Chamber News

North Quays

Waterford Chamber welcomes the confirmation that Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland will lodge the application for Planning Permission to Waterford City & County Council for the North Quays development by the end of November.

Commenting on the announcement, Gerald Hurley, Waterford Chamber CEO, said: “There has been a lot of speculation and uncertainty around the North Quays in recent months, so following this announcement, it is encouraging that this can now be put to bed and we can move forward.

“We have always believed the North Quays development will be the catalyst for growth, particularly in terms of delivering on Project Ireland 2040. This is a €350 million investment which will create 2,300 full time roles with an additional 4,500 indirect jobs. It will cement Waterford’s position as Capital of the South East and the driver of economic growth and we are hopeful that there will be no further delays in the planning process, so we start date of quarter four of 2020 can be guaranteed.”

Following today’s Budget 2020 statement by Minister Paschal Donohoe, Chambers Ireland welcomes the overall approach of the Government to opt for prudence and to prepare for the very real possibility of a No-Deal Brexit.

Speaking this afternoon, Chambers Ireland President Siobhan Kinsella said, “Under normal circumstances, with the economy performing as well as it has been, we would be expecting a very different Budget. But in the words of the Minister, this is an uncertain and unprecedented time. We called for a Budget which would focus on steadying the ship of state and provide greater clarity regarding the measures that are to be made available in a no-deal Brexit scenario. Minister Donohoe delivered this clear statement today.

Brexit

We agree that it is a wise approach to provide financial flexibility into the Budget which will allow the government to respond and adapt to the consequences of a No-Deal Brexit, particularly if its impact is worse than foreseen. One recommendation we would make to Government is to call for any new support to be easy to access and easy to understand. The likely chaos of a crash-out Brexit will mean that SMEs will need access to immediate support and swift interventions.

Carbon Tax

The approach by the Government to increase the Carbon Tax and ring-fence the revenue is welcome in principle, but it is our view that these measures do not go far enough.  We had called on Government to ring-fence all revenue from carbon tax, which is likely to exceed €500m in 2020, not just the revenue from the increases. So we would like additional clarity on what the Government’s intention is on this.

Further, while the types of green investment that Government has announced are welcome, including the initiatives to support the Midlands, it’s difficult to see the approach as anything more than a missed opportunity. We could have used this Budget to do much more to support investment in grid infrastructure, a nationwide roll-out of EV charging points and the retrofitting of homes.

Green Investment

Linking the carbon tax to tangible actions that help decarbonise the economy will be essential if these taxes are to gain public acceptance. If carbon taxes are to change behaviour then low-carbon alternatives will need to be available, in both urban and regional areas. While public transport will play a large role in urban areas, the regional areas will need the widespread take up of E-Vehicles, and this will need considerable investment in our electricity grid.

In addition, our members need to see an advance multi-year schedule of committed increases, rather than a vague undated commitment, so that businesses can plan and invest accordingly. This schedule needs to come in tandem with an ongoing impact assessment to see how tax increases and green investment is actually contributing to a reduction in the use of carbon fuels and switch to more environmentally friendly behaviour.

Housing

The supply of affordable and appropriate housing remains a critical issue for the business community, affecting productivity, recruitment and inflating wage growth demands. With so many economic threats on the horizon, policy uncertainty would discourage investment, therefore the maintenance of existing housing policies, such as Rent Pressure Zones and Help to Buy, is useful.

But while this certainty is welcome, an independent review of all our housing policies is essential so that any wasteful policies can be culled, and those resources made available for the most effective measures that will support supply and affordability.

We are disappointed with the low level of funding available to the Land Development Agency which suggests that there will be another year of missed opportunities for that agency. There needs to be a more ambitious vision for housing policies and this vision must integrate the requirements of the climate action plan and the national development plan. For example, while we welcome the continuation of the Living City Initiative, for it to be effective it needs to be amended so that it benefits a broader range of urban areas, and the Government has an opportunity to amend this in the Finance Bill.

Supporting SMEs

Last but not least, the reforms to the KEEP scheme and the increase to Earned Income Tax Credit, which are long over-due, will be well-received by the self-employed and entrepreneurs.

While the Minister has been adamant that there will not be another budget if a no-deal Brexit emerges, perhaps it may become necessary to have an interim budget should the threat of Brexit recede. Ultimately, it’s the big things, like affordable housing and childcare, that businesses will need to see much more progress on in the months and years ahead.

With only days to go to Waterford Chamber’s Toys4Engineers, a selection of Waterford’s leading companies are gearing for the new ‘Meet the Buyer’ segment at the Chambers Ireland Event of the Year.

