JUNE 2015 Price ÂŁ2.30 (â‚Ź3.75)
All bases covered How these three experts are making sure Northern Ireland business is equipped to meet the most difficult challenges
Engineering legend: Sir John Parker offers tips to success
Roundtable discussion: Agri-food takes centre stage
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Contents 6 News
54 Wealth Management
Jobs for Dungannon manufacturer and word from the new Enterprise minister
Where and how to invest your money
Who has been out and about in the last month?
14 Cover Story
The trio of experts helping the Northern Ireland economy to the next level
Chewing over the agri-food industry at Bank of Ireland UK
Adam Maguire keeps us up to date with the latest gadgets
22 ICT Focus
76 Business Breakfast
How well protected is your IT system?
Katharine Kimber from TLT talks legal matters over coffee
A trip to Santander in northern Spain is this monthâ€™s destination
98 My Day
Sir John Parker offers advice to the sector
Pat Burns, our very own Stig, checks out the latest offerings
Kirk Moffat from ASG goes beyond the working day
Time for leadership
elcome to the June edition of Ulster Business. This month we’re packed full of everything you need to know about the goings on in the Northern Ireland economy. From the trio of experts from Ulster University featured in our cover story, to an in-depth interview with one of the great leaders to emerge from these shores, Sir John Parker, we have the insider line on what your business needs to be doing to succeed from the people who know. We also dip into the world of cyber security in our IT feature, we talk to one of the most innovative manufacturing firms in the world based in Dungannon, Greiner Packaging, our wealth management feature asks where you should be putting your money, and Professor John Simpson takes a look at the state of leadership in Northern Ireland. Although John is primarily concerned with leadership in the business world, there is also perhaps salient advice for our elected representatives at a time when Northern Ireland’s economy is yet again dependent on strong leadership from Stormont.
Not only does political instability dissuade potential inward investors, it also puts the devolution of corporation tax-setting powers on the back burner, something which would be a travesty after the hard work which has gone into persuading Westminster to grant the concession by the business community. Economist after economist has pointed out that contraction of the public sector in the months ahead is inevitable and will need the private sector to step up to the economic plate. Business has already proven it’s ready and willing to take the lead but to do that successfully we need to act as a team, in concert with a strong and stable government. As the private sector steps up, the public sector needs to step in line. David Elliott
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A coalition government was never going to be a slick administration but the standoff over welfare reform is not only an embarrassment when other regions are arguing successfully for more devolved powers, it could put the brakes on the growth of the private sector.
Sales Executive Susan Simpson
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The Month in Numbers 1,840,500 Latest estimate for the population of Northern Ireland at 30 June 2014, that’s up by 10,800 on 2013.
Greiner Packaging creates 40 jobs in expansion plan
22,800 The number of people leaving Northern Ireland, the lowest level in five years.
4.51m The number of all overnight visitors to Northern Ireland, including domestic trips, in 2014, according to DETI, an increase of 11%.
2.2m The number of overnight visitors excluding those made by Northern Ireland residents in 2014.
Jarek Zasadzinski with HRH the Duke of Gloucester, who recently visited Greiner Packaging.
£751m The amount of money those tourists spent in Northern Ireland last year, an increase of 3% on 2013.
£15.50/sq ft The average price of Grade A office space in Belfast, according to estate agents Colliers. It’s up 19% on the quarter well below the UK average of £23.98 and not close enough to the magic £18 needed to tempt developers to build.
Dungannon packaging company is creating 40 new jobs as part of a plan to double its manufacturing capacity and invest £1m in new technology.
the site here in Dungannon and is testament to the skill and expertise of our people.” Greiner is no stranger to investment in new products having successfully developed the new plastic Quality Street box for Nestlé.
Austrian-owned Greiner Packaging is hiring for a range of skilled positions to add to its 250 staff including machine operators and support staff, according to chief executive Jarek Zasadzinski.
The new investment will allow it to expand further to produce plastic jars for honey, jam, peanut butter etc which would have traditionally used glass.
It makes plastic packaging for food manufacturers such as yoghurt pots, butter tubs etc, and counts some of the world’s biggest food processors, such as Yeo Valley and Glanbia, as clients.
It has also developed K3, a joint plastic/ cardboard product which can be used for the likes of coffee cups, made from recycled materials which can themselves be recycled by separating the two materials after use.
“We plan to double in size in the next three to four years by investing in new technology,” Mr Zasadzinski said. “It’s a big commitment to
Mr Zasadzinski said the new posts will pay above average wages and will help support “massive expansion” for the company.
New jobs for Hillsborough company
Hillsborough company has created 13 jobs as part of a £100,000 expansion into export markets backed by Danske Bank.
The new posts at software development company Tascomi will command salaries of £35,000 and have been created following the firm’s appointment as as the single provider of Public Protection and Building Control Software for the Welsh Purchasing Consortium. And Richard Martin, Managing Director at Tascomi, said the new hires will help the company expand further afield. “Up until this year we were mainly working for the public sector in Northern Ireland but more recently we have expanded into the rest of the UK and Ireland,” he said. “Our success in Wales required fast access to increased working capital, an investment which has helped us to look at opportunities in other export markets. This year we are hoping to export our solutions to Canada.” Ian Beatty, Relationship Manager at Danske Bank, said: “Tascomi is an exciting local company with big plans to take its solutions around the world. Danske Bank has been pleased to be involved
(L-R) Richard Martin, Managing Director of Tascomi, is pictured with Ian Beatty, Relationship Manager at Danske Bank.
in this investment. We have provided the company with the financial resources they need to continue to grow.”
Quotes of the month
Private sector in economic driving seat
“The shortage of Grade ‘A’ office space in Belfast has led a number of major occupiers toward developing their own headquarter office buildings and that further rental growth in the Grade ‘A’ market is necessary to encourage new development in the City.” Ian Duddy, Head of Business Space for Colliers International in Belfast. “Any reduction in budgetary allocation to infrastructure in Northern Ireland would have a detrimental impact on the local construction industry and would almost certainly result in a significant number of job losses.” The Construction Employers Confederation warns that a lack of agreement on welfare reform and any subsequent budgetary cuts could have a big impact. “There is also the potential to secure the devolution of corporation tax powers that are almost within our grasp. Only with these powers can we maximise our attractiveness and potential as a place you can do business and invest in. Only with these powers can we secure the economic and societal transformation that is key to all our futures, raise our living standards and help move people out of welfare and into work.” CBI Northern Ireland director Nigel Smyth warns that failure to reach agreement on welfare reform risks losing the potential to devolve corporation tax-setting powers. “This is a compelling transaction for Aer Lingus, its shareholders, its employees, its customers and for Ireland.” Aer Lingus Group chairman Colm Barrington following the decision by the Dáil to approve the principles of the disposal of the Irish Government’s shareholding in Aer Lingus.
Pictured at the First Trust Bank Business Growth Fund Launch Event held in Titanic Belfast is Paul McKeever, Managing Director at McKeevers Chemists, Richard Ennis, Director of Business & Corporate Banking at First Trust Bank and Gareth Hetherington, Associate Director at the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre.
uture growth for the Northern Ireland economy relies entirely on the shoulder of the private sector over the next few years, according to the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC). Its spring outlook said swingeing government spending cuts, an end to falling prices and rising interest rates will dampen economic growth here but that will be partially mitigated by a strengthening private sector. It expected 12,400 new jobs to be created over the next four years – a big fall from the 27,000 jobs created between 2012 and 2014. The number is made up of 8,400 net job losses in the public sector but balanced by 21,000 net new jobs in the private sector, a reflection of the large number of new jobs created over the last year by Invest NI. “Given the surprising Conservative party victory in the general election, the key trajectory for government spending remains on a downward trend,” Gareth Hetherington, Associate Director of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC)
said. “Against this backdrop the responsibility for economic growth rests entirely with the private sector and encouragingly some businesses are rising to that challenge.” That’s particularly true in the manufacturing sector which has outpaced growth in the UK. “Our analysis suggests that since 2012 local manufacturers have created 4,700 more jobs than would have occurred if the sector had grown at average UK rates. Replicating that success across other areas of our private sector is essential if economic growth is to be maintained.” Mr Hetherington was speaking at the launch of a new £50m Business Growth Fund by First Trust Bank. It will be available to both new and existing customers for borrowings over £150k. Richard Ennis, Director of Business & Corporate Banking at First Trust Bank said the fund is a response to customer demand. “The good news is that we are seeing a return in confidence among our customers, many of whom are now in a position where they want to grow.”
New retail jobs for West Belfast
ew tenants at a west Belfast retail park have created 15 new full and part time jobs. Park Centre has signed three new names to its Donegall Road premises: Discount Quality Furniture, Home Solutions and a fully serviced Post Office. The move represents an investment of £100,000 and will add to the 34 existing retailers which include Dunnes Stores, Peacocks, Boots and New Look. Centre Manager Chris Newton welcomed the additional names at the centre. “The new tenants are a welcome addition to our existing stores and highlight our commitment to satisfying the needs of the local community.” The Park Centre’s letting agent, Colliers International (Belfast) manages more than 15 shopping centres across the UK and has found that there is still an appetite for growth in the sector.
Pictured with the new tenants, John McStravick (Home Solutions) Bronagh Faye (Post Office), Paul Morrison (DQF) is Chris Newton, Park Centre Centre Manager (centre) with Gemma Doherty (Colliers International).
“In today’s challenging retail environment they (the new lettings) reinforce the centre’s strong commitment to the area,” Senior Surveyor for Colliers International, Gemma Doherty said. “We are
confident that these new outlets will encourage other retailers to follow suit and those who capitalise on current market conditions will create a low cost platform for future sales and profit growth”.
Bell: corporation tax green light will lead to thousands of jobs Deerstalker Bar & Bistro creates 35 jobs
new restaurant and bar has created 35 new jobs on the north coast following the refurbishment of the former Kellys Complex in Portrush. The Deerstalker Bar & Bistro is the result of a complete refurbishment of the 6,500 square foot premises as well as those of the 17-room GolfLinks Hotel. The new hires take staff numbers at the venue to 120 across the three bars, hotel, nightclub and caravan park which will be under the control of managing director Peter Wilson, nephew of founder the late James Wilson. “Staying true to the heritage of the original Deerstalker bar which was founded by my uncle in 1972, I wanted to create a comfortably traditional bar with a countryside-inspired feel while introducing some new and updated features,” Mr Wilson said. “The new bar will offer guests a relaxed space for enjoying a drink and traditional pub-grub snacks as well as streaming live sport while the refurbishment of the complex’s existing bars and hotel allows us to continue to provide the highest level of hospitality and entertainment. The former Kellys Complex has been in operation for over five decades and has drawn patrons from across Northern Ireland.
DETI minister Jonathan Bell being interviewed by David Elliott, editor of Ulster Business.
verseas companies are poised to create thousands of jobs once the devolution of corporationtax setting powers are set in stone, the new Enterprise minister has said. Jonathan Bell said investors need to be given a definite date when the corporation tax rate in Northern Ireland will be cut and what rate it will be cut to. “As business minister I’m going to be pushing very hard for a date and a rate,” he told Ulster Business in his new Netherleigh office near Stormont. “There are significant and serious players ready to create thousands of jobs which are sitting watching us.
While the law allowing the devolution of corporation tax-setting powers has already been passed, the Executive needs to reach agreement on welfare reform before the Treasury will hand the tax power over to Stormont. “We need a rate and a date and we need it very quickly,” Mr Hamilton said. “There are a lot of companies here who could expand and there are other brand new opportunities.” He was speaking at the announcement of a record year for Invest NI which saw 9,410 jobs created during the 2014/2015 financial year, up 40%.
“There’s going to be a lot of pressure on us but I don’t see failure as an option.”
There were also 25 new investors to Northern Ireland, and a reduction in corporation tax could draw more.
The minister’s comments echo those of Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton who reiterated the urgent need for a “date and a rate” earlier this week.
“We’ve got within our grasp a very unique opportunity with corporation tax to do something which has never been done before,” Mr Bell said.
Pitch perfect at INVENT
ictured are 24 of Northern Ireland’s most forward-thinking and inventive people who put their reputations on the line last month, as they pitched for a place in the finals of INVENT 2015, the competition which turns innovative ideas into new businesses. With an audience of over 200 people and under the scrutiny of an international judging panel, each company delivered a high-pressure three minute pitch. Vying for their chance to be in the top twelve, the finalists each presented their concept, before facing questions from the judges. At stake was a position on the NI Tech Mission to California and a chance to compete for a share of the £33,000 prize fund, as well as
money-can’t-buy mentoring, networking and business development through the Northern Ireland Science Park’s NISP CONNECT. The climax of the competition is the INVENT Awards on 8th October 2015. Over 600
investors, entrepreneurs, executives, top research scientists, professional services leaders and elected officials will gather at Titanic Belfast to hear the announcement of the winners. Tickets are on sale now at www.invent2015.co
Margin of error Neal Morrison, RICS IPMS Ambassador, reveals why standardisation of office property measurement is a must.
experts spent 18 months researching and creating the first international property measurement standard. It is now published. RICS was a founding member of the coalition that developed IPMS, alongside 55 other standard-setting bodies. Implemented by professionals and professional organisations throughout the world, the standard will ensure a single, coherent methodology. The IPMS is intended to address the issue of inconsistency in the way offices are measured. It will mean that, for the first time, professionals and their clients will benefit from a common method for measurement, wherever they are. It is set to replace dozens of existing standards in use. Some governments have already announced plans to make IPMS mandatory to help support and encourage international investors into their markets. Neal Morrison
t might seem odd to hear that a 10,000 sq ft office building in one part of the world could be over 13,000 sq ft in another. However, that has been the reality of the international property market, where professionals in different countries have been measuring buildings in different ways. Businesses have therefore had to develop their own costly processes for measuring and benchmarking property assets. Investors too, including pension funds, have had to factor in risk associated with the variation in quoted property size when making investment decisions. In India, an office measurement could include offsite car parks, while in Spain it may include outdoor leisure facilities. In some parts of the Middle East, hypothetical floors may be included, and in other parts of the world local standards require measurements of air-conditioned areas and not floor space. Depending on the standard used, the area quoted in different markets for an equivalent building could vary by as much as 24%. To help address the issue, the International Property Measurement Standards Coalition was set up two years ago after a meeting at the World Bank in Washington DC. This group of measurement
In the UK, the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) has indicated that it will be working closely with RICS on IPMS-based guidance. A major player in the property industry, the VOA maintains the valuation lists of 1.9 million commercial properties and 24.7 million residential properties in England and Wales. In 2013, it collected about ÂŁ48bn in non-domestic rates, or business rates. As the largest employer of chartered surveyors in the UK, its Valuation Measuring Guide already complies with the RICS Code of Measuring Practice. The government of Dubai has also endorsed IPMS. In the Caribbean, the Land and Surveying department in the Cayman Islands as well as the National Land Agency in Jamaica have mandated the use of IPMS. In Northern Ireland, we have as a major policy objective attracting inward investment. Towards this end, RICS organised a recent event in Parliament Square in London for potential investors to find out more about Northern Ireland and there was real interest amongst those in attendance. To really maximise Northern Irelandâ€™s potential to attract inward investors, we should be doing everything we can to create as conducive an environment as possible. This should include adopting IPMS locally so that international investors can have that degree of certainty when making decisions about accommodation. With the potential for corporation tax rates to be reduced here in the not-too-distant future, this is now more important than ever.
Talent at the top Ulster Business speaks to Brightwater Recruitment Specialists’ new Associate Director.
One of the most telling signs of the improving economy is the health of the recruitment market. If the latest jobs data is anything to go by, there’s little doubt that Northern Ireland’s economic prowess is on the up, something which is reflected at the coalface.
“We’re a safe pair of hands and won’t let you down.” That message is one which has been taken on board by some of the biggest inward investors to Northern Ireland over the last few years such as Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith Freehills and Baker & McKenzie.
Brightwater Recruitment Specialists are certainly experiencing an uplift in business, with turnover climbing over 18% in the first quarter of the year as a result of the growing indigenous company base and also from the raft of inward investors which have arrived in the region over the last year.
And Northern Ireland’s growing specialism in both legal, financial and professional services is something which bodes well for the future, not just for the local economy but for Brightwater. It works closely with Invest Northern Ireland to make sure it’s on hand to help out inward investors when they arrive on these shores.
As a result, the recruitment company has been growing itself, taking on new recruits as well as promoting from within. One who falls into the latter category is Stephanie Mullholland, an experienced recruitment consultant who has been with Brightwater for over 10 years. She has just been promoted to Associate Director at the Belfast consultancy, reporting directly to the board in Dublin, and it’s clear she’s relishing the new role. “I’m absolutely delighted,” Stephanie told Ulster Business on her new appointment. “It’s a really exciting time to be in the position to drive the Brightwater business forward, especially as we and our sister consultancy BrightStar Recruitment (which specialises in business support, public sector, sales and retail jobs) are experiencing such strong growth.” A Queen’s University graduate, Stephanie has worked in recruitment since 1998, joining Brightwater in 2005. She soon built up a specialism in human resources recruitment and took over the HR division of Brightwater in 2008 before being promoted to Associate Director in May 2015.
“Ever since I came to be interviewed for the job at Brightwater I haven’t looked back and have forged my way in the business. I found my niche in human resources and have helped build the division to what it is now.” Stephanie’s experience in the industry has stood her in good stead, particularly her network of contacts. “I’ve built up a lot of connections. It helps that a lot of the people I meet out in business are also my candidates. The HR community here is tightly networked so we’ve got to live and die by the service we provide and that’s something we really focus on.” Service is high up on the list of reasons why companies choose Brightwater, along with a number of other factors. “It’s our expertise, our track record of bringing successful global campaigns to fruition and our ability to deliver. We tailor our role for each client and work very hard to make sure the processes are slick.
To contact Stephanie email: email@example.com or call: 028 9032 5325 Visit Brightwater’s website at www.brightwaterni.com for the latest recruitment news, blogs and salary survey
In addition, the steady growth of indigenous companies here mean the future looks bright for Brightwater. “The feeling in the office is one of optimism,” Stephanie said. “We do a lot of work in the market through our annual salary survey, more specific sector surveys and have a database which holds thousands of candidates so we’re well aware of how the economy is performing.” And it’s that data which is one reason sets Brightwater apart, helping it target the right type of candidate. “We make sure we’re sourcing the right candidates, even keeping an eye on the returners market, one which we need to keep a handle on and use clever digital work to target. Stephanie has certainly hit the ground running and doesn’t intend to slow down anytime soon. “The recruitment market has moved on a lot and we’re going to make sure we’re at the forefront of the industry, working hard for our clients to deliver the right candidates.”
Business Partners Michael McQuillan, Kirsty McManus and Neil Gibson explain how their Ulster University Business School departments are helping drive the Northern Ireland economy.
orthern Ireland’s businesses are a resourceful bunch. They’ve managed to build a dynamic, innovative and varied economy from the humblest of beginnings and in the most difficult circumstances, particularly in the last seven years in the aftermath of the global credit crunch. But they can’t be expected to compete with the best in the world all on their own. They need a little help and guidance to reach their potential and that’s where Ulster University Business School comes in.
It’s been a constant companion to business ever since it first opened its doors, most obviously by educating some of the most successful business people in the land but also by sharing its knowledge and experience to help drive entrepreneurship, leadership and policy. In the last few years, that support has been ramped up a few gears by the appointment of three straighttalking gurus who are helping point the good ship HMS Northern Ireland Economy in the right direction, stoke the furnaces and train the crew.
These three aren’t pie-in-the-sky idealists but realists with coal-face experience which they are putting to good use in combination with an in-built desire to see the economy here progress. Take Michael McQuillan. He’s Director of the Business Institute, a facility of the university which is unlike any other in that it doesn’t have any full time undergraduates. Instead it “offers an extensive suite of programmes and consultancy activities that will help to shape your future, your team’s future and your organisation’s future”.
out what businesses require and we adapt the delivery mechanism to suit the company.” “We can customise our programmes depending on the requirements of the organisation and offer a flexible approach to delivery.” And it’s not just the private sector which can benefit from the Business Institute. It also runs Advanced Diplomas for the third sector, and programmes for local government and the public sector, delivering impact through professionalising practice. And for larger companies which already have their own training structures in place the institute can also help. “For organisations which already have a high degree of people development in place, we can add content and accreditation to their courses, meaning participants end up with a professional qualification that is still delivered in-house.” While Michael is making sure Northern Ireland’s leaders are properly equipped, Kirsty McManus is making sure small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are getting the support they need as head of the SME Development Centre.
Pictured L-R: Neil Gibson, Kirsty McManus and Michael McQuillan.
That’s the Business Institute’s tagline, one which is backed up hugely by Michael’s industry experience. He founded and built up the Streat Café chain with his wife Nikki, and expanded it through a franchise model across the UK and Ireland, and since selling the business has devoted himself to helping teach others in business some of the key lessons he has learnt. “There are hundreds of people out there in business who have found themselves in management positions, but perhaps
without the relevant training to deal with the decisions they are going to have to face,”Michael told Ulster Business in the Belfast campus’s Streat Café. “We’re going out to them and professionalising their practice; helping them join the dots in the management and leadership functions.” The Business Institute runs a management framework on what it calls an open programme basis and is constantly making sure it’s answering the needs of business. “We then take that framework and bring it out to industry in a bespoke fashion. We find
It sets out to allow SMEs to move projects forward quickly by accessing a level of expertise that would otherwise be unachievable for a company their size. “Our role is to be the shop front for businesses who want to engage with the university”, she said. “We’re here to offer a one-stop shop of support for SMEs. It can be anything ranging from support for graduate placement, help with innovation vouchers, knowledge transfer partnerships, consultancy etc.” On a practical level, that support has already found a keen audience. One example Kirsty gives of that is a business which was about to close its doors due to financial difficulties just before Christmas but with the assistance of one of the accountancy >
professors at the university, it managed to secure finance and is now operational again. It also works with statutory agencies – such as Labour Relations, the Equality Commission, the Health and Safety Executive etc. – to explore how they can all come together as a support network for small businesses and organises practical support via its three patrons: Carson McDowell, Harbinson Mullholland and Keys Commercial Finance. In addition, it’s organising a doctor’s surgery event in September where small business come together under one roof to access support in everything from human resources to tax and it is also publishing a guide to alternative finance, something which is a direct response to feedback from business. All this has been driven by Kirsty’s obvious desire to see SMEs – and particularly micro businesses – in Northern Ireland succeed. “I’m very passionate about small business. Around 89% of business in Northern Ireland employ less than 10 people and if we can boost their productivity by just a fraction then we’ll reduce the productivity gap before long.” For Professor Neil Gibson, that productivity gap is of particular interest. He heads up the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre and it’s exactly those kind of
macro issues which he and his team analyse, highlight and communicate to government and beyond.
