Chamber News

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

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, 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 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.”


Waterford Chamber hosted a meeting with Indian Ambassador to Ireland H.E. Mr Sandeep Kumar, where the opportunities for investment in Waterford were presented by business leaders and the Chamber Executive.

Speaking at the meeting Ambassador Kumar emphasised his commitment to seeing what opportunities there are outside the capital. “We need to build relationships and not limit economic development to Dublin. This is a region of wellness and we are keen to meet companies who are interested in doing business in India and will offer them every assistance. Similarly, we want to bring delegations from India to the region to explore what opportunities are there.”

Mr Kumar also said we need to take advantage of Brexit at this time, by communicating effectively to Indian companies the advantages of operating from Ireland, including the English language, access to Europe and the United States.

At present there are in the region of 60 Indian companies operating in Ireland and a similar number of Irish companies in India. Strengthening these links and expanding on them is to the fore of the Ambassador’s agenda as he continues his efforts to visit cities and towns around the country.

He has asked for our support in terms of the current delays in processing VISAs from India and Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber, assured the Ambassador we would make immediate contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs in this regard.

Waterford Chamber President Jonathan Earl welcomed the Ambassadors visit and outlined Waterford’s current position and how with the recent announcements from the Port of Waterford and Waterford Airport, that now is the time for FDI companies to begin looking at Waterford and the wider region.

Dr Ken Thomas, Head of School of Engineering at Waterford Institute of Technology and Dr Ramesh Raghavendra, Centre Director at SEAM, spoke of the existing links between Waterford and Indian through the college and the opportunities for expansion in this regard.

Alan Quirke, Director of Ireland South East Development Office and Brendan McDonald, Regional Manager IDA Ireland, offered an overview in terms of job opportunities and FDI investment, while James Flahavan of E. Flahavan & Sons and Hardik Shah, Senior Manager at TEVA Pharmaceuticals, spoke of their current trade links with India.

Gerald Hurley showcased the plans for the North Quays, while also identifying the strengths of the Waterford offering in terms of pharma, ICT, agri food and life sciences and concluded the meeting by offering an overview of Waterford in terms of the exception work/life balance that is on offer.

During his two day visit, Ambassador Kumar enjoyed tours of the Viking Triangle and a visit to SEAM Research Centre, among other business meetings. He also visited the Indian company Tech Mahindra, Waterford Branch, who employs in the region of 250 people, and is a specialist in digital transformation, consulting and business re-engineering solutions.

The Ambassador proposed organizing a short 'Know India' seminar in Waterford in association with the Waterford Chamber, bringing out the success story as well as the challenges of doing business in India. Waterford Chamber has committed to working with the Ambassador in identifying investment opportunities within the region for FDI and also local companies who are keen to expand their portfolio into Indian.

Any company who is interested in same is asked to contact Gerald Hurley on 051 872639.

Chambers Ireland Event of the Year is back and better than ever and we want you to get involved! The ideal event for anyone looking to showcase their product, share ideas or learn the latest innovations in technology, Toys4Engineers is a must.

On Thursday, October 10th, WIT Arena will be transformed into a hub of technology and innovation as companies from all over the country will come to showcase at Toys4Engineers.

The day will feature an Expo will over 100 stands, from start-ups to multi-nationals, in a bid to exchange information, generate sales leads and expand contact bases.

There will also be an outdoor expo, with thanks to Clem Jacob Hire, which will present the very latest in plant machinery.

The event will begin with a networking breakfast from 8am for all exhibitors and conclude at 3pm following a headline presentation.

In a new offering this year, we will be running professional masterclasses, which will be CPD certified by Waterford Chamber Skillnet and will include topics such as Additive Manufacturing, Energy Efficiency and the Carbon Challenge for Industry, Sustainable Packaging and Pitching to Industry. Each masterclass will run for 90 minutes and costs just €25.

We also have a new Meet the Buyer section, with thanks to Waterford Local Enterprise Office, where companies will have the opportunity to showcase their products to a multi-national audience on a one to one basis.

As Waterford Institute of Technology are our partners in the event, we will also have an invitation only seminar for students who are interested in a career in engineering and identifying what graduate programmes and internships are on offer, as well as hearing from industry professionals about their own career paths.

WLR’s Damien Tiernan will be broadcasting live from the event and through their extensive social media offering, showcasing all the ‘toys’ to a wide audience.

Stands are competitively priced, starting at just €400+VAT and can be booked through or by calling Angela on 051 872639.

We must identify the positives is the message from Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley in response to the recent publication of the South East Economic Monitor.

While some of the figures are stark, Mr Hurley believes it also highlights the fact that the South East is growing.

“The report recognises that the South East Region has the greatest headroom for growth of any Irish Region. Only 1% of the €7.8bn 2018-2022 Exchequer Capital Investment has been committed to the South East, despite 8.9% of the national population living in the region. This needs to change and we will be making every effort to lobbying the Government in this regard.

