Where are all the female leaders?

Gender imbalance in business leadership and pay inequality do not just hurt the women of Ireland. Brid Horan of the 30% Club explains why. 

‘I’m a firm believer in equality and in fully developing the talents of all, to the benefit of both the individual and of society, like many others, I assumed that progress would come with time, but it has become clear that more is needed,’ says Brid Horan, co-founder of the 30% Club (Ireland), former deputy CEO of the ESB, and a shrewd player who has spent decades in the upper echelons of Ireland’s boardrooms.
The picture of Horan in the company of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar; Hand Kablawi (EMEA chairman BNY Mellon); Dame Vivian Hunt and her 30% colleagues Carol Andrews and Rachel Hussey demonstrates just how accomplished Horan is at driving progress.
The Donegal born actuarist has spent a considerable part of her enviable career challenging the status-quo, often as the only woman at the helm of major energy (ESB) and consultancy (KPMG) firms. She’s frank about her journey, insightful about how to navigate change and unrelenting about driving diversity and inclusion.
Now, on the eve of International Women’s Day and as Chair of the forthcoming IWDC Conference, Horan reaffirms just how much change is needed, the paradoxes of female leadership and role of the 30% Club in Ireland today.
“Paradoxes abound in female leadership.”
My career goes back to the 1970s, a time when career options and opportunities for women were limited in many ways. This made me conscious of the negative impact of such limitations on the women affected, but also on businesses and society itself. If anything, I’ve become more convinced of this as my career progressed. Any organisation that limits its choice and source of talent is, in my opinion, limiting its potential as well as the potential

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/brid-horan-30-club-ireland-gender-pay-gap/ on

What if my staff can’t get to work?

Extreme weather conditions bring all sorts of problems. One of the most significant issues for business owners is that of employee absence and payment. Here is a brief guide.
What if an employee can’t get to work? 
Regarding pay, you are under no obligation to pay the employee if they can’t get to work, even if it’s no fault of their own. 
However, if you do pay for such missed days, make sure all employees are treated the same. 
Are there other options?
You can agree on a short-term annual leave request with the employee or, when applicable, employees can work from home. 
You could also agree with employees that they can make up the time. 
It’s up to you to agree on the right course of action with the people you employ and it’s important to be fair to all involved. 
What if I can’t open the business, the place of work? 
In this case, your employees are entitled to full pay so long as they are able (or would be able) to get to work. 
What if I decide to send people home during the day? 
Then you will still have to pay people for the full day. 
Can I make employees take holidays for days missed due to bad weather? 
If you want to ‘enforce’ a holiday, you must give notice that is equal to twice the length of time that you want to be taken off. This means for one day’s holiday you must give two days notice. 
What about employees with children who have to stay at home due to school closures?
There is no legal obligation to pay employees if schools close and they have to stay at home to mind children.
However, again, at your discretion, it may be best that you consider agreeing on a holiday or the employee making the time up.
Please note that parents are entitled

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/what-if-my-staff-cant-get-to-work/ on

FutureScope 2018

FutureScope 2018 is a conference aimed at promoting collaboration between entrepreneurs and multinationals.
Founders, CEOs and leaders from prominent firms, including Vodafone, Enterprise Ireland, Facebook, IBM, Google, Alltech, Blueface, Circle, Newswhip, Jobbio, Science Foundation Ireland and more, are looking to collaborate and share their views on what they see as the major emerging trends affecting their business.
“The central premise of the event is to create a platform for global multinationals, large innovative Irish companies and successful entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities,” says Michael Culligan, CEO, Dublin BIC.
Martina Larkin, head of Europe and Eurasia, World Economic Forum, is one of the big name speakers confirmed. Other speakers on the day include Jaime Cudden, Smart City programme manager at Dublin City Council and Barry O’ Sullivan, director at Insight Centre, with more to be announced.
Tickets to FutureScope 2018 are limited to 1,200. There will be 120 speakers and more than 40 exhibitors.
Key themes at this year’s event include the Internet of Things, data analytics and AI, the business applications of VR/AR, digital transformation and technologies driving the future world.
The event takes place on May 31, 2018, in The Convention Centre Dublin. For more, go here. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/futurescope-2018-and-the-future-of-tech/ on

Twelve inspirational Irish food shops

What are the best food shops in Ireland? Stephen Conmy examines some inspirational Irish food stores that are worth a visit.
Country Choice
Where: Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
Who: Peter and Mary Ward’s country store is an intriguing treasure trove of high quality, and mostly local, produce. Peter, a big fan of the slow food movement, is a vocal champion of Irish artisan foods.
What’s good? The terrine made from the family’s Saddleback pigs and any of Mary’s delicious jams.  

