Some of Ireland’s most inspiring entrepreneurs

Fionn Crombie Angus – Fionnathan

Fionn suffers with Down Syndrome and (with the help of his dad Johnathan) has set up his own production company Fionnathan. Fionn has been on a mission to interview as many people as he can and ask them ‘what do you love about your life, or what do you love about your job’. Fionn’s YouTube channel has more than 280,000 views, and has featured people like President Michael D Higgins.
Nikki Bradley – The Motivation Factory

Diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer (Ewing’s Sarcoma) at the age of 16, Nikki moved into business in 2013 by setting up a motivational speaking company The Motivation Factory.  She also set up a fitness-based awareness campaign called Fighting Fit For Ewing’s where she regularly partakes in physical challenges to highlight the importance of exercise for rehabilitation.
Niall Breslin – Lust For Life

Singer, TV presenter and author Bressie (as he is better known) is one of the leading voices on anxiety disorders and mental health issues in the workplace in Ireland. Bressie co-founded a not-for-profit organisation A Lust for Life, with their mission to ‘support, inspire and empower people to take care of their own minds, change societal norms around mental health, humanising the conversation, change societal infrastructure, so that we always catch people when they fall’.
Sinead Burke – sinead-burke.com

Sinead was born with achondroplasia and is now a writer, fashionista and academic. Sinead has a clear vision ‘to educate designers on how to be fully inclusive in fashion and beyond’. Aged 16, Sinead felt excluded from fashion conversations, so she decided to create her own blog saying “people didn’t take me seriously because of my physical aesthetic, so I started blogging”. Her blog is one of the most popular fashion blogs in the UK and Ireland.
Caroline Casey – Various

Caroline was born with ocular albinism

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/some-of-irelands-most-inspiring-entrepreneurs/ on
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Will insects fuel the future of fish farming?

Hexafly is an Irish firm that makes fish food from insect protein. The problem they are trying to solve is huge but so is the business potential. 

Hexafly, a biotech startup based in Ashbourne, Co. Meath has taken advantage of recent amendments to EU legislation, which permits the use of insect meal as a feed for aquaculture. Buoyed by this change, Hexafly has developed advanced insect-farming technology as an alternative to fishmeal and soy-derived protein, which from an EU view is neither sustainable nor environmentally responsible, in the long term.
Our oceans are tapped out, the global population is exploding, and aquaculture production has now surpassed the output from the world’s natural fisheries. Fishmeal is also a limited natural resource with global demand far exceeding supply. CEO, Alvan Hunt outlines Hexafly’s innovative blue economy thinking – and their plans to expand the business beyond these shores.
“Using insect feed means you can reduce the dependency on fishmeal and in turn reduce over-fishing.”
Inspiration
My co-founder John Lynam and I had been friends in college and in our final year began researching different business ideas. John has a background in chemistry, and my experience is in business and finance. I would consider myself and my co-founder as futurists – that’s just the way we think. Huge problems require you to think differently, basically requiring paradigm shifts in modes of thinking.
“If you delve a little deeper into it, the whole food security system is a lot more fragile than it looks.”
Fishmeal and soya limitations – a problem to solve
Sourcing fishmeal means going to the ocean; catching and processing fish, selling the fish by-product to a feed company who manufacture it back into a pellet, for fish in the fish farm. Significantly from a sustainability perspective, it takes twice as much wild-caught fish, to produce the same quantity

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/hexafly-using-insect-protein-to-transform-the-blue-economy/ on
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Designing an effective CSR strategy

