How to prepare for GDPR

Having worked in quality assurance for 18 years, Fionnuala Hendrick set up Secure Helping Hand (SHH) to help businesses prepare for GDPR. 

Secure Helping Hand was born because I wanted to create a simple, easy to use, low-cost application that will allow professionals and SMEs become compliant with and maintain compliance with GDPR.
What is GDPR in a nutshell?
GDPR is designed to protect an individual’s privacy in an expanding online world and will replace the Data Protection Directive which was written in 1998. Businesses will have to demonstrate the processes and systems they have in place to protect personal data which in turn will help to protect people against fraud. GDPR creates a legal framework for businesses to share their personal data, offering them a new level of protection and transparency that did not exist previously.
“GDPR requires a shift in how businesses deal with personal information.”
What impact will it have on businesses?
Firstly businesses will need to determine if they are a data controller, data processor or both, and whether or not they need to register with the Data Protection Commissioner. They will need to document what personal information they hold, where it came from and why they are holding it, who they share it with and how they secure it. Businesses need to be able to respond to personal information requests within 30 days and need to include all personal data that they hold.
There are strict requirements for the processing of sensitive personal data where businesses have to identify not only their legal basis for processing but also the legitimate interests in relation to the processing of each piece of sensitive data.
“76% of people will request their personal data from former employers”
What will happen when GDPR arrives?
It is hard to think of a business today that does not use personal data.

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Feeding the most expensive beef in the world

Gavin Dunne is a pioneer. He has created a new food from olive ‘waste’ for the Wagyu beef market, the most expensive beef in the world.
Olive oil is a vital component of the Mediterranean diet and perceived by many as a natural health-food product. However, the olive waste stream, produced as a by-product of manufacture, can cause some challenging environmental issues. In 2017, a creative Irish startup devised a way to convert this crop waste into a high-value animal feed, favoured by the €1 billion a year Wagyu beef market. CEO, Gavin Dunne of the Olive Feed Corporation, shares his intriguing, circular economy ambition.
“Waygu beef, supplemented with olive feed is intensely marbled with softer fat.”

Olive-fed beef
I came up with the idea in October 2016, while I was living in Crete, surrounded by millions of olive trees spread across valleys and mountain slopes. However, it was during a business trip to Japan, that I was first introduced to olive-fed beef. It was uniquely being produced in a tiny region, called the Sanuki Region. Some 100 years ago a small number of olive plots were planted there, and one local farmer had been using dried olives, as a supplementary feed for his Sanuki (Waygu) beef cattle. Drying the olives makes it a little more palatable for animal intake, but it’s not the best processing method for optimum digestibility by the animals.
Waygu beef, supplemented with olive feed is intensely marbled with softer fat and higher percentages of monounsaturated fats. In Japan, olive-fed Wagyu beef is now the most expensive beef in the world, and straight away I could see the commercial opportunity. I contacted my business partner and environmental scientist, Brian Dunne who has a farm in Edenderry and we decided to test and assess some of the olive feed out on his

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A €1 million start fund for female entrepreneurs

Enterprise Ireland’s €1 million competitive start fund (CSF) for female entrepreneurs is open on Tuesday, May 1.
Calling all female founders. A maximum of 20 successful female applicants will get up to €50,000 in equity funding.
You can apply here.
Last year, 46 percent of all companies who received CSF investment from Enterprise Ireland were female-led.
Getting female firms investor ready
As well as funding, 15 of the successful applicants will be offered a place on the INNOVATE accelerator programme, delivered by Dublin BIC. Taking place over a 12-week period in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, INNOVATE gets the participants investor-ready within a short period.
“We need to keep this momentum and grow these numbers so that we see more women confidently starting new businesses and successfully scaling existing ones.”
Growing these numbers
“We made a commitment in 2012 to female entrepreneurs in this country to increase supports dedicated to them, and we did this in response to the low number of female-led startups receiving investments and supports. Six years later the breakdown is encouraging,” says Rachael James, female entrepreneurship manager, Enterprise Ireland.
“More than one in three start-ups supported by Enterprise Ireland last year through the High Potential Startup programme and CSFs were led by women, compared to just one in ten start-ups in 2012. However, we need to keep this momentum and grow these numbers so that we see more women confidently starting new businesses and successfully scaling existing ones.”
For more details and how to apply, go here.

