Waterford News

RIKON Lean Award 2019Dr Michael O’ Meara and Dr Felicity Kelliher, members of the RIKON research group (www.rikon.ie) at Waterford Institute of Technology School of Business have won the Lean Learning Award at the Lean Business Ireland Awards Ceremony 2019.

Sponsored by University of Limerick and attracting entrants from across the third level education sector, the Lean Business Awards celebrate enterprise excellence and recognises researchers whose work makes a significant contribution to improving Lean practice and operational excellence in Ireland.

“The award”, Dr O’Meara says, “is a clear recognition of the importance of this research and the currency it holds by those representing the community of experts in lean enterprise excellence.”

Dr O’Meara and Dr Kelliher’s study is entitled 'The articulation and codification of tacit knowledge in the Irish medical technology sector'.

Funded by the Government of Ireland Scholarship programme, this research documents research undertaken over a three years period which explores how undocumented knowledge is articulated and recorded in the Irish medical technology sector. The nationwide study focuses on those organisations who have won industry excellence certification, such as the highly prestigious Shingo Award.

Findings suggest that employees are an important but often untapped knowledge resource and that people’s knowledge is released most efficiently when people are motivated to speak and share their knowledge with others in formal and informal ways. Once people have shared what they know, the challenge is that the organisation must then capture that knowledge, and ensure that it is not recorded elsewhere. The study reveals that immediate informal knowledge capture techniques are essential to maximise the recording of valuable knowledge that will otherwise be forgotten or remain intangible. Even when documented, the study highlights the need for knowledge to be disseminated in formats that are easy to access, amend and update. Significantly, the study also finds that knowledge is lost when employees are burdened by complex and time-consuming codification techniques, reinforcing the need for fast, simple capture techniques.

On a practical level, the research by Drs O’Meara and Kelliher, provides a framework to inform and guide Lean practitioners on how best to elicit and make explicit employees’ tacit knowledge and embed this knowledge within their organisations. Findings of the study support the OECD’s bid to increase competitive advantage among manufacturing firms and aligns with the Irish Centre for Manufacturing Research (2016) objectives relating to manufacturing excellence.

Dr O’Meara contends that, “This research will support the drive towards continuous improvement within Irish manufacturing and support Irish businesses to remain competitive within national and international markets.”

Visit Waterford Tourism Analysis Promotional PlanThere was a great sense of celebration and enthusiasm at Tramore Racecourse for the launch of the Visit Waterford Tourism Analysis and Promotional Plan.

Officially opening the event Mayor of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt spoke of the importance of delivering the message that Waterford has the very best to offer in terms of tourism.

Food and drink producers from all over the county were on hand showcasing exactly why Waterford was chosen as the Foodie Destination of Ireland 2019, which added to the celebratory atmosphere.

Detailing the promotional plan, Chair of Visit Waterford, David McCoy said: “It provides a plan for Waterford to become a complete destination for both domestic and international visitors. It also provides a framework for all businesses with a stake in Tourism, to participate in the promotion of Waterford alongside their business.”

He went on to outline the Visit Waterford Marketing objectives, which include activating the ‘Waterford, Where Ireland Begins’ brand, building awareness of Waterford as a destination, creating targeted promotional marketing material and a three-year implementation plan, as well as encouraging and developing collaborative links with tourism providers.

Visit Waterford, which is a membership organisation, have already identified a number of campaigns to target International and domestic visitors to stay in Waterford and created a content bank for members, which includes new images of the city and county, along with social and promotional videos. A new website has also been developed with the support of Waterford City & County Council and can be viewed at www.visitwaterford.com.

The underlying message from the launch is one of collaboration, with stakeholders coming together to promote Waterford to a national and international audience, which was endorsed by Sarah Fitzpatrick on behalf of Failte Ireland.

The promotional plan is in line with the Ireland’s Ancient East objectives and has the full support of Failte Ireland.

ArcLabs WITA recent €2.5m investment by Enterprise Ireland into the research and innovation hub ArcLabs at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has had a major impact on expanding the south east’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The new 1,000 sqm extension of ArcLabs – officially opened on 15 November 2019 by John Halligan T.D. Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development  - is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through Enterprise Ireland and consists of office and support space for 100 extra people.

