Chamber News

Niamh Briggs Regional Leaders

Inspiring, humble and honest are just some of the words that were heard after the recent Regional Leaders Programme speaker session, as Irish International Rugby player Niamh Briggs joined outgoing Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan for an open mic session.

Niamh, who is originally from Abbeyside, spoke from the heart on how recent injuries left her feeling angry and bereft and out of love with the game. But with the help of her family and friends, she began her slow recovery and is back fighting fit and more determined than ever.

Speaking to a large group of programme participants, mentors and invited guests at the Lighthouse Restaurant in Dunmore East Golf Club, Niamh and Paul offered their experiences on leadership, achieving results, the importance of teamwork and creating a work/life balance, all of which are integral topics within the Regional Leaders Programme structure.

Speaking after the event, outgoing President Paul Nolan said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to ask Niamh about her own personal experiences. The level of engagement from the participants in attendance showed how well she is regarded, not just on the pitch, but also as an inspiration for many young men and women out there. Her honesty and integrity is certainly inspiring and she epitomises what the Regional Leaders Programme is all about.”

The inaugural year of the programme is now drawing to a close and Waterford Chamber, along with programme partners Bausch + Lomb and Waterford Chamber Skillnet, are busy working on year two, which will commence in September.

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.

Participants enjoy one to one mentoring with business leaders, as well as group mentoring and guest speaker sessions over the nine month period. Year one saw nearly 30 mentors and 45 participants work together and the booking process is now open for year two.

Leadership and professional development is a key component of the Bausch + Lomb ethos, making them the ideal partner for the Regional Leaders Programme.

“We are delighted to partner with Waterford Chamber on this programme. What we have learned over the past twelve months is there is a keen appetite for continuous professional development. Being a leader today is challenging and this programme helps current and potential leaders explore their leadership style through the guidance of the Business Mentors”, said Jackie Roche, Learning + Organisational Development Manager, Bausch + Lomb.

The cost for the eleven month programme is €350 for Waterford Chamber/Skillnet members and €499 for non members. For more information on the Regional Leaders Programme, please contact Lynda Lawton on 051 311130 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chambers Ireland has today (3 May 2018) welcomed the launch of the Flood Risk Management Plans accessible via the new website www.floodinfo.ie, from the Office of Public Works.

Speaking this afternoon, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive, Ian Talbot said, 

“Today’s launch of the Flood Risk Management Plans marks a concerted effort by Government to commit to a holistic, nationwide approach to flood defences and to develop greater infrastructure to prepare for more frequent occurrences of adverse and disruptive weather conditions".

Several of our members have been particularly affected in recent times by the increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, which has resulted in considerable cost to local businesses in their region.

While some progress has already been made in a number of towns, clarity around the time frame of implementation of the plans announced today is essential for members throughout our Network, particularly for the Chambers situated in the heavily flood-afflicted areas of Ireland. 

More detail is required to provide an assurance and relief to homeowners and local businesses nationwide.”

The countdown is on for Waterford’s biggest event of the year as Waterford Chamber gear up for their annual Business Expo.

‘The Ultimate Business After Hours’, which is sponsored by BMCI Insurance & Investments Ltd., will take place on Thursday, April 19th at George Corbett Motors on the Cork Road from 4.30pm to 7.30pm and it is free for the public to attend.

Stop by and join in the fun as local businesses put their best foot forward and showcase their fantastic services. There will be giveaways, fairytale characters, a chance to meet Olympic athlete Thomas Barr and Munster rugby star Jack O’Donoghue and much much more. WLR’s Teresanne O’Reilly will be broadcasting live throughout the day and Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan says it’s definitely a date for the diary.

“Promoting our members and facilitating networking opportunities is to the core of what we do at Waterford Chamber. The Expo is the ideal chance for smart businesses to showcase all they have to offer and feedback from the previous years indicates that a lot of business is done at this event. It’s fun, it’s relaxed and it’s a great way to make new sustainable contacts and generate those all important sales leads.