There is a new movement looking at how CSR budgets can be spent more effectively.
It seems like businesses today are getting better and better at tracking return on investment. This is especially true when it comes to investing in IT infrastructure, training, or sales and marketing spend.
What is still largely unexplored territory, however, is tracking return on investment around corporate social responsibility spend, or CSR.
But there is a new movement toward looking at how this budget could be spent more effectively.
To be clear, CSR involves more than donations. It can encompass everything from employee safety, training, childcare, education and healthcare to environmental efforts and even taking stances on political and social issues.
The 2018 Deloitte Millennials Survey shows a new generation of workers with a different expectation of their employer. They expect businesses they work for to have a more significant social impact, and this has an effect on loyalty and productivity.
So building trust with employees through CSR efforts is an increasing area of focus but also requires a delicate balance. These efforts can often be criticised as either insincere or not going far enough.
“It makes sense to give where you can help the highest number of people, to the greatest degree with your money.”
Effective CSR
One Irish company recently set up with the mission to make improvements in this area, is ‘Effective CSR’.
The business concept of Effective CSR is based on the model of Effective Altruism, a philosophy which has grown out of think tanks in Oxford University and in essence is about applying an investment mindset to the world of doing good. If you are going to donate some money to charity, then according to Effective Altruism at least, it makes sense to give where you can help the highest number of people, to the greatest degree with your money.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/designing-an-effective-csr-strategy/ on
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Letterkenny wins National Enterprise Town Awards 2018

Letterkenny has been announced as the overall winner of the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards 2018.

Letterkenny has been announced as the overall winner of the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards for 2018.
Representatives from Letterkenny’s National Enterprise Town Awards committee were presented with a trophy and a €33,000 cash prize fund by special guest, the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D. and Francesca McDonagh, CEO of Bank of Ireland, at a gala reception in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Co. Kilkenny. The prize fund is for investment in the further development of enterprise activity in the town.
“People from right across our country are represented at these awards; ranging from city centre urban communities to pretty seaside towns, bustling western cities and rapidly growing suburbs.”
The spirit of enterprise
The Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards recognises and rewards towns and urban villages, where businesses and the community have come together, to showcase the spirit of enterprise in their local area. This year 83 towns and urban villages from almost every county nationwide were represented on the night and 35 received awards.
The town of Kells, in Co. Meath walked away with the Rising Star Award for the work it has done to date in restoring the ‘Kells Old Printworks’, which had lain derelict for over 35 years. The €20,000 cash prize fund will be used to complete the restoration project of the antique printworks in 2019 in order to make Kells a more attractive tourist destination.
Other special category winners on the night included Galway City, Dunleer, Co. Louth and Kinsale, Co. Cork who were awarded €10,000 each for the continued development of enterprise in their communities.
“These awards are the culmination of Bank of Ireland’s National Enterprise Programme for 2018, for which it is to be commended,”

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/letterkenny-wins-the-bank-of-ireland-national-enterprise-town-awards-2018/ on
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Letterkenny wins National Enterprise Town Awards 2018

Letterkenny has been announced as the overall winner of the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards 2018.

Letterkenny has been announced as the overall winner of the Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards for 2018.

Representatives from Letterkenny’s National Enterprise Town Awards committee were presented with a trophy and a €33,000 cash prize fund by special guest, the Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D. and Francesca McDonagh, CEO of Bank of Ireland, at a gala reception in the Lyrath Estate Hotel, Co. Kilkenny. The prize fund is for investment in the further development of enterprise activity in the town.

“People from right across our country are represented at these awards; ranging from city centre urban communities to pretty seaside towns, bustling western cities and rapidly growing suburbs.”

The spirit of enterprise

The Bank of Ireland National Enterprise Town Awards recognises and rewards towns and urban villages, where businesses and the community have come together, to showcase the spirit of enterprise in their local area. This year 83 towns and urban villages from almost every county nationwide were represented on the night and 35 received awards.

The town of Kells, in Co. Meath walked away with the Rising Star Award for the work it has done to date in restoring the ‘Kells Old Printworks’, which had lain derelict for over 35 years. The €20,000 cash prize fund will be used to complete the restoration project of the antique printworks in 2019 in order to make Kells a more attractive tourist destination.

Other special category winners on the night included Galway City, Dunleer, Co. Louth and Kinsale, Co. Cork who were awarded €10,000 each for the continued development of enterprise in their communities.

