CitySwifter signs major UK deal

The Irish data analytics firm CitySwifter has announced a significant partnership with Reading Buses in the UK.
The Reading Buses chief executive officer, Martijn Gilbert, has described the deal as “groundbreaking”.
CitySwifter specialises in helping local bus networks run more efficiently through the use of predictive analytics and big data.
“We’re moving into a new world where the public transport profession is starting to understand the power of its data,” says Gilbert (pictured left).
“The work of CitySwifter is right at the heart of this and is, in my opinion, one of the first credible signs of us being able to do something that will truly help revolutionise bus networks in a digital world.”
The rise of CitySwifter
CitySwifter is a data analytics business on the move. Last year it won a place on the prestigious Intelligent Mobility (IM) accelerator, a partnership between Transport Systems Catapult and Wayra UK. 
As a startup, it was one of the teams selected for Bank of Ireland’s second incubator programme in the Innovation Lab in Galway. The firm has also been chosen to join Bank of Ireland’s New York Innovation Lab programme for 2018.
Making public transport better
Explaining how CitySwifter helps public transport buses run better, CEO, Brian O’Rourke (pictured right) says, “Bus scheduling is an art, but now for the first time, we can combine schedulers’ expert knowledge with advancements in data science and technology.”
O’Rourke says it is now time for public transport vehicles like city buses to take full advantage of the power of data analytics. “This partnership with Reading Buses is a big step toward empowering traditional buses to thrive in a data-driven world.”
For more about CitySwifter go here.
For more about Bank of Ireland’s Innovation Lab in New York, read this.
 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/cityswifter-expands-in-the-uk-with-major-deal-in-reading/ on
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What type of towns enter the National Enterprise Town Awards?

Here is a selection of towns that entered the National Enterprise Town Awards in 2017 and why they made the final judging process. 
A question that is often asked about the National Enterprise Town Awards is what type of towns enter the awards and what qualifies a town to enter?
Below are some examples of town entries from last year (2017).
Please note, these are randomly selected examples from the four provinces and are meant simply to serve as an illustration as to what types of towns enter and why they enter. Over 70 towns and villages entered the awards in 2017. In 2018, over 90 entered. 
The National Enterprise Town Awards showcase how communities around Ireland embrace business and enterprise to help their towns thrive. One of the key pillars of the awards is how a town can demonstrate a collaboration between businesses and community groups that have helped it prosper.
Cootehill
This Ulster town is located in the north of County Cavan on the border with County Monaghan. The population is circa 1,853.
Collaboration between businesses and community groups
The Town Team initiative was introduced in three towns in County Cavan in 2016, including Cootehill. It aims to help the people of County Cavan to create towns they can be proud of with town centres that are prosperous and vibrant.
Membership of the Town Teams is open to all over 18 years of age who live or work in the town and its environs.
The Town Team initiative was founded to create an environment that will support job creation, and encourage businesses, the local community and other relevant stakeholders to work together to energise and reinvigorate their towns in collaboration with public authorities and other service providers.
Stand out and original achievements
As part of the Town Team action plan, a SWOT analysis was carried out which identified town strengths

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/what-type-of-towns-enter-the-national-enterprise-town-awards/ on
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[LEARN] – The art of business design

If you take business design seriously, this event in Boxworks, Waterford on July 19 is for you.
Design thinking is a human-centred approach to problem-solving. The big question is always – how can businesses use creative and design thinking to solve problems and gain more customers?
“Designing a business isn’t a one-time activity; it’s a continuous and evolving pursuit. Every component of a business can be tested, and all components must work elegantly together to successfully sustain your offer out in the world,” says Kerry O’Connor, IDEO design director.
“Creative and design thinking skills are now crucial for any business that hopes to grow.”
Over 92% of businesses now recognise that creative thinking is one of the critical elements of business design.
Businesses need to move faster, network more and be open to a more collaborative approach.
Creative and design skills are now crucial for any business that hopes to grow.
A must-attend event
The STEAMworks team has put together a formidable panel of experts to take us on a journey of thought, discussion and practice for a ‘Design in Business’ masterclass. STEAMworks is a bi-monthly meet up for people passionate about Science, Technology, Enterprise, Arts and Media in Waterford and the South East.

