth great early client wins gave strategy. Interestingly, us the platform to grow into we have found that the UK. Word spread quickly the benefit accrues to and three years later, we both Nutritics and the had established distribution regulator when we form bases in Australia, the United these partnerships. Arab Emirates (UAE), the Regulators can enjoy US and South Africa. a greater level of food law compliance across Q: Can you outline your their region by ensuring exporting strategy and that the software used what makes it effective? by the industry is up DOK: Nutritics’ export to date with their latest growth ambitions are recommendations. focused on maximising

r it i c s

the food we consume is available when it matters most – a future where la allergy n, CO sufferers O, N utritics can safely rely on the information their restaurant is providing, an athlete can use nutrition as their competitive advantage and patients can use food as their best medicine. There is a simple secret to our success: Every Nutritics team member is driven by a deep-rooted passion, determination and desire to deliver accurate and reliable food information to the world when it matters most. We are obsessed with growing the business and making it a global success. Despite selling into multiple markets, one of our key differentiators is localisation. At the core of every investment and product decision is a desire to make the client feel that we are just down the road from them. From our office in Dublin, we have developed localisation strategies for the US, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa.

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Q: What would you say is different and compelling about what you do? DOK: Nutritics believes in a future where accurate and reliable information about

OR THOU DF GH OO

u Fo an

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to costs - and provide this information to our customers in a way that empowers them to make better food choices.

T

EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 Nicola Mitchell, Founder and CEO, Life Scientific

food database in Excel, typing in hundreds of food types, until I could analyse their diets a lot more effectively. Ciaran, who is a software engineer, offered to help and together we envisioned a solution that could analyse every component of foods from nutrition to allergens

en

Entrepreneur

SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

software to analyse their diets. The programmes kept crashing, their databases were lacking and they couldn’t be accessed online or at home. Everything had to be done on the same computer in a specific computer lab. I couldn’t give these athletes back anything particularly useful. So I built my own

h Step

Q: Why did you and Ciaran decide to set up Nutritics as a company? DOK: It all started from a sense of frustration. I was working with athletes training for the Commonwealth Games as part of my master’s degree in sport and exercise nutrition and using industry standard

lly ,C EO, N ut

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SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

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001 InBUSINESS Winter 2020_Contents_V1_REV.indd 1

Eric Conway, Partner and outgoing Country Leader for Ireland, BearingPoint

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

InBUSINESS speaks to Eric Conway, Partner and outgoing Country Leader, BearingPoint, about continuous improvement

Page

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

term ‘innovation’ is becoming more and more common in how companies describe themselves, how they work and what they offer to their customers. For Eric Conway, Partner and outgoing Country Leader for Ireland at BearingPoint, it’s actually becoming an irritant. “People just throw in words such as innovation, change and digital transformation for sport, when they don’t really know what real innovation is, how to promote it, measure it or track the benefits,” he says. “Often innovation is not the idea, it is the technique to get there. An obvious example is looking at the internal operations and functions of a well-established organisation and asking them to consider how a new, rapidly growing technology firm would and does perform the same tasks. The established firms have much to learn from new companies that were able to design processes with a blank canvas, allowing for new technologies and fewer barriers based on their ‘this is how we do’ attitude.”

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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

All articles © Ashville Media Group 2020. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. Opinion and comments expressed herein are not necessarily those of Ashville Media or Chambers Ireland. ISSN 20093934

The

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Chairman: Diarmaid Lennon

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

WE DON’T JUST LISTEN TO ‘THE EXPERT’ OR ACCEPT ‘IF IT’S NOT BROKEN DON’T FIX IT’. WE PROMOTE DIVERSITY AND ALTERNATIVE THINKING. QUITE OFTEN, WE ADD PEOPLE TO A PROJECT THAT HAVE LESS KNOWLEDGE ON A GIVEN TOPIC, PROCESS OR INDUSTRY TO BRING A PERSPECTIVE FROM ANOTHER ANGLE.”

i Dam

Ke O’ an

We work closely with regulators to ensure that not only does our software facilitate compliance with food law, but that it is then delivered to the end user in an intuitive manner. This assists in meeting the food law compliance requirements for the market and Nutritics benefits from the increased brand exposure. Q: Any other news or expansion plans you can share with us? DOK: Despite the current environment, international growth is still very much on the agenda for the business. We currently have a team of 30 in Dublin alongside our UK, Australian, UAE and US business development teams and our plan is to increase this as quickly as we can. Alongside this, Nutritics was shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding Achievement in International Growth Award’ at the Technology Ireland Industry Awards 2020 for the second year running. This comes on the back of Nutritics being named as Ireland’s leading high potential exporter at the Irish Export Awards in 2018.

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for 28 Food Thought

SMALL BUSINESS

Nutrition software provider Nutritics has achieved outstanding international growth

In Association with

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Chambers Ireland would like to thank all the companies who took park in the Sustainable Business Impact Awards 2020. Applications for the Sustainable Business Impact Awards 2021 will open in March 2021. For more information, please contact carly.mooney@chambers.ie

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21/12/2020 17/12/2020 12:56 13:18


MENTORS SERIES

KINGSLEY AIKINS, CEO, THE NETWORKING INSTITUTE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF BUILDING CONNECTIONS CONNECTING IRISH BUSINESS

InBUSINESS InBUSINESS WINTER

2020

FROM HR TO

ETERNITY TECHNOLOGY USE InBUSINESS WINTER 2020

MORE WIDESPREAD

REAL INNOVATION CULTURE ERIC CONWAY

OUTGOING COUNTRY MANAGER FOR IRELAND, BEARINGPOINT,

ON CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

9

772009 393018

a2.70

04

FOOD FOR THOUGHT HOW NUTRITICS IS BRINGING ITS SOFTWARE TO THE WORLD

Contents

REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY

Life Scientific’s unique approach to R&D

Go to chambers.ie for the online edition

24

MENTORS:

34

Kingsley Aikins CEO of The Networking Institute Kingsley Aikins reflects on building connections despite Covid-19 Words: Eithne Dunne

[LIFESTYLE] 100 INNOVATION Latest products for keeping fit 102 PODCASTS Andrea Horan and Una Mullally’s podcast United Ireland, which highlights country-wide stories 103 BOOKS Business skills and knowledge in the advances of technology

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Media & Marketing

David Connor, Co-founder of Frank & Bear, on the latest trends in digital advertising and marketing

INNOVATION AND TECH

ANDTECH

INNOVATION

100

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Skills & Talent

How courses in artificial intelligence are becoming more mainstream

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INNOVATION AND TECH

A recent webinar has highlighted how spin-out companies from universities are focused on solving real-world problems and using technology to make lives better.

Comh – data aiding anxiety Founded by Conor Organ, Comh relieves unnecessary anxiety through reflective journaling and data. It uses data from Apple Health to make suggestions and help improve mental wellbeing over time. The idea for the business came about when Organ was in his final year of a Bachelor in Science at University of Limerick and was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Spotting a gap for a technology-based solution, he started by talking to the target market through surveys and interviews before building out a first version of the app. “This allowed me to test certain aspects and build something users want,” he says. The app is currently in open beta in the iOS App Store. Organ wants Comh to be the main place for people to come to for their mental wellness needs and data.

IGNITING IDEAS

The 450

attendees of the Ignite Autumn Awards and Showcase webinar heard pitches from nine start-up founders graduating from the programme, as well as start-ups that joined the programme earlier in the year and those that were just beginning their start-up journey with Ignite. Founded in 2011, Ignite is a 12-month start-up incubation programme that supports recent graduate entrepreneurs to develop scalable businesses. It incorporates workshops, seminars and guest speakers and one-to-one supports such as mentors, coaches and consultants to help participants develop the knowledge, skills and attitude to successfully start a business. The winner of the Ignite Award for Best Business at the virtual event in the autumn was Mark O’Sullivan of Neurobell (see panel facing page) while William Nolan of Addaptiv won the Best Business Plan and Best Video Pitch awards. Addaptiv is establishing an Industry 4.0 design and manufacturing centre where it is developing new products along with providing a localised, digital supply chain for its customers,

Conor Organ

Neurobell – real-time diagnostic support Neurobell is developing a diagnostic medical device for the early detection and monitoring of brain injuries in newborns. Founded by Mark O’Sullivan, Neurobell aims to help diagnose newborn brain injury, which results in the death or disability of more than a million infants around the world each year. O’Sullivan is a PhD research student in the INFANT Research Centre and Embedded Systems Research Group in UCC. Early identification of brain injury in newborns is vital as the therapeutic window in which treatment is most effective is less than six hours after the injury. It is very difficult to diagnose, typically requiring complex electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring equipment and expertise. Neurobell’s solution is a pocket-sized, wireless EEG device that can be easily applied within minutes by a wide range of medical staff, offering the ability to provide real-time diagnostic decision support. The idea behind the device evolved while O’Sullivan was researching EEG signals produced in the brain and how, through monitoring and processing them, he could come up with better methods of detecting brain injury.

using both plastic and metal 3D printing. Other start-ups featured during the webinar included PowerThruGolf, which is developing a golf club administration management platform and Setlist, a group music sharing platform. “2020 has certainly been an unusual year. But we have seen how hard work and dedication are vital to ensuring a business grows and develops,” said Ignite Director Eamon Curtin. “As with many aspects of society, Ignite has moved online and so too has our awards and showcase event. We are delighted that the Ignite start-ups were able to pitch their business ideas straight to the screen.” Based at University College Cork (UCC), Ignite is open to recent graduates from any third-level institution to work full-time on a scalable start-up idea with potential for commercial or social impact. The programme is funded by Bank of Ireland, Cork City Council, Cork County Council and the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City and County. Since its inception, the Ignite programme has supported 120 new start-ups and around 150 founders, who have launched companies such as AnaBio Technologies, Yooni, PunditArena and QuickMinutes.

32 32

Book Extract

An extract from And now for the good news…: the much-needed tonic for our frazzled world by Ruby Wax

HERE IS A FLAVOUR OF THE START-UPS WHICH WERE SUPPORTED IN 2020 THROUGH THE IGNITE PROGRAMME AT UCC TO TURN IDEAS INTO COMMERCIAL REALITY:

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

Mark O’Sullivan

TechWalk.io – up-skilling without a screen

Alex Thomas

Available on a mobile app, website and Amazon Alexa, TechWalk.io is a voice-first e-learning platform to help people up-skill in areas such as software engineering and cloud computing without using a screen. It was set up by Alex Thomas who got his initial inspiration when he was looking for technical information he could listen to when preparing for his exams at Cork Institute of Technology. A software engineer specialising in AWS Cloud, he recently brought the business live and will be targeting the US market in 2021. “Right now our content will be specifically geared around cloud training, but in the future we will open that up to other areas which seem suitable to audio-based learning,” he says. “I would like TechWalk to be the one-stopshop to use to learn specific skills while on the move, with content and user experiences geared towards learning without a screen.”

Jen Martin

Author International – high-level English training Author International is a ‘luxury’ corporate communication, confidence and language company, targeted at middle and senior management as well as government ministers and C-suite executives from non-English speaking countries. For founder Jen Martin, the inspiration for Author came about as a result of over a decade working overseas, teaching, training and coaching nonnative English speakers. “Though the people I worked with were so diverse, as non-native speakers I saw how much they shared in common. Despite the heights they had reached in their respective careers, when it came to communication through English, their confidence was low, which can severely impact high-stakes moments,” she says. As a graduate of Applied Psychology at UCC, Martin’s research on vulnerability and cognitive behavioural psychology enabled her to identify patterns and ways of working that ensure maximum impact with English-language training. She hopes Author will put Ireland on the map as the destination for luxury executive language training.

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InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

INNOVATION & TECH

Igniting ideas

University spin-outs solving real-world problems with technology

[REGULARS] 4 Business News 8 Movers & Shakers 10 Start-Up Central 15 Opportunity Ireland 38 Snapchat 39 Chambers Catch Up 104 The IB Index

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TOP ACCOLADE FOR JAMESON DISTILLERY BOW ST

ARKPHIRE TO BE

ACQUIRED BY PRESIDIO

I

rish headquartered IT procurement and services company Arkphire is to be fully acquired by Presidio, a leading North American IT solutions provider. Arkphire will support Presidio as a strategic platform to drive business expansion across both Europe and Asia Pacific. Both Arkphire and Presidio have a core business model focused around digital infrastructure, cloud, security and other IT services. Presidio’s US$3bn IT solutions and services business has a local presence in over 57 locations across the US. Originally established in 1979, Arkphire has grown to become a a160m business with more than 250 employees and customers across more than 90 countries.

Greg Hughes, Managing Director, Jameson Brand Homes at Irish Distillers and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland

Jameson Distillery Bow St has been named the World’s Leading Distillery Tour at the World Travel Awards (WTA) for the third year in a row. The 27th WTA Grand Final ceremony took place virtually in November, marking the culmination of the WTA Grand Tour 2020 – an annual search for the finest travel and tourism organisations in the world, where the winners of WTA’s six regional ceremonies go head-to-head for the world titles. Having been awarded Europe’s Leading Distillery Tour, Jameson Distillery Bow St competed against a finalist list from around the world that included Macallan, Hennessy, Jack Daniels and Jose Cuervo.

INCREASE IN FEMALE ENGINEERING GRADUATES Generation Z, the generation born between 1996 and 2010, has seen its female cohort produce 40% more engineering graduates than its Generation Y (millennial) counterparts, according to global talent market research by Irishjobs.ie, in partnership with employer brand specialist Universum. The research was conducted among 11,769 students across the areas of business, IT, engineering, law and health. It noted a generational increase in female graduates of 4% in the business field and a drop-off in the number of female IT graduates, an 11% decrease from Generation Y to Generation Z. Paschal Naylor, CEO, Arkphire and Paul Nannetti, Chairman, Arkphire

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BUSINESS NEWS

MICRON AGRITECH SET TO REVOLUTIONISE ANIMAL TESTING Technological University Dublin spin-out Micron Agritech has raised a500,000 in investment funding through a seed round, which will be used to bring its innovative parasite detection test to market. Called Micron Kit, it offers an alternative to the preventative dosing of livestock, a practice set to be restricted in 2022 under new EU regulations. The device inside it will test for parasites in cattle, sheep and horses and provide on-site rapid results delivered through an app, indicating to farmers or vets if they need to medicate animals. Micron Agritech’s advisory board includes ex-directors of Pfizer Animal Health Andrew Weatherley and Nigel Walshe, who are currently leading the running of clinical trials with farmers across Ireland.

HEALTHBEACON IN SCALING-UP MODE

D

igital health company HealthBeacon has raised a5.5m in a funding round, bringing total money raised by the company to date to a18m. The funding will be used to expand its Injection Care Management System into new global market territories and lead to the creation of 70 new jobs over the next two years. HealthBeacon currently employs 30 staff in Dublin. A world first, HealthBeacon’s Injection Care Management System is designed for patients who self-administer injectable medication in their homes using its Smart Sharps Bin technology. “HealthBeacon has been in 10,000 patient homes in 13 countries and we are anticipating growth to hit 20,000 in the next 18 months,” says Jim Joyce, CEO and Co-founder, HealthBeacon. “Our smart tool helps people with a chronic disease to safely manage their treatment in a home setting, keeping them out of hospital.” 

Co-founders of Micron Agritech Daniel Izquierdo Hijazi, Jose Lopez Escobar, Tara McElligott, and Sean Smith

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION DRIVE Expleo’s new Business Transformation Index 2021 report has found that Irish businesses lost an average of a185,000 each on abandoned IT projects following the Covid-19 outbreak. However, rather than sitting still, many organisations are taking a ‘digital first’ approach to address legacy issues and to help transform their processes and services. Almost half (48%) of businesses in Ireland have already increased the speed of their digital transformation due to the pandemic. A further 41% have launched new products or services this year to meet the changing needs of other businesses and consumers. For more on this, go to page 97

Co-founders of HealthBeacon Kieran Daly and Jim Joyce

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BUSINESS NEWS

PRODUCTION EXPANSION

AT TAKEDA PLANT IN BRAY Takeda Ireland, a subsidiary of Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, has launched an expansion of the production line at its facility in Bray, Co Wicklow. It will allow for the addition of production, packaging and shipping of two oncology products to the site’s manufacturing portfolio. Established in Bray since 1997, Takeda Ireland currently employs more than 340 people at the facility in which it has invested a20m over the past two years. Oncology production is a new therapeutic area for the Bray site.

IRELAND DROPS PLACES IN

RENEWABLE RANKING After a significant jump in the rankings earlier this year, Ireland’s place in the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index has slipped. Earlier this year, Ireland had shot up the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) rankings by six places to 12th position. Now, the latest RECAI rankings (announced on 25 November) show the country has fallen back to 14th place. The rankings list the top 40 countries in the world on the attractiveness of their renewable energy investment and deployment opportunities. Ireland is now placed in between South Korea in 13th and Brazil in 15th place.

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PICTURE

THIS

Boots Ireland became the first pharmacy group in Ireland to offer Covid-19 testing in December. Initially available in seven stores, the plan is to roll it out across Ireland. Pictured is Caoimhe McAuley, MPSI, Director of Pharmacy and Superintendent Pharmacist at Boots Ireland.

Business

BITES

START-UP RECOVERY There was a 37% quarter-onquarter increase in Irish company start-ups for Q3 last year compared to Q2, according to CRIF Vision-Net.

CARBERY GROUP TARGETS EUROPE AND ASIA Carbery Group has completed the expansion at its headquarters in Ballineen, West Cork, and started production of new cheese varieties for the food service market in Europe and Asia. Supported by a a78m investment in a new state-of-the-art facility in Ballineen, the new ranges of mozzarella and grilling cheese will go to market under the brand name Carbery Dairy. “Our cheese Jason Hawkins, CEO, Carbery Group with diversification strategy has been in the Chairman TJ Sullivan, CFO Colm Leen, COO John Holland and Cheddar Cheese Manager works now for a number of years, so Conor O’Donovan it’s great to see all our planning and efforts come to fruition. It’s a significant investment for us, in financial terms, but also in terms of our strategy, our people and market research,” says CEO of Carbery Group Jason Hawkins.

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

22/12/2020 12:03


BUSINESS NEWS

ARC STUDIOS

OFFERS VIDEO PACKAGE PRIZE

V

isual advertising agency Arc Studios is running a competition offering businesses the chance to win a corporate video package worth a5,000. Entry, by donation of a200, gives businesses the opportunity to win the package while raising funds for Bumbleance, the Children’s National Ambulance Service. Established by husband and wife Aisling and Colm Kerr, Arc Studios’ client base includes Centre Parcs Ireland, five-star resorts such as K Club, Ashford Castle and Dromoland Castle and United Airlines. “At Arc Studios we are mindful of the Covid-19 pandemic and the toll this has taken on many businesses across Ireland,” says Aisling Kerr.

Bumbleance driver Chris McCarthy with the Collins family

GREEN SENTIMENT

CYBER THREAT

SHOPPING LOCAL

Nearly half of all businesses in Ireland don’t know if their energy is renewable, while 84% consider themselves to be environmentally friendly, according to SSE Airtricity’s Green Business Sentiment Index.

One in ten workers say they have been targeted by cybercriminals since working from home, while 30% say they feel more vulnerable to attack when home-working, a DataSolutions survey has shown.

Visa research has found that 86% of consumers are worried about the future of local businesses in their community, with half (52%) of the public saying they would do most, if not all, of their Christmas shopping with local stores.

KEYWORDS AGREES TO ACQUIRE GNET Keywords Studios has entered into an agreement to acquire gnet, a Los Angeles-based provider of marketing services to the video games and entertainment industries. “This represents a significant milestone as we continue to build our marketing service business to become the first, truly global video game specialised marketing services company,” says Andrew Day, Andrew Day, CEO of Keywords Studios, which is CEO, Keywords Studios headquartered in Dublin. “With its well-established position as a valued partner to some of the biggest names in video games, and from its home in Hollywood, gnet brings the number of Keywords specialist marketing studios to seven. Combined, Keywords’ annual marketing services revenues are now over a35m with more than 180 people employed globally.”

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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“It It is not a case that ‘no idea is a bad idea’, it is more that we allow staff the airtime to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions. We value everyone’s input and encourage participation.” Eric Conway, Partner and outgoing Country Leader for Ireland, BearingPoint

COVER STORY

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MOVERS & SHAKERS

M vers

NEW APPOINTMENTS IN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY NATIONWIDE

SHAKERS

GILLIAN O’SULLIVAN

STEPHEN WATKINS

BRIAN DAVIS

BRENDAN O’CONNOR

NEW�TITLE:� Country Lead for Ireland EMPLOYER:� BearingPoint PREVIOUS�ROLE:� Partner, BearingPoint

NEW�TITLE:� Managing Director EMPLOYER:� Boots Ireland PREVIOUS�ROLE:� Director of Pharmacy and Digital Healthcare, Boots UK

NEW�TITLE:� Group Sales Director, Data Centres EMPLOYER:� DataSolutions PREVIOUS�ROLE:� Sales Manager, DataSolutions

NEW�TITLE:� General Manager EMPLOYER:� Adare Manor PREVIOUS�ROLE:� Resident Manager

Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint has announced the appointment of Gillian O’Sullivan as the firm’s new Country Lead for Ireland. She will be responsible for leading a team of people supporting consultancy and technology implementation for clients, locally and internationally. With the firm since 2004, most recently O’Sullivan was the firm-wide Head of Diversity and Partner with responsibility for Technology Delivery.

Boots Ireland has appointed Stephen Watkins as Managing Director to oversee its pharmacy-led health and beauty retail operations nationwide. Watkins will have responsibility for leading the team of over 2,000 people across the company’s network of 89 stores and head office in Ireland. A qualified pharmacist, Watkins has been with Boots in the UK for 20 years.

IT distributor DataSolutions has appointed Brian Davis as Group Sales Director for its Data Centres division. With more than 20 years’ experience in distribution across multiple industries, Davis is responsible for overseeing and leading the sales teams in Ireland and the UK which look after the portfolio of data centre technologies provided by DataSolutions.

Five-star castle property Adare Manor has promoted Brendan O’Connor to the position of General Manager. Prior to joining Adare Manor in 2015 as Director of Food and Beverage, O’Connor held senior management roles with hotels around the world, including Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, Sheen Falls Hotel in Co Kerry and the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

TOP CAREER TIPS 8

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Gaby Murphy is Interim CEO at Boardmatch, an organisation that helps charities and non-profits find talented individuals for their boards. She is a passionate advocate of the non-profit sector, having worked for over 25 years in fundraising and senior management roles in charities and non-profits. She was Development Director at Barretstown, held several senior development roles at the National Gallery of Ireland and runs Purplegrass Consulting, working with charities across Ireland.

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

21/12/2020 09:36


MOVERS & SHAKERS

KATIE MCFARLAND

MATTHEW COLE

CIARA GIBNEY

JUAN MIGUEL ESTALLO

NEW�TITLE:� Solution Architect EMPLOYER:� Esri Ireland PREVIOUS�ROLE:� Lead Consultant, Esri Ireland

NEW�TITLE:� Partner EMPLOYER:� DLA Piper PREVIOUS�ROLE:� Corporate Partner, A&L Goodbody

NEW�TITLE:� Marketing Manager EMPLOYER:� Kinetic PREVIOUS�ROLE:� Senior Account Executive, Kinetic

NEW�TITLE:� Chief Executive Officer EMPLOYER:� Liberty Seguros PREVIOUS�ROLE:� Product Director, Liberty Seguros

Geographic information systems (GIS) firm Esri Ireland has appointed Katie McFarland as Solution Architect. In this new role, she will work with customers to plan out the roadmap to implementing GIS within their organisation and ensure that digital mapping technology is helping them to achieve their business goals. McFarland is a member of Esri Ireland’s Great Place to Work Culture Audit team.

Global law firm DLA Piper has announced the appointment of Matthew Cole as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice in Dublin. In his previous role at A&L Goodbody, Cole led on some of Ireland’s most significant crossborder M&A and private equity transactions over the past five years. His arrival brings DLA Piper Ireland’s corporate team to six partners and legal directors.

Out-of-home communications firm Kinetic has promoted Ciara Gibney to the position of Marketing Manager. In her new role, she will be responsible for implementing Kinetic’s external digital communications strategy, utilising the latest market and industry trends. Gibney joined Kinetic in 2016 as an operations executive and was promoted to Senior Account Executive on the marketing team in 2019.

Liberty Seguros, the company that operates Liberty Mutual Global Retail Markets in Europe, has appointed Juan Miguel Estallo as Chief Executive Officer. He will oversee the company’s operations in Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Northern Ireland. During his 13-year career at Liberty Seguros, Estallo has held different roles across the organisation, joining the executive team in 2013.

1.

Be generous. Take time to build relationships, support people in your network and give advice (when asked).

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2.

Always be learning. “I am still learning,” said Michelangelo at the age of 87 whilst working on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

3.

Give back. As well as being an opportunity to give back, volunteering benefits personal and professional development.

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START-UPS

Start-Up Central

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

41%

The percentage increase in venture capital funding into Irish SMEs in the third quarter of this year (to reach 192.8m), according to the Irish Venture Capital Association VenturePulse survey.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

PETER ELGER CEO, FOURTHEOREM

GALENBAND AWARDED FOR OUTSTANDING PITCH Eddie McDaid, Founder of NUI Galway spin-out Galenband, won the ‘One to Watch’ award at Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas 2020 showcase in November. Galenband has developed a revolutionary heart monitoring system capable of increasing detection rates of silent atrial fibrillation – from the 1.3% associated with current standard monitoring methods to 85%. The solution features a wrist-worn device which records heart activity continuously for up to 90 days. Results are analysed on the Galenband AI cloud platform to identify heart rhythm irregularities for clinicians.

Peter Elger

What is the background to fourTheorem?

fourTheorem was founded in 2017 on the belief that serverless computing coupled with commoditised artificial intelligence (AI) will come to dominate the enterprise computing market. We provide the transformative expertise and tooling to help our clients fully realise the benefits of this new world.

SPACE TECHNOLOGY FIGHTING COVID-19

What’s the best advice you were given?

Irish companies are deploying their expertise in space technology to help in the fight against Covid-19. Skytek and PMD Solutions (in partnership with Beaumont Hospital) were recently awarded contracts by the European Space Agency for cutting edgeprojects. The successful projects comprise a virtual command and control centre, which will streamline and support effective emergency response, and wearable technology that will support remote monitoring of patient health using satellite technology.