“These awards are the culmination of Bank of Ireland’s National Enterprise Programme for 2018, for which it is to be commended,” said Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD.The wellbeing of SMEs is absolutely critical to the wellbeing of our economy, our communities and broader society. Any initiative which recognises and champions innovation and enterprise, such as this, is of immense value and has my full support.”

letterkenny neta 2018

“People from right across our country are represented at these awards; ranging from city centre urban communities to pretty seaside towns, bustling western cities and rapidly growing suburbs. The diversity of entrants, and that which brings everyone together, with their unique set of historical, geographical, infrastructural, economic and social opportunities and challenges, is a cause for celebration. It is encouraging to see the way in which these communities and businesses come together in this way and I congratulate all those who have taken part for their efforts”.

Francesca McDonagh, CEO, Bank of Ireland added, “These awards are about recognising the enterprising activity being undertaken by towns and communities all over Ireland. I have been impressed with the energy, commitment and sheer hard work that we have seen from the awards entrants across the length and breadth of the country.

“At Bank of Ireland our purpose is to enable our customers and communities across Ireland to thrive – and as Ireland’s largest lender, enterprise is at the heart of everything we do.  We are proud to have a presence in over 250 communities across Ireland and we are passionate about supporting enterprise in these communities. I want to thank the city and County Councils for their support of these awards, and congratulate Letterkenny on being crowned overall winner.”

This year 83 towns and urban villages were nominated for the competition.

Overall and Category Winners and Runners Up

Category Prize Winners
Regional Runner-Up Framed Cert + €2,000 Howth Dublin
    Balbriggan Dublin
    Kilmacthomas, Waterford
    Shannon, Clare
    Clonmel, Tipperary
    Castlecomer, Kilkenny
    Kells, Meath
    Mullingar, Westmeath
    Donegal Town
    Westport, Mayo
    Sligo
Regional runners-up (2nd) Framed Cert + €1,000 Castleisland, Kerry
    Bree, Wexford
    Bray, Wicklow
    Clones, Monaghan
Regional Winners Trophy + €3,000 Mulhuddart, Dublin
    Sandyford, Dublin
    Tallaght, Dublin
    Cashel, Tipperary
    Kinsale, Cork
    Ennis, Clare
    Dunleer, Louth
    Kildare town
    Kilkenny
    Claremorris, Mayo
    Monaghan Town
    Letterkenny, Donegal
National Category Winners Trophy + €10,000 Dunleer, Louth
    Kinsale, Cork
    Letterkenny, Donegal
Town Initiatives of the Year Framed Certificate + €5,000 Myshall, Carlow
    South Regeneration Limerick
    Arklow, Co Wicklow
Runners Up Framed Certificate +€1,000 Clonakilty, Cork
  Framed Certificate +€2,500 Mountmellick, Laois
  Framed Certificate + €1,500 Thurles, Tipperary
City Award Runner-Up Framed Certificate + €2,000 Liberties, Dublin
City Award Winner Trophy + €10,000 Galway City
Overall National Winner Trophy + €20,000 Letterkenny, Donegal
Rising Star €20,000 Kells, Co Meath

 

Become a high-performance business leader

What type of business leader are you? Do you feel you could ‘up your game’ with the right guidance? Here, we speak to Enda Lynch, head of the Munster High-Performance Leadership Programme about the importance of resilience and authenticity in leadership.

If you are a business leader or business owner, you will be interested in the art and the science of leadership. But how much time do you allow yourself to focus on ‘you’ the leader?

“A lot of business leaders will focus on the management side of things, the managerial aspects of leadership such as one-on-ones and workflows,” says Enda Lynch. “What they don’t focus on is themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, which is worrying because they’re the ones taking responsibility for others, for their staff for their families and for their business.”

The Munster High-Performance Leadership Programme is aptly named. It focuses on high performance. “Just as our senior rugby team members have to make serious decisions in very high-pressure environments every time they play a competitive game, business leaders, c-suite executives and entrepreneurs face tough decisions in high-pressure situations every day they go to work.”

The programme was designed and built by Munster Rugby and the University of Limerick’s Kemmy Business School. It takes place over two and a half days at Munster Rugby’s senior team’s world-class high-performance centre in Limerick.

“75% of what we cover on the programme is about decision making. 25% is about helping people understand their strengths and weaknesses,” says Lynch.