“We are delighted to have the support of BMCI Insurance & Investment Ltd for the fifth year running and of course also the backing of a great team at George Corbett Motors. We would encourage everyone to stop by on the day and make the most of the Expo experience.”

The Business Expo is open to both Chamber members and non-members to attend and exhibition stands are just €125+VAT for members, which includes the provision of a pod table.

For more information, see www.waterfordchamber.ie or call Lynda Lawton on 051 311130.

Chambers Ireland Brexit Survey Results

Ahead of the EU Council meeting scheduled to take place next week on the 23-24 March, Chambers Ireland today (16 March 2018) published the results of a survey of the Irish Chamber Network, revealing that an overwhelming majority of Chambers (97%) believe a transition period following the UK’s exit from EU next March will be necessary. 75% of Chambers responding to the survey recommended that a transition period should last longer than two years.

Chambers continue to believe that Brexit will be a challenge for their members, with three quarters of responses confirming that Brexit presents more challenges than opportunities.

With regard to the consequences of Brexit, Chambers were asked to identify their three biggest concerns, which were as follows: a return to a Hard Border with Northern Ireland, a reduction in trade in goods and services and a negative impact on tourism in Ireland. Chambers were also asked to outline their top three priorities for the next phase of negotiations on the future trading relationship. No hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, no tariffs between the EU and UK and ongoing regulatory alignment between the EU and UK were identified as the leading three priorities.

When asked how Government should support business in the context of Brexit, responding Chambers identified the following as the best way Government could ensure Irish businesses are supported: ongoing increased investment in capital infrastructure; maintenance of the 12.5% corporate tax rate to secure increased FDI; and ongoing investment in trade finance to support market diversification. Speaking this morning, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “The results of our survey illustrate that an overwhelming majority of our member Chambers believe that a transition period will be necessary following the UK’s departure from the European Union next March, with three quarters of responding Chambers outlining that more than two years will be required in order for business to adequately prepare and adjust to any form of new trading relationship with the UK.”

“Twelve months on from the UK Government’s decision to “trigger” Article 50, businesses are still no clearer on what the future trading relationship will look like. This is significantly impacting upon investment decisions and the future planning of operations for businesses. Despite the negotiating parties’ commitment last December to no Hard Border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, Irish Chambers remain concerned about the UK’s continued commitment to leaving the Customs Union and the EEA, and how this will impact trade between the two islands, the tourism sector and indeed our relationship with Northern Ireland.

“We commend the consistent and clear approach taken by the Irish Government in highlighting the importance of a deep and ambitious trading relationship with the UK for Ireland’s economy, while also continuing to make the case for the necessity of maintaining a soft border with Northern Ireland.

Urging businesses to plan for Brexit is important but realistically very few SMEs can afford the resources necessary to plan for the multiple potential scenarios which we continue to face. Clarity is desperately required.

Government can of course do more to support Irish business. Delivering upon committed increases to investment in infrastructure, particularly our roads and ports, remains vital and will ensure that businesses are better placed to adjust to the post-Brexit trading landscape. Our ability to continue to attract foreign investment and our ability to diversify the markets in which we trade will be crucial if we are to maintain growth as an economy. As such, Government must focus on enhancing our national competitiveness and ability of Irish firms to compete abroad as much as possible in preparation for whatever form Brexit takes.

The UK’s exit from the EU is far from desirable, but we are confident that it will also bring opportunities for Irish business; preparedness to seize them is where we must now focus. By 2020, 90% of world GDP growth is expected to come from outside of the EU. The Irish economy must continue to have a global outlook and Government must support Irish businesses to tap into the potential of new markets like Japan and Canada, following the recent free trade agreements made between these countries and the EU.

Waterford businesses are gearing up for the biggest networking event of the year as Waterford Chamber announce details of their annual Business Expo.

