Waterford News

SME HPC logo

High Performance Computing (HPC) is the application of supercomputers to solve problems that cannot be solved by ordinary computers. The use of HPC has been driving innovation in enterprises from a wide range of segments. Not only businesses seeking large or fast data processing can benefit and profit from HPC, but also many more, such as those involved with product designing, agricultural production, mapping, engineering and decision making. The list is vast and keeps expanding as new applications are developed. Consequently, the possibilities for business innovation by using this technology increase significantly.

Enterprises located in Ireland are already using HPC. In fact, the 2019 global top 500 supercomputer list contains 14 Irish supercomputers, all of which are privately owned. There are also publicly accessible supercomputers in Ireland. The Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC), for example, is involved with state-supported and industry partnerships and has the potential to support innovation in many types of enterprises, including SMEs.

Promoting HPC usage in SMEs, however, has been proven as challenging. The SME/HPC Project (https://www.smehpc.eu), an EU-funded initiative aiming at improving the HPC landscape in a number of European countries, including Ireland, identified that SMEs are not taking advantage of HPC as a strategic resource for innovation. As a result, the SME/HPC Project is sharing online self-learning material for all levels of knowledge covering information to support SMEs to effectively implement HPC solutions in their business operations.

The link to access the self-learning material on HPC for SMEs can be found in the SME/HPC Project website (https://www.smehpc.eu/repository). Happy learning!

 

  • WIT John Hume ScholarshipThis year participating students or their parent/guardian must be a member of St Dominic or Waterford Credit Unions by 29 June 2020
  • Applications deadline was moved to 3 July to allow students concentrate on remote study, examinations and to take a rest following their exam results

A long-running scholarship for Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) first year School of Business undergraduate students has announced 3rd July 2020 as its closing date.

The John Hume Combined Credit Union Scholarship, run in association with St. Dominic and Waterford Credit Unions in the city is open for applications from students who have completed first year on any programme in the School of Business. This year participating students or their parent/guardian must be a member of St Dominic or Waterford Credit Unions by 29 June 2020.

John Hume MEP, Nobel Peace Laureate, lent his name to the John Hume Scholarship at WIT. The Scholarship raises the profile of the relationship between business and the community and the relationship between the School and the credit union movement.

Each autumn at the School of Business Awards, the John Hume Scholarship is presented to the best eligible applicant.

Joan McDonald, Head of the Department of Management & Organisation in WIT’s School of Business says that the success past winners have gone on to is a testament to the calibre of winners and the esteem in which the Scholarship is held. “Scholarship winners to date are spread across the globe working in such places as the EU, stockbrokers firms and the top five accounting firms,” she said.

On behalf of St. Dominic and Waterford Credit Unions, Linda O’Kane explained: “Due to Covid 19 it was agreed that the applications processed would be delayed to allow students concentrate on remote study, examinations and to take a rest following their results.   However, I encourage first year students who intend to continue with their business degree to apply for our Scholarship.  Not alone in monetary terms is this Scholarship worthwhile (€1,000 per year of degree) but the association with both the Credit Unions and the name John Hume is not to be underestimated.”

Applications can be made via:

https://www.waterfordcu.ie/news/john-hume-combined-credit-unions-scholarship/

https://www.stdominicscu.ie/john-hume-combined-credit-unions-scholarship/

Munster Maths Science Fair 2020

More than 30 exhibitors have now confirmed their participation in the 2020 Munster Maths and Science Family Fair which is scheduled for Sunday 11th October in Mallow this year, subject to meeting government requirements around covid 19.

As with previous years, the fair will host a wide range of fun STEM activities which can be enjoyed by all ages and includes interactive demonstrations, science experiments, robotics, 3D visuals, microscopes, puzzles, and many more exciting displays. This popular annual event is sponsored by Cork County Council through the Economic Development Fund. Members of the Chamber are welcome to exhibit and showcase their STEM activities and commitment to corporate social responsibility.

For more information contact us at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Enterprise Ireland Capital Call June 2020Capital funding allocated to three Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) research centres is set to further support the national economic recovery and resilience of Waterford businesses to the Covid-19 pandemic.

WIT’s Pharmaceutical & Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC), South East Applied Materials (SEAM) research centre and Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) were among the 37 successful applicants to the €6 million Capital Equipment Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland through the Technology Gateway and Technology Centre Programmes.

Waterford-based multinationals, start-ups and local businesses focused on product or process improvement are among those to benefit from the investment.