Northern Ireland over the next five years there are going to be tougher messages which we’re going to have to react to.”
“Our strapline is ‘to help Northern Ireland achieve its economic ambitions’”, Neil said. “That means carrying out research to help government make policy decisions which will be conducive to the type of economy we would all be proud of.”
But the flow of information doesn’t only head to Stormont, it also heads back to the factory floor.
That research can lead to some interesting and impressive conclusions, but can also highlight some hard-to-swallow facts.
“We find out what businesses require and we adapt the delivery mechanism to suit the company.” “Most people want less taxes and more money. We have to use our research and work closely with Kirsty and Michael to be able to reach a conclusion as to which will matter more to the economy.” “We have a challenging piece of work to do to bring research to policy makers which can make a genuine difference but which might often be telling them a message which they don’t want to hear. And for
“One of our jobs is partly an information piece to make sure businesses know what policy makers need to be able to craft effective policy and also that policy makers understand the relative pressure which business are under. That’s why we’re out there talking to businesses and finding out the issues they’re up against.” “It’s that honest conversation which has to take place in an economy which is now facing quite significant pressures on the public purse. We’re all going to be in this together, it’s going to be a tough economic environment and we’ll only succeed if our businesses succeed and that means our public sector, academia and businesses will need to evolve and change.” With the help of the three teams, Ulster University Business School is already making sure that process of evolution is well underway and it wants to let more businesses know that it’s here to help. By taking advantage of that help, there’s little doubt that our resourceful businesses will not just survive the next few years, but thrive.
The digital revolution? Niall Lavery, PwC’s digital director in Northern Ireland, takes a look into the digital future.
ake the most of your newspapers, paperbacks and music downloads while you can; for the world of digital is catching up fast and the UK is in the vanguard.
fewer newspapers to be sold by 2019, a 23% fall over the five year period and with the sophistication and capability of digital apps continuing to evolve and people’s appetite for online news showing no signs of abating, online news subscriptions are set to grow by 82% over the period.
Just a year ago, the UK’s annual Entertainment and Media (E&M) market – that’s everything from broadband services to online advertising – was worth almost £60bn, but that’s accelerating fast and should be worth around £67bn by 2019. The message that delivers across the traditional entertainment and media industry is that having a digital strategy is not as compelling as having an overall strategy that’s fit for a digital age – and one that marries together online and offline experiences for consumers. According to PwC’s latest Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 20152019, the biggest revenue generators in digital are set to become internet access and internet advertising, with the fastest growing digital sectors being TV advertising, out-of-home advertising and book publishing – but all these at the price of print. What’s increasingly clear from our Outlook is that consumers see no significant divide between digital and traditional media – what they want is more flexibility, freedom and convenience in when, where and how they interact with their preferred content. The E&M industry embraces TV subscriptions and licence fees, TV advertising, Internet access, radio, out-of-home advertising, video games, filmed entertainment, newspaper and magazine publishing, business-to-business,
internet advertising, book publishing and music. So within those sector, here are some of the main trends newspapers, publishers and traditional E&M providers should follow: E-books – the rise of the devices In 2014, e-books accounted for 22% of total books revenue (consumer, educational and professional) and this is forecast to rise to 47% by 2019 and we expect that consumer e-books will overtake print/audio copies in 2018. Part of the popularity of e-books is their price and convenience. However, with more reading taking place on devices, publishers will increasingly have to compete with video, music and game content for attention. Newspapers – the decline of print Between 2014 – 2019, print advertising is forecast to fall by 18%, in stark contrast to digital ad spend, which is expected to grow by £71m (30%). We also expect 467,000
Internet advertising – mobiles win The UK will remain the largest internet advertising market in Europe, with annual growth rate of 10.6% forecast over the next five years. The fastest growth will continue to be seen in mobile advertising and, with 2014 experiencing a 58% increase in revenues, we expect to see a compound annual growth rate of 25.4% taking revenues to £5bn in 2019. Music – streaming to soar In 2014, digital music streaming revenues jumped by 65% – almost six times the size it was in 2010. Streaming accounted for 22% of UK digital recorded music revenue in 2014, but this is forecast to increase to 49% by 2019, with music downloading the big loser. All our research suggests that, while the world is embracing digital, the entertainment and media industry is at the forefront of the digital revolution and that’s a dangerous time for any business or organisation in the sector that fails to embrace the fact that mastering the user experience is critical to success in this industry. In today’s world in beta, entertainment and media companies need to do three things to succeed: Innovate around the product and the user experience, develop seamless consumer relationships across distribution channels and put mobile (and increasingly video) at the centre of their consumer offerings.
Homing in on the talent Leeds man David Winterburn is Head of Delivery at 4c Executive Search. He discusses the executive search market in Northern Ireland and how it differs from markets further afield.
former Chair of the REC – the trade association for the £29bn recruitment industry in the UK – Winterburn’s credentials include a wide portfolio of senior industry roles, including Chairman of the Association of Executive Recruiters [AER]; President of the European Confederation of Search and Selection Associations [ECSSA]; two terms on the National Council of the IoD and a former Non-Executive Director of the British American Business Council.
“In terms of executive search, Northern Ireland is very much an emerging market compared to GB, but it is making great strides. Across the EU, meanwhile, markets like Germany and France are very buoyant when compared to the likes of those in Spain and Italy. But it is widely accepted that the forefathers of executive search are the Americans and I think we have a lot to learn from them in terms of the value that they place on the benefits of using executive search.”
He was appointed in 2013 by 4c’s Founder and Managing Director, Gary Irvine – also a former chair of the REC and founder of Diamond Recruitment Group. As Head of Delivery at 4c, Winterburn oversees the entire executive search process for every 4c assignment, with the team having successfully filled over 50 roles in the past 18 months.
“Although I have been coming back and forth to Northern Ireland for many years, it is only over the past two years at 4c that I have really become immersed in the local business community and culture,” he explains.
“Given the breadth and depth of our combined 50 years’ experience, and the leading team we have behind us, I think we offer arguably the strongest proposition in executive search in Northern Ireland,” Winterburn says. “Our combined roles over the years have given us great insight into the recruitment industry, particularly executive search, in the UK and Europe and further afield.
“Very quickly it became apparent to me that Northern Ireland has a lot to celebrate. Admittedly I was initially slightly concerned that the local market wouldn’t be big enough to take up 4c’s specialist offering, but I have found that there are so many fantastic businesses keen to recruit at senior level who had previously had to look to GB for a bespoke search solution. “There were, of course, some local nuances to get used to in some cases, such as a much lesser appetite or willingness to travel any great distance to work
compared to the commuting culture that exists in GB. Salaries here also tend to be lower than in GB – albeit they are very much counteracted by the higher quality of life and standard of living here. “At 4c we very much have a global outreach and even recently I have interviewed people from Australia, Russia and Dubai for assignments we are working on. The quality of life here is certainly an attraction for international candidates, although without exception it always helps if a candidate has a link to Northern Ireland in terms of family or education.” Winterburn describes the executive search market in Northern Ireland as “buoyant” and attributes one key principle to success in the market: “Success in executive search comes from always doing the right thing by both the client and candidate,” he says. “The professionalism surrounding the industry is so important at all times and I think has ultimately been a big part of 4c Executive Search’s success to date. We have a growing team of industryleading professionals who are totally committed to professionalism and high standards. They want to do it right every time, they care passionately and the results speak for themselves.”
ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS
Pictured at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2015, held during the GroceryAid Grocers’ Ball at the Culloden Hotel on May 22, are, from left, Linda Fitzgerald, Desi Derby and Glen Cinnamon from Lidl, Brian Crawford of sponsor McGowans, Miss Northern Ireland Leanne McDowell, Paul Gibson of Lidl and James Greer, publisher of Ulster Grocer.
A LIDL surprise at the Ulster Grocer 2015 Marketing Awards
idl continued a stellar year in the Northern Ireland grocery trade at the weekend, walking away with the top prize of Best 2014 Marketing Campaign at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2015. Award winners were announced during the Grocers’ Ball, an annual gala evening held at the Culloden Hotel to raise funds for grocers’ benevolent fund GroceryAid. This year’s event was well attended by representatives from the local grocery, food, drink and marketing sectors, and saw £44,345 raised for the charity. Awards were distributed across eight categories and reflected the breadth of the local grocery sector, with other winners including the Henderson Group, Asda, Cloughbane Farm, Mash Direct, Squeeze Wheatgrass and White’s Oats. Hosting the evening was UTV presenter Paul Clark, while also presenting awards were Ulster Grocer publisher James Greer, Miss Northern Ireland Leanne McDowell and individual award sponsors. “Entry numbers for the Ulster Grocer Marketing
Awards continue to grow year on year,” said James Greer. “This year, many of the categories were hotly contested with the judges impressed by the quality of entries from not just major retail chains but also independent shops and small, local producers. “As the local agri-food sector continues to grow and receive recognition as a vital driver of the Northern Ireland economy, the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2015 also reflect a return to confidence with businesses of all sizes willing to invest in marketing and brand building.” The top accolade of Best Marketing Campaign 2014, sponsored by digital print services provider McGowans, went to Lidl, recognised by judges for its succinct campaign objectives and integrated programme embracing diverse media. Two entries in the category were highly commended, the Henderson Group with its Spar Hearts and Minds Christmas campaign and Mackle Petfoods with its Brandy campaign which took the top prize in 2014. Cloughbane Farm Shop led the Best Brand category, with Irwin’s Bakery as highly commended, while in the Hunky Dorys-
sponsored category of Best CSR Initiative/Charity Partnership, Asda lifted the top award and Tesco NI/Diabetes UK was highly commended. Best New Product Launch/Relaunch, sponsored by Dennison Commercials, went to White’s followed by two highly commended entries, from Musgrave/SuperValu and Nisa Retail. Green Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Power NI, went to Henderson Retail, while independent retailer JC Stewart of Magherafelt picked up a highly commended accolade. Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion, sponsored by NI Resourcing, went to the Henderson Group, with CPM/Suntory highly commended for Lucozade Sport. Finally, Mash Direct was recognised for Best Food Export Marketing, while the new category of Best Artisan Foods Campaign went to Squeeze Wheatgrass. Judges of the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2014 included Michael Maguire of Quintus, Alan Egner of Power NI and Alyson Magee editor of Ulster Grocer.
Flags, firebombs & flashbacks
ICT & Technology
Nitec Security Sauce. ICT & TECHNOLOGY
Cutting out the cyber security threat You probably lock the door of your office each night but do you properly secure your IT network? To get the best advice on how to maintain a high level of cyber security in your business here are a few top tips from the people who know at GCHQ.
1. Information Risk Management Regime Assess the risks to your organisationâ€™s information assets with the same vigour as you would for legal, regulatory, financial or operational risk. To achieve this, embed an Information Risk Management Regime across your organisation, supported by the Board, senior managers and an empowered information assurance (IA) structure. Consider communicating your risk management policy across your
organisation to ensure that employees, contractors and suppliers are aware of your organisationâ€™s risk management boundaries.
to threats and vulnerabilities, and increase risk to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of systems and information.
2. Secure configuration
3. Network security
Introduce corporate policies and processes to develop secure baseline builds, and manage the configuration and use of your ICT systems. Remove or disable unnecessary functionality from ICT systems, and keep them patched against known vulnerabilities. Failing to do this will expose your business
Connecting to untrusted networks (such as the Internet) can expose your organisation to cyber attacks. Follow recognised network design principles when configuring perimeter and internal network segments, and ensure all network devices are configured to the secure baseline build. Filter all traffic at
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ICT & TECHNOLOGY
the network perimeter so that only traffic required to support your business is allowed, and monitor traffic for unusual or malicious incoming and outgoing activity that could indicate an attack (or attempted attack).
4. Managing user privileges All users of your ICT systems should only be provided with the user privileges that they need to do their job. Control the number of privileged accounts for roles such as system or database administrators, and ensure this type of account is not used for high risk or day-to-day user activities. Monitor user activity, particularly all access to sensitive information and privileged account actions (such as creating new user accounts, changes to user passwords and deletion of accounts and audit logs).
“Continuously monitor inbound and outbound network traffic to identify unusual activity or trends that could indicate attacks and the compromise of data.” 5. User education and awareness Produce user security policies that describe acceptable and secure use of your organisation’s ICT systems. These should be formally acknowledged in employment terms and conditions. All users should receive regular training on the cyber risks they face as employees and individuals. Security related roles (such as system administrators, incident management team members and forensic investigators) will require specialist training.
6. Incident management Establish an incident response and disaster recovery capability that addresses the full range of incidents that can occur. All incident management plans (including disaster recovery and business continuity) should be regularly tested. Your incident response team may need specialist training across
a range of technical and non-technical areas. Report online crimes to the relevant law enforcement agency to help the UK build a clear view of the national threat and deliver an appropriate response.
7. Malware prevention Produce policies that directly address the business processes (such as email, web browsing, removable media and personally owned devices) that are vulnerable to malware. Scan for malware across your organisation and protect all host and client machines with antivirus solutions that will actively scan for malware. All information supplied to or from your organisation should be scanned for malicious content.
8. Monitoring Establish a monitoring strategy and develop supporting policies, taking into account previous security incidents and attacks, and your organisation’s incident management policies. Continuously monitor inbound and outbound network traffic to identify unusual activity or trends that could indicate attacks and the compromise of data. Monitor all ICT systems using Network and Host Intrusion Detection Systems (NIDS/ HIDS) and Prevention Systems (NIPS/HIDS).
9. Removable media controls Produce removable media policies that control the use of removable media for the import and export of information. Where
the use of removable media is unavoidable, limit the types of media that can be used together with the users, systems, and types of information that can be transferred. Scan all media for malware using a standalone media scanner before any data is imported into your organisation’s system.
“Introduce corporate policies and processes to develop secure baseline builds, and manage the configuration and use of your ICT systems.” 10. Home and mobile working Assess the risks to all types of mobile working (including remote working where the device connects to the corporate network infrastructure) and develop appropriate security policies. Train mobile users on the secure use of their mobile devices for locations they will be working from. Apply the secure baseline build to all types of mobile device used. Protect data-at-rest using encryption (if the device supports it) and protect data-intransit using an appropriately configured Virtual Private Network (VPN).
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ICT & TECHNOLOGY
Taking the pulse of connected health
By Gareth Morrison, Managing Director, The Lava Group
new generation of healthcare is just around the corner for patients, carers and medical staff with companies in Northern Ireland already embarking on potentially market leading innovations. Soon the health care we receive will be almost unrecognisable when compared with what is on offer now. An aging population, increase in chronic illnesses and budgetary pressures have forced our medical professionals to think outside the box and they are turning to technology for the solutions to some of the toughest problems currently facing society. In its simplest form, connected health refers to solutions that use technology to deliver healthcare remotely, allowing more efficient monitoring, patient identification and behavioural analysis.
â€œIn its simplest form, connected health refers to solutions that use technology to deliver healthcare remotely.â€? We have already seen wearable fitness devices come to the market which allow people to measure how far they have walked or how well they are sleeping. It is likely that the wearable device concept will begin to appear in our hospitals to measure vital signs such as heart rate and blood pressure in a subtle and discrete way. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are almost a billion people
globally who suffer from a chronic disease. They predict that by the end of this year the global telehealth industry will be worth $18bn, with a rapid rise anticipated in the years to come. One forecaster from market watcher Machina Research has estimated that by 2020 this figure will have increased to $69bn. The Lava Group has recently joined the Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC), a local organisation which is playing a key role in facilitating collaboration and innovation between home-grown companies. It is leading transformational research which aligns care needs with technology providers, researchers and clinical experience. It has already attracted membership from well-known companies including Randox and academic institutions such as Ulster University, who are working alongside smaller companies to develop new ideas. The connected health sector is still in its early stages and having access to an organisation that promotes engagement
within forward thinking companies in Northern Ireland has been invaluable to our own R&D as we develop solutions. Our experience within the custodial sector has shown our potential to develop behavioural analysis technology for use with patients suffering from dementia and autism. We are aiming to develop a product that will recognise repetitive behaviour in a patient. This is often the first sign that a patient is becoming agitated, which can progress to aggressive behaviour. Not only will our technology alert the carer and make them aware of the situation, it will also highlight trends and trigger events so that in the future steps can be taken to reduce the influence of the triggers. It isnâ€™t a question of if connected health will begin to impact on our medical treatment, rather it is a question of when. The potential benefits, both in terms of money saved, improved results and increased quality of life for patients and carers, are too good for the health sector to ignore.
Nitec Security Sauce. Loved by hard working companies. Loathed by hard working criminals.
NITEC.COM | 028 9442 7000 | SOLUTIONS@NITEC.COM Stop cyber threats on your network, internet and email before they reach your data. Criminals are working around the clock to compromise your systems. We can be there to stop them every 30 seconds, 24 hours every day of the year.
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ICT & TECHNOLOGY
Big data means big opportunities for NI business By Roisin Byrne, Business Director, Hays in Northern Ireland
At Hays we have seen first-hand how businesses are adapting to new technologies to improve their operations, and the impact this has had on their staffing needs with demand for new roles to manage these technologies. We have been following the evolution of the global technology sector to prepare for its impact on the recruitment requirements for brand new IT roles in Northern Ireland. From consultancies and financial services, through to large indigenous companies, large volumes of roles are being registered within data analytics and business intelligence functions. It is interesting to note that the candidates are coming from a combination of professionals relocating to Northern Ireland with in-demand skillsets and also recent graduates retraining for technical roles. Ultimately, organisations understand that well-used data improves productivity and managing big data intelligently is therefore correlated to growth and profit. As a result more businesses are investing in their IT infrastructure and are looking for expert analysts who can examine data to produce valuable business insights.
nap and share on your mobile phone. Point and scan at the grocery shop. Tweet 140 characters. It’s all data. Big Data has an all-pervasive impact on businesses and organisations. The term describes the technologies and practice of handling large volumes of information that conventional databases cannot handle efficiently. As individuals and businesses, we are generating, capturing, aggregating, storing, crunching and sharing huge amounts of data. Around 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone; everyday business and consumer life creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. Data is a resource and it is transforming relationships between organisations and customer; governments and citizens. Analytics and cloud services now represent a multi-billion pound global market – which growing numbers of Northern Ireland firms are already capitalising on.
Of course, big data and new IT infrastructure issues (including BYOD) come with a set of security challenges, and as a result, demand for cybersecurity specialists is sky-rocketing, with the global cybersecurity industry predicted to be valued at £100bn by 2019. As Northern Ireland starts to tap into the opportunities arising through big data and cloud services, recruitment specialists need to not only understand employers’ IT requirements but also identify where the relevant candidates can be found to satisfy the growing demand for niche roles. Big data and the plethora of associated issues it brings, presents new opportunities and new challenges for Northern Ireland businesses. Like many other companies in the 21st century marketplace, Hays is also utilising big data and leveraging technology platforms to precisely match candidates to meet the needs of employers. It’s encumbent upon us to practice what we preach, and to keep our finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving IT recruitment landscape. For further information visit our website www.hays.co.uk/northern-ireland
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ICT & TECHNOLOGY
EOS Systems deliver A+ service for Ai Services
Bryan McCully( Left) , Finiancal Controller, Ai Services and Paul Mayne, Eossystems Ltd Bryan McCully (left), Financial Controller, Ai Services and Paul Mayne, EOS Systems Ltd.
griculture is a mainstay of Northern Ireland’s economy, contributing around £1.5bn to our gross annual turnover. Within this broad agri-category, our beef and dairy sectors play pivotal roles, due in large part to our healthy pastoral environment, our family-based system of farming and our robust herds of beef and dairy animals. And for over 50 years Ai Services (NI), based near Templepatrick in County Antrim, has played an essential part in maintaining a healthy and productive gene pool amongst our livestock. “We’re a farmers’ co-operative,” explains Bryan McCully, Ai Services’ financial controller. “We’re owned by over 10,000 Northern Ireland farmers who helped to buy us out from DARD some 27 years ago. And as a co-operative, we’ve a duty to deliver the highest standards of service to
our members. IT plays a key part in this. When I came here a few years ago, our IT was adequate, but it wasn’t fully integrated and much of the hardware was nearing end of life. Having a major shake-up of our IT infrastructure wasn’t exactly an attractive proposition, but we knew it had to be done. The challenge was to find the right IT support partner to take us through the process.” The Ai Services contract was awarded to EOS Systems in Belfast through a process of competitive tender. “The EOS Systems team brought absolutely the right balance of experience, competitiveness and capability,” says Bryan. “They may be IT professionals, but they’re entirely non-geeky, which is a big plus, and we’ve found that they’re very clued in to what our best options are. As with any major IT overhaul, the process of change threw up occasional glitches, but I’ve been
very impressed and reassured by the speedy response and hands-on approach of everyone at EOS Systems from the directors down.” Paul Mayne, director at EOS Systems, handles the Ai Services account. “We’re taking a phased approach to this project. New hardware has been installed and software is in the process of being upgraded. We’ll also be looking at ways to improve the remote hand-held technology currently used in the field, and as it’s Ai Services, it’s quite literally, ‘in the field’, in most cases! What we’ve also brought to Ai Services is our absolute belief in back-up, back-up, back-up. Our cloud-based solutions are opening up new tiers of security and data control for our customers and it’s an area that Ai Services has embraced fully.” To find out how EOS Systems can help your business with its IT requirements, call Paul Mayne today on 028 9045 9222 or email: email@example.com
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ICT & TECHNOLOGY
Skilling up for cyber security Phil Vernon, Senior Recruitment Consultant at Diamond Recruitment Group, looks into Northern Ireland’s growing cyber security industry.
he strength of the ICT market in Northern Ireland is highly visible. Northern Ireland is the most successful country in Europe at attracting foreign investment per capita and, in addition, we have the largest software development industry in the UK outside of London. To quantify this, at the last count by E-skills there were over 1,600 ICT businesses in the region. However, things have not stopped there. The sector continues to innovate and evolve and, from a recruitment perspective, we are now seeing huge growth in the demand for information security and cyber threat intelligence skills within the sector. The ICT market in Northern Ireland is buzzing about cyber security and we anticipate a consistent increase in demand for these skills for the foreseeable future. Defining the skills required within the sector is challenging as the catch-all term of “cyber security” covers a broad range of disciplines from physical networks, cloud networks, software applications and best practice process. Equally as broad as the skill sets required are the drivers behind the growth of cyber security in Northern Ireland. We have seen some of the world’s leading cyber security organisations relocate their operations to Northern Ireland. In addition, there has been a rise in the number of successful, indigenous cyber security start-ups, be they spin-outs from our world-class academic institutions or from the entrepreneurial flair that has underpinned the ICT economy in Northern Ireland since its inception. Diamond Recruitment Group are proud to have played a part in this by sourcing many of the initial staff needed for these companies to set up. This has enabled us to really understand the key skills needed to succeed in this niche environment and to attract talent for our clients from both the local market and overseas. Further, due to the number of high profile security breaches that we have seen and will continue to see, cyber security has been
placed firmly on the agenda at board management level. It is now being incorporated into company strategy and is viewed as integral for sustainable success of the majority of businesses. Software development houses are increasingly placing security at the beginning of the development cycle and this “security first” approach requires all within the sector to have understanding of core cyber security principles. Businesses are reacting by either bringing cyber security skills in-house or outsourcing the requirement for security to a service specialist, many of whom have operations in Northern Ireland. Diamond Recruitment is working closely with a number of organisations who are leading the way in cyber security in Northern Ireland and there are exciting times ahead for the sector as it continues to mature. For those operating within the ICT Sector within Northern Ireland, it is worthwhile to consider options for cyber security upskilling and training as well as the formal qualifications that are available. As the Northern Ireland ICT market adapts to stay ahead of the curve, so too should those within it.