Have you heard the phrase ‘co-incidence takes a lot of planning’? Well, hand in hand with this, in business ‘luck takes a lot of persistence’.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned since starting out?

Always act in your customers’ best interests, even if it’s to your own detriment. We operate at all times with full transparency. Sometimes that means having tough conversations, but ultimately it develops stronger business relationships.

Your biggest make or break moment?

Getting our first large enterprise deal. While we love to work with start-ups and SMEs, convincing a large organisation to work with you is a key milestone for any new technology business.

Would you change anything in hindsight?

We had some very early successes, which led to a small amount of complacency. In hindsight we should have driven harder from those early wins. Lesson learnt! Company: fourTheorem Location: The Rubicon Centre, Cork Institute of Technology, Bishopstown, Cork Offering: Advanced cloud and serverless solutions Staff:

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Website:

www.fourtheorem.com

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START-UPS

David Walsh, Niall Kelly and Dr Johnny Walker, Co-Founders, HaloCare DropChef Co-founders Ryan Scott, Roman Grogan and Sam O’Byrne

DropChef has secured a 2m investment from VentureWave Capital, further to the Dublin-based food technology company recording significant growth this year in line with e-grocery trends. Founded by Ryan Scott, Roman Grogan and Sam O’Byrne in 2015, DropChef’s online platform delivers tailored healthy meal kits with precisely-measured, locally-sourced ingredients all around Ireland. “This investment will allow us to invest further in the customer experience, technology and our sustainability strategy,” says Scott. “We will be able to make a whole host of improvements to the product that will be better for the customer and the planet.” DropChef’s educational programme to promote healthy eating will also be expanded.

PROVIZIO CLOSES US$6.2M SEED INVESTMENT ROUND Limerick-based accident prevention technology company Provizio has closed its seed investment round of US$6.2m, including backing from venture capitalists and industry and technology veterans such as Founder of AutonomouStuff Bobby Hambrick. Founded by CEO Barry Lunn, Provizio is using AI to revolutionise car safety, with its groundbreaking five-dimensional sensory platform that perceives, predicts and prevents car accidents in real time and beyond the lineof-sight. “We have put together an incredible team that is growing daily. AI is the future of automotive accident prevention and Provizio 5D radars with AI on-the-edge are the first step towards that goal,” says Lunn.

Barry Lunn, Founder and CEO, Provizio

NE TO WATCH: HALOCARE

€2M INVESTMENT FOR DROPCHEF

The brainchild of David Walsh, Niall Kelly and Dr Johnny Walker, HaloCare aims to revolutionise the senior care sector with its suite of intelligent technologies supported by live, expert medical support to provide peace of mind for its users and their support group. Incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning, HaloCare’s proprietary software manages information from smart technology installed in the home. The entire system is underpinned by an experienced team of nurses and care specialists, available around the clock from the company’s Care Hub in Carlow town. With 20 new jobs being created immediately, recruitment will continue throughout 2021 as the company focuses on developing new technologies that will predict the likelihood of a fall or other incident based on a person’s movements around the home. “Professional homecare providers are often limited to an hour or two per day. Innovative technology like HaloCare can play a positive and significant role for the remaining 22 hours,” says HaloCare CEO David Walsh, who founded Netwatch Group in Carlow in 2003.

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ENTREPRENEUR

ENTREPRENEUR: NICOLA MITCHELL

The EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 is Nicola Mitchell, Founder and CEO of Life Scientific, a progressive company specialising in the development and registration of generic, ‘off-patent’ agrochemicals. Its goal is to give customers better options to meet their crop protection needs. Q: Would you say you always had a business

head on your shoulders? NM: I left University College Cork with a master’s qualification in Chemistry and a clear ambition to one day build a multinational business based on science. As a graduate, I took up a role with a generic agrochemicals manufacturer and spent 10 years there learning the industry. I could see the regulatory landscape for agrochemicals was changing and how future success could be defined by a deep understanding of chemistry and regulation. Q: What is the secret to the success and growth

agrochemical regulatory authorities. It’s a bit like unravelling the Coca Cola recipe – taking the final product and breaking it down into its component ingredients so that we can then put it back together. We don’t just reverse engineer the multinationals’ products, but everything they do – their dossiers, strategies, processes and people – to learn how they think. But producing the clone is only half the story. We have to get the product approved and the natural reaction of regulators is to say ‘no’. We have to build a very convincing case to show our product is comparable and ensure the only conclusion they can come to is to say ‘yes’.

of Life Scientific? NM: Our in-house research and development

(R&D) function is our unique selling point and our critical success factor. We have the ability to reverse engineer a product from the original to produce a product accepted as identical by

Q: What does your approach to R&D allow you

to do differently? NM: Our unique approach to R&D means we can

offer agrochemical products to agronomists and growers earlier than any other off-patent company.

REVERSE

PSYCHOLOGY

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ENTREPRENEUR

Nicola Mitchell, Founder and CEO, Life Scientific with her EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award

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ENTREPRENEUR

Q: How do you see the business

evolving from here? NM: We have always been a global

business – purchasing in Asia, manufacturing and selling in the EU and now planning regulatory filings in North and South America. It is very difficult to replicate our core competence of reverse engineering capability coupled with deep regulatory knowledge. That said, we are always looking to push further and stay ahead. We have a number of research projects ongoing, including with UCD. Agrochemicals are our focus today, but our platform is nimble and agile enough for us to be fast followers of innovation in the crop protection industry, whatever direction that takes. Biocontrol is the obvious move – we will be there when the time is right.

Nicola Mitchell, Founder and CEO, Life Scientific

THE FRENCH CONNECTION In 2014, InVivo, the largest agricultural co-operative group in France, and a leading player in the industry globally, acquired a 50% stake in Life Scientific. Employing around 6,600 people in 20 countries, InVivo is a union of over 220 farming co-operatives and has combined membership of over 300,000 farmers. The remit of InVivo is to work together with its member co-operatives to develop sustainable and profitable solutions, enabling farmers to secure their production and revenue. “Through our partnership with InVivo, Life Scientific has preferred access to the French fungicide market, which has seen five key agrochemicals withdrawn in two years, collectively accounting for 40% of the market. It creates opportunity for more innovative, more sustainable and more valuable products, which we have in our portfolio,” says Life Scientific Founder and CEO Nicola Mitchell.

The only difference between our product and that of the brand leader is cost. Ours costs less. We can break multinational product recipes down into their component parts and reconstitute them in new ways, for example to increase efficacy by 30%. Because multinationals don’t compete on each other’s products, we are the only company selling all of the key building blocks, making it easier for us to introduce novel combinations for growing a clean and healthy crop. We have also developed novel formulations that work at significantly reduced dose rates. Q: How have you grown and developed the business? NM: I started Life Scientific from a room on the University

College Dublin (UCD) campus in 1995 and it quickly became the first Good Laboratory Practice facility in Ireland, offering contract product development services to agrochemical and pharmaceutical clients. Over time, we established the product development capability for generics and, by 2011, the company had successfully pivoted from being a service provider to developing and selling our own products. Today, Life Scientific employs over 80 people and has a portfolio of 62 registered products sold in five countries. We have achieved 50% revenue growth to €60m in the last financial year. 14

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Q: What key lessons have you learned

as CEO of Life Scientific? NM: Only the best will do when

“ONLY

THE BEST WILL DO

WHEN ATTRACTING AND RETAINING THE TEAM. IT IS THE TEAM WHICH HAS BROUGHT THE COMPANY TO WHERE IT IS NOW, HAS

SHAPED OUR PATH AND WILL DEFINE

FUTURE SUCCESS”.

attracting and retaining the team. It is the team which has brought the company to where it is now, has shaped our path and will define future success. Our company culture is based on shared leadership and matching responsibility with expertise to create a flexible, collaborative environment for a uniquely productive and enjoyable work experience. More than half of the team are scientists, based at our headquarters in Belfield Office Park near the UCD campus. I recruited many of these scientists myself and within an instant got the sense they were winners, able to see through the confusion of our formative years and happy to be thrown in at the deep end. They make all the hardship worthwhile on days when the whole world seems to be conspiring against you. Simply knowing that if your team can’t do it, then nobody can, is what makes you jump out of bed the next day, all fired up and armed with a brand new set of tactics. Q: Where would you like to be with

Life Scientific in five years’ time? NM: Earning annual revenues of €250m

with a billion dollar valuation and ultimately to emerge as the single biggest disrupter/challenger in our industry. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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JOB CREATION COMPANY: QVIA COMPANY: Transact Campus Inc

SECTOR: Services

LOCATION: Dublin

COMPANY: Qualcomm Technologies

ANNOUNCEMENT: QVIA, a global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions and clinical research services to the life sciences industry is creating 170 remote jobs throughout Ireland before the end of March to monitor the safety of Covid-19 vaccines.

SECTOR: Software LOCATION: Limerick City ANNOUNCEMENT: Transact Campus Inc, an integrated payment and credential software solutions provider for campus environments, is to create 110 new jobs in Limerick City Centre. This next-generation digital campus project will serve as the company’s international headquarters.

SECTOR: Microelectronics LOCATION: Cork City ANNOUNCEMENT: Qualcomm Technologies is to establish a research and development facility in Cork City. The multimillioneuro, four-year investment is expected to create hundreds of highly skilled engineering roles. The project significantly enhances the reputation of the Irish semiconductor industry.

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

COMPANY: Flipdish SECTOR: Digital solutions

COMPANY: Harmac SECTOR: Medical products

LOCATION: Dublin

LOCATION: Castlerea, Co Roscommon

ANNOUNCEMENT: Irish digital food-ordering solution Flipdish has announced the creation of 300 jobs, 100 of which were created in 2020. The remaining 200 roles will be filled by December 2021, with 50 roles being hired for immediately.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Harmac has announced a major investment in its facility in Castlerea, as it accelerates the manufacturing of surgical masks and non-invasive ventilation products, creating 60 new roles. Established in 1998, the facility performs functions such as prototyping, automation, product re-engineering and R&D.

COMPANY: Microsoft

SECTOR: LOCATION: Technology Dublin ANNOUNCEMENT: Tech giant Microsoft is creating 200 engineering roles to strengthen its existing Dublin-based team of over 600 highly skilled engineers. It has also unveiled details and images of its new 27m Engineering Hub at its campus in Leopardstown.

Desire for diversity and inclusion among employees on the rise Over half (53%) of Irish employees would like to see their employer have a voice on prominent diversity and inclusion (D&I) issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, according to research published by Hays Ireland. Overall, the survey of 800 employers and employees suggests that organisations in Ireland may lose out on talent if they fail to invest in diversity and inclusion strategies that reflect today’s societal discourse.

KEY FINDINGS

71%

of employees said that an organisation’s D&I policies were important to them when considering a role

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26%

of employees have at some point decided against a role because they didn’t feel the organisation was a pro D&I employer.

62%

of all respondents said they would consider changing roles if their employer did not publicly support campaigns promoting diversity and equality

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COVER STORY

REAL INNOVATION CULTURE Instead of bandying it about as a term, BearingPoint has made innovation a core part of its identity by both thoroughly involving its people and developing its own intellectual property and unique methodologies and techniques.

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The

term ‘innovation’ is becoming more and more common in how companies describe themselves, how they work and what they offer to their customers. For Eric Conway, Partner and outgoing Country Leader for Ireland at BearingPoint, it’s actually becoming an irritant. “People just throw in words such as innovation, change and digital transformation for sport, when they don’t really know what real innovation is, how to promote it, measure it or track the benefits,” he says. “Often innovation is not the idea, it is the technique to get there. An obvious example is looking at the internal operations and functions of a well-established organisation and asking them to consider how a new, rapidly growing technology firm would and does perform the same tasks. The established firms have much to learn from new companies that were able to design processes with a blank canvas, allowing for new technologies and fewer barriers based on their ‘this is how we do’ attitude.”

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WE DON’T JUST LISTEN TO ‘THE EXPERT’ OR ACCEPT ‘IF IT’S NOT BROKEN DON’T FIX IT’. WE PROMOTE DIVERSITY AND ALTERNATIVE THINKING. QUITE OFTEN, WE ADD PEOPLE TO A PROJECT THAT HAVE LESS KNOWLEDGE ON A GIVEN TOPIC, PROCESS OR INDUSTRY TO BRING A PERSPECTIVE FROM ANOTHER ANGLE.”

Eric Conway, Partner and outgoing Country Leader for Ireland, BearingPoint

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Employing over 4,300 people globally, and 300 in Ireland, BearingPoint is an independent management and technology consultancy with European roots and global reach. Its clients include many of the world's leading companies and government organisations. Led by Conway, the senior management team at BearingPoint in Ireland has made a conscious effort to create a culture and environment that allows for continuous improvement – which is essentially the backbone of its approach to driving innovation. “Every now and then you will completely innovate and change and improve how an activity, process, technology or product is created or delivered. However, most of the time you’re just trying to figure out how to make significant continuous improvements that justify the ways you’re working and the fact you’re breaking tradition, questioning the norm and not accepting that what you’re improving is already optimised,” Conway explains. BearingPoint goes about creating the ideal environment and culture to support this in various ways. Teams are given the headspace to think, explore, debate and reflect without predetermined outcomes being forced. “It is not a case that ‘no idea is a bad idea’, it is more that we allow staff the airtime to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions. We value everyone’s input and encourage participation,” says Conway. “We don’t just listen to ‘the expert’ or accept ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’. We promote diversity and alternative thinking. Quite often, we add people to a project that have less knowledge on a given topic, process or industry to bring a perspective from another angle.” BearingPoint measures, quantifies and rewards innovation. Its people are encouraged to get involved in communities of interest, innovation workshops and 18

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Eric Conway, Partner and outgoing Country Leader for Ireland, BearingPoint

idea generation sessions. For example, it runs monthly ‘shark tank’ innovation forums where teams work together to come up with an improvement that can be used internally or for clients, or to suggest a new product or service. “We select and reward the winners, bring the new ideas to market and seek feedback from staff on a very regular basis,” says Conway. “It’s one thing to talk about innovation, but it works a lot better if your staff are familiar with the use of modern techniques to facilitate it. Most of our staff are more than comfortable with techniques such as design sprint, design thinking and Lightning Decision Jam.” INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY PUSH Around ten years ago, BearingPoint got serious about intellectual property (IP) and progressing its innovations into software products. It has a dedicated business unit called BearingPoint Business Services (BBS), which is focused on the creation of new IP, software products, solutions and technology accelerators. Ireland has recently been added as the firm’s fourth centre of excellence for technology IP development. Having its own IP and a catalogue of technology enablers has changed the game for the firm, according to Conway. “Not only has this made us more creative and ambitious in nature and mindset, it has also allowed us to differentiate from our competitors,” he explains. “Across the firm we have seen double-digit growth in all of our metrics in the past five years. The Dublin practice is no exception where we have over ten customers in Ireland using InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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TWO-WAY STREET:

our international RegTech software, for example.” In the BBS unit, BearingPoint has around 25 software solutions with typically 10 to 200 customers each. First created over ten years ago, the Emission Calculator solution is part of this suite of products. It allows an organisation to calculate, report and model all of its carbon footprint in the full life cycle of a product or all carbon emissions related to business activities such as travel or supply chain. The tracking can be done right down to every minor component of a product where the customer can model changes and adjustments in real time on an advanced analytic user interface. Implemented by some of the best-known global brands that are leading the charge in sustainability innovation, such as Ikea and Nike, the Emission Calculator has really taken off across Europe. BearingPoint is now starting to position it in Ireland with a local team recently trained up and educating the target market here. “The product meets the new EU regulations for carbon calculations. Therefore, in Ireland we are working to make the solution a utility where multiple companies can use it to centrally report and present summary reports to regulatory authorities,” says Conway. “The Emission Calculator is a unique offering in the market. There is no other solution that provides the same range of functionality. Other well-known software firms are now starting to develop pilot solutions for sustainability and carbon emissions management but have some way to go.” EMBRACING THE FUTURE Looking ahead, BearingPoint plans to continue to grow its presence in each of the 23 countries it operates in, in particular China and the US, and to expand into a select number of new countries. On 1 January, Conway took on the role of Regional Leader at BearingPoint, with responsibility for seven of the firm’s well-established European InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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countries: Ireland, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. “While BearingPoint is quite progressive in terms of knowledge and people sharing from one country to the next, my ambition is to further align the seven countries and continue to improve collaboration. Since Covid-19, our customers are starting to place less of an emphasis on having our consultants onsite and in the room. This means it is far more acceptable and welcome to engage people from other BearingPoint countries,” he says. When Conway took over the management of the Irish practice over three years ago, he had a genuine ambition to make it the best possible place to work for the staff. An example of this in action was during the Covid-19 lockdown, when the firm really turned up its focus on staff wellbeing. In addition to sending all employees items such as new desks, chairs, monitors and hampers, it started activities including online cooking classes, Zumba classes and boxercise fitness sessions. “The boxercise was a bit special as we made it available to staff in all 23 countries and engaged professional boxing and health and wellbeing coach Eric Donovan to take the classes. It was pretty cool and motivating to complete three months of lunchtime fitness classes with Eric and then watch him fight live on Sky Sports Box Office with BearingPoint’s brand on his gear,” says Conway. Donovan has since become BearingPoint’s official ‘Health and Wellbeing Brand Ambassador’. Conway notes: “Eric’s focus on continuous improvement, ambition, innovation, hard work and honesty match very well with our values, ways of working and inclusive mindset.”

Leinster Rugby Partnership As ‘Official Innovation Partner’ of Leinster Rugby, BearingPoint has supported the sporting organisation with a range of initiatives and projects in technology, collaboration and analytics – such as the implementation of its new customer relationship management solution, bringing novel ways to engage the supporter base. Another mutually beneficial initiative has been Leinster and Ireland rugby players taking up roles on BearingPoint projects. This allows the players to get real exposure and experience of business consulting. In turn, for BearingPoint and its customers, the players bring ideas, energy, work ethic and a real focus on results-driven methods of working. For example, Leinster players James Tracy and Peter Dooley have been involved in launching BearingPoint’s Emissions Calculator solution in Ireland and Billy Dardis (Ireland’s Rugby Seven’s captain) is working on BearingPoint’s annual Digital Leaders Study. On occasion, BearingPoint executives travel with the team to international games and witness how the players review their own performance and analyse every component of the game afterwards. “Watching this happen and the team dynamics around it has been great. Finding ways to take some of their techniques into BearingPoint is innovation in action,” says Eric Conway, Partner and outgoing Country Leader for Ireland at BearingPoint. “When you sit down with people like Head Coach Leo Cullen and have a conversation about leadership, motivation and team dynamics, it’s impossible not to pick up nuggets of information that are transferable to our business.”

Gillian O’Sullivan took over the management of BearingPoint’s Irish practice this month and is pioneering female leadership within a large international management and technology consultancy in Ireland (see Movers & Shakers, page 8).

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

The use of software and technology to support human resources management has never been more critical than it was in 2020, writes DEREK NAGLE.

HR eternity

FROM

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

Covid-19 has presented many challenges to businesses across Ireland since the pandemic reached these shores – not least the one posed by human resources (HR) management as more and more employees are forced to work from home. Some companies have particularly embraced this sea change with new and innovative solutions that benefit both employer and employee. Anthony Cronin is founder of Waterford-based Flexiwage. He started the company in 2016 after working for some of the world’s leading payroll service providers for many years, including ADP, SafeGuardWorld International and CoreHR. From a business perspective, the hardship and difficulties that Covid-19 brought with it are not something that Cronin wishes to experience again, but feels that the pandemic also inspired an unprecedented level of smart tech creativity and innovation. “Employers were proactive in the push to quickly adapt to new and better ways to communicate, connect and engage with teams, to support working from home and to deal with very dynamic changes in wage supplement implementation, staffing levels disruption and business contingency,” he says. The idea for Flexiwage came from Cronin identifying the difficulties some workers were experiencing in managing their finances across a monthly period, particularly amongst younger workers and those in lower paid jobs. This was adversely affecting their financial wellness as well as having the further negative effect of people seeking short-term costly credit to see them through to pay day.

Anthony Cronin, Founder, Flexiwage

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

INTO THE CLOUD The following are some key findings from the Accenture report ‘Sky High Hopes: Navigating the Barriers to Maximising Cloud Value’ published in November:

37%

of companies say they are achieving the full value expected on their cloud investments

45%

of IT and business leaders gave a ‘Very Satisfied’ rating on their cloud outcomes

54%

of CEOs are completely confident in their organisation’s ability to deliver cloud initiatives with the expected value at the expected time

46%

of high adopters report fully achieving their expected cloud benefits, compared to 36% of moderate adopters and 28% of low adopters

SMART INNOVATION Noticing how the worldwide introduction of a monthly pay system over 30 years ago contributed to a rise in debt and short-term credit, Cronin was keen to find an innovation that was smart, simple and benefitted both employers and staff. A financial activity tracker for employees, Flexiwage is a game changer in payroll, he believes: “Allowing employees to determine their own wage frequency while employers can still run a monthly payroll has not just commercial value to the company in how it saves it money but also boosts employee engagement by providing and supporting greater choice, control and financial wellbeing,” he says. “Flexiwage allows individuals to schedule their income in a pay frequency that suits their needs without impacting a company’s ability to pay monthly.” Software developed by Flexiwage can be applied to an employer’s payroll system and can reduce their administration costs by up to 75%. Developers believe it has the potential to revolutionise the industry, being the first major innovation in the payroll world in 30 years. Since 2019 the company has signed up a

number of large international clients including Eurofins and Voxpro. It recently secured a 20-year US patent on its self-scheduled salary software. The process took four years overall and represents a major milestone for the company, which plans to open an office in Boston in the US in early 2021. INCREASINGLY RELEVANT When Covid-19 hit, Flexiwage recognised that functionality had become more acutely relevant overnight as individual workers had to navigate the financial challenges impacting their income and household earnings. The company was proud to play its part in supporting clients and their staff members, many of whom were essential workers during the Covid-19 period. The increased pace of implementation schedules, the sense of urgency, the inclusive communications processes and willingness of all stakeholders to adapt to change, new practices and technologies impressed Cronin greatly. Cronin is quite clear on what is driving the latest trend in payroll technology: “The costs associated with running payroll on a weekly basis have become unsustainable for the most part. Businesses that outsource the function

“WE ARE RESPONDING TO THE NEED FOR MORE AND MORE SUPPORT USING ONLINE TECHNOLOGIES. THESE TOOLS WERE ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO US BUT NOW THEY HAVE BEEN ACCELERATED WITH THE DAY-TO-DAY DEMAND AND INTERACTION WE HAVE WITH OUR CLIENTS IN THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT.” currently can pay up to €5 per person and when payroll is run weekly within an SME or large-scale business, the cost is significant. But we are hugely encouraged by the moves towards investing in employee engagement and wellness initiatives, which is where Flexiwage fits in, providing benefits and value-added services that boost employee satisfaction and productivity as a result.”

Philip Carney, CEO, The HR Company

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DATA ANALYTICS DRIVE Philip Carney, CEO of The HR Company in Sandyford, Dublin notes that a lot of the latest trends in HR and technology are now driven through data analytics. As companies continue to explore their raw data and data needs, solutions will be found through the advent of technology, he says. “We have seen the phenomenal growth InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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INDUSTRY FEATURE

of Zoom and Microsoft Teams as well as online recruitment assessments using tools such as the ‘Predictive Indicator’. We have also seen significant growth in resolving employee disputes online through the Workplace Relations Commission, as well as an increase in performing medical assessments and employment development programmes remotely.” Carney is quick to recognise the role of technology in solving various challenges from a HR perspective. Ready access to personal data held on work-related systems means some staff members have the option to complete personal work outside normal working hours. He cites signing a Terms and Conditions of Employment through DocuSign or similar platforms as a prime example. Others include staff updating their personal data on their organisation’s cloud-hosted HR database, such as a change of address, reviewing pension entitlements through a pension platform or adding additional children to their medical plans. There is also the option to complete employee online surveys and send questions to ‘Ask your HR Expert’ as they arise. As far as Covid-19 is concerned, apart from the growth of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, Carney expects to see a growth in the area of mental health awareness from the continued drive for home working. Because the world of work has changed so dramatically in recent months, The HR Company had to respond accordingly. “We are responding to the need for more and more support using online technologies. These tools were always available to us but now they have been accelerated with the day-to-day demand and interaction we have with our clients in the current environment,” says Carney. “We are developing tools from inception such as our Gender Pay Gap application, a new tool designed to proactively address this issue. In addition, we are continuing to expand our data protection offering to support SMEs in managing both internal HR records as well as the data they share with their various vendors.” A CONTINUING TREND Seamus Byrne, Director of Dublin-based Sapient and Vice President, EMEA of SNP Communications feels it is very likely that tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom will continue in the post-pandemic world. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

020 InBUSINESS Winter 2020_Industry Feature_V1_REV.indd 23

Seamus Byrne, Director, Sapient and Vice President, EMEA of SNP Communications

These tools represent a viable and costeffective alternative to being in the office, particularly for meetings and training. “SNP Communications has conducted thousands of virtual workshops since March, using Zoom or similar, aimed at equipping employees with the skills and confidence to engage, collaborate and sell in the virtual world,” he notes. “Working from home means ‘water cooler interaction’ has all but disappeared. By getting employees from across the organisation into two-hour workshops, companies can improve cross-functional interaction and collaboration, while also ensuring their employees are more competent and confident when engaging over video.” Byrne also notes that training sessions are now typically shorter – usually two hours is the maximum – so it may be difficult for full-day and multiple-day training to become the norm again in 2021 and beyond. Physical location is no longer an issue because everyone is in the same place, on the computer screen, normally working from home. But there is another issue: “Time zones are still a challenge, but it’s not uncommon to see people from San Francisco to Singapore, Belgium to Brazil in the same workshop. That would have been highly unusual and prohibitively expensive in 2019, but in an age of social distancing, this new ‘proximity’ can provide many collateral benefits,” notes Byrne.

CIPD HR PRACTICES IN IRELAND SURVEY 2020 – TECH FINDINGS There is a continued emphasis on HR technology as a central priority. This increased from of respondents in 2019 to in 2020

22% 29%

26%

of respondents disagreed with the statement that HR can influence a peoplecentred approach to technology

When it came to improving existing levels of expertise and knowledge, the main areas survey respondents mentioned were HR/People analytics and technology (22%) and legislation and regulation(13%).