What do people find out about themselves when they take the programme?

“Some have called it life-changing,” says Flynn. “We look at each person in the whole – their physical being, their personal being, their work being and their emotional being. We want to empower people with long-term decision-making skills.”

“Jerry Flannery does a session on learning how to be an authentic leader. It’s a very impressive session.”

The tools of resilience

Flynn says the programme gives attendees the tools to be a more resilient and capable leader. “Leaders need to be able to manage the rapidly changing daily environment around them. We equip people with the skills we work on with our players each and every day, growing them into internationally recognised high performing leaders through the pillars of The Fitness to Perform, Balance and Alignment in the Workplace and Personally and Energy Management.”

The programme is led by senior staff including Dr Patrick Ryan, University of Limerick’s doctor of psychology, Dr Catherine Norton, the doctor of nutrition in UL’s Physical Education and Sports Science department and Prof. John Fahy who oversees a number of interactive sessions on authentic leadership.

“There is a massive difference between a manager and a leader.”

munster high performance leaders

Authentic leadership

Jerry Flannery, the Munster forward’s coach also discusses the authentic leadership theme in depth with the group.

“Jerry Flannery does a session on learning how to be an authentic leader. It’s a very impressive session, and people always talk about it afterwards. Jerry is on his own journey as an authentic leader. He’s one of the fittest people I know, but he’s also a very successful businessman,” says Flynn.

What makes an authentic leader? “An authentic leader will listen to feedback, they seek feedback from their work colleagues, their family and friends, so they can understand their weaknesses and build on their strengths,” says Flynn.

“There is a massive difference between a manager and a leader. Management is about workflow and process. To be a leader you have to be able to understand people and communicate with them at a different level. Leaders look holistically at a much bigger picture, and they can look at themselves. They always seek to understand more about themselves.”

To find out more about the Munster High-Performance Leadership Programme, go here.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/munster-rugbys-high-performance-leadership-programme/ on
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Talking the pain out of payroll

Mark Ogilvie and Claire Brennan are the founders of Parolla, a payroll software designed to meet the demands of PAYE modernisation and GDPR.
What are your backgrounds?
Mark is a mechanical engineer who previously led a team of 60 staff across four offices in New Zealand on large engineering design building projects.
My history is in finance generally in the corporate space. I worked for Computershare in Dublin as their corporate actions manager in the early 2000s, and after moving to New Zealand in 2004, I worked as a senior currency dealer to large corporate clients of an NZ bank for nine years. Mark is a Kiwi, and we returned to my native Tramore, Co Waterford four years ago. Mark has been writing software as well as being a consultant engineer during our time here while I went back to college to complete a masters in global financial information systems.
“PAYE modernisation is the most significant overhaul of the PAYE system since the 1960s.”
Why did you decide to start Parolla?
On returning to Ireland and using the Xero accounting software, we realised that the offering that there was no Ireland specific payroll software that integrated with Xero. Also, with PAYE Modernisation on the horizon, we saw an opportunity.
What is PAYE Modernisation?
PAYE modernisation is the most significant overhaul of the PAYE system since the 1960s. Revenue aims to provide a more user-friendly, accurate and time efficient system not only for themselves but for employers and all taxpayers. All current P forms (P30, P45, P60) are to be removed. The current P2C form is to be replaced with a Revenue Payroll Notification’s (RPN) from January 2019.
You say: ‘Parolla is a software that makes pay roles and related accounting much simpler for SMEs and the accountancy firms running pay roles (and using Xero) for SMEs.’ How does it

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/parolla-payroll-and-paye-modernisation-a-guide/ on
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The ThinkBusiness Brexit Hub

