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Local entrepreneurs head off on networking trip of a lifetime



Mentors Padraig McBride (left) of Brandtone and Frank Madden (second right) of Crest Solutions with the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Connacht finalists (from left) Sean Brett, Steeltech Garden Sheds, Galway; Denise Tormey, PlanNet21, Galway; Michael O’Dwyer, TyreCheck, Kinvara, and Paul Young, Cartoon Saloon, Roscommon, pictured at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, where they joined over 100 former and present EOY finalists for the 2015 CEO Retreat to Berlin and Munich.

Four Connacht-based companies – three of them from Galway and all shortlisted for EY Entrepreneur of the Year – have touched down in Berlin for the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year CEO Retreat.

The invitation-only CEO Retreat will see the group of entrepreneurs travel to Berlin and Munich on a week-long executive education programme focused on the future of industry.

Joined by over 110 of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs, the Connacht EOY finalists attending the CEO Retreat include Sean Brett (Steeltech Sheds, Galway); Denise Tormey (PlanNet21, Galway); Michael O’Dwyer (TyreCheck, Kinvara) and Paul Young (Cartoon Saloon, Roscommon).

“Regardless of sector, technology is increasingly going to transform the way that all businesses operate and develop their strategies in the future. The speed of innovation is accelerating; and keeping apace with this rapid change is essential to survival in the fiercely competitive business landscape” commented Kevin McLoughlin, Partner Lead for EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

“With this in mind, we have constructed a future-focused Retreat that will educate our group on the disruptive forces at play across all industries and equip them with the knowledge to build forward-looking strategies for their businesses and their people.”

The first leg of the Retreat was held in Dublin over the weekend and included talks from Managing Partner for EY Ireland, Mike McKerr, on the professional services firm’s growth story and future aspirations; EOY Alumnus, Colm Lyon (Pay with Fire) who shared the story behind Realex Payments’ journey from startup to recent exit; as well as David Hunt (Agrilarity) who discussed the future of agri-preneurship and the opportunities this holds for farmers, consumers and technologists alike.

“Germany is one of Ireland’s most resilient export markets making it a fitting choice for our first European Retreat,” explained Kevin McLoughlin.

“Total trade between Ireland and Germany amounts to over €20 billion per annum, and, as Europe’s largest economy and the world’s second largest exporting nation, gaining a foothold in Germany presents a number of opportunities for Irish entrepreneurs to further internationalise their businesses,” he added.

Fostering collaboration is central to the design of the CEO Retreat, which includes sectoral break-out groups and relaxed networking opportunities for the group of entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges they’re facing in a trusted environment.

To date, over 51% of the EOY community of entrepreneurs have done business together and the annual CEO Retreat is often referenced as the source of many new business partnerships and ideas.

Connacht Tribune

New President for Local Ireland



Left to right, Bob Hughes, Executive Director, Local Ireland, Dan Linehan, Head of Irish Times Regionals and Declan McGuire, Operations Manager of the Connacht Tribune.

The new President of Local Ireland, the association representing local news publishers around the country, is Head of Irish Times Regionals Dan Linehan.

Mr Linehan takes over the presidency from Declan McGuire of the Connacht Tribune. His appointment was confirmed at the recent Annual General Meeting of Local Ireland at Bloomfield House Hotel near Mullingar, Westmeath.

Mr Linehan, who has served as Vice President of the organisation for the last two years, said: “The coming years are a very important time for local publishers with many important issues to be addressed, including the implementation of the Future of Media Commission recommendations, defamation reform, the role and support for local publishers in public service reporting and helping publishers develop commercial digital offerings.”

Speaking at the AGM, Mr McGuire acknowledged the work done by the Executive in the past two years under the direction of Executive Director, Bob Hughes, on several projects related to the publishing industry but most especially the successful conclusion of the long-running campaign for the abolition of VAT on newspapers.

He also wished Mr Linehan the very best in his new role as President of the association for the next two years.

Mr Hughes thanked Mr McGuire for his leadership and support during his term of office and said he looked forward to working with Mr Linehan on the key policy priorities for the association, including Government supports, Government advertising, fair remuneration for content from the tech platforms and the reform of the legislation for defamation.

Local Ireland members also elected Seán Mahon, Managing Director of the Southern Star, as Vice President for the next two years.

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Connacht Tribune

Employers’ group hears of key challenges facing businesses in the region



Pictured at Regional Insight Series in the Galmont Hotel are: Trevor O’Rourke, (CEO, Fibre Networks Ireland); Senan Colleran, (Head ESB Assets, Generation & Trading, ESB); Eilish O'Sullivan, (Human Resources Director, Medtronic); Danny McCoy, (CEO, Ibec); Helen Leahy, (Head of Regional Policy, Ibec); Ruairi Conroy (Diligent Corporation) and Fergal O’Brien, (Executive Director of Lobbying & Influence, Ibec). PHOTO: Michael Dillon.

The shortage of affordable housing is the single biggest impediment in attracting and retaining workers in the West, according to business group Ibec.

At a ‘Regional Insights Series’ meeting in the Galmont Hotel in Galway last week, employers were told that capacity constraints and labour supply are the key challenges facing business growth in the region.

Ibec Head of Regional Policy Helen Leahy said: “There must be greater focus by government on enhancing quality of life issues such as housing and infrastructure which are driving labour shortages in the region.

“Ibec’s vision for the West is to realise its potential to become a globally competitive location. An inadequate supply of affordable housing is now the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.

“Labour shortages are a real concern for businesses in the region. People decide where to live and work based on quality of life and access to high quality services and amenities. Industry tends to follow talent, and in this regard, the region needs to have all the building blocks in place as the attraction and retention of world-class talent becomes increasingly competitive on a global level,” said Ms Leahy.

Amongst Ibec’s priorities for the West are:

  • Addressing housing and infrastructure challenges
  • Transitioning towards a new growth model with Net Zero energy powered by Atlantic offshore wind resources
  • Adapting businesses to the new economic realities
  • Enhancing capacity and skillsets to achieve sustainable development objectives
  • Investment in people and skills
  • Creating competitive advantage through digitalisation
  • Innovation as a key driver of productivity growth




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Connacht Tribune

Survey finds one in five retailers in Galway want to go fully cashless



Conor Quirke of BOI Payment Acceptance: move to card payments.

One in five Galway businesses want to go fully cashless, as the move towards card payments and tapping continues unabated post-Covid.

In all, 22% of Galway businesses would like to be fully cashless, according to a survey carried out by BOI Payment Acceptance (BOIPA), a provider of payment technology solutions, which asked Irish businesses about the current payment landscape as well as business confidence and concerns.

Over one-third (36%) of Galway businesses were unaware there is no contactless limit on mobile wallets – just below the national average – while 54% believe the increase in card over cash transactions has helped them run their business.

Six out of ten Galway businesses expect to grow this year despite the cost-of-living crisis and running costs dominating as key concerns; 62% believe their business will grow over the next twelve months despite global economic uncertainty.

Unsurprisingly cost-of-living increases and running costs were the main concerns the majority of businesses had.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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