The recently completed extension represents an important next step in the Institute’s plans for establishing an entrepreneurial platform that will accelerate economic development and position the region as a global leader in the digital economy.

ArcLabs, based on WIT’s West Campus and overlooking the Waterford Greenway was established in 2005 and represents a unique environment of entrepreneurship and innovation where academic research, enterprise supports and regional stakeholders come together to make ideas work. Critically, the colocation of ArcLabs and the Telecommunications, Software and Systems Group (TSSG) has been fundamental to the development of the South East as a leading region of excellence in the technology space.

Speaking at the event, ArcLabs Manager Dr Aisling O’Neill described Enterprise Ireland’s investment as pivotal. “We are so grateful for this support from Enterprise Ireland in the South East which has enabled us to double our incubation capacity in our West campus site, enabling us to increase our impact in supporting entrepreneurship in the region. We look forward to continuing to foster our relationship with Enterprise Ireland which is instrumental to realising the ambition of ArcLabs to support a truly sustainable regional economy in South East Ireland.”

ArcLabs is recognised as a key economic driver for the South-East region and currently houses 33 start-ups, early-stage companies and entrepreneurs. In addition, the highly successful New Frontiers Programme and the NDRC at ArcLabs Accelerator Programme are run from the centre.

The new facility was crucial to attracting NDRC to establish its accelerator in the south east and also integral to the Spearline jobs announcement last month.

Commenting on the announcement, Martin Corkery, Regional Director, South & South East Regions, Enterprise Ireland said: “Supporting regionally based businesses across a variety of sectors to start, scale and expand their reach in overseas markets is a core objective of Enterprise Ireland’s work. Our partnership with Waterford Institute of Technology at ArcLabs continues to be an essential element of our overarching strategy to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the South East region.

“There are already indigenous businesses at varying stages in their development that are utilising the ArcLabs facility to step up and seize the opportunities for growth by driving research and innovation which is encouraging to see. By investing €2.5m in the opening of the extension to the hub at Waterford Institute of Technology’s West Campus, Enterprise Ireland is focused on nurturing and promoting even more of the new and unique business ideas being developed in the region.

“With the coordinated support of Enterprise Ireland, ArcLabs and Waterford Institute of Technology, a greater number of entrepreneurs can now benefit from this extension and use it to embark on turning their project or idea into an efficient, profitable exporting business. All our team look forward to seeing their evolution and future success.”

John Halligan T.D. Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development said:

“ArcLabs incubation centre has already contributed significantly to the South-Eastern economy and to the social development of the region. It supports job creation, new start-up companies as well as facilitating companies re-locating to Waterford. The new extension has delivered on the ambition of this institution to double company capacity in the facility. This is truly a momentous achievement for all involved and I look forward to seeing what future success stories will emerge from ArcLabs.”

Speakers at the event included: Dr Aisling O’Neill, Manager, ArcLabs, Prof Willie Donnelly, Mayor of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt, John Halligan T.D. Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development and Regional Director for Enterprise Ireland, Martin Corkery.

WIT President, Prof Willie Donnelly said the impact of ArcLabs cannot be underestimated and was achieved through the vision of the people in Enterprise Ireland and HEA.

“Doubling the size of ArcLabs allows us to look at the delivery of an integrated set of entrepreneurial and business development supports to other incubation centres through the south east region and thus helping to attract high technology companies into the region and support HPSUs within the region.”

Key industry leaders from the region were in attendance as well as companies based in ArcLabs, representatives of the development agencies and local and regional authorities.

Following the success of the ArcLabs expansion in attracting digital technology companies, WIT plans to expand into attracting the development of more life sciences and engineering companies to the south east, tapping into the innovation infrastructure of the PMBRC and SEAM Technology Gateways in Waterford Institute of Technology.

Erie EID WIT MoU group signing

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership with the Erie Innovation District (EID) located in Erie, a sister city to Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

On 7 November 2019 at 3pm, presidents of both organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formalise the partnership. The virtual signing involved a video link between Erie and Waterford.