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DC Cahalane talks Republic of Work

On the first anniversary of Cork’s Republic of Work, Daniel Heaslip sat down with DC Cahalane, its founder and CEO to discuss innovation, startups, funding, the future of work and expansion plans.
The vision
The vision for this space began eight years ago, and many things influenced its design.
My dad was an architect, so I was always interested in space. When you looked at boring offices, boring things happened in them. If you compare a Google or Facebook office with a typical Irish corporate office, they are worlds apart. US tech firms drive huge productivity, and a lot of it is influenced by the work environment.
“We are industry agnostic and stage agnostic.”
I came home to Cork and had an idea to open a co-working space. I met Pat Phelan and joined Trustev and then went into Teamwork. At the same time, I was travelling a lot and engaging with tech startups around the world. I saw the spaces they were working in, and it reinforced my beliefs that a great workspace encourages innovation and productivity.
When we built Republic of Work, it was never a space just for technology companies, and it was never a place just for startups. We are industry agnostic and stage agnostic. We have everything from architects to food companies to health and beauty businesses. This space is less about scaling and more about innovating.

The importance of community
It is everything; it is the very core of how we market ourselves. Cork is not short on office space; if you are a business you have options, and you have the traditional providers.
We sell you the community first. It is easy to suspend your laptop off the floor or work from your kitchen table, but it is far more important to be around like-minded people. We never let anyone sign up

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ActionPoint’s co-founders on how to thrive

From struggling dotcom graduates to globe-trotting entrepreneurs, the story of ActionPoint is worth hearing.
Hosted by Pat Carroll – the Bank of Ireland innovation community manager for Limerick and the Midwest – this StartupGrind featured local organic-grown success story, ActionPoint.
Co-founders David Jeffreys and John Savage shared their story from struggling dotcom graduates to leading Irish technology entrepreneurs.
Below are the video and the podcast of the full interview as well as the key takeaways (written) from the discussion.
INVITE: You are invited to attend the next StartupGrind in Limerick on April 19, 2018. The main speaker is Jason Cohen, the founder and CTO of WPEngine. This global technology company from Austin Texas choose Limerick to locate its European offices in Limerick’s city centre. Book here. 

Listen on Soundcloud.

Five great growth insights from the co-founders 
1. “Degrees and experience are useless if you can’t work and communicate with people.”
David and John are quick to point out that without the personality and skills to motivate and lead people, they wouldn’t have got the company this far.
2. “Keep the team happy, and you’ll keep your customers happy.”
Your team are often your company’s primary touch points; a motivated employee perpetuates a motivated organisation which creates a memorable customer experience.
3. “You need to align your head, heart and gut.”
David Jeffreys on the formula for recruitment success.
4. “Enjoyment and motivation are directly proportional.”
Staying motivated is about experiencing enjoyment in what you do; the trick is to find the intersection of what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at and what people will pay you for.
5. “Future industrial environments will be powered by Augmented Reality (AR).”
John Savage highlighted that ActionPoint is already starting to explore AR with existing multinational clients in manufacturing.
One practical application for HoloLens is in the area of predictive maintenance, which as the name suggests enables factory owners and operators

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BizExpo is coming to CityWest

One of the most significant B2B events in Ireland, BizExpo is coming to CityWest on April 25.
One of the best business-to-business events will be held at The CityWest Hotel, Dublin, April 25, 2018.
BizExpo 2018 is more than a networking event; it allows business owners to connect with new and potential business customers. It is also a showcase for new and innovative business ideas from around Ireland. Businesses can meet new customers, sign deals and get inspiration from a host of useful speakers.