‘The Ultimate Business After Hours’, which is sponsored by BMCI Insurance & Investments Ltd., will take place on Thursday, April 19th at George Corbett Motors on the Cork Road from 4.30pm to 7.30pm and it is free for the public to attend.

Following on from the success of last year’s event, this year Waterford Chamber is guaranteeing even more exhibitors, more fun and lots of promotion for its members.

Speaking about the event, Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan said: “The feedback from our members clearly demonstrates that this is one of the favourites of the year, which gives them the chance to meet with other members in a relaxed and fun environment and yet behind all that, there is some serious business done. Contacts are made, deals are done and of course discounts are offered. There’s no sitting down allowed – it’s all about meeting new people, doing business and enjoying an afternoon away from the office. We would encourage all business people to stop by on the day and make the most of the Expo experience.”

Sponsor Teresa Jane O’Mahoney of BMCI Insurance and Investments Ltd. said: “We are delighted to be associated with this event for the fifth year running. It goes to the very heart of what BMCI is about, working with our business peers to create a better, safer and more successful working environment. As an SME, this is a fantastic opportunity for us to connect with other businesses and generate sales leads and we would encourage all our fellow Chamber members and the wider business community to do the same.”

Event host George Corbett said: “We are delighted to open our doors to Waterford Chamber for this event. It’s one we have enjoyed over the past number of years and see it as a great opportunity for the business community to network, generate sales leads and support local enterprise, whether you decide to exhibit or not.” The Business Expo is open to both Chamber members and non-members to attend and exhibition stands are just €125+VAT for members, which includes the provision of a pod table.

For more information, see www.waterfordchamber.ie or call Lynda Lawton on 051 311130.

16

Over 250 guests attended the prestigious Waterford Business Awards in Faithlegg House Hotel on Friday night last, February 23rd, which was organised and hosted by Waterford Chamber and media partners WLR.

A shortlist of thirty-three companies from all across Waterford were celebrated for their successes and their contribution to the local economy.

Topping the eleven categories were Special Branch Carvings, Arts, Culture & Heritage; Dlight Concepts for Best Small Business; The Shona Project for Community & Social Enterprise; Pip & Pear Chilled Baby Food in the Food & Agri category; Nemeton TV in Research, Innovation & Technology; Eirgen Pharma in Manufacturing & Industry; PartyRock Travel in the Emerging New Business category, Redlane Boutique in Retail; Home Instead Senior Care in Services, The Book Centre in Customer Service Excellence and in Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality, King of the Vikings, Waterford Museum of Treasures.

The Judge’s Special Recognition Award was presented to Anne Marie Caulfield, owner and director of Caulfield McCarthy Group, Caulfield’s SuperValu and Caulfield McCarthy Property Ltd, by Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan on behalf of sponsors Dawn Meats, for her tremendous contribution to the cultural and economic climate of Waterford and for inspiring others through her exceptional commitment, motivation, and vision.

A special presentation was also made to Head of Economic Development of Waterford City & County Council Lar Power, by Chamber President Paul Nolan and Managing Director of WLR, Des Whelan, as he moves to take on the role of CEO of Leitrim County Council.

Mayor of Waterford City & County Council, Cllr Pat Nugent concluded the awards ceremony by announcing The Book Centre as the Overall Business of the Year, sponsored by Waterford City & County Council.

Commenting at the gala dinner, Mayor Nugent said: “Tonight is about the people in this room keeping our city moving and bringing people onto our streets. Their stories are unique, their determination admirable and it is wonderful to be here tonight to honour their achievements.

Mayor Nugent, went on to say, “Now in 2018 the people of Waterford have the opportunity to dream again. The potential of the North Quays is something quite unique and opens up massive opportunity to attract high skill jobs. It is encouraging to see that a plan is in place for an Ireland of tomorrow and a Waterford with a clear vision.”