The Erie Innovation District addresses three critical community needs including the stopping of brain drain, replacing low-wage jobs with family-sustaining jobs, and the revitalization of downtown Erie through innovation and entrepreneurship.

The partnership will include:

  • Reciprocal sharing of facility space and associated support between startups participating in EID and WIT’s ArcLabs incubators and accelerators.
  • Potential for partnerships between EID and ArcLabs accelerator programmes, including trainings, lectures, webinars, and other programmes that leverage the knowledge-base and value propositions of both organisations.
  • The potential for staff exchanges that allow employees of EID and WIT to discover and share best practices.

Prof Willie Donnelly, President WIT stated, “We hope this agreement will open up opportunities for increased collaboration between Waterford and Erie and in particular, will allow us to further expand and enhance our enterprise development support programmes.”

Prof Donnelly added that this international collaboration provides an “exciting opportunity to link WIT's ArcLabs research and innovation centre with Erie's Innovation District, and will further strengthen the leading role of ArcLabs in the South-East Ireland's enterprise-support ecosystem."

The event was witnessed in Erie by Erie Mayor Joseph Schember and in WIT, Waterford City & County Council’s Billy Duggan and the Irish Ambassador to the US, Mr Dan Mulhall.

Karl Sanchack, CEO of the Erie Innovation District mirrored that statement. “This partnership with the Waterford Institute of Technology is a significant win for EID and Erie, Pennsylvania. As a host city, Erie should be proud that WIT seeks to collaborate with its Secure Erie Accelerator in sharing business innovations and startup growth between our cities and countries. It gives our innovation community a chance to learn from one of the best universities in Ireland, and it gives that same university an opportunity to learn from and see what we have built here in Erie.”

Mayor of the City and County of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt welcomed the signing saying “I am proud to be part of this strengthening of the ties between Waterford and Erie through the signing of this MoU and will work to ensure we continue to build on the twinning relationship of Erie and Dungarvan.”

Winterval John Roberts SquareWaterford City and County Council and the Port of Waterford are delighted to launch a FRIDAY FREE from FIVE promotion for the 2019 Festive period.

This initiative is supported by Waterford Business Group, Waterford Chamber, Winterval and the Tidy Towns Bid team and is aimed at promoting and supporting City Centre businesses this festive season. Waterford Council’s core City Centre car parks and The Port of Waterford car parks, on The Quay, will provide ‘FREE from FIVE’ parking, on Friday 29th November, Friday 6th and 13th December. A range of ‘5’ promotional initiatives, will be offered by City Centre businesses, to support these Friday promotions.

Mayor of the City and County of Waterford, Cllr John Pratt said today “Waterford Council is offering this FREE period of parking over the festive period and I am delighted to be part of this initiative. I encourage all business to come on board with the FRIDAY FREE from FIVE theme.”

Tommie Ryan of Winterval welcomed the plan as well, stating, “The FRIDAY FREE from FIVE promotion will be a great addition to bring people into the many Winterval evening events and we encourage all to avail of this fantastic initiative.”

Michael Garland, Chair of Waterford Business Group and Tidy Towns, looks forward to increased numbers of visitors to the City Centre throughout the Christmas shopping period. He reminds all of the need to park responsibly throughout the festive period and be conscious of other street users when parking.

“Having suggested a Christmas Car Parking promotion, through the City Centre Management Group, I am delighted that we have ALL collaborated to come up with ‘FRIDAY FREE from FIVE’. This promotion covers the main critical mass car parking around the City Centre, with ALL the local authority spaces and the two main Port of Waterford car parks on The Quay.

We’d like all supporting businesses to come up with creative offers based on multiples of FIVE. Maybe ‘Five coffees for the price of 4’, ‘5% discount from 5pm’ and so on. These offers will then be promoted on the various stakeholders social media pages, such as Winterval, Waterford Business Group, Waterford Chamber etc.