Kathryn Kiely, Industry Services Manager at WIT in welcoming the announcement, highlighted the vital role that WIT’s Technology Gateway Centres play in supporting companies to innovate, address technical challenges and to develop new product, process or service solutions.

“In the last year researchers at our three technology gateway centres, have collaborated with more than 150 companies in the life sciences, medtech, manufacturing, ICT and services sectors. Investment in research infrastructure is critical for the sustainability and competitiveness of our region. This investment by Enterprise Ireland will better position our research centres to support the technical and research challenges that companies face, enhancing resilience and competitiveness within our SME and industry base.”

A joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland the Technology Gateway Programme allows Irish companies and multinationals to work together on market-focused strategic R&D projects in collaboration with research institutions.

Mark Whelan, Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Programme Manager said: “As part of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network, WIT is uniquely positioned with three very diverse Gateways that serve companies both regionally and nationally, helping them overcome challenges in terms of  new product development, manufacturing and more recently dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Since the formation of the programme in 2013, the Pharmaceutical & Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC), South East Applied Materials (SEAM) and Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) have provided their expertise to over 500 different companies, completing over 1,300 projects worth in excess of €12 million and the presence of the three Gateways in Waterford has had a significant impact on a local and national level.”

Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, recently made a visit to WIT research centre PMBRC which was awarded funding for a state of the art differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) an instrument that measures how material properties change when exposed to different temperatures. The Pharmaceutical and Molecular Biotechnology Research Centre (PMBRC) is an applied research centre which aims to support the sustainable growth of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry in the south east of Ireland. 

Under the funding announcement SEAM will upgrade its x-ray computed tomography (XMT) equipment used for product design, validation, and failure analysis in Irish industry. South Eastern Applied Materials Research Centre (SEAM) is an industry focussed applied research centre, providing innovative materials engineering solutions for companies from a wide range of sectors, including bio-medical devices, pharmaceuticals, micro-electronics, precision engineering and industrial technologies. SEAM offers direct consultancy, characterisation, failure analysis and strategic research partnership programs (short, medium and long term) to support industries throughout Ireland.

Smart clothing is the focus of the Smart Material and e-Textile Innovation Living Laboratory (eTex) and will allow TSSG to engage with Enterprise Ireland clients, start-ups and existing companies that wish to launch, initiate and investigate potential solutions related to new e-Textile based technology services. Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) has a proven track record in translating world class research into market-ready products and services and has enabled the establishment of an eco-system of mobile service companies in the South East of Ireland and beyond.

Neil Quinlan WITThe Head of the Department of Lifelong Learning at Waterford Institute of Technology, Neil Quinlan, has said that the Government’s range of Springboard+ courses and the institute’s part-time and flexible course offering could be key to helping futureproof careers impacted by Covid-19.

Speaking ahead of the 1st July ‘Virtual Open Day’ for adult learners, Quinlan said education will be the answer to future of work worries for many employees, jobseekers, previously self-employed people and people returning to the workforce across the region.

“The impact of Covid-19 will have many people across Waterford looking to futureproof their employability. Our Springboard+, part-time and flexible learning options are delivered in modes that are amenable to people with busy lives.”

The free/highly subsidised courses launched under the institute’s Enterprise Support Initiative last month were in high demand and it is expected more adults will turn to learning this year.

The Virtual Open Day on 1st July will be feature two 1-hour Zoom sessions, lunchtime and evening, and will feature talks from academic experts and the Springboard Team who will explain the application process. Details will be available on the WIT website and on social media ahead of the day. See www.wit.ie and www.wit.ie/parttime.

“Every autumn adults turn to part-time learning and this year we are expecting a surge of applications as people look to re-skill or upskill. Our 1 July Virtual Open Day for adult learners will allow people to ask questions they may have about returning to study, fees, and areas they are interested in,” Quinlan says.

The list of WIT Springboard and Part-time courses for 2020/21 will be launched at the Virtual Open Day. Quinlan says courses will be available in a wide variety of areas including business and management, construction engineering, biopharmachem sciences, biomedical engineering, fintech, computing and data analytics, childcare, hospitality and more. Courses may be 1-year courses to add to existing qualifications or it’s also possible for adult learners to do a variety of full degree qualifications part-time.

Among these will be free or highly-subsidised Springboard+ higher-education courses from WIT which are open to both employed and unemployed people.