Each category winner was presented with a custom designed Waterford Crystal trophy and the Overall Winner of the Waterford Business Awards, The Book Centre, was presented with a custom design perpetual trophy. The shortlisted businesses were nominated by the public and also through self-nomination for all eleven categories. An independent judging panel, under the Chairmanship of Frank O’Regan, and including David Breen, David M Breen & Co; Liam Moran, Faithlegg House Hotel; Lena Murphy, WLR; Tina Darrer, Dooley’s Hotel; TV Honan, Spraoi; John Noonan, Flahavan’s; Louise Grubb, Q1 Scientific, Richie Walsh, Waterford Local Enterprise Office and Noel Kelly, NYPRO, carried out the difficult task of selecting the finalist shortlist and category winners after a rigorous judging analysis of each application.

Speaking on the night, Paul Nolan, Waterford Chamber President said, “On behalf of the Waterford Chamber, I would like to sincerely congratulate The Book Centre on being announced as the Overall Winner of the Waterford Business Awards. It is heartening to see a family run business being recognised for their hard work and their ability to sustain their outlets in these times of stiff competition.

“Tonight has seen so many winners come to the fore and their achievements to date have been remarkable. The aim of these awards is to promote and celebrate individuals and businesses for the valuable contribution they make to the economic life of Waterford City and County. All of the finalists tonight serve to showcase Waterford in a very positive light for potential investors in our city and county.”

Waterford City and County Council sponsored the Overall Waterford Business Award, while category sponsors include Cpl Resources, TOTEM, AIB Bank, Faithlegg House Hotel, KBC Bank, City Enterprise Centre, PwC, Waterford Institute of Technology, MEDITE SMARTPLY, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, Waterford Airport and Dawn Meats.

Project Ireland

Waterford Chamber today (16th February 2018) welcomes the publication of Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan.

Responding to the publication, Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan commented: “Project Ireland 2040 has been years in the making and throughout this period of stakeholder consultation Waterford Chamber, together will all regional Chambers, proactively engaged in submitting recommendations to Government which, we are pleased to note, have significantly impacted upon the final document.

“We are particularly encouraged that priority has been given to delivering the North Quays SDZ regeneration project, as well as the provision of funding for Waterford Institute of Technology to develop as a Technological University, both of which are game changers for Waterford.

“We now have the opportunity to develop as a Centre of Excellence for Disruptive Technology, particularly paying reference to the €500m Innovation Fund announced today. This will compliment the existing businesses which have contributed significantly to the region heretofore. 

“While we welcome the commitment to improved connectivity to Dublin and Cork, we feel for the South East region to develop to its full potential, connectivity with Limerick and onto the Western corridor must be given priority. We will continue to work on behalf of our members and the wider business community to deliver this and have made a submission to the Southern Regional Assembly to this effect.

“The commitment to invest significantly in public transport is laudable and, along with the emphasis on re-developing brownfield spaces, will enhance our city environments and reduce urban sprawl, thus improving the quality of life and the attractiveness of the Waterford City region as a great place to live, work and do business in.”

Speaking on behalf of Waterford Chamber’s Retail Advisory Group, chairperson Jacqui Kielthy said: “We welcome the development of the North Quays, which will enhance the existing retail offering and go a long way towards addressing the estimated €350m retail leakage from the South East region. We look forward to meeting with representatives from Al Hokair and determining how we can work together to deliver a quality experience for the increased footfall.”

Join Waterford Chamber on Tuesday, February 27th in Garter Lane Arts Centre at 7.30am for a panel discussion led by John Moran, Former Secretary General at the Department of Finance & Director, European Investment Bank.

CSR for SMEs Guide

Chambers Ireland has published a CSR for SMEs Guide which outlines the benefits of CSR and ways that SMEs can engage, including the offer of one-on-one meetings with CSR experts from Chambers Ireland's Policy Council at a location convenient to them, and free of charge.

This is an excellent opportunity for an SME to develop a plan for CSR in their company with the help of an expert.