In addition, we’d still like businesses to do their #BITT (Businesses Invested in Tidy Towns) and dress their windows, for Christmas, to be in with a chance to win a €500 shopping voucher. Businesses must be signed up to the Tidy Towns Charter to enter, where they will receive a Christmas gift tag to display in the window, during the festive period. Further details are directly available from Waterford Chamber, in George’s Street and also see the latest edition ‘Network’, the Chamber’s magazine.

There are no excuses for NOT exploring the City in the lead up to Christmas, especially on Friday evenings.

We’ve done our #BITT, have you done yours?”

Brian Moore, from The Port of Waterford also commented, “We delighted to be participating in the FRIDAY FREE from FIVE promotion, to lend support to local retail and the Winterval festival, in the run up to Christmas this year.”

Alongside the FRIDAY FREE from FIVE initiative, covering all Waterford Council run car parks and The Port of Waterford’s two car park on The Quay. All Waterford Council owned and managed car parking spaces are FREE of charge on Sundays also, so there are plenty opportunities for people to make their way to the City Centre throughout Christmas, to enjoy the festive atmosphere, take in some retail therapy and experience Winterval.

AEMON COW 1168x812Local Enterprise Office Waterford is encouraging small businesses to apply for the Productivity Challenge, a government-funded scheme supporting productivity in the SME sector.

As part of a a national programme, the Productivity Challenge is open to businesses with less than 50 employees and gives them practical advice and resources to improve their operational efficiencies and productivity.

Irish businesses or enterprises can now apply for one of 200 productivity vouchers valued at €2,500 each to help them develop a more efficient and productive business operation, through improving the quality of product, reducing delivery times, lowering the cost of production, reducing business waste or increasing revenue.

One such local business that is benefitting from the programme by adopting lean practices is Knocakanore Farmhouse Cheese, which produces hard-pressed mature farmhouse cheeses in Co. Waterford.

Eamonn Lonergan, Owner of Knockanore Farmhouse Cheese, acknowledges the benefits of undertaking the Productivity Challenge. “There will always be challenges along the way, but the key is to engage in programmes such as this that can have a positive impact on your business.”

"Lean process opened our eyes to a lot of potential savings that we were not aware of before embarking on the programme.  It led to significant cost savings and productivity increases, which for any business is an extremely favourable outcome.”

Brid Kirby, Local Enterprise Office Waterford, explains the benefits of the Productivity Challenge to small businesses. “This scheme will give small established businesses the opportunity to take a more holistic view of their business model and help identify cost savings. Whether it’s reducing the cost of running your business or refining organisational methods, the right funding, advice and resources are available under the scheme.”

“With so many challenges to overcome in business today, this programme, in particular, helps companies identify cost saving opportunities, increase productivity and streamline operations and therefore prepares them for a more productive future.”

Closing date for receipt of Productivity Challenge applications is November 22nd, 2019 and is open to local businesses with less than 50 employees, established for over 6 months and currently trading.

To apply visit www.productivitychallenge.ie or call into Local Enterprise Office Waterford at 35, The Mall, Waterford.


SuirCon - Mini Comic Con

Date: 24th of November 2019

Location: Tower Hotel

Time: 10am to 6pm

Waterford Comics presents 'SuirCon' Mini Comic Convention Now in its second year. It returns to the Tower Hotel on 24th of November 2019 for an event not to be missed. Featuring, from the US, Venom & Spider-Man artist Sam De La Rosa & Executive Editor of Zenescope Dave Franchini along with Cosplay Competition, Artists Alley, Props, Arts & Crafts Vendors, Comic Books, Graphic Novels and Collectables, Trading Card Games and Panel discussions, there's something for everyone. It’s family friendly. SuirCon is the only event of its type in Waterford, tickets are now available.

RSA World Day of Remembrance

Venue: The Granville Hotel, Waterford 

Date: Sunday, 17th November 2019

Time: 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Sunday 17th November 2019 marks ‘World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’, a UN initiative to remember victims of road collisions internationally.

’World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ gives us an opportunity to remember those who have died on our roads and the families, friends and communities who have been devastated by their loss and also we remember those who have survived with life altering injuries. For thousands of families around the country, their lives are forever changed as a result of a collision.

