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Two Galway businessmen home from US CEO retreat



Two Galway natives have just returned home from a successful CEO Retreat that took place across Chicago, University of Notre Dame and New York.  Comprised of executive education sessions, networking and high profile speaker events, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ CEO Retreat gave attendees the opportunity to engage with top US entrepreneurs, investment bankers, economists, political advisors and academics across the east coast of America.

Representing Galway were Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2013 finalists, James Murphy of Lifes2good and Kerril Burke of Merit Software. They were among the 110-strong group of attendees which consisted of the 24 EOY finalists and over 80 members of the EOY alumni community. 

“The CEO Retreat was like being welcomed into a new extended family I did not know I had”,” said Mr Burke at the end of the week-long think tank.

“Despite the fact that many of us had widely different businesses, there was a willingness to discuss, reveal and assist each other with business issues and opportunities from the outset,” he added.

The much anticipated 2013 CEO Retreat involved an ambitious itinerary that exposed the group of entrepreneurs to the very latest trends and shifts in business globally.  The schedule included master classes with business professors from the University of Notre Dame; strategy workshops with top executives in Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and General Assembly, a visit to the New York Stock Exchange and interactive problem-solving sessions at the Ernst & Young US headquarters in Times Square, New York.

“The CEO Retreat enabled Ireland’s best entrepreneurs to step out of their comfort zones and think about their businesses in an entirely new way” said Frank O’Keeffe, Partner-in-Charge of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ programme. “We centred the CEO Retreat on the theme of ‘thinking global, becoming global’ and guided our entrepreneurs through what it takes to unlock success on a global stage. It was hugely encouraging to see our entrepreneurs return home full of renewed inspiration, ideas and an enhanced vision of growth for their businesses.”

The high-profile speaker line-up included Pat Ryan, founder of AON Corporation; Jim Rohr, former CEO of PNC Financial Services Group; Dennis Boyle, founder of IDEO Design Thinking; Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani Inc and winner of World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013; renowned American Football Coach Lou Holtz; James McCann of 1-800 FLOWERS; Declan Kelly of Teneo Holdings; Wilbur Ross of WL Ross & Co; Michael Brewster, MD of Private Banking at Credit Suisse and Adrian Jones, MD of the Principal Investment Area at Goldman Sachs.

While the CEO Retreat marked a major milestone for the 24 EOY finalists, they will soon be making their EOY TV debut in the five-part RTE TV series “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™” that will start filming next month. The overall winner of the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ title as well as the winners per each of the three individual categories will be announced at the EOY Gala Night taking place in Dublin on October 24.

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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