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JANUARY 2014 // Price £2.30 (€3.75)

Business in the Community Annual Review

Leaders in Business The people who will be making headlines in 2014

Sponsored by:

Corporate NI: Northern Ireland’s New Business Portal

ISSN 1363-2507

9 771363 250005


Contents 8 News

26 John Simpson

69 Ones to Watch

Survey shows salaries are on up as we head into a new year

Flawed energy policy means there’s a very real chance the lights could go out

The hottest young entrepreneurs launching exciting new ventures

16 Viscount Awards

28 Business View

87 Corporate Finance

The launch of this year’s competition for innovative export businesses

Why business organisations are optimistic, Why more and more start-ups but cautious, about the new year are turning to Kickstarter

18 David Meade

41 Leaders in Business

99 Motoring

Our mentalist columnist gives a cutout and keep guide to his techniques

Exclusive interviews with ten business leaders set to make a big noise in 2014

Pat Burns test drives some of the newest cars on the road

21 Outlook 2014

64 Corporate NI

116 Gadget Guide

Economists say they aren’t convinced the recovery will gain traction

Introducing a new corporate portal for Northern Ireland’s private sector

Adam Maguire on the latest iPad and Motorola’s return to the phone market



54 21



Ready for a change? Working with many of Northern Ireland’s leading organisations.

Left: Emma Kieran Business Support Executive

4c Executive Search – 9th Floor Causeway Tower 9 James Street South Belfast BT2 8DN

– T +44 (0) 28 9055 8120

Centre: Gary Irvine FIRP Principal Search Consultant

Right: David Winterburn Search Consultant


A new hope


here’s been a lot of talk over the last few months about the past and how to deal with it in Northern Ireland, centred around the negotiations chaired by former US diplomat Richard Haass. The talks ended, as is sadly so often the case, without resolution but with the anticipation that something of significance will eventually be achieved as a result of them.

In our annual Leaders in Business issue we profile 10 of the most dynamic business leaders in Northern Ireland who could make headlines in the year ahead, and find out about their plans to grow and prosper their organisations. We follow that up with a series of interviews with some of the people who are starting new businesses and could be the business leaders of the future in our Ones to Watch feature.

the business community’s leading lights and Ulster Business is proud to throw its weight behind their plans. I saw a quote recently, attributed to a former US general, which read “lead me, follow me, or get out of my way”. While our politicians don’t deserve some of the stick they get if they are not going to lead one of the most useful things government could do for the private sector in Northern Ireland this year is get out of the way.

As we start 2014 this issue of Ulster Business is very much concerned with looking to the future, and looking at it with renewed hope as the economy starts the long journey back to health.

We also profile Corporate NI, a new corporate portal and online network for the private sector which is aiming to help local businesses connect, access information and grow. It’s a great initiative backed by some of

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There are business people here who are ready to take big strides forward in 2014, so let’s help them get on with it and applaud their success.

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0 The change in bus and train fares after Transport Minister Danny Kennedy announced a freeze of fares for 2014. Fares had been expected to go up 3% but with record levels of passenger growth Translink does not need to increase them.

EMS Recycle secures order from Nigeria

4% The amount which house prices in Northern Ireland will grow this year, according to the RICS annual housing market forecast. It places Northern Ireland at the bottom of the UK league table for price growth, with prices tipped to go up by 8% on average.

$1bn The amount Harvard economist Lawrence Katz says the US economy is losing every week because of the “fiscally irresponsible” decision to end long-term unemployment benefits.

1.6% The expected GDP growth in Northern Ireland in 2014 according to PwC’s forecast for the year, the slowest growth among the 12 UK regions.

75% The tax rate on high earners which has been approved by France’s high court. The levy, on salaries exceeding €1m, will last for two years.

£49.4m The level of losses announced by Chelsea Football Club for 2013 after early elimination for last season’s Champions League. The losses still fall within the criteria set by UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations. 8

Pictured at EMS’s plant in Killyman is EMS Recycle Managing Director, Harry McCourt, Paul O’Callaghan, Chief Executive of WestAfricaENRG and Otunba Babajide Roger, Chairman WestAfricaEnrg.


ne of Northern Ireland’s largest designers and manufacturers of specialist, large-scale recycling plant equipment, EMS Recycle, has delivered on its first big order to Africa after securing a major contract with a key Nigerian buyer. The Killyman, Co. Tyrone-based company, which supplies and installs turnkey recycling solutions to the public and private sector in the UK, Ireland, Europe and further afield, said it had just completed on a deal to supply WestAfricaENRG in Nigeria with a full, purpose-built recycling plant which is capable of processing more than 400,000 tons of waste per year. The contract involved the design and production of a complete wastesorting station, which will support 300 local jobs, as well as additional

specialist recycling equipment which will sort waste materials mechanically to prepare it for further recycling. The eight-year-old company was set up in 2006 by materials handling expert Harry McCourt, who, with almost 40 years’ experience in the sector, has transformed the company into one of the most successful, innovative players in the recycling equipment sector in the UK and Ireland. It is currently working to deliver waste management and recycling solutions to additional customers in the UK, Europe, Africa, North and South America. For the latest order EMS Recycle is supplying three processing lines that comprise in-floor scraper chain feed conveyors, vibrating feeders and screened cylinders which are used to mechanically separate materials by size from municipal solid waste.


NIHF calls for tourism strategy approval


he President of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation has called on the Executive to fully adopt the Draft Tourism Strategy for the region drawn up in 2010. Mandy Patrick (pictured), director of the Park Avenue Hotel in east Belfast, said that while the targets set out in the Draft Tourism Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2020 to achieve £1bn in tourism spend and 4.5m visitors by the end of the decade are often quoted, the strategy has never been adopted by the Assembly. “The Tourism Strategy for 2020 hasn’t


been agreed by the Assembly, it is still in draft form. It would be great if that was agreed because it would give us all a framework to work to,” she said. “We would also like another piece of work done on the future and what tourism will look like in the next 20 or 25 years so that people can see what sort of visitor attractions we need, what mix of hotel stock, what road infrastructure, what air routes we should be looking for. That is something government could push through for us.” Patrick played a key role in the organisation’s recently published report Tourism 2020, Investing in our Future. Central to the report are what it terms the five Ts – key requirements that the federation believes Northern Ireland tourism needs to thrive. They include Tourism: a medium term strategy for the whole sector; Taxation: a reduction in VAT to 5%; Targets: a study

on the long-term future of tourism; Trading: world-class events and cohesive marketing; and Training: a new delivery agency for tourism and hospitality. She hopes the parties at Stormont will continue to prioritise tourism. “They need to hear from the industry and what we want. Titanic Belfast and the Causeway signature projects have proven the need to keep investing in facilities,” she said.



In Brief The Law Society of Northern Ireland has announced that Richard Palmer has become the 89TH President of the Society. Mr Palmer is a partner with Peden & Reid solicitors based in Belfast and his appointment follows in the footsteps of his father and Grandfather who were former Presidents of the Society. Joining him on the Presidential and team will be Michael Robinson as Vice President and Arleen Elliott as Junior Vice President.

The University of Ulster has teamed up with some of the top lawyers representing and advising HBO, Sony, Paramount Pictures and the Discovery Channel, to deliver an exciting new international entertainment and media law course. Based at Ulster’s Magee campus, the Masters level short course has been designed to meet the growing industry need for legal professionals who have specific expertise in media, entertainment and sports law.

Cherry Pipes, the Dungannon-based plastics recycler and manufacturer of industrial drainage pipes, has secured a £3.91m funding package with Santander Corporate & Commercial as it invests for growth. The new funding will help the business in its ambition to reach £15m in annual turnover, as well as helping to consolidate previous debt to free-up cashflow.

Dunmurry-based Tasty Foods Cuisine has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to win its first business in Great Britain. The family-owned and managed business has won a listing from Tesco GB that will see two of its sauce concentrates, Authentic Curry Paste and Authentic Gravy Paste, on the shelves of almost 250 stores throughout Britain from 1 January 2014. 10

Two new movie studios on the slate for TQ


he developers of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter expect to build two new movie studios before the end of the year, providing a massive boost to the local film industry. David Gavaghan, CEO of Titanic Quarter Ltd, told Ulster Business that plans for the studio complex are currently being finalised. The new facility, to be located close to the existing Titanic Studios, will comprise over 43,000 sq ft of studio space across two studios as well as 23,000 sq ft of ground floor workshop space and over 48,000 sq ft of “ancillary support space” including offices for production staff working on films and television series. “We hope to get approval by the end of quarter one 2014 with a view to starting to build and having it completed by the autumn of 2014. We think there are one or two big projects imminent for 2015,” he said. The local film industry has taken off in recent years with international projects

such as US network HBO’s awardwinning fantasy series Game of Thrones shooting around Northern Ireland. Much of the series is filmed in Titanic Studios, which were first established in the former shipyard Paint Hall in Titanic Quarter in 2007. But Mr Gavaghan said more space will be needed if Northern Ireland is to keep attracting international productions in future. He said that having recently visited Steiner Studios in Brooklyn – the largest US film and television production studio complex outside of Hollywood – Titanic Quarter had recognised the need to offer production companies studios of different sizes and additional office and workshop accommodation for producers, props and equipment. “What we saw in Brooklyn was that Doug Steiner has created a lot of flexible space. At the moment HBO are using quite a lot of hinterland around the studio and that’s fine. But this is a very good way of increasing the attractiveness of what we have here,” he said.


Adventure park to open in Belfast


n exciting new sports complex is to open in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter offering a range of activities from baseball batting cages to paintball and archery. The business will be located on a currently unused eight acre site in the Titanic Quarter and expects to appeal to people of all ages – from children’s groups to corporate teambuilding events. Those will include the first baseball batting and pitching cages in Northern Ireland and the first American Football passing and throwing cages of the style popular in the US. I will also offer tennis practice areas, basketball practice zones, cross bow and archery ranges and the only outdoor paintballing zones in Belfast. The park is the brainchild of entrepreneur Wesley Jameson, who currently runs city tours on Segways from Titanic Quarter (see P72) and will also provide


Segway Skills courses at the new adventure park. “We are opening the most dynamic and unique sports park to reach Northern Ireland,” he told Ulster Business. “It will be an amazing place and suitable for anyone from six years plus.” Jameson said if all goes to plan he is hopeful the business will be fully opened by early April.



In Brief Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has given planning permission for an £85m Energy from Waste gasification plant at Bombardier Aerospace. The site, adjacent to the Bombardier wing facility within the Belfast Harbour Estate, will convert 120,000 tonnes of Refuse Derived Fuel into electricity and heat.

Survey shows salaries in NI are improving

Maxol Lubricants has been awarded the tender to be sole supplier of Anti-Freeze and Selective Catalyst Reduction Additives to Ulsterbus, part of the Translink Group. The new contract will see Maxol Lubricants, part of The Maxol Group, supply Ulsterbus for three years. Ulsterbus operates over 300 services to towns and villages across Northern Ireland.

A housing association has submitted plans to redevelop the former Visteon factory in west Belfast. Fold Housing proposes to build 244 homes, a community centre and business units at the site in the Finaghy area, which closed in 2009. It said nearly 200 of the homes would be for social housing.

TruCorp in Belfast has developed an innovative mannequin for training emergency medical staff. The TruMan Trauma System, a life-like mannequin, helps teach medical professionals the skills for dealing with a range of life threatening trauma situations including chest tube insertion, needle decompression, airway management, tracheotomy and CPR.

An imaginative way to convert vacant commercial premises into a number of small start-up business units has been launched in Dungannon using 13 recycled steel cabins that previously carried cargo from China. The Cube is located within a 4000 sqft unit at Dungannon Enterprise Centre that had lain vacant. 12


ewards and incentives for Northern Ireland professionals showed improvement in 2013 as employers sought to retain top talent, a survey has revealed. According to the annual Salary Survey from Brightwater Recruitment Specialists, IT along with Legal and Human Resources ranked as the best-performing sectors in terms of payment increases and benefits. The detailed Salary Survey is based on data gathered from hundreds of employers across a wide range of industries. Its findings suggest a mood of cautious optimism with many respondents reporting plans for slight salary improvements (2% to 5% with a few notable exceptions) across a number of areas in 2013. Barbara McGrath, Director of Brightwater Northern Ireland (pictured), said: “The results show that high calibre professionals are being rewarded by employers who are keen to invest to retain their best people. Remuneration packages as a whole are improving, however on the whole,

basic salaries are far more important to jobseekers than benefits.” Human Resources, often viewed as a highly accurate market indicator, has seen a marked upturn in the number of permanent, senior and niché roles. The renewed interest in employee engagement and talent management indicates that companies are willing to invest in their staff and release budget to do so. A Compensation & Benefits Manager can expect to earn between £50,000 and £70,000 depending on the size of the organisation. IT is the main area where salaries are rising considerably more than other sectors, up to 10% in some areas, most notably software development where there is a dearth of suitably qualified candidates. Northern Ireland’s IT community has a wide range of indigenous development houses as well as a host of global IT companies. At the top level in IT, a Chief Technical Officer can expect to pull in a salary between £65,000 and £120,000 and across development, IT professionals can expect to earn between £22,000 and £45,000.


Action needed to unlock land development


anks and public sector bodies must work with housing associations to get Northern Ireland building again, the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) has said. Jennie Donald (pictured), Deputy CEO of NIFHA, said releasing surplus public sector land for disposal and doing more to bring land in private ownership to market must be a key priority in 2014. “At a time when Northern Ireland’s construction sector is still waiting to feel the benefits of recovery, with output


decreasing in 2013 and 37% of jobs lost since 2007, boosting development activity on the ground is vital,” she said. “Housing associations are in a strong financial position to deliver new homes and generate significant construction activity. Funding from the Northern Ireland Executive is being matched by record levels of private investment in the social and affordable housing sector. Last year alone, housing associations secured £125m of private finance.” NIFHA said there is a real risk the financial certainty will not translate into increased delivery as suitable sites are becoming harder and harder to access. “Public sector sites are being developed by housing associations, but they are often slow to be identified for disposal and come with unrealistic expectations around value and timeframes leading to delayed or missed opportunities. There is

simply not enough land coming forward to meet demand for new homes,” said Donald. “Similarly, while NAMA and the banks have made some land and properties available for sale to housing associations, there is scope to do more.”



Business Books PrinciPles of oPen Business by Jamie Burke and David Cushman (Palgrave Macmillan) The 10 Principles of Open Business is a serious, challenging, wide-ranging and practical guide to organizational design for the twenty-first century. Covering essential topics such as Crowd Funding, Co-Creation, Open Data, Transparency, Open Innovation and more, this book provides the tools to assess your own organization and take the first steps towards becoming a truly Open Business. Each chapter describes a key principle of Open Business and includes a goal status tool which the reader can use to benchmark their own organization. These principles offer a holistic strategic solution, leapfrogging the tick-box exercise of simple implementation of social technologies.

TaP Dancing To Work by Carol Loomis (Portfolio Penguin) Tap Dancing to Work compiles six decades of writing on legendary investor Warren Buffett, from Carol Loomis, the reporter who knows him best. Warren Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway into something remarkable – and Fortune had a front-row seat. When Fortune writer Carole Loomis first mentioned a littleknown Omaha hedge fund manager in a 1966 article, she didn’t dream that Warren Buffett would become the world’s greatest investor. Nor did she imagine that she and Buffett would be close friends. As Buffett’s fortune and reputation grew, Loomis uses her unique insight into his thinking to chronicle his work, writing scores of stories that tracked his many accomplishments – and his occasional mistakes.

All titles are available at easons. To win copies of the featured books go the Ulster Business facebook page.


Fujitsu backs Derry with new jobs boost

Pictured on a trade mission to Japan are Invest NI’s Alastair Hamilton, President Masami Yamamoto of Fujitsu, First Minister Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Fujitsu’s Akihisa Kamata, and Greg McDaid from Fujitsu in Northern Ireland.


erry has been given a major economic boost with the news that Japaneseowned IT firm Fujitsu is to create close to 200 jobs in the city. The jobs, to be based at Fujitsu’s Business Services Centre at Timber Quay, Londonderry, include 177 full-time permanent positions and 15 business apprenticeships. Fujitsu designs, builds and operates IT systems and services for customers in the retail, financial services, telecoms, utilities and government markets. It said the new jobs will include a range of critical business support roles in administration, financial, procurement and human resources that will support Fujitsu’s internal operations, as well as a range of technical and software support roles for private and public sector customers across the UK and Europe. The jobs will, said Fujitsu, pay salaries above the private sector average.

Greg McDaid, Managing Director for Northern Ireland at Fujitsu UK & Ireland said: “When considering where to locate this Business Services Centre Fujitsu carried out a detailed assessment of a number of potential locations. Our centre at Timber Quay was selected as the best location based on the availability of a highly skilled and motivated workforce and the excellent advanced telecommunication infrastructure. These qualities, coupled with the support offered by Invest NI meant the decision was taken to locate this new centre in Londonderry.” Speaking at Fujitsu’s offices in Derry, First Minister Peter Robinson said the 192 new jobs were a “positive endorsement of Northern Ireland” by an international company. Invest Northern Ireland has offered almost £1m of support towards the full-time positions at Fujitsu, which has had a presence in Northern Ireland for over 35 years.


New company offers flood protection


s extreme weather threatens properties across Northern Ireland new company Flood Control NI is working with home and business owners to help stop the rising tide and protect their possessions from flood damage. The company, set up by local entrepreneur Chris Kerr, supplies complete flood defence systems that ensure your property is blocked effectively through flood barrier systems that fit over doors and windows, unique push-in non-return valves that prevent backflow from outside drains as well as wall and brick sealants.

having suffered its fair share of floods. Until now there hasn’t been a viable or workable method of addressing the risk and heartache that flooding can bring.

He said: “For most people their home is their most treasured and biggest investment and business owners are under enough pressure without the added worry of flood damage. Unfortunately extreme weather is becoming a part of every day life here with Northern Ireland

“Working with a network of suppliers across the country Flood Control NI provides property surveys and can also enable insurance cover meaning we are the only fully comprehensive flood protection system that covers all aspects of domestic and commercial property flooding.”




in association with


Celebrating Exporting Excellence


ocal companies demonstrating entrepreneurial zeal and innovation are invited to enter the Aer Lingus Viscount Awards. Now in its sixth year, the event honours, at the highest professional level, those companies that have contributed significantly to the local economy and continue to forge strong economic ties between Northern Ireland, Great Britain and beyond. The 2014 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards in association with Ulster Business will recognise and promote excellence, best practice and innovation in the Northern Irish business community and will be held on 30th April 2014 in the prestigious surroundings of The Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London. Entries are now being sought across seven categories: Most Innovative Company; Best Large Business; Best Medium Business; Best Small Business; Entrepreneur of the Year; Exporter of the Year and the Aer Lingus Viscount Award for Overall Excellence. Every business that enters will be considered by an esteemed judging panel of high-calibre businessmen


and women acknowledged as leading experts from various industry sectors and senior members of the business media in Northern Ireland. The judges will bring insightful analysis of global and regional business and economic issues and trends to the table and are uniquely qualified to objectively evaluate and score the submissions. The 2014 judging panel comprises Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager for Aer Lingus in Northern Ireland; Symon Ross, Editor of Ulster Business; Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director, Business Solutions Group at Invest NI; Colin Walsh, Chairman of CBI in Northern Ireland; Richard Sherriff, Business Editor of the News Letter; Gary McDonald, Business Editor of the Irish News; Francess McDonnell Business Columnist for Irish Times and Alan Taylor, Managing Partner at Arthur Cox. Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager of Aer Lingus in Northern Ireland said: “We are delighted to be at the helm of these prestigious awards, they are a wonderful illustration of Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit.

“We are looking for a diverse group of entrants, ranging from start-ups with flair to well established industries that have all innovated to survive and are thriving and expanding regardless of economic fragility. “Aer Lingus is honoured to provide the gateway for businesses to connect with their Great British and global markets. Since establishing our base at George Best Belfast City Airport we have been connecting businessmen and women to both Heathrow and Gatwick directly from Belfast City, which further strengthens the crucial east-west economic relationship. “Last year proved our most successful awards ever, the quality of submissions was staggeringly high and we are looking forward to raising the bar again this year.”

“It is essential for the Northern Ireland economy to get more businesses exporting.”

Launching the 2014 Aer Lingus Viscount Awards at Belfast City Airport are Andrea Hunter, Business Development Manager for Aer Lingus in Northern Ireland with Symon Ross, Editor of Ulster Business.

Jeremy Fitch, Invest NI’s Executive Director, Business Solutions Group, called upon Northern Ireland’s brightest businesses to take the opportunity to gain the recognition they deserve for the successes they have achieved in 2013. “Last year we had the privilege of evaluating submissions of some of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic organisations. Just over 100 entries were received from an impressive array of small, medium and large businesses,


representing a variety of industries and sectors. Entrepreneurs are the bedrock of a healthy economy, not only are they the engines for growth, but they are often at the cutting edge of business, providing creative ideas and services which revolutionise their sector. “It is essential for the Northern Ireland economy to get more businesses exporting. We have seen a rise in exports to emerging economies and with signs of recovery in the US we hope to regain

strength in our exports to this important market. We want to hear from small, medium and large sized businesses that have been able to break into new markets and develop new business opportunities through innovation and their export strategy,” Mr Fitch said.

Entry forms can be found at



New Year Resolutions 2014 is upon us and in this ‘cut out and keep’ review of the year, David Meade reminds us how some of the simplest techniques discussed in his column can have a fundamental impact on your business performance.




013 has been a turnaround year for many organisations, and I hope it has for you and your team too. The financial pinch seems to be releasing it’s grasp on consumer confidence, and the commercial landscape continues to build energy month on month. There’s no better time to take a fresh broom to your operation and use this first month in the new year to press a ‘reset button’ on some of the areas that have room for improvement. I’ve loved the experience of writing for Ulster Business, and as every month goes by I receive more and more emails from readers asking for more information on how the techniques can be used to motivate their teams, sell more, and generally improve the way they work. Even if you haven’t sat down and listed them explicitly, we all have a few resolutions that we’d like to get off the ground in our personal or professional lives. Unsurprisingly, research shows 92% of such resolutions fail, usually because they are too complex or ambitious to have longevity. This month’s article aims to offer you a ‘cut out and keep’ opportunity to improve your personal and professional performance by summarising some the most impactful content from the last year in bite sized chunks. Less is More Most businesses build a vast product range to offer their clients a rich choice and varied range, but research has shown that having fewer products in your range than competitors can dramatically increase your sales. Every decision we make involves a certain amount of mental effort, and those that involve spending money arguably require even more. Few of these decisions are simple; prices vary, specifications are unequal, and everything from availability, size, postage, warranty, and build quality factor into the process. By concentrating your sales offering you simplify the decision making process for prospective buyers, you achieve better scale economies, develop more specialised expertise in house, and according to studies an organisation that has less product choice can have a


conversion rate up to 10x greater than a competitor with more on offer. reciprocity It really is better to give than receive, especially when you need something in return. You might have questioned why charities send free pens and gifts in the mail while soliciting donations. When we unexpectedly give our clients or prospects something that is of value to them, they feel an incredibly strong obligation to reward us and are doubly more likely to buy from us. The key, though, is that the ‘gift’ is unexpected, and unconnected to any perception of an ulterior commercial motive. sociaL proof Like it or not, we are herd animals. As human beings, we all tend to believe that we are unpredictable, when in fact our penchant for believing that we are unpredictable is in fact one of our most predictable traits. We are compelled to behave in a manner that is consistent with ‘the crowd’, so when we are told ‘most people’ behave in a certain way we tend to change our actions to match the crowd. So whether you need to get deposits in sooner from clients, or to have more staff engage in an out of hours CPD programme – simply telling them that ‘most people’ are already doing so will dramatically increase their likelihood of engaging. Motivation In an increasingly competitive commercial climate, an organisation’s ability to effectively motivate their troops has become essential. In one experiment, a group of individuals were divided into two basketball teams; half were told they were naturals with an innate gift for the sport, and the other half were told they weren’t quite up to muster. The truth is, they were divided randomly with no attention paid to their competency in the sport, but the impact was astonishing. The team that were told they were naturals dramatically outperformed their counterparts. The applications for this technique alone in your organisation are vast. Talk of ‘a difficult year ahead’ and ‘a market that’s

stacked against us’ may be honest, but it could be having a damaging effect. When people believe they ‘can’ do something, their likelihood of making significant strides towards achieving that goal increases exponentially. sMaLL teaMs get Big resuLts The more complex the problem the more man power we should throw at it, right? This may not be strictly true, and a fast growing body of research shows that when it comes to teams, bigger is rarely ever better. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously said that he wanted his entire organisation to be made up solely from “…two pizza teams: if a team couldn’t be fed with two pizzas, it was too big”. Bezos gave oxygen to the argument that in modern business, maybe one head might just be better than two. It’s true to say that larger groups offer a larger collective capacity in some respects; they’ll have more combined personal and professional experience, they can certainly manufacture goods in greater quantities. On more qualitative tasks though, like creating a strategy, developing a brand, or implementing change, there are a lot of reasons why taking people to the job at hand might equal a lot more results. The research shows that levels of personal performance reduce and individuals become dramatically less engaged when they see themselves as just one tiny cog in a complex organisation. Back in the office New year resolutions fail virtually every time, mainly because we don’t see the impact of our efforts immediately and subsequently lose interest. Instead of trying to start a revolution, you’ll see much more impactful results if you make small changes here and there that – when added together – create a result that’s greater than the sum of its parts. So start 2014 the right way by cutting out this article and refer back to it every once in a while – and maybe you’re resolution will start a revolution! Find out more about David’s work on and follow him on twitter @davidmeadelive


Getting a foot through the door


ohn Speers has been away from Northern Ireland for 26 years, but he still calls Belfast “home”. Like many before and after him, John decided to leave the province during the Troubles to seek a better life overseas – in his case, Canada. Having worked for Northern Bank for 14 years in Belfast John says he had also reached a point where his career was not progressing as quickly as he wanted. So with his wife Kim and two young children Jonathan and Karen he decided to emigrate in July 1987. “I didn’t see an opportunity to advance quickly so I decided to apply for emigration status. We came to Canada and I walked up and down Bay Street in Toronto’s financial district, which is the equivalent of Wall Street, and banged on doors until somebody gave me a job,” he says. That somebody was Canada’s oldest bank, the Bank of Montreal (BMO). He first worked in Treasury and Bank Credit before joining its International Financial Institutions group in 1991. Then in 2004, he was appointed Managing Director of Developed Markets with International Financial Institutions and three years ago he accepted a role leading a team managing the Capital Markets Trading and Sales relationships with the bank’s Top 50 clients globally. While his career was progressing John never forgot his roots. He became a director of the Ireland Fund of Canada and a member of the advisory board of Enterprise Ireland Canada, which also led him to do pro bono work for Invest NI. “Because of my role in the bank I am pretty well known so if something happens related to Ireland I’m often dragged into the conversation,” he says. “My attitude is that anywhere I can help I will. If I hear of any Canadian companies that are looking at Europe or the UK I’ll let Invest NI know. On the other side of that if Invest NI or a company is coming to Canada or they need to find a way into a sector or a company, I’ve been here 26 years so I normally know someone who can help. It’s about getting them through the door so they get the chance to pitch the Northern Ireland story to people at the highest level.”


While Toronto had a heavy Ulster influence in the first half of the 20th century that connection is less strong now and Speers believes the Irish government’s strong marketing of Ireland has put it ahead of Northern Ireland in the public consciousness. He would like to see more Northern Irish trade missions coming to Canada, noting that if a company has the right product there’s a market of 34 million people easily accessible. “Canadians do business in a different way to the US. The US is a big market to deal with, there are probably seven or eight different regions. But you can come into Canada, to Toronto or Montreal, and talk to the head of a Canada-wide company. If you can sell to them and deliver a great product, Canadian companies are good at paying on delivery,” he said. “Businesses in Northern Ireland, if they want to export, they immediately look to mainland UK. At the moment it’s a struggling economy, so why wouldn’t you try to export into a booming economy. It’s got the English language, it’s got the historical connections. It’s across the Atlantic but it’s probably just as cheap to sell to Toronto as it is to Birmingham. You’ve got to do a bit of legwork, spend a bit of money, but there are opportunities.”

Outlook for 2014

Neil Gibson, Director of NI Centre for Economic Policy

Seamus McAleavey, Director of NI Council for Voluntary Action

Paul MacFlynn, Economist at Nevin Economic Research Institute

Economists not sold on recovery Ulster business brought together some leading economists to get their views on the economic prospects for 2014. Are people right to be optimistic that the economy is improving? Richard Ramsey: The public finances are still in a horrendous state. Yes, they’re improving from horrendous to slightly less horrendous. But public finances will determine a lot of what’s JANUARY 2014

going to happen to households in terms of taxation and savings and how that impacts on consumers. Inflation and the squeeze on consumer finances remains public enemy number one. That’s going to be with us for the rest of this Parliament and in my view well into the next Parliament too.

Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank Chief Economist for NI

Seamus McAleavey: When things change in the UK they don’t necessarily change here. We’ve been looking at the cost of Welfare Reform in Northern Ireland and we would see people at the low end being squeezed pretty hard for the next couple of years because there will be no benefit uplift and some benefits will be taken away. Northern Ireland has a higher proportion of people in work in low paid jobs than the UK. When the UK rises or falls, we stay the same. Paul MacFlynn: Looking at what’s fuelling the GDP growth at the moment, the OBR is fairly brutal in its assessment that its private consumption led growth. That isn’t sustainable. Unless there’s a › 21

OUTLOOK FOR 2014 significant uplift in trade or business investment in the next year to 18 months the bottom is going to fall out of it somewhere. If wages are remaining stagnant, personal consumption is increasing, household savings are going down, then private debt is getting bigger. And on the jobs side of it, are we really moving forward with the type of jobs we’re creating? We’ve seen mid-level skills jobs evaporating and a massive expansion of low paid and low skilled jobs. It’s not sustainable. Chancellor George Osborne is talking about returning to a surplus in 2018 but if there isn’t the kind of growth in proper, good paying, mid-skill jobs, the critical mass of the economy isn’t there. I think at the moment we’re getting very excited about a couple of quarters of GDP growth that wasn’t negative and not really asking what do we actually have to show for it. In Northern Ireland there’s a risk of being complacent, of saying ‘oh the UK is coming up now, we just have to wait 18 months and we’ll get the benefit. But I don’t think we will. Neil Gibson: The mood is definitely better, but if you look at the underlying fundamentals to unpick why it’s better, it doesn’t stack up. The level of improvement in the PMI type surveys surprises me because I don’t think anything is hugely different. Debt levels

are not rising as much but they’re still rising. The global economy isn’t firing on all cylinders. And yet we have almost an about turn in the levels of confidence our businesses and consumers are reporting. While we don’t want to be the bringers of constant doom, it does worry me that we will talk up something that doesn’t have great substance to it. I think we are in a recovery, but the big question for me is does it get enough impetus or pace in 2014 to translate into other parts of the economy to give it legs? It won’t run on the consumer alone. Will businesses really start to open the cheque books and invest more? The only way the recovery won’t run out of legs is if

the consumer passes the baton on to someone. Government is committed to not being that person. I don’t find myself sitting here looking at 2014 with a vastly different view to the one I had in 2013, I don’t feel things have actually moved that much. The underlying fundamentals are of an environment which is still very challenging. Do you think the public mood changed simply because it is five years on from the crisis and they’re not as scared now as they were previously? NG: I think there is something in that. Businesses have come to terms with what this looks like now. There has to be some sense of the psychology changing and people learning to live with it. RR: For the lay person it is the difference between understanding growth rates and levels. For example take car sales, for the first 11 months of 2013 they were up 10% on the same time last year. But that’s recovering from a very low level. There were still 25% fewer new car sales in 2013 than there were back in 2007. There could be an element of durable goods having to be replaced, people are having to change because they’ve had an old car for so long. But the sales don’t highlight the type of sales and the move towards the value brands of cars, the smaller cars. Consumer and business behaviour has changed and will continue to change. We’re hearing that Lidl is


OUTLOOK FOR 2014 planning to double the number of stores it has and yet Tesco is issuing profit warnings. A lot of that’s due to changing consumer trends. The story of 2012 and the first half of 2013 was that the economy stopped shrinking. It stopped getting worse. Now we’re seeing improvements. Employment is up for the last five quarters. But we’ve still only recouped 1/6 of the jobs lost during the recession. Getting the rest of those jobs back is going to be a long slow process. So how should people in Northern Ireland be responding now? NG: Tough times do create business opportunities and that will continue to be the case in the next few years. Many of our businesses have had a real look at what they do, how they’re structured, what they’re cost base is, whether they’re in the right markets. There’s a big opportunity in the hardship we’re facing with public finances in how ambitious we’re willing to be about looking at how we do things. The question if how willing we are to embrace that pressure. Many councils in England have had huge challenges with their finances and many have made substantive changes in how they do things. Finance Minister Simon Hamilton is talking a lot about public sector reform but the question is what does that process actually look like? As a society we are afraid of it because we think it means job losses. So my


question is how willing and able is the public service to change what it does? I’m not sure if the appetite is there for it. PM: The idea of public sector reform has to get beyond just public expenditure. It has to be more ambitious, it can’t be on a cost minimisation basis. Having a large public sector is probably the only tool of any magnitude we have here to influence the economy. You almost have to look at this from an economic development point of view. The public sector has got to start building a larger private sector here. It can begin small scale identifying growth sectors and where they can be aligned with the skills agenda. The economy suffered from a structural shift, we lost a construction sector, it’s going to take another structural shift of equal magnitude in the right direction to get us back to anywhere near the low unemployment level we had. SM: I think it is useful to focus on the idea of ambition. In the past, in good economic times or bad, Northern Ireland hasn’t really changed that much. We recently commissioned PwC to look at potential for devolution of fiscal powers, aside from corporation tax. But I believe there is no ambition to do any of those because I think we would be afraid of taking it on in case we make it worse. The public look at our political system and don’t think it’s the finest so they are

afraid. They’d rather have somebody in Westminster handle these things. NG: Nobody here really knows what success really looks like. We do a lot of reviews of best practice but sometimes best practice is being first. It’s not waiting to see what Scotland did. There is something here in the Northern Ireland economic psyche. Trying to turn this economy into a success story is going to be tough and I’m not sure who is up for that particular battle. We’re getting subvention of £10bn a year, if you’re going to get the private sector to replace it, that’s a lot. If you have to risk some of that £10bn to get it, I’m not sure enough people want to take it on. Implicitly public policy has been to protect the block grant and it’s done rather well. We’re getting a flow of money to maintain our standard of living in a way that will be tough to replace. So we need to be realistic about the scale of the ambition we have. PM: I think in terms of the £10bn subvention, minds will be concentrated. We’ve been largely protected from the cuts up to now because health and education have been ring-fenced. There’s no data I’ve seen that shows they can sustain that past 2015. They’re storing up cuts in health and education. Like it or not, unless our economic ambition is to shrink the overall size of the Northern Ireland economy, something’s got to give. Rather than looking constantly externally about how we can show a bit of leg on the global economic market and what we can incentivise, we have to realise if we don’t have a more high skilled, high paying labour force here, we’re never going to be able to attract like for like. We’ll only have a low skill, low productivity private sector. The success of the Republic in terms of getting big pharma and other FDI investments in was massive investments in skills first, knowing that it wouldn’t show anything for a number of years but building up that profile and being able to go to higher value potential investors and show it would bare fruit over five, 10, 15 years to entice them in. There has to be a realignment. › 23

OUTLOOK FOR 2014 the rates bill for every company but the social bargain is we want each of you to take on one person. People would argue you couldn’t legislate for that, but let’s start to have that kind of social conversation so the problem of youth unemployment becomes our problem.

The public sector should be building a shell of what the private sector should look like over the next 20 years. SM: Education played a huge part down south and there’s a school of thought that says investment is attracted by available talent. So does Northern Ireland have the talent? You can offer incentives but presumably companies that need talented people are thinking all the money in the world isn’t going to attract me to the wrong place. NG: One of the great mistakes of the last 15 years has been to convince ourselves our education system is world class. One of the things that struck me when I visited Scandinavia was that culturally teaching was one of the most prestigious jobs you could do. You need good teachers and lecturers in those subjects the economy needs and they are by their nature the hardest ones to get because they could go and earn a lot more elsewhere. Are the measures put in place inadequate to drive recovery? SM: If you look at government programmes designed to get people back into employment, Steps to Success, which will be the main programme, is a copy of the work programme in England. From what I can see it is going to be delivered by 24

organisations who’ve delivered it in England and it has been an abysmal failure there. I don’t see ambition or innovation there. We can do the buzz words as well as anyone in Northern Ireland, – innovation, strategy – but I don’t know whether we do any of it. RR: The biggest missed opportunity that Northern Ireland has had is we had the biggest recession since the 1920s and 30s and I can’t think of any radical action we actually took. After the Autumn Statement what we’re people jumping up and down about? The fact we were getting an extra £136m in public expenditure. The strategy has been to maximise public expenditure and they’ve been successful at that but that doesn’t equal a good economy. Northern Ireland suffers from this status quo Stockholm Syndrome. They had the political cover to make tough decisions over the last few years but the public is now hearing about recovery and that will make it harder to do it now. NG: One of the positive things of the Irish experience is the level of maturity that has developed in society. The conversation you can have with the public about what change looks like. If half of our businesses took on one young person youth unemployment wouldn’t be a problem. We just got another £136m and you could have said, right, we’re going to take 10% off

SM: At the start of the crisis we knew public expenditure was going to get squeezed, it was easy to predict whoever won the UK election would cut back due to the amount of money put into bank support. To have reform you have to do things differently. It is not simply a case of saying take that service the public sector delivers and pass it over to a voluntary organisation. It is about thinking ‘why should we keep always doing what we always did’. There’s a notion sometimes in Northern Ireland that we can’t do anything new unless there’s new money rather than looking at what you’ve got. NG: The kind of maturity we need is to be able to look at a service and ask if it would be better provided in the public, private or voluntary sector. Let’s at least have the conversation and support it so that attitude to reform doesn’t get lost in the system. It won’t be universally popular so we need to be brave enough to have the conversation. PM: But imagining Northern Ireland as a little small open economy is bonkers. It has only had a government for 15 years. Imagining that Northern Ireland has been created to be self sufficient is bonkers. It is like suggesting Connaught could be self sufficient. It’s just not credible. It takes years of economic development. What’s been exorcising politicians here over the last couple of months has been talking to a retired US diplomat about flags. If we don’t have that concentrated economic policy emanating from within Northern Ireland based on what we know about Northern Ireland and put in place that long term structural reform, we will always be the same proportion of UK GVA we are, we will always have that productivity gap, and we will be at the next economic crisis saying, well, nothing’s really changed.

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Dancing in the dark? The generation and distribution of electricity in Northern Ireland is based around broken systems which must be fixed in 2014 through better decision making, writes John Simpson.


lectricity prices are a major agenda issue for policy makers in Northern Ireland in 2014. Electricity prices are higher than they should be and realistic assessments of the trends in 2014 point to a continuing big pricing disadvantage for commercial businesses. Electricity consumers are paying higher prices than would be needed if there was a genuine, fully functioning single electricity market on this island and a better integrated market with Great Britain. Northern Ireland faces a period of unwelcome high price differences and, in a linked problem, Northern Ireland is also facing the prospect that, because of a decrease in the planned generating capacity from the local power stations, there will be a risk of power shortages by 2016-17 if (or when) any large generator goes temporarily out of commission. Domestic households buy their electricity at prices approved by the Regulator that are generally nearly in line with the average in GB. Industrial users pay prices set in a competitive market which, although it is unregulated, operates with electricity prices that are much higher than in Great Britain. This has a continuing impact on their international competitiveness. Some of the large problems in the electricity sector result from faulty official policies and poor decision making. Their scale is frightening and the official awareness suggests an unacceptable degree of complacency. 26

An expected shortage of adequate generating capacity could have been foreseen at least two years ago. To date no adequate options plan to effectively close the gap has been proposed. Generating Capacity losses Agreed EU rules, supported by the UK Government, mean that two large parts of local generating capacity will shortly be closed. At Ballylumford, from early 2016 the implementation of controls on emissions means that 510mw of older capacity will be withdrawn. A derogation to delay this change has been suggested but operations are already using a special permit which runs only until the end of December 2015. Upgrading this plant to new standards may be possible and would be costly. However, despite plenty of warning, this possible option has not been publicly tested, technically or financially. So, who would pay if this became a least cost option? At Kilroot, 400mw of capacity is already under threat of closure for environmental reasons unless the plant is expensively upgraded. The current temporary permission to use cheaper coal to fuel Kilroot may end. Again, if upgraded, who would pay? Adding to the loss of generating capacity, there is the further loss of up to 50% of the capacity for electricity imports from Scotland, using the damaged Moyle Interconnector. The owners of Moyle have outlined, first, a possible interim repair of this 450mw link. Then they have added (and acted on)

a proposal for a major reinstallation of the undersea cables which may cost (it is understood) up to £60m. Technically the case for a major reinstallation is strong. Two questions: who will pay, assuming that any further claims for insurance or initial guarantees of performance are unsuccessful, and how long will this take? Realistically the reinstallation seems unlikely to be fully effective before 2018. The fourth (and largest) capacity problem comes from the failure of the planning authorities to approve the construction of a high capacity north-south link from the most convenient location in Northern Ireland which integrates with the existing grid near Moy. This link, with the equivalent capacity to trade the electricity of a large generator, has been in planning for over seven years and, at the Northern Ireland end, has been delayed by clumsy efforts to start a planning appeal. On the Southern side, planning permission has not yet been achieved. This failure, north and south, essentially of official administration and management, led the Energy Minister, Arlene Foster, to argue recently that ‘It remains crucial that (this) interconnector is progressed and delivered as soon as possible if further risks are to be avoided from 2021…’ Alternative sources of capacity An interesting implication of some of these responses to the threat of possible power cuts is that Northern Ireland is relying on investment to import electricity either from Britain


or the Republic of Ireland. There are no active potential bidders to install larger generating plants here. New cross-border capacity is also needed to make the all-island market work, including an increased ability for the transmission system to deal with increased supplies of renewable (largely wind) energy.

“Some of the large problems in the electricity sector result from faulty official policies and poor decision making.” On an all-island basis there is adequate spare generating capacity. However, if cross border links are too uncertain then the immediate question becomes one of how to incentivise more investment north of the border. Minister Foster, who has responsibility for the electricity sector, has tasked her officials with preparing an options plan to build into the Northern Ireland grid an extra 250mw to give a safer operating margin in 2015-16. This will be a costly exercise and there is, as yet, no clear operational preference and no certainty about the contracting method to be used (and its relationship to the role of the Regulator). The Minister should expect a sensible longer-term perspective rather than an expensive temporary short-term fix.


Transmission and distribution The problems of securing electricity supplies are formidable. Then there are questions about the level of investment in the grid. NIE (Northern Ireland Electricity) is still immersed in a trenchant argument with the Competition Commission and the Regulator about the scale of grid investment needed to maintain secure supplies in the next four years and (by implication) further ahead. The preliminary draft decision from the Competition Commission leaves NIE well short of approval for the scale of investment that it deemed to be necessary. It argues that‘... For the reasons given (below), NIE considers that it would be unable to finance its regulated activities on the basis of the CC’s present proposals.’ The 220 page rebuttal by NIE of the rejection (by the Competition Commission) of its plans and the reluctance to endorse the investment proposals points to, at least, a continuing period of uncertainty or, at worst, worrying risks to security of supply and an inadequate capacity to feed extra renewable capacity into the grid. NIE is seriously aggrieved by the prolonged delay in settling the price review that should have been operational in late 2012.

not the operation of the grid) is to be transferred to SONI (the system operator). Will SONI be supportive of the NIE bid now challenged by the Commission? Renewable contracts and connections The complexity of the electricity sector becomes wider when the policies to encourage an increased supply of renewable energy face the practical (major) hurdles confronted by potential investors. Complaints about, initially, planning delays, followed by delay in obtaining connection agreements and unexpectedly high connection charges are ‘par for the course’. In addition, the nature of the contracts on offer with conditions for constraints or curtailment, have made many possible developments either too difficult or less economic. NIE place part of the blame for this criticism on the failure to allow NIE to invest to increase its capacity to cope with clusters of renewable wind farms. If the lights go out… If the power supplies are inadequate in a period of bad weather or unexpected breakdown in 2016, then there will be little consolation in any recall that, in early 2014, you were warned. Effective policy making and operational management can avoid the worst. The real problem in 2014 is ‘where are the policies and who is managing?’

Then in addition, the responsibility for planning the transmission grid (but



Colin Walsh CBI Northern Ireland Do you expect 2014 to be a better year for your members than 2013? Recent months have undoubtedly seen the first signs of more solid growth returning to the local economy. I expect the momentum to continue into 2014, though the headwinds will undoubtedly remain strong. Restraints on public expenditure and the continued relatively flat economic picture in many of our closest and long-standing export markets will mean there is little room for complacency. What gives you cause for optimism about the future? One of the major causes for optimism is the dynamism and leadership within our private sector. It is undoubted that the entrepreneurial spirit within the business community has seen many through to renewed opportunities for growth and expansion within the coming period. We have some great companies who are excelling in global markets – but we do need more of them. What one thing would most help our businesses to thrive and achieve success? As an organisation which has been at the forefront of the campaign, the ability for Northern Ireland to set its own rate of corporation tax rate remains the single most transformational economic tool which could drastically assist our economic fortunes. What is the greatest challenge facing businesses in Northern Ireland? Given that employment law is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, we have a great opportunity to put in place a regulatory framework which seeks to improve the competitiveness of Northern Ireland as we compete for investment from both growing indigenous companies and foreign direct investors. What are the top three issues your organisation will be focusing on in 2014? The top of our policy focus will undoubtedly be two subjects we have already detailed. A further area of focus is energy. This is, without question, a significant point of concern for our members across the various business sectors but, particularly, large energy users. From the increasingly uncompetitive electricity costs for large industrial/commercial users, to the cost of decarbonisation, to medium-term concerns over security of supply, we strongly take the view that this is an area which requires urgent Government focus. 28

Wilfred Mitchell OBE FSB Northern Ireland Do you expect 2014 to be a better year for your members than 2013? Economic indicators are improving so it is reasonable to believe that recovery is coming but this will be at different paces in various locations. Indeed, in Northern Ireland, some of our most eminent economists question the upbeat interpretation of recent figures and suggest that, at best, we are bottoming out. That said, if we have at least reached the nadir then the direction for many in 2014 should be better than the past year and confidence is as important as good statistics. What gives you cause for optimism about the future? After extensive lobbying by the FSB and others, the Prime Minister has undertaken to make a decision on devolution of corporation tax powers immediately after the Scottish referendum in September. If he accedes to the request, which has united business organisations and political parties, it will be a truly transformative measure. What one thing would most help our businesses to achieve success? Locally, the single measure that could most assist small businesses is to remove the threat of costly, confrontational employment law. The Assembly must remove the threats associated with employing people and level the balance between employee and small business owner. What is the greatest challenge facing businesses in Northern Ireland? The greatest challenge facing businesses in Northern Ireland is around energy; not just rising costs but security of supply. We have some of the most expensive energy in Europe, and there is little reason to expect the market to change anytime soon. We need our policy makers to explore every aspect of the market. Is there any one economic issue that you think will dominate the headlines this year? The single issue which should dominate the headlines will be banking, although public fatigue with the issue may cause the media to downplay it. What are the top three issues your organisation will be focusing on in 2014? Our three top issues for 2014 are public procurement, access to finance and energy prices.


Paul Terrington Institute of Directors Do you expect 2014 to be a better year for your members than 2013? There are two separate issues here. First there is now evidence of real recovery, so we expect the Northern Ireland economy to grow by around 1.6% in 2014 and unemployment to fall to around 58,000. The second issue is if the members agree; and they do. Our most recent membership survey shows that 74% of respondents expect business to improve in the next 12 months with only 3% expecting a decline. And when it comes to exporting nearly half (46%) of our respondents are currently exporting and 70% of those expect volumes to increase, with around 65% now planning to both recruit more and invest more. What one thing would most help our businesses to thrive and achieve success? There is no one silver bullet. But every single report since the 1950s – and there have been nearly 20 of them – says there is a direct link between R&D and exports and increased productivity and profitable and sustainable job creation. So a big push on R&D and innovation and exports. What are the greatest challenge facing businesses? We don’t have enough exporters, with enough great products and services to drive economic recovery. We can sell big, expensive and bulky items like buses, aircraft components and quarry equipment halfway around the world, so if we can do that we can sell anything. Is there any one issue that you think will dominate the headlines this year? Scottish independence is the big one and the implications are underestimated. A ‘Yes’ vote means more than just an independent Scotland from 24 March 2016; it means a likely reform of the Barnett Formula. Whatever the outcome, the changes will have widespread implications for the rest of the UK and particularly for Northern Ireland, where a decision on corporation tax has already been deferred to post the September 2014 referendum date. What are the top three issues your organisation will be focusing on in 2014? Facilitating, encouraging and training our members towards leadership excellence is our number one priority. Expanding our membership, influencing passion for leadership beyond the private sector is a second priority.


Mark Nodder Chamber of Commerce Do you expect 2014 to be a better year for your members than 2013? Business prospects for our members are generally positive for 2014. The latest NI Chamber Quarterly Economic Survey released at the start of January 2014 revealed that around three-fifths expect slight growth in their business during 2014 and 15% anticipate strong growth. Over half of our members (52%) are planning on recruiting more staff, 62% intend to make new investment in their product and almost three quarters (73%) envisage they will target new markets in 2014. What one thing would most help our businesses to thrive and achieve success? Many Northern Ireland businesses still underrate their skills, their talent and the quality and innovation of their products and services. The Chamber would encourage them to be confident because they have the potential to be the best in the world. What is the greatest challenge facing businesses here? Companies here are still finding it difficult to access finance for faster growth especially in exports. This is an issue for both banks and businesses and both need to change – we’re in a new lending environment. The early successes achieved by Whiterock Capital demonstrate that with some risk and the appropriate support measures then some deals can be done. Is there any one issue that you think will dominate the headlines this year? Problems in the eurozone remain a major challenge for our exporters, especially given the recent record deficit with the EU. Businesses want to drive the recovery, but the government must do more to help by introducing policies that will boost growth and by ensuring there is enough support for firms looking to export. What are the top three issues your organisation will be focusing on in 2014? In 2014 we will continue to focus on inspiring export and we will launch a new UKTI supported initiative with the worldwide Chamber network to support trade. We will also be prioritising access to finance and encouraging innovation. The Chamber will also pursue the devolution of Corporation Tax to Northern Ireland following the Scottish Referendum. By addressing these issues it is possible to achieve not just a good recovery, but a truly great and sustainable one.



Flags, firebombs & flashbacks

By Martin McDowell, Managing Director Osborne King Commercial Property Consultants


adly, as 2014 dawns, I am experiencing flashbacks of a previous period of business uncertainty. How can we enter 2014, the 20th anniversary year of “our ceasefire” and yet have bomb scares, disruption and uncertainty? Having been in business in this city for 30 years, I cannot be alone in my frustration, my revulsion or my desire not to see Northern Ireland slide backwards. At Stormont, we have highly paid politicians who have been “sorting” the peace process for nearly two decades. So why do we still tolerate those who seek to disrupt our province and prevent us surging forward, away from our troubled past? Why do our leaders so spectacularly fail to manage our future? If our politicians were within the private sector, delivering this level of ineffectiveness, they would not last long. This magazine concerns itself with business, and it is within the economic sphere where our politicians appear to deliver little that actually assists. Sure they will show up for photo opportunities, congratulating and piggybacking on businesses that make progress despite the problems, but they don’t seem to listen to the wider business community regarding changes needed to allow more entrepreneurial activity to flourish. So to start 2014, here is my wish-list of property/construction issues that the Assembly could rectify. • Vacant rates remain a huge disincentive to the commercial property market’s recovery and a massive


handicap to getting new development projects off the ground. The Assembly needs to realise that its blinkered “cash grab” policy is governed by the law of diminishing returns. Collection rates are deteriorating, and as time progresses, the uncollectable debt will pointlessly increase. As a minimum the Assembly needs to encourage development, so exempt new developments from vacant rates until occupiers are secured. • The Modern Government Lease: take this hybrid travesty, found nowhere else in the UK, and consign it to the history books. This lease has been foisted onto NI landlords and discourages inward investment. The longer the Land and Property Service is allowed to manipulate the market, the worse the development of new office facilities for our service sector economy will be. • Planning Service: if our economy starts a slow recovery can the Assembly

please deliver an effective planning service. Delay in the development process is frequently the death knell for a project and the biggest element in delay is nearly always the planning/roads consultations. Give the Planning Service the resources required to deliver an actual “service”. • Sort out the bus lanes in Belfast! These are some of the major items on my 2014 wish-list, but overall, I would really like to see our politicians finally start looking forward to our future and not backwards. Make 2014 the year you actually start adding value to Northern Ireland, deliver the stability our economy needs and convince us that you have the ability to lead. For further information contact T: 028 9027 0000


Effective planning is key to economic recovery

By David Mountstephen, Chairman of Royal Town Planning Institute in Northern Ireland


pril 2015 is a significant milestone. This is the date for the reform of local government and the transfer of planning and regeneration powers to eleven new local authorities. January 1914 was another significant milestone. This is the date of the inaugural dinner which marked the public launch of the Royal Town Planning Institute. January is often rightly described as a month for both looking back and looking ahead and these two dates help us to do that. The RTPI in Northern Ireland has a Centenary programme for 2014 that seeks to reflect on our planning history and past experiences whilst preparing, training and building capacity for the opportunities that lie ahead. A series of three conferences, the first on March 13 followed by dates in June and November, will help to prepare professional planners, elected representatives, council officers, developers and all those who engage with the planning system for the changes that are to come. March 13 will also be a time for celebration with our Centenary Dinner being held that evening at the Great Hall at Queen’s University. Celebration and reflection will also be a theme of a ‘Talking Heads’ Centenary Project, through which the thoughts of planners past and present will be documented. There remain many challenges to be considered in 2014, about structures and processes, culture change, codes of conduct, capacity and resourcing, as well as about how local authorities might work together or compete with one another, not to mention programmes for the preparation of development plans. Hopefully, the RTPI conferences and other events will help address these challenges and make clear the positive role that planning can play in shaping places and delivering the right development at the right locations. Early 2014 will also see the publication of a draft Strategic Planning Policy Statement by the DoE for consultation. It will set out important ‘core principles’ to be observed, for example, in the preparation of development plans and the exercise of development management functions. It will, JANUARY 2014

in the main, consolidate existing planning policy but will also include long-awaited new planning policy for retailing and town centres. This has the potential to be – as the title suggests – a strategically important planning policy document. The sooner it is published in 2014 the better. Of course, Centenary celebrations and preparations for 2015 should not result in the present being overlooked. They should benefit planning now, enabling it to play its part in economic recovery, whether in the preparation of development proposals or timely and efficient decision making processes. In the early 20th Century architects, surveyors, engineers and others had the vision of a distinctive professional town planning institute. Hopefully, 2014 is a year of learning from the past and looking to the future and the RTPI can play its part in developing a vision for planning in Northern Ireland in 2014, 2015 and beyond. 31


Returning skills to NI marketplace a major challenge

By John Moore Director, Hays Northern Ireland

landscape for candidates. At Hays new vacancies registered have risen exponentially with IT, construction and service sectors all experiencing significant growth. For example, employers in the legal sector are competing intensively for candidates across a wide range of roles. Our construction and property team is currently recruiting for quantity surveying, estimating and site management roles. We also have opportunities in accountancy and finance including chartered accountancy, internal auditing and finance roles.


orthern Ireland exited 2013 with business activity and new orders rising. And while data is rarely uniformly positive, the trends suggest that the economy is stabilising and business confidence is rising. Consider November’s Ulster Bank PMI survey which tracks new orders, employment rates and export within local firms. It reported that local business activity is accelerating at its steepest rate since July 2004. Our private sector is experiencing its second fastest rate of growth in the survey’s 11-year history. As Northern Ireland settles into a new year, we may find that the big issue for 2014 is our ability as a region is to meet growing demands for skills lost in the recession when talent across many key sectors opted to seek opportunities elsewhere. How we return those skills to the marketplace, and support candidates relocating from the UK and beyond, will be a major issue. With backlogs mounting – particularly in manufacturing and services sectors – many employers are now moving away from the recession-era cautious approach to appointing permanent staff. Employers recognise that they need to act quickly to secure staff as they may lose out on talent otherwise. These factors are presenting an extremely favourable


To meet this level of local demand we are often required to draw upon our global network, speaking to expats and supporting candidates relocating to Northern Ireland. At Hays we can call upon over 7,840 recruiting experts working in 33 countries worldwide, pooling ideas, knowledge and experience across businesses and territories. The expectation is that we will be drawing upon this international network more and more in the months ahead. Relocation is a very challenging proposition for individuals. A knowledgeable recruiter can help by identifying appropriate opportunities, by preparing candidates for the local working environment (including locality, transport, schools and amenities) and offering advice on work permits, immigration requirements and documentation. For their part, relocating candidates must also be realistic in their expectations. For example, wage levels in Northern Ireland are not the same as in certain other areas around the UK, albeit this is balanced out through the cost of living and quality of life. Candidates should also do their research and consider how they can demonstrate affinity with the culture, vision and brand of the employer. In all likelihood, 2014 will see a continued return to business normality. Infrastructure improvements, social housing projects and large-scale planning proposals have all been given the go-ahead. Beyond this, Invest NI has attracted a number of foreign direct investors to Northern Ireland and will likely continue to do so in the year ahead. Therefore the demand for niche skills will continue and this demand must be met in order for the economy to maintain its forward momentum. This year supporting talent relocation will be a major preoccupation both for employers and specialist recruiters alike.

A Market Leader in Advising on Mergers, Acquisitions and Venture Capital Funding

Advised Invest Northern Ireland on its acquisition of its Bedford Square corporate headquarters.

Advised Glenfarm Holdings Limited on the major funding round relating to Silform Technologies Limited.

Advised Northstone (NI) Limited on its acquisition of the seals and mouldings business of GT Seals & Mouldings Limited.

Advised Solv-X Products Limited on the purchase of the business and assets of the Carepac division from the Bray Group.

Advised Bedeck Limited on two business acquisitions, including the recent purchase of the Equinox brand and business.

Advised the shareholders of the Hamilton Shipping Group on the sale of their shares to Denholm Logistics Ltd, a subsidiary of the J&J Denholm Group.

Advised the sellers on the management buy-out of United Paper Merchants Limited.

Advised PathXL Limited on its further funding round with additional funds being invested by Par Equity, Crescent Capital, Qubis Limited and Invest Northern Ireland.

Advised Mourne Observer Limited on the sale of its newspaper business.

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Time to build on tourism success

By Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive, Visit Belfast


he Titanic year of 2012 was always going to be hard to follow for Belfast’s tourism industry but as an eventful 2013 closes, indications are that it matched 2012 as tourism continues to be a vital economic driver for the city and wider region. The World Police Fire Games brought a buzz and fanfare to the city, filling almost all available hotel rooms over the ten day tournament. A record number of cruise ships including The World brought over 100,000 passengers and crew to these shores, whilst international conferences – including the Council of International Neonatal Nursing and Soroptimists International – welcomed thousands of delegates to the city. Meanwhile, the Belfast Welcome Centre handled over 340,000 enquiries from visitors compelled to come to one of the UK’s best value city-break destinations. Our company name change to Visit Belfast allowed us to more clearly communicate our focus and renewed sense of purpose – to increase visitor numbers to Belfast and the valued visitor spend from city breaks, day trips, conferences and shore excursions. Belfast has always worked hard to attract visitors, building the best conference centres and world class visitor attractions. It wasn’t that long ago that Belfast struggled for acceptance as a tourist destination. Through the hard work, vision and investment of tourism agencies and the hospitality industry, Belfast has transformed into a must visit, exciting, young destination and we continue to punch above our weight in attracting visitors to the city – this year Visit Belfast was voted Marketing team of the Year, and Belfast named Best UK Conference City Destination by Conference & Incentive Travel Magazine. As the year ended, with support from Belfast City Council and NITB, Visit Belfast opened what we believe is a best in-class visitor information centre – another important milestone for Belfast’s tourism industry. The new Visit Belfast Welcome Centre isn’t merely an information centre, it’s a statement about the importance of tourism to the future of this city and country, an industry that generated over £400m to the city economy and supports tens of thousands of jobs.


The investment in the latest technologies within the centre reflects the digital world we now live and travel in, allowing visitors to send information directly to their smart phone or tablet and enabling Visit Belfast to show off the very best of Belfast and Northern Ireland. We still face challenges, but I believe Belfast is well positioned to rise to the opportunities that the year ahead presents. We look forward to some sporting sparkle with Giro d’Italia; welcoming 60 cruise ships, many docking in the new purpose built cruise terminal currently being built within the Titanic Quarter; and we will begin to welcome the thousands of delegates that are estimated to generate £80m over the next few years. 2014 will be a critical time for Visit Belfast, Government and our industry to consolidate on the step changes of the last two years. We will continue to work in partnership, to build on the success to date and ensure that Belfast is well positioned to maximise the opportunities that 2014 and future years are sure to bring.