On ‘World Day of Remembrance’, we remember not only the people who have died on our roads, but we also encourage people to consider the other preventable tragedies that will happen before the end of the year. This year, we have tragically already seen 122 lives lost on our roads. That is 122 families and communities who are devastated by a loss this year in counties all over Ireland. ‘World Day of Remembrance’ serves as a stark reminder to us all to consider what we can do to prevent more loss of life on our roads this year.

At the ceremony family members will have an opportunity to say a poem or prayer to remember their lost loved one, a candle ceremony will also take place. Others in attendance on the day will include representatives from the Road Safety Authority, An Garda Síochána, Emergency Services and road safety support organisations & local clergy. A light lunch will also be served after the ceremony.

Families are requested if they would like to bring a photo of their loved ones and to please RSVP by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 087-6123969 by Friday, 15th November 2019.

WIT PMBRC Research Development Achievement AwardThe Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) won the Research and Development Achievement award at the 2017 Pharma Industry Awards, held in Dublin on 24 October.

This is the second time the PMBRC has won the R&D prize having previously won in 2017.

Celebrating 10 years of operations in 2019, the PMBRC research centre at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) has established itself as a leading research centre in the pharmaceutical, chemical and biologicals sciences in Ireland.

The centre, one of 15 Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways, consists of an 800m2 state-of-the-art research facility. Situated on the main WIT campus, the centre supports R&D activities within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, while simultaneously cultivating an innovative research programme at WIT.

“We are delighted to win the Research and Development prize at the Pharma Awards” said Niall O’Reilly, PMBRC Manager, speaking after the awards ceremony on Thursday night. “It’s been a busy year for us with the major funding awards, patents, industry licenses and a significant growth in researcher numbers. We are celebrating 10 years of operations this year and it’s great to be recognised for our research capability in the pharmaceutical sciences that we have built up over the past decade”.

Since launching in 2014, the Pharma Industry Awards has established itself as the benchmark for excellence for those operating in Ireland's pharma industry. The Research and Development Achievement award recognises an individual or teams working in the pharmaceutical sector on the research and commercial development of new products or new processes.

LEO First FlightLocal Enterprise Office Waterford is inviting submissions from artists and small craft businesses to apply for the First Flight Enterprise programme at the Kite Design Studio in the heart of Waterford’s Viking Triangle.

First introduced in 2013, this year’s First Flight programme will provide a professional workspace, mentoring and practical business advice to creatives in a bustling, collaborative co-working space for six months commencing in January 2020.

To date, dozens of small craft businesses, artists and graduates of Waterford VTOS (Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme) have availed of First Flight placements, enabling them to develop their businesses commercially.

One such artist who recently completed a First Flight placement was Janine Kelly of Aliandi Designs, who specialises in making ecological friendly jewellery from recycled copper and sea glass picked from the beaches in Dunmore East. 

“It was a fantastic experience for me, both personally and professionally. I received assistance from LEO Waterford which got me focused on developing my business skills and, also gave me the confidence to meet and sell to the customers who visited the design studio.”

“There is a really energetic vibe to be found working with other artists in a bustling innovative hub. I was surrounded by creatives whose enthusiasm was infectious and I learned something new every day. It’s an extremely supportive community and one I’d recommend to any artist or small craft business wanting to take their business to the next level.”

Brid Kirby, Senior Enterprise Development Officer with LEO Waterford said, “We have seen some fantastic artists and small craft businesses come through this programme since it was developed.”

“Waterford is steeped in artistic talent, be it fashion designers, sculptors, jewellery makers or crystal craftspeople. The First Flight programme gives talented individuals the resources and assistance to cultivate their businesses and gain from the experience of their peers in a shared creative space.”

If you are an artist or small craft business and would like to avail of a dedicated workspace, mentoring and business advice, applications to the First Flight Enterprise programme are open until 4pm, Friday, November 29th and the successful applicants will be notified on or before Friday, December 13th.

To apply visit www.localenterprise.ie/Waterford/ or call into Local Enterprise Office Waterford at 35, The Mall.


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