The speakers include:

Diarmuid Reil, owner/architect of Diarmuid Reil Architects – ‘Spatial Design.’
Lesley Tully, (pictured), head of design thinking, Bank of Ireland – ‘Design Thinking.’
Louise Allen, head of innovation and development DCCoI – ‘Ireland – Design Island.’

fuse:d will also present a case study with Yvonne Rath, creative director of Pixelpod entitled: ‘Design Thinking: how to brand a region’.

The chairperson of the event is the journalist, Jennifer O’Connell.
To be part of the #STEAMWORKS journey into ‘Design in Business’ book now. This is a free-to-attend event, and places are limited.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/design-thinking-steamworks-waterford-bank-of-ireland/ on
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Seaweed success in Donegal

Declan Gallagher built a thriving, global business from harvesting seaweed in Donegal.

In 2004 CEO Declan Gallagher founded OGT, a seaweed company based in Kilcar, Co. Donegal. It was privately funded with an original investment of €300,000. The ambition was to sustainably harvest and then process some of the area’s natural seaweed, into a liquid seaweed extract, to sell to the golf industry in Ireland. It’s very much a success story as production levels have grown to 3,200 tonnes per annum with the business employing over 30 full-time staff.
Why seaweed?
I grew up close to the ocean and was always involved in some ocean-related business. Going back the years, farmers used seaweed to enhance and improve grass growth and to improve crop growth in potatoes. I can also remember from a very young age, how my grandmother used to go down to the shore and collect dillisk and bring it home, to dry out at the back of her house. After finishing secondary school, I studied business in Letterkenny Institute and went on to work in my father’s company, which made fishing nets for the large fishing boats in Donegal.
I always wanted to do something for myself, in an industry that I was passionate about. Obviously being from Donegal, a lot of people are into sports and personal experience made me aware that seaweed could have potential benefits for the sports industry. There was a lot of local knowledge on seaweed but not a lot of research. There were no competitors as such to compete with and consequently no blueprint to follow.
“Our liquid extracts help build up the immune system of a plant, similar to a person taking a multivitamin for their health.”
What problem do you solve for golf courses?
The seaweed extract contains small amounts of nutrients and growth enhancers, which allows

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/seaweed-success-declan-gallagher-donegal/ on
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How to grow your money by investing

If your business’s money is sitting on deposit, it’s unlikely to be working for you. Here’s how to make the most of it.
Most business owners would agree that it takes a combination of time, tremendous effort and significant success to accumulate large cash balances.
Having worked so hard to get the cash, the all-important question is whether it’s working for you?
If your company’s money is sitting on deposit, it’s just not working as hard as it should be.
“Irish companies held €50.6 billion on deposit at the end of April 2018.”
Huge cash piles
According to the Central Bank of Ireland, Irish companies held €50.6 billion on deposit at the end of April 2018 (excluding financial corporations).
Today, interest rates are at record low levels; in fact, some more substantial deposits are on negative interest rates. This situation is unlikely to change for some time.
The end of 2019 is widely believed to be the earliest for interest rates to rise again. While the official rate of inflation is pretty benign, many firms are experiencing elevated cost levels. Smart business owners realise the importance of continuing to grow the real value of their assets, in other words, the level of growth after inflation. This growth involves the company doing some financial planning and to do this; they need to take a holistic view of their business. So how do you about it?
Start with a holistic view
The first step is to take a snapshot of your business’s assets and liabilities; to capture any loan facilities and what levels are drawn and undrawn. You should take a look at typical cash flow patterns and identify what role seasonality plays. What does your debtor book look like – have you substantial receipts coming shortly?
“How much of an emergency fund do you need?”
The next stage is about looking forward. This

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/how-to-grow-your-money-investing-in-ireland/ on
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A flavour of Fingal

Here we take an enterprising look at Fingal, one of the most innovative food-producing regions in Europe and home to Ireland’s youngest population.
Fingal is a region north of Dublin City and also bordered by South County Dublin, Meath and Kildare. To the east is the Irish Sea. It is one of Ireland’s most enterprising regions, and the focus is firmly on farming, food and flying.