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Free hotel Wi-Fi can attract new business
esearch shows that in today’s digitally connected world, most hotel guests consider free internet access to be as important as a good night’s sleep, or a satisfying breakfast. And now, thanks to collaboration between ICT specialists EOS Systems and Dell Sonicwall, guests at any of the six Hastings Hotels in Northern Ireland can enjoy all three. EOS Systems recently completed the installation of a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi system in the group’s hotels. And as Peter Brown, director of EOS Systems explains, it is proving to be a valuable asset, both for guests, and for Hastings. “We’ve provided IT support to Hastings Hotels for many years. Their previous Wi-Fi system came from a well-known third party provider, and was cumbersome, costly and inflexible, and struggled to cope with the demands of conferences and trade shows. Our new solution delivers fast, efficient and adaptable Wi-Fi at a low cost. It uses all the security features available with Dell Sonicwall products and offers a totally robust Wi-Fi solution suitable for the Hastings Group. This rollout completes the first stage in a larger Wi-Fi solution and using Dell Sonicwall products means we’ll be able to expand the solution for future requirements.”
Peter Brown, EOS (left) with Howard Hastings.
“Wi-Fi is vital in order to allow guests to update their social media platforms. In fact, free internet access will even influence the decision whether or not to book into a hotel. Our Wi-Fi offer is helping bring in new staying guests, and it’s also attracting new sections of the conference market to our facilities. The system will quickly pay for itself, so we regard it very much as a business investment, rather than a cost.” To find out how EOS Systems can help your hotel or business with
According to Hastings Hotels managing director, Howard Hastings, quality Wi-Fi is now one of their most important hotel amenities.
future internet access, call Peter Brown today on 028 9045 9222 or email: email@example.com
Deloitte search for the brightest and best in the technology sector Now in its 16th year, the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 recognises technology businesses that have achieved substantial growth in turnover in the past four years. In addition to the Fast 50 ranking, the Rising Star category will award two up-and-coming companies that have been in business for less than four years. David Crawford, Partner at Deloitte said: “We were hugely encouraged by the level of passion, drive and energy shown by local firms last year with 13 Northern Ireland companies occupying places in the Fast 50.
Greg Wilson (left), CEO of Belfast-based insurance comparison company Seopa and David Crawford, partner at Deloitte in Belfast.
he Deloitte Technology Fast 50 is once again seeking the most exciting and fastest growing technology companies on the island of Ireland.
If that sounds like your business, or a business you work with then cast your vote when nominations open later this month at www.fast50.ie.
“Northern Ireland is now home to a growing number of creative tech companies who are gaining increasing recognition on the global stage. We are urging those in the industry to get involved and use The Fast 50 as a platform to showcase their talents.” Winners will be announced at an exclusive gala event in Dublin on 13th November 2015, which will bring together the best of the indigenous technology sector on the island of Ireland. For more information please visit www.fast50.ie
Manufacturing & Engineering
ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING
Jonathan Dobbin, Head of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, left, and Sir John Parker. The Anglo American chair was in Belfast to give local entrepreneurs an insight into his career at a Barclaysâ€™ sponsored event at the Merchant Hotel.
ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING
Lessons from the bridge Sir John Parker has a long legacy of leadership in the engineering world, from Harland and Wolff to Anglo American. David Elliott caught up with him on a visit to Belfast to speak to clients of Barclays Wealth.
reat leaders possess a certain air of authority which you can pick up on from the moment you come into their presence. Truly great leaders not only carry themselves with authority but also with a level of humility which can sometimes be found wanting, particularly after years of success. Sir John Parker falls into the latter category, immediately charming Ulster Business with his understated good humour when we meet in the opulent surroundings of the Merchant Hotel in Belfast. That comes as a surprise only because Sir John has a busy diary, what with being chairman of FTSE 100-listed mining company Anglo American, director of aerospace manufacturer EADS, director and vice chairman of cruise company DP World, non-executive chairman of naval marine company BVT Surface Fleet and nonexecutive chairman of investment company Ombu Group. Quite a CV, and one which is preceded by stints at National Grid, Carnival Group, Babcock Group, Lattice Group and, of course, as the boss of Harland and Wolff. Not bad for a farmer’s son from County Down. But it’s that grounding in the mechanics of the land which is responsible for much of what came later, with Sir John waxing lyrically about the wonders of fellow County Down man Harry Ferguson’s three-point
linkage, one which transformed the way tractors work when it was first patented in 1926 and one which is still in use today.
leadership in the engineering sector, skills learnt from the shop floor at Harland and Wolff.
“I went into engineering because I was fascinated by the mechanics on the farm and in particular by the Ferguson tractor and its three point linkage,” he told Ulster Business. “I read about Harry Fergusion and was inspired by this man who wasn’t formally education but managed to developed a system which has transformed world agriculture.”
He joined the ship yard in 1958 as an apprentice naval architect where he learnt his trade before going on to study for a degree in the same at Queen’s University Belfast.
While Sir John isn’t an inventor, he has certainly made waves in the world of
Rising through the ranks of the yard during its heyday, Sir John eventually became chief executive in 1983, a position he held until 1993 during a busy period for the yard when it was building oil tankers and cargo ships as well as ferries. >
What makes a good leader? Sir John Parker’s seven top tips: 1. Communication: communication is the sister of leadership. If you can’t communicate your ideas to your colleagues then you’ll not be a very effective leader. 2. Inspiration: you need to have the ability to inspire people. You need to make them believe that they can smash the targets you’ve set. 3. Empowerment: a good leader will empower their people. Give them clear responsibility and authority to execute the responsibility. 4. Listen and learn: you don’t learn much by always talking. Take time to listen. 5. Be decisive: paralysis through analysis is not a healthy trait. Off course you must assess risk, but you must make clear, swift decisions. 6. Act courageously: sometimes that means basing your decision on your own innate instinct. 7. Be consistent in your behaviour: don’t sign up to value statements unless you’re prepared to stick by them.
ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING
Since then he’s been busy in his role in the wheelhouse of some of the world’s biggest companies, offering a guiding hand and a font of knowledge as a board member and in many cases as chair. Who better then to cast his eye over the economic landscape in Northern Ireland? “If you go back to the 1820s, Belfast was a very small town of 2,000 people yet by the end of that century we had the biggest rope works, the biggest thread works and the biggest shipyard in the world. That entrepreneurial spirit is still here and for a population of just 1.5 million, it’s amazing how many world class scientists, engineers and other specialists Northern Ireland has produced.” “Northern Ireland is very well placed to maximise the opportunities in, for instance, the technology space today, but that needs to be backed up by the right training, the right business environment and the right support from government to make sure the education facilities are matching the economy’s strategic direction.” Sir John said the business of running Northern Ireland’s economy isn’t dissimilar to running a global company. “A society like this isn’t much different to a large corporate. You need a clear industrial strategy, something some of us in the UK have fought for very hard for. The current (Westminster) administration has got the message and has developed high-growth industrial strategies based on sectors such as aerospace, automotive, pharmaceutical, agri-tech, construction etc, each of which has a 10-year vision submitted to government. “Those sectors are creating the pull for research and development and for training and are well worth aligning the economy here to.”
need for success in today’s technologicaldriven world are here in Northern Ireland.” “There are many young people here wanting to start their own businesses and that entrepreneurial spirit is exactly what we need. We need the next generation of Harry Fergusons, of James Martins (the Crossgar-born inventor of the ejector seat), we need those guys coming through in a new generation.” And the odd hiccup shouldn’t be viewed as a stumbling block. “People have to be confident and have a go; don’t be afraid of failing. Failure will happen, mistakes will be made, but in an entrepreneurial society you have to dust yourself down and get back up again.”
Sir John Parker’s lessons from the yard: “I had a managing director at Harland and Wolff who said if you are going to be successful in life you must get more than 50% of your decisions right. When in doubt, he said, make a decision on a Friday night because you’ve the luxury of the weekend to change your mind. If all else fails he said he had an ornamental windmill on his desk which he would give a twirl and make a decision based on where it ended up stopping. He made the first semi-submersible drilling rig to go into the north sea called Sea Quest for BP (which found the first oil in the North Sea), a rig which was so big it was considered too big to launch from the Harland and Wolff slipways. I was a young naval architect and two or three of us were put into a team to figure out how to launch the vessel and how had to build a temporary barge on the slipway. That was the sort of brave decision he could make. He also built the first 200,000 metric tonne tanker for Shell. When the order was taken the slipway would have to be extended and to extend it we would have had to knock down two bays of fabrication shed.
And he feels the engineering sector in Northern Ireland has a bright future.
‘Take the order,’ he said. When we went to ask permission to knock the bays down he said ‘No way, find another solution.’ and the ship was halfway built on the slipway. We had to find a way to slide it 120 feet down the slipway and build the rest of it. Worked on it for weeks and weeks but we managed to launch it.
“Lessons from history tell us that if you have the right drive, skills and leadership then nothing is impossible. It seems to me that so many of the basic ingredients which you
He had entrepreneurial spirit and was a great believer that technical people can solve any issue.”
Engineering from Latin ingenium meaning
“to contrive, devise” application of scientific, economic, social, and practical knowledge in order to is the
invent, design, build, maintain, research and improve structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and
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CEO Jarek Zasadzinski with the management team at Greiner Packaging.
From innovation alley to Quality Street Greiner Packaging have been quietly making waves in the global plastic manufacturing world. David Elliott found out more.
o understand just how far Northern Ireland’s most innovative companies have impacted the daily life of people around the world, you don’t need to look far. You could take a ride in a car or a bus and marvel at John Dunlop’s pneumatic tyre, fly a jet plane and feel safe in the knowledge that James Martin invented the ejector seat to get you out of there if you’re in trouble and, if you’re really in trouble, Frank Pantridge’s portable defibrillator could help restart your heart.
hexagonal plastic container, all thanks to Dungannon company Greiner Packaging. The plastic packaging manufacturer won the tender to redesign the iconic box from Nestlé in 2012 and now carries out £5.5m worth of business with the Swiss company every year. In fact, because of the success of the project in Northern Ireland, the Austrian-headquarted Greiner Group has also carried out another €20m worth of business for Nestlé.
However, one lesser-known innovation from these shores is one which you might become familiar with around Christmas time.
Family-owned Greiner is nearly 150 years old and although now a plastics manufacturer, it started out producing corks for wine bottles at its Austrian base. With the fall of the Berlin wall in the 90s it began expanding into central Europe and in 2000 headed west, arriving in the UK and Ireland 10 years ago.
It’s the large Quality Street box, one which you may have noticed has changed from a round metal tin to a
The Quality Street box is just one of the products made by Greiner’s Dungannon factory.
It is focused on rigid packaging for dairy spreads, yoghurt, desserts, butter, bread, cheese etc for the likes of Yo Valley, Arla, Pepsico, Premier Foods, Glanbia and a host of other big name food processors. As the Quality Street project proves, it places a lot of emphasis on innovation to make sure it’s answering the everchanging needs of the industry. The latest focuses on food-on-the-go such as porridge, salads, coffees and teas which require attractive and functional packaging. One of its greatest successes recently has been with Yew Valley where it has designed packaging using K3, a plastic and cardboard combination which allows the carbon footprint of the product to be reduced drastically and offers bigger opportunities for brands as the recycled board can be printed from both sides.
ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING
And once the packaging has been used, it can be separated into cardboard and plastic for recycling, a process which won’t be the first for the latter product which has already been recycled. “The brand has been very successful and local companies such as Clandeboye Estate and Dale Farm are using it,” said Jarek Zasadzinski, Chief Executive of Greiner’s UK operations based at the Dungannon plant. He has been at the forefront of the site’s transformation since taking over at the helm when Greiner bought the Wilsanco Plastics business in 2005. CEO Jarek Zasadzinski, Duke of Gloucester and COO Darryl McShane.
The University of Massachussetts and Queen’s University graduate took over the site from previous owner Jeremy Wilson. “It was a natural fit because both companies are family owned and due to the nature of growth and investment, Jeremy was looking for a reliable partner and at that stage Wilsanco was the last independent producer in rigid packaging in the UK.” The first few years were busy for Jarek. “At the time when we took it over, the company had just undertaken a major growth project but unfortunately it nearly brought the company to the ground,” he said. “We came at the right time and if it wasn’t for the Griener family takeover the company would have ceased operating in 2006. “Within two years the company was back on its feet, and was turning over £15.5m with 190 employees.” The growth over the last 10 years has been such that it now has 250 employees and is turning over £36m. Jarek, as well as getting married last year, has become an integral part of the holding company Greiner Packaging International and sits on the board of it and the Greiner site in US, one which was set up using the knowhow gained in Dungannon. The Chief Operating Officer of the Pennsylvanian site served his apprenticeship at the Co Tyrone plant, a route to work which Jarek himself took before
heading to university and one which is still a big focus for the company. It has 20 apprentices on the Greiner Gold Apprenticeship program which it runs in association with a local college and with the Department of Employment, Learning and the Environment. Five of the 20 are just about to start in full-time jobs at Greiner. Meanwhile, the company has been innovative in its approach to processes as well as to product. It has invested £2m in Project Cool in association with neighbouring school Dungannon Integrated College. Realising the plant had a need to cool its plastic extruders and the school had a need for heat, Greiner has installed a system using water to cool the machines, taking the warmed water and passing it through the school and its own offices to give them free heat. “The school has enough money for an extra three teachers a year and are in a process of planning a gymnasium which is also going to be heated by us,” Jarek said. “We’ve transferred the knowledge from our Swiss sister company which has been heating asparagus fields and local housing.” In fact, the first asparagus of the year which you will eat will have been grown from heat sourced from Greiner’s sister company.
“We took that idea, upgraded it and made it even more efficient. We’ve cut our carbon footprint by over one third and energy use by 50% and now have a closed loop water system so we don’t discharge into the mains. That project helped create 20 new jobs and safeguard 20 more but that isn’t the end of the firm’s growth. It’s in the middle of hiring another 40 people – engineers and technical specialists – and has big plans for the future of the Dungannon site. “We expect to double in size in the next few years here. It’s a new leg in the expansion and growth of the company and we’ll be investing £1m in the new technology in the next three months.” One of the things that technology will be used for is to manufacture plastic jars to replace the preponderance of glass used for honey, jam etc. and, given its track record, there’s little doubt that those impressive growth targets will be met. Quite a story from a company which defines the term ‘innovation’ more than most. It’s little wonder Jarek took the Business Person of the Year title at the Viscount Awards this year.
Eyes to the future An artistic Impression of the new Dyehouse and Energy Centre.
At Ulster Carpets’ headquarters in Portadown, the focus is firmly on the future. Currently underway is the first phase of a £30m development at the site which has been in operation since the company’s foundation in 1937. This phase of works will see the erection of a new Dyehouse and Energy Centre – a state-of-the-art facility designed to both improve energy efficiency and reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Ulster Carpets has a strong commitment to using local suppliers and buying locally which will be reflected throughout this development programme, supporting the local economy.
Sofitel Dubai Downtown.
Intercontinental Le Grand Hotel, Paris.
The following phases of investment will roll out over the coming years and marks not only a commitment to innovation and building upon the company’s success, but also a commitment to continued manufacturing within the province. Whilst a tough trading period and financial pressures have seen many of their competitors move their operations abroad, Ulster have strategically navigated their way through the crisis and remained steadfast in their dedication to local manufacturing. Every week, luxurious bespoke woven axminster carpets are despatched from Portadown to the most prestigious casinos, hotels and cruise ships around the world. ‘Ulster’ carpet can be found in the Burj al Arab (Dubai), The Savoy Hotel (London), the Tower of London, Intercontinental Le Grand Hotel (Paris), and Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas), to name but a few. MD, Nick Coburn commented: “Ulster Carpets ethos has always been centred on progression and change. Our continued focus on innovation and quality has allowed us to retain a competitive edge whilst still manufacturing in Northern Ireland. We control the entire process from the supply and processing of wool from Ulster Yarns (Dewsbury) right through to design, weaving and manufacturing in Portadown. This affords us superior quality and cost control at every stage which combined with excellent customer service has ensured we remain a market leader. However it is the ongoing endeavour of our people which sets us apart from the competition.”
The continual search for better leadership John Simpson offers an assessment of leadership in Northern Ireland and suggests that questioning your leaders and your own leadership is paramount.
n the search for a stronger economy, rebalancing the private and public sectors, building a greater degree of social cohesion, and motivating enterprise and entrepreneurs, there is no shortage of ideas, some impractical, others useful. Ambition for better outcomes is a near universal theme. All too often, that ambition converts into ‘the third person’. Somebody, somewhere,
with the right ideas could, or should, do something. Only too rarely are there inward looking comments asking whether the ‘first person’, - i.e the entrepreneur or manager themselves, - could, or should, be able to lead an organisation to a stronger trading outcome. Easy, and sometimes mistaken, ambition converts to wishfull thinking. Bottomless pits of funds for government to spend
are the illusion of every sectional interest group, unless you happen to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Two recent topical examples, APD and VAT. Whether the spotlight falls on ambitious statements that the ending of APD (air passenger duty) would build a larger tourist input to the economy, or removing partially or wholly the VAT on the hospitality sector providers, is a key to attracting more
tourists, interested parties often plead for differentiation and discrimination to give their interests a boost.
Almac founder, the late Sir Allen McClay, one of Northern Ireland’s most inspirational leaders.
Such examples might be described as offering leadership. However, at the least, they are examples of selfinterest or selfish redistribution. Sometimes, the proposals are understandable but wrong-headed. There is, of course, much to be said about taxation and regulation as an aid to reaching specific objectives. One caution: taxation and regulation do not bring guaranteed results. Even the best modelling of behaviour by interest groups or specific participants is subject to a degree of uncertainty. More critically, reliance on taxation, subsidies and degrees of regulation start from an assumption that
normal ‘market forces’ need to be manipulated of re-enforced.
sector be expected to do more to lift performance ‘by their own bootstraps’?
Continuing with the example of the tourist sector, what progress could be made if official actions were closer to being intervention neutral? Putting that question another way, could entrepreneurs in the tourism
Official policy is that development of the tourist sector is expected to contribute to a stronger local economy. Northern Ireland Tourism, now working in alignment with Invest NI, has the job of promoting an expansion of tourism while influencing an expanded capacity to provide more and better services for tourists.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group of companies.
There is a temptation to link the ambition for an expanding sector with the implied question of ‘what should the government and government agencies do to help this sector develop? This is asking for ‘third person’ action. Cutting VAT on the hospitality providers or removing APD to increase the number of tourists arriving by air, emerge from such suggestions. Those suggestions are not necessarily mistaken. However, an over-riding perspective must rely on a more careful analysis and a judgement on the options. There are understandable reasons for policy leaders to emphasise non-controversial
“Could entrepreneurs in the tourism sector be expected to do more to lift performance ‘by their own bootstraps’?” JUNE 2015
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and considered an inspirational leader.
and often wish-full ideas. First, it avoids any inward looking critical review. Second, there is an implicit assumption that general support for a particular sector will be fair and equitable: all the relevant businesses will gain from the benefits. In Northern Ireland there is an overdue need to ask more difficult questions and be more demanding on what is expected from businesses. A simple test question to each entrepreneur or manager can introduce this reorientation. Is your business well led? Are you a good enough leader? How would your leadership qualities be assessed by your shareholders, your employees, your customers or your suppliers? Are there other businesses, competing with your business, who have better results than you? If so, why? In any sector, such as tourism, IT, clinical science or poultry production, there are examples of internationally successful lead operators. There will also be some who are less successful. The differences in performance suggest that, usually,
“Northern Ireland needs to be careful about how we assess ourselves and how we set the agenda for the years ahead.” Northern Ireland has leadership in individual firms that is world class (and sometimes elsewhere, it is lacking). Introducing the term ‘leadership’ can be anything from a catch-all ‘must do better’ to a more targeted objective. The spectrum of well-meaning terminology is much used but often lacks precision. The activities of representative bodies and professional associations offer a series of learned, or learning, experiences ranging from master classes to inspirational conferences and other variants.
Successful leadership must be a sine qua non. At the risk of stating the obvious, leadership comes higher in the scale of merit than better management, improved knowledge or efficient working practises. Whether leadership can be taught (say) in university or college is debatable. Methods and principles can be explored in the academic environment, but personal delivery calls for something more. The problem with leadership is that it is most easily acknowledged with hindsight. Guarantees of success are illusory.
Universities offer courses and applied learning across a wide spectrum of special topics.
Most businesses can learn how to manage better. Applying research to product development is demanding but capable of being learnt.
Northern Ireland needs to be careful about how we assess ourselves and how we set the agenda for the years ahead. Critically, distinctions must be made.
The least definable and most difficult features of business fall into the challenges of leadership and innovation. Would that these personal attributes were easier to guarantee!
The Executive MBA class at Queen’s Management School recently completed a study trip to the Institute for Ireland in Europe at Leuven, Belgium where they also met Sean Kelly MEP who gave them a tour of the Parliament.
How an MBA could be your USP
Dr Geoff Simmons, Programme Director, Executive MBA at Queen’s Management School.