Sponsored by Waterford Local Enterprise Office, the Meet the Buyer segment is designed to support local businesses and increase supply-chains in the region.

Over the past number of years, there have been many new contracts generated through Toys4Engineers. Waterford Chamber believes it is vital to foster these relationships and increase discussions around local procurement.

According to Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley, “Ultimately, Toys4Engineers is a business event and while there is great fun to be had, the goal is to network, showcase your products and generate sales. This has occurred organically over the past number of years, but this year, with the help of Enterprise Ireland and the support of Waterford Local Enterprise Office, we want to bring a more formal structure to it. We are delighted to have the support of West Pharma, Bausch + Lomb, Ball, Sanofi, Nypro, Dawn Meats and Cartamundi, who are all giving their time to ‘Meet the Buyer’ and we are working with them to arrange strategic meetings with indigenous companies who are exhibiting on the day.”

Jacqui Gaule, Waterford Local Enterprise Office says Meet the Buyer is a good fit for them in terms of supporting smaller companies. “It can be difficult to understand the procurement process and for many companies, they can’t get past the first hurdle. This is a fantastic opportunity for them to get face to face time with the decision makers and showcase their products. We have fantastic companies here in Waterford and we are delighted to be in a position to support and encourage local interactions in this regard.”

Toys4Engineers will take over WIT Arena this coming Thursday, starting with a networking breakfast at 8am and followed by the Indoor and Outdoor Expo, with thanks to Clem Jacob Hire, CPD certified Masterclasses with Waterford Chamber Skillnet, the aforementioned Meet the Buyer and a Students Seminar presented by Waterford Institute of Technology and Engineering the South-East.

The event is free to attend and open to the public - to register in advance, log on to www.toys4engineers.ie

RLP Lunch Michael OFlynnMichael O’Flynn, CEO and Chairman of the O’Flynn Group, was the guest speaker at the launch of Waterford Chamber’s third Regional Leaders Programme at Faithlegg.

Michael is a leading figure in the Irish and UK property sectors and is widely recognised for his experience and expertise. Having established in 1978 as a house building company, Michael has grown the business into one of the largest property development companies in Ireland, while also making a significant impact in the UK and across Europe.

He is a firm believer in mentoring and embracing the challenge of change in business. “After 41 years in business, I have seen how constant change has shaped by business and my personal life. Embracing and confronting change is fundamental to any business and everyone has to accept that it will be a constant and inherent part of life.”

While Michael offered mentors and participants an insight into his own story over the past four decades, he was also vocal on the need for change in the housing sector.

“The current housing strategy is failing the current generation, who are increasingly despairing of a system that is not delivering. Ultimately the key to the future success of the property market is balance. We need balance between delivery of units to rent, units to buy and social housing. We also need a balance between policies that support the green agenda and our long term transport plans, infrastructure and settlement objectives, and immediate action which recognises the entitlement of the current generation to housing and actions which underpins efforts to facilitate viable development of housing and apartments in the short and medium term.”

Waterford Chamber Jonathan Earl spoke about the importance of the shared learning experience and recognising Leadership Excellence in business.

“Entering this programme and accepting that you need to improve takes confidence. The region needs that confidence. It needs people like you who have signed up to this ambitious programme, people who want to grow. The region needs that ambition. It too needs to grow, and you as current and future leaders of business in the region have a responsibility to push that growth, to enable it.”

Mark Fitzgerald, HR Director at Bausch + Lomb said: “Systems are really important in business, but it is people and relationships that can really make the difference. This programme is an enabler to help make that difference.”

Recognising the importance of the Regional Leaders Programme and its value to the business community, Waterford Chamber Skillnet have funded the programme by 25%.

Sara Mullally, Network Manager says: “The expertise in this room is extraordinary, people are willing to give their time and are eager to learn. Really powerful things can come from that. Waterford Chamber Skillnet is already focused on 2020. We are here to support the needs of the business community and the Regional Leaders Programme is a prime example of what emerges when ideas are shared and collaboration happens. We have recently received notification of an increase in funding from 25% to up to 45% for training and innovative programmes so we welcome any enquiries with regards to workforce development, training innovations or future workforce planning.”

Supported by Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford institute of Technology, the Regional Leaders Programme is designed to develop business leaders for the future through mentorship and skills sharing and is aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership skills or for companies who would like to increase the capacity of their internal talent pool to ensure the next generation of their company is in safe hands. The programme includes monthly group sessions, one to one mentoring sessions and inspiring speaker lunches.