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MENTORS

MENTOR: KINGSLEY AIKINS

NURTURING NETWORKS 24

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Throughout his extensive career, networking has been at the heart of everything CEO of The Networking Institute Kingsley Aikins has done. Since Covid-19, he has discovered a ‘whole new tribe’ in adapting to the virtual world we all now operate in, writes EITHNE DUNNE.

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

21/12/2020 09:59


MENTORS

To KINGSLEY AIKINS ON.... THE PROS OF COVID-19 NETWORKING “You’re not geographically restricted; you can connect with anyone in the world at any time. You’re saving lot of time and money and reducing your carbon footprint. Everyone is available, because no one can go anywhere. I get calls asking if I’m available next week. I usually say ‘Of course!’” THE CONS OF COVID-19 NETWORKING “I miss the face-to-face contact, the coffees, the randomness and the serendipity. I also miss the humour; I find it doesn’t translate well to webinars.”

say that Kingsley Aikins knows a thing or two about networking would be an almost laughable understatement. The Networking Institute CEO lives and breathes it, and has done for decades. It’s a craft he honed through many years working on trade promotion, philanthropy and diaspora engagement all over the world, perhaps most notably during his 21-year stint as head of The Ireland Funds in the US, during which he raised US$250m for Irish projects. He also spent a decade in Sydney, Australia working for the Irish Trade Board and IDA Ireland, and received a CBE for his work on BritishIrish relations. Now back in Dublin for what he calls the ‘third act’ of his career, Aikins is passing on his networking knowhow to both individual and corporate clients through The Networking Institute, which he founded in 2010. Deceptively powerful and oft-underestimated, networking is a skill you sideline at your peril. And it’s not just Aikins who beats this particular drum; various research studies have suggested that it’s networking – and not necessarily knowledge directly related to your job – that turns a mediocre career into a dream-fulfilling one. As Aikins puts it, it’s the “glue that makes everything happen”. It’s also, he says, an essential key to survive and thrive in challenging times – just like the ones we find ourselves in now. RADICAL RETHINK Covid-19 turned The Networking Institute on its head earlier this year; the business went to zero overnight in February, losing all of its workshop and presentation contracts in one fell swoop. Cue a fundamental rethink of how the business operated, and what the CEO calls a ‘low-tech and high-tech’ approach.

MAKING YOUR OWN LUCK “You could be on the side of a pitch coaching GAA and, as long as you’re open and alert to it, you could be networking. Random chance doesn’t happen sitting at your desk; you can make luck happen for you. Be aware of it all the time, particularly if you’re a small operator.” NETWORKING AND HAPPINESS “People with strong networks live longer, earn more and are happy. I think the great crisis of our times is not Covid-19 – because that will pass – it’s loneliness. Technology is great, but you’re alone in front of a screen, and when you think back on your life, will your happiest days have been those you spent alone, or with others?”

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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Kingsley Aikins, CEO, The Networking Institute

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MENTORS

“We first audited our network, looked at our key connections and started making calls and sending emails to let people know what we were doing. We then embraced LinkedIn as our social media of choice. The reason is that, globally, over 700 million people have made information about their work, education and interests available there,” he says. The high-tech aspect of the company’s approach saw it publishing articles and videos on LinkedIn and making its first foray into what would become its saving grace – webinars. It has now done 80 of these since March, including one with Shannon Chamber. The institute’s experience this year is proof positive that there are alternative ways of doing things, even if they’re not your first choice, and the same can be said for networking successfully in the times we live in. “We just have to network differently, and use all the online opportunities we have,” says Aikins. “That’s why ‘zooming’, which no one had heard of before, is now in the lexicon. There’s turbulence right now but there’s also opportunity.” In a classic example of the power of networking, Aikins was doing a webinar for the Singapore Chamber of Commerce earlier this year, and one of the people on the call was an Irish lawyer working for an international law firm there. Aikins got talking to him, secured an introduction to a contact in the law firm’s London office and, two conversations later, is planning six webinars for that firm. “If I had contacted this law firm directly, I wouldn’t have got past first base,” he says. “But now we have a substantial amount of work from them.” This speaks to what Aikins has dubbed the “whole new tribe” he has made connections with this year, despite – or perhaps because of – Covid-19. PERSONAL BRANDING Aikins firmly believes that networking is an essential tool for anyone with ambitions for their careers, and notes that many companies are now recognising the importance of hiring wellconnected people. “They want to ‘hire and wire’, ie hire people, and wire into their network; they see this as an asset,” he says. So when you go to a job interview, don’t kid yourself that they’re just looking for qualifications, experience and a firm handshake. They also want to know who you know. “This is the world of the gig economy, and you 26

024 InBUSINESS Winter 2020_Mentors_V1.indd 26

“WE JUST HAVE TO

NETWORK DIFFERENTLY, AND USE ALL THE

ONLINE OPPORTUNITIES

WE HAVE. THAT’S WHY ‘ZOOMING’, WHICH NO ONE HAD HEARD OF BEFORE, IS NOW IN THE LEXICON. THERE’S TURBULENCE RIGHT NOW BUT THERE’S ALSO OPPORTUNITY.”

have to think about your personal brand. You need to become known for something, build a reputation. Your reputation is what someone says about you when you’re not around,” notes Aikins. He says people today may move through 20 different jobs in their careers, many of which won’t be advertised but filled through connections to the right people. “Your network is portable, it does not go out of date and it goes with you throughout your career.” LESSONS LEARNED When Aikins first went to Sydney all those years ago, he knew no-one, but was determined to practise what he now preaches by building a strong and diverse network from the ground up. He started with a tenuous connection (his mother’s neighbour’s son, who lived there at the time), asking him for an introduction to the local Irish business network. “He said there was none, so 13 of us got together and started one. We called it the InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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MENTORS

good networker,” notes Aikins. When reflecting on your existing network, Aikins says the question to ask is: does my network reflect the diversity of the society I live in? “For most, the answer is no. We all have a tendency to hang around with people like ourselves, but it’s really important that you bring elements into your life that allow you to meet non-likeminded people.” That shouldn’t be too difficult, even if your network is mainly based in Ireland, particularly the capital. “When I grew up in Dublin, it was male, pale and stale,” says Aikins. “Now 33% of the working-age population here were not born in Ireland, so it’s an intensely cosmopolitan city.”

Kingsley Aikins, CEO, The Networking Institute

Lansdowne Road Club, because we used to play rugby,” he recalls. The club dropped ‘Road’ from its title somewhere along the way, but it thrived, and last year Aikins flew to Sydney to help mark its 30th anniversary. The Lansdowne Club now has 2,000 members and is the biggest Irish business network in the world. The club’s formation was also the impetus for major opportunities in Aikins’ career. As he says himself, “one conversation can change your life”; in his case, that conversation was with legendary businessman and former head of Independent News & Media Tony O’Reilly. Aikins had written to O’Reilly asking him to head up the Lansdowne Club. “He said yes, asked me was I free for lunch, and I ended up working for him for 21 years on The Ireland Funds.” He learned much about networking from O’Reilly and others, including The Ireland Funds co-founder and former US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney. “Hang around a good networker, and guess what you’ll become? A InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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A NETWORKING CULTURE Companies that recognise the power of networking need to embrace it by training their staff in it, and encouraging them to develop an online identity, in Aikins’ view. “They should budget for this, and open up their organisation to lots of different types of people. Before Covid-19, there was a big problem with the attraction and retention of talented staff. Firms have to create an enabling environment which makes it attractive for people to be there. In the old days, companies outlived people, now people outlive companies.” Businesses that have taken this on board subscribe to the notion of ‘network intelligence’ – in other words, that there are more smart people outside your company than inside, and you can tap into this resource. You don’t have to become a whizz at networking overnight, far from it. Even the smallest moves towards a better network can have an impact far beyond the effort it takes to make them. “Life is a game of inches, and the difference between success and failure can be tiny,” says Aikins. He’s a firm believer in the theory of marginal gains – the idea that small nudges in a certain direction can tip you over into much larger successes. Aikins himself experienced this often when working with IDA Ireland trying to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). “If we got an FDI deal, great, but if we came a very close second, we got nothing. If you improve what you’re doing by 1%, you don’t get 1% more, you get 100% more,” he says. 27

21/12/2020 10:00


SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

software to analyse their diets. The programmes kept crashing, their databases were lacking and they couldn’t be accessed online or at home. Everything had to be done on the same computer in a specific computer lab. I couldn’t give these athletes back anything particularly useful. So I built my own

food database in Excel, typing in hundreds of food types, until I could analyse their diets a lot more effectively. Ciaran, who is a software engineer, offered to help and together we envisioned a solution that could analyse every component of foods from nutrition to allergens

to costs - and provide this information to our customers in a way that empowers them to make better food choices. Q: What would you say is different and compelling about what you do? DOK: Nutritics believes in a future where accurate and reliable information about

T R HOU O F D G O H O

T

F

Q: Why did you and Ciaran decide to set up Nutritics as a company? DOK: It all started from a sense of frustration. I was working with athletes training for the Commonwealth Games as part of my master’s degree in sport and exercise nutrition and using industry standard

u Fo an

28

nd te d ed ra u se rel by c ve iab bro ac s in g ra le the n n l s fo eri atio ars. v i ec od rs Da l s e i e tor inf mia on d organ en y s, r orm n and s u c v g e esu atio ’ fo Ciaran O ’Kelly, Nutritics -thinkin ast s n ltin p d r g in has been em braced by forwa over the impr essive i InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020 nternational growth

028 InBUSINESS Winter 2020_Small Business Profile_V1.indd 28

21/12/2020 10:01


en

No

Q: How has the business grown and were there some key breakthrough moments? DOK: Since 2013, Nutritics has quickly grown to be the food information management software of choice for clients across more than 165 countries. Early in our journey, we were fortunate to have InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

028 InBUSINESS Winter 2020_Small Business Profile_V1.indd 29

the support of some great both our direct online clients who saw our vision software-as-a-service for the product and wanted sales to the SME sector to be a part of what we were and developing out our doing. In the education local presence to serve space, Oxford University large corporates. was our first client which The key element to both opened the door to a strategies is localisation. number of UK universities. For every new territory On the sports side, we we enter, we have built started working with the specific local websites, English Institute of Sport added local foods, and their athletes translated into the as part of their local language preparation for the and regularly Rio Olympic cycle. delivered local These clients content to brought us build up instant trust credibility with our within clients their and respective show sectors and them allowed us to that we’re Ci ara s c i expand quickly. committed to t nO i ’Kelly, CTO, Nutr Our early focus on their region. This the education, healthcare allows us to be different, and sport markets changed speak our clients’ language overnight when an EU and show them that we law was introduced in are passionate about 2014 that mandated all their region. To date, over food operators to provide 95% of our sales are to allergen information for the export markets. food they serve. Our food data catered for this, so we Q: How important were quickly able to pivot has it been to build and provide the foodservice relationships with sector with the information regulators? they needed. DOK: Regulatory alignment is an This combination of important part of our regulatory changes and some international growth great early client wins gave strategy. Interestingly, us the platform to grow into we have found that the UK. Word spread quickly the benefit accrues to and three years later, we both Nutritics and the had established distribution regulator when we form bases in Australia, the United these partnerships. Arab Emirates (UAE), the Regulators can enjoy US and South Africa. a greater level of food law compliance across Q: Can you outline your their region by ensuring exporting strategy and that the software used what makes it effective? by the industry is up DOK: Nutritics’ export to date with their latest growth ambitions are recommendations. focused on maximising

el ly, CE O, N ut

h Step

the food we consume is available when it matters most – a future where la allergy n, CO sufferers O, N utritics can safely rely on the information their restaurant is providing, an athlete can use nutrition as their competitive advantage and patients can use food as their best medicine. There is a simple secret to our success: Every Nutritics team member is driven by a deep-rooted passion, determination and desire to deliver accurate and reliable food information to the world when it matters most. We are obsessed with growing the business and making it a global success. Despite selling into multiple markets, one of our key differentiators is localisation. At the core of every investment and product decision is a desire to make the client feel that we are just down the road from them. From our office in Dublin, we have developed localisation strategies for the US, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa.

ritics

SMALL BUSINESS FEATURE

ian Dam

K O’

We work closely with regulators to ensure that not only does our software facilitate compliance with food law, but that it is then delivered to the end user in an intuitive manner. This assists in meeting the food law compliance requirements for the market and Nutritics benefits from the increased brand exposure. Q: Any other news or expansion plans you can share with us? DOK: Despite the current environment, international growth is still very much on the agenda for the business. We currently have a team of 30 in Dublin alongside our UK, Australian, UAE and US business development teams and our plan is to increase this as quickly as we can. Alongside this, Nutritics was shortlisted for the ‘Outstanding Achievement in International Growth Award’ at the Technology Ireland Industry Awards 2020 for the second year running. This comes on the back of Nutritics being named as Ireland’s leading high potential exporter at the Irish Export Awards in 2018.

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MEDIA & MARKETING

DIGITAL DEXTERITY

Niamh Haughey Co-founder, Frank & Bear

David Connor, Co-founder, Frank & Bear

IN Speed is of the essence now for brands when implementing digital advertising and marketing strategies and new player Frank & Bear has come up with a fresh approach to meet this demand, writes DEREK NAGLE.

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030 InBUSINESS Winter 2020_Media_Marketing_V1.indd 30

2007 David Connor founded digital agency eightytwenty in Dublin at a time when few companies were considering digital as anything more than just a channel. While there, he worked with leading international brands such as Guinness, Coca-Cola, Nokia, Toyota, Aldi and Bulmers, helping them to adapt to the rapidly changing digital world. “Over this time, I experienced several pivotal shifts, from the advent of social networking and marketing on Bebo and the proliferation of Facebook apps to the realisation that the data available to marketers could inform decision making,” he says. “I believe we are now finally starting to see a much more mature digital landscape – one that both enables InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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MEDIA & MARKETING

brand building and sales activation. Many brands are now successfully building their brand and driving sales with a digital-first approach.” Connor sold a 40% stake in eightytwenty to communications group WPP in 2017, completing the sale of his remaining 60% stake this year, which meant leaving the business. Niamh Haughey had joined Connor at eightywenty in 2016 and was responsible for the growth of its strategic team. Her experience is centred on building and leading multi-disciplined digital teams across planning, data and media for in-house brand teams and agencies. Connor and Haughey launched Frank & Bear with a mission to ‘Help brands market at the speed of now’. From their experiences of being independent and subsequently as part of WPP, they have developed a model they believe places them between platform specialists such Facebook and Google, traditional ad agencies and enterprise consultancies. FAST AND FLEXIBLE Instead of hiring for every available digital skill, Frank & Bear has built up a network of experts with specialist skills to support its inhouse digital team. It has a core team of eight staff who are supported by a growing network of freelance digital experts called Ampersand who are themselves managed by Frank & Bear. “This scale gives our clients the deep skills they need to grow quickly, far beyond what any typical agency model could allow for,” argues Connor. Frank & Bear offers a wide range of digital services including digital production (video/ display/social), data-driven insight, social commerce, Amazon marketing and digital strategy development training. So far clients have included Aldi, General Nutrition Centres (GNC), Enterprise Ireland, Opel, Universal Pictures and Uniphar. “The current world context is pushing businesses to make better-informed, faster decisions to survive in a rapidly changing environment,” says Connor. “As businesses begin to shift from the recovery to the renewal phases of Covid-19, many are focused on what comes next and are capitalising on the changes made to the business during the pandemic. Many of our own clients at Frank & Bear have accelerated digital marketing initiatives in the wake of Covid-19 disruption.” InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

030 InBUSINESS Winter 2020_Media_Marketing_V1.indd 31

Burger King Sweden’s ‘Cancelled Clown’ digital campaign

INNOVATIVE CAMPAIGNS David Connor, Co-founder of Frank & Bear, cites Burger King Sweden’s ‘Cancelled Clown’ and Reebok’s ‘Be Unexplainable’ as two examples of innovative digital campaigns in recent months. If a customer said ‘Cancelled Clown’ three times in front of the mirror in certain Burger King restrooms in Scandinavia, the lights would dim and a vision of Ronald McDonald would appear. The nightmarish stunt was part of the fast-food chain’s Halloween campaign in Sweden and Denmark, made possible by new voicerecognition software. More recently, Reebok started promoting its first footwear collection inspired by rapper Cardi B in an interactive audio experience on Spotify. The ‘B Unexplainable’ experience in the streaming platform’s desktop app lets users of its free service mix 40-second beats that include Cardi B’s catchphrases and download them to play again. Cardi B recorded audio ads that urge listeners to visit the online soundboard experience and start mixing beat tracks. “As audio becomes smarter, it’s possible we will start to see a far more personalised audio marketing experience,” says Connor.

One example is food supplement company GNC, which expanded into Europe in a matter of weeks with the help of Frank & Bear’s digital expertise. “There was no lengthy recruitment process or onboarding – we instantly called upon the people already within our Ampersand network and they got to work under our management,” Connor explains. “From our point of view this is a much more sustainable agency model. If client work slows down, or is less predictable, we don’t need to scramble to reassign our inhouse team to other workstreams.” PACE OF ADOPTION One question Connor and Haughey frequently hear when discussing digital marketing strategy is, ‘Why is this digitalisation different from digital prior to Covid-19?’. “The answer is the pace of adoption. With a potentially short window of time before a resurgence of the virus or other related disruption, businesses and their respective marketing departments need to act quickly,” says Connor. Something they’ve particularly noticed in recent months is the divide between businesses that have a desire to execute a oneoff digital strategy and the organisations that either have multiple strategies or no digital strategy at all. With the pace of adoption increasing, it’s more important than ever to have a plan to be more effective. With this in mind, he expects to see more agility and flexibility in digital marketing, citing the example of Coca-Cola, which is building on what it has learned from operating largely in the digital space over the past few months. “The lockdown period had shown Coca Cola how digital has been very much able to reach its consumers in many different forms. In the near future, it will be focusing on real-time content production, streaming and distribution,” he says. “Brand building is even more important in a digital world than it was in the old economy. Of course, most marketers have learned completely the wrong lesson. They’ve seen the efficiency of short-term activation and put all of their money into that. But, in fact, what they should be doing is making digital activation work efficiently by supporting it with broad-reach, emotional brand building.” 31

22/12/2020 16:58


INNOVATION AND TECH

INNOVATION

ANDTECH

A recent webinar has highlighted how spin-out companies from universities are focused on solving real-world problems and using technology to make lives better.

IGNITING IDEAS

The 450

attendees of the Ignite Autumn Awards and Showcase webinar heard pitches from nine start-up founders graduating from the programme, as well as start-ups that joined the programme earlier in the year and those that were just beginning their start-up journey with Ignite. Founded in 2011, Ignite is a 12-month start-up incubation programme that supports recent graduate entrepreneurs to develop scalable businesses. It incorporates workshops, seminars and guest speakers and one-to-one supports such as mentors, coaches and consultants to help participants develop the knowledge, skills and attitude to successfully start a business. The winner of the Ignite Award for Best Business at the virtual event in the autumn was Mark O’Sullivan of Neurobell (see panel facing page) while William Nolan of Addaptiv won the Best Business Plan and Best Video Pitch awards. Addaptiv is establishing an Industry 4.0 design and manufacturing centre where it is developing new products along with providing a localised, digital supply chain for its customers, 32

032 InBUSINESS Winter 2020_Innovation_Tech_V1.indd 32

using both plastic and metal 3D printing. Other start-ups featured during the webinar included PowerThruGolf, which is developing a golf club administration management platform and Setlist, a group music sharing platform. “2020 has certainly been an unusual year. But we have seen how hard work and dedication are vital to ensuring a business grows and develops,” said Ignite Director Eamon Curtin. “As with many aspects of society, Ignite has moved online and so too has our awards and showcase event. We are delighted that the Ignite start-ups were able to pitch their business ideas straight to the screen.” Based at University College Cork (UCC), Ignite is open to recent graduates from any third-level institution to work full-time on a scalable start-up idea with potential for commercial or social impact. The programme is funded by Bank of Ireland, Cork City Council, Cork County Council and the Local Enterprise Offices of Cork City and County. Since its inception, the Ignite programme has supported 120 new start-ups and around 150 founders, who have launched companies such as AnaBio Technologies, Yooni, PunditArena and QuickMinutes. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

21/12/2020 10:08


INNOVATION AND TECH HERE IS A FLAVOUR OF THE START-UPS WHICH WERE SUPPORTED IN 2020 THROUGH THE IGNITE PROGRAMME AT UCC TO TURN IDEAS INTO COMMERCIAL REALITY:

Comh – data aiding anxiety Founded by Conor Organ, Comh relieves unnecessary anxiety through reflective journaling and data. It uses data from Apple Health to make suggestions and help improve mental wellbeing over time.  The idea for the business came about when Organ was in his final year of a Bachelor in Science at University of Limerick and was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Spotting a gap for a technology-based solution, he started by talking to the target market through surveys and interviews before building out a first version of the app.  “This allowed me to test certain aspects and build something users want,” he says.  The app is currently in open beta in the iOS App Store. Organ wants Comh to be the main place for people to come to for their mental wellness needs and data. 

Conor Organ

Neurobell – real-time diagnostic support Neurobell is developing a diagnostic medical device for the early detection and monitoring of brain injuries in newborns. Founded by Mark O’Sullivan, Neurobell aims to help diagnose newborn brain injury, which results in the death or disability of more than a million infants around the world each year. O’Sullivan is a PhD research student in the INFANT Research Centre and Embedded Systems Research Group in UCC.  Early identification of brain injury in newborns is vital as the therapeutic window in which treatment is most effective is less than six hours after the injury. It is very difficult to diagnose, typically requiring complex electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring equipment and expertise. Neurobell’s solution is a pocket-sized, wireless EEG device that can be easily applied within minutes by a wide range of medical staff, offering the ability to provide real-time diagnostic decision support.  The idea behind the device evolved while O’Sullivan was researching EEG signals produced in the brain and how, through monitoring and processing them, he could come up with better methods of detecting brain injury. Mark O’Sullivan

TechWalk.io – up-skilling without a screen

Alex Thomas

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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Available on a mobile app, website and Amazon Alexa, TechWalk.io is a voice-first e-learning platform to help people up-skill in areas such as software engineering and cloud computing without using a screen. It was set up by Alex Thomas who got his initial inspiration when he was looking for technical information he could listen to when preparing for his exams at Cork Institute of Technology. A software engineer specialising in AWS Cloud, he recently brought the business live and will be targeting the US market in 2021.  “Right now our content will be specifically geared around cloud training, but in the future we will open that up to other areas which seem suitable to audio-based learning,” he says. “I would like TechWalk to be the one-stopshop to use to learn specific skills while on the move, with content and user experiences geared towards learning without a screen.”

Jen Martin

Author International – high-level English training Author International is a ‘luxury’ corporate communication, confidence and language company, targeted at middle and senior management as well as government ministers and C-suite executives from non-English speaking countries. For founder Jen Martin, the inspiration for Author came about as a result of over a decade working overseas, teaching, training and coaching nonnative English speakers.  “Though the people I worked with were so diverse, as non-native speakers I saw how much they shared in common. Despite the heights they had reached in their respective careers, when it came to communication through English, their confidence was low, which can severely impact high-stakes moments,” she says. As a graduate of Applied Psychology at UCC, Martin’s research on vulnerability and cognitive behavioural psychology enabled her to identify patterns and ways of working that ensure maximum impact with English-language training. She hopes Author will put Ireland on the map as the destination for luxury executive language training. 

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SKILLS& TALENT

T H I GE E L L I E N T

N

TO

PTION

The recent launch of a free online course open to the general public in Ireland has highlighted the growing importance and relevance of artificial intelligence to the future world of work, writes DEREK NAGLE.

U

niversity College Cork (UCC) has introduced a free online course called Elements of AI, which was developed by the University of Helskinki and technology company Reaktor. When it was introduced in Finland, the intention was to teach 1% of the population there the basics of artificial intelligence (AI). Finland subsequently committed to making the course available across EU countries to educate at least 1% of the EU population in AI. This was an agreement reached as part of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU. In Ireland, the programme will be supported by the School of Computer Science and Information

34

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Technology at UCC, led by Prof Barry O’Sullivan and Dr Derek Bridge, with the objective again being to deliver free AI education to at least 1% of the Irish population. Speaking about the launch, O’Sullivan said: “This course is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to really get to understand what AI is all about. It would be really great to see families, friends and co-workers coming together to take this course online. This is a course that is really worthwhile and everyone will find it extremely rewarding. There is no better moment than now to start on your AI journey.” The unique online course is open to all with the option of studying at participants’ own pace to gain a certificate, with the possibility of having their learning recognised by UCC. Course participants can discuss the advantages or otherwise of AI – as well as its strengths and limitations – with other students rather than study in cold isolation, which has become a common theme in the Covid-19 era. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

21/12/2020 10:09


SKILLS AND TALENT

ve Fe e Ne o tw

anager, Techn rk M ol o g y Ir ela n d

TS IC

t lne kil

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InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

GOING UP A LEVEL In May last year, a new €21m SFI Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science was launched, led by University College Dublin, Maynooth University and UL in conjunction with industry partners coordinated by Skillnet Ireland. The centre is training 139 PhD students towards a world-class foundational understanding of applied maths, statistics and machine learning. The most advanced scheme at third level that Skillnet Ireland has been engaged in, it directly complements the existing programmes provided by the organisation in AI and data science. Hundreds of individuals are currently consuming AI-related ICT Skillnet courses across the various engagement points. The majority of industry sectors are represented from financial services, biopharmaceutical and engineering to mobility and technology. The world of business has changed so greatly that technology is a utility that is no longer the domain of just technology companies. Feenan explains the range of AI courses currently on offer to people from all walks of life through ICT Skillnet: “Thanks to funding from Skillnet Ireland we offer several options for both employed and unemployed people. Currently there are three MSc in AI programmes available at UL, NUI Galway and Dublin City University. We have just launched a Foundation Certificate in AI in conjunction with the Women in AI network. As an affiliate academy partner of Cisco, ICT Skillnet is offering access to free online self-paced, self-certified courses in Python and Linux.” AI is no longer a futuristic concept in the world of business, with many getting to grips with its use in no uncertain terms. What was once seen as perhaps an area of intimidation for some less technicallyminded users has become a necessity for future success and survival. As Bridge, Colead Tutor of Elements of AI in Ireland, puts it: “Learn how AI works - It’s clever, but not magic!”.

na

LANDMARK YEAR In 2017 Ireland became the first country in the world to develop an industrydriven MSc in AI with the introduction of the University of Limerick’s (UL) master’s course. That same year a PwC report estimated that AI would boost Ireland’s GDP in 2030 by 11.6%, or €48bn, representing a very significant commercial and economic opportunity for the country. The impact would be mainly driven by product enhancements (7.9% of GDP in 2030) which increase product variety, quality and time saved, it said. The PwC report predicts that there will be significant but varied GDP gains (between 4% and 22% in 2030) across all industry sectors in Ireland as a result of AI. Similar to other European countries, the retail, wholesale trade, accommodation and food services sectors as well as the health, education and public services sectors will be most impacted by 2030. Dave Feenan, Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet Network Manager, defines AI as: “the ability for a machine to replicate the tasks and intelligence associated with a human being”. Although AI has been around for quite a while, its adoption for everyday use unfolded at great speed around five years ago, as technology started to become more ubiquitous. This created the need to develop a talent pipeline to support this emerging technology. To enhance Ireland as a destination of choice for AI projects, investment became obvious. Skillnet Ireland, working with industry partners and IDA Ireland, put a framework in place to support the growth of this talent pipeline. So, why is AI now becoming so much more mainstream in business and industry and how best can it be used? “Today AI transcends all industry sectors from autonomous vehicles, social media platforms, connected health, preventive maintenance and buyer behaviour - to name but a few,” says Feenan. “Understanding the data that you have at your fingertips and then extracting value from that data is the commercial model organisations are seeking to maximise. An example is an airline collecting reservation data that allows algorithms to predict future buying patterns and travel comforts that may be required and then offering destination experiences.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – KEY STATS By 2030, AI will lead to an estimated US$15.7tr, or a

26%

increase in Global GDP (Source: Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study)

41%

of consumers believe AI will improve their lives in some way

(Source: Strategy Analytics)

84%

of global business organisations believe that AI will give them a competitive advantage (Source: Statista)

Since its establishment, over half a million people from over

170 different countries have taken the Elements of AI online course.