Digital assets: too often unprotected, unlocked and unsafe


K consumers value the sum total of their personal digital assets – from music on their iPods to family photos stored on their computer – at a staggering £25bn. But attitudes to personal data security may offer some clues as to why workplace security breaches are rising. A PwC survey of UK consumer attitudes to digital assets and cyber-security concluded that, in spite of spending over £50bn a year buying goods and services online, many of us are still not doing enough to protect the digital assets we value and spend so much of our incomes acquiring. Despite the value we place on digital possessions we could take a lot more care of them – more than a third of consumers (35%) have not changed any of their passwords in at least two years and 36% at some time have permanently lost access to some or all of their digital assets. Consumer cyber-security parallels the business experience, where the number of cyber security incidents increased by 69% over the past year, with 16% of organisations unable to determine how many times in the past year they had fallen victim to hackers, cyber-criminals or just carelessness amongst the workforce. There is a growing perception amongst some observers that our digital habits as consumers and citizens – whether good or bad – influence our digital vigilance as employees and even employers. If that’s correct, then the performance of Northern Ireland consumers delivers some very mixed messages. One link between the survey of consumer attitudes and data security in business was the frank admission that 13% of Northern Ireland respondents had lost work-related material held on their personal digital devices, whether through hacking,

Cara McCrory

data corruption or hardware failure. Only London consumers came close at 12%, with the rest of the UK’s ten regions well down in single figures. The survey shows that, as we grow our digital world, many of us don’t realise just how valuable this content is and, as a result, may not be doing enough to protect it. We wouldn’t consider leaving home without shutting and locking the front door, but we frequently leave our digital assets – and those of our employers – unprotected and unlocked. More than 85% of small firms fell victim to cyber-attack or some form of data loss in the past year, with each organisation experiencing an average of 17 occurrences and the cost of the worst loss put at between £35,000£65,000. However, when PwC’s latest Information Security Breaches survey reveals that 36% of cyber-security issues were caused by inadvertent human error by staff and nearly six out of ten were staff or workforce-related, the linkage between personal cyber-security and the security of Northern Ireland’s small firms becomes worryingly apparent. Contrary to expectations, the older generation is more security conscious; they are less likely to use the same password for their various accounts and devices and more likely to change

it frequently than 18 to 34 year-olds. That is reflected in cyber-security in business where our survey found that younger people, who have grown up with Facebook and a public online profile are less aware of security risks and privacy than the over 50s. We undertook the UK-wide consumer survey of digital assets survey for two reasons: first was to help individuals understand the risks of relying on digital assets and processes; and the second was to help people relate to one of the biggest challenges facing all businesses and organisations today – that of cyber security. As individuals, we are increasingly reliant on our digital assets, but that is not reflected in an increased awareness of personal cyber-security. If those values are reflected in our attitudes to cyber-security at work, organisations in Northern Ireland are at increasing risk and only a radical change in attitudes will prevent further growth in personal and corporate losses.

Cara McCrory is an associate partner with PwC in Belfast specialising in internal security and risk issues. She can be contacted on 028 9041 5577 or at:


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Retail still faces big challenges

By Aodhán Connolly, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium


ith the busiest period of the retail year now over us and a new year beginning, it is a good time to reflect on 2013 and look forward to what 2014 will bring for consumers and for the industry. Across the UK 13 per cent of all retail sales happen in December – £39bn last year. Obviously that’s not all Christmas shopping, but it does highlight how important this holiday period is for many retailers, and why they invest so much in preparing for it.

sector, and the way that the industry is changing at a more rapid pace than ever. It’s been really positive to see the tentative signs of recovery over the last few months, and the sector has a major role to play in supporting that, through investment, growth and job creation.

Not so positive however has been the footfall and vacancy figures for Northern Ireland. Footfall in Northern Ireland was down 9.8% year-on-year in October and down 6.3% in November compared with the UK average of -2.9%. While vacancy figures here are nearly double We won’t know for sure until the final the national average with almost one sums are in mid-January, but our most recent figures put Christmas sales growth in five of our shops lying empty. on course to be a slight improvement The recent economic news suggests on last year. Customer confidence is that consumers are feeling a little more slightly up on last year and a seventh positive about the year ahead. However, month of shop price deflation means household incomes are still feeling budgets can go that bit further. the squeeze and recovery is fragile. The latest figures have shown that the 2013 confirmed what an exciting, average UK household had £160 a week eventful, dynamic and even challenging sector retail is. The year saw the industry of discretionary income in November 2013, the highest level since July 2012, consistently high in the headlines. but the Northern Ireland figure is much There have been things which have lower at around £60 per week. Data made usthink more than ever about the responsibilities retailers have in the supply suggested a slow but steady start to chain and towards their customers. There Christmas spending, with customers have been things which have highlighted responding well to promotions. Retailers have read market conditions well in challenges and opportunities facing the

“The recent economic news suggests that consumers are feeling a little more positive about the year ahead. However, household incomes are still feeling the squeeze.” 38

their promotions and product offers. One thing that is certain is that the trend of consumers buying online will continue. From less that 5% of total sales in 2002, e-retailing has grown to over 12% and rising. Our most recent data showed that non-food, online purchases in November accounted for 20% of total transactions. But it is not just the final purchase where online is making a difference. Online is becoming increasingly integral to the customer journey – for comparing prices, browsing and buying. Retailers are investing significantly in websites, social media, delivery times and multichannel offers. This also highlights the need in 2014 for retailers, government and other stakeholders to work together to ensure our high streets are accessible, welcoming and safe, with an eclectic mix of retail that encourages consumers to come out and spend their hard earned money on our high streets. After all, across Northern Ireland we have an amazing retail offer.


NI banking sector slowly healing

By Adrian Doran, Barclays Head of Corporate Banking in Northern Ireland

In terms of the wider economy, the pick-up in confidence should hopefully translate into greater demand for bank lending.” The good news is that there are positive signs that our economy is finally returning to real and sustainable growth, and confidence is returning to consumers and businesses alike. Property prices have stabilised which, as well as the improving economy, should help give many local banks confidence that the impairment story of the last few years may finally be over.


t’s hard to believe we are now entering the sixth year since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. A great deal has been written about the problems in our local banking sector during the last five years. So, where do things stand as we enter 2014? The issues in the Northern Ireland banking sector are quite unlike those in the rest of the UK – partly due to the composition of our “Big 4” clearing banks, with large international banks such as Barclays, HSBC and Santander having a relatively smaller (but growing) share of the market. Furthermore the economy is heavily dominated by a greater proportion of small owner-managed SMEs, which have experienced relatively more difficulty accessing credit on reasonable terms, in comparison to larger companies. We also have the problem that many of these SMEs have associated property debt, which again makes lending into the trading business more difficult.


One of the possible reasons for this relative stability in the property market is the absence of large scale fire-sales of distressed assets by NAMA or the Big 4 banks. Cynics may argue that this failure by banks to purge themselves of distressed property assets has merely created a false floor in the market. Likewise, there is also a lingering fear that some banks have not sold property assets because they have not fully provided for the associated write-downs in their balance sheets; write-downs that could potentially trigger further painful capital raising. In this regard, the next round of stress tests by the ECB scheduled for 2014 should make for interesting viewing. In terms of the wider economy, the pick-up in confidence should hopefully translate into greater demand for bank lending, something that has been lacking in recent years. The positive signs in property values, coupled with an increase in bank lending may see some of our Big 4 banks finally return to profit in 2014, after several years of significant losses. It may surprise many when I say that I am keen to see our competitors return to profit, however, a healthy banking sector is needed for any economy to grow and prosper. After the last few years, it’s always dangerous to predict what might happen in the local banking sector in 2014 – I’m reminded of Yogi Berra’s advice ‘never make predictions, especially about the future’, but there are many reasons to suggest that our banking sector and wider economy are finally on an upward trend.



How MOOCs will drive disruptive innovation in HE

By John D’Arcy, National Director, The Open University


hange is an ever-present factor in Higher Education. Whether it is funding, fees, employer demands or new policy initiatives, universities in Northern Ireland, across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe and further afield work in dynamically changing environments. However, in many ways, the system we see today is not exactly unrecognisable from that which has operated for centuries. Innovations emerge at the edges, improvements are made, but the fundamentals remain reasonably stable. Throughout 2012 and 2013, a “disruptive innovation” emerged – Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs as they are widely known. Martin Bean, vice-chancellor of The Open University, has described this as the “Napster moment for higher education” and many experts agree. The advent of Napster – which allowed fans to share music for free online – upended the traditional business model for the music industry forever. How this type of innovation will play out in higher education remains to be seen. Using the internet as its platform, MOOCs have the potential to bring higher education to masses of people in a new way, taking distance learning to a new level. Significant events in the growth of MOOCs have emanated from North America following the movement’s birth in Canada. Companies such as Coursera and US universities like Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 40

have so far been dominant in driving the direction of open online education. As an established leader in open, high quality, distance higher education, The Open University stepped up to the mark by establishing the UK’s first MOOC platform, FutureLearn. Working with over 25 universities, including Queen’s University Belfast and Trinity College Dublin, as well as the British Museum, British Council and the British Library. Some 25,000 people signed up for the eight FutureLearn courses available on launch day. Each course is between four and eight weeks long and involves a few hours of study a week. Topics on offer included the causes of war, climate change, how the web is changing the world and critical listening skills for sound production. MOOCs are revolutionising online

education. They have generated an enthusiasm that has not been seen in this field for a very long time. The recent news that Coursera has made its first million dollars by allowing students to pay for MOOC certificates marks a major milestone in the open education movement. Online learning has been revitalised by this new addition and that means we can really begin to explore sensible, scalable options for educating via the web, be that in the form of MOOCs or as component of a more traditional degree. There is clearly an opportunity for higher education delivered online and targeted at mature students. In an increasingly digital world in which post-PC, personal devices like tablets and smart phones are both powerful and available, there is huge emerging potential for Northern Ireland’s citizens to embrace higher education.

Leaders in Business


Leaders in Business 2014


hat makes a good leader is a question that has long occupied column inches of business journals and been the topic of thousands upon thousands of books claiming to provide the answer.

and controversial statements to the media and secured big orders, or who are on course to do big things in 2014. were “getting in the way of the brand” as it tries to attract business customers. We’ve tried to give you a glimpse of what drives these leaders and some It is wise then that Ulster Business chooses to focus on individuals and their insight into how they achieve success in the businesses they run or play a stories, their views and their ambitions leading role in. As previously stated, in our Leaders in Business issue. We constantly hear about the need for one person’s experience of successful strong leadership both in business and leadership strategy might not work in The ten business leaders we’ve chosen in politics, but often nobody can really your own world. However, we hope to interview for this year’s Leaders in decide what that means. Does it mean that reading about the approach these Business feature are drawn from a taking tough and unpopular decisions Northern Ireland business leaders have wide variety of sectors. These include or does it mean finding a populist taken to their own business can provide agri-food, finance, hospitality, property, solution that takes everyone with you. food for thought and even some engineering, retail, IT and the third inspiration about what can be achieved. sector and hopefully represent a That it is such a hotly debated subject good cross section of the businesses essentially confirms that leadership Contrary to what some sceptics say, that make up the local economy. means different things to different we do have some very talented, very people and what works for one interesting leaders out there in the As we explain each year we do this, organisation, group or team doesn’t Northern Ireland business community we’re not choosing who we think are necessarily lead to success for another. who are brimming with ideas to make the 10 best business leaders out there their companies and the province – that’s a subject which would cause In some cases the leader is the business as a whole a real success story. much more debate and it’s likely we’ve and in others they are the person who already interviewed many of those who gets the best out of a talented team of We could do with more of them. would make your top 10 throughout people. And sometimes the leader of a successful business can start to become a the past 12 months anyway. Instead hindrance to its progress. Even the tireless these are people who have taken up Photography: Richard Trainor Michael O’Leary has taken a vow of public important new positions, launched Words: Symon Ross new enterprises, created new jobs silence after deciding his public persona

“We’ve tried to give you a glimpse of what drives these leaders and some insight into how they achieve success in the businesses they run or play a leading role in.”



Janet McCollum Moy Park’s new CEO ready for a fresh challenge


ou might expect the person taking over Northern Ireland’s largest business to be a little daunted by the prospect. But Janet McCollum, who officially assumed the mantle of CEO at poultry producer Moy Park this month, is instead excited about the prospect of continuing the stellar growth enjoyed by the Craigavon-based company in recent years. Moy Park again topped the Ulster Business Top 100 list in 2013. Its most recent figures showed sales of £1.1bn and profits of £24.4m.


The company employs 5,500 people in Northern Ireland among its 12,000 strong workforce and works closely with 600 local farmers. “I’m really very excited and extremely proud to have the opportunity to take on this role as CEO of Moy Park. I have worked for Moy Park for the last 20 years so I know the business very well indeed and I’m excited about where the business can go,” she said. Having worked alongside retiring CEO Nigel Dunlop and the executive team to put in place Moy Park’s current


growth strategy, Janet believes the company will continue to build upon its positive growth momentum. “The business is strong and growing. Our strategy is to continue to establish ourselves as a leading and highly regarded food company in Europe. With our turnover now approaching close to £1.5bn I feel the business has a strategy in place which will lead to future growth, meeting the needs of both our retail and food service customers,” she said. Born in Belfast, Janet went to school at Victoria College before studying at the University of Aston in Birmingham. Her career began at Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages before she returned to Northern Ireland to join manufacturing company Insoleq in 1989 and then move to Moy Park in 1993. She most recently held the role of group finance director at Moy Park and played a key role in the reorganisation and restructuring of the business, including the re-financing of the business and the acquisition of O’Kane Poultry. Describing her own leadership style as “democratic, open and honest” she says Moy Park is a people focused company and this is something she will continue to prioritise. “I am, with my financial background, very much results-focused and I believe the best way to achieve great results is


to have great people working with you,” she said. “Ultimately Moy Park’s success is down to its people. We have a really strong team of dedicated and committed people from our farmers to factory staff and all through the company.” For 2014, the new CEO says Moy Park’s strategy will be to continue to grow its core UK and Ireland fresh poultry and convenience food business, while at the same time growing its wider Continental European business, being a major part of Marfrig’s international operations. “The market for locally sourced chicken is growing strongly at the moment and we are ideally placed to meet this demand. We’re also supporting our customers in new channels such as online and local convenience stores,” says Janet. “We will also continue our expansion of multiprotein sales across the UK, Ireland and continental Europe as part of our growth opportunity.” Although she’s confident of continuing the positive growth momentum, Janet acknowledges there are big challenges for all food companies in the current climate. “The volatility of feed and input costs absolutely remains a pressure for the industry. That hasn’t gone away,” she said. “Food is becoming more expensive to produce and we have to work closely with our customers both to recover the cost from the market

where we can and to continuously seek new ways of improving our costs from within the supply chain.” The business has more recently invested in its capability and resource in category and consumer insight, innovation and food development. One encouraging development she highlights is the government’s recognition of the contribution the agri-food sector makes to the economy and she welcomes the recent strategy published by the Agri-Food Strategy Board. But more still needs to be done to help the sector thrive. As in most sectors she believes access to funding and financial support remains a big challenge for the agri-food industry and planning too will need to be streamlined to allow more local businesses in the field to grow quickly and effectively. “When you look back over the last five years Moy Park has almost doubled in size. It has always been a forward thinking company. I suppose the golden rules would be, think big, be positive and surround yourself with the best people,” she said. “We’re proud to be an indigenous local business and we will play our part in the continued advancement of the local agri-food sector.”



Colin Walsh The new CBI NI chair is optimistic about 2014 As he takes over from Ian Coulter for a two year stint as chair of CBI NI, Walsh expects familiar issues to dominate his tenure.


he MD of Crescent Capital, chairman of Andor Technology and incoming chair of CBI Northern Ireland says the local economy needs 2014 to be a good year - and he’s optimistic it will be.


“I guess venture capitalists have to be sceptical optimists,” he says. “Around the companies I’m involved with I see enquiries increasing, quotations increasing, sales activity increasing. “Confidence has improved and that’s what drives the economy. Consumers and companies are starting to spend again so I think this year could be the best we’ve seen since 2008.”

The push for the devolution of corporation tax remains a priority and Walsh believes there is still “everything to play for” despite the political complications around the Scottish referendum on independence. “To me the fundamental reason for corporation tax is very simple. In NI we need a larger private sector, it

is the only way to generate wealth. The single biggest thing you could do to energise the private sector is corporation tax,” he says. “Invest NI has had a terrific year but if it had a level playing field with ROI on tax it would be fantastic. It would bring companies that were profit centre type businesses and move the needle on the quality of jobs.” One other issue he thinks requires urgent attention is energy. “It worries me that we have the most expensive energy for high energy users virtually in Europe. That presents significant challenge for any inward investment that is hungry on energy and also for indigenous businesses,” he says. “We’ve ended up in the situation where our electricity is costing something like 25% more for high users than in the South and we haven’t got the interconnector to bring more of that cheaper power to the north,” he adds. “We’re already past the point of rescue. We’ll be turning off some of the more inefficient generating capacity at the end of 2014 or 2015. It is a shorter runway than it would take to build the interconnector if we had agreed it already, and we haven’t.” Walsh is hopeful that having worked in the public service, part of it in Invest NI’s predecessor IDB, as well as his second career in business, his understanding of the challenges facing both government and the private sector will help bring progress on those issues. The day job is also set to be interesting in 2014. Walsh says Crescent is “well on its way” to closing fundraising for the second half of its £30m Fund 3 and is keen to see more companies coming to it with development capital opportunities. “We’ve seen quite a few early stage technology propositions and we’ve made a few offers. We haven’t yet


seen as much deal flow as I would have liked from development capital situations. Crescent is not just a technology investor. We got that label with fund two because the deal flow skewed that way. The normal space for development capital was taken by the banks but that has swung back so we’re sure there is a dealflow of development capital out there,” he said. “Personally I love companies that make things. I like to see a tangible product. I get a huge buzz out of being involved in Andor but I get the same buzz from being involved in (wood product manufacturer) Balcas.” Andor has, of course, been in the headlines after shareholders accepted an improved takeover offer from Oxford Instruments which valued the firm at £176m. Walsh sees the offer, which was above the share price at the time, as “a great endorsement of what NI is capable of achieving” noting Andor has grown from university spinout to employing 400 people and exporting £50m of its cameras outside Northern Ireland. “We’ve built it so that it can continue to grow. You see that in the management team that’s there and the acquisitions the business is making and the product it has been developing At the same time that’s what makes it attractive to others, that capability to grow. There is a premium on that capability to grow. Some larger companies are struggling to achieve that and they look to smaller more innovative, fleet of foot businesses for it, they want to bring that DNA into their organisation, he adds.” “Whether Andor is bought or remains independent, those jobs are not going anywhere. The reason people want to buy it is to get to that talent. You don’t buy the business and then try to move it somewhere else.”



Garvan O’Doherty Entrepreneur sees Derry as The Jewel of Ireland


riving around Derry with Garvan O’Doherty it is almost easier to identify the bars, hotels and offices he hasn’t owned at one time or another than to go through the long list of sites he has owned. One of the city’s best known entrepreneurs, O’Doherty trained as an accountant before moving into the hospitality sector, buying his first pub in the mid-1980s. He opened his first hotel, The Trinity, in 1996, which was soon followed by Da Vinci’s Hotel and the Waterfoot Hotel. At one point the GOD Group owned 12 pubs in the city. However in 1999, predicting a downturn in the market, it embarked on a strategy of geographic and sector diversification, selling all but two of the pubs, moved into the off trade with the creation of the Chill off licence brand and building up property and investment interests. Today the GOD Group employs around 270 people and as well as its trading businesses in hospitality also has a diverse property portfolio, with investments in


Ireland, the UK and the US. “This business is my passion, it’s a hobby for me,” he says, pointing out another bar he used to run as we moved around the City. “My first job in hospitality was as a DJ playing records when I was about 13 and although I trained as an accountant, which has been useful, I didn’t really like it. I bought my first pub in 1984 and haven’t looked back since.” While the GOD Group did not emerge completely unscathed from the financial crisis, O’Doherty says it is in good shape and having implemented a new strategy to drive down borrowings and bolster its already strong trading businesses it is well placed to weather any future economic shocks. “We’re taking into account the potential for another economic crisis coming down the line,” he says. “For the banks, one of the focus points now is doing business with successful trading companies and we have very strong trading operations, so it is a matter of nourishing the trading companies further.”

O’Doherty has also taken on a new and exciting challenge for 2014 with the acquisition of St Columb’s Hall, which he plans to refurbish and convert into a multipurpose site encompassing a 200-seater restaurant, bar and live music venue and restoring the 860 seater theatre to its former glory but incorporating new technology for multi purpose entertainment uses from West End Shows to plays. Built in 1888 the former Temperance Hall has had many uses throughout its history, but was in need of extensive restoration when he bought it in late 2012. Not one to hang around, O’Doherty is hopeful a lion’s share of the redevelopment of the city centre site will be completed before the end of the year, putting it back at the heart of the community. “It has the potential to be fantastic, a real hub for the city,” he said. “It is a fabulous building and although there’s a lot of work to be done we think it will be something really special.”


As well as a long history of owning and operating pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels in the city, O’Doherty has also played a leading role in social and economic regeneration, serving locally on the Board of Ilex, chairing Foyle Port for two terms, contributing to the U4D lobby group set up to establish a university in Derry City and is a director in Creggan Enterprises Limited, a social economy operation. A passionate advocate for his city, O’Doherty says he is confident the work which has gone into City of Culture has set it on the right track to prosperity. “I do believe the City of Culture 2013 was the start of the renaissance for the city. Over the past number of years I’ve seen superb publicprivate sector partnerships working together. The city is looking much nicer, it is much cleaner, we’ve got fantastic emergency services and an ever increasing number of cultural and artistic offerings – there’s just so much goodness in the city,” he said. “The Clipper Round The World Yacht race event started the ball rolling, City of Culture accelerated it, the Fleadh was a highlight, the Lumiere Festival closed it. The true test for me of how much the city has changed is that people have a greater pride in the city now,” he added. “I consider the highlight of City of Culture in terms of the city’s future was the Fleadh, where 450,000 people came to the city and were amazed by all that was happening here. It really was an incredible week. It showed that this city is on the move and I believe we’re going to be the jewel of Ireland.”


Derry having a full University will be key to achieving that goal, he says, and if the University of Ulster is not going to expand its Magee campus, U4D want to see a new cross-border, cross-community university established. “We must become a university city. It’s half a century since we started along this journey and we haven’t yet got it. We’re working with the University of Massachusetts and if the University of Ulster won’t expand, we’re encouraging the University of Massachusetts and indeed other American or Canadian Universities to drop an operation into the city,” he said. At different stages over the last fourteen years O’Doherty has also chaired the talks credited with devising solutions to contentious parading issues in Derry/Londonderry. He’s proud of what has been achieved so far and plays down his own influence, but says more work must be done by the city council, politicians, community representatives and business leaders to secure a way forward for everyone in the city. “I think we’re only 15 years down a 30 year journey of getting our own civic society functioning as a democracy,” he said. “As we enter the second phase of creating a better society it is now about getting real. A lot of working class people are getting left behind and we are going to need strong leadership if we are to unite people. We have to get on with it. We have to not talk about but deliver social and economic prosperity for everyone.”



Brendan Mooney The CEO of Kainos is expecting more big wins in 2014 50



elfast-based software company Kainos is at a sweet spot in its history in terms of winning new contracts and growing its business, according to Managing Director Brendan Mooney. The firm, which provides digital technology solutions that enable companies to work smarter, faster and better, was a spinout from Queen’s University more than 25 years ago. Operating in the public, healthcare and financial services sectors, it employs over 500 people, has offices in the UK, Ireland and Poland, and counts over 150 wellknown global organisations and large government departments as clients. But despite an explosive couple of years of growth, Mooney says the company has no intention of slowing down. In the next three years it is aiming to increase headcount to over 750, grow revenues from about £35m to £65m, and open new offices in the UK, US and Europe. “There are opportunities across the board. I’ve been here 24 years and I’ve never seen the level of opportunity for our company that we’re seeing today,” he said. “We’ve put in our biggest ever proposal to any client in the last couple of weeks. That’s with a business in financial services. If we’re successful it will be our biggest contract by a factor of two, and we’ve signed some pretty large contracts over the last couple of years.” Originally from Dunloy, Mooney now lives in Belfast with his wife and three children and, having decided to sell their second car, walks to work at Kainos’ head office in Upper Crescent when possible. That’s when he is in Belfast of course. Kainos also has offices in London, Dublin, Derry, Gdansk and Bristol, not to mention clients in the US and Europe,


and when I meet him it’s the first time in 11 months he’s spent a full week in the city. Most of Kainos’ offices are an hour from Belfast and it will remain the hub of the business. But the travel is necessary because of success in all three of its core areas. In healthcare, 17 health trusts across UK have selected its electronic medical record solution Evolve in the last 36 months and over 5,000 clinicians are now using it on iPads. In partnership with Cirdan Imaging, Kainos also recently acquired a division of global player GE Healthcare. It has enjoyed similar success in the public sector, where Kainos is one of the smaller firms to have been included in the Government Procurement Services framework for making services digital by default as it looks to bring innovation, agility and mobility into IT services. All these contracts have meant a huge intake of staff. Kainos has taken on 180 people in the last year, around 75% of them graduates and school leavers it has trained. “Some of these contracts are so large, if you bid for them you have to follow through. We’ve won a couple of really large contracts this year so we’ve had to scale up the business to respond to that,” says Mooney. Kainos has also taken matters into its own hands to deal with the well documented IT skills shortage. It has created a number of programmes to get people into IT with no guarantee those involved will join Kainos. These include Codecamp, which helps sixth formers to decide if IT is a career for them by giving them a taste of programming in the work environment and AppCamp, which is geared at

first year computer science students already coding and designing apps. Another innovation is its Earn as you Learn programme, which gives students financial support to study and also work. “As the sector has become more successful the skills challenge has always been here. We decided to look at solving the problem by being a little bit more innovative. We want to create that sense in Northern Ireland that IT is a very happening career, which it is. I think sometimes we don’t make enough of it,” says Mooney. The MD joined Kainos as a graduate himself in 1989 and is committed to these programmes. He gives the first talk to all groups of new starts and says they usually get a “good old laugh” at his big hair in his staff photo from the time. It’s a light touch that illustrates the company’s goal to be a great place to work. It has improved its standing on the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for list in each of the last three years, with 95% of staff feeling they could make a contribution to its success. The MD says the bar is set high for getting into Kainos (hiring one in 27 applicants) but once people are part of the team they can expect to be invested in. It doubled its training budget last year to £1.6m. “Best Companies gives the staff a way to tell us as an employer what we do well and what we can do better,” says Mooney. “We’re making a big investment in bringing people in so we want to work hard to make sure they stay.”



Michelle Jackson Victoria Square’s new manager is aiming to attract new brands


ichelle Jackson’s journey to work hasn’t changed much since she took on her new job. That’s because the chief of Belfast’s leading retail centre Victoria Square spent the previous six years of her career as manager of its anchor tenant House of Fraser. While the location hasn’t changed, the level of responsibility certainly has, but Michelle says she’s loving the challenge. “I’m massively proud to have the opportunity to go from managing 200,000 sq ft to now 800,000 sq ft and over 70 brands within the scheme of varying sizes and turnover and staff. It’s a great opportunity and very exciting,” she says. “I worked for House of Fraser for 23 years so expected the first couple of months to be challenging, but I’ve really enjoyed it from the first day.” Jackson took the reins of Belfast’s landmark retail scheme in September following a shake-up of the centre’s ownership, letting, PR and marketing teams. Her role encompasses the centre’s retail, residential and leisure


complex management in conjunction with agents BTW Shiells on behalf of its German owner Commerz Real. Michelle has extensive retail experience, having joined House of Fraser in Manchester in 1991 and occupied a number of key management posts in Bristol, South Wales, Swindon and Sutton Coldfield before taking charge of its Belfast store when Victoria Square opened in 2007. It means she “absolutely understands” the brands, the language and the KPIs and targets that they work to and “hopefully that gives me a reasonable understanding to help and support them in what they do”. After a tough start to 2013, Michelle says Victoria Square saw some “really positive numbers coming through” in the latter months of the year and as would be expected in the run up to Christmas. With the economic picture improving she’s hopeful that will continue into 2014. “I want to take Victoria Square on to the next level. So I guess it is about working with all the brands to see

what else I can do to really help them drive their businesses,” she says. “We have to keep working hard at it and not be complacent. It is about challenging every brand we have here to deliver.” That means keeping improving the service proposition and understanding the different stores in the scheme, and the wide profile of people who shop or eat in them. “Victoria Square is an iconic building and it is as fab now as it was six years ago. It is a great building but part of our success has been that we have brought so many unique and exclusive brands to Northern Ireland and that is something we will always challenge ourselves to do,” she adds. “We’re very focused on bringing new brands in in 2014. We want to keep things new and fresh for our customers. In any form of retail or restaurant you have to work very hard to keep it fresh and that’s what we’re always trying to do.”





David Gavaghan CEO of Titanic Quarter Ltd tips further development


avid Gavaghan is thinking big when it comes to the potential for Titanic Quarter, the huge regeneration project on Belfast’s Queen’s Island. He has recently revised up the targets for TQ to have 10,000 people living there, 25,000 working there and five million visitors a year by 2025. The bold targets were set after what he says were inspirational visits to Macau, Shanghai, Doha, Brooklyn and Bilbao in 2013. “That 5 million visitors figure came from Macau. Previously I had that target at 2 million visitors and when I looked at Macau I thought no, we can get more.” “In 1999 when Portugal ceded Macau to China, as the UK did with Hong Kong, there was one casino in Macau. Today it is six times bigger than Las Vegas. I had never been there and it just blew me away.”


Gavaghan isn’t advocating casinos in Belfast and he’s wary of any direct comparisons with China but says Northern Ireland can learn from the attitude of such places to attracting overseas visitors, particularly with events like the Giro d’Italia coming to Northern Ireland. “Whenever you look at China as a reference point for where we are in Belfast, it is quite difficult to compare. But it’s easy to forget we’ve got 400 million Europeans on our doorstep. We are doing what they’re doing, we’ve just got to keep believing,” he says. 2014 could see extensive progress in Titanic Quarter. Gavaghan expects planning to be approved for the 190,000 sq ft Olympic House by the end of the first quarter, with tenants hopefully confirmed during the year to ensure it is built by 2015. It will be one and a half times bigger than the Gateway Offices, which are now fully occupied by Citigroup and Gavaghan says a financial services company is the most likely investor in the new building.


In keeping with the regeneration goals of Titanic Quarter an old industrial shed across the road from the Legacy Building next to the Northern Ireland Science Park is set to be retrofitted this year to create another new business premises option. Planning permission and some Heritage funding has also been secured to turn the old Harland & Wolff drawing offices into a boutique hotel, which TQL’s owners, Harcourt Construction, are likely to develop themselves, with work starting this year. Northern Ireland’s film industry is also set to get a massive boost with Titanic Quarter Ltd confirming it has submitted proposals to the planning service for two further movie studios in Belfast with additional office and workshop space for the likes of HBO to use on Game of Thrones. “We hope to get approval by the end of quarter one 2014 with a view to starting to build and having it completed by the autumn of 2014. We think there are one or two projects imminent for 2015,” says Gavaghan.