“Both Waterford Airport and the North Quays are examples where private investors are already seeing the opportunities and investing in Waterford, and public money is following their lead. If private investors are seeing this potential, then the state should recognise the opportunities which exist when allocating its Capital Investment over the next five years.

“The South East is the most affordable of the five regions under Ireland 2040 and should be getting a fair share of the Capital investment over the next five years. This will ensure the growth and employment ambitions are achieved. Along with other regional stakeholders, we are working collaboratively to promote the region in terms of affordability, opportunities in terms of investment and employment and an all-important work/life balance. That will continue in earnest. Only this week, we met with Indian Ambassador to Ireland Mr Sandeep Kumar to highlight these points and he has assured us he will relay the information to his colleagues.

“In addition, the required investment for the Technological University has to be included in the 2018-2022 Capital Investment Budget. The facts speak for themselves. Having a University will guarantee economic growth, not just for Waterford but for the wider region.

“The report also highlights the opportunity now for IDA Ireland to redirect their focus and to promote the region in terms of its affordability, highly skilled workforce and the opportunity for growth and investment.

“Negative and inaccurate reporting, as seen this week in a national newspaper, is certainly not helping to promote the region and the onus is on us to ensure the right message is delivered at all times.

“To say there is a lack of high-quality jobs in simply untrue. CSO labour figures show consistent growth in higher value jobs in the South East in areas such as ICT and Financial Services, both of which are up over 20%. We must also be cognisant of the fact that companies such as Bausch + Lomb and Glanbia, have recently announced significant growth and expansion plans, so we are confident of the level of jobs coming on stream.

“Once professionals chose to come to the region, the cost of living is more affordable and while the earning figures may be slightly less, it is certainly no where near half of the national average. In fact, CSO figures show the South East was 90% of the national average.

“Waterford and the South East Region has ambitious plans for growth. We need to be even more ambitious. We need to take pride in our offering and work collaboratively to push the message that Waterford and the South East is a great place to live, work, invest in and do business.”

Brexit PreparednessReports today that in the last year the majority of SMEs have either postponed, or are reviewing, their investment plans highlights the impact of the Brexit negotiations on the Irish economy.

Speaking this morning, Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot emphasised the importance for businesses of all sizes to prepare now before the UK’s final departure deadline at the end of October.

“Brexit uncertainty and the threat of a ‘no-deal’ has caused significant damage to businesses across the country, particularly to SMEs and the tourism sector, a key national industry. As the pound falls to near-parity levels with the Euro our export sector is suffering immediate harm. As Ireland’s largest business network with a geographical reach into every major town and city in the country, we know how deeply this uncertainty hurts local companies.

However, the three months between now and the 31 October is a window for business to get ready and prepare for a very different trading relationship with the UK. No deal Brexit, and a reversion to WTO rules requires Irish businesses to think seriously about their supply chain and whether they can diversify. In many cases, regardless of a deal, trade with the UK will continue. But in order for this to happen, traders, including importers and exporters, must understand customs procedures, and the additional administration that is required.

We have an ever-growing concern that huge numbers of businesses in Ireland may only be starting to realise that they are exposed. Awareness amongst UK companies appears generally low too. The focus of attention has primarily been on exporters but businesses dependent on imports, directly or indirectly, are just as exposed. We urge all businesses to fully explore and understand the source and destination of their goods and engage with their buyers and sellers, in both Ireland and the UK, to ensure everyone understands the actions they may need to take.

Businesses must realise that even if their own plans are robust, there is a huge interdependence on all companies in a supply chain and a failure elsewhere will have a direct impact.

While we continue to call on political leaders to reach an agreement and put an end to this uncertainty, we urge all Irish businesses to prepare for the worst, and avail of every guidance, advice and financial support. However, as damaging as no-deal will likely be, it will be worse if steps are not taken now to get ready for the possibility of it happening.”

Michael OFlynn

Renowned Cork-based developer Michael O’Flynn, Chairman and CEO of the O’Flynn Group will take to the podium as guest speaker at the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme opening lunch in Faithlegg on Wednesday, 25th September.

Michael is a leading figure in the Irish and UK property sectors and is widely recognised for his experience and expertise. Over the course of the lunch, Michael will share his own story on how the O’Flynn Group, established in 1978 as a house building company, has progressed into one of the largest property development companies in Ireland with a strong reputation overseas particularly in the UK but also across Europe.

The lunch will mark the commencement of the third Regional Leaders Programme, which brings together mentors and participants for shared learning over the course of nine months, offering one to one mentoring, group masterclasses and inspiring speaker lunches.

Supported by Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford Institute of Technology, the programme has seen over 150 people graduate over the past two years, who now form an exclusive alumni, and who continue to network and grow their contacts base.