40%

Around of participants of the Elements of AI course have been women, more than double the average for computer science courses in general.

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BOOK EXTRACT

“FOR EVERY DOLLAR AND EVERY MINUTE WE INVEST IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE,

WE NEED TO INVEST A DOLLAR AND A MINUTE IN HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS.“ From climate change to Covid-19, we have been faced with hugh issues that have challenged our way of thinking. In her latest book, And Now for the Good News..., Ruby Wax investigates how recent and new developments in technology, education, business, health, food and social change are turning our world into a better place than it’s ever been.

This is an extract from And Now For The Good News… The much-needed tonic for our frazzled world by Ruby Wax, published by Penguin Life, priced €17.55.

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f we have insight and learn to calm our minds, we might be less susceptible to being manipulated by advertising. After all, studies have shown that socially fulfilled people need less money, experience less shame, behave less predictably and act more autonomously. There is already tech for mindfulness; very successful apps such as Headspace and Calm which are used by millions (and worth billions, I’m happy to say) and, no question, these help lasso that mental bucking bronco and calm it down. But eventually you have to take off the training wheels and cold turkey yourself off from the instructions. The discipline of mindfulness is about being alone with your sometimes unbearable thoughts and, with friendly curiosity, observe them without judgement. The idea is ultimately to see them as mental phenomena, like sounds coming and going without any InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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BOOK EXTRACT

Steve Ullathorne

effort, not taking them personally. You can think of them as like a radio station that randomly plays in the background when you haven’t chosen the channel. It’s so easy to get sucked into mass rage, which is the collective weather condition of our culture, making us feel all united in fury, but ultimately being destructive of ourselves and the planet. These mindfulness practices wake us up to the fact that our thoughts are conditioned by a world where our default mindset is materialism and competition. Mindfulness can get to the root of our insecurities that lie behind our fear and loneliness. I said before that so far our biology can’t keep up with the technology so what we need now are well-meaning coders to build hardware that can help us evolve our own software. Yuval Noah Harari says, ‘For every dollar and every minute we invest in artificial intelligence, we need to invest a dollar and a minute in human consciousness. Otherwise we have upgraded machines which are being controlled by downgraded humans, wreaking havoc on themselves and on the world.’ He believes that losing mental autonomy to AI can partly be countered by cultivating mindfulness. In an era where our screens are watching us and stealing our data like digital vampires, he believes we need to be alert to the workings of our minds. Our personal freedom depends on how well we know ourselves because we need to be ahead of the governments or

Ruby Wax

“THE DISCIPLINE OF MINDFULNESS IS ABOUT BEING ALONE WITH YOUR SOMETIMES UNBEARABLE THOUGHTS AND, WITH FRIENDLY CURIOSITY, OBSERVE THEM WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. THE IDEA IS ULTIMATELY TO SEE THEM AS MENTAL PHENOMENA, LIKE SOUNDS COMING AND GOING WITHOUT ANY EFFORT, NOT TAKING THEM PERSONALLY.” corporations that try to manipulate us.To think clearly is a form of social action. So, to help us gain inner knowledge, outside of practising mindfulness (which isn’t for everyone), I’ve hand-picked some programmes which are examples of where, I think, tech is working for the good of our InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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mental health. Joseph Aoun, President of Northeastern University, agrees with me, predicting that we are entering the ‘age of humanics’, rather than an ‘age of robotics’, which he defined as: ‘An age that integrates our human and technological capacities to meet the global challenges of our time.’ 37

21/12/2020 10:12


FEATURE

SNAP

CHAT “In many countries, up to 50% of honey bees are dying every year. A host of problems, diseases, and pests are devastating hive populations

Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, CEO of ApisProtect

around the globe. It’s becoming harder and harder every year for beekeepers to manage the variety of problems their bees are experiencing.”

ApisProtect is a new Irish agritech company that uses unique sensor technology to monitor honey bees to ensure global food supply. Led by Dr Fiona Edwards Murphy, ApisProtect has developed innovative bee monitoring technology to enable beekeepers to remotely manage their colonies 24/7 and reduce honey bee losses.

Contributing 153bn worth of pollination to the agri-food industry annually, honey bees play an essential role in global food production. One-third of all food that we eat depends on pollinators, and there are 91 million managed beehives worldwide.

By providing timely and accurate information about each colony in each apiary, beekeepers can spend their time on valueadded activities such as splitting and growing strong colonies rather than routinely inspecting all colonies.

Previously, beekeepers relied on costly and time-consuming manual hive checks to understand their operation. With ApisProtect, beekeepers can now identify and respond to disease, pests, and other hive problems faster than ever before, into what is happening in the hive, thereby increasing colony size and we can help beekeepers to reduce preventing colony loss.

“By providing beekeepers with insights

For operators with thousands of hives, manual spot inspections can lead to problems within colonies being missed and consume large amounts of time. Using this innovative technology, beekeepers can direct their attention to the hives that need it.

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losses and increase productivity. We can let beekeepers know which hives need attention and when with our easy-to-install monitors.”

The newest version of the product is now en route to commercial beekeepers in the US. A hobbyist version for Irish beekeepers will be available in the coming weeks. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

21/12/2020 12:01


Chambers

CatchUp

Boosting businesses in Ballyhaunis Ballyhaunis Chamber set up a GoFundMe page to support local businesses with the cost of Christmas lighting. Raising over a7,000, donations came from Ballyhaunis people all over Ireland and other parts of the world. The Chamber did a lot of promotion for the initiative, including a competition. It also arranged to donate 10% of funds collected to the local Western Care organisation. Another idea implemented by Ballyhaunis Chamber was ‘5 O’Clock Fridays’, where traders were invited to submit short videos that the Chamber uploaded at that time to catch people when they were more likely to surf online.

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

CHAMBER COMMENT “By learning from the best examples of collaboration we can help transform local areas both economically and culturally.” Michaela Reilly, Policy and Research Executive, Chambers Ireland on the launch of ‘Places Matter’ – Chamber Guide to Best Practice in Collaboration and Local Economic Development

John Gately, Vice President and Johanna Murphy, President of Cobh & Harbour Chamber

Cobh & Harbour Chamber announce new President

C

obh & Harbour Chamber has announced local auctioneer Johanna Murphy as its new President. She is looking forward to working with newly elected Vice President John Gately, Treasurer John Sweeney, Honorary Secretary Cormac MacCoitir and the expanded Chamber Council. Their initial efforts together were concentrated on ensuring Cobh was looking its best in the run up to Christmas with a new and exciting lighting display in the town centre, combined with a ‘Shop Local’ campaign and associated promotions. The Chamber is also working on a two-year plan of action, which it is aims to launch by the end of January.

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CHAMBERS NEWS

A fashion first for Dungarvan CHAMBER CAPTION

Intel has donated 100 hand sanitiser units to businesses in Kildare as part of a Covid-19 prevention initiative supported by County Kildare Chamber. Pictured is Intel’s External Relations Manager Lisa Harlow.

CHAMBER COMMENT “As a network, we continue to have concerns about the medium-term strategy for ensuring that the re-opening of local economies is sustainable. The ‘sawtooth’ scenario we previously warned about is not a sensible approach to managing the economy.” Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland on the easing of Covid-19 restrictions

Dungarvan’s first online fashion show took place on 1 December at 7pm. Arranged by Dungarvan & West Waterford (D&WW) Chamber supported by Shop Waterford Support Local, this free event was broadcast on Facebook Live. Top trends and accessories from many of Dungarvan’s retail outlets were on parade, with fashion for all ages, sizes and stages. Well known TV chefs Eunice Power and Paul Flynn also took part. “Dungarvan is a destination for many reasons – retail/ fashion being a large one. People travel to Dungarvan especially for this offering,” said D&WW Chamber President David Walsh.

New community fund in Fingal Fingal Chamber is inviting groups to apply for funding under its new a25,000 ‘Fingal Chamber Community Fund’. The funding is targeted at supporting communities in developing initiatives in a variety of categories such as environmental and sustainability, health and wellbeing, and social inclusion and community development. “The Chamber’s Community Committee seeks to create a Fingal which is sustainably developed for the benefit of the people who currently live and work here and for future generations who will inherit the region,” said Fingal Chamber President Bill Kearney. The closing date for entries to the Fingal Chamber Community Fund is 1 February, 2021.

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CHAMBERS NEWS

Pfizer a300m investment great for Cork Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber, has welcomed the news that Pfizer plans to invest a300m in its Irish operations. The pharmaceutical manufacturer has had a site in Cork since 1969 and is a key investor and employer in the region. “Pfizer is an important player in enriching the pharmaceutical cluster in Cork, and credit is due to the management and entire Pfizer team for securing the investment for the construction of a development facility on the Ringaskiddy site to manufacture pharmaceutical compounds for Pfizer’s clinical trials globally,” said Healy.

Fiona Candon addressing the European SME Assembly 2020

Fiona Candon addresses SME conference

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eputy President of Chambers Ireland and Director of Sligo-based consultancy First Western Fiona Candon took part in the high-profile European SME Assembly 2020 in December. Speaking at the event, the former President of Sligo Chamber said that important measures had been taken to support European SMEs in covering their fixed costs, but rolling these back too quickly would jeopardise recovery. “Businesses gravitate towards those they know and trust in times of crisis and Chambers have been closer than ever with their member companies over recent months. It is really important that Chambers are part of the discussions on national recovery and resilience plans,” she said.

New ferry service welcomed

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hannon Chamber has welcomed the announcement by DFDS that it is providing a new daily direct ferry service between Rosslare Europort and Dunkirk from 2 January. “Exporters now have certainty in that they will have a direct route to Europe, which will remove the muchdreaded alternative of having to route goods destined for Europe on trucks through the Irish Sea ports, onwards via road through England and across the English Channel to mainland Europe,” said Shannon Chamber Vice President Eoin Gavin. “Delays would have been just one negative aspect of having to do this; the cost implications of having to make transit declarations to UK customs would also have been significant.” InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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CHAMBER CEO Q&A

Hopeful times InBUSINESS caught up with Mags Downey, CEO, Ballina Chamber to discuss positive developments in the town and its surrounds as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. Mags Downey, CEO, Ballina Chamber

Q: How is life and how is business in Ballina at the moment? A: The second lockdown

was a very different experience for Ballina in general, and the business community rose to the challenge, embracing new opportunities and reacting more strategically in its approach to trading through the lockdown. Ballina Chamber and Chambers Ireland have been working in partnership with the local authority, Failte Ireland and the Mayo Tourism Task Force to identify the future needs of the tourism sector in Co Mayo. Since March, we have lobbied hard on behalf of our members, influencing government departments and ministers in the direction they should be taking in relation to business supports for businesses impacted by Covid-19. Q: Can you tell us about Ballina Chamber’s Shop Local campaign? A: The Chamber’s

retail group hosted several Zoom calls to strategise and organise a planned approach

to promoting and marketing a Shop Local campaign, commencing in late October 2020. We adopted a lateral way of promoting the businesses and retailers – through videos, live broadcasts, podcasts, interaction with the businesses and making full use of social media. There was a massive surge in Ballina Chamber’s voucher scheme, with a150,000 worth of vouchers sold in November alone. Q: Can you highlight some other interesting developments? A: Already, there is

unanimous agreement that the people of the town want to enhance the presentation, cleanliness and biodiversity of Ballina and the town has committed to working towards becoming Ireland’s Greenest Town by 2025. In 2019, Mayo County Council secured an investment of a3.2m from the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund to transform the military barracks in Ballina town

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centre into a digital hub and innovation quarter. Work on this project is scheduled to take place in Q2 of 2021, and we envision that to be a game changer for the town centre. The ‘Ballina 2023’ campaign kick-started in Q4 2020, which will be a year-long celebration of the 300th year anniversary of the official recognition of Ballina as a town in 1723. Ballina also won the Bank of Ireland Begin Together Award in the population category 7,000-14,000 in 2020. The publication of a Public Realm Plan and a new Ballina Economic and Spatial Plan as well as the recent release of a Town Centre Health Check will bring Ballina forward as a vibrant centre for the county and contribute to its economic and social innovation and sustainability. Q: Why is Ballina a good place to invest in? A: The town has

in recent years suffered from a lack of investment, infrastructure

development and promotion. Despite its challenges, Ballina is mobilising. The level of collaboration among businesses, volunteer groups and Mayo County Council is growing. Groups working for the betterment of the town include the Women in Business Group and the Mayo North Destination Steering group. The famed Other Voices festival has made a second home here, reflecting Ballina’s affinity with the arts. The new Regional and Economic Strategy adopted in January 2020 by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly identifies Ballina as a key town, with the aim of delivering significant growth. The consolidation of Ballina’s vibrant town centre will be key to achieving this goal. With easy rail and airport accessibility as well as its natural resources, warm and welcoming community spirit, Ballina Chamber believes that Ballina is the best place to live, work and invest in. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

21/12/2020 10:59


CHAMBER FEATURE

Below is a snapshot of several projects which Chambers have administrated throughout 2020: Local media and social media campaigns –

Chambers have promoted local businesses through their various marketing channels Local shopping vouchers and gift cards –

Chamber gift cards support spending with local businesses Shop front improvement schemes –

Chambers have helped members access these schemes which assisted businesses to adapt to restrictions put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic Training programmes –

Chambers have organised training programmes for retail staff on how to operate safely throughout the pandemic Town centre decoration –

Chambers help in the organisation of festive lights and trees which help to bring the Christmas spirit to our town centres

Shop Local supporters James Kiernan, Director of Relationship Management, Chambers Ireland, outlines the ways in which Chambers around the country have been supporting the ‘Shop Local’ movement.

Virtual events –

Chambers have continued to organise events online which promote shop local initiatives Business directories –

Chambers have created directories of local business showcasing the services and products that they offer and highlighting those operating online Supporters of the ‘Champion Green’ campaign –

Chambers supported this nationwide campaign to encourage supporting Irish businesses See Something, Say Something –

Ensuring communities are kept safe as they enjoy the amenities in their area Pedestrian streets –

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hambers across Ireland have done a huge amount to support the message to shop local during this past year. They have taken part in numerous initiatives to help secure and strengthen their local economy. There are multiple Chambers who offer shop local voucher schemes throughout the year. The terms and conditions of these vouchers vary from Chamber to Chamber, but the overall objective is to promote participating businesses and to support local economic development. Chambers advertise these vouchers on their websites, social media accounts and across local media outlets. Along with the vouchers our Chamber network organises events in their town centres around the Christmas period, such as turning on the town’s Christmas lights, visiting Santa and Christmas markets. These events are organised annually with the view of creating a festive atmosphere around a town’s commercial centre. For further information on how you can support your local businesses, please follow @ChambersIreland or your local Chamber on Twitter and across other social media channels. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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The promotion of pedestrian streets which allow people to safely shop and dine in their local community Free parking –

Chambers have lobbied their local authorities to ensure parking will be free in towns across the country to encourage individuals to come into their town centre and shop local Rates freeze for businesses –

Chambers have lobbied for the current rate freeze which is essential to many businesses Employment supports –

Chambers have continued to lobby for employment supports for those unable to operate during lockdowns Representation –

Chambers have represented business on local and national retail groups, highlighting issues of importance for business in their area.

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CHAMBER FEATURE

level playing field and fisheries continued to dominate. After several cliff-edge moments throughout the early part of December, both the UK and EU agreed to keep talks going. At that point, it was questionable whether a deal, even if one were agreed, would be in force in time for 1 January. Due to this, the European Commission announced that it would put in place contingency measures to ensure basic road and air connectivity, aviation safety, and on fisheries, which would permit reciprocal access to EU/UK waters until 31 December 2020, or until a fisheries agreement was reached, whatever date was earlier. In a statement on 10 December, President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, noted that these measures could only be introduced if the UK also made the same commitments.

UPDATE ON NI PROTOCOL

Tackling the transition Emma Kerins, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Chambers Ireland, outlines the implications of the UK leaving the EU as we head into the New Year.

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efore Christmas, with the end of transition period drawing closer, and no extension to the transition period being sought by the UK, it became patently clear that on 1 January 2021 the trading relationship between the EU and UK would be fundamentally different, although how different still remains to be seen. At the time of writing, the EU and UK remained deadlocked in the final stages of the talks – where issues such as competition,

In respect of the Northern Ireland Protocol, talks on implementation between the UK and EU continued throughout the year, with final resolution of outstanding issues coming about in early December, where the UK promised to remain fully aligned to EU food safety and animal health rules for the production of agri-food products destined for Northern Ireland after 1 January. This was followed by the EU also agreeing to issue its own declaration recognising that British food meets European safety standards during two separate grace periods, one for three months and another for six months. The alignment will be temporary, and will last only so long as there are exemptions from certain EU food safety rules for food importers trading meat and dairy products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. These InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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declarations will form part of a final sequence of agreements allowing the Northern Ireland Protocol to take effect.

A NEW RELATIONSHIP Regardless of whether a deal has been agreed or not, the way EU member states, including Ireland, trade with the UK will be significantly different to the relationship enjoyed by all parties up until this point. The message from Chambers Ireland to business has been to assume the worst and plan for that eventuality. The “worst” in this case is the EU trading with the UK under World Trade Organisation trading rules, which means tariffs across a range of products. While a deal scenario means significant changes when it comes to regulatory and documentary compliance, a no-deal scenario adds significant costs on to businesses and consumers, with substantial tariffs for a range of agri-food products.

WHAT SHOULD BUSINESS DO? So, what should businesses do? Firstly, understand your supply chain and your sensitivity to the UK’s departure from the EU. Do you import or export? If so, have you factored in the costs of tariffs? Have you researched the customs and regulatory impacts in terms of certification and customs clearance? Do you know your products’ tariff codes? For all businesses trading with the UK, whether it is importing or exporting, they will need an EORI number – such numbers must be obtained from Revenue and Customs. This is the first step, and depending on the nature of your business, you may also need to apply for other things, such as VAT numbers, etc. Most importantly do you know how you will be transporting your InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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products following the end of the transition? Businesses should immediately identify a customs clearance agent and consult with their logistics and haulage provider to ensure that everything is in place to guarantee smooth transit of goods following the end of the transition. Government agencies will be available to provide support and guidance on these issues. It is essential that businesses that are impacted by the UK’s departure from the EU take immediate steps to insulate their business from the disruption that will follow the end of the transition on 1 January.

CONNECTIVITY AND IRELAND’S PLACE IN EUROPE While uncertainty remains as to the EU and UK’s relationship post January, one thing is certain and that is that Ireland will remain a member of the EU and the Single Market. With the UK’s departure from the EU, and the uncertainty with regard to ports in the UK, the “land-bridge” which many Irish businesses use to transit between Ireland and the EU is looking to be an unreliable route to the continent, at least in the short term.

It is for this reason that Irish traders have been advised to look at direct routes to the continent, rather than risk the uncertainty of transiting through the UK. Ports and shipping companies in Ireland and on the continent have therefore addressed this market need by launching new routes, with the latest route announced that of Rosslare to Dunkirk, with roll-on, roll-off access for hauliers. Operated by Danish international shipping company DFDS, the service is running six times a week starting from 2 January. The additional route means there are 13 each-way direct sailings between Rosslare and the European continent during peak times of year. Outside of Rosslare, there will also be three sailings between Dublin and Cherbourg, three between Dublin and Rotterdam, and an additional sailing between Cork and Zeebrugge. With the upcoming review of the National Development Plan, port investment and connectivity with the European continent has never been more important for economic competitiveness. We will continue to monitor the negotiations between the EU and UK into the New Year.

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER A DEAL HAS BEEN AGREED OR NOT, THE WAY EU MEMBER STATES, INCLUDING IRELAND, TRADE WITH THE UK WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT TO THE RELATIONSHIP ENJOYED BY ALL PARTIES UP UNTIL THIS POINT."

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CHAMBER FEATURE

Careful consideration In a welcome move, the Government has recently opened the National Development Plan 2018-2027 for review, writes Shane Conneely, Senior Policy Research Executive at Chambers Ireland.

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uch has changed since the National Development Plan (NDP) was first introduced – the most important changes being the creation of the Climate Action Plan and our updated carbon reduction targets for 2030. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and even more significantly a harsh Brexit will likely have a lasting impact on both our economy and our way of life. It is important that the NDP is flexible enough to accommodate elements which were unforeseeable when it was initially being drafted.

At its heart, this review of the NDP must be a high-level document that seeks to co-ordinate the many actions of the varied government departments, agencies, and authorities, rather than revisit the debates about individual projects that are important at the local, rather than national, level. Of primary importance to the business community is that this review does not stall planned works which are already in the development pipeline. After a decade of under-investment there is already a significant national infrastructural deficit. This review must be considered as an opportunity to fill in the gaps that have been revealed in the earlier version of the NDP, rather than a blank slate from which to reconsider everything. Three elements must be paramount in the Government’s update to the NDP: InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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 own centre renewal T Decarbonising our society International connections.

can support the connection of highdemand alternative technologies, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, which will allow consumers and business users to transition away from the greenhouse gas emitting technologies they are dependent on. Where these changes require planning permission, it is vital that there is early engagement with local communities to ensure that everyone is aware of, and receives, the benefits of these works.

TOWN CENTRE RENEWAL The vast majority of people in Ireland live in cities and towns. Our last national census, in 2016, found that almost two thirds of our population lived in urban areas. Covid-19 has revealed inadequacies in how our cities and towns have developed. Our cities and towns need to become more people-friendly for those who live and work in them. This is important not only for increasing the quality of life for those people who are now spending a considerable part of their lives commuting in our towns and cities, but also for the businesses that operate there – and would have the potential of operating if there was the boost in footfall that’s associated with people living in town centres. The primary impact of Covid-19 on our towns is likely to be the acceleration of trends that were already occurring. Increasingly, goods which are interchangeable are trending towards online suppliers, therefore our cities and towns will need to shift towards offering goods, services, and experiences in sectors where online offerings are poor substitutes. To help them the NDP needs to see investment in our built environment which is effective at reducing urban vacancies and makes urban living an attractive life option.

DECARBONISING OUR SOCIETY While increasing urbanisation will allow people to live lives which are less energy intensive, the critical first step in decarbonising our society is in decarbonising our energy supply. There are two key parts that the NDP will have to address to make this a reality. Firstly, there InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS Brexit has highlighted how important geography is to our economic well-being. In the immediate future we need to see our physical connections to the European continent broadened and deepened to ensure that we are less vulnerable to British political risks.

THIS REVIEW MUST BE CONSIDERED AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO FILL IN THE GAPS THAT HAVE BEEN REVEALED IN THE EARLIER VERSION OF THE NDP, RATHER THAN A BLANK SLATE FROM WHICH TO RECONSIDER EVERYTHING. is the expansion of renewable electricity supply and secondly the transmission of this electricity from where it is generated to where it is needed. By 2040, we can foresee that the majority of our electricity will be originating from offshore wind farms. But to make this happen we need to begin to work on it now (in the first instance by progressing the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill as quickly as possible). The more challenging part will be the changes to our electricity transmission system. The upgrading of our high voltage level will need both institutional and community support if it is to be successful. But there will also need to be thousands of small upgrades to reinforce the local electricity grids so that they

The coming year will see work beginning on the Celtic Interconnector which will add resilience to the all-island electricity grid by integrating Ireland into the European grid. New freight connections are commencing, connecting us directly to EU opportunities, meanwhile the regional airports will see opportunities arise in freighting perishable goods to continental markets. There is a lesson for us in all that has happened in the few short years since the NDP was first published: the future is far more volatile than we expect. Therefore, our long-term plans must be ambitious, and must build capacity so that they afford us the flexibility we will need to meet the challenges before us.

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CHAMBER FEATURE

Making Places Matter C

hambers across Ireland have always played a key part in driving business growth and development of local economies, working in partnership with the County and City Management Association, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the network of Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), to advance and support our mutual goal of driving local economic development. Every day, our affiliated Chambers work closely with local businesses, stakeholders and decision makers to improve economic and social environments and ensure that the necessary physical and social infrastructure are in place to facilitate growth. It is for that reason that Chambers Ireland, supported by An Post, launched its ‘Places Matter’ – Chamber Guide to Best Practice in Collaboration and Local Economic Development in early November to showcase some of the best-practice examples of collaboration from across the Chamber Network with Local Authorities and their agencies in driving this development.

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Michaela Reilly, Policy and Research Executive, Chambers Ireland discusses the launch of a new guide to best practice for Chambers when collaborating on local economic development, supported by An Post.