Plenty then to occupy TQL’s CEO, who is also chair of Business in the Community’s environmental ARENA network and chair of the CBI’s Economic Affairs Committee. But that isn’t stopping him dreaming he also has a long wishlist of projects for the medium and long term, from establishing a data centre to attracting the BBC to Titanic Quarter, to what he calls a “mini Westfield” shopping centre. “It might seem ludicrous just at this minute but I also wouldn’t underestimate the possibility of looking at some more residential. Obviously we’ve got a big overhang in Belfast but once we move the remaining units in the Arc I think having a fantastic residential scheme on the other side would make sense. We’ve also got two other hoteliers interested in that site,” says Gavaghan with characteristic optimism. “We’re at such a fundamental moment now and Titanic Quarter is a vital part of the future success of Belfast. We all have to believe, because without that it will never happen.”



Ian Jeffers Prince’s Trust Director says young people need help


s signs point to an improvement in the economy, Ian Jeffers wants to make sure the thousands of young people here who are unemployed are not forgotten. The director of the Prince’s Trust notes that while more young people are moving from its programmes into jobs, youth unemployment in Northern Ireland still stands at roughly 20%. The charity works with young people to help make them more employable and Jeffers says there’s a widening gap between those who are ready to work but can’t find jobs and the harder to reach group who have come out of school with no GCSEs and convictions. “While people can go on a trade mission and say we’ve got the best education system in the world that’s only if you’ve got the good fortune to be born into a decent family in a decent part of Northern Ireland. But for a huge number of our young people, almost by accident, they won’t get a great education and they’ll find it very difficult if not impossible to get work. There’s a real gap there and there’s a danger that as the economy does improve they will get left behind.”



Jeffers is credited with driving a major expansion of the Prince’s Trust, which almost doubled its workforce to 60 people last year, upped its presence in Derry and Newry and expanded its core programmes. All of its work is focused on getting young people into employment, education or training and having achieved a 75% positive outcome in 2013 Jeffers wants to up that to 80% next year. The Trust hopes to support 5,000 young people next year, up from 3,000 just three years ago. He has brought a private sector mentality to the voluntary sector role since joining five years ago from a career which has included spells in sales, marketing and PR as well as senior management positions in a variety of sectors. Having left school at 16 to train in electronic engineering at Belfast Tech, Jeffers has never struggled to find work and admits the Trust has given him an appreciation JANUARY 2014

for the challenges young people face. “In nearly 5 years with the Trust I’ve yet to meet a young person that doesn’t want to work. There are barriers without a doubt at home and within communities. I hear on a weekly basis from young people that are being advised not to take on a position because of the impact it will have on their benefits. But when you sit down with them and they go through our programmes, it is as much about them having the confidence to do it. To be able to work and bring home a wage packet is incredibly fulfilling for young people, especially if they are the first in their family who is working,” he says.

“There are so many issues behind a young person not working and so many of them are not their fault. We try to give them a chance and then it’s up to them to take that chance.”

The charity receives over two thirds of its financial support from the public sector and while Jeffers is grateful for that, he believes more funding would pay immediate dividends. He cites research from 2010 that found the cost of one unemployed young person to the economy is £16,000 a year. “It costs about £150 to have a young person involved in our XL programme for young people aged 13-19 at risk of exclusion. If I can go to Finance Minister Simon Hamilton and say I can keep this young person engaged in school for £150 but if they leave school it will cost thousands, it becomes a no brainer. It will more and more become a focus for us – the cost of the intervention versus the cost of it not being there,” he says. “When young people understand that someone is giving them a chance, rarely do they throw it back in anybody’s face, they seize it with both hands.” 57

Patricia O’Hagan Core Systems’ MD is targeting the US


atricia O’Hagan MBE is clear about where the biggest potential lies for her company Core Systems. The firm, which develops software for prisons, high security facilities and government buildings, is investing £700,000 in a new expansion and R&D project to access new opportunities in the US market – creating eight new jobs in the process. The Belfast-based company already sells to the US and recently established a business relationship with a leading provider of inmate services to correctional facilities in America giving the company a direct route to over 50 per cent of the US corrections market. It is, by some way, the largest prison market in the world. Of the 8 million people in custody in prisons around the world, 2.2 million of them are in the United States. “The US lock people up at a higher rate than anywhere else – their rate is about 1 per 100 per head of population compared to about 1 in 1000 in European countries,” explains Patricia. “It’s also a very competitive market and


the only reason we’ve been successful is the innovation in our products.” The company works with the producers of biometrics technology – devices such as fingerprint scanners that identify people based on unique characteristics – to create software that makes sense of the information in a secure way to enhance the performance of the physical devices and make identification more accurate, whether for access control or people logging in to find confidential information. “We have to make sure we get the right information to the right people so we use the identification technology to determine who we’re dealing with and map that against the information they’re entitled to,” adds Patricia. “In a prison there is typically 20 to 30 separate systems that are focused on prisoners that store information about their health, their money, their education, their welfare, why they’re in prison, when they are going to be released. They are entitled to that information but in the current situation they have to request it from a prison officer who goes off to a


computer in a secure location, gets the information and gives it back to them. A simple question like how much money do I have, when can I see my lawyer, when can I see my family, you’re not getting an instant answer to it. We thought why not connect them directly to the information.” Patricia joined Core Systems in 1999 when it was a team of four people and became its Managing Director in 2005. Today the company has 32 in its Crumlin Road headquarters as well as staff and advisers outside Northern Ireland. Yet she plays down her own role in driving its growth, saying: “I think what I do is look for opportunities and where the market is going and bring that back into the team so we can come up with solutions. I’m a facilitator to help people’s creativity.” Her list of personal achievements suggests Patricia is being modest. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list last year for her services to the Northern Ireland economy and was also named the Women in Business NI Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year Award. She serves on the Economic Advisory Group, is a member of the American Correction Technology Committee, and was recently appointed Chair of ADS NI Defence and Security Special Interest Group. With a background in electronic and design engineering and qualifications


in construction and software development, Patricia started her career as an analyst programmer in the shipyards. She was IT manager at Stockport College and worked briefly at CEM Systems before joining Core. It’s a company she says people want to work for because it invests heavily in product development and allows them create bespoke products such as hosted software solutions for prison services who control multiple facilities. “We’re working on things that haven’t been done before which is really exciting. That’s one of the reasons we keep people, because they are constantly challenged,” she says. “At the moment we’re also working on an exciting project called Transforming Rehibilitation. The UK government are planning to privatise 70% of the probation service and we’re looking at what sort of technology solutions we could offer to the people who are successful in that.” The MD also expects further progress this year with new market opportunities in the UK, Europe and Canada. “We’re currently working on our European go to market strategy. We hope to have at least pilots kicking off next year in Europe. It is very localised and in a way Europe is like the US. It’s another big step for us but also very exciting.”



John Toner WiS Group’s boss is planning to double the size of the company




ohn Toner has ambitious plans for the engineering firm he leads this year.

The Managing Director of WiS Group has in recent years led a diversification strategy away from its core business in the water and waste water sector and into renewable energy and aerospace. A keen pilot in his spare time, the Magherafelt man believes 2014 will be the year when those plans start to take off. “We plan to double the size of the company over the next 3 to 5 years, both in terms of revenue and in terms of employment. A lot of that will come from new markets because we’ve pretty much saturated our traditional market,” he said. “Water and waste water, renewable energy and aerospace and composites sound like unlikely bedfellows but we’ve taken our core engineering knowledge and transferred those skillsets.” While Toner expects its regular refurbishment work for NI Water to continue and sees growth potential for its water business in the Republic of Ireland, GB and even the Middle East, it is the other two sectors which could bring bigger wins, he believes. “The renewable energy market is about to explode in NI. There’s a £250m market in NI at the minute. The big issue has been funding and the difficulty of project developers getting funding,” he says. “I think renewable energy should be as much an opportunity for SMEs like ourselves as anyone else.”

better with local produce – typically cattle slurry and grass silage – which is broken down to create biogas, cleaned up and burned to generate electricity. The system is achieving 93% uptime, making it one of the best performing in the UK, and winning both new customers and awards. In aerospace WiS has worked with Bombardier to develop machines which are now being used to make the stringers and spars in the wings of its new CSeries jet, which is being made in Belfast. Four of the million dollar machines are in Bombardier’s new factory with two more to follow and getting into the Canadian company’s supply chain has helped it win orders from other firms such as Spirit Aerospace and Triumph Aerospace. “Of our engineering opportunities it is the most global,” says Toner. “We’re talking to a lot of aerospace companies in the Middle East. They have huge ambitions to be an aerospace hub for the world and geographically they’re well positioned.”

down a back alley in Mallusk and the search is already on for a new factory premises location in north Belfast. Toner says it wants to stay in the area because most of the company’s employees live there. It’s a statement that reflects WiS’s sustainable ethos of developing its own knowledge base in house, which has resulted in a lot of loyal staff staying with the company long term. Many of its senior managers and directors have come up through the ranks. With seats on the board of the NI Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre, the NI Chamber of Commerce and the Centre for Advanced Sustainable Energy (CASE) Toner is also doing his part to keep abreast of the potential opportunities that will ensure further longevity. “If you look at the industries we’re in they’re all sustainable - clean technology, aerospace, and water,” he says.“If the recession has taught us anything it is don’t be a one trick pony.”

Wis Group – or Williams Industrial Services – is a very different company to one Toner joined in July 1993 and led a management buyout of in May 1995. At that stage it had £1.5m turnover and 20 people compared with close to £25m turnover and nearly 200 people today. His aim is to get to £40m within three years and £60m within five years. Such expansion will see the firm outgrow the site it currently occupies

In fact, WiS has developed a completely bespoke anaerobic digestion system for the local market after going to Germany to look at machines and deciding they could make a system that would cope




Conall Wolsey The Beannchor Group’s rising star is proving to be a chip off the old block


t is normally Conall Wolsey’s dad Bill who is front and centre of new developments at Beannchor Group. But while Wolsey senior shows no signs of slowing down, 30-year-old Conall has been a prominent driving force behind the new businesses which Beannchor launched in 2013 – including The National Grande Café, Patisserie Mimi, The Dirty Onion and Yardbird. “We had been opening maybe three or four places a year, whether that’s an expansion or a new project, but we opened four places in four months there so this year’s been pretty full on,” says Conall. About 80% of Beannchor’s business is buying bars and sourcing tenants, acting as the landlord, but one which gives advice and support if the tenants want it. It currently has almost 50 bars, hotels and restaurants making it one of the largest hospitality groups in Ireland.


Conall has responsibility for venues such as Cuckoo on the Lisburn Road, Ollie’s Nightclub in the Merchant Hotel, The National, The Dirty Onion – a new bar in one of Belfast’s oldest buildings – and the Yard Bird restaurant next to it. Having first made pocket money collecting glasses aged 11 it was clear he was destined to go into the family business. But Conall (like his brother Luke, who runs Little Wing Pizzeria) has had to prove himself. Having left school early without many qualifications he went on a training programme that saw him work his way from KP to bar manager. He then left the business to spend six months running a bar called the Lifeboat and then with his brother turned around The Salty Dog in Bangor over an 18 month period. He has a thorough knowledge of the business and a keen, professional manner that occasionally gives way when talking enthusiastically about new projects, like coming up with the plans to turn old disused buildings into The National and The Dirty Onion


Sitting in The National there’s a long list of Beannchor owned sites within a 100 yard radius – Muriel’s, The Spaniard, Alley Cat, The Cloth Ear, to name a few – but Wolsey is not worried about saturation of the Cathedral Quarter. “We’re very conscious of not just moving customers around. If you look at the Cathedral Quarter we probably have a lot of the pubs so we want to make sure they’re offering something slightly different,” he says. “We’re not just gung ho, we don’t just jump in and try to replicate what we have somewhere else. From the customer’s point of view that makes an area more interesting. We’re all very conscious of not going down the route of cheap drink and stag dos and hen dos. Cathedral Quarter could very quickly turn into some kind of Temple Bar, which although it’s being revived at one stage would just be full of stag dos and trouble and people started to avoid it.”

The group is still looking at opportunities in the city centre, but only where it can add value, as in the case of Cuckoo, which had struggled as a niche live rock music bar. “There’s very little point in us buying something we can’t add value to, we’d rather buy something we think we can dramatically turn around,” he adds. “Myself and my dad had been taken to New York by Jameson and there was a whole dive bar scenario going on there. Bars made to look like they’d been done on a shoestring budget. So we took a dive bar element to Cuckoo. We got local graffiti artists in. There’s also a whole ping pong area which hasn’t been done in NI but it seems to be all the rage in London.” Conall is clearly in the business for the long term and as consumer confidence shows signs of returning in 2014 he is focused on making sure people want to spend their money in Beanchor’s bars and restaurants. “People now appreciate value for money. Three or four years ago people would have gone out and spent £50 and wouldn’t have figured out if they had a great night or not. Now if you go in and spend £50 you expect the service to be great, the food to be good, the vibe to be good. They want it to be worth it.”




Corporate NI: Helping businesses connect, access & grow The time has come for Northern Ireland’s private sector business to have its own corporate portal and online network.



orporate NI is a name many people in the Northern Ireland business community will already be familiar and one that many more are likely to become acquainted with in 2014. The organisation, which describes itself as Northern Ireland’s corporate portal and online network, has been quietly building momentum and growing its membership over the past year. Now, it is ready to put itself out there and really make a difference to the region’s businesses. The portal is designed to work in partnership with existing business and media organisations to provide the Northern Ireland private sector with a regionally focused business portal. It is a private sector initiative for the private sector and facilitates networking using technology through a state-of-the-art website.

information within the local corporate environment. This is enhanced and tailored to individual companies requirements by focusing on specific sectors, trade and export areas. The portal is also developing online business tools to assist and support local companies to compete and grow in the global market. WHO IS CORPORATE NI FOR? CNI was developed by a Steering Group of leaders from Industry, Business Organisations and Commerce within Northern Ireland.

This forward thinking group included Kenton Hilman (Ulster Bank), Frank Bryan (QUBIS), Ian Coulter (CBI & Tughans), Judith Totten (Keys Commercial Finance), Ken Roulston (CMI), Nigel Birney (Trade Credit Brokers), Gerry Patterson (Patterson Design), Alan McClure (Non-Executive Director), David Crawford (Deloitte) With business increasingly moving online, Julie Roulston (Think 80:20), and Craig the portal aims to develop the corporate Holmes (Horwood Neill Holmes). network within NI and on a global Craig Holmes, the main driving forces basis by supporting entrepreneurship, behind CNI believes there has been a established businesses and corporate massive hole in the market for a local education in Northern Ireland. CNI business portal for years but until now also allows professionals to network nobody has done anything about it. and build their profile and encourages and promotes trade between Northern Northern Ireland needs an innovative Ireland and the rest of the world. and outward looking private sector that is maximising ever-evolving technology, While it is tempting to think of but he thinks many firms are either Corporate NI as something akin to a LinkedIn specifically for Northern Ireland, intimidated by digital technology because it is so global or they get Corporate NI is much more than that. lost in the confusion about how to make social media such as Facebook, It also provides Northern Ireland LinkedIn or Twitter work for them. businesses with a growing database of


“The concept for CNI was borne out of a need to let Northern Irish companies utilise the web more effectively to connect, access and grow. Connect to other companies and people, access relevant information quickly and grow their business through online marketing and digital business tools,” says Craig. “The goal of CNI is create a worldclass online network and database for stakeholders of the corporate Northern Ireland environment. The major USP is that it brings all the relevant organisations onto one place and is purely focused on Northern Ireland,” he adds. “Whilst we recognise that it is early days for CNI we believe that the potential is significant and hope corporate Northern Ireland will embrace it and utilise it. We expect 2014 to be a major year for the portal, ultimately providing NI companies with their own regional business portal.” Judith Totten, Managing Director of Keys Commercial Finance Limited says she too sees a real need for Corporate NI among locally based businesses. “Having been involved in CNI since inception, I am absolutely certain that Northern Ireland needs and deserves a portal to facilitate open communication, trade and a knowledge sharing platform for business at all levels,” she said. “As an owner of an SME business myself I understand the needs and challenges in today’s economy and an operating environment which encourages growth and success for indigenous NI business is not just a luxury, it is an essential for all ›



Judith Totten

Frank Bryan

Craig Holmes

of our futures. CNI is run ‘by the people, for the people’ and is not just another faceless technology solution which promises everything but doesn’t deliver.” Queen’s University and the University of Ulster have also got involved in the project with the aim of better connecting business to education and research. Frank Bryan is the CEO of QUBIS Ltd, the body which helps commercialise research at Queen’s University Belfast and create spinout companies. He described Corporate NI as an “excellent initiative facilitating the build-up of a professional, multidisciplinary, cross-company ecosystem in order to secure even better support for companies across Northern Ireland who identify opportunities and are ambitious for growth.“ Gerry Patterson from Gerry Patterson Design Associates is leading the local development team behind Corporate NI. He says the team will be responsive to technology and trends that will help the business community and wants to hear feedback from users that will improve their experience of the portal.


“This is very much the start point,” he says. “This is a portal for the business community and it will develop and expand as it gets used. We want feedback from the business community, we want them to take ownership of it. Their feedback will help it to shape it in a way that ensures they will use it.”

of functions. All the main business organisations, including CBI Northern Ireland, the Institute of Directors and Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce are backing the initiative, while Invest NI and industry bodies including Momentum are also members.

Anyone who wants to find out more Membership of CNI is growing fast, about joining Corporate NI can do so with both large and small business at or you can organisations already using it for a variety follow them on @Corporate_NI.

Fact File: Corporate NI • An initiaitive by the private sector for the private sector. • Supports entrepreneurship, established businesses and corporate education in Northern Ireland. • Facilitates quick and efficient networking and communication through the use of technology through a state-of-the-art website/portal. • Develops the corporate network within Northern Ireland and on a global basis. • Provides professionals to network and build their profile. • Supports B2B sales and marketing. • Provides platform for organisations to deliver technical information/knowledge database. • Helps companies to understand their market better using digital technology

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EST. 1897. With over 100 years of experience in retailing and five award winning brands, we understand the key to success!

Call us now to find out more on how to join leading retail experts, The Henderson Group. Contact us on: 02890 337866 or email


The age of smart specialisation

By MATRIX Chairman Bryan Keating


or me, the phrase ‘A Jack of all trades but master of none’ sums-up the thinking behind the EU concept of Smart Specialisation. Since the term was introduced a few years ago, it has rapidly been integrated into European policy. Whilst it is a phrase that is widely used, its meaning is less known. It proposes that countries or regions identify and select a limited number of priority areas for knowledge-based investments, focusing on a region’s strengths and comparative advantages.

Data Collection from DNA Microarray at Almac.

This concept is not new – it is employed by most of the world’s leading companies. Apple’s success lies in its focus on creating perfection in only a few brands. A significant element of the role of MATRIX, the Northern Ireland Science Industry panel, is to apply the concept of Smart Specialisation to Northern Ireland and identify key sectors where companies have a lead and can sustain a lead over competitors in sectors that have the greatest growth potential. Over the coming year, MATRIX will update at least two of its reports starting with Digital ICT / Telecoms and Life and Health Sciences. The impetus for the refresh of the Life and Health Sciences report has been the drive for stratified medicine and personalised care. Stratified medicine aims to subdivide individuals into groups based on their risk of developing specific diseases or their response to particular therapies and its aim is to enable healthcare professionals to provide the ’right treatment, for the right person, at the right time.’ Underpinning this drive for stratified medicine is R&D and technology and in Northern Ireland there are two world leaders in the development of healthcare technologies – Randox Laboratories and Almac, who are developing diagnostic tools for the treatment of life-threatening diseases. Randox Laboratories have been at the forefront in stratified medicine for many years. Using its biochip array technology they have developed a revolutionary test for the identification of different mutations in colorectal cancer, by looking at alterations in key oncogenes. Given that colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer worldwide, stratified diagnosis of this disease 68

will hopefully lead to an increase in the success of treatment. Almac’s pharma partners are working on the development of companion diagnostic tests while their R&D unit have just out-licensed a test to the US diagnostics company Genomic Health. This test predicts the benefit of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients, which will lead to a change in the way patients are treated. In the North West, the Centre for Stratified Medicine, a collaboration between the University of Ulster’s Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, C-TRIC and the Western Health and Social Care Trust, is creating 22 research jobs in its work developing personalised medicine approaches to manage chronic diseases. These examples illustrate how by adopting a Smart Specialisation approach, Northern Ireland has emerged as a significant region for stratified medicine. Smart specialisation does not mean that companies who do not come under a particular specialism banner will not be prosperous nor receive support and guidance, rather it means the alignment of resources for maximum impact. With global competition and global opportunities comes the need to be the best of the best which ultimately means specialism and focus.

Ones to Watch


Mark Hutchinson Mark Hutchinson Hutchinson Engine SJC Hutchinson Engineering


ark Hutchinson admits he’s taking a bit of a flyer with the new division his family’s long established business is launching.

engineering firm was at the time a small player serving the farming community.

“My dad saw business plateauing and really needed some new ideas so I came into the business at 17 or 18 The Managing Director of SJC Hutchinson with loads of them. I did my A-Levels at Dalriada and knew I wanted to Engineering has invested around £1.5m go into the family business so there to take the company – which specialises was no better time,” he says. in laser cutting components used by a range of manufacturers – into the “Since then I’ve grown the business potentially lucrative aerospace sector. to its current position where it has 76 employees. When I joined there Hutchinson AeroTech was established was me, my dad and four others.” at a new facility in Antrim in February last year and officially opened in December. It’s a speculative but strategic Mark puts that success down to diversification. Hutchinson now supplies move backed by the firm’s board of components to customers such as directors and Hutchinson believes it Wrightbus, James Leckey, and quarrying could be the future of the business for machinery manufacturers in Co. Tyrone, the next 20 years if they get it right. as well as the agriculture sector. “I like a challenge,” he says. “Our During his time as MD the company has business had grown to a level but I felt we needed to inject something new into invested heavily in equipment, expanding its original factory in Kilrea and buying it to help make it more sustainable. state of the art laser cutting machines worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. “So we took the bold decision to look at a new industry. We did our market SJC Hutchinson Engineering was research and decided aerospace didn’t recently named the UK Manufacturing fit in with our business on the existing Technologies Association’s Most premises. The equipment we had in Dynamic Subcontractor with Mark also Kilrea, even though it is high end, being named as IoD Northern Ireland’s was not appropriate. So we decided Family Business Director of the Year. the best way to focus on it would be to set up a new trading division “From those early days we realised that and go from a blank canvas.” having all your eggs in one basket, being too concentrated in one area, was not While it might be a risk it also illustrates a sustainable option,” he explains. the ambition and creativity Mark has demonstrated since joining the company “This is a family business and we want it straight out of school in 1997. Founded to continue to be sustainable. In Northern by his father Maurice in 1971, the 70

Ireland a lot of businesses are lifestyle businesses and when the owner gets to a certain point where they’ve bought the BMW it plateaus and fades away. I don’t want that to happen, I want to grow something that’s sustainable,” he adds. “We’ve been strategic in the sectors we’ve targeted and aerotech, our new division, is no different. Aerospace and oil and gas are the two sectors we’re looking to diversify into quite heavily in the next three to five years.” Having spent 18 months getting the Hutchinson AeroTech team and facility in place (and handing the reins of the Kilrea plant over to brother Richard) Hutchinson believes the company is ready to show the aerospace sector what it can do. The 10,000 sq ft purpose built site in Antrim represents a huge investment in new technology and R&D, which Invest NI has supported to the tune of almost £700,000. Its bespoke facility houses a number of leading-edge laser cutting machines including one of only three customised Trumpf Trumatic 6000 in the world and the only one in the UK. The new Hutchinson AeroTech division is also working with a number of academic institutes and aerospace companies to research the effects of processing aerospace materials using a laser. Mark has been in discussions with the likes of Bombardier and other big players in England, as well as industry body the ADS. While price is obviously important he says the high quality


n eering standards demanded by the aerospace sector play to Hutchinson’s strengths. “Going into any new industry the question is what can you bring to that industry. We have built up experience of working with laser cutting and we feel that we are experts, dare I say the best at it in the local area,” he says. “While the aerospace industry is well developed, the particular sheet metal work we’re doing is not something people would traditionally have subcontracted. If we had come into this as a new start it would have been a non-runner. But because we have the backup of a company that’s over 40 years old and we have the support and financial backing, we’ve really been able to fast track our progress in this field.” Hutchinson envisages up to 25 staff will be on site at Hutchinson AeroTech over the next three years and sees massive potential in the next decade. Aerospace accounts for around 14 per cent of manufactured exports from Northern Ireland and employs over 8,000 people. Mark Hutchinson sees no reason Hutchinson AeroTech can’t become a leader in the machining and supply of stainless steel and titanium processing for the sector. “As far as my aspirations I can see this business growing over the next three to five years. I believe the majority of our growth could be in the aerospace sector. The sector is worth £1bn in Northern Ireland alone and I would like a part of that.” JANUARY 2014



Ian Scott Taggled


ased in Belfast, Ian Scott (38) is the main man behind the Taggled revolution. With nearly 20 years’ experience in software R&D turning ideas into reality, he has led video tagging company Taggled to early success both at home and abroad.

How would you describe what you do in one line? Taggled makes it possible for you to buy something that you’ve seen in a video. See it, click it, buy it. Simple! Who is Taggled for, who are your customers? Our customers are predominately video bloggers, people who share their passion via online video. With Taggled, you can watch an online make up tutorial and a few clicks later that featured nail polish can be yours! No more searching the web for that elusive product. See it, click it, buy it. The Taggled utopia is a world where bloggers get to do what they love and can earn some money while doing it. It takes two to Taggle! What makes you better than what’s already out there? Two things make us better: we are free and users can earn money by using Taggled. Our competitors work with the big name brands, doing everything from the video production to the complicated embedding of the tags to the video. At Taggled, we work with 72

the content creators to provide a tool to add interactivity to their videos. By using a simple drag it and drop it system absolutely anyone can use it, no coding experience or massive budget needed. Anyone can be a Techie with Taggled. What excites you most about what you do? Taking Taggled from an idea over coffee with a friend to an actual working product has been incredible. We’ve created something that solves a problem and people recognise it. The reaction from bloggers to Taggled has been fantastic, for example the recent comment from “really like that Taggled idea... why has nobody thought of that before??” Biggest challenge you’ve come up against so far? Finding enough hours in the day to do everything I want. What would help you to kick on to the next level? More of what we are already doing. Creating strategic partnerships, scaling

up, increasing headcount and fully launching our product in European and US markets in the near future. 2014 will be a big year for me because… We are moving out of BETA in Q1 2014 after exhibiting at NMX (Bloggerworld) in Las Vegas. It is the largest gathering of bloggers in the world and the aim is to grow our user base and show how Taggled can be a universal product. What do you ultimately want to achieve? Being integrated with YouTube is the dream. Is there anyone out there who inspires you or who you hope to emulate? James L. Pocket who invented pockets in 1698, because he believed in making life simpler too! Very few people will have heard of him but everybody is using his invention without even thinking about it. The goal is to design something that just fits into our lifestyle and we can’t live without once we get it.


Neal Lucas Neal Lucas Recruitment


orn in Glasgow and raised in Lisburn, Neal Lucas made a conscious move into Executive Recruitment straight out of university. In 2009, after eight years in the sector, he started his own business, Neal Lucas Recruitment. How would you describe what you do? We are a director and management level search and recruitment business operating across private, voluntary and public sectors in NI and abroad; satisfying customer needs and seeking to exceed their expectations to mutual benefit. Why is there a need for what you do – who are your customers? The need comes from organisations that have a desire to recruit the right people for key roles. Our clients vary across all sectors of the economy, from charities in the voluntary sector to large private sector companies. We provide a structured, effective and professionally managed recruitment service that augments and supports in-house recruitment management. What makes you better than what’s already out there? We are passionate about recruitment. Feedback from clients over a number of years has indicated that they use us because of our personal service, expertise in recruitment practice and our extensive knowledge of the better candidates in the marketplace. They value our honesty and speed of response and appreciate that we work very hard on their behalf to save them time and money by recruiting the best people every time. JANUARY 2014

What excites you most about what you do? When clients have failed with traditional methods of recruitment; either themselves or through the agency route and they ask us to fill the role. We enjoy the challenge of innovating both our services and processes to ensure we deliver consistent results for our clients by employing the best practice methods in the market. We have smashed the illusion of old boys operating in the shadows with a little black book of contacts or just managing an advert in the printed media. Biggest challenge you’ve come up against so far? Setting up my own business four years ago and developing it amidst the bad economic conditions. I encountered all the issues associated with dynamic growth whilst learning to manage people and resources. Finding ways of overcoming the obstacles whilst continuing to service clients has given me the confidence and skills, which in turn have provided a firm foundation for the profitable growth we currently enjoy. What would help you to kick on to the next level? Our next step is to add more recruiters to the team who share our ethos and are passionate about creating value for clients and our business. This extra resource will also allow us to develop our services further so that when our clients demand more, we will be ready.

year development plan. Everyone at Neal Lucas Recruitment is highly motivated and we have developed strong partnerships with key clients, also the Northern Ireland economy is starting to recover and this confidence is reflected in our budgets.

Is there anyone out there who inspires you? I am inspired by those people I meet that 2014 will be a big year have worked hard and recognise that for us because… success is a process. I have very little time The business is in a great position to move for the superficial people or sycophants to the next stage of our current three and have a finely tuned bullsh*t radar. 73


Wesley Jameson Segway NI would be Segway Tours and Corporate Team Building events. However, we are increasing our Marketing & PR and have some exciting new clients coming on board for 2014.


orn in Portadown, Wesley Jameson studied at Napier University in Edinburgh before returning home. He is currently a director of six companies operating within the Construction and Tourism industry, including Segway NI, which introduced Segway tours to Northern Ireland last year. How would you describe what you do in one line? We offer the coolest, most unique, fun filled tours and events in Northern Ireland. Who are your customers? We have a wide range of customers due to the fact that Segway’s are so easy to use and we can go mobile. We can cater for a ten year old birthday up to a large corporate event serving hundreds of people. Our core business 74

What makes you better than what’s already out there? We are the best at what we do – and we have thousands of Segway Smiles all over the world to prove that. We offer so many activities and events for all ages, companies, charities, plus we have a great bunch of friendly staff that our guests regularly email us and provide feedback about. We also have three locations – Craigavon (Tannaghmore Gardens) this is our Off Road facility; Titanic Quarter, Belfast is the home of the only Segway City Tour in the UK; and finally our newest location is at the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Newcastle. We can take our Segways to any event making us totally mobile. What excites you most about what you do? I love Segways and I love being outdoors. Segway’s are the best machines EVER and the joy and excitement we see on everybody’s face on each tour is brilliant. There are very few jobs in life that allow you to give a group on strangers a lifelong memory with plenty of laughs along the way. I was led into the Segway Tours after I realised there was none in Northern Ireland. So I decided to give it a go, and I bought three segway’s without my wife knowing (not a strategy I’d recommend). Within 24 months we had grown to have three Segway Branches and with over 20 Segways.