For more information on the Regional Leaders Programme, please contact Lynda Lawton or Kelly Cummins at Waterford Chamber on 051 872639.

Bank of Ireland will host a free Networking Breakfast at the upcoming Toys4Engineers at WIT Arena on Thursday, October 10th from 8am to 9am.

Organised by Waterford Chamber, in partnership with Waterford Institute of Technology, Toys4Engineers will bring engineering and technology focused companies from all over Ireland, as well as a large representation from the South East.

According to Pamela Pim, Head of Bank of Ireland for Waterford, “We are delighted to be associated with Toys4Engineers this year and look forward to meeting delegates ahead of what promises to be a fun filled day. And while we will all enjoy the toys, there will be fantastic networking opportunities and of course sales leads, which is ultimately what the event is about.”

Brian Evans, Head of the Manufacturing Sector for BOI, will be speaking on the morning about Bank of Ireland’s commitment and support of the Engineering Sector in Ireland.

Bernard Walsh, Head of Pensions and Investments for BOI, will be speaking about Financial Wellbeing and how to get your money working for you and for your staff.

After the Networking Breakfast, both indoor and outdoor Expos begin at 9am, while CPD certified Masterclasses and a new Meet the Buyer segment will run concurrently.

There will also be a Students Seminar for 2nd and 3rd level students interested in internships and careers in engineering.

Toys4Engineers is free to attend and open to the public from 9am to 3pm. There is a €25 charge for the Masterclasses and a select number of exhibition space are still available, with prices starting from as little as €400. For more information or to book see www.toys4engineers.ie

WBA 2019 Launch

Entries are now being accepted for the 2019 Waterford Business Awards. The awards are designed to recognise excellence in business across Waterford City & County and are organised by Waterford Chamber, in collaboration with Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber, with support from Waterford City & County Council and WLR.

Launching the awards at a Corporate Evening with AIB Bank, Waterford Chamber President, Jonathan Earl said, “We now enter year six of the Waterford Business Awards and what an amazing journey it has been. This event has become one of the main talking points on our calendar and we look forward to working with all our sponsors and judges once again to showcase the exceptional businesses that are across Waterford City and County right now.

“We are delighted to be joining forces with Dungarvan and West Waterford Chamber, ensuring the awards are far reaching in celebrating the successes and achievements of the best in business.

“Following on from the success of the previous years and from the hugely positive feedback we received, we have made some changes to existing categories, while introducing some new ones as well, including Exporter of the Year and Environmental Excellence. We are confident the level of entries will be of the highest standard and I certainly don’t envy our judges, under the leadership of Frank O’Regan, the task of choosing the winners.”

Managing Director of WLR FM Des Whelan added: “WLR FM is delighted to partner with Waterford Chamber, Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber, along with Waterford Council on this initiative.  It has grown tremendously in the past number of years. The Waterford Business Awards are a great way to promote local enterprise and recognize the hard work, skills and commitment of so many fantastic businesses in this area.”

Opening the event John McSweeney, AIB Bank and Waterford Chamber Vice President said they were delighted to support the business awards since the very start and that as sponsors of the Small Business Award, they were looking forward to seeing some fantastic companies being shortlisted in the new year. 

The full list of categories is as follows:

  1. Community & Social Enterprise – sponsored by City Enterprise Centre
  2. Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Faithlegg
  3. Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility – sponsored by Morgan McKinley
  4. New Business of the Year – sponsored by Waterford Local Enterprise Office
  5. Retail Excellence – sponsored by Permanent TSB
  6. Marketing Excellence – sponsored by Waterford Institute of Technology
  7. Technology & Innovation – sponsored by Dawn Meats
  8. Training & People Development – sponsored by Waterford Chamber Skillnet
  9. Environmental Excellence – sponsored by KBC Bank
  10. Tourism Attraction/Activity of the Year – sponsored by TOTEM
  11. Best Food & Beverage Experience – sponsored by PwC
  12. Small Business of the Year – sponsored by AIB Bank
  13. Exporter of the Year – sponsored by Port of Waterford

The judging panel will also select an Ambassador of the Year, along with the coveted Overall Business of the Year, which is sponsored by Waterford City & County Council, all of which will be announced on Friday, February 28th at the gala awards ceremony in the Tower Hotel.

Waterford Chamber welcomes applications from all businesses located in Waterford City and County, both members and non-members. You can enter the Waterford Business Awards through Waterford Chamber’s website www.waterfordchamber.ie, where you will also find a full criteria outline on each category. Entries will also be accepted by emailing the application form or sending it by post to the Waterford Chamber offices.

The closing date for nominations and applications for the 2018/19 Waterford Business Awards is Friday, 8th November 2019.