BEST PRACTICE The purpose of this guide is to assist in ensuring inclusive and sustained growth in the post-Covid-19 era. By learning from the best examples of collaboration between Chambers, Local Government and LEOs we can help transform local areas both economically and culturally as we move into a post-pandemic phase. From campaigns on advancing infrastructure and promoting inward investment, to encouraging communities to shop and spend locally, Chambers are at the heart of driving economic development. There are over 45 examples presented in the guide; a selection of these includes:

ILLUMINATE FEMALE ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Drogheda Chamber works alongside the Mill Enterprise Hub, Louth and Meath LEOs and the DCU Ryan Academy to deliver the Illuminate Female Entrepreneurship programme to fast-track female-led businesses to develop their operations and enhance their leadership skills to ultimately achieve scale and create employment. CHAMBER TRADE CONNECTIONS ‘EXPORT TO THE NETHERLANDS’ PROGRAMME – County Carlow Chamber, Carlow County Council and LEO Carlow have come together to assist SMEs in the region in developing new export opportunities. Businesses are provided with the skills and confidence to identify, target and exploit new business opportunities in the Dutch market and to then pitch themselves to potential customers over the course of the programme. Each company is provided with pre-trip support, a dedicated export mentor, facilitated meetings and on-the-ground support for the journey.

LETTERKENNY TOWN DEVELOPMENT PLAN – Letterkenny Chamber has been working with senior county planners over the past three years in the creation of the town development plan, playing a key role in facilitating workshops with the business community to ensure widespread endorsement. These plans will deliver a town that can accommodate a growing population and aligns with the ambitions of both the Council and the Chamber to promote Letterkenny and its environs as attractive places to do business. WE ARE CORK – The ‘We are Cork’ brand has been developed as part of a collaborative project including Cork Chamber, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. It aims to act as an overarching brand that that helps the world to see what makes Cork a desirable business location, visitor destination, place to study and work, and a place to call home.

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It is hoped this guide will serve as a ready resource so that many of the initiatives taken by Chambers and local stakeholders can be easily replicated in any town or city across Ireland to boost local economic development.

RESPONDING TO ECONOMIC CHALLENGES The impact of Covid-19 on the Irish economy has been widespread. Businesses are responding to significant challenges and must continue to manage and mitigate the disruption that the pandemic is causing to every aspect of their operations. Chambers, local government and LEOs have been working hard together to support the business community and into the recovery period. A selection of these collaborations includes:

BY LEARNING FROM THE BEST EXAMPLES OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN CHAMBERS, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND LEOS WE CAN HELP TRANSFORM LOCAL AREAS BOTH ECONOMICALLY AND CULTURALLY AS WE MOVE INTO A POST-PANDEMIC PHASE.”

BIG LITTLE IDEAS is a new initiative from Waterford Chamber with the support of Waterford City and County Council, LEO Waterford and Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber to improve the city and county in a way that is both deliverable and cost-effective postCovid-19. The Chamber is calling on the public to be part of the recovery by facilitating an online forum where ideas can be submitted to catalyse the revitalisation of the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors, support local businesses and ensure everyone can access public amenities safely. THE GALWAY BUSINESS CITY ASSOCIATION developed the new ‘Shop in Galway’ and ‘Dine in Galway’ campaigns to improve the city’s attractiveness for consumers and boost spending locally. Both of these aims are being channelled and led through Galway Chamber, with both the City and County Councils receiving the funding from Fáilte Ireland and Creative Ireland. SHOP LIMERICK was established by Limerick Chamber, in partnership with the Limerick City and County Council and LEO Limerick, to deliver a virtual marketplace where consumers can browse and buy from homegrown Limerick businesses. Chambers will continue to form a major component of the post-Covid-19 recovery as we positively contribute towards a wider national response to how we shape the recovery period and collectively confront economic challenges faced by everyone across Ireland.

PRIDE OF PLACE Ultimately, what is important is that all players in the local area work together for the good of their town in the post-Covid-19 recovery. Chambers, the local community, local businesses and local authorities all have a part to play in ensuring that our economic recovery reaches every town and village in Ireland and Chambers Ireland will certainly do our best to support their success. Pride of place is at the heart of the Chamber Network as we continue to make our towns and cities better places to live, work and do business. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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CHAMBER FEATURE

company had been slashed by 90%, McManus and his team put all their efforts into supporting those they work with in these struggling countries. Every spare bit of cash the company got went straight to helping those employed by Earth’s Edge in these struggling countries, and in the end, a total of US$11,000 (a9,265) was sent.

DIRE NEED

James McManus with Local guides and porters in Tanzania

Reaching out A small Irish business, Earth’s Edge, has been going out of its way to support tourism workers in developing countries hit by Covid-19.

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hile 2020 has had a brutal impact on our lives in Ireland, the effects of Covid-19 have been devastating around the world. In Peru, Nepal and Tanzania, where there is no social welfare available to citizens, those employed through tourism have watched their income drop to zero as the borders were sealed and sites like Machu Picchu closed for months. No one knows this better than James McManus, Founder of Earth’s Edge, an Irish adventure travel company specialising in high altitude trekking. Its three most popular expeditions are the Inca Trail in Peru, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the Everest Base Camp in Nepal, and it has a close

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working relationship with the local guides and porters in those locations. At the start of lockdown, the Earth’s Edge team was immediately concerned about the livelihoods (and safety) of the local people they work with in those locations. When it became clear that few could survive at least a year without income, the team decided to provide as much support, help and relief as they possibly could. The company reached out to customers, its wider network, and anyone who was willing to help. A campaign was launched in May and the money raised was sent straight to those who needed it the most. Though the impact on his own business had been monumental, and the income of this small

Peru was the first country Earth’s Edge provided with support. It sent US$5,000 (a4,222) to the team of guides and porters with whom it works on the Machu Picchu Treks. The money was invested in conservation agriculture techniques to generate better yields in their farms. Edgard Tito Peralta is McManus’ business partner in Peru. After dispersing the funds sent by Earth’s Edge, the Covid-19 situation in Cusco worsened. Peralta’s parents both contracted the virus, as well as Peralta himself, his wife and two children. His father sadly passed away, and his mother was in dire need of oxygen, something that isn’t produced in Cusco. Peralta had no choice but to buy it at a cost of US$2,000. “It was just carnage beyond belief in Peru,” says McManus. “It was really badly managed there and it just created havoc. The personal loss is massive, and in a town that’s entirely dependent on tourism it’s hugely stressful as well. We’re all feeling the effects of Covid-19, but these countries are in a far worse situation. In Ireland, we have support networks – we’re not going to starve. But that’s not the case in other countries. When everything collapsed, our first priority was those people, our community. In our eyes, the responsibility is on us to provide as much support as we can.” Find out more about Earth’s Edge here: www.earths-edge.com InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

make sure your people aren’t overworked. And that’s why you need Blip. Our exclusive mobile app, Blip lets you manage and monitor your staff hours, so you can see who’s in, who’s off, and who’s on a break, all at the tap of a button. Let’s look at exactly how it works:

CLEVER GEOLOCATION FEATURE

Support with smart software Experts at HR technology provider BrightHR explain how to use its software to help manage staff hours and wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.

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e’re tech-obsessed at BrightHR. It’s our mission to create cutting-edge and innovative technology that makes employers’ lives easier, so they can focus on running and growing their small businesses. But while we passionately believe in the power of technology to improve our work and our lives, we also believe in the business of balance. And in this challenging coronavirus climate it can be all too easy to fall off-balance. Because, while stress levels are already high and energy levels low, lots of people are now working remotely. The line between work and home can often get blurred when they’re the same place, with the temptation to skip a lunchbreak, open the laptop in the evening, or answer just one more email. So if you have staff working from home during the pandemic, then they could be even more susceptible to burnout now than ever before. And this puts both your people and your business at risk.

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Use the app to create a geofence (a virtual boundary) around your workplace. And when your staff pass through it, Blip prompts them to clock in and out, so you can see exactly where your staff have worked and for how long.

MANAGE REMOTE WORKERS You can set up any workplace as a geolocation, whether that’s your office or an employee’s house, and you can create as many as you want, too. So if your staff are working from home, Blip still keeps track of where and when everyone’s working remotely.

WHAT IS BURNOUT?

TRACK BREAKS WITH BLIP

Burnout is a workplace phenomenon, which means it relates to work and nowhere else. And this puts the pressure on you, the employer, to make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent it in your business. The World Health Organisation describes burnout as “a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress at work”, and this year the term was added to the International Classification of Diseases, making it an official medical condition — so this is serious stuff.

‘Downtime’ is necessary for everyone’s wellbeing, and rest enables people to do their best work. Use Blip to make sure your staff are taking proper breaks. They’ll be much more focused, productive and energetic if they’re well rested.

WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO?

To find out more about how Blip and BrightHR can support your staff ’s wellbeing in the current climate, speak to a software specialist today on 1800 279 841.

One of the most important and effective ways to support your staff’s wellbeing is by monitoring their hours and breaks to

INTEGRATION WITH BRIGHTHR Blip talks to your BrightHR software, too. So when you log into your main account, you get real-time employee updates on your dashboard, as well as seeing it all on the Blip mobile app.

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CHAMBER OF EMBASSY FEATURE BRAZIL IN IRELAND PROFILE

At the forefront of farming and sustainability Brazil is leveraging breakthroughs in technology, productivity and safety to advance in the agriculture and livestock markets amid Covid-19.

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he global agriculture market has been severely impacted by Covid-19. In fact, there’s mounting evidence that suggests that an estimated 265 million people could face acute food insecurity by the end of 2020 – up from an estimate of 136 million people prior to the pandemic. However, despite these alarming trends, Brazil’s agricultural growth is showing no signs of slowing down. According to IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Analysis of the Brazilian Ministry of Economy), Brazil’s agricultural sector is estimated to grow by 2.5% in 2020, with some private sector analysts estimating it could reach an increase as high as 3%. Brazil is one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of food, fibres and agro-energy. Productivity gains obtained through technology and the entrepreneurship of local farmers, added to the agriculture and livestock production chain. The most recent projections published in Agricultural Outlook by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimate that, over the next ten years, Brazil’s production of various agricultural and livestock products will grow at rates far above the world average. Brazil also possesses extensive areas of native vegetation recognised worldwide as important to biodiversity, water recycling, carbon storage and climate regulation. Sustainability and environmental preservation are of utmost importance to the Brazilian agriculture and livestock sector, which is ready to commit to preserving this natural resource heritage, while at the same time expanding its production and supply of essential products to meet domestic and overseas demand. “For more than 40 years, Brazil InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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GET TO KNOW THE SUCCESS STORY has worked to establish itself as one of the main global players in farming and sustainability,” said Sergio Segovia, President of the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil). “Through longstanding investments in both small- and large-scale agricultural innovation, we’ve been able to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit of Brazilian farmers across the country, recording significant productivity gains while ensuring the quality of our crops and livestock”. Up to 30 years ago, the leading food-producing countries were those with temperate climates, and the natural conditions in Brazil were not right for the technology available then. Moreover, a considerable portion of Brazilian soil presents low fertility and acidity issues, which limit agricultural production. Science and innovation in soil chemistry and physics, crop management; pest, disease and weed control; animal nutrition and health; genetics and agricultural meteorology have been central to the achievements in Brazil’s agriculture and livestock sectors. More recently, productivity gains in Brazil have attracted multinational companies and overseas investors, who promote innovation in agricultural techniques adapted to tropical conditions.

BRAZILIAN CONTRIBUTION TO THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABLE GLOBAL FOOD SUPPLY Brazil is a pioneer in implementing the Integrated Crop, Livestock and Forestry (ICLF) which is a production system integrating the crop, livestock and forest components in rotation, combination or succession in the same area. The objective of ICLF is to change the system of land use, basing it on the integration of productive system components to achieve increasingly higher levels of product and environmental quality. To ensure efficiency across the

Recently, Apex-Brasil, together with its private sector partners, shared critical insights outlining Brazil’s upward trajectory in agriculture and livestock production, despite recent challenges predicated by the Covid-19 pandemic. A series of factsheets highlights Brazil’s continued advancements in agricultural technology, productivity and safety, which have positioned the country to effectively manage through the current crisis and prepare for a post-pandemic future.

To access Brazil’s agricultural industry factsheets, including its environmental protection policies, please visit: www.apexbrasil.com.br/en/agriculture

country’s 64 million hectares of cultivatable land, approximately 28% of the area planted with grains and pulses in Brazil is used for a second harvest each year. Routine crop rotation enables the land to remain fertile, as not all of the same nutrients are used every season. Rotating crops helps to improve soil stability by alternating between crops with roots of various lengths. The Forest Code mandates permanent protection reserve/ preservation units in Brazil. These are areas of specific interest aimed at conserving natural resources around waterways, lakes, ponds and springs, as well as restinga and mangrove coastlines/coastline biomes. In the Amazon biome, rural properties can explore up to/the maximum of 20% of their lands for economic purposes.

TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION PROMOTED BY BRAZILIAN FARMERS The entrepreneurial spirit of Brazilian farmers was crucial for Brazil’s technological development and productivity increase. European immigrants, who settled in Brazil from the second half of the 19th century, were responsible for innovations which greatly contributed to the development of Brazilian agriculture. They introduced no-till farming, soil fertility management and crop varieties such as maize, soybeans, wheat and cotton, which were adapted to the local conditions. Initially, those farmers and cattle breeders settled in Southern and

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South-eastern Brazil. Over the past four decades, they began moving towards the savanna regions of the Midwest and the Northeast where they would produce cereals and oilseeds, tropical fruits, and pursue cattle farming. That gradual migratory movement and the efforts to ensure sustainability have shaped Brazilian agriculture today. Imbued with a pioneering spirit and seizing every new opportunity, farmers adopted new technologies enabling the development of the Brazilian countryside through agricultural production. Innovation and scientific breakthroughs in agriculture have given rise to increased productivity of Brazilian crops and livestock. Those advances have enabled a gradual decrease in the cost of staple foods in the country. Based on smallholding farm production, the poultry, egg and pork industries in Brazil, for example, provide a means of income stability for hundreds of thousands of farming families. Smallholdings and food processing units are integrated in a single large productive chain. Not only does this create income with excellent quality standards, it has the benefits of keeping control of the whole process and providing full traceability. Research in chemistry, physics, soil fertility, plant physiology, crop management, pest, disease and weed control, nutrition, animal health, genetics, agricultural meteorology and irrigation have thus had a strong impact on the livelihoods of Brazilians.

MORE RECENTLY, PRODUCTIVITY GAINS IN BRAZIL HAVE ATTRACTED MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES AND OVERSEAS INVESTORS, WHO PROMOTE INNOVATION IN AGRICULTURAL TECHNIQUES ADAPTED TO TROPICAL CONDITIONS.

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

AIB’s Women in Enterprise winners revisited Two previous AIB Women in Enterprise winners share their insights into new ways of working, advice for other entrepreneurs and their growth strategies for 2021, having navigated their way through a challenging year.

WINNER OF AIB WOMEN IN ENTERPRISE STRATEGIC GROWTH AWARD 2019 BUSINESS OWNER:

WENDY SLATTERY BUSINESS NAME:

THE BEAUTY BUDDY WEBSITE:

THEBEAUTYBUDDY.COM

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IB Women in Enterprise has brought over 800 businesses through its programme over the course of three years. Designed to assist participants’ leadership, growth strategies and to enable business owners to use their skills to further their business ambitions, these strategic training workshops were delivered by the Entrepreneurs Academy. The programme was designed for SMEs, the backbone of the Irish economy, and programmes such as AIB Women in Enterprise support the needs of businesses to back them to achieve their dreams and ambitions.

Tracy Leavy, COO, and Wendy Slattery, CEO, The Beauty Buddy

Further information on AIB supports for business can be found by visiting www.aib.ie/business

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data analytics company specialising in the beauty and cosmetic industry, The Beauty Buddy is bridging the gap between brands and their consumers in an industry worth a800bn. The way it works is to gather data through an app that does for the beauty industry what Tripadvisor does for travel. It captures user interaction with products, brands and retailers. This live data is extremely valuable to both brands and industry partners, providing unique insights into consumer behaviours, competitive comparisons and sentiment analysis and enabling product personalisation and other advantages at scale. The Beauty Buddy app is an inclusive community of beauty buddies made up of honest, independent peers who connect with each other to learn about and decide which products to buy.

Q: What has been

Q: What impact has

happening in your business over the past year? A: Since winning the AIB Women in Enterprise Award we raised a preseed round of a575,000 as part of the High Potential Start Up programme with Enterprise Ireland. Following our consumer launch in November 2019, we were voted ‘App of the Year’ by the Irish Independent – again, significant recognition for the development of the consumer-facing side of the app and the experience it brings to beauty lovers. We are now a team of nine, made up of cofounders, tech experts and engineers, sales, marketing and expert consultants. There are thousands of users actively using the app, creating profiles, reviewing products and connecting with each other. We have also affiliate partnerships with some of the biggest retailers and eCommerce sites, such as Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Harvey Nichols, Lookfantastic and Feelunique.

Covid-19 had on your business? A: Our business was affected by Covid-19 as our customers, the brands and retailers were severely impacted. Plans such as launching Beauty Buddy through advertising and daily team presence with a chain of 30+ stores were put on hold. We accelerated our future business plans, launching our sampling service, enabling brands to send sample products to Beauty Buddy users. Brands get to showcase their products and the Beauty Buddy users get a unique online experience. Post Covid-19, we have become the noncontact digital assistant where customers in-store can find out all about a product without picking it up, providing them with a positive instore digital experience.

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Q: Have you changed

your ways of working or routes to market utilising technology?

A: Yes, definitely! From the very start we moved the team to work from home and as a team we have excelled. Originally we travelled to our customers here in Ireland and abroad. We now have all our calls and onboarding through Zoom. This year, we launched virtually, using digital marketing tailored to specific areas of the UK and New York in the US. We are now talking to investors from all parts of the globe. Covid-19 has changed that landscape and made it much more accessible for us. Q: What advice would

you give to other entrepreneurs in Ireland? A: My advice has always been not to have any regrets if you’re thinking of starting a business; go for it. If you are in business and impacted by Covid-19, look at ways you can pivot. There is no such thing as failure in my eyes; it’s learning and, in business, you need to be constantly moving forward even if it’s not the direct path you had planned.

Finally, your network! Build a great network of people especially those ahead of you who have done it already. Surround yourself with the right people, they will help raise you up, not pull you down. Q: What is next for

Beauty Buddy? A: Market growth is in our

immediate future plans. We are in the middle of our UK market launch which has brought with it UK media support. We are currently raising a seed round of a1m and are actively looking for the right investors to join us. Throughout 2021, while growing in existing markets, we plan to scale into the US. We also have plans to increase our tech team to meet market demands. With a pivoting strategy in place throughout Covid-19, we discovered revenue generating services we can offer brands. Through the success of these we intend to develop further and instigate new features and services into 2021.

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

WINNER OF AIB WOMEN IN ENTERPRISE STRATEGIC GROWTH AWARD 2018 BUSINESS OWNER:

NOELLE O’CONNOR BUSINESS NAME:

TANORGANIC WEBSITE:

TANORGANIC.COM

Q: What has been

happening in TanOrganic since you won the AIB Women in Enterprise award? A: Since Women in Enterprise I really have put the building blocks and processes in place to scale the business. Putting a board and CEO in place was one of the best decisions I made. I then put, and still am putting, a top-league industry experienced team in place that can grow and run the business independent of me so that I can spend time on the business rather than in the business. I took my to-do list from that programme and ticked as many of the boxes as I could. We have used Covid-19 lockdown time to work

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n 1996, with a loan of £2,000 from my local credit union, I set up a beauty salon in Newbridge, Co Kildare. Over the next ten years, I grew that business to include six medi-spas across the country. Business was doing great until the downturn in 2008 which changed everything. Having fought hard to survive, I had to wind down the business. To help focus on the future, I enrolled on a master’s programme in entrepreneurship in MIT, Boston. With 60 other entrepreneurs from around the world – all under the age of 40 – it was challenging and stimulating. During one guest lecture, Simon Sinek talked to us about finding our ‘why’. This intrigued me to the point of upset as I felt I didn’t know my ‘why’ and was looking down the bleak hole of a recession in 2009. He posed an interesting question to me: “When in your business were you at your happiest?” I began researching the organic side of the business and saw a gap in the market for a tan that was like a skincare. That’s when I came up with the idea for a new organic and sustainable self-tan. For the next two years, I worked with cosmetic scientists both in Ireland and the US to develop the first and only ECO-certified organic self-tan brand in the world not in plastic packaging.

on projects we just didn’t have the time for and as a result have finalised a new brand for 2021 and will launch TanOrganic’s brand refresh and six to eight new products for 2021. Q: What impact has

Covid-19 had on your business? A: We have been seriously affected by Covid-19, as our distribution channel partners have been impacted and not least travel retail, which was 30% of our business. Retail and international distributors made up another 50% of our business and those channels have been affected too. Pre-Covid-19 our business was 3% online, now we are 30% online and 2021 will see us 50%

online. We have had to pivot fast and use our downtime wisely to create opportunities for 2021. Q: Have you changed

your ways of working or routes to market utilising technology? A: Working remotely has suited us as a company. We have worked very well as a remote team during Covid-19 and been even more productive. We have focused on the directto-consumer market and will continue to do so while supporting our other channels and distribution networks. Q: What advice would

you give to other entrepreneurs in Ireland?

A: Now, more than ever,

know your ‘why’ and your purpose. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. Invest in your team and give them your time so that they can grow with your company. Q: What is next for

TanOrganic? A: We have used our time

wisely so we will have an exciting 2021 with a brand refresh, new brands and products.  We will add more industry expertise to the team and our board. There are so many good people out there now. 2020 has been a very challenging year but I am very grateful to be still in business. Getting our strategy and team right and staying focused will be my to-do list for 2021.

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CHAMBER PARTNER PROFILE

Fusing tech with tradition Every year the House of Waterford Crystal melts more than 750 tonnes of crystal, using both traditional and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.

TAKE A TOUR

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ocated on the Mall in the heart of the Viking Triangle in Waterford City, the House of Waterford Crystal opens the door to more than 200 years of crystal manufacturing. From the heat, noise and fire of the blowing room to the exquisite skills of cutting and engraving, a guided tour immerses you in the time-honoured processes behind the creation of each sparkling piece of crystal. From the earliest days, Waterford Crystal has always strived to introduce the latest technology to its manufacturing process. Work practices in the crystal industries were revolutionised with the introduction of a continuous melt tank furnace. The furnaces at Waterford were originally fuelled by wood, oil and gas, and now electricity. Our furnace is a continuous melt furnace producing 750 tonnes of molten crystal each year. The raw materials or ‘batch’ we use to make Waterford Crystal is silica sand, litharge, and potash. They are mixed together with cullet (rejected crystal). The cullet melts quickly, helping the raw material fuse into a molten mass. Before electricity was used in

Waterford Crystal use diamond wheels to cut the crystal; in previous years craftsmen used three different grades of carborundum wheels, which was time consuming as each facet had to be cut three times to achieve the deep smooth cut. Deep cutting is responsible for giving each piece the clear and sparkling cut that is the distinctive hallmark of Waterford Crystal.

the cutting department, an apprentice hand-turned the cutting wheels. Most often the early shapes of cut glass were simple with minimal curves, since curves were difficult to achieve with large cutting wheels. The steampowered technological revolution allowed the crystal to be cut far more deeply and intricately. Irish and English cut crystal from the eighteenth century is usually characterised by shallow cutting in simple designs until the use of wheel cutting by steam power. Electricity brought about the replacement of clumsy, steamdriven cutting wheels. Advances in technology mean that today our craftsmen at

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Why not visit the factory located in the centre of Waterford City and take the opportunity to witness the manufacture of these and many other Waterford crystal products? The guided factory tour is a unique and captivating experience that enthrals visitors of all ages, both national and international. Lasting about one hour, the tour allows visitors to understand each stage of production. They witness how Waterford Crystal pieces are crafted from initial design right up to the final engraving of the piece. On completion of the tour, visitors can experience over 12,000 sq ft of crystal heaven in the largest retail and brand showcase of Waterford Crystal in the world. For further details on the tours available all year round visit www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com or call 051 317000.

A LITTLE THOUGHT GOES A LONG WAY Why not indulge yourself, a friend or colleague with a thoughtful gift from our range? We can customise a piece from our core range which will allow you to create your own unique message or logo on an item. Our worldwide shipping service allows you the flexibility to deliver in 24/48 hours to Ireland, the UK or the US. Tom Walsh can be contacted at tom.walsh@fiskars. com or +353 (0)87 120 9143.

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Support local to lift us all

AllAll Rise Rise ChampionGreen.ie Pledge online today

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21/12/2020 17/12/2020 12:57 14:27


HIGH ACHIEVERS Mayo County Council scooped the top accolade at the 2020 Excellence in Local Government Awards.

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n 26 November, Mayo County Council was named Local Authority of the Year at the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards. Organised in association with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the 17th annual awards ceremony was held online, showcasing and celebrating the best of local government in Ireland. “We commend Mayo County Council’s commitment to excellence and the commitment they have shown across their work to ensure the sustainable development of the localities they represent, raising their county’s profile nationally,” said Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland. “Local authorities are at the heart of local economies right across the island and make significant contributions to Irish society and the communities they serve. The value of this contribution has never been felt as strongly than over the past year, as towns, villages, cities and regions coped with the impact of Covid-19 on lives and livelihoods.  “As ever, it is an honour to host the Excellence in Local Government Awards. Our aim is to shine a spotlight on the valuable work of local authorities and profile the excellent projects and initiatives undertaken by teams in local government right around the country.” Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, commented: “Local authorities have achieved the highest standards of performance, despite this year of great uncertainty. Having local government structures working to such a high level has helped to maintain an important sense of community in these difficult times and an inclusive, caring society for all.” There were 16 awards presented plus the overall award for Local Authority of the Year. Individual awards were sponsored by: European Recycling Platform, TEKenable, Healthy Ireland, LGiU Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and EirGrid. Specially commissioned crystal awards designed by Waterford Crystal will be presented to the winners when restrictions allow.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS WINNERS 2020

THE WINNERS Supporting Sustainable Communities Fingal County Council Shop Local Website Best Practice in Community Engagement Cork City Council Social Distancing Park Rangers Programme Health & Wellbeing Mayo County Council Making Positive Choices Supporting Tourism Tipperary County Council Suir Blueway Tipperary Promoting Economic Development Cork City Council Re-imagining the City Local Authority Innovation Mayo County Council Weather Impact Register App Sustainable Environment Wicklow County Council Relove Fashion Competition Best Library Service Clare County Council Connections: Stories by Syrian Families in County Clare Sustaining the Arts Offaly County Council Music Generation Offaly/ Westmeath

Age Friendly Initiative Limerick City and County Council - Putting Your House in Order Festival of the Year Mayo County Council Virtual Mayo Day 2020 Initiatives through the Municipal Districts Longford County Council Embracing Remote Working Technology to Support Community and Voluntary Groups Enhancing the Urban Environment Limerick City and County Council Living Georgian City Programme Heritage and Built Environment Donegal County Council Thatch Repair Grant Scheme Disability Services Provision Wexford County Council Min Ryan Park Communication Boards Commemorations & Centenaries Dún Laoghaire - Rathdown County Council Divine Illumination - Oratory of the Sacred Heart

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS WINNERS 2020

SUPPORTING SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES FINGAL COUNTY COUNCIL Shop Local Website

Fingal’s Shop Local website was launched during the pandemic to provide locals with information on businesses and shops within their 2km radius. The website offered online and phone ordering facilities, delivery and pick-up services. This initiative supported local businesses and provided essential services for the community, especially to those cocooning during lockdown.