Biggest challenge you’ve come up against so far? How to work within the tourism industry. I had always worked in the construction industry until I decided to set up Segway NI. It took me a while to understand how it all works, and what sells best and at what times. 2014 will be a big year for me because… 2014 will be a big year for me as I am launching our new Segway NI Slieve Donard Tours. We are also opening the most dynamic and unique sports park to reach Northern Ireland. This will be located on an eight acre site in the Titanic Quarter and it will host the first Baseball Batting and Pitching cages in Northern Ireland, the first American Football passing and throwing cages in Northern Ireland, Tennis practice, Basketball practice zones, the only outdoor paintballing zones in Belfast, Segway Skills Courses, Crossbow and Archery Ranges to name but a few. It will be an amazing place and suitable for anyone from six years plus. What do you ultimately want to achieve? I want to have a group of Outdoor Activity and Event Management companies that will cover all aspects of event management. We are opening two new businesses in February 2014 and I hope to add another company by the end of 2014 to add to our range of services. My aim is to create a recognisable brand that will have all our businesses under one umbrella.


North West Regional College Governing Body Chair of Governing Body (One Vacancy) This is a challenging and exciting role giving the opportunity to play a major part in and contribute to the Northern Ireland Further Education sector. The Chair of the Governing Body has particular responsibility for providing effective strategic leadership and for ensuring that the Governing Body works effectively. Further Education is a driver of economic development, assists social cohesion and is a major promoter of lifelong learning. Applications are invited from individuals who either are or have been engaged or employed in business, industry or any profession. Time Commitment: You will be expected to attend seven to nine full (evening) Governing Body meetings per year and to represent the college at meetings and public events. You will also have significant involvement in sub-committees. Additional meetings will be called as required. Remuneration: The post is not remunerated. However, travelling and subsistence allowances are payable.

Closing Date: 12 noon on Monday 3 February 2014. Late applications will not be accepted. Completed application forms may be posted or emailed. Application forms and an information pack can be obtained from: Marty Fullerton, FE Corporate Governance & Accountability, Room 203, Adelaide House, 39-49 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8FD. Tel: 028 9025 7461. E-mail: Application forms and information packs can be made available in other formats. Candidates who require assistance will be facilitated on request. Women, people with a disability, ethnic minority communities and young people are currently under-represented on governing bodies. The Department particularly welcomes applications from members of these groups. Interviews will take place week commencing 24 February 2014 and an appointment will be made in early March 2014.

EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY The Department for Employment and Learning is committed to the principles of public appointments based on merit. Independent assessment, openness and transparency are integral parts of the process. The Department is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all individuals. Applications are welcome regardless of gender, age, marital status, disability, religion, ethnic origin, political opinion, sexual orientation or whether or not you have dependants.


Kyle Gawley Get Invited What makes you better than what’s already out there? Our competitors restrict event organisers to pre-event activities such as ticket sales, offering very little value to event organisers and attendees, during or after events. Get Invited changes this, providing a service for the entire life-cycle of an event. Our new social timeline tracks online social activity around an event, so attendees can view all of the conversations, photos and videos happening around an event in real-time. What excites you most about what you do? The unlimited possibilities and boundless potential – there is nothing more exciting than holding the vision for building a global business and then executing it. Every day is completely different, offering new opportunities and challenges.


yle is the CEO of Get Invited. He was born 27 years ago in Belfast and decided to cofound his own software company after studying for a Masters in Multidisciplinary Design. How would you describe what you do in one line? We build beautiful, functional and intuitive web based software to help event organisers sell tickets and manage their events online. Why is there a need for what you do? Organising an event can be a complex endeavour that presents many problems and challenges for event organisers, including: selling tickets; promotion; collecting payments; processing tickets and performing post-event analysis. Get Invited is a beautifully designed web-based software platform that enables event organisers to quickly and easily set up events; sell tickets online; promote their event using a range of social networks and perform detailed post-event analysis based on a rich collection of social media data collected throughout the life-cycle of an event.


Biggest challenge you’ve come up against so far? I’ve only recently graduated from University of Ulster’s MFA Multidisciplinary Design course and although the course has a strong business focus, running a company has been a huge learning curve. We’ve received a tremendous amount of support from the University of Ulster, E-Synergy, Invest NI and the Propel Programme and also NISP Connect. There is a great network of experienced people who are more than willing to offer support and advice to those starting out on the journey. What would help you to kick on to the next level? We’ve just recently closed a £175,000 venture capital round which is helping us to drive the business forward at an accelerated rate. We’re currently building out our team and investing heavily in sales and marketing. 2014 will be a big year for us because… We’ve just recently launched a fully functioning commercial product, so we’ll be scaling into the global market and providing the ticketing for some of the most highly respected technology conferences across the globe. What do you ultimately want to achieve? To build Get Invited into a global business – our goal is £100m of gross ticket sales in 2018, but obviously we’d love to sell even more tickets. I’m also passionate about contributing to Northern Ireland and helping to demonstrate that local companies can compete on a global stage.


Adam Ewart SendmyBag


riginally from Bangor, Adam Ewart got the entrepreneurial bug early. In his teens he started middle-men-mobiles and and at 21 he bought a bankrupt music shop’s stock and started He has never had a full time job working for anyone else, and plans to keep on trooping forward with SendmyBag. How would you describe what you do in one line? SendmyBag provides a simple and affordable door-to-door baggage delivery service that can be booked online and arranged for collection within 24 hours. At present it’s all about our new USA office and services. Why is there a need for what you do and who are your customers? Airline travel has changed dramatically. Revenue from baggage has moved from $400m to over $4bn and airlines no longer want hold bags. We help a wide range of travellers from expats to students, to corporate customers – anyone who doesn’t want to be ripped off by excess baggage fees or prefers to travel light.

a customer service need and extended to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2014 will be a big year for us because... We’re opening new worldwide routes and announcing exciting new partnerships and service enhancements.

What excites you most about what you do? What do you ultimately Coming up with something new that solves a problem or enhances the service, want to achieve? rolling it out and hopefully seeing it work. I’d like SendMyBag to be a household name that people know they can trust. Biggest challenge you’ve Is there anyone out there who come up against so far? inspires you or who you hope Challenges pop up every day and to emulate? that’s all just part of the fun of it. My Dad hasn’t had a sick day in 30 years, no matter what field you’re in and What would help you to kick at what level, you can’t on to the next level? beat a basic In the UK we’ve been lucky enough work ethic. to receive a large amount of national press coverage topped off recently with the consumer watchdog Which? stating we’re a better value option than Ryanair checked baggage. The goal is now to repeat this coverage in other countries.

What makes you better than what’s already out there? We’re now the largest luggage shipper in Europe and have service elements in place with our partners which allow us to offer an unsurpassed service. As soon as we spot a customer need we will try to fulfil it as quickly as possible. There’s not many businesses you can call at 7pm on a Sunday or receive a free call back to Australia at 7am on a Tuesday but we saw JANUARY 2014



Michael Barr Scaboodle


orn in Bangor, Michael graduated in Biomedical Science from QUB in 1999 then worked as a medical rep until realizing he hated the job. He studied for an MSc, then a PhD in Computer Science during which time he started his first IT company. After spending two years lecturing in IT, he then started a mobile technology company called Jampot where he was CTO until joining Scaboodle last year. How would you describe what you do in one line? Lifestyle app to encourage people to get off their ass and live life to the full. Why is there a need for what you do? We supply the tools to tick off all the things you have on your bucket list! We offer the medium to create, manage, motivate and promote any awesome adventures and events people/business have. Anyone who is passionate about life, up for a challenge and wants to meet people with the same panache to take on the world, these are Scaboodle people! What makes you better than what’s already out there? There is no one better than us because there is no one like us! Scaboodle offer a platform for individual engagement. We connect events and people that are the perfect fit. We offer the feedback on events so you know exactly who is at your event, what kind of people they are and what they like to make sure each Scaboodle


experience is a better experience. It’s time to connect to your inner motivator, life is too short for what ifs. What excites you most about what you do? Every day really is completely different – I could be writing code, interviewing candidates, working on strategy, or travelling to the US. I love my job! Biggest challenge you’ve come up against so far? Lack of ambition. Some folk in Northern Ireland still don’t believe that we are world class at what we do here, but there is no reason that the next huge IPO can’t come from these shores. What would help you to kick on to the next level? Scaboodle is profitable and growing

organically but in order to achieve rapid growth – particularly within the United States – we may look to take on external investment. 2014 will be a big year for us because… We are launching two new products in 2014 and I can’t wait to see how they can change the current landscape. What do you ultimately want to achieve? For the company, I want Scaboodle to be seen as the biggest success story ever to come from Northern Ireland. Personally, I want our success to inspire other startups and hopefully I can be involved in catapulting many more local companies to global stardom.


Carley Morrow Comprized


arley Morrow, 33, grew up in Comber, Co. Down and went on to spend several years in Brighton where she ran a successful online record store and promoted music events. Since returning to Belfast she has been advising small businesses on digital marketing as Spiderhousepr and has recently become one of the newest participants in the Propel Programme with her company Comprized. How would you describe what you do in one line? Comprized makes it really easy to build, publish and promote viral competitions that drive consumer action. Why is there a need for what you do? Competitions and prize draws have long been used by both large and small businesses as a great promotional tactic. The move to online, alongside advances in technology, have created opportunities to really amplify your message, track behaviour and analyse what is going on. However it’s not easy. And it takes a lot of time. Comprized is aimed at both seasoned marketeers and small businesses. It takes away the technical attached. I’m also excited about meeting people and working pain of running a successful online prize draw, that drives on collaborations and partnerships – so get in touch! actual behaviour and makes sense of the data collected. What makes you better than what’s already out there? At Comprized we leverage the power of a competition to drive actual consumer behaviour. Your audience can gain extra entries into your contest for taking specific actions that you decide. The more actions they take, the more they are rewarded and the better their chance of winning. We then show you key influencers and enable you to measure the effectiveness of your campaign right down to the last penny. So it’s the incentivization of specific actions and the ability to demonstrate the dollar-value of your campaign that makes us different, and better than what’s already out there. What led you to start Comprized? Having worked with small businesses as a digital marketing consultant for several years I was regularly asked for competitions and prize draws and asked about measuring results. So with Comprized I’m excited about creating something that makes marketing more efficient and produces real, tangible results with a dollar value JANUARY 2014

Biggest challenge you’ve come up against so far? Talent is hard to find, especially when resources are limited. And in small teams every person plays a crucial role. So finding the right people and mitigating risk when working with a small team are two of the biggest challenges I think many tech-startups face. 2014 will be a big year for us because… We have gained a place on the Propel Programme and are moving from idea to reality. What’s you’re biggest goal in life? To be successful and to use that success to make a significant positive impact on the world around me. Who inspires you? Neil Patel (KISSmetrics) shares amazing, useful content and has produced fantastic products. He built his business from nothing and has inspirational philanthropic goals. 79


Philip & Irene McAleese Limeforge own company is the ability to pursue new creative avenues. This makes work fun! And when we’re having fun, we’re producing some of our best work. Biggest challenge you’ve come up against so far? The biggest challenge has been launching our brand and getting noticed. There are a multitude of bike lights already out there. We chose to launch on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. There’s no real way to know how your product will be received until it’s in the market. We were delighted to achieve almost three times our expectation – we aimed to raise £12,000 and in just 31 days, but we raised more than £33,800.


imeforge is the company behind the See Sense range of intelligent bike lights. Co-founded by keen cyclists Philip and Irene McAleese, the couple hope to draw on their combined experience of electronic engineering, software design, behavioural sciences and international product management to make the company an export success story. How would you describe what you do in one line? We create cycle accessories with new and profound capabilities – like cycle lights with situational awareness.

This enables them to flash brighter and faster in response to a higher risk situation (such as at a roundabout or road junction), improving the cyclist’s visibility to other road users. What makes you better than what is already out there? More than two thirds of collisions with cyclists occur in urban areas, near road junctions and in daylight. Most current cycle lights are simply not bright enough to be visible in these situations. Those that are require a large battery pack. Our intelligent light enables us to have a light that is easily daylight visible and yet doesn’t require an external battery pack.

Why is there a need for what you do? What’s the best thing about We’re launching with a range of cycle running your own business? lights that react to their environment. For us, the best thing about running our 80

What would help you to kick on to the next level? We’re currently focused on the production of our first product. There are two key steps for us after this; firstly getting listed with a large online retailer, such as Chain Reaction Cycles or Wiggle; secondly, raising equity financing to give us the deep pockets we need for marketing and further product development. 2014 will be a big year for us because… 2014 will be a big year for us as it will be the year we establish our brand, bringing to market a range of new products. What do you ultimately want to achieve? We really enjoy working with our customers to create innovative new products. We’re using local production partners, enabling us to focus on design.


Kate Burns Islander Kelp round, which is optimum for kelp growing. Our kelp is amazing quality and ‘biofoul’ free. We are the only people processing fresh kelp as a ready to use product in Europe. What excites you most about what you do? Kelp has been harvested on Rathlin for generations and now we are taking a new angle on it, growing it sustainably, and using really innovative processes in converting it to an amazing sustainable food product which has more calcium, iron and roughage than any other vegetable. I am also really excited about having a ‘lab’ to grow the baby kelp plants for the first 30 days before the are put out to sea, and training up islanders as lab technicians. Biggest challenge you’ve come up against so far? There is no ‘off the shelf’ processing equipment for some of the processes we need to use and we’re having to work with engineering companies to create these. Also, we really need scale to make this work, and that means we need the lab to be operational.


orn in 1958, Kate Burns spent much of her young life on Rathlin Island, where she raised her family, then worked in rural and marine development from 1994 on the mainland, first in local government then as a consultant, including a stint with the Gulf of Maine Research institute. She has now launched her own seaweed business, Islander Kelp. How would you describe what you do in one line? I grow and process top quality kelp as a fresh product for the Asian and Fusion food market Why is there a need for your product? Economic growth in much of Asia coupled with the expansion of sushi and fusion menus in the western world has led to unmet demand for seaweed based products. We already have a confirmed big buyer in the US What makes your seaweed better than what’s already out there? Because of the Gulf Stream and tidal confluxes around Rathlin, the ocean temperature is between 7 and 10 degrees year JANUARY 2014

What would help you to kick on to the next level? Financial assistance, help with understanding how to sell into Asia, logistics etc. Also some more product development research and assistance to get the lab working to optimum levels. 2014 will be a big year because… We move from prototype to commercial production with a commitment to get two tonnes of product to the US by the end of August. What do you ultimately want to achieve? A sustainable business for Rathlin Island that employs at least 7 people, becomes a diversification from fishing, and is a model which can be replicated in other areas to meet a fabulous market opportunity for which Northern Ireland is ideally placed. Is there anyone out there who you hope to emulate? Ocean Approved in Maine, US. They are providing us with technical support and are very excited about our ability to grow the arctic species alaria through the summer (the seaweed you get in your miso soup). They will buy alaria from us. 81


Stephen Henderson Ruach Music


rought up in the small town of Kilkeel, Stephen Henderson found music to be his passion, and it was this passion which led him to start his own business at the age of 16. He is on this year’s Propel prgramme. How would you describe what you do in one line? Ruach Music manufactures hand-crafted Cajon drums – a six sided, box-shaped percussion instrument played by slapping the front or rear faces – selling them through music retailers and international e-commerce sites. What makes you different to what’s already out there? We have engineered a unique snare locking mechanism, providing users with a consistent sound, yet allowing them to access new rhythm capabilities through the use of an internal bass pedal system, also unique to our brand. What excites me most is realising the potential of our products, and seeing them appreciated widely. Biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? The biggest challenge we have come against so far is understanding and creating international brand awareness. To achieve momentum in the international market we believe a suitable distribution network needs to be introduced. 2014 will be a bit year for me because... 2014 will be a big year for us as we have two new product lines on the horizon, which are due to be released within this year. We believe these new product lines meet the needs in the current market, and we are excited to host their launch. What do you ultimately want to achieve? We ultimately want to see “Ruach Music” become a globally recognised, musical instrument manufacturer, meeting musicians needs, with instruments/ accessories they can trust and endorse. Who inspires you? Modern business giants Richard Branson, Lord Alan Sugar and Mark Zuckerberg who do not endorse the current philosophy of schools – that “education is everything”– but rather encourage young people to dream, and chase that dream with all their heart!


Alex Milne Little Deli


lex Milne is 24 years old, studying for a MFA in Multidisciplinary Design at the University of Ulster and is a future 2014 Propeller. She has created Little Deli, an app that makes ordering lunch easy.

How would you describe what you do in one line? I’m innovating the ordering process and making lunch a more enjoyable process. Why do we need Little Deli? We are all leading busy lives, working 9 to 5, and on our lunch breaks we tend to opt to eat out. This unfortunately means wasting time in queues instead of doing more meaningful daily tasks, and maximising our lunch breaks. The app allows you to take control of your time by making lunch a more enjoyable and less time consuming process. What makes you different to what’s already out there? The app itself, is just awesome, that alone sets it apart from all of the rest. My competitors are busy working on the night time market within the fast food sector, where as Little Deli is all about the sandwich sector. The idea of what this app does excites me. Skipping the queue, not having to go to the cash machine and being able to order anytime, anywhere, is amazing. When customers start reaping the advantages of this app, ill then be truly happy. Biggest challenge so far? I’m not sure, I take everything in my stride and work with it. A future challenge will be growing this app and getting it across the water to the UK and beyond. To any start up, funding is the thing they need to bring their business to the next stage within its journey and I’m certainly not exempt from that. 2014 will be a big year for me because... 2014 will be a big year for me because the Little Deli journey is really only beginning. I can’t wait to work hard and push harder to achieve my goals and see the progression. What do you ultimately want to achieve? I want to create a service that simply works for the delis and the customers, that can easily integrate into ones daily routine. Achieving this will have a big impact on the future growth of the app and my future plans.

Exports & Insurance Tips By Colin Morrissey


which they have knowledge – where usinesses which have been they sell to companies within the successful in exporting to UK, who either export the product; worldwide markets have been or incorporate the manufactured a real good news story at a time when component into a finished product the home economy has been struggling. which is then exported. This success is down to innovation, a talented workforce and the bravery of • Marine Cargo – The risks faced fall individual businesses to go out and look into two main categories. 1) Where a for opportunity. While these businesses manufacturer is knowingly responsible have been brave, the astute have made for goods until they reach the sure their insurance programme backs outgoing port (FoB), or are delivered this up and that they are protected where to the purchaser or foreign port (CIF). possible against the additional risks faced. And 2) where although they may not be contractually responsible for From our experience gained by working insurance, as they have not been paid • Travel Insurance including closely with clients, some of the key Medical Insurance and Kidnap, in full they are reliant on insurance areas to look out for when considering Extortion & Ransom – While which may or may not have been insurance for export businesses are: Employers Liability insurance is arranged by the purchaser. designed to provide protection for the • Public & Products Liability – If businesses legal liability to employees • Many manufacturers are unaware of someone alleges they have been injured in the course of their the risks they face until something injured by a product you have employment, an employee working goes wrong. Often they rely on the manufactured or service you supplied, abroad faces numerous other risks. hauliers or shipping agents insurance the legal action will take place where Should they fall ill abroad, medical to cover their goods and are shocked the injury or damage occurs, which treatment and the costs of repatriation to discover that most hauliers limit is likely to be where they bought the can easily run into hundreds of their liability under contract to as little product or service. While there is a thousands of pounds – this will not as £1,300 per tonne – far less than degree of uniformity within the courts be covered by Employers Liability’ the real value of most products being in the European Union, outside of this Insurance. In places such as West carried. the law and extent of awards varies Africa, Central and South America greatly. To protect against unwittingly foreign workers are also potential • Employers’ Liability – Insurance picking up claims in foreign targets for kidnap and ransom – again companies consider employees jurisdictions, many insurers exclude this is not covered by Employers doing manual and clerical work very liability for products sold or work Liability insurance. differently. It is common, but not done outside the UK. This exclusion necessarily standard for UK policies might apply to everywhere outside the to include an element of cover for UK • Local Issue Insurance – In order UK including the Republic of Ireland, to retain GDP, some countries legally domiciled clerical employees travelling or only in respect of certain areas require that all or some insurance abroad e.g. sales trips. However, most such as USA/Canada, or in respect of covers are arranged in that country. UK Employers Liability policies exclude certain types of product or work. This Failure to do so could lead to manual work abroad (often even in is typically defined in the Territorial prosecution and seizure of assets. the Republic of Ireland). The danger Limits of an insurance policy, but it An experienced insurance broker can is that many businesses are either is important to also ensure that the advise where this would apply. involved with installation or warranty/ policy Jurisdiction Limits match. maintenance work on site and unless this is correctly addressed the business Dickson & Co Insurance Brokers were established • As the awards in certain countries, could be left totally unprotected. particularly the USA and Canada are 21 years ago in Omagh, and have since grown huge, it is worth considering if existing in size and reputation. The company now • The business also needs to consider Limits of Indemnity provide sufficient has 45 trained insurance personnel in six Sub-Contractors, whether employed protection. offices – Omagh, Belfast, Newry, Cookstown, in the UK or in the foreign country, Newtownstewart and Dungannon. For more as they may legally be considered • Companies also need insurance information contact temporary employees. protection for ‘indirect exports’ of

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The year of wearable tech?

Adam Maguire looks at some of the tech trends likely to dominate 2014.

Part of the reason for this is because product makers have taken a “why not?” approach. The likes of WiFi chips have become so cheap that their addition do not do any harm to profit margins. However their addition can also open up a lot of useful functionality, such as the ability to remotely control devices via computer or smartphones. What’s more, many ‘smart’ products also pull in usage information to make them more efficient. The Nest, for example, is a thermostat that adapts to usage patterns to be more efficient in the way it heats a home. Ultra HD After years of confusing terminology over what constituted high definition, the industry finally converged on the 1080p standard, also known as ‘Full HD’. But if you thought that was the pinnacle of display quality, you were wrong.

area, but to date much of it has been amongst fringe companies operating in niche areas. A number of things could change that in 2014, such as the arrival of a big name company or the launch of a product that is more than a fitness tracker or glorified Bluetooth device.

This year, expect to see a lot of talk about Ultra HD televisions – the next standard in eye-popping screens. 4K is likely to be the most commonly-used term to describe Ultra HD displays, which is around four times the resolution of the ‘Full HD’ 1080p.

Google is one candidate for shaking up the market with the commercial launch of its Glass product. Samsung could also have a big impact when it inevitably upgrades its somewhat-lacking Gear device in the months ahead. All eyes, though, are on Apple which is rumoured to be preparing a watch-like device of its own. Should this happen, expect wearables to be the only thing worth talking about in tech this year.

As was the case with regular HD, there will probably be a chicken and egg situation where early adopters of 4K TVs find little content that takes advantage of the massive resolution. Wearables A loosely defined but growing category of product, expect to hear a lot of talk about devices designed to be worn in the next few months. There’s already a decent amount of competition in the 86

smarter Homes “An internet of things” is one of those awful buzz-phrases that has bounced around the tech world in recent years – but at its heart is a solid idea. In 2014 expect to see a lot more household appliances become internet savvy, from your heating system to your dishwasher.

CompUting If you track computer sales over the last decade, you will see a sharp fall in desktops while laptop sales skyrocket. This is because, traditionally, users were willing to deal with a laptop’s poorer power-to-pound ratio in return for its mobility. But the dynamic has shifted with smartphones and tablets now catering for much of a user’s mobile needs. The reasons for carrying a laptop in addition to this are, as a result, somewhat lessened. That’s not to say that there is no longer a need for a proper computer – there is. However this is increasingly becoming the preserve of higher-level functions that require an extra bit of power, screen space or a physical keyboard. As a result, desktops may find a second life amongst tablet owners who have a few major jobs that need to be take care of, all while the humble laptop gets squeezed in the middle.

Corporate Finance


Can I kick it? Once seen as something of a novelty, crowdfunding website Kickstarter has become a viable option for innovative start-ups struggling to get money through conventional channels, writes Amanda Ferguson.

Sebastian Heinz raised £67,000 for Patchblocks.


ickstarter is one of the world’s largest funding platforms for creative projects.

Increasingly individuals and companies from across Northern Ireland are using the US website to help fund everything from films, music, art and theatre projects to games, design and photography. The concept is simple – present your idea online, fix a target amount and a deadline. If people like the project and you secure the backing of enough investors to reach your chosen cash target you get the money. If you don’t reach your target, you get nothing. Those who have used the website successfully say the all-or-nothing funding approach is effective in creating momentum and rallying people around the idea. Since Kickstarter launched in 2009, 5.4 million people have funded 53,000 creative projects, representing 44% of the total projects pitched to would-be investors. Initially dismissed as no more than a way to fund projects that could not be made into a business, more and more local companies are finding Kickstarter a viable option when it comes to getting the seed capital they need to get their ideas off the ground.

The team behind Brewbot raised over £100,000.


Rewards for investors range from the finished manufactured product or a credit on a CD, to limited edition artwork, a part as an extra or a t-shirt.


It’s anticipated that crowd funding will be the initial financing mechanism of choice for most start-up companies within five years, and it is looked upon as a serious option for entrepreneurs and investors. It is important to note that Kickstarter is donation crowd funding not equity crowd funding, where people invest in return for shares and a return when the business is able to pay dividends, is sold or launches an IPO. But it still attracts serious amounts of money.

“It it’s a great platform. We get the funds, keep ownership and speed up the process.” Sebastian Heinz raised £67,000 for his synth boxes, called Patchblocks, using Kickstarter. The German entrepreneur, who has been living in south Belfast for the last five years, said he decided to use the donation funding website to gauge the response to the product and because it “fits the technology you find on Kickstarter”. He said: “I asked for £10,000 and got it within 24 hours. Within three days there was twice as much and I ended up with £67,000. “I didn’t like the concept of donating for tech; people wanted the product, so they pledged for it. It was purely focused on the product. “It makes sense for tech companies like mine if you offer the product as a JANUARY 2014

reward. It makes sense for others to use special gimmicks and t-shirts for other products. “It’s very straightforward. You want to make it happen, you get it once it’s ready. You can’t buy Patchblocks at this point, but we are going to get them manufactured and they will be available in February through the website.” Inspired by Sebastian and other businesses in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast, Tim Potter, the co-founder of Little Thunder Co, located in Hill Street, tried to raise £10,000 to finish a children’s book called Chalky and the new sports car (pictured right). Tim said: “We had a vision when we formed the company in March to create a picture book.

Brewbot – which lets anyone brew high quality craft beers using a kit linked to their smartphone – hit the headlines when the team behind it raised over £114,000 to pass their £100,000 goal.

See Sense too has won awards for its innovative bike light, which responds to the road and flashes brighter and “We had been talking about doing faster to improve visibility. They smashed something we do as designers in the medium of print. Something people could their target of £12,000, raising almost £34,000 towards the product. hold, read and touch, that is tactile. “A couple of other companies in the Cathedral Quarter have done the same things – Brewbot, See Sense, Patchblocks – and with the funding and grants process taking an extremely long time we decided on Kickstarter. “It is the perfect platform. We get the funds, keep ownership of the project and speed up the process.”

At time of writing the Little Thunder Co team had also secured the £10,000 it required for the development of the book, in fact passing the £13,000 mark. Investors have pledged for paperback and hardback versions of the book, digital copies, prints for framing, workshops for companies to equip themselves with the skills to try their › 89


hand at picture books and exclusive initial sketches. “If it takes off they could become collectors items,” Tim added.

See Sense attracted £34,000 of backing.

“We want to retain ownership of all this and hope to become a publishing house. We would love Chalky to be a series of books and work with other authors in the future and put Belfast on the map. “Oliver Jeffers (US-based illustrator and author from north Belfast) shot to fame with his books, so we would like to pick up the torch. “If people are considering Kickstarter they should remember it is a campaign. It is a 24/7 thing, so you will be working round the clock to try and raise awareness. So me outlining how I’ve got to where I far the feedback has been great. We’ve am in my life and my music, and my had local interest on Facebook and idea of making a record of my own. Twitter and are starting to get American and other international interest.” “I asked for £2,000 and got £2,030, so I just about made it. I was so appreciative Meanwhile, Kyle Graham (23), a to everyone who got me over the line.” musician from Moneyreagh, who works for Crown Jesus Ministries in Stay Young will be released in east Belfast, used Kickstarter to fund February on iTunes. Kyle said the a six track EP called Stay Young. only downside to his Kickstarter experience was having to justify music He received £2,030 from 36 backers. as an artistic form to some people. This was used for the recording and physical copies and £2,000 of his own money went toward paying for travel to the US, where it was recorded, accommodation and food.

“But most people were super positive about it and I would absolutely encourage others to give it a go,” he added. “If it’s your own niche thing and you don’t see loads of other people doing it people will support it. People like supporting fresh ideas.” For more about Kickstarter visit

About Kickstarter

Kyle said: “A buddy of mine, the guy who produced the record, used Kickstarter a year or so ago, and when I saw it on social media I thought it was a good idea. “I put up a video of a demo track of 90

Kickstarter is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. The company’s stated mission is to help bring creative projects to life. Founded in 2009 by Yancey Strickler, Charles Adler and Perry Chen, Kickstarter describes itself as a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Since its launch on April 28, 2009, over $930m has been pledged by more than 5.4 million people, funding more than 54,000 creative projects.


‘Markets are open’ for local SMEs


ore small and medium sized businesses in Northern Ireland should be looking to the capital markets to help fund their growth, according to one leading stockbroker.