Over 1,000 people attended the previous event.
Barbara Gordon, the event owner and organiser, says, “Anyone who has a business should attend this event. As well as the business and networking opportunities, there is a host of great speakers including Greg Fry, who will explain how to make money from social media; Michelle Rudden who will talk about Facebook advertising; Alec Drew who will give insightful business development tips; Pat Slattery who will talk about business growth; and many more.
BizExpo 2018 is designed for SMEs and invites business owners to exhibit or attend. It costs just €195 to exhibit and is free to attend.
For full details, go to 

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Thinking business with Queila Doyle

Thinking business with Queila Doyle, CEO and founder of My Beauty Squad.

I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and I grew up spending my days on the beach, enjoying the fantastic weather. Brazil is a country where the beauty industry is central to our culture, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with everything related to beauty. I met my husband (who is from Cork) and moved to London with him over five years ago. Since moving, I set up My Beauty Squad in London which has been a great success. We have worked with amazing clients, celebrities and brands, and we have built a fantastic team. During this time, I have been on countless trips to Ireland and I’ve fallen in love with the country and its people, which has led me to bring My Beauty Squad here.

“Have the patience and stillness to accept the highs and lows. It’s not a smooth journey.”

How it all began

It was all because my husband booked a last-minute holiday. I wanted to get my nails done around 7 pm after work, and all the salons were fully booked or closed. I ended up not finding anyone and wishing for a platform that could bring beauticians to my home and make me feel pampered. Having a beauty industry background myself, I knew that beauticians were not treated fairly and I decided to build upon this by having a company focused on their wellbeing. Consequently, they make our customers feel special, and we can grow the business together.

My Beauty Squad team


I love bringing amazing beauticians together and working on ideas to improve the beauty industry. These women are passionate professionals who help me to grow the business and also make our customers feel amazing. I love their loyalty and how we all feel like a family.

The big challenge

I believe it’s the fact that you need an all-in-one degree where the skillset can change every minute. At any moment, you can change from being the CEO to a counsellor, administrator, mediator, artist and many other professions that I’ve learned along the way.


We want to become a beauty platform trusted by women, that offers beauty services and products, reviews and honest advice through our blogs and podcasts.

“There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t get started, but if you just do it, you will learn along the way.”

My advice

Just do it. There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t get started, but if you just do it, you will learn along the way. Since the very beginning of my journey, it has been learning as I go. The only thing I would do differently is to practise more meditation and have the patience and stillness to accept the highs and lows. It’s not a smooth journey.

Role models

I love the serial entrepreneur and presenter Marcus Lemonis. He is hugely successful, a self-made millionaire and I love the way he genuinely cares about the people he works with. I am a firm believer that a business that is out only to make money is a poor business. But outside of the business world, I have to say that my husband inspires me with his positive views about life. I think Irish people always have a smile to give and that has inspired me to gain new perspectives in adverse situations.

“Life is too short, so just get out there and follow your dreams.”

If I wasn’t running a business?

I would love to be a detective. No criminal would be safe. As for a job that I would hate to have it would be any job that would make me grumpy waking up on Mondays. If this is you, then my advice is to think about how you can solve this problem. Life is too short, so just get out there and follow your dreams.
Instagram: @mybeautysquad

Interview by Laura Mellett. 

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How to apply for the Brexit loan scheme