BEST PRACTICE IN COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CORK CITY COUNCIL Social Distancing Park Rangers Programme

In response to the pandemic, Cork City Council implemented its ‘Social Distancing Park Ranger Programme’, which operated in 20 parks across the city. These Park Rangers allowed for amenities to be kept open, available and safe to use, which was vital to local communities’ wellbeing during lockdown.

HEALTH & WELLBEING MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL Making Positive Choices

Mayo County Council’s ‘Making Positive Choices’ project was a community-based initiative working to address road safety issues on the Mayo Islands. This programme was delivered in April 2019 using a ‘restorative justice’ approach and providing young people on the islands with the tools and knowledge to make positive choices and prevent future road collisions.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS WINNERS 2020

SUPPORTING TOURISM TIPPERARY COUNTY COUNCIL Suir Blueway Tipperary

The Suir Blueway Tipperary is the county’s newest recreational visitor experience. With 21km of historic pathway connecting Clonmel to Carrick-onSuir and 53km of river trails, the Suir Blueway Tipperary offers the perfect spot for cyclists, canoeists and walkers to enjoy the outdoors in Tipperary.

PROMOTING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORK CITY COUNCIL

LOCAL AUTHORITY INNOVATION MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL Weather Impact Register App

Re-imagining the City

As a response to the pandemic and the effects felt by businesses in Cork City Centre, ‘Re-imagining the City’ was an initiative spearheaded by local businesses and Cork City Council to ensure safe social distancing on city streets and to allow local businesses to continue to operate and safeguard their viability.

The Weather Impact Register App is a tool for Local Authorities to record the actual impacts of climate change in their area. The app will help identify increasing severity and frequency of climatic events, and this data will highlight vulnerable areas, allowing Local Authorities to prioritise those areas for action.

SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT WICKLOW COUNTY COUNCIL Relove Fashion Competition

Wicklow County Council’s competition ‘Relove Fashion’ partnered with The Rediscovery Centre to inspire students to create a modern look from old clothes or items of fabric. The competition was designed to complement the Home Economics curriculum and showcase the opportunities of a circular economy under Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme.

BEST LIBRARY SERVICE CLARE COUNTY COUNCIL

Connections: Stories by Syrian Families in County Clare

‘Connections: Stories by Syrian Families in County Clare’ was a project by Clare County Library in 2019. The project engaged with 15 Syrians and involved workshops which helped to improve participants’ literacy. This approach was a wonderful opportunity for children and parents to work on a collaborative project linking school, home, the library and wider community.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS WINNERS 2020

SUSTAINING THE ARTS OFFALY COUNTY COUNCIL

Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath

Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath is a regional music service supported by Offaly County Council. The project’s goal is to create access to inclusive, local music tuition for children and young people in the region. This is being achieved by delivering a range of musicianled education programmes in local schools, youth and community organisations.

AGE FRIENDLY INITIATIVE LIMERICK CITY AND COUNTY COUNCIL

FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR MAYO COUNTY COUNCIL Virtual Mayo Day 2020

Putting Your House in Order

‘Putting Your House in Order’ was a series of information sessions organised by Age Friendly Limerick with the Irish Hospice Foundation and supported by Limerick City and County Council. These sessions covered important topics regarding planning for the future and offered attendees advice on care preferences later in life, will and financial planning.

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In 2020, Mayo Day on 2 May was celebrated virtually. The people of Mayo reached out to their communities and diaspora, uniting online from across the world to celebrate their Mayo pride, people, place and heritage. Mayo Day 2020 was an opportunity to reach out, link up and support one another during an extraordinary year.

INITIATIVES THROUGH THE MUNICIPAL DISTRICTS LONGFORD COUNTY COUNCIL

Embracing Remote Working Technology to Support Community and Voluntary Groups During lockdown, Longford County Council became the first local authority to use remote working technology to conduct municipal meetings online. Elected members quickly embraced technology to ensure continued financial support to Longford’s community and voluntary groups. This initiative ensured that members could meet remotely and safely while continuing to serve local communities by ‘Putting People First’.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARDS WINNERS 2020

ENHANCING THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT LIMERICK CITY AND COUNTY COUNCIL Living Georgian City Programme

The Living Georgian City Programme, run by Limerick City and County Council, aims to reactivate Limerick city’s architectural heritage in an environmentally and physically sustainable way. This programme aims to bring positive, innovative and transformational change to Georgian neighbourhoods by reducing vacancy and increasing population density and diversity.

HERITAGE AND BUILT ENVIRONMENT DONEGAL COUNTY COUNCIL Thatch Repair Grant Scheme

Donegal County Council initiated a Thatch Repair Grant Scheme in 2019 to engage with the community and provide specialist advice on the conservation of thatched structures across the county. This scheme allocates funding for thatch repairs and supports the practice and employment of thatchers in order to conserve examples of Co Donegal’s vernacular-built heritage.

DISABILITY SERVICES PROVISION WEXFORD COUNTY COUNCIL Min Ryan Park Communication Boards

Wexford County Council developed an interactive communication board at the new Min Ryan Park playground. This installation in the playground has several objectives, mainly, to foster inclusivity and encourage the use of the playground by children who are non-verbal or who have additional communication needs.

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COMMEMORATIONS & CENTENARIES DÚN LAOGHAIRE- RATHDOWN COUNTY COUNCIL Divine Illumination Oratory of the Sacred Heart

Dún LaoghaireRathdown’s centenary publication, Divine Illumination, was commissioned to highlight a unique building and a priceless work of art. The book is not only for locals but also a national and international audience. This project was run alongside exhibitions at dlr LexIcon and the Oratory, and a series of talks, a seminar, workshops and tours.

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ATHLONE CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Athlone: Future City?

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ATHLONE CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Alan Shaw, President of Athlone Chamber, on working to develop Athlone, a town earmarked for growth.

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thlone is a town which has been earmarked for expansion and is set to undergo major changes over the coming decades. “Athlone has been identified within the National Planning Framework as a centre for growth over the next 20 years, on a similar level to towns such as Sligo and Dundalk,” states Alan Shaw, who was recently elected President of Athlone Chamber. “With that, Athlone is bracing itself for a period of sustained growth over the next 20 years and it is very important to us in the Chamber of Commerce that we are ready for that. We are gearing up to embrace both the changes and the challenges that the future will present.” The Chamber itself has made significant changes recently, in order to restructure and ready itself for the future. “Approximately 15 months ago, the Board made the decision to appoint a CEO to the Chamber for the first time ever. Gerry McInerney was selected as the new CEO in September of 2019 and this was a real mark of intent by the Chamber, to significantly increase its activity on the ground in terms of representing our members,” says Shaw. “It was also a move that reflects that the Chamber needs a strong presence on the ground, one that is energised and focused going forward. The changes we have made in our structure will make us stronger and more resilient for the future. We’ve already been able to adapt and take on board the challenges that have come at us during the Covid-19 crisis this year. We sincerely hope that this period will shortly be consigned to history and in the coming months we can get back to focusing on our business and representing our members.” COMMUNICATION IS EVERYTHING During the pandemic, the Chamber adapted from its networking-focused mode of operation to leveraging other means of communication to ensure its members were well-informed and well-supported. “Disseminating information quickly was of the utmost importance,” Shaw says. “We have significantly ramped up our social media and online presence. This has assisted us greatly in getting our message across and getting information out there to our members.We have invested in social media, making greater use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. We have also used these platforms to showcase many of our members’ activities, enabling the wider public to be aware of the services that they provide.” While the Chamber’s networking events, the annual Business Awards and golf event have all been put on hold, Shaw hopes to see them back on the calendar soon. The Budget Briefing, supported by Ulster Bank and RBK accountants, was one event that transferred particularly well to an online format, and was, says Shaw, “very

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Alan Shaw, President, Athlone Chamber

We know that the Government is intent on investing in Athlone because it is a growth centre, and we also know that we have the backing of industry— this really helps us in moving forward as a Chamber. successful”. “In Athlone Chamber, and in all Chambers across the country, networking is very much a key part of what we are about. We all want to see a return to the face-to-face networking events, and I would hope that will happen in the second half of next year.” DEVELOPING THE TOWN “We have a strong IDA and Enterprise Ireland presence in the town. Athlone is a focused centre for foreign direct investment, particularly in the pharma and medtech areas, as part of the IDA Ireland strategy to create clusters in regions. The fact that our local institute of technology is now on the cusp of becoming a university really plays into the future growth phase,” says Shaw. “Athlone is talked about in many circles as being a future city and there’s no reason why that can’t happen down the road, but we have to make sure that we develop a vibrant town centre.” Shaw believes a co-working hub would be a major asset to the town if it gets the go-ahead under the Just Transition Fund. The Chamber has been given the green light to begin a feasibility study in conjunction with industry partners and Westmeath County Council. “In keeping with the strategy for our town centre, we want to bring increased vibrancy and commercial activity to the town centre. If it comes to pass, I think the addition of a co-working hub would be very exciting for our town centre. “We know that the Government is intent on investing in Athlone because it is a growth centre, and we also know that we have the backing of industry—this really helps us in moving forward as a Chamber.”

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Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers

Talk to the experts. Businesses are facing unique challenges this year with the effects of Covid-19 and impending Brexit changes. We work with business owners to explore new opportunities and to find the right solution when faced with difficult times. As one of Ireland’s leading national chartered accountancy and business advisory firms, RBK provides a full range of professional services to clients.

Our Offices: Dublin Athlone Roscommon

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David Gleeson Managing Partner

Mariead O’Grady Taxation Partner

E: dgleeson@rbk.ie T: 01 6440100

E: mogrady@rbk.ie T: 090 64 80600

RBK.ie

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Business Life After Covid-19 David Gleeson, Managing Partner of RBK Accountants, Taxation Consultants & Business Advisers — based in Dublin, Athlone and Roscommon — on mentoring business owners through succession and surviving Covid-19.

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ounded over 60 years ago in Athlone, RBK now employs around 200 staff nationally, providing the full range of traditional accounting services, along with complementary services including HR, payroll, back office bookkeeping, wealth management, and insolvency. “Geographically, we’re located right in the middle of the country,” says Managing Partner David Gleeson, “and we found by being based in Athlone we can virtually cover the whole country.” With a client portfolio including everything from SMEs to multinationals across a wide range of industries, the firm has some specialised sectors it deals with, including credit unions, charities, and family business. “Ownermanager businesses are a big focus for us, working with them from infancy, right through the business cycle, developing their businesses, and bringing on management teams,” says Gleeson. Their specialists work with business owners to define their goals, be it succession planning or selling the business: “We mentor the business owner and work with the family. In that regard, our focus will be very much on the business owner, rather than just working on the business.” ATHLONE ASSETS “Athlone is a fantastic place to start up a business,” he notes. “There’s a great network in terms

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of infrastructure. Using the motorway, you could be in Dublin Airport, Galway or Sligo within an hour. The second thing is staff resources. We’re lucky to have a great college in Athlone Institute of Technology. They’re a great source of trainee accountants for us. And the culture in Athlone is very business-oriented. We

David Gleeson, Managing Partner, RBK get great support from the State organisations, and there’s great cooperation between them and local authorities including Roscommon and Westmeath County Councils in helping businesses get up and running.” The firm has a lot of interest from people interested in

relocating to the Midlands and within 30 minutes to an hour’s distance offers a short commute and work/life balance across a wide geographic area including Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Galway and Offaly. POWERING THROUGH Already having staff working remotely before Covid-19 hit, Gleeson found he was pleasantly surprised by how seamless the transition was for their business continuity. “In five weeks, we moved on maybe three years in terms of technology, because we just had to embrace it, and go with it. There was certainly a lot of positive learnings out of that.” However he admits, “The one challenge was that we’re a training firm— it is a little bit harder to train in people when you’re working remotely. You can’t beat working side by side.” For businesses that might be struggling at the moment, he advises them to reach out and get professional help and take advantage of the government supports on offer. “Cash is king, always was and always will be, so get your viability and strategic plan done. Be proactive, not reactive. Don’t wait; respond to whatever your changing circumstances are, and reach out to professionals such as ourselves, we have plenty of experience and will be able to give you a steer through any crisis.”

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Mairead O’Grady, Taxation Partner, RBK

Attracting Business, Enticing Talent Mairead O’Grady, Taxation Partner at RBK and member of Athlone Chamber, on why infrastructure and amenities are so important to bring business and talent to the town.

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aving joined RBK as a graduate trainee, Mairead O’Grady moved to Athlone from Galway and was instrumental in growing the firm’s tax department where she specialises. “The areas that I work on are our family businesses and all taxes associated with them, and in particular personal tax and succession. Trying to get businesses to actually deal with this at an early stage is the key to making sure they survive a second generation.” O’Grady stresses that while

Athlone is home to a mix of multinational companies and high street retailers, making sure that old family businesses survive is important for the soul of the town. She has been an active member of Athlone Chamber, and notes that as a large employer in the town, the firm always endeavours to put forward a representative. “Invariably, you will always find somebody from RBK in every soccer club or sports team or charity in the town. It is our way of giving a little bit back to the community.”

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BEST FOOT FORWARD “I think the Chamber is about bringing people into the town. It’s not only about businesses, it’s actually about everybody in the town, and that’s comes down to making it more attractive, so that it is a place for people to come to live, to work and to play. “You’re trying to put your best foot forward, to encourage business to come to Athlone. And the only way a business, in particular larger business, will come to Athlone is if the infrastructure is there for staff. And that all comes down to our schools, our colleges, our shops, our retail, and so on. “It is about every aspect of the town when you are looking to bring in businesses. It’s not only about the perfect location on the Main Street or the perfect site, but it’s about what will attract staff to come and live here. “What the Chamber does is it tries to bring all of these areas together in promoting Athlone, and then there are all these different groups surrounding that, be it Destination Athlone, or athlone.ie.” Since O’Grady first came to Athlone as an apprentice, she says, “It is a completely different town.” From tackling the traffic bottlenecks that would beset the town on Friday evenings, to growing Athlone as a retail destination, the work has been done to turn Athlone into a destination of choice. With the Athlone to Mullingar Greenway route completed along the old railway track, it is set to continue on as far as Galway. “It just makes the town much more attractive,” she says, noting a new cycle bridge is just about to cross the Shannon, contributing further to the attractiveness as a tourist amenity, and as a place that will continue to attract staff to companies and make their home there.

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WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Why Waterford?

Aerial view of Waterford City and North Quays

Waterford City and County offer the perfect location for business, and a great work/ life balance, says Gerald Hurley, CEO of Waterford Chamber.

As

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a result of the global pandemic, many people are choosing to leave larger cities for smaller cities and towns that offer a better work/life balance—and Waterford is right up there in terms of quality of life, maintains Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley. “This societal shift in staff and company behaviours presents immeasurable opportunities for Waterford. “The recent announcement of funding for the North Quays is a game changer for the Waterford City region. According to Urbistat analysis, there is currently a catchment population of 604,000 within a 60-minute drive from Waterford City. Together with the current estimated retail leakage of €614m and the plans for the development of the city centre, that presents a huge opportunity for Waterford and those looking to set up business and relocate here. “The North Quays is one of the best pieces of real estate in Europe and we have just been handed the key to unlock its potential, in the form of €110.6m in funding for infrastructure, which will enable the development of the site and the relocation of the station.” Waterford Chamber, on behalf of its 600+ members, persistently lobbied to secure funding for this long-awaited development.

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WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

A CITY OF OPPORTUNITY “With the North Quays funding now secured, it’s time to move to the next critical piece of the puzzle–a university of substance for Waterford. “Becoming a university city will be transformational in terms of the benefits to the local economy, attracting investment and not to mention the tremendous vibrancy it will bring to the city centre.” By 2040, it is projected that 40% of new jobs being created will be in high-value added sectors such a high-tech manufacturing, professional and scientific and ICT sectors. There are currently 300 jobs available in tech and pharma in the region. According to Hurley, tech and innovation are leading the way in Waterford. “With 15,000 students and 5,000 graduating annually with a strong focus on STEM, Waterford City Region has a talent pipeline that is broad, deep and exceptionally versatile. “In the last five years, WIT has secured €69.2m in research funding and has 27 research centres and groups under its umbrella. It is in the unique position of having three National Technology Gateways that are very much aligned to the high added-value sectors that drive employment growth within the Waterford City region.” LEADING THE WAY IN INNOVATION Innovation is the common theme that brings together public, private and academic partners in Waterford. An example of this is the award-winning Toys4Enginners Conference & Expo. “This year we moved to a three-day online offering, which included conferences with industry experts, a digital expo of tech, pharma, engineering and life science companies from all over Ireland and a Meet the Buyer segment, which saw nearly 100 indigenous companies pitch to multinational buyers from across the country,” explains Hurley. ENSURING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE Waterford Chamber has a strong ethos to connect people to build a better business community. The Regional Leaders Programme offers ongoing mentoring.

Surfers and wildlife on Waterford’s scenic coastline.

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Danette Connolly, President, Waterford Chamber, Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, and Gerald Hurley, CEO, Waterford Chamber

“Our programme is unique in that it is created by the business community for the business community and our leaders are the best in the business, giving of their time voluntarily to ensure we build a strong and vibrant business environment for all. “Throughout the pandemic, we facilitated one-to-one meetings, speaker sessions and group webinars on digital platforms, which ensured everybody could complete the programme and not miss out on anything. “Over the past four years, we have connected hundreds of business people throughout the region and they are still all active members of our alumni. That’s a very powerful network and one which will ensure Waterford’s future.” Waterford now boasts a workforce of over 187,000 and is the sixth-fastest growing region in the EU in terms of job creation. QUALITY OF LIFE Waterford’s secret weapon has to be the quality of life and work/life balance it offers. As one of the most scenic counties in the country, with a wealth of natural amenities, a move to Waterford can be successful not only in terms of career progression, but also for family relocation. “The average house price in South East is 65% lower than South Dublin, while the childcare costs are 50% lower than Dublin. “Couple that with a commute time of under 30 minutes for 70% of workers, 300km of beaches within 60 minutes, top-class golf courses, an array of water-based activities, wild mountain ranges, the renowned Waterford Greenway and over 50 festivals per year, and you can be guaranteed a wonderful lifestyle. “Waterford has long been forgotten in terms of investment, which was acknowledged by Minister Darragh O’Brien when we met him at our offices recently. But that has now passed and Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, is on an upward trajectory and Waterford Chamber will be there to support the business community every step of the way,” Hurley concludes.

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Ireland’s oldest city is looking to the future and with investment and growth in the pipeline, the vision for the city and county is set to become reality.

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he county of Waterford, with Ireland’s oldest city at its heart, has a long history since its Viking origins, and now its story includes a compelling vision for the future. Project Ireland 2040, the national strategy for Ireland, sets ambitious targets for Waterford as a driver for growth in the South East region and as a counterbalance to Dublin. The South East region is the sixth fastestgrowing region in the EU in terms of job growth, and a focus on compact growth in urban centres will see the population of Waterford City and suburbs grow by 30,00035,000. This growth will be supported by Ireland’s National Development Plan, a 10-year €115bn programme to upgrade State infrastructure in anticipation of the population increase. The wider region offers companies a population of 604,000 people living in a 60-minute catchment which will rise to 804,000 by 2040 and a workforce of 187,000. The plan set out by Project Ireland 2040 aims for 17,000 jobs to be created in the Waterford City urban area and 83,000 jobs created across the South East region. The Waterford City Region is currently creating an additional 1,000+ jobs annually. NORTH QUAYS PROJECT The North Quays Strategic Development Zone is set to be the single largest enabler of regional economic growth, representing an opportunity for Waterford City to realise its role as the largest urban centre in Ireland’s largest region. It will deliver

Proposed North Quays development

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THE AWARD-WINNING VIRTUAL REALITY VIKING EXPERIENCE TOURISM ATTRACTION KING OF THE VIKINGS NEATLY ENCOMPASSES THE RANGE THAT WATERFORD HAS TO OFFER, FROM ITS RICH HISTORY TO A TECH-INFUSED FUTURE.” 73

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10 REASONS

to locate in

Waterford Ireland’s largest Regional City, outside Dublin, with a catchment population of 603,902 within a 60 minute drive

Ireland’s fastest growing city region where GVA (Gross Value Added) per capita growth has increased by 74% since 2000. The 7th fastest growing region in the EU in terms of GVA per capita.

Waterford City population to grow by 60% to 86,000 by 2040 with a projected 30% regional population growth to 804,000 population by 2040.

Waterford is Ireland’s Oldest City with a rich and varied cultural and industrial heritage which dates back centuries but continues today.

Waterford is a compact, vibrant, liveable and sustainable City with an enviable quality of life.

Waterford City Region will see €500 million investment in Ireland’s only regional Strategic Development Zone site outside Dublin.

Waterford City Region is home to Ireland’s lead Institute of Technology attracting more EU Horizon (H2020) funding than any other Institute of Technology and 2nd only to UCD.

Waterford City Region offers a competitive cost base where companies can realise a 33% cost saving per employee, as compared to Dublin region.

The Port of Waterford is a deepwater port connected to global shipping hubs, providing access to the European, American and Asian markets.

Waterford City Region has one of the most vibrant, structured, cohesive and collaborative innovation ecosystem in Ireland.

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

1,500 new full time jobs directly related to the construction phase of the project alone. The North Quays project is the largest commercial development in Waterford and currently the largest urban regeneration project in the country. The combined private and public investment in the project is estimated at over €500m, with the private development delivering nearly 2,300 full time jobs by 2023 and with the creation of a further 4,500 indirect jobs in the community. A 7% growth rate to Waterford’s economy is anticipated as well as a 1.5 % growth to the wider South East economy. The North Quays project will act as a catalyst for the development of commercial and residential land with direct sustainable access via the Waterford greenway to the City Centre and intercity locations allowing for active travel and associated health benefits, journey time saving, modal shift to more sustainable transport and reduced emissions. VIBRANT REGION The region is vibrant, not only due to its growing reputation as a place to do business, but also with an abundance of amenities and world-class visitor attractions. The vibrant centre of Waterford City offers a dynamic nightlife and exquisite dining experiences. A full calendar of festivals throughout the year brings the city alive, with arts festival Spraoi, Waterford Harvest Festival and Winterval among them. The House of Waterford Crystal, one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions, is situated in the heart of Waterford’s historic Viking Triangle. The award-winning virtual reality (VR) Viking experience tourism attraction King of the Vikings neatly encompasses the range that Waterford has to offer, from its rich history to a tech-infused future. Co Waterford is one of Ireland’s best-kept tourism secrets. The unspoilt coastline boasts 49 pristine beaches, against a

Regina Mangan (pictured front right) with the Liberty Blue team

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Cllr. Damien Geoghegan, Mayor of Waterford City and County with David Cashman, CCO, Zevas

backdrop of rugged mountains with world-renowned glacial lakes. The Copper Coast UNESCO Geopark is an outdoor museum which tells the geological story of the landscape. Waterford’s two mountain ranges, the Comeragh and Knockmealdown mountains, offer countless walking and hiking trails and spectacular drives through the dramatic scenery. The Waterford greenway between Waterford and Dungarvan, finished in 2017, has opened up an additional path from which to take in the spectacular views, and attracted hikers, walkers and outdoor enthusiasts from near and far. WORK LIFE BALANCE With all this on the doorstep, it is unsurprising that according to the results of a relocation survey, 95% of respondents said they have a better work/life balance since moving to the Waterford City region. Regina Mangan, Director of Liberty Blue Estate Agents set up the business in 1997 and operates from Parnell St in Waterford, employing seven staff, along with 20 contractors providing property maintenance services. Her experience, since moving from Limerick in 1995, bears out those survey results, with a flourishing business and great location to live in. As an ambassador for doing business in Waterford, she says there was no other place she would have considered setting up: “I believe Waterford offers a unique opportunity for businesses to grow their brands and connections because of its size and infrastructure.” Having worked with the Local Enterprise Office over the past number of years she says, “I have seen first hand the fantastic support they provide for small businesses.” She herself reached out to them for marketing support during Covid-19 and reveals, “I was genuinely overwhelmed by their help. They go the extra mile every time for business owners.” Listing the attractive qualities of Waterford, she first points

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The Copper Coast

to the cost effectiveness of rents and property prices, adding lack of traffic congestion, quality of life, access to the coastline, culture, theatre, the arts, festivals, great schools and more to the lengthy list. From her family home in An Rinn outside Dungarvan she enjoys the best possible work-life balance: “I consider myself very lucky to be able to go for a run on the beach before I start work. I get to cycle on the Waterford Greenway with my boy at the weekend. People who come here on holidays say to me, ‘Regina you are living the dream’.” PROSPERITY HUB The South East more than holds its own in terms of tech innovation, with 130 tech firms in the region, including names like AI bot platform ServisBot and the award-winning virtual reality software pioneers Immersive VR Education. Crystal Valley Tech is a not-for-profit which promotes the tech community in the South East. The industry-led group, supported by Sun Life, Immersive VR Education, Veri and WIT, has as its mission to influence the development of the national and regional investment in infrastructure, education, training and economic support. “To date Crystal Valley Tech has held two tech summits, organised jobs fairs, represented the South East on panels all over the country and has succeeded in getting the South East recognised as a growing region for tech,” notes Elaine Fennelly, CEO, who works tirelessly to promote the tech cluster in the area. Alongside tech innovators, Zevas, which has recently opened a new hub in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, is a natural fit— established in 2001, it is a leading provider of outsourced and

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insource (client site) customer contact solutions, with a client roster that includes tech giants like Google, PayPal and Twitter. Zevas recently opened a new hub in Dungarvan, Co Waterford. David Cashman, Chief Commercial Officer at Zevas, reveals the strategy behind the move was based on a study of the American model of ‘prosperity hubs’ where employers looking to expand and recruit would identify regional towns to set up in, that may previously been dependent on industry and manufacturing, which presented limited competition for talent compared to bigger cities. US studies showed interesting results—faster recruitment times, lower attrition rates and higher customer satisfaction from the employees themselves having a better work/life balance. “When we came across Dungarvan it pretty much ticked all the boxes for us in terms of catchment size, and availability of talent. And then the commercials on it were favourable as well; obviously the price of square footage in Dungarvan versus Cork and Dublin is significantly cheaper.” The company opened the facility in the centre of Dungarvan in September 2020 with 18 jobs filled (although they are currently working from home), and there is likely to be up to 30 roles eventually in the current space. While a robust working-from-home strategy has seen the company take on employees from across Europe over the past year, Cashman maintains the strategic vision continues to be an employer of choice in hub regions: “We firmly want to recruit in Dungarvan, in Waterford, and create this really good employer value proposition…it’s not just the jobs that we’re creating, but it’s the spin-off business as well, all that contributes to the local economy.”