Are you prepared for Brexit? Do you need support and guidance? If so, help is at hand.
As the UK prepares to depart from the EU, Irish SMEs must prepare for the consequences of Brexit. Irish businesses need to understand and manage the risks of Brexit to their businesses, while also making sure they have access to finance. The tools below will help you prepare for, and manage, risks. 
Cash flow planner
Make sure your business has enough cash flow in the next few years. Use this free cash flow template to prepare for any market changes.
Sensitivity analysis template
This brilliant tool allows you to show the possible impacts that market changes will have on your business plan and your cash flow. It’s free to download and is an essential tool to help you deal with Brexit.
A sales forecast template
Another great tool that will help you prepare for Brexit is this sales forecast template. Remember, it’s best to prepare for change. Please don’t wait to react to it.
A brilliant business plan template
It is always a good idea to revisit your business plan and prepare a new one in light of Brexit. This excellent template is free to download and use.
The Brexit Loan Scheme
This is a €300 million loan fund made available to eligible firms in Ireland as they face into Brexit. The money will be lent at a fixed rate of 4%, the most affordable rate on the market. Apply now.

Related Resource

Prepare for Brexit
This is Bank of Ireland’s Brexit centre where you will find excellent analysis and advice from market specialists. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/prepare-for-brexit-and-manage-the-business-risks/ on
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What pitching in New York taught me

Trinity sent six startups to New York on a week-long international accelerator programme, called Tangent Pioneers. They went, they saw, they pitched – did they conquer?

Aisling Byrne, The Nu. Wardrobe
The Tangent Pioneers programme taught me a lot about myself as an individual.
I learned that there is just no use in paying attention to people who think it is acceptable to disregard my business because I speak about its environmental impact alongside its profitability. I find the thinking on the matter similar between both Ireland and the US – there is an understanding by many business people (often older white men) that it’s not a businesses’ responsibility to consider their impact until they are held accountable by some sort of third party. This damaging thinking is not reflected across Europe, where sustainability is far more progressive. I also learned that I have a responsibility to talk about gender inequality in entrepreneurship when I can. It’s not going away.
On a more personal note, I learned that I’m capable of meeting, pitching, or talking in front of any given audience. It doesn’t phase me anymore. I’ve grown up so much since I did the LaunchBox programme. Bringing my company, Nu. to the States was huge, and I was shocked at how far Nu. has come since then. 
“There seems to be far more support for startups in Ireland.”

Jack Dooley, Greener Globe
Based on my experiences working in NY as a Tangent Pioneer, I think the main difference between the US vs Ireland, aside from scale obviously, is that there seems to be far more support for startups in Ireland compared with the States.
There is an attitude in the U.S. where you are either a student or an entrepreneur. In Ireland, we seem to support students’ entrepreneurial dreams more. As an individual, this programme showed me

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/tangent-pioneers-trinity-pitching-startup-in-new-york/ on thinkbusiness

AgriNet – the software behind farming

In 1994, CEO Barry Lynch co-founded Irish Farm Computers Ltd (AgriNet) in Kells, Co. Meath. Since then he has helped transform it into one of Ireland’s leading agricultural software companies.

What does AgriNet do?
A typical Irish beef or dairy farmer focuses on three main areas. Firstly to grow grass efficiently, secondly to feed a cow or bullock efficiently and thirdly to get something out the other end, and returning cash to the bank account. Our software helps them do this. 
Our farmer clients require a comprehensive service, and because of that we deliberately focus on providing a complete range of software solutions across grass measurement, cash-flow and accounts – plus recording all the history of the animals in the herd.
“Farmers are expected to be a combination of a vet, a herdsman, a grassland expert and an accountant.”
Farmers must be multi-skilled
Farmers are expected to be a combination of a vet, a herdsman, a grassland expert and an accountant which often makes it a challenging environment to sell software services into. Essentially farmers are time poor, and if the scrapers are blocked in the shed, you have to go and fix them, which generally takes priority over data entry.
At what point did you know you had a viable business?
We launched the business in 1994, and like any other small business, at the start, it was really tough. In the first three years, it meant scrambling to get a piece of software that was good enough, then calling out and very quickly, getting feedback to try and learn what our clients wanted, followed by making sure to give it to them in the next version.
It was only in 1997 that everything began to click into place when a farmer Co-Op called, Progressive Genetics invested in us. By then we had a better understanding of what

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/agrinet-software-for-farms-agtech/ on
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