Queen’s Management School says its Executive MBA is a key ingredient for success in transforming the Northern Ireland economy.
orthern Ireland as a UK region is rebalancing its economy towards a greater level of private sector activity. The public sector is to be reduced in size and the need for the private sector to grow significantly is therefore a policy priority. Cuts to corporation tax, for example, present an opportunity to grow the local economy and also a challenge. Inward investment by multinational businesses and growth of indigenous businesses is not just going to happen on the back of a cut to corporation tax in Northern Ireland. Another key consideration moving forward is the need for increased effectiveness and efficiency in the Northern Ireland public sector. Policy makers are already forming plans to not only reduce in size this sector but to also introduce new ways of working. In part this will require radical changes to working practices that have a more private sector approach to management and leadership. Bureaucracy and organisational structure as well as culture are likely to be key considerations in making these changes. Critically, in parallel to both these change contexts there needs to be development
of the management and leadership skills of the Northern Ireland workforce. These skills require grounding in knowledge of the various functions of business, whether that is marketing or human resource management for example.
“Participants of the programme develop the management and leadership skills to allow them to be more effective functional managers.” Potential inward investors will look not only at corporation tax but also at the talent pool and particularly pertaining to managers with capacity to lead functions and at more senior levels of the business. Similarly, radical changes to the working practices and approach of the Northern Ireland public sector requires managers and leaders with the skills to enact them and also to lead employees in the change process.
For managers in both the Northern Ireland private and public sectors, the change context outlined presents significant opportunities and threats. An Executive MBA from Queen’s Management School presents a means for them to be ready to exploit the opportunities arising from developing further the private sector in Northern Ireland and reforming the public sector. Participants of the programme develop the management and leadership skills to allow them to be more effective functional managers. They are also better positioned to take on more senior roles in firms, having gained the requisite indepth knowledge of the different business functions from operations to accountancy and finance to strategic management. In this time then of change in the local economy, there is no better time for managers in Northern Ireland to consider the value of an Executive MBA from Queen’s Management School. Whether public sector or private sector the programme will position them to take full advantage of the transforming Northern Ireland economy.
If you are interested in the programme please contact me as the Programme Director on email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TO PROGRESS AND LEAD CHALLENGE EVERYTHING
POSTGRADUATE OPPORTUNITIES 2015 ENTRY PART-TIME PROGRAMMES ON OFFER: MSC FINANCE (Accepted into the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute University Recognition Programme)
MSC RISK AND INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT (Partnership with GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals) and accredited by PRMIA (The Professional Risk Managers’ International Association)
MSC HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Queen’s Management School is located at Riddel Hall, situated within the Stranmillis Conservation Area. The site encompasses a new purpose-built Management School and Postgraduate and Executive Education Centre with conference facilities, a 120 seat tired lecture theatre; two computer suites; the First Derivatives Trading Room with 12 Bloomberg terminals and software such as Stata, Excel, Matlab, and databases such as Thomson one banker and DataStream. There is flexible space for large group teaching and conference use; and communal support facilities including catering accommodation to encourage social and intellectual interaction. Car parking is also available on site.
Contact us today to find out more about our programmes.
(A CIPD approved centre)
E. email@example.com T. +44 (0)28 9097 4200
(Includes an international study trip and personal professional development coaching by the William J Clinton Leadership Institute at Queens)
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Starter for 10... Damien Callaghan, Senior Director of Business Development at Intel Corporation and Mentor to participants on the Invest Northern Ireland Propel programme, spoke to Ulster Business to share his top ten tips for start-ups on their all-important journey towards entrepreneurial success.
5. Think like an investor To attract investment, you have to think like an investor. How will an investor make a very large return? Walk in their shoes before you approach.
6. A good board is of great value A supportive board is incredibly helpful to a CEO and a business overall.
7. Blow your own trumpet Despite what your personal or cultural instincts might tell you, don’t shy away from the limelight or be self-deprecating in business. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet – loudly.
8. Use support as a springboard Damien Callaghan
Support from initiatives such as Invest NI’s Propel Programme is invaluable for start-ups. Use that experience as a springboard – learn how to seek out other financial support and make the right connections to take your business forward.
1. Cash is King The first and most simple rule of business: you need enough cash to keep your business alive and to make it grow... So watch your cashflow.
9. Be eager to adapt Things will go wrong at times. All too often I hear ‘If only I’d done something sooner’ – here’s my advice: do it sooner. Be eager to adapt, pivot, reverse – whatever it takes.
2. Funding is Fundamental Always remember – the core requirement of a CEO is to secure funding for your business. It is your job, no-one else’s.
3. You, the CEO, is the critical differentiator between success and failure The CEO of a business is the single greatest factor in determining whether it succeeds or fails. A good CEO will change a bad business plan, it is much tougher to change a bad CEO.
10. Know your ecosystem Understand the business ecosystem in which you operate, your role within it and the relationships you need to cultivate in order to succeed. Who may be your partner? Your customer? Who may buy your business one day? Be conscious of all around you. Damien is one of 16 experienced professionals who act as mentors to the current 35 participants on Invest Northern Ireland’s Propel Programme, providing one-on-one guidance, advice and coaching to
4. Articulate your vision
these ambitious start-ups with a vision for international success. As
Know how to articulate your business’ vision to a variety of audiences – from investors to suppliers, customers to staff. Consider the following questions: what are you selling? To whom? For how much? When? And where? Voice the answers with clarity.
well as dedicated mentoring, Propel guides participants through an
intensive ten-month programme of business workshops, facilitates networking and market visits, combined with valuable financial support and access to shared office space in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
Davy buys Graham Corry Cheevers
ne of Northern Ireland’s biggest wealth managers has agreed terms to buy financial advisory firm Graham Corry Cheevers.
Davy Private Clients UK, the Northern Ireland wealth management and financial planning arm of Dublin-based Davy Group, wouldn’t reveal how much it had paid for the Belfast company, which manages £230m worth of assets, but said it was on the lookout for further acquisition targets in the future. The deal is Davy’s sixth acquisition in under four years following the purchase of Bloxham in 2012, Prescient (formerly AIBIM) in 2013, and Square Seven and iCubed in 2014, as well as the recent acquisition of Trusted Advisor Group. Through the acquisitions and organic growth, it’s grown its assets under management to £640m from £120m and staff numbers across its Belfast and London offices to 30. Staff at its latest purchase, which include founders Brian Corry, Gavin Graham and Nigel Cheevers, relocates to Davy’s office in Donegal Square in Belfast on completion of the deal on June 1.
Pictured with Stephen Felle (far right), Chief Executive of Davy Private Clients UK, is, from left to right, Gavin Graham, Brian Corry and Nigel Cheevers.
Stephen Felle, Chief Executive of Davy Private Clients UK, said further deals could be on the cards. “Davy is a major player in the Northern Ireland financial services market, offering clients high quality advice and global investment solutions. We see Northern Ireland as an area of key growth for the firm and plan to further consolidate this position in the near term as we assess further strategic acquisitions like Graham Corry Cheevers.”
CHARTERED DIRECTOR PROGRAMME The Institute of Directors (“IoD”) sets the standards for leadership in the UK and Ireland. Our highly acclaimed Chartered Director Programme is designed to maximise your potential and ensure that the directors of today and tomorrow from all sectors can contribute effectively to major organisationwide decisions. With an annual Northern Ireland cohort and a further five starting each year in Dublin we are clearly the leader in our market segment – all six current cohorts were oversubscribed. We offer 12½ days of face-to-face tuition over nine months including five two-day residentials on the themes of “Role of the Director and the Board”, “Strategy and Marketing”, “Finance”, “Leadership and Change” and “Developing Board Performance”. Our programme leads to the IoD Certificate and Diploma – afterwards we help many go on to become Chartered Directors – the “gold standard” for
professional directors in the UK and Ireland and increasingly adopted worldwide. We draw upon the IoD’s unrivalled resources – approved facilitators who work internationally and understand the implementation issues rather than simply the theory, comprehensive programme materials and highly accessible on-line support. The modules are delivered in an engaging, enjoyable style. Aimed at busy people there are no tedious assignments or dissertations. There are however two exams, for which our delegates are well-prepared – in the March 2015 Certificate exam Northern Ireland delegates took an amazing 10 of the 62 Distinctions awarded (a Distinction is 75% + marks). The next Northern Ireland programme starts on 15th/16th September 2015 and finishes in June 2016. If the local dates for a particular session do not suit we have alternatives in Dublin. Some financial support towards fees may be available.
For details call Peter Martin on 028 9064 1131 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org PS: It’s fun too!
Sarah Mathews and Matthew Brown of Connect Telecom.
Platinum Polish Northern Ireland’s leading Vodafone Partner, Connect Telecom, has capped off an incredible year by being awarded the status of Vodafone Platinum Partner. As one of only 14 Platinum Partners across the UK from a total of over 400 partners, this recognises Connect Telecom’s commitment to providing outstanding service and support to its customers, improving business efficiencies through Vodafone’s full product portfolio. The solutions specialist based on the Lisburn Road, Belfast drives productivity for local businesses and improves communication efficiency through Vodafone mobile, landline, hosted IP, cloud and machine to machine technology. Accredited as one of the original Vodafone UK Solutions Pioneers, Connect Telecom’s implementation of Vodafone’s flagship, combined mobile and landline product resulted in it being the top performing partner last year in One Net Business. One Net Business has already delivered noted efficiencies in that past year for businesses across Northern Ireland. David Burrows, Chief Executive of The Benmore Group says: “If we don’t have effective communications we can’t operate. Vodafone One Net Business is now arterial, it is integrated into the fabric of what we do.” Connect Telecom began its journey as a Vodafone Gold Partner three years ago, specialising in providing unified telecoms as a Solutions Specialist. Then, in June of
last year, the business was thrilled to be awarded Gold Partner of the Year from over 35 Gold Partners and accredited as Vodafone UK Solutions Pioneers. This highlights the business’s exceptionally high levels of customer service, sales and technical support, delivered to customers throughout Northern Ireland, ROI, Scotland and now in the North of England, endorsing the ambitious growth plans. Connect Telecom’s MD Matthew Brown said the company wanted to double its 13,000 strong connection base over the next 12 months by leveraging the increased support the Platinum status, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, will offer across all markets. “We have now been provided dedicated Vodafone Account Managers for Mobile and One Net Business that will be working with us directly, meaning we can deal with our customers more effectively. We were the top One Net Business dealer in the UK last year and already have a great pipeline of business to be installed.” “This recent Platinum Status really caps off a great year for Connect, reflecting the level of investment we have made in the business and our people,” he adds. “This is further recognition of our continued development, building on great success in the marketplace”. With Liam Nellis, former CEO of InterTradeIreland, at the helm as Chairman of the Board, a lot of targeted change and growth has been experienced in
the past year. Progressing further into the Scottish market has proved a very successful expansion. This has been backed up with a deliberate and targeted investment in the existing team. In the past six months alone Connect Telecom has achieved Investors In People Bronze accreditation and European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Gold Star Customer Service Excellence Award. Not forgetting its roots here in Northern Ireland, Connect Telecom also joined forces with their customer The Simon Community Northern Ireland to become a Business Club Member to promote the charity and contribute financially to help end homelessness here in Northern Ireland. Shortlisted for ‘Best Company To Work For’ in the Belfast Business Awards and ‘Managing Talent’ and ‘Best Place To Work’ in the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards, the company is committed to developing local talent and continuing to generate employment opportunities here in Northern Ireland. Director Matthew Brown says: “Now we are looking forward to continued growth across the UK utilising the status as Platinum Partner. This status provides Connect with an enhanced product offering for our customer base and greater value we can pass onto them. The full Vodafone solutions portfolio will also enable better processes for our customers, as communications is now so much more than just mobiles.” “It’s an important step, but just the beginning of our growth.”
Connect Telecom Powering your business with Northern Irelandâ€™s only
Vodafone Platinum Partner
Find Out More Today: www.connect-tele.co.uk 028 9002 1040
Vodafone Power to you
Comco Plastics celebrate 30th anniversary Thousands of canopies have been supplied over the years to create glazed covered areas at schools, universities, pubs and hotels, as well as outdoor offices, carports, and smoking shelters. A wide range of decorative and practical products ideal for cladding, glazing and security applications for the building trade are stocked.
Company Directors Conor O’Neill, Michael O’Neill and Lynda Kynes.
omco’s success is based on 30 year’s experience, dedicated professional staff, and a commitment to supplying quality materials to the highest standards of service and support. The business is headed up by Michael O’Neill who has spent 30 years moulding the company, initially managing the operation in Belfast before expanding into London, Manchester and Dublin. His company buyout of the Belfast depot in 2004 enabled Comco Plastics to expand locally – it now employs 15 staff – and stocks a wide range of both plastic & aluminium products ideal for signage, cladding, glazing and engineering applications, ably assisted by long time fellow-director Lynda Kynes who has played a leading role in shaping the business. Comco serve four key business sectors, building, conservatories and roofing, sign and display, and manufacturing and
engineering. They undertake to provide competitive quotes promptly, and excellent on time delivery to enable customers to meet their deadlines. Comco’s dedicated team have acquired an enviable six year on-time delivery record with Caterpillar. ‘We carry substantial stocks, with an enormous variety of colours and specifications,’ said Michael. ‘Having stock on-site is important, so the customer doesn’t have to wait longer than they should. And we don’t just operate in Belfast. We offer customers a prompt province-wide service.’ Conveniently based at one end of the M1 at Stockmans Way, Belfast, customers can call in to discuss their requirements face to face. A longstanding part of the business is roofing. New software, combined with an outstanding range of roof-lighting materials and accessories, and state-of-the-art saws offers the construction trade an exceptional and efficient service. Comco Plastics stocks polycarbonate sheeting, manufactured in Northern Ireland by Brett Martin.
The Comco Hygenic Cladding System consists of uPVC sheet complete with a comprehensive range of profiles and fixings. Marlon FSX Solid Polycarbonate is glass clear, with an impact resistance up to 200 times that of glass – ideal in any situation where glazing breakage may be a problem.
SIGN INDUSTRY Comco Plastics now offer to the trade only – built-up sign boxes with or without electrics – Pole & Plank Directional Systems as well as Trough Lights all fabricated to order. Comco is a long-standing partner of Perspex – the most respected brand in the acrylics industry.
INNOVATION ‘A recent innovation to the business is the on-site routing facility which can deliver real cost savings and efficiencies,’ says Michael. ‘We now supply anything from the flat sheet to interesting and exciting options, for quick on-site assembly, which has brought us into whole new sectors of business,’ said Michael. So for Michael and Comco Plastics it’s 30 years and not out, but far from sitting back and reflecting on past glories, the company is continuing to invest to ensure it stays at the very forefront of the industry in the years ahead.
Pension freedom or pension problem?
New pension legislation means you can choose how your retirement pot is invested if you’re over 55. With the help of the government’s Pension Advisory Service, we look at the rule changes and the potential investments you could consider. What are the changes? Once the Budget was announced in March 2014, several transitional changes came into effect on 27 March 2014. These included: • An increase in the trivial commutation (the amount you can cash in) limit from £18,000 to £30,000. • An increase from £2,000 to £10,000 for the maximum lump sum that can be taken from one small pension pot regardless of others. The maximum number of pension pots that can be commuted in this way rose from 2 to 3. • The minimum pension income requirement for flexible drawdown reduced from £20,000 to £12,000. • An increase in the maximum capped drawdown limit, from 120% to 150% of an equivalent annuity. • An increase in the trivial commutation lump sum death benefit from £18,000 per scheme to £30,000 per scheme.
It typically gives you a regular and guaranteed income. There are different types of annuity available. Option 3 - Take money flexibly from your pension pot (drawdown) There are currently two ways you can do this; you can always take a 25% tax free cash sum and you may take the balance as a regular income (flexi-access drawdown) or take ad hoc cash sums (uncrystallised funds pension lump sum). Option 4 - Cash in your whole pot in one go You can do this but there are certain things you need to think about. You have to consider how much tax you pay on the amount your take out and you have to think about what you’ll live on in retirement. Option 5 - Mix your options You don’t have to choose one option you can mix them over time or over your total pot.
What are MY OPtIOns? Option 1 - Leave your pension pot untouched for now and take the money later. It’s up to you when you take your money; you might have reached the normal retirement date under the scheme or got a pack from your pension provider but that doesn’t mean you have to take the money now. If you do not take your money, you should check the investments and charges under the contract. Option 2 - Get a guaranteed income (annuity) You can use your whole or part of your pension pot to buy an annuity.
What Is everYbOdY else dOIng? According to a survey of 2,000 people aged between 55 and 65 carried out by Brewin Dolphin, intentions are mixed: • 48% expect their pension pot to last them more than 10 years. • 16% would still use their pension pots to pay off debts. • Only 6% will invest their pension in gold, shares or bonds. • 46% will rely on money in an ISA or other savings for their monthly retirement. • 24% will rely on selling
their home/down sizing. • 23% said they would put their pension in a savings/bank account. • 57% said they would be unlikely to seek financial advice on whether to withdraw a lump sum from their pension. • less than 1% said they would invest it in a classic car like a Lamborghini.
hOW Much dOes the average PersOn have In theIr PensIOn POt? Brewin Dolphin’s survey found that: • Of those who knew the size of their pension pot the average size is over £163,000. •11% of 55-65 year olds think they will have no money in a pension pot when they retire. •16% of 55-65 year olds think they will have less than £25,000 in a pension pot when they retire. • 22% of 55-65 year olds think they will have more than £100,000 in their pension pot when they retire, of which 4% expect to have a pension pot of over £500,000. • 27% of 55-56 year olds do not know how much money they will have in their total pension pot.
hOW Much WIll I need tO lIve On In retIreMent? • 6% of 55-65 year olds think they will need less than £500 a month to support their lifestyle expectations in retirement • 22% of 55-65 year olds think they will need between £1,001 - £1,500 a month to support their lifestyle expectations. • 29% of 55-65 year olds think they will more than £1500 a month to support their lifestyle expectations.
The great Brexit conundrum Henry Algeo, a member of the Advisory Board at Davy Private Clients and former Group Managing Director and CEO of Brewin Dolphin UK, gives his perspectives on what a ‘yes’ vote might mean for Northern Ireland.
avid Cameron’s electoral success has brought the prospect of a British withdrawal from the EU another step closer and the issue has now reached the top of the agenda, with Cameron confirming that an ‘inout’ referendum in 2017 will now form a central part of his party’s policy. All the international corporates tell us that it would be a complete disaster if they were to leave the EU and of course there are differing views on just how critical an exit would be. At a basic level there would be a huge amount of disruption to not only the UK economy but possibly to the wider European economy also. As to whether the UK would be better off five years after a ‘Brexit’, I think on balance it might possibly be. The strong pound has been a driver of productivity and put downward pressure on import price inflation which is helping
real wages to grow. The prospect of a referendum on the UK’s future in Europe will be top of investors’ minds and could result in a period of instability in sterlingdenominated assets until the public has its say. Of course, it’s a finely judged argument and there’s a big difference between what the heart says and what the head says. There’s an economic discussion on one side, while there’s a feeling of a lack of sovereignty on the other. To compare it to the Scottish referendum, more people probably voted with their hearts and not their heads. Now Cameron has been returned, what are the prospects for the wider UK economy? Since the promises made in 2010, the government has succeeded in that the economy is now larger than it was five years ago and the labour market has almost returned to full levels of employment with record numbers of people employed.
The national debt is still at the highest level that has ever been recorded in peace time and, worryingly, the UK fiscal deficit is one of the highest in the OECD. Today, the deficit is down to around 5% of GDP, partly as a result of strong economic growth over the last 2-3 years. The government has also created an environment that could sustain job creation. A lot of the job creation has been from the self-employed or people starting their own businesses, reflecting an important cultural shift towards work attitudes. Although official interest rates are near zero, you can’t go into a bank and borrow money at zero – or even 1% - and as such so there’s a disconnect between what people are having to pay and the official rate. A normalisation of interest rates would be welcome, signalling that the economy is moving towards a more normal phase of the cycle, and away from the exceptionally turbulent seven years.
â€œOur strategy is ambitious, that's why we need the best advisers.â€? Audit | Tax | Advisory
BDO Northern Ireland's Wealth Management Team in conjunction with their tax colleagues have been advising individuals, families and businesses for over 25 years. We have a dedicated Tax and Wealth Management Team comprising 60 staff members offering a huge breadth of experience in financial, taxation and business planning matters. Our Wealth Management advisers have between them in excess of 100 years experience and provide personalised advice and ongoing support to a diverse range of clients across Northern Ireland. We work closely with other professional advisers to ensure a co-ordinated, cohesive approach.
For more information contact: Carol Malcolmson or Jackie Nesbitt on 028 9043 9009 BDO Northern Ireland | Supporting Family Owned Businesses For 25 Years www.bdoni.com @bdoni BDO in Northern Ireland is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct investment business.
BDO’s Wealth Management team led by Carol Malcolmson (second from right), Jackie Nesbitt (right), Cathy Brennan (left) and Neil Linton (second left).
Family weath management – creation, preservation and succession By Jackie Nesbitt
Creating Wealth There are two principal options for creating wealth. Either build the value of the business up and sell it or take cash out of the business to create personal wealth. Depending on the strategy adopted, dayto-day decisions will be impacted. Does the family business invest surplus cash in plant, equipment, refurbishment or channel monies to build personal wealth tax efficiently? The risk of investing everything in the family business is that you may not
realise the value you had hoped for at the appropriate time when you feel the need to exit. The next generation may not want to assume the mantle in the business or trends and fashions may change depleting sale proceeds.
personal and family goals provides a diversified approach to creating wealth.
You need a willing buyer prepared to pay the right price at the right time. This isn’t always easy.
For example, company pension contributions are still one of the most tax efficient ways to allow business owners to accumulate personal wealth. The trade off for these valuable tax incentives historically has been lack of access and inflexibility around extraction of accumulated funds.
There is no right answer to this conundrum, however, a strategy which seeks some middle ground, balancing the needs of the business together with long term
With the correct structure in place family business owners can have their cake and eat it by utilising the accumulated pension pot to benefit both the business and themselves.
The death of a family shareholder has a major impact on a business both operationally and financially. The use of shareholder agreements accompanied by appropriate financial solutions can protect the interests of the remaining business owners whilst ensuring the deceased’s family are provided for.
90. Therefore when it comes to preserving wealth longevity is a significant factor. A number of questions need to be asked; 1. How much net recurring annual income is required to maintain your lifestyle? 2. Which structures will provide that income in the most tax efficient way? 3. How long are you going to live?
Furthermore the Pension Reform Act 2014 has swept away significant hurdles to access at retirement with the ability to cascade unused pension monies down the generations in a tax efficient manner. An alternative to pension contributions are New Individual Savings Accounts (NISA). The NISA allowance for 2015/16 has been increased to £15,240. NISAs are a tax efficient investment which can only be funded out of taxable income via personal contributions. In contrast to pension structures access is less restrictive however NISAs are less tax efficient at input stage.