Clive Black

With Andor Technology set to be sold to Oxford Instruments, Northern Ireland will soon only have two listed companies – First Derivatives and UTV plc. But Clive Black, director and head of research at Liverpool-based Shore Capital Stockbrokers, said investors are keen to back SMEs with good growth prospects. “It is clear that Northern Ireland has a vibrant entrepreneurial community. But is that community well capitalised and well funded? If it is then fantastic, but I do sense there is a bit of a funding gap in the region. Business people here need to realise that the markets are just as open for them as they are for anyone else in the UK,” he said. “The fact that Northern Ireland will have two listed companies (if Andor is sold) rather than three just highlights the very low participation in what should be an efficient capital market. Frankly, three was a low number anyway.” The stockbroker acknowledges there is a cost associated with listing, but says this is the case with any sort of funding. And Black, who is originally from Coleraine, thinks that while Northern Ireland now has its own seed and venture capital funds, floating must be seen as a realistic option for many firms. “Those funds do great work but 92

they’re not the only dishes on the menu. There is a much broader community that is interested in small growth companies,” he said. “When you get to £50m, £100m turnover your business should be looking at the capital markets. And there are plenty of businesses of that size in Northern Ireland. I don’t think those companies need to feel like they are trailblazing, it is a relatively straightforward process to be a listed company,” he added. “The most important thing is the story and trajectory of the business. If it is a business that has good prospects then investors will be interested in seeing it. It is not about where it is based and it is not actually its size. They will listen to the management, they will appraise it and they will invest in it.” The small number of stock market listed companies in Northern Ireland has been attributed to local business

owners’ reluctance to give away equity and control of their business, as well as a general distrust of big corporate investors. But Black cites Hull-based meat products producer Cranswick plc, a company Shore works with, as an example of a firm which has retained some investors for over 25 years on its way to becoming a £1bn company. “Capital investors are much more loyal than people think. Quite clearly one has to engage in a lot more public disclosure than as a private company, but if you are a transparent, straight company, then people will be surprised how loyal investors are,” he said. He believes more businesses from here will embrace capital markets over time – if they are prepared to accept the conditions that come with them. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch. What public markets are is transparent money. People get a share of your business. You have to set that equity and participation against how much money costs from a bank and other sources. Banks aren’t as well capitalised as they used to be and there are a lot of charges from banks, which mean that with administration charges and recurring fees, equity capital has been re-priced over the last six years,” said Black. “If it is not right for a business it is not right for them. But I just don’t believe that Northern Ireland as a region is so devoid of the need for capital markets that businesses shouldn’t be at least looking at listing.”

Outlook for the Growth Loan Fund in 2014 By Paul Millar Chief Investment Officer WhiteRock Capital Partners


hroughout 2013, I was fortunate to lead a committed and highly-skilled team of investment officers and financial analysts – all from banking and accountancy backgrounds – as we’ve managed the £50m Growth Loan Fund, finance for which has been provided by Invest Northern Ireland and private investor, the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers’ Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC). The start of a new year is a good time to take stock and see the impact that the Fund has had on the real economy. With a series of stretching targets from the outset, I understood that we would be judged not just by our ability to lend money to high-quality companies, but also by the strategic business advice that we could provide to put these businesses on a solid footing for future growth. By providing loans of between £50,000 and £1,000,000 on a fully commercial basis, we’ve aimed to stimulate widespread growth. So far in the first 15 months of our investment period, we have approved 60 loans worth more than £15m to business right across Northern Ireland. In 2014, we are forecasting a continued flow of new deals due to a very strong pipeline. As our finance offer becomes better understood by larger and more established businesses, we are seeing

our average loan size increase from £200,000 to £300,000. In fact, a number of our upcoming loans are for up to £1m each and in total we expect to lend more than £12m across the year. That’s why I’m confident in saying that the Fund has been an unqualified success for firms across Northern Ireland. Our loan product, which provides growth finance to established SMEs in Northern Ireland, has enabled companies to develop new and existing export offers, assisted with their working capital requirements and created and secured hundreds of new jobs. The average wait from submission of a business plan to loan approval is ten days and our performance to date shows our support to be an important component of economic recovery here. One of the things that makes me enthusiastic about the work we do is the diverse range of companies that we get to work with. Our clients are making serious inroads into international markets by taking an innovative approach to product development and R&D. Northern Ireland firms can compete globally and I enjoy helping them do so. Our offering is complementary to other existing sources of finance including bank lending, trade finance and equity investors, and we primarily work with those in the manufacturing, engineering

and tradable services sector. That’s why we’ve built strong relationships with members of the advisory community – lawyers, accountants and business consultants – as these are the people who deal with SMEs, day in, day out. As we’re targeting businesses that are looking to take the next step in growing and exporting, the majority of companies that approach us have turnover between £1m and £25m. However, in addition to this, we’ve seen a number of enquiries from small and innovative businesses that are turning over less than £1m. All this represents an encouraging return of confidence. SME owners are more certain about taking on the funds to expand, something which is underpinned by more readily available facilities from banks. We’re also innovating – in 2014 we expect to work closely with private equity providers in Northern Ireland to provide our funding alongside their equity, which will assist in reducing the dilution of management team’s shareholdings. The road to economic recovery isn’t a smooth one – but one thing it definitely won’t be delivered by is an announcement or a speech. Instead, it’ll be the hard work of innovative companies producing world-leading products. Paul Millar is the Chief Investment Officer of WhiteRock Capital Partners. For more information visit


Risk of business failures as economy improves By Joan Houston, Partner Begbies-Traynor Northern Ireland


he economic environment has in the last two years been becalmed. There has been limited scope for growth and development and many businesses have ticked over just above idling speed. But as we watch our neighbours’ economies south of the border and across the Irish Sea start to grow we become aware that opportunities for NI to export are appearing. But who will be best placed to make the most of these opportunities? Businesses who have improved through adapting to the austerity of recent years, that’s who. They will be better placed to act efficiently and to improve margins and so they will have the stimulus to take advantage of this growth. One economic factor not in the doldrums is inflation which has received little commentary. Yet it is evident that inflation has been growing and putting pressure on costs. Many companies who lack the finance to survive in a growth environment will feel the pain of this. These businesses increase competition for their sector and I do believe that there will be more risk of business failure as the economy improves. Some can be rescued if they take appropriate advice and restructure their business to address trading constraints and make the necessary changes. So how do we face this new year? Most people approach the new year in a steady state. For many with difficult


As the opportunity for movement in property takes on some momentum, those who have the scope to invest should consider the shortfall of accommodation in Belfast and beyond of the calibre of office accommodation available to attract business into Northern Ireland.

property debts there will be little solace in 2014 as they will still face the same challenges. During the next 12 pressures to maintain and improve the situation will mount but a limit of scope for a short term resolution to the problem will prevent much movement. There is evidence that the property markets have stabilised and domestic house prices are seeing some improvements for the first time in a number of years. This will create some opportunities. However, for some in negative equity and no funds, they will reach the end of the road with their funders and for the funders time will avail them with different options as to how they address these problems. There should be efforts made to restructure and realign the problems so that they do not contaminate the other business interests for companies who diversified in the last decade into property.

Certainly in all the reports in 2013 it was evident that whilst we do have vacant properties and vacant high streets we do need to change the nature and quality of the available space to make it work for alternative uses. Many of our towns have a lot of retail space which simply is redundant at this stage and innovation is needed to use these resources for other activities which will stimulate demand for other activities and uses.

“I do believe that there will be more risk of business failure as the economy improves.” There are opportunities for change across our economic future to see real change this year, where there have been commitments for new roads and infrastructure and the government now has to be seen to put those plans into place. There are a number of initiatives across each area of government which can lead to economic benefit to the business community and we must continue to press for the necessary progression to see action on the ground.


New year, new economy


014 represents a significant year for Women in Business NI as we will host Northern Ireland’s first International Business Women’s Conference (IBWC) 2014.

range of keynote speakers including Dr Anita Sands, former Group Managing Director of UBS; Lucy Gaffney, Chair of Communicorp Group; Helena Morrisey – Founder of the 30% Club and Una Fox, VP, Business Technology, The Walt Disney Company. We are also excited to inform you that former US Secretary of State, Mrs Hillary Rodham Clinton is invited as keynote speaker to the conference. The full programme and latest speaker details can be found on the Conference website –

Roseann Kelly, Chief Executive, Women in Business NI

Taking place in Belfast from 12th15th May this year, this event theme is ‘Creating a New Economy’ and will bring together women and men from all communities across Northern Ireland together with European and international delegates to celebrate and showcase inspirational individuals who change the face of business globally. It is focused on the belief that when business men and women work together to harness their full potential we can create a vibrant, diverse and sustainable economy, providing opportunity and growth for all.

entrepreneurship, diversity in economic development and the gender dividend; the impact of social media and technology and global responsibility.

Our conference will cover a range of key business themes including, among others, leadership and motivation;

We will welcome delegates from multiple sectors of industry and society and have already firmed up an exciting

With the conference now open for bookings and an early bird offer until 31st January, we are inviting delegates, both male and female, from here and across the globe to join with us in Belfast to discuss and discover ways to realise our full potential. Visit to book your place.

Hosted by

Creating... A unique global showcase for business talent Dialogue on global business issues International business growth opportunities Inspired leaders and empowered entrepreneurs

...a New Economy

12th – 15th May 2014


For more information and to book your place visit:


February is

A Festival of Leadership The Management & Leadership Network (MLN) would like to invite and encourage you to participate in Management Month There will be many high-quality, free to attend Masterclasses and networking events across the province, including those in Belfast, Newry, Coleraine, Lisburn, Derry~Londonderry, Newtownabbey and Castlereagh. The Masterclasses will cover a range of practical business issues such as Strategy, Idea Generation, Leadership, Dysfunctional Boards, Entrepreneurship, The Art of Thinking and many more. These events will allow local managers to gain exposure to cutting edge expertise, as well benefit from hearing business insights and wisdom from successful business leaders. As always, there will also be valuable opportunities to network with fellow managers and leaders. One of the highlights of the Month will be an event featuring Justin Urquhart Stewart, the globally renowned economist and business commentator. Justin will speak at a Masterclass hosted by MLN’s Wealth Management Champion, Legacy Wealth, on Thursday 13th February. As co-founder of Seven Investment Management (7IM) Justin is a business owner in his own right and he will share his thoughts on what is required for growth at company and economy level in 2014. As well as attracting overseas speakers, Management Month will also feature contributions from some of our finest local business leaders. Professor Terence Brannigan (CEO of Connected Health and Chairman of Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation) and Joanne Grant (MD of JCDecaux Ireland) will speak at a Masterclass on Strategy, to be hosted in Lisburn. Having delivered what was described as a ‘world-class’ presentation on ‘Exploiting the Recovery’ at an MLN event in September 2013, Professor Feargal McCormack (Managing Partner of FPM Chartered Accountants) has agreed to speak in Newtownabbey to share his thoughts on what companies and individual managers can do in 2014 to ensure their success. At a time when creativity in business is at such a premium, MLN is also working with experienced business coach Shane Mackle to create an event on ‘The Art of Thinking’. These are just a selection of what will be included so to view the full calendar of Management Month events, which will be continually updated, go to

Prof Terence Brannigan

Joanne Grant

Prof Feargal McCormack

Make the Most of it...

Shane Mackle

The Management & Leadership Conference Thursday 27th February, 8am – 1pm, Titanic Belfast Widely regarded as the best event of its kind in Northern Ireland, the Management & Leadership Conference will, once again, feature a diverse and impactful line-up of speakers. These will be unveiled at intervals in the run up to the event but to whet your appetite we are delighted to announce that the 2013 Mastermind Champion, Dr Aidan McQuade, will be sharing his thoughts on Leadership. Originally from South Armagh, Aidan is the Director of Anti-Slavery International, a multi-million pound charity headquartered in London and dedicated to eliminating all forms of slavery around the world. Prior to his current role, Aidan worked on the ground to improve the lives of people in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Angola. Aidan has always had a strong interest in the concept of Leadership and in February 2013 was crowned Mastermind Champion having nominated leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Michael Collins as his chosen specialist subjects. Reflecting on his studies of great leaders and drawing on his own experiences, Aidan will share his thoughts on what it takes to be a Transformational Leader. Thanks to the generous support of the MLN and Management Month partners conference tickets are only £50 +VAT.

The feedback from last year’s conference was outstanding, with a 100% satisfaction rating from delegates.

“The best four hours out of the office this year. Stimulating, thought provoking and challenging.” Ian Jeffers, The Prince’s Trust

“Best leadership event in Belfast for a long time – best value for money ever.” Chris Conway, TATA Steel

For more information and to book your place go to


New councils geared for transfer of powers

By Mark H Durkan, Environment Minister


ocal Government in Northern Ireland is undergoing its biggest change in 40 years. Reform will mean a reduction in the number of councils from 26 to 11 and a significant transfer of powers from central government to local government. The transfer of planning functions is one of the most complex challenges in the Reform programme. The majority of planning functions are transferring and this means that the new councils will be responsible for producing their own development plans, determining the vast majority of planning applications and handling enforcement cases. Understandably, that may create nervousness in the business community, reliant on effective planning to create jobs and wealth. I would like to take this opportunity to re-assure the business community. In advance of the transfer I am ensuring that significant improvements are also being made to the planning system – faster decisions and fairer planning appeals and simpler, tougher enforcement – when Councils pick up the planning mantle on your behalf they will be working with a new and improved system. I have taken significant steps to make sure that the transfer of planning to local councils is done smoothly and efficiently and that councils are ready to hit the ground running and are immediately able to make planning decisions from 1 April 2015. Through a Planning Reform and Transfer Project, fourteen teams made up of officers from both central and local


Mark Durkan is pictured with Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín at the announcement of planning approval for the redevelopment of Casement Park.

government have been working hard to take forward the varied and important work that is key to ensuring that a reformed and fit for purpose planning system is transferred. This project is, amongst other matters, ensuring that sufficient resources are transferred to the councils to allow them to fully carry out their new responsibilities. And we have funded that process. Over £3m of Executive funding has been secured to deliver a comprehensive and robust capacity building and training programme to ensure that councils are ready to take on planning on 1 April 2015. I know some business people have a fear that planning could be too fragmented leading to inconsistency. I can re-assure you that councillors will be required to comply with a mandatory code of conduct – this is very important. The

code will refer specifically to how councillors should behave when it comes to dealing with planning matters and will be accompanied by detailed guidance. For councillors who end up sitting on Planning Committees, mandatory training will be carried out in good time and will mean that they are well equipped for and have the confidence to make sound planning decisions right from day one. My Department will have an appropriate oversight role to ensure regional policies and objectives are implemented and that a consistent approach is applied to planning across the region. It will, by means of audit, inspections, performance management and monitoring, ensure that planning functions are carried out, and are seen to be carried out, in a fair and efficient manner and that best practice is applied – there is no reason to think that, from day one, councils cannot make sound planning decisions.

Executive Flags, firebombs Motoring & flashbacks

By Pat Burns

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four wheel drive small hatchback makes a lot of sense but only two manufacturers offer such a model. Fiat launched the all wheel drive Panda last year and Suzuki has just followed likewise with the Swift 4x4. Given the precarious nature of our roads for almost six months of the year, a small car that can handle snow, ice and standing water safely has to be a wise investment. This new model has a proven and simple fully automatic and permanent 4-wheel drive system which transfers additional torque to the rear wheels when required via a viscous coupling, further enhancing the already highly acclaimed cornering ability of the Swift. It is also an ideal choice for customers living in rural areas who may need additional mobility across rougher terrain or for crossing slippery surfaces during winter months without owning a larger and more conventional SUV sized vehicle. Thanks to the use of small and lightweight components, the Swift 4x4 is just 65kg heavier than an equivalent 2WD petrol model and emissions are only 10g/km higher at 126g/ km. Due to the location of the rear differential for the 4WD system, the fuel tank capacity is two litres smaller at 40 litres. Apart from 4x4 badging and a slightly increased body ride height of 25mm the SZ3 grade appears identical to an equivalent SZ3 five door. The SZ4 model has a more rugged appearance and offers extra protection over rough ground by adding front and rear skid plates, black wheel arch extensions and black side skirts. For even greater security during winter months, cold weather tyres will also be available via Suzuki dealers.

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Golf GTI still the best


ver thirty years ago Volkswagen invented the hot hatch. The first Golf GTI might be a far cry from the high tech powerhouse the Mark Seven version now is, but VW have shown that they are still the best around at producing high performance hatchbacks that cover miles effortlessly, safely and in relative comfort. Prices for the new model start at £25,845 on the road – just £195 more than the previous model despite substantial enhancements. For the first time it is available from the factory with two power levels: the standard 220 PS GTI and the GTI Performance, a £980 option which increases power to 230 PS, adds larger brake discs and a front limited-slip differential. If you are ordering a GTI, the Performance pack is a must have, the limited slip diff helps traction while the bigger brakes are unbelievably good. The new GTI is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine (TSI) with 220 PS. In the GTI Performance version, the engine’s maximum power is boosted to 230 PS. Both GTI models develop a maximum torque of 350 Nm (258 lbs ft). The standard GTI accelerates to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 152 mph. The GTI Performance has a top speed of 155mph and needs just 6.4 seconds for the sprint to 62mph. Despite its impressive performance, the new Golf GTI is in insurance group 29E – five groups lower than its predecessor. 102

Both versions of the GTI are equipped with a Stop/Start system and fulfil the EU-6 emissions standard that takes effect this year. With a six-speed manual gearbox, they attain the same low fuel consumption value of 47.1 mpg (CO2 emissions of 139 g/km). This means that the latest Golf GTI offers an 18 per cent improvement in fuel economy compared to the previous model. With the optional six-speed DSG gearbox, the two GTI models achieve fuel consumption figures of 44.1 mpg (equivalent to 148 g/km CO2 for the standard GTI and 149 g/km CO2 for the GTI Performance). Buyers who opt for the £980 Performance pack gain not just an extra 10 PS of power, but also uprated brakes and a limited-slip differential. The ventilated front brake discs increase from 312x25mm to 340x30mm, while the rear discs, which are 300x12mm solid discs on the ‘standard’ GTI, are changed to 310x22mm ventilated discs. The front differential is a new development, dubbed VAQ. This provides more neutral and agile driving behaviour and allows higher speeds to be carried through curves. Visually, vehicles with the Performance pack are distinguished solely by ‘GTI’ lettering on the red brake callipers. While the new GTI is a highly technical machine, it still has something that the original model displayed in abundance – fun. It still puts a smile on your face.


Fancy a Mokka?


he Mokka is Vauxhall’s latest entry in the sports utility vehicle (SUV) market currently led by Nissans Juke and Qashqai. The new Mokka SUV continues a product revolution by Vauxhall and is set to make further waves with its bold, expressive design, advanced driving dynamics and technology. With a striking appearance, safe and spacious, the Vauxhall Mokka will appeal to a wide range of customers. Research has shown that the typical Mokka customer leads a very active lifestyle where leisure activities play a central role in his or her life. That is why the Mokka with its many optional extras, like the FlexFix bicycle carrier, is perfect for people who want to balance their busy daily lives with leisure activities. Just over half of all Mokka customers are expected to opt for the frontwheel drive variant, while the most popular engine is the 1.7CDTi, accounting for 42 per cent of sales. The Mokka provides many technologies that are unique in the segment such as optional ergonomic premium seats, several front camera system functions and Adaptive Forward Lighting (AFL+). There’s even a specific trim aimed at company car drivers, called Tech Line with prices starting from £15,995. Mokka Tech Line offers company car drivers exceptional levels of standard spec, combined with low P11D prices and attractive benefit-in-kind charges. Tech Line models can already be found in the Astra and Insignia model ranges. Road clearance of 157mm makes driving the Mokka off road capable, with wide tracks of 1540mm reinforcing the SUV’s muscular stance. Unlike any other model in the compact SUV


segment, robust 18-inch alloy wheels are available as standard on all upper trim levels (Exclusiv, Tech Line and SE). The Mokka is available with a choice of three engines. All manual transmissions are equipped with start/stop. Two petrol engines are available including a 1.6-litre (115PS) naturally aspirated engine with a five-speed manual transmission achieving 43.5mpg and combined CO2 emissions of 153 g/km. The second petrol unit is a 1.4-litre Turbo (140PS) that achieves 44.1mpg and combined CO2 of 149 g/km. AWD is standard and there is 200Nm of torque (at between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm) and is available with either a six speed manual or six speed automatic gearbox. The manual six-speed 4x4 turbocharged Mokka reaches a top speed of 118mph and does 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds. The most popular Mokka model though is the diesel 1.7CDTi (130PS)

turbocharged unit with a maximum torque of 300Nm. This engine is available with a six-speed manual ‘box with either front-wheel drive or AWD, or as a six-speed automatic with frontwheel drive. As a front-wheel drive with a manual gearbox the diesel unit achieves 62.8mpg and 120g/km CO2 emissions, making it one of the most fuel-efficient models in its segment. The 1.7CDTI engine has innovative “Clean Tech” technology with pressure sensors integrated in to the cylinders, ensuring best possible combustion control. The end result: a significant reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust particles plus maximum fuel efficiency. The Mokka characterises the appeal of the compact SUV market, the looks, styling, space and elevated seating position of a 4x4 but with car like driving style and running costs.


Chinese takeaway three out of four Bentleys By Pat Burns


entleys might not be a very common sight on Ulster roads but the Crewe car builder is enjoying great sales success in China and other developing markets. Chinese customers account for around three out of every four Bentley sales and such is the popularity that every Chinese province now has its own Bentley dealership.

6000rpm and an extraordinary peak torque of 660 Nm (487 lb ft) which is available across virtually the entire Workers on the production line have nine rev range from 1700 to 5000rpm, providing exhilarating performance and minutes per work station to complete effortless power delivery in the Bentley their assembly tasks; compare that tradition. Combined with a new closewith the Nissan factory in Sunderland Bentleys are still handmade in a factory ratio 8-speed automatic transmission, where the time interval is now down that was set up to build Rolls Royce this translates into a 0-60 mph sprint to 59 seconds. While the styling and Merlin engines for the Second World time of 4.6 seconds for the GT coupe interior are all of Bentley’s own design, War effort. There are 4,000 employees and a top speed of 188 mph. many of the underpinings, electronics, at the plant involved in design, research brakes and suspension are from the and development, engineering and When pushed, the instantly recognisable Volkswagen Audi Group parts bin and production. The company exports £1bn growl of the 4.0 litre V8 engine sets it there is certainly no harm in that. worth of cars a year while VW spent apart from its Bentley stablemates. £500m upgrading the production facilities. There is also a fabulous museum Bentleys are performance tourers and Both Continental models feature a that details the history of the marque and the latest versions of the Continental state-of-the-art, all-wheel drive system includes some priceless cars and exhibits. GT feature a new twin turbo V8 engine employing an advanced Torsen differential and Volkswagen’s W12 engine. While and a 40:60 rear biased power split. the W12 looks quicker on paper, with a It’s obvious the workers take great pride This ensures safe yet dynamic sports car whopping 630bhp, the V8 feels lighter, in their work. To give an idea of how handling in all road conditions. With at sharper and on twistier roads, gives much care is taken while building a least 500bhp under your right foot, it a much more responsive turn in. The Bentley, a steering wheel takes a skilled must take some serious development W12 might be more suited for a blast machinist four hours of intricate work, work on the transmission and suspension down to Cannes, but the V8 certainly while the dashboard is handmade by to get the power down, something wooden veneer craftsmen and after each proved livelier on mountain roads. Bentley are well experienced at achieving. dashboard is finished, spare veneer is kept The 4.0 litre, twin turbocharged at the factory in case the original should Prices for the Continental start Continental GT V8 engine delivers ever get damaged. Similarly, the leather around £158,000. maximum power of 500 bhp at comes from cows that are reared in Italy Although owned by the Volkswagen Group and now returning a profit again, the Bentley range of cars pay tribute to the company’s great heritage that dates back 95 years.


where the farmers don’t use any barbed wire in case it would damage the hides.



First Trust Bank has appointed Des Moore to the new role of Director of Personal and Business Banking. Des previously held the role of Head of Customers & Distribution. Sentinus, the science, technology, engineering and maths engagement charity, has announced the appointment of Bill Connor as its new Chief Executive. Having trained as a teacher Bill has worked for Sentinus for over 20 years. Adelaide Insurance Services has announced that Sales Manager Lewis Murray has been promoted to General Manager. Lewis will be responsible for developing new business opportunities.

Tyrone farmer Wilbert Mayne has been elected onto the AgriSearch Board of Trustees. Wilbert takes the place of Douglas Rowe as one of three UFU farmer representatives on the board. Jenny Walker has been appointed as employment law solicitor at A&L Goodbody. In her new role she will advise public and private sector clients on all aspects of Employment law. Rachael McCord has joined the Litigation Department of Cleaver Fulton Rankin as a trainee solicitor. She studied Law with Politics at Queen’s University, graduating in 2011.

Kathryn Johnston has joined Cleaver Fulton Rankin as a trainee solicitor where she will work in both the Private Client and Consultancy Departments. She studied Law at Queen’s University, graduating in 2012. Stephanie Johnston has joined the Company Commercial department of Cleaver Fulton Rankin as a trainee solicitor. She studied law at the University of Ulster, graduating in 2013. Peter Moorehead has joined the Property Department of Cleaver Fulton Rankin as a trainee Solicitor. He studied law at Queen’s University, graduating in 2013.



John McShane has been appointed Partner with McCartan Turkington Breen Solicitors Belfast. John has been with McCartan Turkington Breen since 2009 specialising in employment law. Ciaran O’Neill has become Vice President of NIHF. Ciaran is Regional Vice President for Interstate Hotels & Resorts having recently moved from his role as General Manager of the City Hotel in Derry. Ramona Wylie has been elected as a new Board Member of NIHF. Ramona is the finance director of the Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel where she has worked for over twenty years.

Ben Clayton has also become a board member at NIHF. Ben is cluster general manager for Premier Inn in Belfast. He joined the company through its graduate programme in 2004. Northern Ireland Chartered Surveyor and RICS member Neil McIvor has been appointed to a prestigious UK Regeneration Investment Advisory Board recently announced by Prime Minister David Cameron. Tim Swann has been appointed Senior Technical Lead at Ardmore Advertising, having previously worked for Simply Zesty and Tibus. Tim has been working with web technologies for 13 years.

Thom Kelly has been appointed to the position of Senior Developer at Ardmore Advertising. Thom has over a decade of experience in web and multimedia development having previously worked for Simply Zesty, Tibus and UTV. Stephen McAuley has been appointed to the position of Senior Developer at Ardmore Advertising, having previously worked for Simply Zesty and Tibus. Rebecca Hale has been appointed to the position of Account Executive at Ardmore Advertising. Rebecca has a BA in English from Queens University and an Msc in Communications, Advertising and Public Relations.



PHOTOCALL 1: Father and son team Stewart Hood, Chairman of Sheridan & Hood and Brian Hood, Managing Director of Sheridan & Hood and BS Holdings, celebrate 45 years in business with a ÂŁ300,000 investment in new premises, and the aim of doubling their workforce in the next 24 months. 2: Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast has celebrated the First Anniversary since it reopened its doors as a visitor attraction and conference centre. Pictured are Phelim Devlin (Crumlin Road Gaol), Jim Flannery (Tourism Ireland), Brian Ambrose (Tourism Ireland) and Kieran Quinn (Crumlin Road Gaol). 3: Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has visited Herbert Smith Freehills in Belfast to discuss the progress of the company and had a chance to view its new and expanded offices. Pictured with her is Libby Jackson, Office Director.


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4: Ann Woods, Product Development Manager with Forest Feast celebrates a 58% increase in international sales in 2013 of the fruit and nut products brand, owned by Kestrel Foods. The business sells to 26 international markets. 5: i3 Digital Managing Director, Adrian Bradley is pictured with colleagues as they celebrate their success after scooping three awards at the Appys.


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6: Belfast based printers Nicholson Bass have marked 75 years of producing quality printed products for some of the most eminent companies within the UK. Pictured are John Nicholson, son of founder Alex Nicholson (in the portrait) and Jonathan Megarry, grandson of the founder. 7: Formula one hero Eddie Irvine has launched his own race school with the acquisition of the prestigious Race School Ireland. Race School Ireland was the starting point for Eddie’s successful racing career and his new venture – Eddie Irvine’s Race School Ireland – will offer professional coaching and mentoring to up and coming racing drivers seeking to break into motor sport. 8: Steven Kirby (left), MD of Axis Composites, with Edward Archer (middle), Tech Director, and Peter Edgar, NISP CONNECT Programme Manager, pictured at the Frontiers in Science and Technology seminar at NIACE. 9: Minister Nelson McCausland and Colin Neill from Pubs of Ulster share a coffee at The National Grand Café in Belfast with Bill Wolsey to show support to local traders.


10: Howard Hastings, Managing Director of Hastings Hotels was joined by his sisters Allyson McKimm, Events Director, Aileen Martin, Sales Director and Julie Hastings, Marketing Director to celebrate Hastings Hotels winning Best International Hotel Group at the annual Blue Insurances Travel Media Award in Dublin.

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PHOTOCALL 11: A new book published by Chartered Accountants Ireland seeks to address the key issues currently facing businesses and business advisers as a result of the property and financial crash was launched by Finance Minister Simon Hamilton, pictured with authors Alison Burnside and Paddy Harty of FPM with Michael Diviney, Director of Publishing at Chartered Accountants Ireland. 12: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition taking place this January, BT commissioned a nationwide search for a creative new design for a new trophy. Pictured is the overall winner, Jowita Rogalska, from the Southern Regional College in Lurgan with judge Graham Knuttel and Colm O’Neill, CEO, BT Ireland. 13: Employees at Malluskbased Henderson Group have been rewarded ‘Platinum Quality Mark’ status for their charitable contributions at the Payroll Giving Quality Mark Awards. Henderson Group staff Laura Nolan, Martin Aylward and Sam Davidson are pictured with the platinum award.


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14: Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster officially opened Dale Farm’s new state-of-theart £20m cheese and whey processing facility. Pictured with the Minister is Dale Farm Group Chief Executive Dr David Dobbin CBE. 15: City of Derry Airport has recently completed refurbishment works within the main Departure Area of the terminal building. These works included an extension to the existing retail offering at the airport. 110




16: Alumni of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year programme, including Grainne Kelly and Eleanor McAvoy recently met with Executive Ministers including Peter Robinson. Joining them were EY partners Rob Heron and Mike McKerr. 17: Alan Clarke is pictured with two awards he has received in the past twelve months, an Honorary Fellowship Award from Belfast Metropolitan College and a Tourism Hero award from Hospitality Review NI.




18: Neil Gordon is congratulated on receiving a Fellowship of the Pharamaceutical Society by Helen Edwards, a Preregistration Student at Gordons Chemists, who has been awarded for her achievements at University. Both received their accolades at a glittering reception in Parliament Buildings, Stormont. 19: Lexus Brand Ambassador, illusionist and international speaker, David Meade is joined Oonagh O’Reilly of NI Chamber of Commerce and Niall McFerran from Arthur J Gallagher & Co at the Chamber’s annual networking conference at the Ramada Plaza, Shaw’s Bridge. 20: Pictured launching the Consumer Council’s new report Back to Business are Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive of NIIRTA; Philippa McKeownBrown, Head of Education at the Consumer Counci; and Aodhan O’Donnell, Interim Chief Executive of the Consumer Council.

20 JANUARY 2014


PHOTOCALL 21: Antrim’s Galgorm Group has announced that it has signed a deal with Procter & Gamble (P&G) to become the company’s sole distributor for Ireland across its Professional products business. Pictured are Galgorm Group MD Stephen McKenna and David Cotter, Country Manager for P&G.