An abundant place
Most people in Ireland will travel to Fingal at some stage in their lives, but only to access Dublin airport. However, it is a region worth visiting and exploring, especially during the summer months. The county is known locally as the ‘market basket of Ireland’. It is one of the most significant food-producing areas in Ireland and Europe.
The official motto of the county is ‘Flúirse Talaimh is Mara — the abundance of land and sea.’
Speaking at the recent Flavours of Fingal county show, Caitriona Redmond, a well-known writer and founder of Wholesome Ireland says the food produced in Fingal “is not only on our doorsteps, but it’s also in our shops. I would encourage people to look for local produce when they are shopping. Local produce supports jobs, keeps the economy going and is more environmentally friendly that food-mile heavy imports”.
The county
Fingal has a population of over 300,000 people. The population increased by 77% between 1996 and 2011 and is also the youngest in Ireland.
The county is blessed with a rugged, natural 88km coastline that stretches from Sutton to Balbriggan. There are three protected estuaries, salt marsh habitats and thirteen good beaches.
Apart from Dublin airport, the most significant driver of the local economy is farming and food production. Over 600 farmers milk cows, rear sheep, grow vegetables, harvest crops and produce honey and fruit in Fingal every day.
It is estimated the county provides

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/a-flavour-of-fingal/ on
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The ThinkBusiness Show – Brian Caulfield

How do you start a business? How do you grow your business? These are the questions we explore on the ThinkBusiness Show.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST.

The ThinkBusiness Show is a business show with a difference.
[SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE HERE.]
Instead of talking about what a business does, we talk to founders and experts about the ‘hows’ of doing business – how to start and how to grow.
The ThinkBusiness Show is an online academy to learn more about starting and running a business. We also discuss the supports available to businesses, raising money, financial well being and how to keep going when difficulties arise. 
“If you are looking for investment keep your business plan short. We see 2,500 plans every year. If it’s a long-winded document, I’m not reading it. And make sure you show me what you are going to do with the money. Make sure there’s an actual plan in your business plan.”
First up
First up is Brian Caulfield. Brian is one of Ireland’s ‘legendary’ venture capital investors (VCs). In his podcast and video, he gives a masterclass, not just in what investors look for but how entrepreneurs should approach their business if they want to land investment. This is really a ‘Startup Masterclass’, a must-listen for anyone with big ambitions to grow with the right investment.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE THINKBUSINESS SHOW. LISTEN, WATCH AND LEARN. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/the-thinkbusiness-show-brian-caulfield/ on
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Ten ambitious teams start Trinity’s LaunchBox 2018