Preserving Wealth Once family wealth is accumulated via the business and supporting tax structures it is vital a plan is put in place to ensure preservation. Life expectancy has increased significantly due to medical advances and lifestyle changes. Actuarially a 55 year old today has a 50% chance of living beyond age
Whatever the answers to these questions it is important to invest across a range of structures and asset classes to ensure diversification and maximum use of tax allowances in order to preserve wealth. There is no one size fits all. Individuals and businesses have materially different objectives. It is important to take account of where the priorities lie and to review these on a regular basis. Professional advisers have a role in working with family owned businesses to ensure solutions meet the needs of all parties concerned.
Succession of Family Wealth Succession planning is a key aspect of long term risk management. Such planning alone will not ensure the preservation of wealth for future generations but it does increase the likelihood of wealth surviving. Often the main obstacle to putting plans in place to pass on wealth is the business owner’s belief in their own immortality. Inter generational pension planning has developed over recent years and the recently
announced pension reforms allow families to make provision to pass pension benefits on to grandchildren and great grandchildren. Tax efficient structures can be established to permit family wealth to filter down through the generations but control needs to be factored into the equation. The idea of an 18 year old grandchild inheriting a large pension pot with all the incumbent flexibility may not be the best strategy to ensure wealth preservation. With careful planning, this scenario can be avoided. The utilisation of Family Trusts are vital in ensuring monies are in the right place at the right time. These offer control and certainty in an uncertain world. In conjunction with Trusts the use of Shareholder Agreements in the business environment accompanied by appropriate financial solutions can protect the interests of the remaining shareholders whilst at the same time ensuring the deceased’s family is provided for. Expert advice is always needed to cope with life events such as death, marriage, births and divorce. An integrated strategy with legal, tax and financial input at all stages will help ensure the preservation of wealth not only for you but future generations to come. For more information contact the BDO Wealth Management team on 028 9043 9009
Barclays Wealth and Investment Management Team, Northern Ireland back row L-R: Cahir Gilheaney, Private Banking Executive; Jonathan Dobbin, Director; Shana Fegan, Team Assistant; Glenn Branney, Director; Jonny Sloan, Private Banker. Front row L-R: Claire McCombe, Private Banker; Lisa McNeice, Private Banking Executive.
Barclays Wealth and Investment Management announce team expansion Jonathan Dobbin, Head of Barclays Wealth and Investment Management, Northern Ireland celebrates the organisation’s seventh year in Northern Ireland and discusses forthcoming expansion plans.
e established our office at Donegall House in Belfast in 2008, against the backdrop of the global downturn. I think what makes us stand out from the other wealth managers who operate in Northern Ireland is our ability to leverage the breadth and depth of the wider Barclays organisation, and to always deliver at a local level,with the specific requirements of our Northern Ireland clients at the forefront. This doesn’t just mean bringing together the best thinking, advice and solutions from across the global bank to support our local clients financial needs, but it is also being part of the local community – we employ local people, we repatriate talent from the mainland, we support local charitable initiatives in the area and above all, we are committed to local clients. One of the main areas of focus for 2015 will be continuing to develop the business as the wealth management industry evolves. Our
clients are changing as wealth is increasingly created by entrepreneurship, which we know from our own research and recently published study, is burgeoning in Northern Ireland. As a direct response, we are always looking for new talent and we are delighted to be bolstering our team with a further two members of staff, who will be focused on wealth management services. Our team also offers expert advice to families seeking assistance on inheritance and succession planning. The fact that we offer a full-service approach, from efficient cash management to more sophisticated investment and wealth structuring strategies means that we can reach out to a wide range of clients.
financial services for 325 years. By taking a global approach we make sure every facet of a client’s wealth works as hard as possible, and at the same time we manage risk, from market volatility to currency and jurisdictional risks. Barclays also provides a full range of banking services to customers in Northern Ireland – from small start-ups to the largest PLCs and public sector bodies, as well as personal banking services from nine branches across Northern Ireland. Whatever goals you have, we believe that we are ideally placed to help you manage every aspect of your wealth. To find out more please contact Jonathan Dobbin on Tel: 028 9088 2925 or email:
Our understanding of a client’s needs also comes from a more traditional source: the heritage, expertise and know-how of the Barclays Group that has been providing individuals and families with comprehensive
House prices climb over 5%
ouse prices in Northern Ireland have climbed 5.3% in the last year, according to new research from Ulster University and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. It put the average price of a house here at £147,409 in the first quarter of the year, the highest level since 2010, and said the number of houses changing hands also climbed by 16% over the year. The boost to both prices and activity has been put down to a wide range of reasons. “A complex web of related factors has been underpinning this recovery, including better labour market conditions, higher levels of consumer and business confidence, a greater willingness on the part of lenders to provide higher loan-to-value mortgages and renewed interest by investors in the private rented sector,” the report said. Apartments have experienced the biggest annual price increase, rising 11.7% over the year to £110,545, semi-detached houses have climbed by 6.9% to £131,498, detached bungalows are up 6.2% to £157,140, detached houses are up 3.5% and terraces/townhouses are up 3.6% at £89,807. When it comes to the different regions of Northern Ireland, the price movement over the last year has been variable. Highest average prices are found in south Belfast at £182,806 and the lowest in north Belfast at £95,011. Lead researcher, Professor Stanley McGreal from Ulster University said: “Ulster University’s Built Environment Research Institute has been driving research into Northern Ireland’s housing market for over 30 years and provides an indication of the state of the economy and buyer confidence. The most recent findings signal an improvement in the market with more houses being sold at higher prices.” “At a regional level, the overall picture is of price growth with average prices in North Down and Lisburn the highest throughout the region.”
Director Share Protection By Stephen Willis, Director, Willis Wealth Management
ow would you feel if your company had new shareholders overnight that you must ask permission from to run your business?
This can be the case for a large number of companies who do not look at the issues that a company faces when one of their shareholders dies. In the event of death most people will leave their shareholding to their spouse, children or both. This leaves an issue where a company may have new shareholders that are not interested in the business but want to get paid “what they are owed” from their shareholding each year regardless of the performance and what is best for the company. Most shareholder agreements will stipulate the percentage of shareholder votes that are needed to make certain decisions in the company and this can include day to day running of the company. To avoid this issue Director Share Protection should be used. Willis Wealth Management can advise you on the most tax efficent and suitable solution. Case Study One of our client’s was a company director of a haulage company and had a 25% shareholding worth £500,000. The company was valued at £2,000,000 and had three other directors who also had a shareholding of 25% each. He sadly had a heart attack and died. Upon our clients death his insurance company paid out a sum of £500,000 to the trust. This amount was passed to the surviving directors by the trustees allowing them to purchase our client’s shares from his family. This meant that the directors were able to keep control of the company and each now had a 33% shareholding. Our clients family had not wanted to become involved in the business and the share payment helped ease their financial loss at a difficult time. At Willis Wealth Management we can help you assess the financial provisions you need to put in place to support prudent business protection.
Contact Stephen Willis 028 9032 9042 or email email@example.com for further information.
The customer is always right by Benoit Gruber, VP Corporate Communication, Sage Enterprise Market Europe & Sage ERP X3
hink about a time when you received amazing customer service. Now think about how rare it was that you experienced that level of customer service. In this day of social media and the omnipresent “review” of businesses and services, one would think companies would do their best to provide top-notch customer service at every turn.
Yet it’s surprising how few companies really take the time and effort to provide outstanding customer service that will increase customer loyalty. Businesses would be wise to prioritize customer satisfaction and retention because driving new business is expensive. In fact, it is six-to-seven times more expensive to win a new customer than it is to keep an existing one, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. In addition, according to Bain & Company, 80% of CEOs believe they are providing excellent customer service when only 18% of their customers agree. Clearly there is a disconnect between what management thinks is happening and what the customer is really experiencing. The bottom line is that businesses with a reputation for treating their customers with great levels of service are noticed, and usually rewarded. When we hear of extraordinary customer service experiences, we tend to remember and gravitate towards companies that provide them. Here are four examples of well-known businesses capitalizing on opportunities to provide next-level service to their customers. Let’s take a look at what they did and how mid-sized enterprises can apply these lessons to improve their own customer service experiences.
1. In 2009, The High Wycombe John Lewis store stayed open during a blizzard so that stranded customers had a place to stay while the storm passed. Beds, sofas, duvets, coffee and tea were provided to over 100 customers. Lesson: Go above and beyond. One of the quickest ways for a mid-sized enterprise to win loyalty is to give customers what they need, when they need it, and embrace any and every opportunity to bend over backwards for customers in a time of need. 2. After a franchised Starbucks refused to honour the 10% discount given to Gold Starbucks reward members, the customer reached out to Starbucks to air his grievance. Instead of just responding to the unhappy customer, Starbucks responded and sent the customer a $50 store credit, going way above and beyond what the customer expected and reported on social media. Lesson: Admit mistakes. A quick response to remedy any customer service mistake helps show your customers that their satisfaction is your top priority. 3. As a way to promote highway safety, the South Carolina Highway
Patrol partnered with the U.S. restaurant Chick-fil-A and rewarded drivers wearing seatbelts with Chick-fil-A coupons. Lesson: Provide your customers with added value. Even if your business does not typically provide ongoing customer service, you can look to partner with outside organizations to build a positive reputation among your industry and those you serve. 4. The merchandise retail store Bed Bath & Beyond sends out frequent discount coupons. Not only will stores honour them even after they expire, they will also gladly take multiple coupons and apply them to a single transaction. Lesson: Make it as easy as possible for customers to give you their business. Similar businesses also offer coupons and discounts, but Bed Bath & Beyond really makes an effort to accommodate customers. Take the same approach and make sure it is easy to purchase upgrades or additional items and that there aren’t any roadblocks when it comes to doing business with you. Forward thinking and company-wide understanding of the standards of customer service will help build a positive reputation, customer loyalty and ultimately higher profitability. Customer service isn’t an option. All customers expect it, whether your company is big or small. And excellent customer service does not need to be something complex or need to follow an intricate program. It can be simple, pragmatic, and quick. Lengthy loyalty programmes are not mandatory, but instead have empathy, respect, common sense, and quick reflexes. By providing your customers with a great, memorable experience you not only make them happy, but you establish a legacy of excellence that positions your business for future growth.
Every great journey needs a gifted navigator. Your financial future is no exception.
Building up your wealth is a long road. Itâ€™s important to have a trusted advisor by your side to help plan your course. Davy Private Clients helps you take advantage of the opportunities ahead, and avoid the potential pitfalls. The journey begins with a conversation. Start today: call 028 9031 0655 or visit davyprivateclients.co.uk Davy Private Clients Donegall House, 7 Donegall Sq. North, Belfast, BT1 5GB
The value of investments may fall as well as rise. J&E Davy, trading as Davy, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Davy is a member of the Irish Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange and Euronext. In the UK, Davy is authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland and authorised and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details about the extent of our authorisation and regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority are available from us on request.
DAVY PRIVATE CLIENTS Wealth Management, Financial Planning, Investments & Pensions
Weighing up the bulls and the bears
By Jeremy Stewart, Head of Private Banking and Wealth Management at Danske Bank
henever the stock markets approach new highs the question on many investors’ minds is whether or not to invest, or indeed to stay invested. The answer is far from straightforward.
We need to be aware of the investment environment and make decisions based on the balance of probabilities. Not on an ‘in-out’ basis but in relation to the relative attractiveness of asset classes and individual investments.
As somebody who joined the industry in July 1987 my natural tendency is to be bearish, having had first-hand experience of the events of the Black Monday stock market crash early in my career. My team point out that I have predicted five out of the last two market setbacks! Emotion and personal experience can lead to biased decisions. A rational and disciplined approach is better.
Research has consistently shown that one of the key determinants of investment performance and volatility is asset allocation. This will also be heavily influenced by the time period for the investment. Successful investors will flex their asset allocation, over time, based on what they deem to be the prospects for each asset class. Take advantage of the economic and market data that is now readily available or employ a professional to do it. It will be impossible to make the correct calls all of the time, but a carefully built foundation of diversified core assets that is adjusted, often marginally, over time, should produce more consistent returns with lower volatility than trying to make calls on single assets or asset classes.
We currently have some very clever market bears who claim that the markets have had a good run and that given global economic uncertainty it pays to hold off investing to buy in at lower levels. On the other hand there are the equally intelligent market bulls who believe markets are not expensive on a historical basis and still offer good opportunities compared to cash. So it comes down to whether or not you can, or indeed should try to, time the market. The answer is probably both yes and no. Sooner or later there will be a market setback, followed in time by a recovery. But there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution. You should have a balanced asset allocation in your portfolio, diversified across assets that are sufficiently non-correlated to deliver on the promise of returns with lower volatility. This emerged from Modern Portfolio Theory and what is known as the Efficient Frontier. Over the long term, portfolios based on this
Nobel Prize winning theory have consistently delivered lower volatility in their returns. By definition, you must accept that by avoiding the worst losses you will also be forgoing the potential for the highest gains. Few investors are comfortable speculating on a single choice of asset class and psychologists suggest the pleasure of gain is weaker that the pain of loss. For those who claim that timing the market is a fool’s errand, I would suggest that they are most often correct in the context of ‘in-out’ market decisions. In other words, should you be in the markets or just hold cash? Even if you can reduce the 50/50 odds with some degree of prescience, you have to get both the decision to invest and the decision to disinvest correct. The odds are not good. But is the alternative a simple buy and hold approach, ignoring economic and market conditions? I would suggest not.
Some investors simply buy and hold, but my belief is that you should monitor and reassess your asset allocation on a regular basis. Take account of any changes to your needs and importantly, to your timeframe. A market correction that could have a significant impact on you in the short term will become irrelevant over the long term. You should assess your investment strategy in light of the current and predicted economic and market conditions and establish rational asset allocation, based on the balance of probabilities. Monitor it closely and adjust your plan regularly to ensure it remains relevant. It is the approach that you already take to running your business.
Pension change for the good
Harry Blair, Managing Director, Lanyon Astor Buller
The recent changes to pension legislation took a lot of people by surprise, but mostly in a good way! For the first budget in some time, pensions were given a welcome boost and pension savers were given more choice and freedom over their plans than ever before. Along with such freedom comes added responsibility and the need, more than ever before, to take appropriate financial advice. But firstly, a reminder of the highlights. Unrestricted access to your pension savings from age 55 means you can take as much as you want when you want. The first 25% of the amount drawn can still be paid tax free but the remainder is taxable as income. This could mean income tax payable at 20%, 40% or possibly 45% depending on circumstances. Careful planning is therefore recommended in order to avoid an unexpected tax bill. In the event of death before age 75, the entire value of your pension plan can now pass to your chosen beneficiaries
entirely tax free. On death from age 75 the fund will be subject to income tax in the hands of the person receiving it. This is a major change when you consider that prior to April the tax charge on death could have been as high as 55%! An interesting announcement was the legislation from April 2016 to allow people who had previously bought an annuity to swap the income being provided for a cash lump sum. This subject throws up many questions, and we await further developments in the coming months to provide answers, however it does provide for yet more choice for retirees. Somewhat disappointing news was the decision to again reduce the lifetime allowance; this time to £1m effective from April 2016. People fortunate enough to be affected by this change should take advice as soon as possible in order to avoid punitive tax charges.
relief on personal contributions means that a gross contribution of £100 costs a higherrate tax payer only £60 (£80 for a basic rate taxpayer and £55 for additional rate). Business owners could have their company pay a contribution from profits, meaning the company benefits from corporation tax relief but the contribution is not taxed on the recipient as a benefit in kind. All growth within the pension fund is largely tax free, whilst on death the value of the fund left behind does not form part of your estate and is not therefore normally subject to inheritance tax. Our advice is to sit down with a professional adviser and determine how the recent changes affect you. Advice is key to ensure that any actions taken are appropriate and suitable for your individual retirement objectives. For more information contact Harry Blair: Harry.firstname.lastname@example.org or Clare Galloway: Clare.email@example.com
Despite the changes, the main tax advantages offered by pensions remain unchanged. Tax
Lanyon Astor Buller Limited is a subsidiary of RSM McClure Watters
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Thoughts for the Year of Food How is the agri-food sector performing and where should we be headed? Bank of Ireland UK gathered some of the best brains in the industry around a table to get it straight from the horse’s mouth ahead of 2016’s Year of Food. THE PARTICIPANTS Tracey Hamilton, Director, Mash Direct Dr. Howard Hastings, Managing Director, Hastings Hotels Michael Murphy, Chief Executive, Irwin’s Bakery John Hood, Director of Food & Tourism, Invest Northern Ireland Ian Marshall, President, Ulster Farmers Union Michael Bell, Executive Director, NI Food and Drinks Association (NIFDA) Mike Mullen, HR Director, Moy Park Ian Sheppard, Regional Director Business & Corporate Banking NI, Bank of Ireland UK Gavin Kennedy, Director of Business Banking NI, Bank of Ireland UK William Thompson, Agri Manager NI, Bank of Ireland UK Julie-Ann O’Hare, Head of Strategy & Sectors, Business Banking, Bank of Ireland UK David Elliott, Editor, Ulster Business
David Elliott: What state is the agri-food sector in? John Hood: The agri-food sector is the bedrock of the Northern Ireland economy. It accounts for a quarter of manufacturing sales, a quarter of employment and a quarter of manufacturing exports. The sector is currently valued at £4.5bn to the local economy and that target is due to rise by £7.5bn by 2020. The key thing about the agri-food sector is that it’s one of the few, and maybe the only sector, which is spread right across
L-R: Ian Sheppard, Mike Mullen, Gavin Kennedy and Michael Murphy.
Northern Ireland. From the producer and the farmers, right through to the retailers and the consumer. It touches every aspect of Northern Ireland society and we are a rural economy, a rural country, and we quite rightly should be proud of the food and drink that we produce. That said, there are challenges, but I think there is certainly an appetite to rise to those challenges and to deal with them.
our bigger businesses which have invested heavily in their businesses, struggling. It’s fairly appropriate that we touch on that because I think the banking sector felt that the recovery in agriculture was coming, especially in dairy, by mid-summer but that looks now as though it’s been pushed out to maybe 2016. That being said, I firmly believe there is a fantastic future in agri-food.
David Elliott: Ian, how is it for farmers out there at the minute?
I firmly believe that we now have something that we didn’t have three years ago, which is a template, a roadmap and a plan to take us to where we want to be, but it has to be with all partners and everyone in the supply chain interacting and working together. Not one element of the supplychain can deliver on this on its own. Primary production is currently very, very
Ian Marshall: We currently have a crisis in primary production agricultural alongside a longer-term strategy. The former of those two means the sector is probably as bad as it is has ever been in my memory. Most of our sectors are seriously depressed, with a lot of
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challenging and under immense pressure. But in the long-term it’s very positive. David Elliott: William you are on farm a lot, is that what you are hearing? William Thompson: Absolutely. As Ian has pointed out, take milk alone, it’s back about 30% at least on last year, so it’s challenging. The only sector that’s maybe somewhat protected from those farm gate returns is the poultry sector. We’ve got a cash-model there which works. Whilst it is about taking a longterm view and whilst it is about supporting farmers, it’s about supporting those farmers without putting the long-term sustainability of the business at risk. You can extend more working capital but if prices remain depressed for a longer period, they are going to need to bounce back and have good prices for a long period afterwards to bring them back to a level footing. So, it’s a case by case basis certainly in terms of the approach we are taking when we are talking to farmers at the moment. Mike Mullen: We talk about scalability. We (Moy Park) are now around 6,000 employees in Northern Ireland. Last year we announced an investment of £170m and we are up 400 jobs in 12 months so having scale is one of those issues which is driven by aspiration. The key is the integrated model. Last year we invested £30m and that money has
come partially through banks and through the farming base themselves, in the form of an additional 100 poultry houses. The model of being integrated in supply is key, and also the shared risk. The company takes that risk in terms of the feed and the sales and the throughput while the management is the commitment of 600 family-owned farm enterprises. When we go to talk to customers it’s not about a price of the product, it’s about the supply chain and the best example for Northern Ireland is to bring the grocery trade here, on farm and see that fundamental building block at work. David Elliott: Ian, from a banking point of view, mitigating some of the volatility in the way Moy Park operate is more attractive to the bank? Ian Sheppard: It is. From our point of view it is all about cash-flow and whether there is a sustainable model? We know there will be peaks and there will be troughs but in the longer-term we ask whether there is a sufficient level of cash to allow farmers to invest in their business at the right time and then ultimately have enough cash-flow to repay the debt. One of the interesting dynamics we have started to see is that some of the supermarkets will provide longer-term contracts to the processors in terms of a cost-plus model. So if we can start to get some stability into that model, from the supermarkets to the processors to the primary producers, then I think we
start to get a more sustainable, longterm fundable model that should take out some of the peaks and troughs. David Elliott: Tracey, you have probably seen the full gamut of the agri-food cycle from growing potatoes right the way to the supermarket. How has it been for you over the last year or so? Tracey Hamilton: As a company we have been growing year on year, but we are having to be creative; innovation is our key driver and that’s really important to us. There are 1.8m people in Northern Ireland but we are having to think beyond that and are very export-driven at the minute. It’s the creativity that’s been key. Look at the Great Taste Awards, it has been phenomenal, we have a really, really good message and I think the most important thing for all of us is to get that message out, loud and clear because we are not shouting loud enough. We have a lot of visits from buyers and there’s a huge wow factor when they come here and once you have got somebody on our soil they want to come back. One of the journalists I talked to at a conference a few months ago said the best family holiday she ever had was last year coming to Northern Ireland. We are living it day in, day out but we don’t realise what we’ve got. We have got really good infrastructure, we have got good scenery, we have got everything here. It’s a really, really good story for the rest of the world. >
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target and achieve it four years early. We still haven’t got our organisation going but hopefully that is going to happen this year. The Year of Food in 2016 is focused on tourism. If you take the tourist spend in Northern Ireland it’s about £650m of which £600m is local food. If we can produce significant growth we will grow that by £200m for local food manufacturers. Meanwhile, the export of food is £4bn currently in round numbers and Going for Growth has very ambitious targets to grow that. David Elliott: Howard, how important is the food angle to tourism? John Hood
Michael Bell: I think we have a history of underselling ourselves. To win more Great Taste Awards pro-rata than any other region in the British Isles is a very strong testament, but there is a very long history at being very good at food. We have the world’s foremost expert in global food security in our own (Queen’s University’s) Professor Chris Elliott. When the GB multiples came to Northern Ireland in 1996, 60% of our grocery market changed overnight. Since that time we have almost trebled our turnover. We have also transformed the view of agri-food in government. If you go back 15 years it was a sunset industry. It was going to go the same Julie-Ann O’Hare
way as textiles. We were essentially going to transplant it somewhere else. It is now a core plank in the Program for Government and there is a steady stream of very significant investments coming through, not least, the £6.7m for the Innovation Centre. We are steadily building the tools to further accelerate the growth of the industry, but we still haven’t nailed the marketing and this is something that I have been working on for nearly 19 years. To try and get a combined marketing voice for the sector has been quite frustrating, particularly when you watch our colleagues in Scotland only start in 2007, set themselves a 40% growth
Dr Howard Hastings: If you think that tourists are most likely to come and enjoy a jurisdiction where people are already enjoying themselves, I believe that if we are celebrating our food culture that will assist our export markets as well. Now I can’t prove that causal link, but I think the Year of Food joins both those ambitions, so I don’t see the export growth that will come from the Year of Food as being disassociated from the investment in tourism terms of helping our domestic economy celebrate more of what our food culture is all about. Food is not the primary motivator for people’s travel intentions but it is very much a comforting factor. At the moment people have either no view or a neutral view on the food content of a holiday Ian Marshall
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to Northern Ireland, which undersells what we are doing. We have fantastic food producers and we don’t celebrate them enough because we are not joined up enough. There is an opportunity in the Year of Food to get some of the things that we enjoy very quietly celebrated in a much more joined up way. What we have seen in tourism terms in recent years is when we set our minds to something like the MTV Awards, the Irish Open and the Giro we can do really well. What has happened is that in those examples we have paid a lot of money, a circus has come into town, we have all got behind the circus, and it has been very, very successful. At some stage we have to say that we are a mature enough society that we can invent our own circus. Michael Murphy: We know we have a great industry, we know we have good, clean food but what we lack is an image. Michael has touched on the marketing board and it’s very important to get that moving and get it moving fast. The Year of Food is a platform for what we do locally. Working with people like Tourism Ireland in the last 10 years and Paul Rankin, we have promoted Irish food in GB and we have told people to come here and enjoy our food. There is a responsibility for everybody in the food industry, from the very basic foods right up to gourmet food, to provide an experience for visitors here. When they come and taste the different things and they go back home, they want to buy it in the shops. Now, that’s a longer-term view.
