Scholarship desks available for 2019

Are you working on a business idea? Are you looking for a work space in Cork or Waterford?
Bank of Ireland is offering scholarship desks in the much sought-after coworking spaces the Republic of Work in Cork, and Boxworks in Waterford. Apply here by 12 pm on Wednesday, January 23 and best of luck.
“The aim of the scholarships is simple – to give those in need a desk in a vibrant coworking space.”
See the video of Boxworks below where previous Scholarship Desk users relate their experiences.

“The Bank of Ireland scholarship programme really has been one of the big success stories at Republic of Work. BOI’s support has seen most of Cork’s breakthrough startup success stories of the last two years get access to free space,” says DC Cahalane, CEO, Republic of Work.
The scholarship desks will house startups, researchers, and NGOs as well as people from multinationals looking to set up operations in the region.
The aim of the scholarships is simple – to give those in need a desk in a vibrant coworking space while they tackle a specific business goal, over a six month period commencing on 1st February 2019.
To apply for the scholarship, you should state your “time-bound goal”, and you must follow the rules of the coworking space.
Apply here by 12 pm on Wednesday 23rd January and best of luck.

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New Bank of Ireland community hub in Wexford Town

Bank of Ireland has officially opened the doors to its new community hub in Wexford Town.
The branch underwent a major refurbishment. As part of this, a new events room has been added and will be available to local clubs, charities, societies and business organisations to host meetings or events free of charge. The space can cater for up to 50 people and has state of the art technology facilities that can be used for presentations.
“The people of Wexford Town have a new facility to host meetings and events free of charge.”
How people want to bank
“Serving customers brilliantly is a key priority for Bank of Ireland. We want to offer services and products in line with how people want to bank – both now and into the future,” says JJ Keyes, Head of Bank of Ireland, Wexford.
“With more than 250 branches nationwide, we are proud to have the largest branch network of any bank in Ireland. We are delighted to be able to provide the people of Wexford Town with this new facility to enable them to host meetings and events free of charge.”
Make contact
For more details on how to book an event or meeting in the space, please contact:
Andrew Owen (branch manager) Wexford Town, .
Karen Edwards (customer service manager) Wexford Town,

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What’s it like moving from Moscow to Dublin?

Ekaterina Voznesenskaia was an English teacher in Moscow until one day she decided to change career and move to Dublin. This is her story of spontaneous change and how she experienced Ireland for the first time.
Nothing can be more natural and spontaneous than changing your life in just three months.
After working as a children’s teacher of English and German and as a lecturer of English at the University in Moscow, I suddenly realised that I really want to do something different.
I decided to study marketing and wanted to get an international education in an English-speaking country.
“Moving to Ireland is the most significant and spontaneous decision I have ever made in my life.”
Having visited Ireland as a tourist, before moving here, I was impressed by Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university and one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland. And this was my choice – the Trinity College, MSc in Marketing.
In September 2017 I moved to Ireland to begin my studies.
My year at the university was exhilarating and challenging. I was in a minority of students who did not have a business background. For me everything was new. This, however, made it even more exciting, and the whole year of study was a huge challenge.
Even though it was difficult at first, I now realise how important every step of your life is. Every small step leads to more significant results.
Currently, I am working as a consulting analyst at Accenture, conducting research and analysis of customer services and providing recommendations for our high tech software client.
“Life here is not as hectic as in Moscow.”
What was your experience like moving from Russia to Ireland?
Moving to Ireland is the most significant and spontaneous decision I have ever made in my life.
I have never regretted this decision, despite the challenges it brings. I

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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 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

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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.”
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

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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,”

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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

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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

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From farmer to award-winning food producer

John Commins started as a farmer and has since become an award-winning food producer. 
In 2005, artisan farmer and food producer, John Commins began farming Piedmontese cattle, a breed mainly snow-white in colour and native to Italy, from his 120-acre family farm, located near Thurles in Co. Tipperary. He now supplies this award-winning high-end beef into supermarkets, restaurants and online across Ireland. Here, John talks about the journey he has travelled and his plans to grow the business into the future.
“The beef contains fewer calories and less cholesterol than chicken.”

What is Irish Piedmontese beef?
Over a decade and a half ago, I travelled to Italy to source our initial breeding stock. Piedmontese are impressive cattle but what impressed me most was the eating quality of the meat – and the surprising fact that it contains fewer calories and less cholesterol than that of chicken. It also has the lowest fat percentage in the meat of any description, with even less fat than salmon or venison. The reason for this is due to a natural change that developed in the breed about 200 years ago. It’s down to a myostatin gene that all cattle have but with which Piedmontese beef are doubly endowed – a trait which has been refined by Italian cattle breeders over the years.
“I leased a unit, buying all of the equipment we needed and employed our own butcher to work for us.”
Why did you go into the food business?
At the time there was a very lucrative trade from Ireland to Italy for ‘E’ and ‘U’ grade lean type weanlings. Initially, we considered supplying our weanlings back to the Italian market, and although the Italians were very interested in buying them, we were unable to supply at the volumes required. From tasting, I knew it was fabulous meat and that

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Book your place at ‘Food Series 2018’

Blas na hEireann celebrates the best of Irish food producers and more importantly, it has created a network of Irish producers that work together. Pat Carroll looks at the rise of the Irish food awards.
On Monday, November 12, Bank of Ireland will host the ‘Food Series 2018’ at its Limerick Workbench. Local Blas na hEireann 2018 finalists will attend and showcase samples of their produce while the Blas 2018 Buyer’s Directory will be also be launched.
It’s a free-to-attend event and all are welcome to register here. 
The start of Blas
When people hear the word ‘startup’ they often think of a tech firm, striving to be the next Stripe or Amazon. However, Ireland has a rich and diverse history of food startups, and more producers are emerging every week.
One person who came from this world and wanted to highlight our best food producers by raising their profiles both in Ireland and internationally is Artie Clifford. Eleven years ago, he established Blas na hEireann and the Irish Food Awards were born. In its debut year, there were 400 entries, this year over 2,500 applied to have their products judged. Initial judging takes place in UCC and is a month-long task which brings each category down to the top five in that category to move forward to the finalist round. The finalist judging brings the very best of food and drinks to a panel of 120 judges, judged over two days.
Big buyers
Over the years the event has become one of the year’s top highlights for Irish food producers, buyers and the hospitality industry. In fact, in addition to all the main Irish supermarket groups being present, buyers from Harrods, Selfridges as well as Fortnum & Mason all now attend, to identify the best of Irish producers so they can secure the best of Irish

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