Ten teams of student entrepreneurs teams have started Trinity’s accelerator programme Launchbox, Ireland’s most successful student accelerator programme. They are now seeking investment to grow.
Now in its sixth year, LaunchBox is a place where students can start a business and receive mentorship, funding, and access to alumni and investors.
Since its start in 2013, LaunchBox has helped 50 student ventures. The businesses that continued have created 122 jobs and raised €6.3 million in investment and funding.
“LaunchBox is an opportunity for students to work on their business idea with mentors over the summer. It is a real opportunity for our students to showcase why Trinity is number one in Europe for producing entrepreneurs,” says Fionnuala Healy, CEO Innovation & Entrepreneurship Hub, Trinity College Dublin.
Paul Allen, student founder of BOP (Biological Optical Prevention) and his teammates Ekaterina (Kate) Lait and David Ola (pictured main image) met as members of the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society. They believe their business has enormous potential for identifying, preventing and treating health care-associated infections (HAIs).
“I had family members who passed away due to HAIs, so the idea has been in process for two years. The visual nature of our product is its USP and it makes it more effective,” says Allen. Upon making contact with a surface their product changes colour depending on the pathogens present. This allows medical staff to identify the pathogen, eliminate them and disinfect the area. 
Successful alumni
Successful alumni of LaunchBox include social enterprise Foodcloud, which helps businesses redistribute surplus food to those who need it; Touchtech, a payment processing firm; Artomatix, which develops tools for automating digital media creation; and Equine MediRecord, which digitises the medical records for the multi-billion-euro horse racing industry’s equine stars.
“LaunchBox’s focus on early-stage business development, and on empowering entrepreneurship and collaboration, is hugely important for our communities and through our community programmes

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/trinity-launchbox-2018/ on
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A home share service worth talking about

The rental accommodation crisis in Ireland is growing. All age groups are affected. Saoirse Sheridan’s new business, Elder Home Share, aims to help people who need accommodation and elderly people who want some company and safety.
 

Saoirse Sheridan is on a mission. There’s no other way to describe it. Talking to her one gets the immediate sense that her business model is rooted in social change. Ireland’s housing crisis is taking an enormous toll on people while Ireland’s health system just can’t look after a growing, ageing population – two situations that need creative intervention.
“The idea for Elderhomeshare.ie came from my personal experience,” explains Sheridan.
“Three and a half years ago I was given the notice to get out of my rented accommodation. I found I had nowhere to go. The rents are insane. I started to think about my grandmother. I had taken care of her in her home. We had such a rich and meaningful relationship, right to the end. It was a wonderful experience. So I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I could help another elderly person, living on their own, in exchange for accommodation?”
Sheridan started home sharing with David in April 2016 and celebrated his 98th birthday with him in January 2018. During this time she also began building her business. 
Both sides benefit
“There are many benefits that my business brings. It’s Dublin’s first home share service and provides peace of mind for elderly citizens to live at home by matching them with home share companions,” says Sheridan.
“It’s also alternative home support for the elderly and can work well instead of paying for live-in care at night if the homeowner does not need night time assistance. It’s not a solution to personal care but can reduce the need and expense of other care services.”
The numbers
Anyone with

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/elder-home-share-dublin-saoirse-sheridan/ on
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A home share service worth talking about

The rental accommodation crisis in Ireland is growing. All age groups are affected. Saoirse Sheridan’s new business, Elder Home Share, aims to help people who need accommodation and elderly people who want some company and safety.
 

Saoirse Sheridan is on a mission. There’s no other way to describe it. Talking to her one gets the immediate sense that her business model is rooted in social change. Ireland’s housing crisis is taking an enormous toll on people while Ireland’s health system just can’t look after a growing, ageing population – two situations that need creative intervention.
“The idea for Elderhomeshare.ie came from my personal experience,” explains Sheridan.
“Three and a half years ago I was given the notice to move out of my rented accommodation. I found I had nowhere to go. The rents are insane. I started to think about my grandmother. I had taken care of her in her home. We had such a rich and meaningful relationship, right to the end. It was a wonderful experience. So I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I could help another elderly person, living on their own, in exchange for accommodation?”
Sheridan started home sharing with David in April 2016 and celebrated his 98th birthday with him in January 2018. During this time she also began building her business. 
Both sides benefit
“There are many benefits that my business brings. It’s Dublin’s first home share service and provides peace of mind for elderly citizens to live at home by matching them with home share companions,” says Sheridan.
“It’s also alternative home support for the elderly and can work well instead of paying for live-in care at night if the homeowner does not need night time assistance. It’s not a solution to personal care but can reduce the need and expense of other care services.”
The numbers
Anyone with

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/home-sharing-in-dublin-elder-home-share-dublin-saoirse-sheridan/ on
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