Around 10 years ago Michael and I went to St Joseph’s School of Food & Marketing in Philadelphia to see what was happening in the US. The things we were hearing about 10 years ago are exactly what has been going on in the food industry here today. We laughed at the idea that someone would be so busy they can’t cut a carrot, slice mushrooms or grate cheese. This is exactly what we see in the supermarkets now but we are not investing in predicting those longer-term trends. We are not investing in our young people going out to universities like that, working in companies in the US and bringing back those ideas. Meanwhile, the Year of Food is fantastic but the one thing I am critical of is that it is May and we’re not doing much about it. David Elliott: Does the Year of Food provide the opportunity for Northern Ireland Food to brand itself with one simple message? Mike Mullen: For small producers there is an issue around branding Northern Ireland on their product but for the big companies, I am not so sure that branding of Northern Ireland will help those guys grow when they’re pitching to UK multiples and beyond. But also, our greatest strength I believe is also our greatest weakness: we are understated. Customers like our warmth, they like our
values, they like our approach, and we are not arrogant. Perhaps we need to be a bit more risk orientated,more aspirational, more entrepreneurial, but never change who we are. When people come here they leave with a sense of warmth. If we can give them a solution that is added to warmth and added to an experience, and then deliver as a world class efficient supply chain, then I think that’s the answer. For the bigger companies, when you all talk about exports, you cannot sell more unless you grow more and I think that’s the bit that fundamentally gets lost. We need more product. Moy Park could sell more tomorrow if we had more poultry. And I think that quite a few companies are in that state. The issue around capability and farm growth is a fundamental issue along with the planning and the processes that go along with that. David Elliott: So you are constrained by the amount of product you can physically grow in Northern Ireland. And Ian, what do you say to that from a farmer’s point of view? Ian Marshall: I think we need an air of caution because as much as we are good, we are not the centre of the universe for food production. I have been in other parts of the world which have got much more cleaner, much more environmentallyfriendly food production systems that can actually do the job very well. Because I was brought up in an educational establishment in Northern Ireland, I opened my atlas and the centre of the page was UK and Ireland. For a schoolchild in Beijing, when they open up their atlas, I am on the extreme left of the page. We only have 1.8m people so we never have enough people to consume, so it’s all about export. We have 63m people in GB which is without question our most important market. The opportunities are going to come in the developing countries, in China, in Indonesia, in India, and I think the interesting thing is that that for us as a Food Strategy Board is where the huge potential is. John Hood: One thing we consistently see is the high quality of product that comes out of the primary producers and the service levels that come out of the processors. >
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The challenge is to find markets who are prepared to pay an appropriate premium for that service and that quality. Spread the net into those export markets where you can get a premium and I think that is what will ultimately feed back to the primary producer. Julie-Ann O’Hare: We are saying that to grow the economy we need innovation and exports and I think that is where there is a real opportunity in the agri-food sector. If you join up the conversations and the comments from around the table this morning, everyone is agreed on the need for innovation for food. We need to keep adding to the creativity for that product to add the value and seek out export markets where we can get a premium for the value, so it plays to our whole economic strategy in Northern Ireland. There is an opportunity within agri-food to be a leading sector. Michael Bell: But it’s not just about brands, it is about market intelligence, market access and market contacts. We look with great envy at our colleagues in Bord Bia which, of its 90 full-time staff, something like 60 of them are not based on the island of Ireland. We need something like that, to find out what is the lay of the land in a given market, how do we access it. David Elliott: A lack of skills has been raised as an issue in the industry. How do we go about changing that? Ian Marshall: We are changing it. The industry has been investing in organisations, in sector attractiveness, in careers teachers. We have taken agri-food from the last career choice to mid-range, so the job is half done. Mike Mullen: I can remember a time when you could count the number of undergraduates doing a food-related subject in Northern Ireland on less than two hands. The wonderful thing now is Loughry is at full capacity and Greenmount is going well. By the end of next month Moy Park will have completed its third recruitment of young management graduates which will bring us to 50 young management trainees in the last three years. That’s what we continuously need to do, we need to fill the pipeline constantly. But we need to make sure we
L-R: Michael Murphy, Mike Mullen, Ian Sheppard, Tracey Hamilton and Gavin Kennedy.
are bringing on the right type of people including those able to go out there and find export markets. There’s a gap there. Ask yourself, how many colleges in Northern Ireland are training people in languages? How many are training people in front office selling to serious multiples, and how many are building skillsets around the logistics and back-up of the export administration, which are very complicated processes? We are in a much improved place from five or 10 years ago, but we could do so much more. Ian Marshall: Because of that demand on those agriculture and agri-food courses, the grade has now been pushed up. We have a close relationship with all the colleges and we interact with students on a regular basis, but they are straight A students now going to do degrees in agriculture or food-related courses. There are lots of producers and coming up through who would love to go and do a degree in agriculture but now need Bs, and As at ‘A’ level. Around 15 years ago you would have got away with Cs and Ds. Mike Mullen: There is a still a desperate need for a world-class leadership programme in Northern Ireland. If we want to be a worldclass food producer then we need world-class leadership development and I don’t think it exists in Northern Ireland. We need to challenge government for support on that.
Gavin Kennedy: From a skills point of view, it is something we work very hard at as a bank. We make sure that our staff are skilled and understand the sector, and William supports this as he works very closely with all the relationship managers. We are getting to the stage now where we have expertise based across our business banking and branch network. They have in depth industry knowledge and can assess proposals correctly to make sure that we are providing adequate financial support. We are also doing our bit to help companies link with export markets where they maybe want to break into the Republic or further afield. Tracey Hamilton: As a company we took a junior entrepreneur programme in County Down for all primary schools, so we went into every primary school and told our story. If we can get them all at an early age, explain the opportunities within, all the different jobs within the industry then they’ll get it. Mike Mullen: The two things I would leave you with are, we are all committed to Northern Ireland PLC and we have got great commitment and great partnership and great aspirations. And there has been transformational progress. Tracey Hamilton: And if I can leave you with one thing it’s that we need to get The Year of Food sorted. And quick.
Responsible Business Rewarded Thursday 4 June saw the tenth Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards in Northern Ireland reveal this year’s winners at Belfast Waterfront Hall. The gala event, which took place in association with Electric Ireland, was attended by over 500 people who celebrated businesses and organisations who are demonstrating responsibility through their actions towards their People, the Planet and the Places where they operate. The keynote address was given by environmentalist and writer, Sir Jonathon Porritt and featured an innovative new education project to Northern Ireland, ‘Fighting Words’.
The Winners Northern Ireland Responsible Company of the Year Sponsored by Allstate NI
BT Resource Efficiency Champion in partnership with WRAP
“The power of business to be a force for good must never be underestimated. Our awards theme Telling Your Story celebrated companies who realise just how important their actions are to our society. Congratulations to BT and to all other winners. I hope that the achievements of these companies will inspire others to enter next year and be rewarded for their responsibility.” Roy Adair, Chair, Business in the Community & Chief Executive, Belfast Harbour
ReCon Waste Management Business & Biodiversity Sponsored by AES
Henry Brothers (Magherafelt) Ltd Employer of Choice Sponsored by Arthur Cox
South West College Employability Champion
2015 NI Responsible Company of the Year – BT BT is a global provider of telecoms with over 2,400 employed in Northern Ireland to help provide services to millions of customers worldwide. It connects people around the world as well as businesses and organisations in almost every sector in Northern Ireland. BT is committed to ensuring the sustainability of its business through its ‘Better Future’ programme which focuses on Alex Crossan and Maureen Walkingshaw from BT receive the NI three key areas: connecting Responsible Company of the Year 2015 Award from Rose Kelly, Allstate NI along with Sinéad nic Oireachtaigh from BT and Kieran people digitally; doing more Harding, Business in the Community. environmental good than harm; and providing skills and technology to support worthy causes. Energy Champions are empowered to ensure BT reduces its impact on the environment and help implement its environmental management system, reporting and performance policies. BT’s ‘Connected Communities’ initiative helps people get online by providing IT equipment and skills training in the areas most in need. Over 11,300 people have been engaged in this three year programme. Employees can also get involved in BT’s flagship education initiative, running for the past 15 years – BT ‘Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition’ – this provides a valuable platform for young people to investigate scientific theories and encourage their love for science. BT has invested £1 million in cash and in kind to its ‘Better Future’ programme. More than a third of its workforce has volunteered this year in the local community and for charitable causes, equating to almost 1,300 full working days. 128 students from 24 schools in Northern Ireland took part in its Young Scientist initiative and 100 BT volunteers attended the event. It achieved Gold rating in 2014 ARENA Benchmarking Survey and has raised £185,000 for Marie Curie and Irish Cancer Society through its Charity Shop Challenge.
in partnership with The Citywide Employers’ Forum
The Loughs Agency Community Impact Champion Sponsored by firmus energy
Heron Bros Ltd Education Partner Sponsored by Allen & Overy
George Best Belfast City Airport Marketplace Leadership in partnership with Ulster Business
Fold Housing Association 2015 National Big Ticks Allstate NI for BUPA Employee Wellbeing Award Other companies also reaccredited were: Moy Park for the Dairy Crest Rural Action Award and Phoenix Natural Gas for the Santander Responsible Business Award
HRH Ambassador Dr Rob Hardeman, Seagate Technology (Ireland) Ltd
Resource Efficiency Champion Set up in 2010, ReCon Waste Management identified a gap in the market for the recycling of street sweeping and gully waste. It designed a bespoke plant to wash and segregate this material and was able to offer customers a recycling rate of up to 80% on this waste which was traditionally destined for landfill. ReCon Waste Management recognised that obtaining an end-of-waste protocol would be very beneficial to its customers and would give the business a new platform and recognition for sustainability and innovation within the industry. The company invested its time and resources into developing ways it could put the remaining 20% of this waste to good use and after two years, it received approval to manufacture a soil product made from this waste to local markets. The soil produced from the organic waste streams is used in a number of different ways including the improvement of agricultural land. It is taken and used by farmers within the local area keeping the carbon footprint of transport to an absolute minimum. ReCon Waste Management has achieved ISO 18001 accreditation. It has
Business & Biodiversity
Carla Tully, AES UK and Ireland, presents the Business & Biodiversity Award to Charlene Jones from Henry Brothers (Magherafelt) Ltd along Paul Stapleton, Electric Ireland.
Employer of Choice South West College (SWC) operates in four campuses – Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh. It aims to provide an inspiring and supportive environment for learners and a professional service for employers and stakeholders. It works closely with the community to ensure quality service is provided to all students. The college recognised that health and wellbeing has a key role to play in ensuring the motivation, engagement and development of employees in a healthy and inclusive manner. Its vision is ‘Developing People – Achieving Potential’ which is underpinned by the organisation’s overall development plan. It has created a holistic approach to delivering a supportive culture and high performing workforce. A health and wellbeing charter was developed which outlined its commitment to empowering staff and giving them the opportunity to achieve their own full potential. The strategic objectives of the charter are addressed through three primary channels: a policy framework; leadership development programme; and specific needs-based initiatives. Supported by the annual budget, this strategy is implemented by all levels of the organisation and is communicated widely throughout the college’s internal intranet. Its MORI ‘Listening to Staff’ survey showed 83% employee satisfaction. It has developed an ‘Investment in Wellbeing’ programme online portal for
Dr Marcus Gover, WRAP presents Daniel Connelly, ReCon Waste Management with the Resource Efficiency Champion Award along with Paul Stapleton, Electric Ireland.
diverted all waste from landfill with 99%+ recycling rate. It is the only company in Europe to achieve End of Waste status and has diverted almost 50,000 tonnes of street waste from landfill. Highly Commended in this category was Henry Bros (Magherafelt) Ltd.
Henry Brothers (Magherafelt) Ltd is a leading privately-owned construction and civil engineering company. It is an integral part of the Henry Group, one of Northern Ireland’s top construction companies. Henry Brothers is committed to protecting and enhancing biodiversity and this is highlighted through its Sustainable Business Strategy which is a result of the appointment of a Group Environment Manager and a Biodiversity Champion. This strategy has been embedded formally in all policies and procedures over a number of years and it has driven the biodiversity strand of its strategy forward in three main ways. Firstly, through the development of its very own nature reserve – a 26 acres site in Magherafelt – which is used as an education resource by local schools to promote and encourage the interest of future generations in biodiversity. Secondly, the organisation has participated and committed to Business in the Community’s Biodiversity Charter. Thirdly, it encourages biodiversity and environmental improvement throughout its supply chain. 100% of the company’s site personnel receives biodiversity training and it has received two Considerate Constructor Scheme Awards in 2015. It is committed to procuring only from FSC certified suppliers and was ARENA Network’s NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey Transport Improvement Award winner in 2014, in which it also achieved Platinum Quintile status for its improvements in energy and waste reduction and biodiversity improvements.
interactive and instant access for employees and aims to improve all healthrelated statistics internally by 10%. It is one of only four colleges in the UK to be recognised as ‘outstanding’ in the latest ETI inspection report. It also achieved the Investor’s in People Health and Wellbeing Good Practice Award in 2014.
Rosemary Lundy, Arthur Cox presents Leanne Patton, Regina Gormley and Eimear Rushe from South West College with the Employer of Choice Award along with Paul Stapleton, Electric Ireland.
Employability Champion The Loughs Agency is an agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission. It aims to provide sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits through the effective conservation, management, promotion and development of the fisheries and marine resources in these areas. The Loughs Agency has developed and implemented a number of different employability initiatives. It takes a proactive approach to employability through its support of unemployment programmes, placements, volunteering opportunities, upskilling of its own workforce and development of partnership working with key employment bodies. It is a champion of STEM and does this through active engagement with schools by attending careers events and providing school visits and student placements. It seeks to provide valuable work experience opportunities to those who need it most and prides itself on the time, commitment and training it devotes in these areas. The Loughs Agency has also developed a youth leadership project in Derry-Londonderry to give them opportunities to upskill in areas such as angling, fishery management and aquaculture. The Loughs Agency has facilitated 15 placements for the Department of Employment and Learning and provided employment for seven people. It has engaged 49 different school groups who have participated in its ‘Riverwatch’
Community Impact Champion
Michael Scott, firmus energy presents Claire O’Kane and Paddy McCullagh from Heron Brothers with the Community Impact Award along with Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey.
Education Partner George Best Belfast City Airport (GBBCA) is situated within the ‘heart of the city’ and caters for around 2.5 million passengers per year. Operating close to residential areas, it is mindful of its impact on the local community and environment, and its responsibility to be a good neighbour. GBBCA makes a strong commitment to corporate responsibility (CR) through its CR policy which sets out clear commitments to make a positive contribution to the society in which it operates across three key pillars; environment, people and community. As part of its ‘community’ pillar, it aims to support and enrich the local community with a specific focus on supporting young people as the future workforce. It achieves this through its comprehensive education programme which has evolved over the past 10 years, developing sustainable partnerships with schools, educational bodies and young people themselves. Its ‘High Flyers’ apprentice scheme which offers ten participants (16 – 24) the opportunity to gain skills and expertise in a vast range of disciplines from administration to retail. They are also able to develop their own employability skills through CV and interview skills advice and guidance. GBBCA has committed over 1,000 employee volunteer hours to education projects equating to £16,500 in 2014 and provides work experience placements for 55-60 students each year. It has dedicated around 1,000
Jim Leitch, Citywide Employers’ Forum presents John Pollock from the Loughs Agency with the Employer of Choice Award along with Paul Stapleton from Electric Ireland.
programme. 17% of visits to Lough Foyle were given to community groups and it has partnered with 20 different organisation to deliver various programmes and events. Highly Commended in this category was Belfast City Council.
Heron Brothers Ltd is a leading project development and construction company operating across the UK, Ireland and Europe. Over 200 employees support the delivery of a range of projects for clients from education to regeneration. It prides itself on delivering excellence in project value, quality and client satisfaction. It recognises the importance of community engagement to its overall sustainability which includes the direct impact its projects have on geographical locations and sites, and also the indirect impact it can have by supporting employees and supply chains to fulfil their commitments to the community through volunteering. It incorporates this commitment in its overall sustainability strategy which includes a section called ‘Community & Partnering’. Within this, it has agreed specific objectives and targets, reporting on the following keys areas: apprenticeship and placement opportunities, community initiatives, volunteering, partners, and community impact. The organisation has facilitated 412 weeks of student placement opportunities and provided six university placements to various construction, engineering and surveying undergraduates along with five apprenticeships. 65% of its sub-contractor packages were spent within Northern Ireland, encouraging economic growth in the province. Highly Commended in this category was Henry Bros (Magherafelt) Ltd.
hours to Business in the Community’s Time to Read programme over the past ten years. It also accommodated over 20 schools visits in 2014 accounting for 160 man hours. Highly Commended in this category was Deloitte.
Ruth McVeigh, Allen and Overy presents Stephen Patton and Michelle Hatfield from George Best Belfast City Airport with the Education Partner Award along with Paul Stapleton from Electric Ireland.
Marketplace Leadership Award Fold Housing Association has grown to become one of NI’s leading housing associations providing support to more than 30,000 homes here. It carries out over 40,000 supported housing day care visits and assists over 600 people with a disability in making home adaptions annually. It is also responsible for delivering a unique remote tele-monitoring service, supporting 3,500 patients each year across all five health trusts here. It is the only service of its kind in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. Fold’s vision is a person-centred approach to ensure the development of services to support independent living. Initially known for its provision of sheltered accommodation for older people, it has diversified to become an assistive technology provider in partnership with Tunstall Healthcare. Through this partnership, Fold’s principal strategy for sustainable and innovative development is implemented. Fold’s tele-monitoring system has been credited with changing the lives of many people who have been diagnosed with various conditions including diabetes, Sonia Armstrong, Ulster Business presents Barbara Taylor and Kevin McSorley, Fold Housing Association with the Marketplace heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and those recovering from a stroke/ Leadership Award with Paul Stapleton, Electric Ireland. transient ischaemic attack (TIA). Fold’s service and business models are acting as ‘pathfinders’ for the mainstreaming of tele-monitoring across the UK and it has very senior clinical and political support. Since its launch, Fold has supported over 4,000 patients, delivering over one million tele-health monitoring days. 95% of patients agree the service has assisted with better self-management and 84% of patients believe they have reduced GP visits, with 74% saying they have reduced A&E visits. Its commercial revenues have grown from just over £1 million to £2.5 million per annum.
National Award: BUPA Employee Wellbeing Award Software development business Allstate Northern Ireland (ANI) created a one and a half day energy management workshop ‘Energy for Life’ – for all its staff, focussing on improving their physical and mental wellbeing. It was developed in response to the potential impact the accelerating pace of modern life, the demands of working parenthood, increased responsibilities outside of work and financial pressures associated with global recession could have on the physical and mental wellbeing of its staff. ANI wanted to create a culture of wellbeing and high performance while helping employees manage stress and cope more effectively with the demands of their roles. The innovative and engaging workshop offered a range of techniques to help participants manage Business in the Community’s NI Chair, Roy Adair and Chief Executive, Stephen Howard present Opal Perry from Allstate NI their energy in both their work and their personal lives through techniques including: strategic with national BUPA Employee Wellbeing Award. eating, hydration, movement and exercise, recovery, sleep, attitude and stress management. Already delivered in Allstate’s US head office, its US-based performance coaches were integral to rolling out the programme in Northern Ireland. They brought expertise in diet, nutrition, exercise physiology and workshop facilitation to the training and took on board the historical, political and cultural context and made appropriate changes to the material and delivery methods. All 180 leaders attended the first phase, enabling them to promote the benefits to their staff from firsthand experience. Attendance was voluntary, on the basis that an initiative which involves personal change should not be imposed. However, there was a huge demand for places and all sessions to date have ‘sold out’ within hours of opening. ‘Energy for Life’ has had the most powerful impact of any health, wellbeing or training initiative to date, with a significant reduction in sickness absence. 90% of employees reported improved and sustained energy levels; 92% said the course had resulted in positive life changes and 90% of employees said they think ANI is a great place to work. 85% of employees stated that they are more fully engaged at work and home.
HRH Ambassador for Corporate Responsibility in Northern Ireland Winner Dr Rob Hardeman, Senior Director, Seagate Technology (Ireland) Ltd. Rob has personally championed the development of a number of projects over the years including small business development activity, employability engagements with the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), business education links through the School Employer Connections (SEC) programme and he leads on volunteering activity within Seagate. He has provided leadership in the north west of Northern Ireland which has encouraged other business to engage in the area. He has also taken time to mentor and advise the project managers on a one-to-one basis and all these mentoring relationships have developed naturally, a true testament Rob Hardeman, Seagate Technology (Ireland) Ltd receives his HRH Ambassador for Corporate Responsibility in NI from Business in to Rob’s unassuming but effective leadership ability. the Community Chief Executive, Stephen Howard. He has been integral in the expansion and development of the Seagate, Derry, taking responsibility for identifying new processes and technologies, making it a market leader in data storage. In Rob’s own words “CR activity is by no means additional, it is core to all that Seagate does”. Rob is Chair of the NW Business Leadership Team, Acting Chair of the NW Employers’ Forum and a Board Member of Business in the Community’s Environmental Steering Group, ARENA Network. He has worked closely with the NW Business in the Community team, helping them build and develop initiatives that will work for business to provide a social and economic impact in the area.