Speaking about the programme, Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said: “As we look to year three of the programme, we are encouraged with the level of engagement from the business community and it continues to grow year on year. This year we have more mentors, more masterclasses and more networking opportunities. The calibre of speakers we have lined up are exceptional, of course starting with Michael O’Flynn, while we also have Gerry Cahill, Managing Director of Roche Ireland Ltd. and Edwin Rohan, Head of EMEA and LATAM, Customer Success Acceleration Team at Google Ireland.

“We also have 45 mentors for our participants to choose who all have a wealth of experience in their own fields, so whether you are a start-up, business owner, senior manager or climbing the ladder, there are mentors on the programme to cater for all.

“With the professional expertise of our partners Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford Institute of Technology, this programme is designed to develop our future leaders and put a focus on succession planning, which is critical to the future success of the region.”

The cost, which is already minimal at €350 per participant, is being reduced further by 25% with thanks to funding from Waterford Chamber Skillnet.

To learn more about the Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme, please contact Lynda Lawton or Kelly Cummins on 051 872639.

Skillnet Strategy Survey

Skillnet Ireland is committing to more ambitious actions in meeting Ireland’s workforce challenges.
We are urging employers, employees, industry groups, regional groups, the general public and all interested parties to have their say in informing our new Statement of Strategy 2020-2024.

The purpose of this open public consultation is to build an effective and robust strategy that is both dynamic and resilient in an ever-changing marketplace. We invite all our stakeholders and members of the public to input to the development of our strategy, that will not only support future economic development but will bring real results to employees and enterprise at a regional and sectoral level, building on the progress achieved under our strategy for 2016-2019.

Have your say by clicking here to visit our dedicated page.

This new strategy will seek to articulate a vision for Ireland’s Workforce Development and set out strategic goals and targets for Skillnet Ireland. Read the full press release over on our website.


Waterford Chamber’s second Regional Leaders Programme drew to a close at Faithlegg as the mentors and participants came together one last time for a networking lunch.

Guest speaker chef Paul Flynn of the Tannery and Waterford Ambassador of the Year spoke about his own personal journey in business, having left Dungarvan at the tender age of 18 and returning from the highs of running Michelin starred restaurants to going it alone. In a witty and frank presentation of the life of the self-employed, Paul spoke of the highs and lows and the constant need to do better.

“There’s no doubt it was tough and there were very lean years along the way but my wife Maire and myself had a vision to create a restaurant that offered great food in my home town that appealed to locals and visitors alike.

“You have to be driven to always want more, to be better and you need a bit of luck thrown in. For me that bit of luck came when I was asked to write for the Irish Times. From there came the books and TV shows and while I never sought out the limelight, in some ways it was what saved us. As people began to travel to our restaurant, the constant need to better the offering took hold and from that came the Townhouse and Cookery School.”

As one of Waterford’s most famous sons, Paul says his success is in no small part to the incredible chefs and mentors who inspired and guided him along the way.

While the second programme drew to a close, Waterford Chamber President Jonathan Earl also announced details of the third programme, which is due to begin in September, and will see participants from year one and two still very much involved in the programme.

“Having been mentored and having mentored others for years, I know how important a programme like this is. We all need someone to turn to for advice, to share ideas and to confide in. It’s that shared learning experience which helps us all to grow and develop within our chosen careers. We are delighted to have two of our three speakers already confirmed for next year – Gerry Cahill of Roche and Google’s Edwin Rowan and we look forward to the Regional Leaders network growing with our new participants in September, alongside our alumni.”

Partners Bausch + Lomb played a pivotal role in developing the programme and speaking at the lunch, Head of HR Mark Fitzgerald said: “People and relationships make the positive difference. This programme is all about improving us as leaders and people.

“Building a support network across a wide variety of businesses where participants can leverage from the experience and knowledge of the mentors and mentees is a key part of the Regional Leaders Programme.”


Responding to the need to develop a pipeline of future leaders in the South East region, Waterford Chamber, with the support of Bausch + Lomb, Waterford Institute of Technology and Waterford Chamber Skillnet, designed the Regional Leaders Programme to develop business leaders for the future through mentorship and skills sharing.

The programme 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 third Regional Leaders Programme gets underway in September, offering one to one mentoring sessions, group mentoring masterclasses and inspiring speaker lunches. For more information please contact Lynda Lawton or Kelly Cummins on 051 872639.


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“Tom Murphy Car Sales Ltd has been a member of Waterford Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years. It’s a membership that serves us well as we find it gives us a platform to interact with similar businesses and puts us in front of a wide audience. Having staged a number of very successful Chamber events, both at our dealership on the Cork Road and at venues chosen by the Chamber, it really puts into perspective the value of networking and meeting with potential customers face to face. We intend to continue the partnership between Waterford Chamber of Commerce and Tom Murphy Car Sales into the future, as the results speak for themselves and we see the value in being a member of Waterford Chamber.”

Tom Murphy, Tom Murphy Car Sales



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