Manning’s Emporium
Where: Ballylickey, West Cork.
Who: The business has been family-run for over 70 years.
What’s good? Everything, it has long been a treasure trove for food lovers everywhere.
Ardkeen Stores
Where: Dunmore Road, Waterford.
Who: Colin Jephson. He was also a former sponsor of The Theatre of Food at the Electric Picnic.
What’s good? A vast range of smoked fish, but this is a proper artisan food supermarket. You can also shop online and have your goods delivered.
Where: Galway.
Who: The McCambridge family. The shop was established in 1925.
What’s good? The cold meats from the deli. Plus, an excellent selection of wines & spirits. The company also runs a catering business.
Where: Bandon, Co Cork.
Who: Ruth Healy.
What’s good? Hampers, especially the ‘Made in Cork’ collection.

Fallon & Byrne
Where: Wicklow St., Dublin.
Who: Paul Byrne and Fiona McHugh.
What’s good? The sourdough baguette and the soft cheeses. 
Scally’s SuperValu of Clonakilty
Where: Faxbridge, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. 
Who: The Scally family.
What’s good? Everything. The store won the prestigious ‘Most Creative Retailer’ in Ireland award at the annual Checkout ‘Best in Fresh’ awards in 2017.

Nolan’s of Kilcullen
Where: Main St Kilcullen, Co.Kildare, Ireland (open since 1886). 
Who: The Nolans.
What’s good? The meat. It is foremost a butcher shop with prizewinning products from sausages, to spiced beef to the incredible puddings. 
Foodstore Claremorris
Where: Ballyhaunis Road, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. 
Who: Niall Heffernan.
What’s good? The deli meats and the organic fruit and veg. 

The English Market
Where: The English Market (a gathering of great food shops), Cork City.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/stephen-conmy-best-irish-food-shops/ on

The future of work is flexible

The future of work is becoming clear. Karen O’Reilly is the founder of Employmum, an agency that specialises in finding flexible work solutions for women and mothers returning to the workplace.

How it all began
I lived in France for twelve years and ran the largest English speaking property agency in the South of France between 2002 and 2008. When the property market collapsed in 2008, we diversified into English speaking property tours and ran The French Tour Co., eventually specialising in wine tours in the Languedoc Roussillon. We became the biggest English speaking tour company in the area.
In 2013 and with two children aged six and eight, we moved back to Clonakilty. Our main catalyst was that we wanted our children to grow up in Ireland and be Irish, a decision we have not regretted for a moment. We love the community in Clonakilty, and the schools are second to none. Our children are very happy, growing up in a very nurturing environment.
On return, I wanted to find flexible work that would fit around my family life. My husband works for the oil and gas industry and is away a lot, and I wanted to be there for my children who were transitioning from a French lifestyle to the Irish scene.
I found that there was no agency out there to find flexible work. That was the Eureka moment, and Employmum was born. I took part the EXXCEL programme in the Rubicon Centre in CIT – an entrepreneurial programme for women with a background in STEM (I am a qualified accountant) and this focused me to set up the business. We have now been in business for two years.
The biggest challenge for me was trying to find the time to do everything as a ‘solopreneur’ – the marketing, PR, accounting, networking, meeting

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/employmum-karen-oreilly-flexible-work-solutions/ on

Thinking innovation with Gillian Barry

Gillian Barry, Head of Innovation & Enterprise at LIT, talks about paying it forward and how to build an innovation system between industry, higher education, government and the people of Limerick. 
What’s your role?
Head of Innovation and Enterprise at LIT.
What interests you the most?
I have a passion for innovation, design and technology and helping entrepreneurs through the most critical stages of their startup journey or supporting business leaders and their teams through their innovation and business improvement journeys. I’m passionate also about community, social and economic development and I work with numerous organisations to support growth in our regions. I also have a real interest in psychology and sociology.
“For every high-value job created five other jobs are formed in the economy.”
What are your ambitions?
This might sound far-fetched, but my ambition is to help make our region and country one of the best place in the world to live. I know I can’t do anything about the weather, but I can help ambitious, creative, entrepreneurial people to create great companies, impactful products and services and ultimately create jobs which help to improve the lives not just of their direct employees, but they have an impact downstream too. For every high-value job created five other jobs are formed in the economy. I can help a little and appreciating it takes a community to support any ambitious entrepreneur I am delighted to be part of that. I can also help our fantastic youth and social organisations to make an impact in our region. I believe that every little does help and we need to make it a goal and give all these organisations our time – pay it forward – work it into your goals. We all benefit.
What drives you?
I’m a highly positive person and get energy from creative people with ambitions as wild

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/thinking-innovation-with-gillian-barry/ on