Click here to download the CSR for SMEs Guide.

01Business Awards Launch

Thirty-three of Waterford’s top businesses have been shortlisted for the fourth annual Waterford Business Awards, organised by Waterford Chamber and media partners WLR.

The gala awards ceremony will take place on Friday, February 23rd in Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort, where the selected businesses will be celebrated for their extraordinary contribution to the economic life of Waterford.

Speaking about the awards, Waterford Chamber President Paul Nolan said, “This is the fourth year of the Waterford Business Awards and the calibre of entrants continues to grow year on year. There is an air of positivity in Waterford right now and these awards will certainly add to that by showcasing the outstanding work that is going on in Waterford City and County. We would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support and look forward to a great night of celebration on February 23rd in Faithlegg House Hotel & Golf Resort.”

Commenting on the decision making process Frank O’Regan, Chairperson of the Judging Panel, said, “We are now into our fourth year of judging the Waterford Business Awards and I think it’s fair to say this has been the toughest one yet! The innovation, creativity and determination is so impressive and having reviewed each application, I can confidently say the future is bright for business in Waterford.”

The shortlisted businesses were nominated by the public and also through self-nomination for the eleven categories. An independent judging panel, chaired by Frank O’Regan and including David Breen, David M. Breen & Co; Liam Moran, Faithlegg House Hotel; Lena Murphy, WLR; John Noonan, Flahavans; Louise Grubb, Q1 Scientific; Tina Darrer, Dooley’s Hotel, TV Honan, Spraoi; Noel Kelly, NYPRO and Richie Walsh, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, decided upon the finalist shortlist after a rigorous judging analysis of each application. 

Three businesses have been shortlisted for each of the eleven categories and the winners of those categories will then go head to head in the hope of claiming the Overall Waterford Business of the Year, sponsored by Waterford City & County Council. A Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Dawn Meats, will also be presented to an individual chosen by the judging panel and will only be revealed on the night.

The Waterford Business Awards shortlist includes the following businesses.

WBA Shortlist 2018

Commenting on today’s (22nd January 2018) announcement of a formal agreement on the leveraging of a total of €300m for the Brexit Loan Scheme for Irish businesses, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, "We welcome today’s formal agreement, which aligns with our consistent recommendations for state-guaranteed supports for Irish businesses to diversify into new markets. Indeed, this was one of our central recommendations in our Pre-Budget Submission 2018 last year, which called for an Export Working Capital Scheme to help SMEs meet the challenges arising from Brexit.

"The Loan Scheme is a clear commitment and a positive step by Government to help Irish businesses prepare for the unique issues facing them in light of Brexit. We also urge businesses to engage with these opportunities. The responses from Irish businesses in last year’s EUROCHAMBRES survey identified Brexit as their number one challenge. While challenges remain, opportunities such as today’s announcement and the ratification of last year’s EU-Japan trade agreement are beginning to manifest."

8th December 2017: Chambers Ireland welcomes Brexit guarantee of ‘no hard border’ between Ireland and Northern Ireland, following this morning’s announcement that both negotiating teams are ready to move into the second phase of talks.

Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot commented:

"We welcome UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to upholding the Good Friday Agreement with a guarantee of no hard border on the island of Ireland and congratulate all parties on reaching a successful outcome. The business community particularly welcomes news that that there will be an Irish chapter of trade negotiations going into phase two of the talks. Ensuring that Ireland’s unique circumstances will continue to be recognised as part of the ongoing Brexit negotiations is a remarkable achievement on behalf of the Government.

"However great uncertainties remain for businesses. We emphasise the urgency of starting second phase talks as soon as possible so that when the inevitable complications emerge, they can be addressed early in the process.  

"The need for a realistic timeframe for transition must also be addressed. The complexity of issues that business will face following the UK’s departure from the EU is likely to require a transition period lasting several years and ensuring agreement on this must be a focus of the next round of negotiations."

 

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What Our Members Say

“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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