22: Pictured at the launch of Tourism Ireland’s marketing plans for 2014 -2016 are John Stuart, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation; Alex McGreevy, Titanic Belfast; Paula Stephens, The Merchant Hotel, Belfast; and David Boyce, Tourism Ireland. 23: The Minister of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP, visited Bombardier’s wing facility in Belfast, where the advanced carbon fibre wings for the new CSeries aircraft are being produced. The Minister (centre) is pictured with his Parliamentary Private Secretary, Robin Walker MP (right), and Russell McFadden, Bombardier’s Vice-President of operations at the wing facility.

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24: SERC has collaborated with Hastings Hotels to deliver practical Hospitality training, designed to up skill their staff. Pictured are Hotel Assistant Manager Mohamed Abou Saleh and SERC Principal and Chief Executive Mr Ken Webb. 25: Throwing off the lbs to raise ££s, Lorraine Milne of Westfield Health; Tanya Kennedy from Business in the Community and Dr Eddie Rooney of the Public Health Agency put the call out to businesses to encourage their employees to get involved in the £ for lb 12 week weight loss challenge.




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Curse of the corporate cold


inter is most definitely upon us and you could be forgiven for thinking that the chilly north winds carry contagion with everyone either sniffing, coughing or generally run down. During the average life time, most of us will suffer from around 200 colds, lasting around nine days.This means we spend an astonishing five years of our lives suffering with bunged up noses, sore throats and streaming eyes. Offices are the perfect petri dish, especially at this time of year. What then can you do to avoid catching the corporate cold or flu – and if you do come down with something, is there a suitable silver bullet? Myths surrounding coughs, colds and flus are almost as abundant as the bacteria and viruses they feature. STARVE A FEVER, FEED A COLD We’ve all heard this one and often in the reverse, but is this nugget of advice worth anything? The theory is that the balance of chemicals which regulate the immune system can be changed by eating or fasting, but there is no conclusive proof that following this old adage can lift cold or flu symptoms. The best advice is to take small dense meals, yes... like your Mum’s chicken soup.

TAKE LOTS OF VITAMIN C TO WARD OFF WINTER BUGS This myth has been perpetuated since the 1970s but there is no concrete evidence to show that increased uptake of Vitamin C prevents colds and flu. However recent research has indicated that taking Vitamin C while you are suffering from a cold, could reduce the severity of symptoms and reduce the duration.

YOU’LL CATCH A COLD IF YOU GO OUTSIDE WITH WET HAIR Going outside if it is cold may make your nose run, but this is caused by the effect of the temperature on the blood vessels inside your nose. Being cold over a sustained period could impact the immune system, but in order to catch the cold or flu, you need to come into contact with them first.

ECHINACEA WILL STOP YOU CATCHING COLD Echinacea supplements may vary from one brand to the other, this is because different species of the plant are used, as well as different parts i.e. the leaves or roots. According to the NHS, two trials investigating the preventative power of Echinacea tablets revealed they were only effective as placebo pills.


HAVE A HOT TODDY A favoured remedy is hot whiskey and lemon. Alcohol dehydrates the body, drying mucous membranes, causing discomfort and makes it harder to fight the virus or bacteria. Stick to water and leave the alcohol to gel sanitisers, which destroy the cold virus on hands. Knowing just how healthy you are is the first step in prevention as GP Dr Gary Smyth explains: “If you are tired, if your body isn’t absorbing nutrients correctly, if your immunity is low, it is likely you will catch a cold or flu. My advice is to have your health checked to see what specific steps you need to take to protect yourself this winter.” For more information on tests for colds and flu go to

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The Gadget Guide Technology journalist Adam Maguire reviews some of the recently released and soon to be available gadgets.

Reviews Motorola Moto G Motorola’s Razr flip-phone was one of the most wanted pieces of tech in the mid-2000s. Now a part of Google, the company hopes its Moto G will help rekindle some of that desirability. As smartphones go, the Moto G ticks all the boxes without offering anything particularly remarkable. At a reasonably-sized 4.5”, its screen is sharp but not impressively so. Its 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM offer a decent amount of speed without giving it blistering pace, while its 5MP camera is good but not great. What is remarkable about this phone isn’t necessarily the specs it boasts – it’s the price it comes in at while doing so. A 16GB version of the Moto G should set you back around £160 when bought SIM free – a good £50-100 less than a comparable rival device. As a result the phone will be hard to pass up for those shopping in the mid-tier range – even if its name is unlikely to be uttered in the same sentence as the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S. The Motorola Moto G is available from free on a number of networks.

Fitbit Force Wearable computing is a burgeoning space – particularly for fitness aficionados. Fitbit hopes its Force will keep it at the cutting edge of this expanding market. Some might dread the thought of a strap that monitors their movements in order to tell them how inactive they’ve been – for others it is exactly the kind of motivation they need to change their behaviour. The Force is the latest such device from FitBit and it can track users’ sleep patterns and activity, helping them see the amount of exercise theyíre doing each day and what kind of calories theyíre burning in the process. From here, users can set and reach goals as they seek to improve their fitness. Oh, it also tells the time. The Fitbit Force is due to launch in Britain in January 2014. 116


Previews apple ipad air Representing the fifth generation of Apple’s tablet range, the iPad Air is a refinement of the range rather than anything revolutionary. Since the first iPad was unveiled in 2010, the device has gone through a number of iterations – however at its heart it remains the same. Each year the company has trimmed the tabletís weight and dimensions, while simultaneously boosting its processor and memory – but its overall function and form has remained largely static. The iPad Air continues this trend; dropping 170g and a few millimetres around the edges compared to the fourth generation, all while ramping up its power and maintaining its vital statistics around screen quality and battery life. Apple has been criticised for this apparent lack of innovation but with the iPad remaining the benchmark by which all other tablets are judged – even after all of these years – it’s hard to see why they would do things any differently. The Apple iPad Air is available from from £399.

SamSung galaxy Camera 2 Grafting the functionality of a smartphone onto the body of a compact camera, Samsung hopes its Galaxy Camera 2 can offer users the best of both worlds. A phone without a camera is unlikely to sell too well nowadays, even though few would claim the picture quality of even the best smartphone to be consistently great. Poor performance in low light conditions, slow shutter speeds and a lack of an optical zoom are all downsides to smartphone cameras – but theyíre balanced out by the connectivity and functionality made available by a wealth of apps. With the Galaxy Camera 2, Samsung hopes to bridge this gap somewhat. The device has a fully-fledged zoom lens on the front and a smartphone-like touchscreen on the back. Powered by Android OS, users can easily share photos and videos, or download apps that make use of their pictures in any number of ways. Samsung is yet to announce launch details for the Galaxy Camera 2. JANUARY 2014



Donal Doherty, Photographer edit together a slideshow of the couples’ wedding for guests to enjoy on the day. I also post some images to social media, as everyone loves to see photos as soon as possible. An iPad is a must and mine is always filled with lots of movies to pass the time during flights.

How often do you travel, where to and why? I often shoot a wedding abroad each month, but over the summer I can travel to three or four international locations for commissions. I have been really lucky to capture weddings in Australia, Mexico, USA and many countries in Europe. What are the three things you couldn’t do without when travelling? My camera (a Canon 5D Mark III) is absolutely essential to ensure the image quality I capture is second to none. Having a laptop with me means I can

What would be your top tips for anyone taking a job that involves travel? It is always good to make sure you arrive fresh, so get a great night’s sleep before leaving. I personally always arrive a day or two in advance so I can acclimatise, especially when I am flying long-haul. What’s your favourite App for passing the time? Flipboard is amazing. It displays all of your favourite blog feeds into a magazine format. Have you ever unexpectedly run into someone you know from home while overseas? When I was in Cancun last year shooting a wedding I got back to my room and had a message from a couple that were on their honeymoon in the next hotel. They saw me taking photos of the bride and groom in the lobby, and emailed to see if I was available to photograph them the next evening. What’s your favourite city in the world? New York holds a special place in my heart as I have so many great memories of the city that never sleeps. I’ve visited the city for shopping and sightseeing with my family many times, I ran the New York marathon and even marched in the St. Patrick’s Day parade one year! What do you look for in a good hotel when away on business? Wi-Fi is an absolute must as I blog


a few times a week and update my Facebook page daily, which has over 27,000 fans. It’s also really important for me to stay at the wedding location. What’s the best airline you’ve flown with and best hotel you’ve stayed in? Virgin or Emirates soar above the competition due to remarkable service and comfort. The Waldorf Astoria in New York is right up there as it is such an iconic location and the service is second to none.

“New York holds a special place in my heart as I have so many great memories.” Do you speak any languages and if so have they been of use on business trips? I speak a little Swedish as I studied at Örebro University in Sweden for a year. I pretty much know how to say the basics in a number of different languages, which is very useful to pass yourself while travelling. Where in the world would you most love to work? I would love to shoot a wedding in California, as I know the light is beautiful. Where are you off to next? In January I will be at the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers Convention in London to speak to hundreds of photographers about how to market their business and deliver exceptional customer experience. In February I travel to Los Angeles for a photo shoot and then onto Las Vegas for the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Convention.


City Airport passenger numbers soar


eorge Best Belfast City Airport has revealed that it transported more than 100,000 passengers over the busy Christmas and New Year period and confirmed that 2013 was one of the busiest years in the airport’s 30 year history.

getting our passengers where they needed to be for the holidays. “Continued private investment at the airport, which has exceeded £15m in the last four years, ensures that the airport has the capacity to welcome both business and leisure passengers

into Northern Ireland through a modern airport with state-of-the-art, efficient facilities.” On a recent visit, the Lord Mayor of Belfast and the Mayor of North Down praised staff and management for the important economic role the facility plays.

Passenger figures for the 12 months to the end of October 2013 were over 2.5 million – up 14.1% on the previous 12 months. Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport, said: “2013 has been a particularly busy year for Belfast City Airport with over 1.65 million passengers being transported through the terminal in the summer months alone. This is an increase of nearly 22% on the same period in 2012. “The domestic routes operated by Flybe, our largest and longest serving airline, have performed well throughout the year and were extremely busy

Pictured are Mayor of North Down, Andrew Muir, Director of HR at Belfast City Airport, Michelle Hatfield, and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.

BA SPONSORS MINISTER ON THE MOVE Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with British Airways, has launched ‘Minister on the Move’ – a new initiative that will see Simon Hamilton MLA, Minister of Finance and Personnel meet with a wide range of businesses across Northern Ireland. The ‘Minister on the Move’ initiative begins on 22 January 2014 with an event hosted by Belfast–based Thales, and future events have been confirmed with the Henry Group in Magherafelt, Glen Dimplex in Newry and Terex in Dungannon. Pictured are Brenda Morgan (British Airways); Ricky Adair (Thales Air Defence); Finance Minister Simon Hamilton and Ann McGregor (NI Chamber of Commerce).






Business Diary February 2014 For more information and to book visit date event



4 February 09.30 - 12.30

Executive Presence – Do you have the It Factor! Masterclass Organiser: Women In Business NI

Newry & Mourne Enterprise Agency, WIN Business Park, Newry Cost: FREE for Members Cost: £25 +VAT for Non-Members

For more information or to book email:

5 February 18.00 - 20.00

Gaining a Competitive Advantage – Prof Feargal McCormack Organiser: MLN

Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey FREE to attend as part of Management Month

For more information and booking details visit

5 February 09.00 - 16.00

Peformance Management Organiser: Invest NI

Malone House, Shaws Bridge, Belfast

Contact Michele Newell on 028 9069 8560, email: or visit

6 February 07.30 - 08.30

Networking Breakfast, Hosted by BDO NI Organiser: Women In Business NI

BDO Callendar Street, Belfast FREE to Members & Non Members

For more information or to book email:

13 February TBC

Growth in 2014 – Justin Urquhart Stewart Organiser: MLN

TBC FREE to attend as part of Management Month

For more information and booking details visit

18 February 08.00 - 10.00

Ideas to Transform – Shane Mackle and Aaron Shimmons Organiser: MLN

Castlereagh Borough Council FREE to attend as part of Management Month

For more information and booking details visit

Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn FREE to attend as part of Management Month

For more information and booking details visit

20 February 08.00 - 10.00

Strategy in Business – Joanne Grant and Prof Terrence Brannigan Organiser: MLN

26-27 February 10.00 - 16.00

Wave & Tidal 2014 Organiser: Renewable UK

Waterfront Hall, Belfast

Tel: 0843 178 1269, visit or email:

27 February 08.00 - 13.00

The Management & Leadership Conference – Full line-up TBC Organiser: MLN

Titanic Suite, Titanic Belfast £50 +VAT

For more information and booking details visit

If you would like to promote an event or conference please contact Sonia Armstrong (




operation is controlled and managed from one central point rather than being split up over several locations. Do you have any golden rules in life? Be open and honest – even if it is bad news. What would you regard as a “cardinal sin” for anyone working with you? Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes – tell it to me straight. What is your most hated business expression or cliché? “Going Forward”. It has become a lazy expression that is meaningless. If you hadn’t been in business what would you have liked to have done? Been born rich!

Fact File Name/Job Title: Alan Whiteside, Operations Director, Belfast International Airport Education: Belfast High School and Larne Grammar Family: Married with two sons, a daughter and a stepson Interests: Family, work and shooting

What was your first paying job? Working for RJ Alexanders of Larne during weekends and school holidays. What’s the worst job you’ve done? I have been lucky enough to enjoy all the jobs I have had, I have learnt something from each of them. What do you like most and least about your current role? Every day is different and I Iove the variety. I also work with a great bunch of people who really pull together when it matters most. But not having enough hours in the day to get everything done can be the trying bit!

Are you switched on 24 hours or is there a time when you switch off? We are a 24/7 airport so as operations director it is pretty much a 24 hour job. Has your personal life suffered because of your career? It can be difficult fitting in everything in but thankfully I have a very supportive and understanding family around me. What do you consider your best business decision or idea? We merged all our airport operations functions in to a central operations control centre about ten years ago. It has proved a great success as the

What are the most treasured possessions in your office? The photos of my children and mementos of my previous jobs in Heathrow and Stansted which were fantastic times. What are you currently reading? I am listening to an audiobook about Shackleton’s incredible voyage. Toughest challenge to date? 2013 has been a very busy year, we had to resurface our main runway which was a huge logistical challenge but we also had to manage the aircraft arrivals for all the world leaders at the G8 summit. What advice would you give to the 18-year-old you? It is not what you do but how you do it that counts. Put maximum effort into everything. Who would you like to have met? Churchill – a world leader and a statesman, brimming with courage and determination. How do you want to be remembered? Diligent, hardworking, conscientious and fun.

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Including a 25th anniversary retrospective

Supported by


Contents Contents

3 4 5 6 8 10 12 13 17 20 22 24 26 27


Chairman’s Message Finance and Diary Dates Key Highlights A Word from our Key Supporters Engaging your People Engaging with our Planet Spotlight on our Supporters Championing Responsible Business Since 1989 Spotlight on our Supporters Engaging in the Place where you Operate Spotlight on our Supporters Membership Membership List Our Board

Making a difference to our:

Chairman’s Message Roy Adair Chair, Business in the Community Chief Executive, Belfast Harbour

At the start of our 25th year in Northern Ireland, I am delighted to present Business in the Community’s 2013 Annual Review, showing the organisation to be healthier and stronger than ever. Membership exceeded 260 this year and keeps growing steadily as more companies grasp the benefits and potential of embracing responsibility as the key to business success. It has been a momentous year in many respects. Our Senior Management Team changed in the first half of the year following our founding Chief Executive John Heaslip’s decision, after 24 years to seek opportunities to develop his other interests. John remains a very good friend of both myself and the organisation and we all wish him well. Leading the organisation now is Kieran Harding, John’s second in command for over 20 years, ably assisted by two Deputies – Gillian McKee and Lisa McIlvenna, who between them have two decades of experience and knowledge of corporate responsibility.

Our three big goals:

In the latter part of the year, we launched what I believe will be one of our biggest developments to date. CORE: The Standard for Responsible Business went live in November, following an extensive period of consultation and piloting to ensure we were providing a Standard that is fit for purpose and meets the needs of companies here in Northern Ireland. Companies want to know how well they are doing against their peers and competitors. They want to know if they’re doing things right as well as doing the right things and CORE enables them to get a clearer picture of this. I predict great things for CORE and see it being adopted by many companies in the years ahead. In 2013 we produced our new strategy for the next three years. Just Good Business will take us to 2016 and maps out our key objectives and goals over that period, as well as outlining how we will meet these. To help focus our members and other stakeholders on what we hope to achieve, we have set three ambitious goals. We need your active support in helping us achieve those goals over the next three years and we will be seeking pledges from you to create outcomes that deliver. The goals are outlined below. Thank you for your commitment to Business in the Community and the responsible business agenda during the past year. I and the wider Business in the Community team look forward to working closely with you in the year ahead and hope you will join us at some stage to help celebrate 25 successful years in Northern Ireland.


Finance and Diary Dates Income Sources (£000’s) Total £2,756 (2012 £2,252)

Applications (£000’s) Total £2,756 (2012 £2,252)

Finance Report for Year End 30 June 2013 This information has been extracted from our Annual Accounts. Full Financial Statements, Directors Report and Audit Report are available online at

*Membership NI £668 (24%) (2012 £731) Sponsorship £686 (25%) (2012 £557) EU & Lottery £180 (7%) (2012 £127) Contracts £1,222 (44%) (2012 £837) * Membership income does not include £65k of deferred income for 2014

Awards UK Responsible Business Awards and NI Impact Awards NI Gala Awards Dinner Responsible Business Conference People A Big Conversation about Tackling Youth Unemployment Raising Resilience: Protecting Mental Health at Work Conference Mental Health Masterclass Planet 16th NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey

Place Be a Saint Day Volunteering Showcase Silver Surfers’ Day Give & Gain Day Cares Shops’ Challenge 4

(2012 £658) £608 (22%) Membership Services (2012 £105) £130 (5%) Communications (2012 £742) £716 (26%) People (2012 £197) £225 (8%) Planet (2012 £459) £982 (36%) Place (2012 £94) £95 (3%) Reserves

Dates for 2014 Closing date 21 February 5 June, Belfast Waterfront Hall 16 October 4 February 26 February 15 May Launch 12 May Deadline for submission 23 June Report launch 13 November 14 March 27 March 4 April 16 May 18 September

Key Highlights highlights

Recognising Responsibility Our awards are the most respected corporate responsibility awards both locally and across the UK. They recognise and celebrate businesses across all sectors that are transforming their operations by integrating responsible business practices, while transforming the communities in which they operate. The 2013 NI Impact Awards, supported by Electric Ireland and in association with media partner Ulster

Business, were presented in front of a sell-out audience of over 500 business people at Belfast Waterfront Hall. There were a number of notable winners but McLaughlin & Harvey undoubtedly led the way, winning both the NI Responsible Company of the Year and was the first company to pick up our Business & Biodiversity Award.

Leveraging our members to deliver the following: 724 children with improved reading outcomes

262 companies in membership with 27 new members in 2013

279 people into jobs and 614 supported through our employability initiatives

Over 50 CEOs engaged in our Ministerial Dinner Series

294 businesses engaged with our environmental programmes

CORE: the new Standard for Responsible Business

3,867 employee volunteers supporting some of NI’s most deprived communities


Tony Wilcox MD Personal Banking, Danske Bank

Cahoots NI Math 'a' Magicians Nicola, Caolan and Victoria bamboozle audiences during the Lights Camera Math 'a' Magic show.

Lights, Camera Math ‘a’ Magic for Danske Bank More than a decade since it was first developed, Danske Bank’s financial literacy programme continues to grow from strength to strength. Under the umbrella of the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility Programme, longstanding commitments with local communities continue to support the development of financial literacy among school children. The Bank’s understanding of the importance of collaborative working between the Arts and Business sectors led to a sixth year of partnership with the children’s theatre company Cahoots NI. The relationship resulted in the delivery of Lights, Camera, Math ‘a’ Magic, an original interactive, multimedia educational magic show for Key Stage 2 primary school pupils and their teachers. Since 2008 the show has completed seven tours to 362 primary schools and Math ‘a’ Magicians have bamboozled and delighted over 25,000 pupils across Northern Ireland. Each show also involves local branch managers taking part in the ‘Top Secret Envelope’ element of the show. In a drive to expand the show’s educational reach, Lights, Camera, Math ‘a’ Magic is extending its invitation to all family members in 2014 so everyone can experience this unique and fun way to promote financial capability beyond the classroom. 6 A word from our Key Supporters

Following a demonstration session in late 2013, Joanne Beggs, Strandtown Primary School teacher commented, “This evening we welcomed the Math ‘a’ Magic group into our school. Performing to both the children and to adults went very, very well – certainly the children were excited and went away clutching their Math ‘a’ Magic books with the parents being very positive about being included in the experience as well.” Maria Sheehan, Head of Communications, Danske Bank said, “Our innovative partnership with Cahoots NI continues to bring maths learning to life in a fun way, and is a central part of Danske Bank’s community programme. At Danske Bank we are committed to ensuring that young people become more confident with both maths and money in order to help them prepare for managing their finances in later life.” The partnership has been recognised by award giving bodies, winning a Business and Education UTV Business Eye Award 2010; an Allianz Arts & Business 2011 Award while also being nominated in three categories in the 2014 Allianz Arts & Business Awards. The relationship between Danske Bank and Cahoots NI truly is an example of how creative connections can be successfully developed between the arts and business sectors to increase opportunities for young people to access and engage in the arts. For more information, please contact:

Karen Orchin Head of Community Relations, JTI

Violinist Claire Blake from the Ulster Orchestra with Cynthia Foster who attends the Age NI Skainos Day Centre.

JTI: Partner to the Community Corporate Philanthropy reflects the core values Japan Tobacco International applies to the way it conducts its business internationally. It is how we describe our choice to contribute to the societies in which we work in a meaningful, considered and voluntary way. Our company has a long history in Northern Ireland, firstly as Gallaher and, since Gallaher was acquired in 2007, as JTI. Our factory in Ballymena employs almost 1,000 people. Our Corporate Philanthropy activities focus on helping less-advantaged people and our programmes are centred on poverty alleviation, older people, adult education and helping adults with disabilities. Since 2009, we have been supporting Age NI to run its Advice and Information Services Helpline, an Independent Advocacy Service and First Connect Service, all of which guide older people to access services and participate in community life. Over 60,000 older people across Northern Ireland have now benefited from the partnership. We also support the Arts through our partnership with the Ulster Orchestra, helping to deliver wider community access to classical music through Lunchtime Concerts, Community Concerts and the Move to the Music scheme. Move to the Music has created over 2,000 places for older people living in rural areas giving them the opportunity to attend Ulster Orchestra concerts via a free door-to-door transport and ticket scheme involving JTI employee volunteers.

Our employee-led Community Care Committee supports charities which address the specific needs of the community in the local area. The projects include charities which provide social activities for older people, work experience for people with a disability and training for women who have experienced domestic abuse. In 2013, we launched a new Cross Partner initiative bringing together the charities supported by our factory and the Ulster Orchestra to create a project that delivered music workshops to older people and adults with learning difficulties. This project culminated in a celebration event in Ballymena on the 3rd December with performances from the project participants attended by over 250 people. Another strand to the JTI project has been the collaboration between Ulster Orchestra musicians and women from Women’s Aid (ABCL&N) to create the soundtrack to a new film that will highlight the issues of domestic violence and will be premiered at Stormont in March 2014. We were proud to end 2013 as the Lead Partner for the Closing Concert of the City of Culture programme in Derry/Londonderry featuring the Ulster Orchestra. For more information, please contact:

A word from our Key Supporters


Engaging your People

The Big Issues Wellbeing and engagement Supporting people into employment • •

Wellbeing and Engagement Our aim is to challenge employers to create healthy and engaging workplaces that innovate to attract and retain talent.

The Headlines Over 120 businesses are engaged in our Workplace 20:20 campaign, led by Bro McFerran from Allstate NI, to help employers create healthy, engaged and inclusive workplaces. We have narrowed our focus to increase our impact in the following areas: Healthy workplaces – focus on obesity, mental health and alcohol. Inclusive workplaces – focus on age and women. Responsible workplaces – focus on authentic leadership and employee voice. 8

Engaging your People

Our ‘Diversity Champion’ Karen Pearson from the Department of Justice, led work on the development of the Employee Passport, a scheme that has been well received by employers. Our ‘Wellbeing Champion’, Sue Robinson from firmus energy led on the development and successful launch of our online Wellbeing Toolkit. A notable achievement was securing Lottery funding to deliver a Workplace-based alcohol awareness programme in partnership with Addiction NI and FASA. It has the potential to significantly impact the health and wellbeing of thousands of employees and their families. We have also been involved in successful partnership working through the delivery of large scale events with the Public Health Agency and the Equality Commission, successfully attracting over 300 delegates to the combined events.

Who’s Involved? Our Learning Networks continue to drive impactful wellbeing initiatives and innovation in employee engagement which has resulted in the formation of a Champions’ Network leading the way in this arena. Organisations sharing their passion for health and wellbeing through our Learning Networks included: Autoline; Belfast City Council; Belfast Metropolitan College; IKEA; Liberty IT; M&S; Mount Charles; National Museums NI; NI Assembly and the NI Tourist Board. We are currently working with Engage for Success to drive this agenda further across Northern Ireland.

Supporting People into Employment A key area of focus for us has been, and will continue to be, our work in tackling unemployment. We work with businesses of all sizes and from all sectors across Northern Ireland to create work opportunities.

The Headlines Graduate Acceleration Programme, GAP – 221 graduates have been offered a work placement and 113 graduates secured jobs. A number of member organisations have been working closely with us to provide opportunities. Of particular note is Bombardier Aerospace who instigated a challenge for our GAP team and sought to fill over 50 graduate placements. Citywide Employers’ Forum – celebrated helping 1,500 people into work since its inception 10 years ago. STRIVE 2 Work – in the North West 120 long-term unemployed people gained employment and over 225 people have been helped to become more ‘work ready’ through the initiative. Firstsource is doing incredible work in the North West and has provided over 80 work opportunities for people through STRIVE 2 Work.

Who’s Involved? Over 200 businesses are involved in helping us tackle

the issue of unemployment. Some companies who have provided a high volume of placements include: Allstate NI; Apex; Belfast Health and Social Care Trust; Bombardier Aerospace; Firstsource; Henderson Group; Marks & Spencer plc; Maydown Precision Engineering; NuPrint; Sainsbury’s and Tesco plc.

1,500 milestone for Citywide Employers’ Forum The Forum started in 2003 with a focus on west Belfast and Greater Shankill. Since going Citywide in December 2012, 222 unemployed people have participated in company-led employability initiatives and 50 are currently employed. The Forum is sponsored by: Belfast City Council; Bombardier Aerospace; the Dept for Employment and Learning and Lagan Construction Group. “The work of the Employers’ Forum must not be underestimated. This initiative is changing lives for the better, giving people who are removed from the world of work the skills and confidence they need to gain and sustain employment, and providing a valuable employment pipeline into local businesses.” Michael Ryan, Vice-President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace and Chair of the Citywide Employers’ Forum

Engaging your People


Engaging with our Planet

The Big Issue Supporting environmental sustainability We know that there aren’t enough resources to supply the seven billion lives being lived all around the world right now. In fact, we’d need three planet’s worth to give everyone a decent quality of life. By 2050, there will be nine billion people in the world. We have to transform the way we do business by creating new less resource intensive models of production and indeed ownership. ARENA Network helps business address these issues and become sustainable.

The Headlines Through our ongoing strategic partnership with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, we have delivered a wide ranging programme of environmental projects and campaigns, including: NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey – Our annual environmental benchmarking survey was sponsored by Charles Hurst/Fleet Financial and continues to go from strength to strength. Now in its 15th year, there were 120 Survey participants, with 10

Engaging with our Planet

Bombardier Aerospace coming out on top. This year saw the highest recorded average score of 77%, a testament to the seriousness with which our top companies take environmental management. Environmental audits – at over 80 facilities. Promoting environmental excellence – 30 training workshops, environmental management system projects and events. Our awards process highlights and initiates environmental management best-practice in Northern Ireland. The Environmental Improvement Award was won by Ballyrashane Co-Operative for its innovative energy from waste scheme. For the first time this year there was a Business & Biodiversity Award which was won by McLaughlin & Harvey. Its biodiversity initiatives include projects with a global impact, such as FSC timber sourcing initiatives, as well as local actions with communities adjacent to its construction sites. A highlight for many this year was the Seeing is Believing to Rathlin Island. Its purpose was to enable community groups to access the necessary private sector support to develop renewable energy projects. We have been successful in obtaining Biffa Award landfill tax funding to develop a community garden at our offices in east Belfast, which we aim to open in the spring.

Who’s Involved? The following organisations achieved platinum status in the 15th Environmental Benchmarking Survey: Bombardier Aerospace; Belfast Harbour; Larne Borough Council; Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd; Seagate Technology (Ireland) Ltd; John Graham (Construction) Ltd; Linden Foods; BBC; Michelin Tyre plc; Moy Park Ltd; O’Hare & McGovern Ltd; Pritchitt; B/E Aerospace (UK) Ltd; Dunbia (NI); Farrans (Construction) Ltd; H&J Martin Ltd; NACCO Materials Handling Ltd; Newry & Mourne District Council; Queen’s University Belfast; South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust; Compass Group UK & Ireland and Northern Ireland Assembly. “Over the past year, we have sought to Over the past 12 months there has been a address environmental issues across a strong focus on supporting the food and broad front, including climate change adaption to renewable energy and food drink and construction sectors: waste. I hope that in my first year as Chair, the message we are promoting is becoming clearer: creating a sustainable economy is a great Food and Drink Sector business opportunity and one that we cannot afford to miss, if we are to The flagship ‘Too Good to Waste: Realising the leave the planet in a better place for Value of Food’ conference was held in November, the next generation.” in partnership with, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and Northern Ireland David Gavaghan, Chair, ARENA Network, Chief Executive, Titanic Quarter Environment Link (NIEL). Over 130 delegates heard of the latest policy developments from Government, as well as the practical steps taken by industry and the NGO sector to address the issues. Construction Sector Projects targeted specifically at the sector have included a series of ten effluent treatment workshops in support of the dairy and red meat processing sectors. We are currently working on a project administered by WRAP which examines food waste in the service sector of the hospitality industry. To date we have conducted a benchmarking survey of the waste generated and undertaken audits of catering companies.