A simple GDPR guide for startups and SMEs

There is a lot of noise around GDPR but if you want an easy-to-understand explainer, read on.  
Here are the facts
On the 25 May 2018, the EU’s European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come in to force. As it’s an EU regulation, the GDPR will automatically take effect without the need for it to be locally implemented by member states.
The GDPR applies to businesses who offer goods or services to ‘data subjects’ (people who hand over data in return for services) within the EU as well as those who monitor the behaviour of data subjects in the EU. It applies to data controllers as well as data processors. In short, it’s all about data.
Let’s cut through the noise
Does the GDPR apply to your business? Most likely yes.
If you do any business in the digital economy and if your website ‘profiles’, or ‘tracks’ users, or if you have customer emails, then the GDPR is relevant to you.
What’s the aim of the GDPR?
The GDPR’s purpose is quite noble, namely to put control of personal data back in the hands of the customer.
The GDPR creates a single set of data protection rules, rather than the legal maze built by 28 different EU member state laws.
What is the first thing I should do?
Giving power back to your customers requires you to look at how you collect data, what you collect and how you use it. In other words, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of your data practices.
This sounds complicated
Not really. The heart of the GDPR is about consent.
You must make sure your customers have a good experience if they hand over their data to you.
To make the consumer experience positive, businesses will need to provide a simple and easy-to-use solution that tells the customer what its data practices are. You must tell

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/gdpr-guide-for-startups/ on

How hotels can make more money

How can hotels make extra money while at the same time offering their guests a much better tourism experience? Irish firm Staypal has built a solution. 

With higher expectations from tourists, social media and the threat from Airbnb, hotels are having to rethink their guest experience. Gerry Hanratty, CEO of Staypal, a travel technology company, wants to put the hotel “at the centre of the tourist’s experience.”
It all started with aeroplanes 
The price of a flight from Milan to Paris was €400 in 1992; it is €25. A large contributor to falling airfares is due to ancillary fees such as baggage and allocated seats allowing basic fares to be reduced. Staypal is developing technology to open up new ancillary revenue opportunities to the hotel sector. “We are not suggesting that hotel staff roam the corridors selling scratch cards but rather connect guests with tours, activities, and services that generate revenue,” says Hanratty.
The old way of doing things is stale
When a guest needs to contact the front desk at a hotel they have two choices; they can go down to the front desk or call on the phone but is this the best experience for a guest? How hotels engage with their guests is changing; communicating with SMS or Facebook messenger will overtake the standard in-room phone when a guest needs something. Staypal is taking this trend and enhancing it by facilitating bookings for activities in and outside the hotel during these guest conversations.
“By focusing on the lasting guest experience, not just the transactional check in and out, you’re responding to the needs of today’s tourist.”
Making money from other things than rooms
Traditionally hotels are busy managing room rates and availability across multiple web channels such as Booking.com. While technology has enabled hotels to manage rooms rates, this has been to the detriment

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-hotels-can-make-more-money/ on

How to deal with Brexit risks

In this useful guide, Denis Casey examines Brexit in the context of risk; specifically when it comes to customers, suppliers, and logistics. 

1. Customer risks
Let’s start by looking at customer related risks. When assessing this, you will need to consider risks posed by your customers’ customers and perhaps your customers’ customers’ customers. You need to look for risks as far up the supply chain as is necessary. For instance, if all your direct sales are to Irish based customers, but they in turn export say 50% to the UK, then your business is exposed to risk.
When you have exposure by having customers in the UK, your action plans should include the following:
i) Liaise closely with your customers to understand their Brexit challenges and action plans – then assess how severe an impact their plans will have on your business. Now you can base your risk assessment and action plans on facts rather than speculation. Where possible try to agree on some joint actions to address their challenges. However, in addition to any collective actions agreed, you should develop additional action items focused on your own needs.
ii) If you don’t already know, find out how price sensitive your customers are. It may be possible to pass on some price increases. This will depend on the competitive landscape and whether you have UK based competitors. For instance, if all your competitors are based outside the UK, then you should start to condition your customers to expect price increases. It’s unlikely that the full Brexit cost impact can be passed on to customers, but even small price increases will make the challenge a little smaller.
iii) If your UK customer base is significant, you will need to investigate the costs and feasibility of setting up an operation in the UK. This will help to overcome

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-to-deal-with-brexit-risks/ on

This is how Foreign Exchange works [Video]

Currency fluctuations can be good news or bad news for Irish businesses. These short videos explain what you need to know, especially in light of Brexit. Currency moves are not predictable so it’s important to plan ahead.  

Related Resource

Here’s a template to help you prepare for market changes in uncertain times and you can download this brief guide to creating an FX policy.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-foreign-exchange-works-video/ on