Name: Moya Neeson Position: Company Director at Morrow Communications
A word from
The Wise How did you start out in business? I went to the University of Ulster at Jordanstown and completed a BA Hons Degree in Business Studies. As part of the degree programme, I undertook a placement year at RTE Television in Dublin and loved working in the creative production environment. Once I had graduated, I began work with Morrow Communications as a Production Assistant. At the time they had a subsidiary business producing television programmes for BBC and UTV, in addition to corporate work and I thought I had found the perfect job! In fact I liked it so much I’ve stayed here for 27 years, working my way up through roles of Production Manager, Production Director and now Company Director. What did you find the most challenging during your years in business? The communications industry is a deadline driven environment, so client work has to take priority no matter what else is going on. It’s an industry which is constantly changing with new technology, so it’s challenging to keep pace with constantly changing trends and client expectations. In saying that, this is where the appeal lies – new clients, new projects, new challenges and new achievements.
The column with an ear for experience...
people I work with and the range of skills needed for an integrated communications company to be successful. We share issues, work through problems and celebrate successes. Every person in the team brings something different to the table and as we harness those skills and provide strategic direction, we become stronger as a company. What would you change if you could go back and do it all again? Very little. I’ve enjoyed virtually every day… though not necessarily all day every day! Have you done it all on your own? No. At every stage of my career I have worked with really creative, driven people and learnt so much from them. This includes colleagues, clients, freelancers and other business people we work with, who are at the top of their field. How would you like your business career to be remembered? Someone who always delivered, and didn’t cross anyone in the process. What piece of advice would you give a 20-year old you? Work hard, be straight with people, accept constructive criticism and don’t take yourself too seriously!
How would you describe your management style? Honest, open and supportive. In leading the production team, I recognise the talent of the
With Katharine Kimber, TLT (NI) LLP
The column which doesn’t have time for lunch
eeting a lawyer for breakfast normally means trouble. Thankfully, your scribe’s recent traffic violation ended in nothing more than a stern warning – thank you officer, it is indeed difficult to see the 30 mph sign – and my appointment with this legal eagle was focused more around her than attempting to keep my criminal record clean. The chosen venue for this month’s breakfast was The MAC theatre café in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, one which attracts a mixed bunch of arty types, business people, students and haggard journalists, all searching for a coffee and a croissant served in a dramatic thespian manner.
The alumna of Queen’s University took the reins of the Bristol-headquartered company from day one, along with one other colleague, an office and a computer. How things have changed. In the intervening years she’s spearheaded the growth of the firm to one which now employs 56 people across a range of legal sectors including real estate, banking and planning and which counts some of the biggest companies in Northern Ireland as its customers. That’s as well as handling her own clients in her own specialism in the banking and lender services and dispute resolution arena.
That was certainly the plan when Ulster Business met Katharine Kimber, but an early morning run meant she had already had breakfast (a theme which is becoming so regular to this column we’re thinking of changing its moniker to “The column which doesn’t have time for breakfast”) and plumped just for an Americano coffee.
It’s been a speedy journey.
So out of practice with the idea of reviewing a breakfast establishment’s food offering was this reporter that he forgot to ask her how it tasted, but I can at least report that the flat white I had was pretty good, if not completely filling.
“That brings its own challenges in trying to resource and scale up and deliver but we recognised that making sure we delivered and delivered well was hugely important so there was a frenzy of recruitment which has been ongoing to this day.
No matter, we’re here to find out about the boss of TLT (NI) LLP, the legal firm which has established itself in Northern Ireland since arriving here in 1 May 2012.
Recruitment has therefore been a big part of Katharine’s job since taking up the post and she’s pretty pleased with the talent she’s signed up.
“Those first 12 months were really outstanding and I think took the business by surprise because the clients seemed to react very positively to what we were doing,” Katharine said. “The flow of work came in in a fast way we hadn’t anticipated.
“The people we’ve got are really fantastic. I’d like to think there’s a TLT-type of person, one who wants to be practising Northern Ireland law as part of a top 50 law practice. It’s a challenging recruitment market in the legal world here but our offering is very compelling and we’re able to hire the best.” And although TLT has broadened it’s offering to include a number of different specialisms, Katharine’s making sure it doesn’t spread itself thin. “We’re never going to be a one-stop shop for every legal service that you want but we’ll make sure we’re experts in what we do.” At this stage your reporter realised he had taken what was meant to be a light hearted interview and led it down a road of seriousness. Luckily Katharine offers up a taste of what makes up a TLT-type person by suggesting I should have asked what her ultimate music festival line up was, a brilliant question which will be thrown at every Business Breakfast candidate from now on. Sadly – it was probably the lack of sustenance – we parted without nailing down Katharine’s headliners but I’d like to think that Foo Fighters, Kanye West and The Who might be contenders given they’re appearing just down the road from TLT’s Bristol head office at Glastonbury later this month.
Flags, firebombs & flashbacks
By Pat Burns
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Not everyone has the beneﬁt of a company car... So Fleet Financial has established a new division Preferences. We have seen an increase in the number of people who are no longer interested in ownership but a ﬁxed monthly cost. That is why personal contract hire is the perfect solution.
Vauxhall’s Viva returns
Preference’s is perfect whether it’s your car, car allowance, a second car at the house or you are simply looking for a great staff beneﬁts scheme we have an option for you. What is Personal Contract Hire and how does it work? Personal Contract hire is the most common form of leasing a new car. You make monthly payments over a ﬁxed period 2, 3 or 4 years with a pre-agreed annual mileage. You never own the car, you simply hire the car for a ﬁxed period at your agreed monthly budget. At the end you simply hand the car back and collect your new car. Why Preferences? • Fantastic Discounts • Low advanced Rental followed by a monthly rental • Collection from dealership or free delivery to your home or work • Easy to use website and Facebook page with regularly updated offers • Choose your car online, over the phone or meet us in person • At the end of the contract term you can simply return the car and pick up your new car Your preference package will include:• Road tax included for the whole contract • Free of charge Accident Aftercare Card • 15% Discount off your car insurance with AXA • 10% discount off all parts and accessories with Charles Hurst • 10% discount of all servicing with Charles Hurst • Price Promise on all tyres with Charles Hurst and free puncture repairs
Ford Fiesta 3 Door Hatch 1.5 TDCi 95ps Zetec S
£145 per month
Simply click or call, your preference. T: 028 9084 5277 E: preferences@ﬂeetﬁnancial.co.uk W: ﬂeetﬁnancial.co.uk/special-offers/personal/ Offer Valid from 1st of April - 30th June 2015. Personal Contract hire is provided by Fleet Financial Ltd, BT36 4GX and funded by NIIB Group Ltd, 5th Floor, 1 Donegall Square South, Belfast, BT1 5LR. A guarantor may be required. Personal contract hire offers are based on 6 months initial rental payment + 47 monthly rental payments with an annual mileage restriction of 8,000 miles and excess mileage will be charged at 4.5p + VAT for the 1st 2000 miles and 9.0p + VAT per mile thereafter. Additional charges may apply based on vehicle condition upon return. This is a personal contract hire option and you will not own the vehicle. Failure to make payments may affect credit rating. All ﬁgures include Road Tax for the term but exclude maintenance. Vehicle shown for illustrative purpose only.
auxhall’s all-new five-door entry-level model Viva will arrive in showrooms in the summer priced from £7,995 on-the-road.
The Viva range consists of two trim levels: SE, and SL which is a trim name carried over from the original Vauxhall Viva. There will be Air Con and ecoFLEX versions of the SE trim, giving customers a choice of four well-specified models (SE, SE Air Con, SE ecoFLEX and SL). Both Viva trim levels feature a high level of standard equipment. Tyre pressure monitoring system, city mode steering, lane departure warning, cruise control with speed limiter and front fog lights with cornering function are standard. Achieving 65.7mpg combined and 99g/km, the Viva SE ecoFLEX gets a front lip spoiler, extended rear spoiler with LED brake light and ultra-low rolling resistance tyres over the entry model. It is priced from £8,170 on-the-road. Priced from £9,495 on-the-road, SL trim features electronic climate control, Morocanna seat trim, leather steering wheel and 15-inch alloy wheels. Other highlights include six speakers, USB audio connection, Bluetooth music streaming and mobile phone portal. Options available include Winter Pack (heated seats and steering wheel), rear parking sensors and electric glass sliding sunroof. The Viva will be available on highly-competitive personal contract purchase plans for retail customers.
Bespoke FOR CONTRACT HIRE THINK FLEET FINANCIAL
T: 028 9084 9777 W: ﬂeetﬁnancial.co.uk
New engines and styling for Honda’s CR-V
onda’s British built SUV has been given a new look and new engines. The refreshed and more aggressively styled CR-V sees the arrival of a new 160PS 1.6 i-DTEC engine which uses a twin stage turbo to provide the best power-to-consumption ratio of any engine currently on sale. The new engine produces 129g/ km of CO2 and does a combined 57.7mpg in the manual version. Available in both two and four wheel drive, the new CR-V also features a world first in the new i-ACC system, which comes as part of the optional Honda Sensing Pack, available on the EX version of petrol and diesel CR-V. Developed in house and specifically for European roads and driving styles, the new system takes adaptive cruise control one step further, constantly scanning the road ahead to accurately predict the likelihood of drivers cutting in front when motorway driving. The i-ACC system gently applies the brakes to deliver a smoother and more comfortable ride and ensures a safer driving experience. The new CR-V is available with four trim levels S, SE, SR and EX and in both two and four wheel drive, with the Navi option adding Satellite Navigation. DASP (driver’s assistance package) costs an additional £500 on the SE and SR grades and adds a raft of safety aids, such as forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, blind spot information and high beam support system. The entry-level S features Intelligent Multi Info Display (i-MID), driver power lumbar support, Idle Stop, Dual Zone Climate Control, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, fabric interior, Hill Start Assist, steering wheel stereo controls, power windows and
heated power mirrors, daytime running lights, alarm and immobiliser, USB/iPod auxiliary input, one touch folding rear seats. The next trim level is SE which includes all the equipment found in S but adds a leather steering wheel and gearstick, rain sensing auto wipers, dusk sensing auto lights, auto dim rear view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, rear view parking camera, one-touch power windows (also key fob operated), electrically folding door mirrors, 6-speaker stereo, Honda CONNECT, an HDMI and two USB jacks, front fog lights, while the automatic transmissions come with hill descent control and paddle shift. Going up the range, the SR features 1/2 leather and alcantara interior, heated front seats, ambient lighting for driver/passenger footwell and doors, high power audio with subwoofer, Honda CONNECT with the Navi
option, colour-coded roof rails, privacy glass, Bi-HID lights with Auto Levelling, active cornering lights, High Beam Support System, headlight washers, 18-inch alloy wheels, passenger power lumbar support and manual passenger seat height adjustment. The EX tops off the range with smart entry, electric driver’s seat with memory, leather interior, power tailgate, panoramic glass roof and metallic door-step garnish. Prices start from £22,340 OTR for the entry level 2.0 i-VTEC manual S grade 2WD model and will top out at £35,620 for the new 1.6 i-DTEC 160PS 4WD nine-speed automatic. With PCP an increasingly popular option for Honda customers, as a representative example of the range, the 2.0 i-VTEC SE (2WD) costs £289 over a three year period with 5.9% APR. Combined with the 5 year servicing package for just £500, it offers affordable motoring.
Tailored FOR CONTRACT HIRE THINK FLEET FINANCIAL
T: 028 9084 9777 W: ﬂeetﬁnancial.co.uk
An i for detail
yundai’s latest version of the i20 offers a quality motoring package at a good price. Longer, lower and wider than the outgoing model, the New Generation i20 introduces a sophisticated design with elegant lines and refined details. The longer bonnet and short rear overhang combined with LED running lights and LED rear light clusters give the car a good presence on the road. Handling is well improved too, no doubt the experience learned on the World Rally Championship has been passed on to the roadgoing versions of the i20. Inside, the New Generation i20 delivers class leading interior space thanks to a 45mm increase in the wheel base. The driver orientated cockpit is simple and intuitive while a range of interior colours create a bright and spacious ambiance. Boot space is among the best in the segment from 326 litres.
All new comfort, convenience and technology features lift the New Generation i20 to the top of the B-segment. A first-in-class panoramic opening glass sunroof allows light to pour into the cabin while heated front seats, heated steering wheel and
climate control help ensure comfort for the driver and passengers alike. Features including automatic folding door mirrors, a variable boot floor and generous interior storage provide occupants with exceptional levels of practicality and versatility.
NIIB Finance to sponsor Northern Ireland Car of the Year Awards
Pictured at the launch of the awards at Cultra Manor where the awards will be held later this year are: Paul Flowers, Editor and Motoring Correspondent, Spectator Newspapers; James Dempster, Regional Manager NIIB Finance and Jim McCauley, Chairman, Ulster Motoring Writers Association.
he Northern Ireland Car of the Year Awards, organised by the Ulster Motoring Writers Association,
returns to the fore this year with the help of local finance company NIIB. The resumption of the awards in association with a major sponsor is a sign of the growing improvement in the Northern Ireland new car market which rose by over 9 per cent in 2014, matching the UK average. The awards are judged by members of the Ulster Motoring Writers Association who test the cars on Northern Ireland’s roads covering a combined mileage of over a quarter of a million miles every year. Chairman of the UMWA, Jim McCauley, said,” The Association is delighted to have such a high profile
sponsor for this annual evaluation which is intended to guide the buying public to what are the best value and most competent cars in each of the judging categories.” James Dempster is the Regional Manager for NIIB Finance who said, “For many years NIIB have aimed to provide the best service and support available to Retail Customers, Business Users, Fleet Users and Motor Trade. Sponsoring these awards demonstrate our continued commitment to the local Northern Ireland market whilst continuing our growth throughout the rest of the UK. NIIB remains the local name in lending.”
Value FOR CONTRACT HIRE THINK FLEET FINANCIAL
T: 028 9084 9777 W: ﬂeetﬁnancial.co.uk
he new Jeep Renegade marks a series of firsts in the company’s history. The Renegade is Jeep’s first entry into the small SUV segment. It is also the first Fiat Chrysler Automobiles car to be jointly developed by Italian and American engineers and the first Jeep to be built in Europe but sold in the USA.
Jeepers! A new small SUV from Chrysler
These aren’t the Jeep Renegade’s only firsts. It becomes the first small SUV to feature a nine-speed gearbox. It is also the first in its segment to have a rear axle that can disconnect its drive and it is unique in class thanks to the My Sky sunroof that gives occupants an open-air driving experience. Like most small SUV’s, it combines the driving feel and handling of a car with the grip and adverse weather capabilities of a 4x4. Although it’s built in Italy, the Renegade is instantly recognisable as a Jeep. The result is rugged yet chic thanks to a combination of the brand’s classic styling cues such as the seven slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel arches that blend with the fresh, modern look. Equipment has been designed to boost on-board comfort. Advanced technology includes the intuitive Uconnect touchscreen for infotainment with a choice between 5 and 6.5-inch screens. A wide range of options includes the kind of open air freedom that until now has been unavailable in the small SUV class. The unique-to-segment My Sky has two lightweight panels that can be easily removed and stowed in the boot for a panoramic open-air experience. There is also an array of advanced safety features including Forward Collision Warning Plus with Crash Mitigation which automatically prevents or reduces the impact in low-speed shunts; ParkSense Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist that automatically parks the car; LaneSense Lane Departure Warning Plus; and Adaptive Cruise Control. There are two MultiAir II petrol engines, a pair of MultiJet II turbo diesels and the 1.6-litre eTorque petrol. There are also five and six-speed manual gearboxes, the Dual Dry Clutch Transmission and the nine-speed automatic gearbox. Available with two
or four-wheel drive the Renegade boasts two new, advanced 4x4 systems: Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low. The new 4x4 systems supply the proper amount of torque for any driving situation ensuring enhanced safety even in the slipperiest conditions. The rear axle disconnect system seamlessly switches between two and four-wheel-drive to guarantee traction but reduces the energy required and therefore fuel consumption when 4x4 capability isn’t needed. Jeep Active Drive and Active Drive Low are combined with Jeep Selec-Terrain which gives the driver four settings for optimum performance on any surface. The Jeep Renegade range has four trim levels: Sport, Longitude, Limited and Trailhawk. Although the Sport is the entry to the range, it still features a high level of specification. Standard equipment on this includes a five-inch Uconnect touchscreen with a DAB radio and Bluetooth plus auxiliary and USB connectors, a 3.5-inch Electronic Vehicle Information Centre, air-conditioning, electric parking brake and 16-inch aluminium wheels.
The Longitude offers a higher specification such as standard cruise control, ambient LED lighting, a leather wrapped steering wheel and satellite navigation as well as 17-inch aluminium wheels. The Limited tops the range in terms of technological equipment and has 18-inch aluminium wheels, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, as well as leather upholstery. The Trailhawk is the model with the most ability off-road thanks to the Jeep Active Drive Low and Selec-Terrain system with Hill Descent Control and Rock Mode. Its ride height is raised by 30mm compared to the 4x2 model, chunky mud and snow tyres, unique front and rear facias to improve approach and departure angles along with front suspension and transmission skid plates plus transfer case and fuel tank skid plate shields and a tow hook. The Trailhawk is the only Renegade to come with the 170hp version of the 2.0-litre MultiJet II turbo diesel with the nine-speed automatic transmission. And like every other model in the range it oozes the same sense of adventure and individuality that Jeeps are famous for.
Moy Gortmullan Short
Charles Hurst SHS West
Donnelly Bros. Garages (NI)
Scottishpower Renewables (UK)
Creation Consumer Finance
Foyle Food Group
Electric Caterpillar Power NI Energy Lissan Coal Company Northern Ireland Water United Dairy Farmers
Cola Hbc Northern Cornerstone Group
Willstan Musgrave Distribution Clearway
Disposals R & H Hall Trading Brett Martin
Holdings H & J Martin
Holdings Utv Media Morgan Fuel & Lubes
Lindsay Cars Humax Electronics Devenish
James E. Mccabe
R e c r u i t m e n t
B a l l y l u mf o r d
Musgrave Retail Partners NI
S c h r a d e r Limited
Holdings NIcholls’(Fuel Oils) Northstone (NI) North
Queen’s University Of
Lagan Construction Group Holdings
Coolkeeragh Esb Cycles
Group P&O Ferrymasters Almac Group John Graham
Airtricity Energy Supply
John Henderson (Holdings)
Fane Valley Co-Operative Society W.& R. Barnett
A H Fuel
Oils Cooneen By Design Lakeland Dairies
(NI) D & W Carlisle Ards Holdings Lynas
Allstate Northern Ireland Magir Philip
Balcas Bavarian Garages (NI) Whitemountain
& Rushe Group
Scott & Sons (Fuels) Howden UK Thales
Air Defence Haldane
Shiells Isaac Agnew Agnew Commercials
Lagan Asphalt Group Calvin Klein Stores
Electric Caterpillar Gortmullan Holdings
John Henderson (Holdings)
L a b o r at o r i e s Construction Limited
It Solutions Grafton Dairies (NI)
United Dairy Farmers
Diageo Global Supply
NI c h o l l s ’ ( F u e l Garages
S c o t t i s hp o w e r Cola
Dunnes Stores (Bangor)
Ballylumford Willstan Musgrave R & H Hall
Renewables Ireland Ireland
B o o k m a k e r s
Of Belfast Musgrave Group
Supply (NI) Foyle Food
Valley Co-Operative Society W.& R. Barnett
Maxol Oil Northern
Foods Ireland Coolkeeragh Esb Trench Holdings Aes (NI) Cycles Creation Consumer Finance Capita MaNaged Packers
Diageo Northern Ireland
Distribution Clearway Disposals Trading
THE TOP 100 NORTHERN IRELAND COMPANIES 2015
OUT 12TH AUGUST 2015
W ILL YOU BE IN IT?
To book your space in this edition contact the advertising team on 028 9078 3200
Petrina McAuley has recently been appointed Events and Programmes Assistant at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber). Gabi Burnside has recently been appointed Events and Programmes Assistant at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber). Patrick McClughan has been appointed Head of Corporate Affairs at Gaelectric Developments Ltd. Patrick is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with a range of stakeholders.
Philip Stevenson has been appointed Sales Manager at local Fire and Security Company, Diamond Systems. Philip will lead Diamond’s growing sales team. Stephanie Mulholland has been appointed Associate Director with Brightwater Recruitment Specialists. A graduate of Queen’s University, Stephanie has been in recruitment for 16 years. Valerie Ludlow has been appointed Client Services Director at ASG. Valerie has worked in the Marketing Communications industry for over 10 years in both London and Northern Ireland.
Kieran McNicholl has been appointed as Head of Media at ASG. Kieran has been with ASG for over four years, previously as Media Manager, and will be responsible for managing the media department. Russell Lever has been appointed Account Director at ASG PR. Russell has 10 years’ experience in the PR industry. He specialises in media relations and has been responsible for a number of high profile clients. Karen Barr has been appointed Client Marketing Director at ASG. Karen has worked in the advertising industry for 20 years, managing both public and private sector clients.
Stuart Quate has been appointed Marketing Executive at 3fivetwo Group. He will provide support to the marketing department with a focus on digital marketing. Zoe Starrett has been appointed as Personal One2One Patient Advisor at 3fivetwo Group. One2One is a personal service from beginning to end offered within Kingsbridge Private Hospital for 3fivetwo Group. Geraldine McEwan, Fleet and Preparation Manager, Funeral Services Northern Ireland, has been promoted to manage funeral homes on Belfastâ€™s Shore Road, Crumlin Road and in Glengormley.
Tim Kinney has been appointed a partner at law firm Tughans. He joins the construction team as a construction and projects lawyer and holds an MSc in construction law and arbitration and is an accredited mediator. David McAleese has been appointed a partner at law firm Tughans. He specialises in real estate finance, refinance and restructuring and is regularly involved in property and corporate finance transactions. Maria Oâ€™Loan has been appointed a partner in law firm Tughans. She is a specialist in planning, environmental, energy and regulatory matters and is experienced in advising throughout the planning process.