The Irish Government has launched a €300m loan scheme for SMEs to offset the impacts of Brexit. If you are eligible, you can apply now for a discounted loan.
What is the SBCI Brexit loan scheme?
To put it simply, it’s a €300 million loan fund made available to eligible firms in Ireland as they face into Brexit. Many SMEs will need to innovate and adapt to Brexit, and the money will be lent at a fixed rate of 4%.
Is that rate good?
Yes. It’s the most affordable rate there is. For example, an SBCI loan of €50,000 at 4.00% over a two-year term will require 24-monthly repayments of €2,170.95. The total cost of this credit is just €2,102.80.
Who can apply?
Be aware that there is an eligibility check. Before you apply for the loan from the bank, you must satisfy the Brexit and innovation eligibility checks. For a list of the criteria go here. 
Independent businesses that are established and operating in the RoI, with fewer than 250 employees and with a turnover of €50 million or less can apply.
How much can I borrow?
Between €25,000 and €1,500,000. There are unsecured loans up to €500,000, and you can apply online for loans up to €120,000.
For loans greater than €120,000 you need to talk with your bank’s relationship manager.
How do I know I am eligible to apply?
If you need the money to fund working capital and innovation, you are in an excellent position to apply. Check the criteria here.
Businesses that are not allowed to apply include those in the primary agriculture and/or aquaculture sectors and firms that are in financial difficulty or are bankrupt.
What next, what are the steps I should take?
1: Complete the SBCI Brexit loan scheme pre-eligibility application form here.
2: Get your eligibility confirmation letter from the SBCI.
3: Go online to apply for your

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Innovation Nation needs more female founders

Niamh Bushnell the CEO of TechIreland says it is her mission to “tell the tale of innovation in Ireland”. Another mission is to make sure female founders have better access to funding.

TechIreland, for those who may not know, is a platform that tracks innovation across all 26 counties in Ireland.
“We track what companies are innovating in each county, what their strengths are, what progress they are making, who their customers are, what their business model is, and what supports and funding they received (if any). Users of TechIreland can also request an introduction with the companies they are interested in,” explains Bushnell.
The information available on TechIreland has many useful applications.
“It’s useful for anyone interested in innovation in Ireland, whether that be business founders, investors, startups, job seekers and FDI firms,” says Bushnell.
“We want this book to land in front of global decision makers and influencers.”
TechIreland uses public sources to build the business profiles on the site and also produces reports.
“We produced our first annual report on Irish innovation in January 2018 and it’s been downloaded over 1,200 times since,” says Bushnell.
From this report came a coffee-table book, Innovation Nation. It was dispatched by the Department of Foreign Affairs to Irish consulates and embassies all over the world for St. Patrick’s Day, 2018.
“We want this book to land in front of global decision makers and influencers,” says Bushnell. “It features over 100 companies we’ve been tracking during the year and shows people that these are Irish companies, building and expanding out of Ireland.”
“Many cultural changes need to happen in Ireland before there is equality in the startup scene.”
More places at the funding table 
Bushnell and her team also recently launched a year-long campaign called the €100m Campaign.
“There was just €79.4m secured by female-led startups in 2017 in comparison to the €580m we’d

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How to create a Michelin star restaurant

J.P. McMahon owns three restaurants in Galway including Aniar which is one of the few Michelin-starred restaurants in Ireland. Here he talks about great Irish food and the quest for perfection. 
How did it all begin?
I started cooking when I was 15 years old and I studied home economics in school. I think I chose home economics because I had asthma so it was either that or woodwork. I got my first job immediately after my Junior Certificate working in a kitchen which I really enjoyed. I studied English and art history in college as a mature student and never actually studied culinary arts. I did a PhD in art history and taught the subject for ten years in Cork. My wife and I had always dreamed of opening our own restaurant and we got our first chance with Cava more than ten years ago.
How did you fund and start your business?
We didn’t really know what we were doing when we opened the restaurant or how to run a business. We couldn’t get a bank loan so we had to beg, borrow and steal to gather €80,000. As my wife always says, maybe I am a stubborn self-believer, but we are a bit more cautious now. Even with ‘Food on the Edge’, we started that with no funding and I just invited the chefs to come along. I offered them flights and accommodation to attend the event. 
“We didn’t open Aniar to get a Michelin star, we opened it to support Irish produce.”

How did Food on the Edge develop?
It came from travelling. I attended a few chef auditoriums and week-long retreats. I thought to myself that we could do this in Ireland because we have really good produce, once we picked the right time to do it. I had one or two connections and

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