Minister of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI), Heather Humphreys TD, has announced details on the package of supports she has put in place for businesses impacted by COVID-19, including:
– A €200m Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) Working Capital scheme for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19. Loans of up to €1.5m will be available at reduced rates, with up to the first €500,000 unsecured. Applications can be made through the SBCI website.
– A €200m Package for Enterprise Supports including a Rescue and Restructuring Scheme available through Enterprise Ireland for vulnerable but viable firms that need to restructure or transform their business.
– The maximum loan available from MicroFinance Ireland will be increased from €25,000 to €50,000 as an immediate measure to specifically deal with exceptional circumstances that micro-enterprises – (sole traders and firms with up to 9 employees) – are facing. Applications can be made through the MFI website or through your local LEO.
– The Credit Guarantee Scheme will be available to COVID-19 impacted firms through the Pillar Banks. Loans of up to €1m will be available at terms of up to 7 years.
The picture-perfect towns that comprise the Cinque Terre have to be seen to be believed with cascading vineyards, harbours filled with colourful boats and winding streets lined with pastel buildings. Running from north to south, the villages are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. For centuries, the neighboring fishing villages have clung to the sheer cliffs on the northwest coast of Italy overlooking the clear, blue Mediterranean.
The region has been recognised by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and is today a National Park and Protected Marine area. With few roads and access primarily granted by rail or water, the villages, although tourist hotspots, still offer a feeling of remote authenticity.
Fiona Murphy, co-founder and Director of Ireland’s first user experience (UX) design agency Frontend, recognised the need for specialist design services for interactive technology back in the 1990s.
An industrial design graduate from the National College of Art and Design, Murphy completed a master’s in interactive multimedia from the Royal College of Art in 1996. She had gone to college and was friends with Niall O’Sullivan, founder of web design and content company Nua. He asked her to run a media company for him, O’Sullivan Associates, where she gained further insights.
“Very early on I did some research into different methodologies and realised research could be a very important component in terms of informing design for technology,” she says. “This led to a strong user centric design process, which is fundamentally similar to what we still do today at Frontend.”
Part of Professor John FitzGerald’s task as Chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council is to explain the issues around climate change to a wider audience. His scariest audience so far has been 6th class pupils at Harold’s Cross National School, he recalls.
“I was there for a photocall and the minister was late so the teacher asked me to talk to the class. Not having anything prepared, I was a bit intimidated at first. The children were so well informed, so engaged and so knowledgeable.”
Ireland is keen to position itself as a hub for connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies and to share in a global market predicted to be worth €70bn by 2035. According to John McCarthy, Leader, Intelligent Mobility at Arup, around 100,000 new jobs could be created in Ireland in direct and indirect services for CAVs by 2030. Arup is an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists, working across every aspect of today’s built environment.
First up, McCarthy points out that connected and autonomous vehicles are not one and the same thing. “They’re two completely different markets that touch upon each other quite strongly,” he says.
Áine Kerr started her a career as a political correspondent writing for national papers before becoming head of content and then managing editor at Storyful. Up until 2017 she led global journalism partnerships at Facebook in New York.
Kerr’s dedication to improving how we consume news led her organically to her next venture as co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Kinzen, a start-up developing solutions to control your news experience. Along with her co-founders Paul Watson and Storyful founder and former Twitter Ireland boss Mark Little, Kerr sought to create a news experience that the user can control and tailor to suit their needs and tastes – a personalised, authentic experience amid an era of misinformation, mistrust and fake news.
by Gillian Horan, The Pudding Brand
The availability of talent is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses in Ireland and internationally. To attract the best, you need a strong employer brand. If they don’t know what it’s like to work for your company, you risk losing valuable candidates to other employers.
Companies such as Workday know this. It has featured on the Great Place to Work list for the past five years and this year was the second time it achieved the top spot. Last year’s winner, AbbVie, was ranked second, followed by Salesforce, Version 1 and HubSpot.
All of these organisations have strong employer brands. It is vital for businesses to invest in employer branding, particularly if they are growing globally or hiring from a younger demographic.
Chamber Partner profile
by Karen Ferris, Ervia
Ireland’s second largest semi-State body, Ervia is focussed on safeguarding and upgrading key national infrastructure to meet the challenges of a growing population and support Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
Responsible for operating the nation’s vital water and gas networks through its regulated businesses Irish Water and Gas Networks Ireland, it also provides dark fibre broadband infrastructure through Aurora Telecom.
Ervia is overseeing one of the most significant programmes of capital delivery in the State as it continues to invest significantly in a number of large-scale infrastructure projects across the country.
The Irish government has launched a new initiative to support Irish emigrants who wish to develop a business in Ireland.
Venture capital funding for Irish tech firms fell by 47% to €170m in the third quarter of 2018.