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

Enhancing Treatments for Patients Waterford’s EirGen Pharma develops and supplies high potency specialty care medicines to improve and enhance the lives of patients.

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rom its campus in Waterford, EirGen Pharma develops and supplies high potency specialty care medicines to patients in more than 50 countries worldwide. It was established in 2005 and is part of OPKO Health since 2015. The company’s Waterford campus consists of three main sites. These state-of-the-art and globally-accredited manufacturing environments provide sterile vial filling, tableting, capsule, soft gel manufacturing and packaging capabilities. A nearby R&D Centre accommodates EirGen’s development and analytical scientists working on the next generation of treatments for the company and its clients. EirGen’s guiding principle is to improve and enhance the lives of patients, whether they are reached directly or through EirGen’s contract manufacturing and development customers across the pharmaceutical industry. Damien Burke, CEO, describes the company’s USP, the ways in which it adds value, thus: “We take existing drugs and find a way to make them more friendly to the patient. For example, for a critically ill cancer patient who may have difficulty swallowing, developing a product that is easier to swallow would have a significant benefit to the patient.” Often, in the rush to get innovative and lifesaving drugs to the market, companies don’t take the time to explore all the available avenues that may enhance

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Damien Burke, CEO, EirGen Pharma

entrepreneurs and for nine years the business ran in an entrepreneurial way, building a high potency oral solid dose manufacturing business,” he explains. “While we have been part of OPKO Healthcare since 2015 and supporting its product pipeline, we very much have autonomy to build our own business commercialising niche, high-value products on global markets,” he says. “Since OPKO bought EirGen there has been significant investment in the company which has seen the building of an Aseptic Fill & Finish and R&D facility and further investment in building a Packaging facility. In 2015 we had one facility, now we have three facilities all located in Waterford which is significant growth over the last five years.

IF WE CAN INCREASE THE PERCENTAGE OF THE DRUG THAT IS ABSORBED INTO THE BLOODSTREAM, THEN WE CAN POTENTIALLY LOWER THE DOSE AND ULTIMATELY HAVE FEWER SIDE EFFECTS, WHICH IS BETTER FOR THE PATIENT. treatment for all patients: “That’s where we come in,” notes Burke. “Another example would be, if we can increase the percentage of the drug that is absorbed into the bloodstream, then we can potentially lower the dose and ultimately have fewer side effects, which is better for the patient who is going through so much with their cancer treatment.” EVOLVING BUSINESS Burke joined EirGen in 2006 as one of the originating members of the start-up team, and has seen the company develop over the years since then. “The company was founded in 2006 by two local

“Offering multi-platform products in the high containment space, particularly in oncology, providing high-quality, high-value development, manufacturing and supply chain services we have a fantastic opportunity to build a unique business not only in Waterford but in Ireland.” INNOVATION & DRIVE He points to the advantages of the location for business: “Waterford is Ireland’s oldest city and with that comes a lot of history that you can soak up as you walk the city streets but also there is a drive within the city to be innovative and support foreign direct investment while also

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supporting the entrepreneurial culture that has seen so many new companies start up in Waterford. “Waterford has a lot of multinational companies that offer fantastic career progression opportunities particularly in the Pharma and medical device space. It also boasts great supports if you are looking to start your own business and has great connectivity and infrastructure. “On a personal level the main attraction about Waterford is that it is a fantastic location to achieve that which we all look for which is a work/life balance. You can live by the beach and be at work within 15 minutes.” R&D FOCUS EirGen’s three sites in Waterford address different elements of the business. The commercial centre makes tablets, capsules and soft gel capsules in the high containment space for global markets (Europe, US, Japan as well as many other markets in South America, South East Asia, North Africa, Middle East etc). The second site is an R&D centre focusing on the future pipeline for EirGen and OPKO. The third site is a packaging site which makes fully serialised sachet, blister and bottle packs for the global market. The company has been actively building a corporate culture which emphasises the importance of innovation and R&D, which has led to results which surpassed all expectations coming from their work over the past year. “EirGen is quite unique in the culture it has built over the last 12 months, we have moved from an entrepreneurial culture to a growing intrapreneurial culture,” Burke explains. “At the core of intrapreneurial culture is the promotion of innovation at all levels and all aspects of the organisation. “This was crystallised in our Research and Innovation department where we created

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Aseptic Fill & Finish

an innovation product selection team. Their goal was to identify innovative products that the company would work on developing in the next five years. We had hoped we would find two or three products but the team did so well we found 20 potential candidates, three of which we will work on transitioning to our product pipeline.” High Potency Manufacture STEM TALENT With Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) just down the road, there is a readymade talent pool of graduates from its STEM subject degrees. “WIT has fantastic pharma and engineering degrees,” says Burke. “Graduates from both STEM areas are in big demand in industry in the South East and

beyond. We have a number of WIT graduates on our team and work with many more through our ties with the Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) and the South Eastern Applied Materials Research Centre (SEAM) at WIT,

WATERFORD AND THE SOUTHEAST HAS A REAL PHARMA HUB, THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD LARGE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES IN THE LOCALITY WHICH MEANS THERE IS A HIGHLY EDUCATED PHARMA WORKFORCE WITHIN THE SOUTHEAST REGION InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

R&D Centre

Oral solid dose facility

High Potency Packaging

and with graduates working in companies like Tegan Innovations here in Waterford. “We have also started working with WIT on its Lean Labs proposal which again will be a significant benefit to the locality in driving operational excellence in all industries in Waterford. The college is crucial to our future success and more importantly, attaining university status would be a significant milestone for the region.” In terms of recruitment, he notes, “Waterford and the South East has a real pharma hub, there are a lot of good large pharmaceutical companies in the locality which means there is a highly educated pharma workforce within the South East region. There are always some positions that are difficult to recruit for but this is where we as a company need to be creative and innovative in our solutions, which

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can mean huge potential for career progression.” AGILE & ADAPTING This translates into looking for creativity and innovation when recruiting, to shore up the company for the future, and further develop the intrapenurial culture. “As the competitive landscape ever changes with the benefits of global competition, the greatest skill to have in any organisation is to be agile. The ability to change in all aspects of our business is a significant benefit and selling point as we expand our brand globally.” While Covid-19 has certainly not had a negative impact on the pharma industry, or demand for pharma products, EirGen has had to adapt in other ways over the past months. “The biggest impact has been the limitation of people on site, very early on with Covid-19 we made the decision

to have the majority of desk-based staff work from home and we have maintained the policy throughout the pandemic. This was certainly the right decision for the company and our colleagues as it reduced the risk significantly,” says Burke. Staff morale has remained good through the pandemic, helped along by initiatives such as resilience workshops and a mindfulness talk over Zoom from musician and mental health advocate Bressie. “We have increased our employee sickness benefits, family health insurance, perform annual medicals for all employees and we work closely with Irish Life and encourage our colleagues to attend any of its webinars around wellness. “Our colleagues have shown huge resilience in managing the change in how we work and supporting the needs of the business. We have introduced a number of measures to reduce the burden of change to make working at EirGen as easy as possible and to help our colleagues who work remotely to stay connected to the business and their own colleagues.”

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ittsburgh-headquartered UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centred, cost-effective, accountable care. UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialisation arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. It has been in Ireland since 2006 when it opened a radiotherapy centre at Whitfield Clinic in Waterford, then later taking over the clinic in 2018 and renaming it to UPMC Whitfield Hospital. Patricia Lane, General Manager of UPMC Whitfield Hospital, originally joined as Assistant Director of Nursing. She recalls how the relationship first began, when UPMC set up the radiotherapy centre: “In 2006 all patients in the South East either had to travel to Dublin or Cork for their radiotherapy. That’s where UPMC stepped in,opening up the centre to provide that radiotherapy for

The UPMC radiotherapy centre on the campus of Bon Secours Hospital Cork is the only facility in Munster to offer stereotactic radiosurgery, an advanced form of radiotherapy

Bringing Care Closer to Home UPMC is expanding across Ireland from its Waterford roots, with its mission to ‘bring care closer to home’, says Patricia Lane, General Manager of UPMC Whitfield Hospital. 80

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all patients of the South East, public and private.” The unique relationship between UPMC and the HSE has continued, and during the pandemic, made for a quick transition for the private hospital to take on the cancer care from University Hospital Waterford. “During Covid-19, the whole of the medical oncology, inpatient and day cases moved on site to Whitfield and it designated us as its Covid-19-free site. So with that medical oncology moved in here in its entirety,” says Lane. “We were doing chemotherapy, palliative care, and cancer surgeries while the rest of the country was waiting for something to happen with their private partners.” The UPMC Whitfield Hospital now covers 25 other specialties and has expanded from four operating

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

theatres to six. Orthopaedic surgery is among the fastest-growing specialties, not only tying in nicely with the new UPMC Sports Medicine Clinic at WIT Arena, but also building on UPMC’s tradition in its native Pittsburgh with the Pittsburgh Steelers. EXPANSION ACROSS IRELAND UPMC continues to expand its services in Ireland and its efforts to bring the best care “close to home”. This includes the expansion of services at UPMC Kildare (formerly Clane General Hospital) and UPMC Whitfield Hospital, the addition of a new outpatient centre and new radiation capabilities at its joint venture cancer centre in Cork, the growth of its Concussion Network, and the creation of the UPMC Global Technology Operations Centre in Kilkenny. The group has also recently acquired the oldest private hospital in Ireland, the 105-year-old Aut Even hospital in Kilkenny—which is to be renamed UPMC Aut Even Hospital. The 71-bed elective, private hospital with an 18-bed day surgery unit will benefit from UPMC’s planned investments in new or additional medical services and technologies. The newly-opened Carlow town outreach centre is another example of the UPMC ‘Bringing Care Closer to Home’ motto in action. The centre offers men’s health and women’s health clinics, with urologists and gynaecologists running clinics, as

well as physio and radiation oncology clinics (where consultations can be carried out prior to treatment at the radiotherapy centres in Cork or Waterford). There is also an education centre for conferences and GP education. “We’ve done various sessions but the majority of them would be GP education sessions, where we invite the GPs in on their lunchtime for their CPD points, and they meet the consultants that would be working out of the clinic,” explains Lane. GLOBAL OUTLOOK The Global Technology Operations Centre is set to support the health system’s continuing international expansion, from its facility in MacDonagh Junction. It will employ up to 60 skilled technology workers and other support staff over the next three years, adding to the more than 475 UPMC staff already in Ireland. The project is supported by IDA Ireland and Kilkenny was chosen due to its proximity to other key UPMC facilities. The new centre gives the group the unique ability to accommodate regulatory, cultural and language requirements across its international sites in Ireland and Italy, where it has multiple healthcare facilities, as well as assisting with the creation of an academic medical centre in Kazakhstan (not owned by the group) and a planned partnership to manage a network of new hospitals in China.

UPMC Sports Medicine Clinic

UPMC SPORTS MEDICINE CLINIC AT WIT ARENA. The new UPMC Sports Medicine Clinic at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Arena is the health system’s first international location dedicated to sports medicine. It offers a wide variety of equipment and services unique to the region, including: •

UPMC Whitfield Hospital, Waterford

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The South East’s only AlterG® Antigravity Treadmill™, which allows for pain-free lower extremity rehabilitation by reducing gravitational forces in a fall-safe environment; Biodex technology, which guides return to play with validated, quantitative outcomes data obtained through computerised measurement of muscle function and output; Blood flow restriction rehabilitation, which uses a specialised tourniquet system to reduce blood flow to an extremity with the goal of increasing strength using low weight loads to mimic training at high loads; And Winback and shockwave therapy, two non-invasive, evidence-based treatments that accelerate healing from sportsrelated injuries.

“UPMC is proud to bring our communities access to advanced equipment and treatments close to home for athletes of all skill levels,” said David Beirne, UPMC International Senior Vice President and Managing Director of UPMC in Ireland. “Part of the UPMC International Sports Medicine Network, this clinic will provide patients with outcomes-driven care while prioritising safe return to play.”

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IB PARTNER PROFILE: WATERFORD CHAMBER OVERVIEW

a44m upgrade for SMARTPLY OSB manufacturing plant Coillte invests heavily to upgrade MEDITE SMARTPLY’s Waterford plant, to increase efficiency and respond to demand from international customers.

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oillte, Ireland’s commercial forestry and land solutions company, is investing €44.4m to improve and upgrade MEDITE SMARTPLY’s SMARTPLY oriented strand board (OSB) plant in Co Waterford. MEDITE SMARTPLY is part of Coillte, which, along with managing forests, is an innovative, FSC certified forest products manufacturer. Based in Clonmel (MEDITE) and Waterford (SMARTPLY), it produces a versatile range of medium density fibreboard (MDF) and OSB building products. OSB comprises engineered wood similar to particle board, formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood flakes, and is commonly used in construction. It is a cost effective and environmentally friendly alternative to plywood for use in structural and non-structural applications. On-going product innovation continues to widen the scope of application of SMARTPLY OSB into timber frame and low energy construction. Made from fast growing locally sourced FSC certified timber, SMARTPLY OSB panels are fully certified, structurally approved, CE compliant, legal and sustainable alternatives to tropical plywood. MEDITE SMARPTLY products are exported to over 30 countries, and the manufacturing sites in

Clonmel and Waterford feature the latest production technology to deliver straighter, flatter and more consistent boards than ever before, in a range of sizes and thicknesses unparalleled within the industry. Constant progression and investment has allowed MEDITE SMARTPLY to enter new diverse markets and sectors, meaning

SMARTPLY Harvest

that there is always a fresh pipeline of new products to address market demands. ENHANCED EFFICIENCY The new investment will upgrade the drying plant, which has been in continuous operation since 1996, and will deliver a world-class drying/energy/screen system that will enhance resource efficiency and asset reliability while greatly increasing plant capacity. The project is underway and due to finish in Q2 2022. The announcement comes at a critical time for MEDITE SMARTPLY as it looks to scale up production levels to meet the continual strong demand for its products. The improved output, as a result of the project, will further increase product availability as well as enable the company to develop new market sectors and opportunities as part of the company’s strategy and growth plan.

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SMARTPLY chips

SMARTPLY board drying

“We are delighted to announce the latest investment into our SMARTPLY plant which will provide a welcome economic boost to the region while enabling us to deliver our best-inclass timber panel products to even more customers,” says Pat Beardmore, Chief Operations Officer, MEDITE SMARTPLY. “This is the second significant investment we have made in SMARTPLY in the past five years, with a €59m project back in 2016. It is a unique product that is produced sustainably and to the highest level of quality. We’re delighted to be able to increase its availability to its international customer base.”

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Improve Cash Flow by Digitising Accounts Receivable Processes

YayPay by Quadient Ireland allows for increased cashflow and happier employees.

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ash is the lifeblood of business – no one can afford long delays between products or services being delivered and payments being received. Reducing Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is a key goal for many businesses, but achieving it comes down to more than just the will of customers to settle debts. In this article exploring Accounts Receivable (AR), we take a look at how digitisation can improve cash flow. There are many elements to the invoicing process. Hold-ups and inefficiencies at any stage can cause delays, frustration and customer dissatisfaction. Luckily there’s a new solution on the market that allows you to increase cash flow and develop happier employees as a result of reduced manual data entry, while accelerating collections of invoices by up to 34%. MANUAL PROCEDURES Manual invoices need to be compiled, addressed and issued. Next, customers

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need to receive statements and bills in the ways that suit them. Then, it must be simple and straightforward for them to take action – they need to be able to get in touch with the right person in the right way – and finally, make payment conveniently. Often information sits with a number of different people on both the supply and customer side. As well as that manual processing is time consuming and error prone. IMPROVING OPERATIONS From creation through distribution and follow-up to payment, if customers choose electronic billing, a centralised and digital AR process can improve cash flow by reducing DSO. A single AR management platform brings all information into one place, automates manual tasks and enables clear and timely customer communications. Customers self-serve with convenient access to invoices 24/7, and the capability to make payment through a portal.

THE SOLUTION YayPay by Quadient is a new AR automation software from communication specialists Quadient Ireland. The platform is a SaaSbased predictive and automated AR management solution that helps financial teams perform better, manage receivables more efficiently and get payments from clients quicker. By integrating with your existing ERP, CRM, accounting and billing systems, YayPay combines realtime accounts receivables, analytics and payment predictions to help businesses increase cash flow. With the automation of manual effort, Yaypay offers you a 3x improvement in team efficiency and productivity. Benefits include increased cash flow from faster payments, happier employees from reduced manual labour and accelerated collections of invoices by up to 34%. The platform gives you the time to plan and information to act. Ultimately, you get paid faster. YAYPAY BENEFITS YayPay gives you strategic insight, providing real-time reporting with powerful dashboards that put all of your AR data and communications in one place, so your team can make smart decisions and intelligently allocate resources to the right customers. Users can avail of alerts, analytics, payment predictions and automated Communication Workflows and an Integrated Payment Portal to allow your clients to instantly pay online. Take a look at YayPay by Quadient Ireland, an automated AR management platform. Call Quadient today on 01 625 0900 or email info.ie@quadient.com. More information on www.quadient.ie

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Creative and Reactive to the Needs of Business Fingal County Council, committed to making Fingal a good place to do business, stepped up to help local firms survive Covid-19.

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ven though it is a major driver of the Irish economy with excellent infrastructure, extensive transport links and a population of 300,000, Fingal was not immune to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The local authority area, which covers north Dublin, has over 6,000 rate-payers and is a mix of large multinationals to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Major industries include pharma, technology, aviation, hospitality and agriculture. Traffic in and out of Dublin Airport plummeted and the knock-on effects were felt right across the county. The lack of tourists and lockdown restrictions resulted in empty hotels, the closure of top visitor attractions like Malahide Castle and the cancellation of major events and festivals. For a Council committed to making Fingal a good place to do business, it was a seismic moment according to AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council. “Fingal County Council prides itself on being supportive of the business community and this year that support was needed more than ever. Since March, a series of support measures has been implemented, including a rates waiver, the Restart Grant, a tourism advertising campaign and many other excellent initiatives

Bill Kearney, President, Dublin Fingal Chamber, Aine McCabe, Shop Malahide, Richard Berney, Balbriggan Chamber, and Derek Fowler, Chairman of Malahide Chamber, pictured at the launch of the Fingal In It Together Charter

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from our Economic, Enterprise, Tourism and Cultural Development Department and our Local Enterprise Office.” With businesses having to deal with the consequences of the pandemic and in desperate need of support just to stay afloat, Fingal County Council found itself on the frontline. According to Emer O’Gorman, Director of Economic, Enterprise, Tourism and Cultural Development, the reaction had to be swift and effective. “Our team have been incredibly creative and reactive to the needs of the business community in Fingal during the pandemic. The supports we provide to the business community were ramped up and staff were redeployed from other areas to assist in providing that assistance. We looked at how we could help and then went out and did it,” says O’Gorman. With the support of Government, the Council was able to provide a rates waiver worth €80m to eligible businesses and also paid out almost €30m in Restart grants. LEO Fingal awarded 750 Trading Online Vouchers worth €1.7m and 470 Business Continuity Vouchers worth over €1m. The Council also ran promotional campaigns such as Visit Fingal and Fingal In It Together for Christmas. Other initiatives included a Shop Fingal campaign, a Shop Local app and the introduction of Parklets. It also worked with the business community to re-imagine town centres and introduced the Fingal In It Together Charter where local businesses committed to supporting each other. The supports the Council put in place in 2020 will help businesses move into 2021 with some degree of positivity according to the Mayor of Fingal, Cllr David Healy. “The business community is part of the lifeblood of Fingal. These supports were vital in saving many businesses from closing permanently and will continue to allow many to keep trading and doing business while we are still dealing with fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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Vaccine Logistics: Delivering Pandemic Resilience A DHL task force, with members of the company’s business units across the globe, has been created to assist with the logistics of mass distribution of world-changing vaccines. Audrey Kelly, Head of Key Accounts at DHL Express Ireland tells us more.

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n December 2019, most of us had never used words like ‘social distancing’, ‘cocooning’ or ‘flatten the curve’. How much has changed in one year. Now many people are working from home, older people are self-isolating and everyone has a collection of face masks. For DHL Express it’s been a year of change too, with the health crisis putting a strain on global supply chains. In March and April, when the virus was spreading in Europe and the US, personal protective equipment (PPE) became a valuable commodity. Outbound shipping was often delayed due to road transport bottlenecks and when supplies finally arrived at outbound ports, reliable estimates for arrival times (ETAs) on the receiving end were hard to ascertain. When supplies did reach their destination country, custom clearance processes added another hurdle. DHL, along with many other carriers, moved huge quantities of PPE for healthcare providers, governments and pharmaceutical companies. DISTRIBUTING VACCINES Now the talk has turned to vaccines. However, their ability to end this pandemic depends on an effective supply chain that can connect diverse production locations to the public. With a global population of 7.9bn people, it is expected that 10bn vaccines will be needed. We estimate this will require 15m cooling boxes, 15,000 flights and 200,000 pallet places. As we learn of each new vaccine nearing approval, we are hearing of different temperature requirements. This is because potential vaccines

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are being developed on multiple platforms with each generating the immune response through a different mechanism. As a result, regional distribution capabilities, as well as packaging and transportation sustainability, will all likely be a function of whether temperature requirements for safe and efficacious vaccines will be as low as -80°C or fall in the +2–8°C range. In September, DHL published a white paper highlighting a lot of these questions and how important it was for governments to develop an emergency response plan. A DHL task force was created with members from our various business units across the globe to assist with vaccine logistics. This underpins our mission statement “Connecting People, Improving Lives”. As a global logistics player, highly experienced in getting mission-critical and specialised supplies to the right places when they are needed most, we are looking to shape this conversation and ultimately bring perspective to the monumental task that is mass distribution of a world-changing vaccine. With our dedicated Worldwide Medical Express product, we are best positioned to assist in complex supply chain requirements and we are committed to doing our part to help improve systems and ensure medical supplies find their way to wherever they are needed. If you are interested in speaking to our dedicated life sciences and healthcare experts, or reading our full White Paper on Pandemic Resilience check out shipping.dhl.ie/lshc or contact Richard.Piece@dhl.com.

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Mayo clubs get €25,600, Sligo Leitrim An Garda Síochána launches coastal plan, and Galway City Council announces €102.5m 2021 budget

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Cork County Council launches campaign for improved diversity in local government, while work commences on €200m Opera Site in Limerick

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Dublin City Council launches women’s committee, Fingal’s Our Balbriggan shortlisted for European award, and Meath schools get €25k music funding

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Patrick Kavanagh Centre wins European award, Belfast’s Templemore Baths get £17m restoration, and Donegal Thatch Repair Grant Scheme is honoured

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[ DUBLIN CITY ]

Dublin City Council launches Ireland’s first local-level, cross-party women’s committee

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ublin City Council has launched its new cross-party women’s committee. Building on the work of informal women’s committees of the past, this committee is the first officially formed, fully cross-party working committee of its kind at a local level anywhere in the country. Its main aim is to strengthen women’s cross-party co-operation, thereby maximising overall impact on policies and decision-making. It offers opportunities to harness the institutional knowledge of longestablished women councillors and combine it with new ideas and perspectives from more recently elected women councillors whilst also drawing on the various skills of all women councillors. There are three key areas of focus: economic (more benefits for carers and better maternity leave); safety (making Dublin a safer city, in terms of urban planning, transport, domestic violence); Council (information exchange, sharing area motions, collective motions).

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Fingal County Council’s Our Balbriggan project has been shortlisted for a top European award by The Innovation in Politics Institute, a Vienna-based organisation which works on a nonpartisan, pan-European level to enable politicians from different countries to share best practice, to network and to build bridges. The project is one of 10 finalists in the Democracy category, which honours political work that increases participation of citizens in opinion forming and decision making. The other finalists are from Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Belgium, Switzerland, France and Italy.

[ FINGAL COUNTY ]

Permission granted for Harry Reynolds Road Pedestrian and Cycle Route

Fingal County Council has granted Part 8 planning permission for the Harry Reynolds Road Pedestrian and Cycle Route in Balbriggan, which will provide safe, segregated cycling and pedestrian routes for residents and schoolchildren. Costing an estimated a8.5m, the 3km route will be funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA) as part of the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan. Linking a number of local schools and amenities and serving a large part of the local population, the NTA-funded scheme will also provide for a future link to the proposed Fingal Coastal Way greenway. The scheme was one of the “20 things in the first 12 months” committed to by Fingal County Council as part of the Our Balbriggan 2019-2025 Rejuvenation Plan. It includes a number of key measures to improve pedestrian and cyclist facilities in the area, including safe, segregated cycle tracks and footpaths; new pedestrian crossings, raised tables and other traffic calming measures; new, safer cyclist and pedestrian friendly roundabouts and crossings; extensive landscaping including additional tree and hedgerow planting; and traffic calming and safe cycling measures on the approach roads to the Ardgillan Community College/Bracken Educate Together school campus. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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[ COUNTY MEATH ]

€25,000

awarded to Meath schools for musical instruments Meath County Council awarded €25,000 in funding to schools via the Schools Musical Instrument Purchase Scheme, an annual strand of funding intended to support the development of musical instrument resources in primary and secondary schools. This arts grant allocation, supported by Creative Ireland, will help music education to continue in classrooms despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Winners of the Meath Community Wellbeing Initiative 2020 Awards announced

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he announcement of the winners of the Community Wellbeing Initiative from the participating Municipal Districts took place virtually on 3 December. The event (pictured below) was broadcast live from the Council offices in Buvinda House, Navan and can be viewed on the Meath County Council YouTube Channel. The purpose of this initiative was to recognise the wonderful work groups undertook in direct response to supporting their communities during the Covid-19 health crisis through local wellbeing initiatives, be they big or small, and which demonstrated how groups looked after the physical and mental wellbeing of the people in their community. Applications were invited under four categories: Social Inclusion, Wellbeing, Entertainment and Innovative Project. “This year more than ever it is evident that strong communities keep us safe and support us when things are difficult; they rally around when things are tough and we celebrate together on happy occasions,” says Meath County Council Chief Executive, Jackie Maguire.