39 Toys 4 EngineersToys4.0Engineers is back and it’s bigger and better than ever. Following its win as Chambers Ireland’s Event of the Year, the team at Waterford Chamber have added even more elements to the event, which will take place on Thursday, 10th October in WIT Arena.

Learning and knowledge sharing has always been an integral part of the event and they are taking it a step further this year by offering professional Masterclasses, with thanks to Waterford Chamber Skillnet, which will be CPD certified for engineers.

Toys4Engineers has been a partnership between Waterford Chamber and Waterford Institute of Technology since its inception and Head of the School of Engineering Dr Ken Thomas said the Masterclasses will bring the educational element to a whole new level.

“We are really excited to have leading experts present on four crucial topics, including Cobotics, Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reduction, Additive Manufacturing and Sustainable Packaging. They will be fantastic learning opportunities for engineers and managers with each 90 minute Masterclass giving participants the key insights into the latest innovations. Most importantly they’ll also have the opportunity to ask specific questions relevant to their own company.”

Other new elements to Toys4Engineers include: a larger ‘Expo’ in the main hall and an outdoor exhibition; a ‘Networking Breakfast’; a ‘Students Seminar’; and ‘Meet the Buyer’ opportunities.

“Toys4.0Engineers will cater for everybody this year, whether you are a professional looking to see up to the minute innovations, a student considering a career in engineering or an enthusiast who is fascinated with the latest technologies. We have robots, headsets, drones, 3D printing and so much more.”

Toys4.0Engineers is free to attend and can be booked through www.toys4engineers.ie. A €25 booking fee is associated with all Masterclasses.

Paschal Donohoe Meeting

By invitation of Waterford Chamber, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe met with a representation of the Waterford business community during his visit to the city on Thursday last.

During the lengthy discussion, the group outlined to the Minister the opportunities that were present in Waterford right now but were emphatic that the growth potential for the city, county and region was being stymied by the lack of Government investment.

Reflecting on the meeting, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “For me, the most valuable part of the meeting was hearing the contributions of our business leaders, who have been the lifeblood of economic development in Waterford in recent times. It is because of their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to Waterford and the wider region that we continue to be home to some of Ireland’s fastest growing businesses.

“Our ask is simple and was very effectively articulated by Patsy Carney of Eirgen Pharma when he said: “Sort out the basics and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll bring the jobs and the investment.” It is this kind of commitment and determination that has seen Waterford achieve the growth that is visible here today. We embraced Ireland 2040 and now it’s about delivery, as we have some of the best opportunities in the country.”

Mark Hennessey of Bausch + Lomb outlined the importance of the North Quays development for the future of Waterford, in terms of attracting talent, executive accommodation and quality of life. He outlined the challenge in securing investment in the Waterford plant because of the difficulty in attracting the right talent and keeping them here.

The €400m FDI in the North Quays has the potential to deliver direct and indirect employment in the region of 6,500 jobs, not to mention a huge boost to the Exchequer in terms of taxes, VAT and PRSI etc., Mr Hurley told the Minister.

“The future of Waterford is dependent on attracting and retaining the likes of the business leaders that were at the meeting. They are the kind of individuals who operate on a hands up approach rather than a hands out approach. It is people of this calibre who will deliver for Waterford in achieving the ambition set out in Ireland 2040 and the time has come to embrace this opportunity.”

Kathryn Kiely, Glazik Ltd. told the Minister about the need for a constant generation of talent and the international reputation of a University is critical to that.

“When you have the like of James Mernin of Red Hat say that 94% of their interns have been hired, you realise the true importance of the TU, in terms of being able to scale to deliver on the levels of growth and vision for Waterford under Ireland 2040,” Mr Hurley said following the meeting.

In terms of Waterford Airport, Brian Nolan outlined how Sanofi have a considerable number of people travelling in and out of Europe and London each week and as Barry Downes of Sure Valley Ventures said, “Everything is just a little harder because you cannot catch a flight from Waterford.” The Minister acknowledged the importance of the Airport and thanked the business leaders for their re-affirmation on how important its development is for the region.

Frank O’Regan of Ireland South East outlined we now have inter-county collaboration and the journey of self-believe is evolving.

Concluding, Mr Hurley said: “What we are calling on the Government to do is to give Waterford its equitable share and afford us the same opportunities as other regional cities to achieve their ambitions for Ireland’s oldest city. To sum it up, as Paul Nolan, Dawn Meats said: “We’re here to do it” and we left the Minister in no doubt that we have the passion, drive and ability to deliver.”

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"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

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