“Springboard+ courses are designed to allow people to re-boot their career through significant upskilling within one-year of less.  Courses are fully-funded for the unemployed, previously self-employed and people returning to the workplace. For employed people level 6 Springboard Courses are 100% - funded and Level 7 - 9 Springboard courses are 90% - funded,” concludes Quinlan.

Springboard+ is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF programme or Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

Visit Waterford Campaign June 2020Visit Waterford launches its first domestic consumer campaign in response to the impact of COVID-19 on local tourism sector.

The campaign “You’re invited, come and see” will be aired on national TV channels, national and local radio stations, and print media and across social media platforms throughout July.

Highlighting the extent of what the city and county has to offer in terms of culture, scenery, adventure, activities and entertainment, the Visit Waterford campaign is aimed at the domestic market.  COVID-19 has had a widespread effect on international tourism, which accounted for approximately 75% of Ireland’s tourism economy last year but is not expected to return to Ireland until 2021.

According to David McCoy, Visit Waterford Chair, the campaign will focus on domestic visitors and will have a broad appeal to all ages and all tastes.

“The strapline is very simple, and very apt “Waterford, you’re invited, come and see.”  Whether you are lucky to live in Waterford or are just an hour’s drive from the county, Waterford has so much to offer for a staycation holiday, short break, or family days out.  The history and culture associated with Ireland’s oldest city is fascinating and facets of it are dotted liberally around the city and county.  Waterford was awarded the title of Ireland’s No.1 Foodie destination last year, so quality restaurants and cafes supplied by great local producers are the rule, rather than the exception.”

“Mountainous and rugged scenery is only a stone’s throw from our five Blue Flag beaches, East meets West via a spectacular 46km greenway and the Purple Flag accreditation recognises Waterford as being a safe and welcoming place to socialise and have a good time, with plenty of accommodation to choose from.”

The Visit Waterford drive is supported with investment from Waterford City and County Council, Failte Ireland, local hospitality, amenity, and entertainment providers. 

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John Pratt welcomed the initiative and emphasised the importance of the community supporting local. “Waterford is steeped in culture, heritage, scenery with excellent hospitality and leisure amenities.  With people reticent to travel too far this summer, there is a host of things to do, see and experience in Waterford for people of all ages.  With all this on our doorstep there really is no better time to be a tourist in our own county.”

“While the current pandemic has had a devastating impact on the international tourism market,  we have the opportunity, the vision, and the drive to emphasise all that is utterly unique about Waterford to a local, regional and national audience.”

Tina Darrer, Co-owner of Dooley’s Hotel, explains why she got behind the initiative. 

“With international travel very much restricted for Irish holidaymakers, there can be a rediscovered joy in exploring what’s in our locality.  Whether it is for an afternoon of adventure or a fun-filled family staycation, Waterford truly has something for everyone.”

Follow Visit Waterford’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts or #VisitWaterford for more updates or visit www.visitwaterford.com

Michael Walsh Waterford CouncilAs the country moves into Phase 2 of the Government’s Roadmap to Recovery, small businesses that have managed to operate through the pandemic, recently reopened or are due to reopen are being encouraged to apply for the Local Authority Restart Grant through Waterford City and County Council.

The Restart Grant gives direct grant aid to micro and small businesses to help them with the costs associated with reopening and reemploying workers following COVID-19 closures and is available to businesses with a turnover of less than €5m and employing 50 people or less, which were closed or impacted by at least a 25% reduction in turnover up to June 30th, 2020.

Businesses due to reopen under Phase 2 (June 8th) include small retail outlets and marts.

Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City and County Council said the grant, is based on the equivalent to the rates bill of the business in 2019 and if a company is currently in a rateable premise but was not rate-assessed in 2019 it is still eligible to apply.

“Now that we are moving into Phase 2, more and more small businesses will be in a position to reopen. Some will have continued to operate but will have experienced a loss in revenue and staff numbers while bearing ongoing costs. For others, the cost of reopening will be a challenge. The Restart Grant, which is a minimum of €2,000 and maximum of €10,000, can be used to help defray ongoing fixed costs or meet the cost of reopening, such as replenishing stock or implementing the necessary health and safety protocols to ensure customer and employee safety.”

“Small retail businesses due to open in Phase 2 should apply for the grant via Waterford City and County Council and they will be prioritised. As we gradually move into the next phases and more sectors open up, these businesses should apply. Over the coming weeks and months in Phases 3, 4 and 5 more retail outlets, offices, restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs, childcare facilities and indoor recreational centres are scheduled to reopen. These businesses too should begin the process of applying for the Restart grant in order to avoid delay.”