Gary McIlroy has been appointed Network Encryption Engineer at eircom Business Solutions NI. He holds a BSc Hons Degree in Computer Science and has more than 10 years experience within the IT sector. Kevin McAteer has been appointed Business Development Manager at eircom Business Solutions NI. He has a 25-year track record in the IT sector. Rosanne Briggs has been appointed as the Head of Property Management Accounts at Lambert Smith Hampton. Rosanne has been with the firm from 2003.
PHOTOCALL 1. Simon Community Northern Ireland, NI’s local homelessness charity, recently held its “Guys and Dolls” themed ball at Titanic Belfast. Pictured are Jim Dennison, the charity’s chief executive, Blair Anderson and Pamela Ballentine. 2. Hospitality Ulster, the professional body representing the interests of the local retail licensed premises trade, has appointed Osborne King as its preferred supplier of property-related services to its members. Pictured are Mike Carron (Osborne King), Colin Neill (Hospitality Ulster) and Thomas Osborne (Osborne King).
3. Ulster University Business Schools’ Professor Mark Durkin (left) and Dr Lynsey Hollywood welcome Cinnabon Executive Assistant, Laura Lamb, from Georgia, USA to the Jordanstown campus to meet BSc Consumer Studies students Conor Maskey and Jade Knowles. 4. Clare Greenwood, Employers For Childcare Charitable Group with a young budding entrepreneur launching their Family Friendly Employer Awards 2015. The awards provide an opportunity for employers to gain recognition for implementing family friendly policies in the workplace. 5. The judging panel line up for the DANI Awards celebrating the digital industry in Northern Ireland join founder Naomh McElhatton (front right) to launch the fifth year of the awards. The DANI Awards form part of the CultureTECH festival and will take place in Derry~Londonderry in September.
6. Northern Regional College (NRC) has received a Santander Career Academy of the Year Award, the only Northern Ireland college to be recognised in the national awards. Pictured with the award are Paula McCloskey, Schrader Electronics, Robbie Monahan, and Jordan Bell both NRC Engineering and Career Academy students. 7. Michael Chandler Estate Agents have announced a charity partnership with Barnardos, one of Belfast’s oldest charities. Pictured celebrating the new partnership are, from back left: Carolyn Edgar, Mark Gillespie, Neil Murphy, Nic Stewart, Clare Kerstens, Gareth Owens and from front right Laura Chandler, Barnardos Rep Aoibheann Fearon and Michael Chandler.
8. Gerry McGinn, Chairman, Strategic Investment Board, Noel Brady, Northern Ireland Regional Chairman, Sales Institute of Ireland, and Robert Pierce, Managing Director at The Pierce Partnership, are pictured at a recent Sales Institute of Ireland breakfast seminar at Belfast’s Hilton Hotel, sponsored by The Pierce Partnership.
9. Titanic Belfast’s Chief Executive, Tim Husbands and Moya Johnston, Managing Director of Survitec, are pictured with Harvey Thompson (aged 10) from Victoria Park Primary School, Belfast, as they launch the new Abandon Ship Workshop. 10. Northern Ireland’s largest independent travel company, Selective Travel Management, has won a major share of a £100million, three year contract to service the travel requirements of more than 400 GB universities and higher educational organisations.
PHOTOCALL 11. Ards Rugby Football Club (RFC) has received a significant loan from The Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) which will support their redevelopment plans. Health Minister Hamilton is pictured with Neil Workman, President, Ards RFC and Harry McDaid, Chief Executive, UCIT. 12. Team Solutionz has just sold its 1000th MinutePad licence to the Northern Ireland Science Park. Geoff Higgins, Team Solutionz Managing Director (second from left) is pictured with NISP Director of Finance Phillip Maguire, NISP Financial Controllor Carolynn Rooney and Barry McLean, Regional Manager Public Sector for Microsoft, a tenant in the Science Park.
13. Roy Adair, Belfast Harbour CEO, and Dennis Davidson, CEO of Banbridge-based Gibson Ltd, mark work on a new £1.2m 1.2km long waterfront walkway linking the Harbour’s City Quays development to Belfast city centre. 14. Three of the speakers at the ‘Think Big, Act Small’ an event for small and medium enterprises at Ulster University Belfast campus as part of Local Business Week. From left: Eimear Kearney of Lough Neagh Enterprises, Christine Watson, Chair of the CIM Ireland Board and Kirsty McManus, Director of the Ulster University Business School SME Centre. 15. Pictured on the rooftop solar installation at Bombardier’s wing facility are Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Belfast and Michael Burke, Managing Director, SALIIS Renewables.
PHOTOCALL 16. Sam O’Prey receives the keys to a total of 30 Mercedes trucks initially ordered by Hireco from the Mercedes Benz Truck and Van NI, Sales Director Julian Brown.
17. The Ulster University Business School, which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, has also just completed a decade of co-operation with the School of International Business at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (DUFE) in China. Pictured are, from left, Professor Marie McHugh; Meng Yuhong, Chinese Deputy Consul; student Yuquin Li and Professor Gillian Armstrong.
19. From left to right are NI Hospice Communiity Nurse Leanne Devlin, NI Hospice Corporate Fundraising Manager and Michelle McCutcheon, Abbey Insurance, celebrate the local company’s donation of £120k to NI Hospice.
18. Local staff from McDonald’s restaurant in Victoria Square, Belfast united with the local council in a clean-up operation to rid litter from the area under the M3 bridge at Tomb Street. Pictured are Stephen Haylands, Naomi Smith, Teresa Doherty, Michael Gillen and Grainne Irvine.
20.Cliff Kells, chairman of the Northern Ireland regional branch of GroceryAid (centre) presented Ulster Grocer Publisher James Greer and Editor Alyson Magee with a UK Bronze Achievement Award in the GroceryAid Achievement programme, recognising contribution to the work of the grocery sector charity.
Canapés and cocktails The cream of the last month’s business events Shortcross Gin Signature Serve Ireland’s best bartenders convened on Belfast at the prestigious Shortcross Gin Signature Serve competition last month, which coincided with the first anniversary of Ireland’s most awarded gin. The grand finale in Belfast cocktail bar, sixty6, saw 16 competitors showcase their Shortcross Signature Serves to a judging panel for the chance to have their drinks promoted as the recommended serves to the growing legion of Shortcross Gin fans across the Ireland, UK and further afield.
Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards The Henderson Group are celebrating after two wins and highly commended recognition at the 27th annual Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2015, showing how their marketing investments in 2014 have paid off. The group, which owns the SPAR and EUROSPAR franchises in Northern Ireland, invested £3.6M in marketing in 2014, and was awarded winner of Best In-store Consumer Sales Promotion, winner of the Green Retailer of the Year award and highly commended in the Best Marketing Campaign category.
Pictured L-R: Fiona Boyd-Armstrong, Shortcross Gin; Micheal Brown, The Merchant Hotel, Belfast (Shortcross Signature Summer Serve winner); Oliver Ward, Gin Foundry (Judge); Stuart Podmore, Muriel’s Cafe Bar, Belfast (winner of Shortcross Signature G&T Serve); Caroline Wilson, Belfast Food Tours (judge); David BoydArmstrong, Shortcross Gin.
Ashtree Breakfast Seminar
Stuart Podmore from Muriel’s Café Bar in Belfast was named the winner in the highly competitive G&T category at the Shortcross Signature Serve competition.
The Merchant Hotel’s Micheal Brown was named the winner of the highly coveted Summer Serve category at the Shortcross Signature Serve competition.
A breakfast seminar hosted by Ashtree Financial Services warned SMEs of the risks they face by not focusing heavily enough on business protection and succession planning. At the seminar at Ashtree’s Newry headquarters are (from left) Karl Murphy, Financial Advisor, Ashtree Financial Services, guest speaker Dave Dawson, Corporate Business Development Manager of Bright Grey, and Kevin Curran, Client Services Director of Ashtree Financial Services.
Shirley Smith, Professional Travel, David Taylor, Selective Travel Management and Lorraine McConville, Bangor Travel.
Liz McVeigh, Century Travel, Tracie Duffy, Crumlin Travel, David Meade, Amanda Crossen, Crumlin Travel and Mukesh Sharma, Selective Travel Management.
Selective Travel Management Dinner Television’s favourite mentalist and business guru was guest of honour recently when Selective Travel Management, in association with British Airways, hosted a dinner for some of Northern Ireland’s leading travel, business and media representatives. David Meade, one of Europe’s most dynamic, engaging and sought-after speakers and entertainers, tantalised his audience with demonstrations illustrating the power of thought in creative action. His thoughtful approach to better, more creative decision making, coupled with an instinct for entertainment, made the evening a memorable one for corporate guests. The event was co-hosted by Mukesh Sharma, Selective Travel Management, part of the World Travel Centre Group, Northern Ireland’s largest independent travel management company and Brenda Morgan, Partnership Manager British Airways.
Sharon Fleming, Thompson Travel, David Meade and Mukesh Sharma, Selective Travel Management.
The power of thought! David Meade (centre) engages in a few mind games with hosts Brenda Morgan, British Airways and Mukesh Sharma, Selective Travel Management.
David Elliott, Ulster Business, Brenda Morgan, British Airways, special guest David Meade, Geraldine Elliott and Mukesh Sharma, Selective Travel Management.
Genesis Media Team, Wendy McKnight, Pauline Moore and Janine Wells.
Media Awards 2015 Belfast-based agency Genesis has been awarded the prestigious title of Northern Ireland Media Agency of the Year 2015 at the Media Awards 2015 in Dublin. The award recognises excellence in media strategy, planning, buying, innovation, people development (training and skills) and new business development.
Paul Sistern, Anne McGregor, NI Chamber of Trade, special guest David Meade and Mukesh Sharma, Selective Travel Management.
By Adam Maguire
aving raised $10m on Kickstarter for its debut smartwatch in 2012, Pebble has always had a place in the hearts of early adopters. With its new ‘Time’ model, the company hopes to extend that appeal to the mass market. While the first Pebble watch was innovative for its time, the new standard set by Apple and Samsung has made the device look fairly outmoded by comparison. With the Time, Pebble tries to address this mismatch; however it does so in a way that maintains some of the original draw of its debut device. It has a colour screen – but a lower resolution, non-touch one that is less of a drain on battery life. Users can install apps on the device, though there are a few limitations compared to its Android or iOS-based rivals. It is also water resistant and
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
relatively rugged – but is hardly the most stylish smartwatch out there as a result. There is a lot to like about the Time – but also a lot of compromises. One thing that will increase its appeal is the fact that it works with both Apple and Android phones – but despite this, and more, it’s hard to see this being more than a niche alternative to those tech titans.
he tablet market has proven to be a hard nut to crack for many companies – but Sony hopes the expertise it has amassed in the high quality smartphone space will give it a good chance against Apple and Samsung’s dominance. The Xperia Z4 tablet is a standard 10 inch device – but at just 6.1mm thick and weighing less than 400g it is anything but a standard offering. But despite this minimal footprint there is plenty going on under the hood – it has a 8.1 megapixel camera, a display that is almost twice the resolution of high definition and a battery that allows for hours of intensive usage on a single charge. To help the device stand out from the crowd Sony has extended the waterproofing seen on its smartphones to the tablet too – while there’s also an attachable keyboard to add functionality for professional users. So on paper the Z4 tablet holds its own against any other device – but with Samsung and Apple gaining most of the market’s attention that may not translate through to sales success.
Preview – Elgato Eve Range
f you hadn’t noticed it already, prepare to be bombarded by information about ‘the internet of things’ – of which the Elgato Eve range is just one component. In case you have missed it, the ‘internet of things’ concept envisions a world where your home – and its contents – are hooked up to a network that is constantly providing and reacting to information. One result of this might be the ability to remotely control certain appliances from your phone – or to double check that your front door is locked while sitting at your office computer. And Elgato is one of the companies hoping to provide the means to make this happen, through the products in its Eve range. The Eve Room, for example, monitors air quality, temperature and humidity in a room – all of which can be tracked on a smartphone app. Eve Energy, meanwhile, lets you see how power hungry the appliance its connected to is and allows for it to be remotely switched off or on. All you need to make your home a cutting edge space – or Orwellian nightmare – depending on your point of view. The Eve range will be available from the Apple store from July.
Tag Heuer Carrera Wearable 01
ost high-end watch-makers are not too worried about smartwatches – they don’t compete on price, for a start, and don’t have the shelf-life of a tenthousand pound heirloom. But some, particularly those closer
to the middle of the market, are hedging their bets all the same. Enter the Tag Heuer Carrera Wearable 01 – a luxury watch with some smarts embedded within. On the face of it the device looks no different than any other expensive mechanical timepiece – which is kind of the idea. Under the hood, though, it will have some cutting edge technology to compete with the likes of the Apple Watch. Exactly what that technology will be is still unknown, however. Though it does seem that Tag Heuer will make the device upgradable, meaning users can add to its functionality as new opportunities arrive. It will also run on Google’s Android Wear and is being built with the help of chip-maker Intel. The Tag Heuer Carrera Wearable 01 is expected to go on sale in October/November for over £900.
By David Elliott
of the climate which duly offered us a little rain during our stay. Luckily we were also keen to check out the local cuisine, one which draws heavily on the fish, dairy and meat of the surrounding hills. We dined like kings on fresh tuna, calamares and local cheeses during the one formal meal we sat down to but mostly we were happy to follow the pinchos trail.
he prospect of heading off for a couple of days to a city which shares its name with a high street bank wouldn’t normally inspire excitement, but Santander isn’t only filled with bankers. And besides, it fits in nicely with the aims of a business magazine, although we can’t guarantee that we’ll be visiting the home of every other bank in the future (although that does sound like a challenge. Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Dublin or London anyone?). The northern Spanish city is the regional capital of Cantabria and offered the chance for an out-of-season visit for a long weekend in autumn. We flew direct from Dublin on Ryanair, an airline which seemed to have had something of a spruce up since we last joined the rumble for a seat. Even the staff seemed to be of a lighter disposition, offering smiles and assistance and not playing the pre-recorded advert for its two-for-one vodka shots at volume 11 halfway through my snooze. Arriving in Santander is a doddle and we only had to jump on a bus from the airport which
That sounds more challenging than it really is because pinchos are the delicious northern Spanish version of the tapas, generally smaller and served on top of a slice of bread. took us into the centre in a little over 20 minutes. We stayed in a family-run hotel in the centre of the city called Jardin Secreto which, as the name suggests, has a secret garden in the back which proved perfect for a morning coffee and Cantabrian cake (sobaos for you Spanish speakers/foodies). The other half left it to me to choose the hotel and even she admitted it was perfect for what we were looking for. Friendly without being intrusive, homely without being staid and so central we only had to roll down the street to get to the shops which Mrs Elliott looked at so longingly on our first night recce. But it wasn’t the shopping we came for, more the chance of some late autumn sunshine which warmed our backs as we walked to the Punta el Higar, a headland which juts out at the mouth of the Bay of Santander. Because the city is in the far north of Spain, the landscape is much more reminiscent of home than the arid south but that’s a result
In Santander every bar – and there are a lot of them – offered a plethora of these tasty little morsels which are washed down beautifully with a drop of the local tinto or a cana of beer. The pincho trail involves wandering from bar to bar around the city trying the best on offer – from simple cheese or serrano ham to elvers (baby eels) – and generally taking in the very civilised way of heading out for the night of which the Spanish are masters. Three nights of that and we were smitten with the city and although we were relatively sedate during our visit, there’s also the opportunity to take the 10 minute ferry trip across the Bay of Santander to the beautiful beaches of Somo where surfers of all standards can practice their pops, hang five and admire the scenery. As an easy-to-get-to city break which isn’t dripping with tourists, you couldn’t go far wrong with Santander. For us, it ticked all the boxes and there’s no doubt we’ll be back, and soon. Carrier: Ryanair from Dublin from €24.99 one way. Hotel: Jardin Secreto. Rooms from €40 to €75 a night.
Charity awards local athletes £33,000 to help kickstart career
Vueling touches down in Belfast
Ronan McCrory, Laura Duggan, Dame Mary Peters and Enya Robinson.
he first flights to Barcelona from George Best Belfast City Airport began last month on IAGowned airline Vueling.
he Mary Peters Trust has awarded £33,000 to over 80 local athletes to help fulfil their dreams of competing professionally during the charity’s bi-annual ‘Podium Programme’.
Supported by George Best Belfast City Airport, the Podium Programme also provided attendees with an opportunity to learn from industry experts on how to enhance their careers with masterclasses in health, communication, strength and conditioning. Dame Mary Peters CH. DBE, President of the Mary Peters Trust which funds the development of local, budding sports stars, said: “Our 2015 Podium Programme, with support from Belfast City Airport, has seen our biggest single financial handout in the Trust’s 40 year history. Competing professionally can be extremely costly for athletes and without financial support, this would not be possible. I am delighted that through the Trust we can present financial awards based on the skill, commitment and achievements of the young athlete, allowing them to reach their true potential.” The Mary Peters Trust Podium Programme was funded by the airport’s Community Fund, which has invested over £190,000 into a number of local projects which aim to strengthen community relations, social development, environmental responsibility and education. Laura Duggan of George Best Belfast City Airport said: “Belfast City Airport is passionate about making a positive contribution to the local community and investing in the professional development of the young members of our society. We recognise the impact sport has on young people as it encourages fitness and wellbeing whilst also developing skills such as concentration, teamwork and determination, which can be applied even off the track. We are delighted to be involved with the Podium Programme and look forward to seeing all the fantastic young athletes we have met achieve their goals.” For more information on how your school, group or project can apply to the Belfast City Airport Community Fund, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Spanish airline will operate a twice weekly service on Thursdays and Sundays to Barcelona’s El Prat, increasing to three times weekly from 23rd June with an additional Tuesday service. Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport, said the route was one of a select few to the UK to be included in the airline’s expansion. “The arrival of Vueling to Northern Ireland is hugely exciting and significant given the airline’s fast paced growth and popularity in mainland Europe,” she said. “As a low cost yet full service airline, Vueling places customer service at the centre of its operations and strategically selects airport partners which do the same.” “Not only is the airline the fastest growing member of IAG, but it is also one of the biggest low cost airlines in Europe carrying a high percentage of business passengers which makes it a perfect partner for Belfast City given our large business passenger base. The airline’s arrival follows the announcement that Routes Europe 2017 is to be hosted in Belfast. “Welcoming two new leading airlines to Belfast City Airport in just one month is an extremely exciting time for us, and evidence of our commitment to promoting the city and Northern Ireland as an outstanding destination, not only to the airlines but other tourism bodies. “The Routes Europe Conference provides an opportunity for all these key decision makers and influencers to experience Belfast for themselves and for everyone involved to market the region like never before. We look forward to working with Government and playing a key role in fully capitalising on the conference.”
The healthy option
ew weeks go by without the subject of health being mentioned in our local media. Health is important to us all yet we only focus on it when our personal health deteriorates.
With Geoff Wilson
Mary Doran, MD of Health Matters.
So what can we do, and does sport have a role? Well, in two of Northern Ireland’s main cities there is a company which is working with sports organisations to promote healthy eating and tackle mental health. With offices in Newry and Belfast, Health Matters has been working with local sports clubs and associations to provide training and workshops on what players should eat before and after training as well what they should eat in moderation. This exchange of knowledge has helped local sports clubs to educate their players and coaches in this important area, as well as improve their lifestyle. In addition, the team has been delivering a range of mental health projects across Northern Ireland tackling issues such as obesity, stress and suicide, using sport as a platform for learning. Geoff runs his own sports consultancy, working with clients such as
To find out more on what Health Matters have been doing in the area of sports health, log onto www.healthmattersni.com or call 028 3025 6482.
FIFA across the world. He is also on the board of SportNI. You can follow Geoff on twitter @geoffwnjwilson or Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/in/geoffwnjwilson
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Uncovering the 9-5
and new business opportunities. This is valuable to get a clearer understanding of what is, or may be, coming in across the following week, enabling us to better schedule and plan for client requirements. Then it’s on to the business of the day, which can be regular client work, or, as is often the case in advertising and marketing, responding to tenders to win new business.
1.00pm It’s lunchtime, but often this is eaten on the fly, as there might be a pressing visual or piece of work to be finished up for presentation. However, we do have a pool table in the studio, so occasionally there’s a few minutes spent playing (with varying degrees of skill) against other people in the company, or in our sister company, Webrecruit Ireland. It might seem trivial, but you’d be surprised what a great team-building thing something as simple as a pool table can be.
Name: Kirk Moffat Position: Executive Creative Director at ASG
6:00 – 7:00am Being a dad to two young boys, it’s early rising throughout the week. The morning routine is to get up, get showered, get dressed, get the kids up, get the kids dressed, get the dishwasher emptied (my favourite), get breakfast and get out in time to miss the worst that Bangor to Belfast traffic has to throw at me. This means I’m into the office by 8:00am most days. This spare hour before the working day kicks off is great – it means I can check my diary, answer emails, schedule appointments and generally prepare for the day ahead. Oh, and kick-start my creativity with a cup of coffee.
9:00am I spend time checking what new work has come in and assign it accordingly. With ASG’s wide client portfolio, there’s a range of projects that can need attention on any given day, from brand design to advertising, from illustration to copywriting and from digital to motion graphics, so it’s always interesting. All of my team members have individual strengths that complement specific projects, so we each have clients we look after, but always brainstorm and bounce ideas around so everyone gets the opportunity to contribute.
I’m often meeting clients, either in the building or at their premises. As a creative, this is great, for while it takes me away from the coal face, there’s no substitute for taking a brief directly from a client and making suggestions there and then that may influence the outcome of the project – or take it in an entirely new direction.
3:30pm In the afternoon I’m often at a pre-production meeting with a director and his producer for a commercial we are working on. This is always great fun as a creative, seeing your idea develop from something that resides just in your head, to hearing how some very talented local production companies, effects artists and photographers, can help bring it to life for our clients.
5:30pm It’s time to wrap up for the day – at least in the work environment. I make sure all emails are answered or ready to answer and fill in the days’ timesheets to make sure all my time is allocated and logged to the relevant jobs. Then it’s brave the traffic again and return to my family in time to wolf down my tea, courtesy of my lovely and very patient wife, and read the kids a bedtime story (they don’t seem to be growing out of that just yet, thank goodness).
8:00pm Advertising and marketing is not a 9-5 career, so most nights, even if I’m not actively working on a project, be it actual or speculative, I’m usually mulling something over that I know will need thought the next day – you’d be surprised where and when the best ideas can come to you!
At 10am it’s the weekly traffic meeting, so our studio, the client executives and media get together to discuss work in progress
It’s off to bed with a good book (not a paper one mind, all digital these days!) and get some rest for tomorr…zzz.
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