ARENA Network has provided support to the construction industry across a wide range of environmental issues. This has included helping construction companies meet the requirements of NVIR-O-CERT, the construction specific environmental management system developed by the Construction Employers Federation (CEF). In conjunction with the CEF and the Construction Industry Training Board we have delivered many training seminars on topics such as waste management for micro-construction companies, invasive species, septic tanks and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems. Over 70 organisations have worked with us on these projects over the year. Construction companies that are working with their supply chains to improve environmental management through NVIR-O-CERT include: Henry Brothers Ltd; H&J Martin Ltd and McLaughlin & Harvey. Engaging with our Planet


Belfast Harbour Celebrates 400 Years Central to Belfast Harbour’s ethos is its commitment to the four dimensions of its CR Strategy: Young People, Environment, Community and the Arts. In 2013, Belfast Harbour supported multiple projects that reflect these dimensions including The Green Teacher of the Year Awards partnering with Action Renewables; The Lyric and the Opera House’s Summer Outreach Projects. Alongside numerous local charitable donations, support was given to Féile Belfast, The MAC, Belfast Children’s Festival, Creative Exchange and Sailortown’s Annual Community Festival. Belfast Harbour made the decision to focus on young people and their future employment opportunities. In 2013 they supported organisations with programmes directly targeting this issue including BITC’s, Responsible Internship programme and the Prince’s Trust Development Awards, offering cash awards to help young people access education, training and employment. It also launched the Commissioners’ Programme with Belfast Metropolitan College, supporting work and apprenticeship placements. A highlight of 2013 were the 400th anniversary celebrations and the Heritage Room launch in the Harbour Office. This depicts the 400 years of the port, promoting and supporting Belfast’s Maritime Heritage.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, congratulates Kevin Beattie, Belleek Controlled PS named ‘Green Teacher of the Year 2013’; David Knott, Belfast Harbour; Webster, Belfast Harbour’s Environmental Guardian and Belleek PS pupils, Jonathan Clarke-Nailer and Emily Long.

Roy Adair, Chief Executive said: “Whilst the Harbour is a cornerstone of the economy in Northern Ireland, known for investing in business, we are also known for supporting people and the communities we touch. We believe in engaging with our stakeholders and partnering with those we work with, to build a sustainable society.” For more information, contact j.barkley@belfast-harbour.

BT – Building a Better Future BT’s Better Future programme is its commitment to use the power of communication to improve lives and ways of doing business – without it costing the earth. It focuses on three main areas – connecting people digitally, making sure the company does more environmental good than harm and providing skills and technology to support good causes. Employee volunteering is a key element and during 2013 BT people continued to be heavily involved in many community activities, including raising over 12

Spotlight on our Supporters

£40,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care in the Great BT Charity Shops Challenge. BT’s other key programmes include Connected Communities and the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, which celebrates its 50th year in January 2014. For more information, contact sinead.nicoireachtaigh@

Championing Responsible Business Since 1989 Introduction In 1989 when Business in the Community decided to open an office in Belfast seven years after first launching in Britain, it was in a very different climate, socially, politically and economically from where we find ourselves today. The Anglo-Irish Agreement had been signed four years before, but it had failed to unite the two communities and the conflict continued. Communities were divided and it would be a further nine years until the ceasefires that marked the end of the troubles. On top of that, many neighbourhoods were trapped in a downward spiral of economic decline and there was an urgent need for regeneration in both urban and rural areas. Inviting business people to venture into communities riven by sectarianism to try to help the rebuilding process seemed like an improbable if not impossible task, but that is what we did. Through a series of visits in 1990 to communities across north and west Belfast, local business leaders learned of the diverse needs in these areas and identified the unique role the private sector could play in the social and economic regeneration of the province. That was the start of a quarter of a century of growing business involvement and investment in local communities. Business in the Community is now a highly proactive organisation in Northern Ireland with a clear social purpose to improve business behaviour and engage companies in making Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and do business. For us, Business in the Community IS our members – all 262 of them – and the impact they have made in the past 25 years. Thank you for supporting our growth and success in that time. We hope you enjoy this journey back through our highlights.

With support from:


Membership introduced in Northern Ireland

ARENA Network formed by the leading business organisations (CBI, IOD, FSB, NI Chamber and BITC) to coordinate business environmental activity

NIBEP launched – NI Business Education Partnership to bring the worlds of business and education together

Challenge 21 – a celebration of education and learning showcase

En Be Su lau su lea co an se

Charter launched by Richard Needham – Nationwide first to sign

Employers’ Forum on Disability launched

Business in the Community opened an office in Derry/ Londonderry

George Mackey Chair 1989 - 1996

Championing Responsible Business Since 1989

BITC NI was the first not-for-profit to achieve Investors in People Standard Launch of the Green Triangle Environmental Legislation Guide

Business in the Community opened an office in Banbridge

Good Friday Agreement signed in

Opportunity 2000 launched to focus on the role of women in the workplace and campaign for equality

European Business Network for Social Cohesion set up (now CSR Europe)

Labour wins general election in UK

100 companies had signed the Business in the Community Charter in NI

Hong Kong transfers to Chinese rule

Britain alarmed by an outbreak of ‘mad cow’ disease

Business to Business Bridge launched at Hillsborough

Greenpeace occupation of Brent Spar oil rig

First Seeing is Believing visits in north and west Belfast

Collapse of Barings Bank

Nelson Mandela elected the first black President of South Africa

Business in the Community established in NI with George Mackey of Belfast Regeneration Office as Chair

Fairtrade mark launched

Maastricht Treaty- European Union Created

Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) formed in the USA


Earth Summit in RIO


Break-up of the USSR


Gulf War


Cold war ended


Poll tax riots in Britain


Nelson Mandela freed in South Africa


Exxon Valdez disaster


Berlin Wall falls


Tiananmen Square protests


Employers’ Forum on Disability becomes an independent organisation

Step Cha 199

Al Gore releases, “A Inconvenient Truth”

Saddam Hussein captured and hanged in Baghdad

Live 8 Make Poverty History campaign launched

Employers’ Forum established to address long-term unemployment in Greater Shankill and West Belfast

Business in the Community moved to its current premises off the Albertbridge Road in east Belfast

ARENA Network celebrated its 10th anniversary at Hillsborough Castle

First year of Business in the Community Awards in Northern Ireland at the City Hall

NIBEP became independent of Business in the Community

An Ecological Footprint for NI published, showing that we need 2.5 planets to sustain our current lifestyle

Time to Read, paired reading initiative with primary school children launched in partnership with NIE Stephen Kingon Chair 1996 - 1999

PerCent Club launched

Time to Read wins Belfast Telegraph Award for ‘Outstanding Community Investment’

Mike Mills Chair 1999 - 2002

HRH The Prince of Wales visited BITC NI office in Belfast

Boxing day Tsunamis in the Indian Ocean

Kyoto Protocol comes into effect

First BITC NI website launched

Invasion of Iraq by a coalition of troops

Comm.unity Digital Inclusion Programme launched

NI Assembly suspended

Opportunity 2000 rebranded as Opportunity Now to continue the campaign for equality & diversity in the workplace

European Commission adopts a formal CSR Strategy

10th Anniversary celebratory event at Hillsborough Castle attended by 200 business leaders

Collapse of Enron and Worldcom

Environmental Benchmarking Survey launched to survey the leading 200 companies and public sector bodies

The US and UK invade Afghanistan to topple the Taliban


World Trade Centre attacked in New York – 9/11


Foot and Mouth outbreak


BITC Ireland launched in Dublin


UN Global Compact


‘No Logo’ by Naomi Klein published


UK appoints CSR Minister


Euro adopted as currency by 11 member states of the European Union

World population reaches 6bn


Scottish Parliament opens

Good Friday Agreement signed in Belfast and NI Assembly created

1 on n g


Dennis Licence Chair 2002 - 2005

Championing Responsible Business Since 1989

Barack Obama re-elected President of the US to serve a second term

Nelson Mandela dies aged 95

Aung San Suu Kyi wins a seat in parliament in Myanmar

Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee

Olympics take place in London

Osama Bin Laden killed in Afghanistan

News of the World Phone Hacking scandal

Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition government

Aung San Suu Kyi released after 20 years of house arrest in Myanmar

BP Oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico

Haiti Earthquake kills over 200,000 people

Global recession confirmed by IMF

Copenhagen Accord on Climate Change agreed at UN Summit

Global financial crisis takes hold in UK

Barack Obama becomes the first black President of the United States

Romania and Bulgaria join the EU, bringing the number of member nations to 27

NI Assembly reinstated








100+ business leaders attended a screening of An Inconvenient Truth at the QFT to learn more about the climate change challenges facing our planet

Three year Business Action on Health campaign launched to highlight the importance of health and wellbeing in the workplace

May Day Challenge issued to NI businesses by Sir Stuart Rose

Achieved the NI Quality Award

Research into the effectiveness of Time to Read in improving reading skills and self-esteem finds it to be in the top 5% of such interventions worldwide

BEAM Centre for Social Enterprise opened at Maydown in L’Derry

John Heaslip, founding CEO, departed to pursue other interests after 24 years

Responsible Business Conference attracted 300 at Belfast Waterfront Hall

CORE: The Standard for Responsible Business launched

Won the Irish News Best Place to Work (small firm) category

Michael Ryan Chair 2005 - 2009

Championing Responsible Business Since 1989

GAP (Graduate Acceleration Programme) launched to address unemployment among graduates Paul Rooney Chair 2009 - 2012


Employers’ Forum expanded to have Citywide focus

Roy Adair Chair 2013 - present

CSR at Arthur Cox: Taking Responsibility Together At Arthur Cox, integrating social responsibility into the business is a key focus. They have braved dizzying heights to abseil off Scrabo Tower and walked in the dark at the Stormont Estate in aid of Marie Curie, looked after the animals at Assisi Animal Sanctuary and volunteered at the Hospice as part of the Business in the Community’s ‘Give and Gain’ Day. A particularly enjoyable activity involves the ‘Time to Read’ programme where staff visited St Joseph’s Primary School on a weekly basis to assist school children with their reading skills. Employees volunteer time and services to the boards of various organisations and ran a commercially focused work experience programme called ‘The Legal Pursuit’ for sixth form students interested in a career in Law. As a result they were shortlisted for the Education Partner Award as part of Business in the Community’s Northern Ireland Impact Awards. With such a tremendous effort and input from the Arthur Cox team, they have high hopes that their actions in 2014 will continue to be something to be proud of.

The windswept and weather-beaten team from Arthur Cox still smiling after the exhilarating abseil down Scrabo Tower to raise funds for Marie Curie.

For more information, contact brogan.cullen@arthurcox. com

George Best Belfast City Airport – Flying High in 2013 George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA) is a key strategic gateway to the province, catering for over 2.7 million passengers per year and providing employment for over 1,500 people. Now in the 30th year of commercial operations, its strategic vision is to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment and continually strive to have meaningful engagement with the local community. To date GBBCA’s Community Fund has supported over 80 local projects and has contributed over £140,000 in funding. 2013 has been a great year for the business, picking up a number of prestigious business awards

including, BITC’s Local Community Impact Award, Workforce Training’s Employer of the Year and an IoD award for Leadership in Corporate Responsibility. 2014 is set to be another exciting year as it expands CR engagement across the City. For more information, please contact communityfund@

Spotlight on our Supporters


AES Energises CSR AES is Northern Ireland’s largest electricity generating company and is part of the global AES Corporation. It owns and operates Kilroot and Ballylumford power stations. Wherever AES is located or runs a business, whether it is a power station, a utility or a renewable energy project, it seeks to create deep, meaningful relationships with the communities it serves. AES recognises that it does not just provide a critically important service; but also needs to invest in the people and the infrastructure of its communities.

The local CSR programme has been running since 1992 when AES arrived in Northern Ireland and has supported many community projects through funding, employee volunteering and very successful apprenticeship, undergraduate and graduate placement programmes. A recent initiative is the ‘School Mentoring Programme’. This is a very rewarding experience which gives AES’ staff the opportunity to help raise the aspirations of young people and positively impact their academic life

Allianz Committed to Making a Difference Allianz Insurance, based in Belfast is part of the Allianz SE Group, one of the world’s leading insurers and Europe’s largest financial services group. Allianz in Ireland is committed to making a genuine difference in the local communities and environments in which it operates. To do so, it works under a framework of four core themes: Marketplace, Place, People and Environment.

Allianz staff looking forward to days volunteering at a National Trust property as part of Environment Day 2013.

Using these themes, Allianz designed a three year strategy in line with its key business objectives, which focuses on increasing employee engagement and developing the employer brand.

Diageo Northern Ireland Health and Wellbeing Diageo is dedicated to improving employee health and wellbeing and creating a stimulating working environment which reflects the company’s values, energy and commitment that everyone brings to work every day. In 2013, Diageo won two UK Big Tick Awards at the Business in the Community Awards – ‘The BUPA Workwell Award’ and the ‘Workplace Talent and Skills Award’ for responsible business practices. It was recognised for demonstrating responsible leadership 18

Spotlight on our Supporters

through its ‘Health and Wellbeing Programme’ and the ‘Manufacturing Excellence Capability Programme’ which was rolled out across various supply sites. The team was also Highly Commended for demonstrating responsible leadership through the ‘Health and Wellbeing Programme – You are Made of More’ at BITC’s national annual Responsible Business Awards in London. The wellbeing activities included a weight-loss programme, Walking Challenge, Know Your Numbers health checks and energy management workshops for people managers.

and future career opportunities. By providing them with a positive role model, the company aims to help them improve areas such as employability, study skills, selfefficiency and give them an insight into the world of work and different career paths available after school.

AES volunteering at Kilcreggan Urban Farm

For more information, contact

AES volunteering at Kilcreggan Urban Farm.

e Some of its activities include developing a ‘Charity of the Year’, together with providing ongoing support through volunteering and fundraising. Allianz provides direct support to the communities in which it operates through employee volunteers participating in ‘Young Enterprise’ programmes, ‘Business in the Community’s Environment Day’ and fundraising for local charities. Its active investment in health and wellbeing initiatives ensures opportunities to improve employee lifestyles are made available to all staff.

public transport schemes. Allianz, supported by Business in the Community’s ARENA Network, has undertaken an environmental audit and is actively raising awareness on energy efficiency to drive its environmental performance. For more information, contact fiona.mcgilly@allianz-ni.

Conscious of the need to reduce its environmental footprint, employees can avail of ‘Cycle to Work’ and

Investment in local communities is driven through employee volunteering, fundraising and providing resources and experience to support community organisations. It is dedicated to improving health and wellbeing through the ‘Made of Less Weight Loss Challenge’, amongst employees who work closely with canteen staff to ensure that healthy food options are available on a daily basis. A football cup tournament was also initiated across Diageo’s three supply sites to empower employees to remain healthy and motivated. For more information, contact

Michael McCann, Diageo NI Country Director and Lynn Graham, HR Business Partner Diageo receiving a Big Tick in the 2013 Bupa Workwell Award category from Roy Spotlight Adair (L), Chair and Kieran Harding, Managing on our Supporters 19 Director, Business in the Community.

Engaging in the Place where you Operate

The Big Issues Raising the aspirations and achievements of children and young people in schools Regenerating the most deprived areas in NI with a focus on employer-supported volunteering •

Raising the Aspirations and Achievements of Children and Young People in Schools The Headlines Time to Read – 90 companies, 380 volunteers improving reading outcomes for 724 children in 96 schools. Work Inspiration – 7,954 students gaining invaluable work experience and over 70 events to highlight a range of careers. Business Class – 14 schools and businesses engaged in strategic partnerships. 20

Engaging in the Place where you Operate

Who’s Involved? Members new to our education programmes include: AES; Belfast Health and Social Care Trust; Caterpillar NI; Charles Hurst Group; Deloitte; Legal Island; Mills Selig; Montupet; Mount Charles; NYSE Euronext; Pinsent Masons; St Mary’s University College and Tughans are helping to inspire young people.

Aiming Higher Big Lottery funded project in partnership with Include Youth, commenced in January 2013 with the aim of moving young people from a care background into education, employment or training. Each young person was matched to a business mentor to work with over a five month period to improve their employability skills and readiness to enter the workplace. This year, ten young people completed the programme and we met our target of 70% moving into education, training or employment within three months. 23 companies were involved in making Aiming Higher such a success including: ASDA Stores Ltd; Department of Justice; Equiniti ICS; NI Assembly; Odyssey Trust; Omnisoft and PSNI.

Regenerating the Most Deprived Areas in NI with a Focus on Employer Supported Volunteering

Omagh & Enniskillen Job Fairs

The Headlines

Over 800 people attended and to date almost 50 people have been offered an employment opportunity.

Employer Supported Volunteering – 3,867 employee volunteers from 120+ companies volunteering through our wide range of initiatives to benefit the most deprived wards in Northern Ireland.

Cares Shops’ Challenge

Business on Board – Over 50 business volunteers onto Boards of community/voluntary organisations. ProHelp – Approximately £7,500 of business expertise leveraged through the programme. 200+ voluntary and community groups were assisted on a practical level.

Who’s Involved? A big supporter of Business on Board is NIE, with over 20 members of staff involved. Community and voluntary groups across NI are benefitting from new skills as a result of NIE’s input. NYSE Euronext raised an amazing £18k for its Seed Capital Challenge – two teams were given £100 and three weeks to turn this ‘seed capital’ into as much money as possible for two charities, MacMillan Cancer Research and Leukaemia Research NI. The results were phenomenal. Head shaves, a pub quiz night, exclusive raffle prizes and sponsored walks helped to contribute to this impressive total. The work of the Building Brighter Futures project came to a conclusion in September. 39 groups and 163 individuals participated in a series of events, workshops, cross-border visits and community dialogue sessions, building their understanding of each other and increasing their awareness and knowledge of other communities and cultures.

Our Omagh & Enniskillen Business Leadership Networks (BLNs), ran two Job Fairs. Over 60 local employers and training organisations participated, with each one offering jobs or other training and employment opportunities.

11 organisations put their entrepreneurial skills to the test to promote, manage and increase the sales in an Action Cancer charity shop. Over £65,000 was raised in one day, with Dillon Bass coming out on top. Companies involved: Asda Stores Ltd; Belfast Metropolitan College; Dillon Bass; firmus energy; NI Assembly; NIE Ltd; NI Housing Executive; NI Water; Public Prosecution Service; Royal Mail and SPAR.

“Business on Board has exceeded the expectations of NIE. It has proved to be a fantastic opportunity to support the learning and development of our staff and enable them to use their skills in a totally different environment. Feedback from the community groups has been really positive and indicates that they are benefitting from the talent and professionalism of our people.”

Tom Doran, Learning & Development Manager, NIE Ltd

Engaging in the Place where you Operate


firmus energy’s Commitment to Community firmus energy is fully committed to giving back to local communities throughout Northern Ireland. 2013 saw firmus energy appoint its first corporate charity of the year, CLIC Sargent. Throughout the year fundraising days helped gather much-needed funds for the charity including coffee mornings, themed days and raffles. The CSR committee was also involved in the annual Cares Shop Challenge which involved taking over Coleraine’s Action Cancer Shop for a day. firmus was delighted to be placed runner-up in this hotly contested charity event.

firmus energy’s ‘warming communities’ campaign went from strength to strength in 2013 with over half of its staff members taking part in local community clean-up days in Ceara Special School (Lurgan), Riverside Special School (Antrim) and CLIC Sargent ‘Home from Home’ appeal (Belfast). Over 250 hours was committed to this campaign in 2013. firmus energy has been involved in a number of other community schemes throughout 2013 including the ‘Time to Read’ initiative which paired volunteers with

Musgrave Raises Massive £2 million for Action Cancer Musgrave Retail Partners NI reached a massive fundraising milestone in 2013 – having donated more than £2 million to the work of its charity partner Action Cancer.

health promotion programme for schools.

The donation, believed to be one of the largest amounts ever raised by a company for an individual charity in Northern Ireland, was raised by SuperValu and Centra stores, along with Musgrave head office staff over the past twelve years.

Since the launch of the hi-tech Big Bus mobile in 2006, which SuperValu helped to pay for, 40,000 people have used the services onboard, including 22,000 women who were screened for breast cancer. SuperValu stores have now raised more than £1 million for the Big Bus, and continue to keep it on the road by helping to cover the annual running costs.

The funds have gone towards the Action Cancer Big Bus screening and health promotion unit and the charity’s

Centra retailers have raised almost £1 million for Action Cancer’s Health Action programme for schools, and

Thank you to our supporters and all our members for helping us make a


Spotlight on our Supporters

Key Stage 2 children (P5-P7). Over the festive period firmus donated almost £1,500 worth of toys to St Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army. firmus energy’s CSR strategy is fully based on its company’s values; clarity, empathy, integrity and teamwork. For more information, contact asloan@firmusenergy. Julie Abram; Mary O’Kane; Coleraine Mayor David Harding; Jessica Courtney and Action Cancer Shop Manageress Angela Lamont.

440,000 young people have already benefitted from health education sessions. The project aims to reduce future cancer incidence by making a positive impact on the attitudes of young people towards healthier lifestyles. For more information, contact kate.ferguson@

Musgrave Retail Partners NI’s Managing Director Nigel Briggs, left, met with Action Cancer Chief Executive Gareth Kirk to announce the massive £2 million fundraising milestone.

e a difference to our:

Spotlight on our Supporters



The Big Issues Membership growth, with a focus on SMEs Supporting and challenging members to progress on their CR journey Measuring, benchmarking and reporting best practice • •

Membership growth, with a focus on SMEs We ended 2013 with 262 members – our highest level yet. It’s proof that corporate responsibility continues to hold strong, and companies are more committed than ever to do business responsibly. This year, we’ve really focused on enabling our members to support SMEs to grow responsibly through our Connections Plus programme sponsored by Electric Ireland. It has been a fantastic year, with Business in the Community members and our wider network providing support to 435 SMEs. The results speak for themselves, with 49% SMEs reporting increased sales. 24

Supporting and challenging members to progress on their CR journey We have challenged our members to continually improve their CR performance, encouraging them to increase activity and engagement. Our members have told us that the Business Leadership Networks (BLNs) play a pivotal role in helping them engage in a variety of CR activity across the region. With this in mind, we have decided to give the BLNs a renewed focus, and will be introducing additional networks in the Mid-Ulster and Causeway regions, bringing the total to nine across Northern Ireland. We have also engaged our leading CR practitioners in our new Rethinking Responsibility Network. This year, the Network enabled shared learning through a number of informal sessions facilitated by CR leaders from across the UK, such as Mike Barry from Marks & Spencer plc.

Measuring, benchmarking and reporting best practice We launched CORE – the Standard for Responsible Business in November. CORE is a recognised system for measuring, assessing and reporting on corporate responsibility activity that works for the size and type of companies that make up the Northern Ireland economy.

Who’s Involved? Adelaide Insurance; Allen & Overy; Allstate NI; Belfast Harbour Commissioners; B/E Aerospace; BT;

Delta Packaging; firmus energy; George Best Belfast City Airport; Greiner Packaging; H&J Martin Ltd; Henry Brothers (Magherafelt) Ltd; Invest NI; LegalIsland; McLaughlin & Harvey and Ulster Bank Group. “Membership of Business in the Community helps us to demonstrate to our customers, employees, communities and to all our stakeholders that we are committed to being a responsible bank. We’re proud to be part of an organisation that drives responsible business throughout the UK and Ireland and recognise that being a member of Business in the Community has given us a platform to build relationships and network with other organisations outside of our normal business operations.”

Pauline McKiernan Sustainability and Community Affairs Manager, Ulster Bank Group

Building on Talent continues to be an innovative leadership development opportunity for employers seeking to encourage employees to share their business skills for community benefit. The programme is sponsored by BT and in 2013, companies including: Belfast Health and Social Care Trust; Department of Employment and Learning; NIE Ltd and BT have participated to support organisations such as the Cedar Foundation and Care for the Family.

Inspiring the next generation Inspiring the next generation to consider engineering as a viable career in Northern Ireland is of paramount importance to Caterpillar NI. The Caterpillar Production System Simulated Work Environment Training Session was organised by the company with the hope of achieving that goal. It involved 17 students from a broad selection of schools across NI. In an informative six hour session students were given the opportunity to run their own factory for a day by simulating working in a production environment. They made key decisions that influenced how the production line was run. At the end of the session they got to see the results of those decisions. Robert Kennedy, Operations Director at Caterpillar commented, “This type of training day is of high importance to us at Caterpillar. We are committed to supporting the local community in Northern Ireland, highlighting the importance of subjects such as science, technology and mathematics and investing in young people as talent for the future is an excellent place to start.”


Membership List

Platinum Members AES Allstate Northern Ireland Arthur Cox Solicitors Asda Stores Ltd B/E Aerospace (UK) Ltd Bank of Ireland Belfast City Council Belfast Harbour Commissioners Belfast Health and Social Care Trust Bombardier Aerospace BT Caterpillar (NI) Charles Hurst Group Citi Coolkeeragh ESB Danske Bank Diageo (NI) Dunbia Fane Valley Co-op Ltd firmus energy First Trust Bank Fold Housing Association fonaCAB Forward Emphasis International Fujitsu Greiner Packaging Invest NI John Graham (Construction) Ltd John Sisk & Son Holdings Ltd LBM Liberty Information Technology Lloyds Bank plc Lynas Foodservice Moy Park Ltd National Museums Northern Ireland NI Assembly Northern Ireland Ambulance Service NYSE Euronext Police Service of Northern Ireland Power NI Public Health Agency Public Prosecution Service PwC Queen's University Belfast Schlumberger Schrader Electronics SHS Group Ltd South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust Southern Health and Social Care Trust Stream International Survitec Group Tesco The Henderson Group The Mount Charles Group Ulster Bank Group University of Ulster

Standard and Premier Members 3fivetwo Group A&L Goodbody Action Renewables Adelaide Insurance Services Ltd Allen & Overy Alliance Boots Allianz Andor Technology Apex Armstrong Medical Arts & Business Aurion Autoline Insurance Group AV Browne Bank of England Barclays Corporate Bank BBC BDO Belfast Metropolitan College Belfast Telegraph Blackbourne M&E BP McKeefry Ltd BP Oil UK Ltd Capita Managed IT Solutions Carecall Care Circle Carillion Energy Services Carson McDowell Solicitors Cedar Foundation Chesapeake – Field Boxmore Clanmil Housing Association Clarendon Executive Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland Compass Group UK & Ireland Copeland CCEA Crane Energy Deli-lites Deloitte Delta Packaging Dennison Commercials Ltd Diamond Recruitment Dillon Bass Ltd Dixons Contractors DuPont UK Ltd Eircom Enterprise Rent-A-Car ETT-NI Evron Foods Ltd Equiniti ICS Finnebrogue Firstsource Foyle Food Group Foyleside Shopping Centre FPM Accountants LLP Funeral Services NI Ltd GEDA Construction Genesis Breads George Best Belfast City Airport Gilbert Ash Grafton H&J Martin Ltd Habinteg Housing Association Haldane Fisher Harland & Wolff Harlequin (formerly Clarehill Plastics) Hays Recruitment Henry Brothers Ltd HMRC Homecare Independent Living Hutchinson Care Homes IBM UK Ltd Identity & Passport Service IKEA ILEX Urban Regeneration Co Intel INVISTA Textiles (UK) Ltd Ipsos MORI Irish News Ltd ISL Waste Management Ltd J P Corry Ltd JTI Kilwaughter Chemical Co Ltd Knauf Insulation Kofax KPMG Lafarge Cement Lagan Construction Group Larne Harbour Ltd Legal-island Londonderry Port & Harbour Commissioners Marks & Spencer plc Marsh Ltd Maydown Precision Engineering McAvoy Group McLaughlin & Harvey Medicare Michelin Tyre plc Microsoft NI Mills Selig Mivan MJM Montupet (UK) Ltd Morgan Document Security Morrow Contracts Musgrave Retail Partners NI Nationwide Building Society NHBC NI Coownership Housing Association NIEA NIE Ltd NI Housing Executive NIYSA Norbev Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service NI Chamber of Commerce NI Independent Retail Trade Association Northern Ireland Tourist Board Northern Ireland Water Northstone NuPrint Odyssey Trust Company O’Hare & McGovern Omnisoft Parker Green Phoenix Natural Gas Ltd Pinsent Masons Planning and Local Government Group Portview Fit-Out Limited Positive Futures Precision Industrial Services Ltd Pritchitt Probation Board for NI Progressive Building Society Royal Mail Group plc RPS Consulting Engineers Rutledge Group Sainsbury's Sangers SDC Trailers Ltd Seagate Technology (Ireland) Ltd Serco Ireland Smarts SODEXO LTD SONI Sopra Group SP McCaffrey & Co Accountants Sport NI Stevenson Munn St Mary’s University College Stratagem Sysco Software Systems Teletech UK Ltd The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland The Karl Group The Orchardville Society Titanic Quarter Ltd Todd Architects TotalMobile TR Logistics Group Translink Triangle Housing Association Triplicate Design Trinity Housing Tughans Solicitors Ulster Stores USEL United Dairy Farmers UTV plc Veolia Water Victor Stationery Visit Belfast Vodafone NI Ltd W5 Whale Whitemountain Quarries Limited William Coates Mechanical & Electrical Wrightbus Ltd Yell Zenith Networks Magenta denotes companies joined since January 2013


Our Board

Roy Adair, Chair Chief Executive, Belfast Harbour

Brian Ambrose Chief Executive, George Best Belfast City Airport Community Champion

David Gavaghan Chief Executive, Titanic Quarter, Chair, ARENA Network

Nigel Gray Retail Operations Director, The Henderson Group

Moya Johnston Managing Director, Survitec

Robert Kennedy Operations Director, Caterpillar NI

Dr Alan Lennon Civil Service Commissioner

Gerry Mallon Chief Executive, Danske Bank

Catherine Mason Group Chief Executive, NI Transport Holding Company Biodiversity Champion

John McCann Group Chief Executive, UTV Media plc Work Inspiration Champion

Bro McFerran Managing Director, Allstate Northern Ireland Chair, Workplace 20:20

Dr Gerard O’Hare Managing Director, Parker Green International Chair, GAP

Colm O’Neill Chief Executive Officer, BT (in Ireland)

Michael Ryan, CBE VP & General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace Employers’ Forum Chair HRH Ambassador 2013

Ciaran Sheehan Managing Director, Care Circle Group Social Enterprise Champion

Alan Taylor Managing Partner, Arthur Cox Business on Board Champion


With thanks to the supporters of this annual review:

Business in the Community is a unique movement in the UK and Ireland of over 800 member companies (over 260 of which are in Northern Ireland), with a further 2,000+ engaged through our programmes and campaigns. We operate through a local network of more than 100 business-led partnerships and 60 global partners. Our sister organisation, Business in the Community Ireland is situated in Dublin. To find out more about their work, visit or call 00353 1 874 7232.

Business in the Community can be contacted in Northern Ireland at: Belfast Bridge House Paulett Avenue Belfast BT5 4HD T (028) 9046 0606 F 0870 460 1731 North West office BEAM Social Enterprise Centre Invista House Maydown Works Derry/Londonderry BT47 6TH T (028) 7186 1550 F (028) 7186 1577 This document has been printed on sources only acquired from suppliers operating sustainable forest reserves. Also, the pulp used has been bleached without the use of any chemicals, ensuring that the end user will not compromise the environment. Registered Details 137 Sheperdess Walk, London N1 7RQ. Registered Charity No: 297716. Company Limited by Guarantee No: 1619253

Ulster Business - January 2014