Applications for the Restart Grant can be made via www.waterfordcouncil.ie and the closing date for receipt of applications is August 31st, 2020.

Processing of applications and payment of the Restart Grant will depend on the initial surge of applications but, as far as is feasible, will be prioritised according to scheduled re-opening dates in the national Roadmap.

Mary Darlington 2While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a wave of extraordinary challenges and uncertainty to Irish businesses, Local Enterprise Office Waterford provides a wide range of business services to SMEs such as free HR, digital and finance advisory clinics.

With the gradual easing of restrictions and many businesses re-opening, Local Enterprise Office Waterford has appointed Mary Darlington of Darlington Consulting, Health and Safety Consultant to its mentor panel, to advise businesses on implementing Return to Work Safely protocols.

Mary has over 30 years’ experience in health and safety both in industry and as a consultant. She established Darlington Consulting in 1996 and specialises in Safety Leadership as well as general health and safety. Her other services include training for Boards, Senior Managers, Team Leaders and employees, including Safety Representatives and Safety Committees. She also carries out safety audits, develops safety policies and prepares safety statements

Having consulted in many sectors including manufacturing, retail, wholesale, SMEs, hospitality, the arts sector and not for profit organisations, Mary is ideally placed to advise on health and safety laws and regulations.

“There is so much COVID-19 information available, so it is imperative for all businesses to drill down to find the most accurate, reliable and practical advice for their situation as they plan to return to trading, reemploy staff and reconnect with customers.”

Mary’s skills lie in simplifying these guides in order to create a practical road map for employers in all businesses to safely operate and/or re-open, while fully safeguarding their employees and their customers.

Mary advises that the key issues that SMEs need to consider before returning to work are:

  • Consultation with employees (appointing a Lead Employee Representative)
  • Social distancing measures (now being called physical distancing which is more accurate)
  • Regular cleaning and the prevention of infection for both employees and customers.

“Complying with these new requirements will result in changes to the way we work, how the job is done, by whom and most importantly how it is recorded so that it can be verified.”

Mary explains that when this current crisis is over how we react to the crisis now will have a huge bearing on how we work in the future, so implementing early best practice is vital.

“Remember firstly that your employees are your greatest asset and they need to be protected. Secondly, you need to consider your customers and how you can deliver your goods or services them while safeguarding them. We are all learning as this pandemic continues and best practices are emerging which will enable businesses to operate and hopefully thrive.”

If your business has been affected by Covid-19 and you need advice about implementing safety measures and protocols, call Local Enterprise Office Waterford and a dedicated specialist will get back to you to discuss your business issue. This is a free confidential service and is open to all businesses. LEO Waterford will also endeavour to signpost you towards further Government and State agency business supports.

To book your free virtual consultation, via Skype or phone, call 0761 102905 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a dedicated mentor will get in touch with you.

As retailers and business owners across Waterford City and County begin to prepare for the reopening of the City and Town Centres a new Shop Waterford Support Local campaign is being launched. The campaign, which is supported by business owners from Waterford City, Tramore and Dungarvan aims to encourage all Waterford people to support local in every purchase we make. The campaign wants the people of Waterford to support each other as when we act Together Waterford is Stronger.

The business owners and retailers of Waterford have shown resilience and innovation throughout the COVID19 restrictions and although City and Town centres were largely deserted many businesses continued behind closed doors. Initiatives such as Waterford Online and the Back Soon #Love Waterford responses encouraged local support and provided hope for a gradual return for business and society. The Waterford Online campaign is continuing to update trading arrangements on a daily basis on its Facebook page and reminds us that Local Businesses employ local people and sponsor local teams and generously give raffle prizes to local fundraisers.

The Shop Waterford Support Local campaign is aimed at building on the momentum of the massive amount of support shown by Waterford people and to encourage a continuation of this support. Some outdoor businesses reopen this week and many of the City and Town Centres businesses open in Phase 2 which is planned for 8th June. A Shop Waterford Support Local video campaign has been developed by Waterford.fyi in partnership with the City and Town Centre Management groups and is launching this week to coincide with Phase 1 reopening. The camapign features 17 business owners from Waterford City, Tramore and Dungarvan. The City and Town Centre Management Group membership includes Waterford City and County Council, Waterford Chamber of Commerce, Dungarvan and West Waterford Chamber of Commerce, Waterford Business Group and the Local Enterprise Office.