Pictured L-R: Laytown/Bettystown MD Cathaoirleach Cllr Tom Behan, Kells MD Cathaoirleach Cllr Paul McCabe, Ratoath MD Cathaoirleach Cllr Damien O’Reilly, Trim MD Cathaoirleach Cllr Ronan Moore, Meath County Council Chief Executive Jackie Maguire, Mayor of Navan Cllr Francis Deane, and Cathaoirleach Cllr David Gilroy

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[ COUNTY CORK ]

Cork County Council launches new campaign for improved diversity in local government

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€7,000,000

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ork County Council has launched a campaign to highlight the critical role diversity and inclusion have to play in local government, and is calling on women, people of all backgrounds and minority groups throughout the county to consider stepping into the ring to encourage, support and facilitate greater representation in local politics to reflect the diversity that exists in our society. While the 2019 Local Elections resulted in the highest proportion of female councillors – 226 nationally, representation is still well below par at just 24% of the overall number of councillors. “In recent years, we have seen considerable improvements across the board, but have not yet fully reached the 2019 target of a 30% proportion of women candidates,” says Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, who is the third woman to hold the role in 100 years. “Central to the goal of building and maintaining a sustainable democracy is ensuring the active participation of women and representation of all groups across the board, whether in politics, business or education. Each of us has the power to influence change – we need to hear the voices of those that are under-represented to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion.”

Carrigaline and Kanturk Roads Projects Cork County Council has secured over €7m to deliver key infrastructure projects in Carrigaline and Kanturk – €6.4m from the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage, under the Urban Regeneration & Development Fund, for the delivery of the Carrigaline Western Relief Road, and €743,400 from the Department of Community and Rural Development, under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, to deliver the Kanturk Link Road.

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[ COUNTY LIMERICK ]

Boost for Limerick and Mid-West as work at Opera Site commences

Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Michael Collins; David Conway, CEO of Limerick Twenty Thirty; Pat Daly, Chief Executive, Limerick City and County Council; and Aoife Munnelly, Safety Advisor, John Sisk & Son Ltd. Photo: True Media

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he biggest commercial property programme investment in Limerick and largest ever outside the capital has got underway at the 1.62 hectare Opera Site. Demolition and enabling works have begun for the a200m project. Having achieved planning in February 2020, the site will, when fully developed, have the capacity for up to 3,000 employees across a 450,000 square foot campus. The programme will take up to six years to complete. Among the key elements will be a 14-storey landmark office space building; a five-storey aparthotel with 13 separate apartments and retail on ground and basement levels; a 4-6-storey over-basement building with office space, retail and restaurant/café; and a state-of-the-art library plus significant public realm. The site is being developed by Limerick Twenty Thirty DAC, a special purpose vehicle established by Limerick City and County Council in 2016 to stimulate economic and social development by building out and promoting strategic disused sites in Limerick.  “From a business perspective, this is a huge boost to Limerick. It will be an invitation to FDI, to indigenous business to look at Limerick. Once they do, they will see a city very much open for business and forward thinking and a great place to work and live,” says Dee Ryan, CEO, Limerick Chamber. [ COUNTY CORK ]

Funding Boost for Midleton Youghal Greenway Cork County Council has welcomed an additional funding boost for the development of the Midleton Youghal Greenway, which follows the route of the disused railway line from Midleton Train Station to the former Youghal Train Station. Department of Transport funding for the development of the Greenway will now be provided at a rate of 100%. The overall funding secured by Cork County Council for the development stands at a19.8m. “This is a very positive result for County Cork, and completion of this project over the next two years will be a priority for the Council,” says Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey. “The Greenway has the potential to be transformational for the area. Not only will it support sustainable transport initiatives by enhancing and extending cycling infrastructure within the county, it will also have significant amenity benefits and contribute positively to health, wellbeing and overall quality of life, as well as climate adaptation.” The 23km long, off-road route connects the key towns and villages of Midleton, Mogeely, Killeagh and Youghal and will provide a level gradient suitable for users of all ages and abilities as a safe, accessible and attractive route for cycling and walking. Construction works will commence in 2021 with planned completion in late 2022. InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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Dromina-based artists, and husband and wife, Liam Lavery and Eithne Ring have been commissioned by Cork County Council to create an artwork to commemorate the communal spirit shown by the people of County Cork during the Covid-19 pandemic. The new artwork, chosen following a public call for proposals by Cork County Council to artists based in the county, is to be located by the Public Library in Bruce Square, Charleville.

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[COUNTY SLIGO AND COUNTY LEITRIM ]

Launch of Dualgas – Sligo Leitrim’s Coastal Strategy The Sligo Leitrim Division of An Garda Síochána has launched Operation Dualgas, a local coastal strategic plan that has a specific focus aimed at protecting and securing the division’s coastline and waterways from criminal activity. Operation Dualgas incorporates An Garda Síochána’s national Coastal Watch strategy, and aims to work with communities to facilitate the gathering of intelligence, relating to suspicious and criminal activity along the coastline, to analyse data received and act on same accordingly. It has an aim of coordinating the response to all types of maritime crime including drug and human trafficking, property crime and all activity associated with organised crime. The Sligo Leitrim Division has developed this interagency strategy over the past number of months and already Operation Dualgas has had significant success. “Operation Dualgas is a reinforcement of the assurance that all the relevant agencies including the community are working together by sharing information to collectively detect and prevent criminality on land, on islands, inland waterways or at sea into the future,” says Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken. “We want to ensure that the attractiveness of our coasts and waterways are protected and secured for our communities and for visitors to enjoy.”

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Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Cllr Dara Mulvey, accompanied by keen fishermen Tom Clarke and Anthony Mahon from the nearby Cranmore area, and Frank Quinn and Jim Sheridan from the Cranmore Regeneration Team cast a few lines from two newly installed angling stands on the Garavogue River. This project is one of a number being delivered by Sligo County Council through the Cranmore Regeneration Office, in partnership with Sligo Tourist Development Association. This development is the first phase of a project that will see the provision of four new fishing stands along the Garavogue River.

€268,000

CLÁR 2020 funding for Leitrim

Leitrim County Council secured €267,907 for eight out of ten projects submitted for consideration under CLÁR 2020 funding announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD totalling over €4.1m to support 115 projects in rural communities nationally. It will support the provision of safety measures around schools and community facilities, as well as the development of community recreation areas.

Assistant Commissioner for the North Western Region Barry O’Brien, Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken, and Minister Frank Feighan at the launch of Dualgas

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[ COUNTY GALWAY ]

[ COUNTY MAYO ]

34 clubs / organisations receive €25,600 in funding from Mayo Sports Partnership

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t a recent Mayo Sports Partnership Board meeting, a25,600 was allocated to 34 clubs/organisations in Mayo through the Partnerships 2020 special participation and volunteer support grant scheme. Postponed in March due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the scheme aims to support new initiatives or additional activities that would increase participation in sport/physical activity. An addition to this year’s initiative is a volunteer support branch of the fund, which is supported through the Dormant Account fund through Sport Ireland. Chairman of the Partnership Cllr Michael Loftus acknowledged the issues that sports clubs are facing during the pandemic and the contribution they are making in communities the length and breadth of the county: “We are delighted to be able to support clubs/organisations that are continuing to plan ahead despite challenges, providing additional opportunities for participation in sport for all sectors of our population. Along with the Covid-19 sports club small grant scheme announced in November, this allocation will bring a total fund of a115,000 to almost 100 clubs in Mayo.”

Mayo Autism Camp

Ballyhaunis Cricket Club

Breaffy Rounders Club Grainne Uaile Dragon Boat Club

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€102.5m 2021 budget for Galway City Galway City Council adopted an expenditure budget of a102,540,409 for 2021, an increase of over a2.8m on the 2020 figure. The budget was compiled on a basis which did not include any increases in commercial rates, Local Property Tax or increases in charges for services yet will continue to make provision to maintain existing council services to a high standard. “This year has been the most challenging of years on record due to the impact of Covid-19 and the major economic uncertainty it has caused is likely to continue into the year ahead,” says Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath. “The council has been prudent in managing its finances and provision has been made over the last number of years to build up some reserves, which will see the utilisation of these funds in 2021 to deliver a number of beneficial projects and initiatives for the city.”

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Patrick Kavanagh Centre wins European Cultural Heritage Award

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he Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Monaghan triumphed in the Film and Video category at the Heritage in Motion Awards 2020, held online on 20 November. A joint initiative of the European Museum Academy and Europa Nostra, the awards are a celebration of the best examples of innovative multimedia and digital projects in cultural heritage in Europe. The Patrick Kavanagh Centre is set in a deconsecrated early 19th century church in the poet’s hometown of Inniskeen, and was designed by Martello Media, in association with MakeDot, to work as a museum, resource centre, cinema and performance space. The centre re-opened in July, following a a1m restoration, and tells the story of the 20th century poet through an immersive, multimedia experience. The award has been given to the centrepiece of the exhibition, a triple-projection titled “The Pincer Jaws of Heaven”, designed to “envelop visitors with a cinematic flying journey”, and connect them with the raw power of Kavanagh’s words, and the landscapes that inspired them; key works are read by Kavanagh, plus an eclectic selection of local friends and fellow poets including Oliver Callan and John McArdle.

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€155.3M

[ COUNTY MONAGHAN ]

budget adopted by Donegal County Council for 2021

The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Rena Donaghey has welcomed the adoption of the council’s revenue budget for 2021, emphasising that the spending of the €155.3m budget in 2021 will reach all corners of the county and be spent on goods and services provided by many local suppliers and companies.

[ COUNTY ANTRIM ]

HISTORIC TEMPLEMORE BATHS IN BELFAST GETS £17M RESTORATION Work has started on the £17m restoration and expansion of Templemore Baths in east Belfast – the sole surviving Victorian public baths on the island of Ireland and one of the few remaining in the UK that still delivers its original function, with most of its original interior fabric and fittings intact. The project will see many of the historic building’s original features sympathetically restored, and a new extension will provide an additional six-lane 25m pool, spa facilities and a modern 80 station fitness suite. Work is due to be completed by autumn 2022. 

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Donegal Tourism has announced the winners of its Donegal – Discover What’s on your Doorstep photography competition. There were almost 1,200 entries, with winners of the best photo taken in each Municipal District receiving a a100 voucher for a Donegal hotel and the overall winner receiving a Canon camera. Sinead McCahey’s “Kayaking at Owey Island” (pictured) was the overall winner, while John Carver, Naoise O’Baoill, Lee Morrow, Treasa G Frazer, and Bronagh Marnie won the district awards. To see all of the winning photos, visit govisitdonegal.com.

[ COUNTY DONEGAL ]

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARD FOR THATCH REPAIR GRANT SCHEME Donegal County Council’s Thatch Repair Grant Scheme won the Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Award in the Heritage & Built Environment category at the online awards ceremony on 26 November. The award recognises the best local authority initiative to promote public interest in, and knowledge, appreciation and protection of local heritage. Donegal County Council will receive a speciallycommissioned crystal award designed by Waterford Crystal that will be presented to the council when restrictions allow. The Thatch Repair Grant Scheme was supported by funding from Donegal County Council, The Heritage Council and Creative Ireland as part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan. “Our thatched buildings are very important to our culture, economy and tourism, so it’s great that Chambers Ireland has recognised the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme with this award,” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer. “The award also recognises the contribution that the owners, occupiers and craftsmen of these structures make as guardians of this aspect of our vernacular built heritage.” To read about all of the Chambers Ireland Local Government Award winners, go to page 59.

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Rope thatching a cottage in Straboy, Glencolmcille / Gleann Cholm Cille with support from the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme

Scallop-thatched, direct-entry cottage in Ballindrait supported under the Thatch Repair Grant Scheme

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

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Expleo Reveals Growing Digital First Approach by Irish Businesses Expleo’s new Business Transformation Index 2021 shows how the pandemic is affecting organisations across Ireland, and how they are evolving.

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xpleo, the technology partner for innovative companies, has announced the results of a new survey which reveals that a growing number of businesses in Ireland are proactively taking a ‘digital first’ approach to help transform their processes and services. As Ireland continues to be impacted by the pandemic, Expleo commissioned a survey of 200 business and IT leaders across the island of Ireland to understand how the pandemic is affecting their organisations, including the threats and opportunities as business and consumer demands evolve. The results are included in Expleo’s new Business Transformation Index 2021 report. The survey found that almost half (48%) of businesses in Ireland have already increased the speed of their digital transformation due to the pandemic. A further 41% have launched new products or services this year to meet the changing needs of other businesses and consumers. INNOVATION FIRST Furthermore, most business leaders seem to understand the importance of digital technologies and innovation as they look towards 2021. Almost three quarters (73%) of respondents believe that their company’s board is now more likely to approve

Phil Codd, Managing Director, Expleo Ireland

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new IT strategies and innovations as a result of the pandemic—42% revealed their company has already made significant changes to their business plan. Looking to 2021, the top three areas for increased investment over the next 12 months are in digital transformation (80%), innovation (76%) and digital skills training (67%). Commenting on the findings, Phil Codd, Managing Director, Expleo Ireland, said: “Undoubtedly, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the operations and fortunes of enterprises in Ireland this year. While some sectors are experiencing more difficulties than others, it’s imperative that all business leaders take the right steps now to secure their organisation’s viability and relevance, and also to ensure future growth and success. ENTERPRISE AGILITY “Enterprise agility has been showcased widely in our report, particularly when we consider the fact that 73% of respondents feel that their company’s board is now more likely to approve new IT strategies and innovations as a result of the pandemic. On the subject of board strategies, strong CIO and CTO representation at board level has been something we have long championed. Now is the time to make this strategic pivot to ensure decision making is informed by the latest technological expertise. “It’s particularly encouraging that the three biggest areas of investment growth in 2021 will be in digital transformation, innovation and digital skills training. There’s a growing realisation that people, backed by innovative digital technologies, will be the real drivers of enterprise growth now and post-pandemic across the island of Ireland.” Expleo Business Transformation Index 2021 report is available to download at www.expleogroup.com/bti

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TIPPERARY TOGETHER A vibrant place where people can live, visit and work in a competitive and resilient economy, a sustainable environment and an inclusive and active community • Strategically located within the Central plain of Ireland • Diverse employment base with a strong Medi/Pharma sector • Attractive and vibrant towns/ Villages to shop, live and visit • Superb fertile land ideal for food production

• Growing reputation for artisan foods • County rich in local heritage and tourism • Famous for its horse breeding industry • Tipperary known as the Premier county and home of hurling

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IB PARTNER PROFILE

Out of the Blueway After Tipperary County Council’s awards recognition for Supporting Tourism, it continues to expand on its Blueway success, with further connections and a Peatway plan.

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ipperary County Council was honoured in the Supporting Tourism category at this year’s Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Awards, for its involvement in the Suir Blueway Tipperary project. The Blueway runs through Cahir, Ardfinnan, Newcastle, Clonmel, Kilsheelan and Carrick on Suir. It comprises a 53km kayaking and canoeing trail along the river, complemented by 21km walking trail along the banks, from Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir. Marie Phelan, Tourism Development Officer with Tipperary County Council, reveals that the project was seven years in the planning before it launched in 2019, with a number of different sections working together, including the Municipal District, Roads,

Sports Partnership, Community & Enterprise and Tourism. “There’s a lot to see and do along the trail, and a lot of really nice food and beverage experiences and accommodation as well, so it’s really tying all that together and working with the community to deliver that as an experience,” she explains. As one of the first blueways in the country, Suir Blueway Tipperary was being developed at the same time as the national accreditation system, managed by Waterways Ireland. “We worked very closely with Waterways Ireland and the National Blueways Committee to make sure that everything that we did in terms of signage, access points and the way the path was developed was done according to best practice,” says Phelan.

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BLUE BOOM During the pandemic, Phelan says Suir Blueway Tipperary “has been a real haven for people living within the 5km radius.” With counters measuring usage at four access points, it has already clocked up 350,000 unique uses between November 2019 and November 2020, and will surely further prove its value when tourism opens up again. “Our hotels, B&Bs and selfcatering providers located all along the Blueway reported back to us that it was the number one reason why people were choosing to come to this part of Tipperary in 2020,” Phelan states. Further exciting developments are planned, and Tipperary County Council is working with Waterford County Council to connect Suir Blueway Tipperary with Waterford Greenway, over a 20km stretch between Carrick-onSuir and Kilmeaden. “We also recently got very significant funding of €780,000 under the Just Transition Fund to start developing 100km of Peatway on the bog in Littleton, in Tipperary,” Phelan announces. “We have a feasibility study completed and the phase one funding will give us enough to complete the first part of that, which will join up two villages, which are about 10 kilometres apart.” The funding will also cover a feasibility study for a bushcraft survival and activity centre in the area. “Winning this award means everything to us here in Tipperary— it’s a national recognition that we have developed a visitor experience to such a high standard. It’s the reputation of the county, and we can move forward from here and work on other visitor experiences in the knowledge that we can do this to a level of excellence,” she concludes.

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INNOVATION NATION

InBUSINESS looks at the latest Irish innovations and technologies that are shaping our future. In this issue: KEEPING FIT.

FLOWSTATE MAT Flowstate is a bespoke lifestyle brand, creating products with the consumer in mind. Yoga, exercise or meditation is no longer that one hour class people attend each week, it has become a lifestyle. The Flowstate Mat has taken an integrated approach to art, movement and lifestyle, designed to bring colour into your practice as well as your home. flowstate.ie

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LIFESTYLE: innovation

BODYLITE THE NIGHT RUNNER The night runner belt gives you safety, confidence and comfort to train consistently. It allows the user to dedicate more time to exercise as darkness or rain are not an issue. Whether you are hitting the trails, roads or the hills, Bodylite has you covered. With stability technology built in to minimise light movement, it also allows you to tilt the beam of the light itself. bodylitegear.com

HUKU COREFIT BALANCE BOARD HuKu believes that if a product can be made from a renewable and sustainable material, then it should be. The original Huku Balance Board is designed with a narrower face, tapered edges, and smaller roller for an all-round and dynamic core workout and is ideal for upper and lower body strength training. hukubalance.com

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BACKBALLER DUAL-MOUNTED FOAM-ROLLER The BackBaller® is specifically designed to self-treat muscles in your upper and lower back. Due to the stability and control offered it goes beyond and is now the foremost product to knead out all muscle groups. backballer.com

UNILEVER has announced a new annual global sales target of €1bn from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives, within the next five to seven years. The target is part of Unilever’s ‘Future Foods’ ambition to help people transition towards healthier diets and to help reduce the environmental impact of the global food chain.

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EAR TO THE

THE IB

Could you tell us about United Ireland and why you created this podcast? Once we wrapped the Don’t Stop Repealin’ podcast we realised how much we enjoyed making it together and how much people said they enjoyed the marriage of current affairs with a more sardonic and light hearted approach. There was scope to add a female fronted show to the podcast landscape that tackles interesting, often serious subjects in an irreverent way. What is the message behind the United Ireland podcast? We want to focus on a unity of discourse, not division, or artificial debate, or bothsidesism. We believe that current affairs and serious issues don’t necessarily have to be presented in a 20th century tone. You can be informed and super nerdy about something, but still have a laugh.

InBUSINESS SPOKE TO UNITED IRELAND HOSTS ANDREA HORAN AND UNA MULLALLY ABOUT DELVING INTO COUNTY FACTS, LEARNING ABOUT STORIES AND ISSUES ACROSS IRELAND AND FOCUSING ON THE UNITY OF DISCOURSE.

You inform your listeners on insights into topics happening within counties that they may not be aware of. Why do you think discussing these topics is so important? People care about their own local issues, and they are invested in learning about stories and issues in other places too. The “news” isn’t just what you hear in a bulletin, human experience and what people care about and are interested in and view as important are much broader than that. Which county facts surprised you the most? Our recent Kilkenny episode opened our eyes to the story of Alice Kyteler, the first recorded person condemned for witchcraft in Ireland. Our listeners then put us onto a recent novel by Niamh Boyce based on the story. We love the way the podcast is almost a two-way conversation with our listeners. Who has been your most interesting guest on the podcast so far? Sarah Kendzior has been on a couple of times. For us, she’s one of the few American journalists who really called everything out from 2016 onwards. Her work is almost prophetic. Everything she predicted played out. If you haven’t read Hiding In Plain Sight, check it out!

Andrea Horan

The United Ireland podcast is an Acast Media Production and is available to download online.

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What challenges do you face when making the podcast? Throughout the pandemic, recording the podcast remotely has been challenging. Also the fact that we’re not natural self promoters can be challenging for a podcast! We prefer to let una mullally the content do the work instead of having to sell ourselves. What can we expect from United Ireland in the future? Hopefully more live events once we can gather in real life again! Festivals! Ugh, we had so many festival plans for 2020.

GROUND

InBUSINESS RECOMMENDS THREE PODCASTS TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS QUARTER.

MADE IN IRELAND

IRISH TECH NEWS The Irish Tech News podcast aims to cover innovation, entrepreneurs, startups, green tech, clean tech and tech for good that aims to help the planet.

NOT TO BE MISSED

99% INVISIBLE Hosted by Roman Mars, this weekly podcast is an exploration of the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. 99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about.

THE BUSINESS PICK

BUSINESS WARS Netflix vs. HBO. Nike vs. Adidas. Business is war. Host David Brown gives you the unauthorised, real story of what drives these companies and their leaders, inventors, investors and executives to new heights — or to ruin.

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

21/12/2020 11:21


LIFESTYLE: books

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

What To Expect When You’re Expecting Robots The Future of Human-Robot Collaboration

GIRL DECODED:

My Quest to Make Technology Emotionally Intelligent – and Change the Way We Interact Forever

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n a captivating memoir, Girl Decoded chronicles Rana el Kaliouby’s mission to humanise technology and what she learns about humanity along the way. We are entering an empathy crisis. Most of our communication is conveyed through non-verbal cues - facial expressions, tone of voice, body language - nuances that are completely lost when we interact through our smartphones and other technology. The result is a digital universe that’s emotion-blind - a society lacking in empathy. Many thousands of miles from home, el Kaliouby began to develop systems to help her better connect with her family. She started to pioneer the new field of Emotional Intelligence (EI). She now runs her company, Affectiva (the industry-leader in this emerging field) that builds EI into our technology and develops systems that understand humans the way we understand one another.

OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea AUTHOR: Patrick Freyne PUBLISHER: Penguin Ireland AVAILABLE: easons.com

Patrick Freyne has tried a lot of stupid ideas in his life. Now, in his scintillating debut, he is here to tell you about them. Life as seen through the eyes of Freyne is stranger, funnier and a lot more interesting than life as we know it. He creates an environment all his own - fundamentally comic, sometimes moving, always deeply humane.

InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

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PUBLISHER: Penguin Business AVAILABLE: dubraybooks.ie

Must Read

YOUR QUARANTINE COMPANION

AUTHORS: Rana el Kaliouby

Robot experts AUTHOR: Laura Major & Julie Shah and Julie Shah Laura Major offer PUBLISHER: their vision for Basic Books how to make it AVAILABLE: bookdepository in the new era .com of human-robot collaboration. They set out the blueprint for what they call working robots, which in many ways resemble service animals. They take readers through the many fascinating and surprising challenges that both engineers and the public will need to address in figuring out how these machines can be responsibly integrated into society: what they will have to look like, how they will have to talk to strangers and what robot etiquette will be and whether we will have to “robot-proof” public spaces and infrastructure.

And Now For The Good News: The much-needed tonic for our frazzled world And Now For The Good News..., teaches us essential tools for making the most out of the relationships in our lives and protect our hearts and minds amidst the madness of hashtags and 24-hour news cycles. Drawing on how education, businesses and technology can use kindness to reform - and better - themselves as well as the purpose of kindness, this book will investigate why greater compassion is our one-way ticket to a better future.

AUTHOR: Ruby Wax PUBLISHER: Penguin Life

Read an extract from this book on page 36

AVAILABLE: booksupstairs.ie

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22/12/2020 12:49


S S E N I D Digital apacity

Innovat Capac ion ity :

5

In this issue of InBU S explores Ireland’s INESS rankin gf 2020 Government AI Re rom th e adin ess Ind ex.

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:

60. 0

WORLD

1

AI R EA

THE InBUSINESS INDEX

RANKING:

IRELAND 3 7 76. Ada ptability: 7 2 67.

Av ail Data abili ty: ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT AI READINESS INDEX Governments around the world are starting to see the enormous potential of artificial intelligence (AI): for their economies, their societies, and their own public services. Based on a combination of nine input metrics, ranging from in-country digital skills to government innovation, the Oxford Insights’ Government AI Readiness Index calculates the score and rankings system for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) governments.

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Source: Oxford Insights’ Government AI Readiness Index 2020

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InBUSINESS | WINTER 2020

22/12/2020 12:53


When a child loses their home, they lose their entire world. There are almost 4,000 children homeless in Ireland. Donate now.

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04/02/2020 13:09 16:09 21/12/2020 10:33


Increase Cash Flow with our new Accounts Receivable software

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Boost Productivity • Automate manual AR collection communications, such as payment reminders, invoicing, and internal escalations. • Quickly locate emails and customer communications history, all in one convenient location. Gain Transparency • Powerful dashboards that report day-to-day AR management performance metrics.

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Tony Prudente, Top Notch Distributors

• Single view of all customer intelligence in a clear, easy-to-use format combines real-time data from Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management software. Improve Predictability • SaaS-based predictive articial intelligence analyses payment behaviours to identify potential payment risks or delays. • Real-time Day Sales Outstanding for improved cashow forecasting.

For more information on how YayPay can transform your AR management, click here:

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Quadient Ireland Ltd., Unit 16 Fonthill Retail Park, Fonthill Road, Dublin 22 T: 01 625 0900 E: info.ie@quadient.com www.quadient.ie 21/12/2020 13:09 10:30

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InBUSINESS Winter 2020  

InBUSINESS Winter 2020