Darragh, Haven Pharmacy, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
“This pharmacy dates back to 1915. My father tells me stories of how the Spanish flu affected people here in Dungarvan, so we have a long insight and history here in Dungarvan. What pharmacies did back then, and what we do now was to give accessible healthcare to their communities and to be there for people when they needed them. What we are doing now is no different.”

Jack Molloy, Molloy’s Butchers, Waterford.
“People are coming back to the butcher shops and they’re enjoying cooking again. It’s great talking to our customers and finding out what life is like for them. Life’s tough out there, but the one thing that we are finding is that family and people have gotten to come together again and are enjoying it. It’s gone to ‘comfort cooking’ now rather than comfort eating. It’s an interesting concept.”

Seamus Reynolds, Morris’s DIY, Waterford.
“I would be a major, major fan of shopping local. I think it's really critical, and particularly in this time, that we support local businesses, it’s so important. Instead of ordering online and it takes two or three weeks to come, what we try and do with my kids, is go into the retailer because chances are, they might be able to order it and get it in for you.”

A new website has also been developed by the Waterford City and Town Centre Management Groups and can be found on the Waterford Council website. The website is a one stop shop for all information relating to all supports for business across Waterford. There is information on financial supports, keeping customers and staff safe, minding our health and wellbeing and sharing good news stories about Waterford’s ongoing determination and drive to reopening business and society over the coming weeks and months.

(25 May 2020) To assist non-domestic customers preparing to re-use buildings after a period of closure or under-utilisation, Irish Water has launched a new section on water.ie with advice and practical tips to help ensure internal water and wastewater systems are made safe for staff, customers and visitors.

A number of issues can arise when buildings are left un-used for a period of time. These include leaks that cause damage to premises and stock; blockages in pipes from fats, oils or greases; dead rodents in water tanks that can cause contamination; and stagnant water in plumbing and cooling systems that can create serious health risks such as Legionnaires’ disease. Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and hospitalisation is generally required to treat symptoms.

There are number of measures that business owners and facility managers can take to mitigate these risks and these are all outlined on water.ie.

Yvonne Harris, Head of Customer Operations, says: “Business owners and facility managers can reduce water related risks when reopening buildings and premises by following our guidelines. Irish Water has detailed some simple steps on water.ie that business owners and facility managers should take that will help to protect the health of staff, visitors and customers. The safe re-opening of buildings will require the use of considerable amounts of water, which is one of the reasons we emphasised the need for water conservation in the home recently. The priority must be the health and safety of anyone entering or working in a recently closed building so business owners and facility managers should take all the necessary steps.”

When bringing water systems and devices safely back into use businesses should:

  • Flush water pipes by running taps until the water temperature is constant and mains water is drawn through the system;
  • Clean all drinking water outlets with suitable disinfectants;
  • Flush all toilets, and run water through sinks and shower basins, to ensure that the water trap seal is replenished in the u-bends;
  • Inspect all storage tanks and cisterns, and drain, clean, disinfect and refill as necessary;
  • Clean shower-heads with disinfectant and flush water through until clean, with a minimum temperature of 60°C for hot water showers;
  • Empty hot water tanks and refill with water heated to 70° C for at least an hour before use;
  • Replace filter cartridges in water filters and clean & disinfect the cartridge holder according to manufacturer’s instructions, then run water through to flush clear;
  • Check pumps on the building’s water/wastewater system to ensure that they are operating correctly;
  • Check sewer & drains and clear any blockages promptly;
  • Check on-site wastewater treatment systems to ensure they are operating correctly.

Full information, as well as a booklet are available on https://www.water.ie/for-business/covid-19-reopening-busine/

As every building is different, building managers should get specialist advice if in-house expertise is not available. Some businesses, such as the hospitality sector, healthcare providers and leisure centres, may need more detailed measures associated with water-using equipment. The HSE has useful resources on its website such as its Checklist for Leisure Centres.

Irish Water continue to work with our Local Authority partners to maintain a safe and reliable public water supply and to safeguard the health and well-being of staff and the public as Covid-19 restrictions are eased and businesses begin to re-open.

 

What We Do For Our Members

 

networking

 

 

business services

 

 

events

 

 

promotion

 

 

graph

 

 

influence

 

 

 

 

We Can Help!

Call us to find out how Waterford Chamber can help you with your business and training needs today.

 

 

 

 

 contact us button