SFA E-Zine – The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member,

This week's e-zine presents the short-list of the finalists for the SFA National Small Business Awards 2016 and offers advice on managing retirement in your business

Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different government support available to small businesses, in this edition we bring you details on how to access up to €150,000 available to help your business expand through a Business Expansion Grant.

We also provide information on the #hometowork campaign recently launched by the Government, we alert you to a scam, note dates for your diary for January 2016 and highlight recent press coverage

As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business environment for us all. Please contact me directly at tel: 01 605 1602 or 

e-mail: patricia.callan@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit www.sfa.ie.


Kind Regards,

Patricia Callan
SFA Director


NEWS
Finalists announced in the SFA National Small Business Awards 2016
 
35 companies have been selected as finalists, from 16 different counties, across 7 categories in the SFA National Small Business Awards 2016...
The finalists in the SFA National Small Business Awards 2016 have been officially announced by AJ Noonan, SFA Chairman and Chair of the Awards Judging Panel. 

The aim of the awards is to celebrate the achievements of small business in Ireland, and to recognise the vital contribution of the small business sector to Irish industry.

35 companies have been selected as finalists, from 16 different counties, across 7 categories.

MANUFACTURING CATEGORY FINALISTS (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Energia:
  • Capital Switchgear – Dublin
  • Ecocem Ireland – Dublin
  • EMCA – Cavan
  • JPK Fencing Systems – Galway
  • Topform – Galway
  • Ventac – Wicklow
FOOD & DRINK CATEGORY FINALISTS (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Bord Bia:
  • Cornucopia – Dublin
  • Eight Degrees Brewing – Cork
  • Gilligan Farm Fresh Meats – Roscommon
  • Java Republic – Dublin
  • Oriel Sea Salt & Minerals – Louth
  • Paris Texas – Kilkenny
SERVICES CATEGORY FINALISTS (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Three:
  • ClubstoHire – Dublin
  • Dental Medical Ireland – Dublin
  • JJ O'Toole – Limerick
  • Nostra Technologies – Dublin
  • Roomex - Dublin
  • Titan Logistics - Clare
OUTSTANDING SMALL BUSINESS FINALISTS (up to five employees), sponsored by AIB:
  • Dúnmasc Genetics - Laois
  • EireChrom - Cork
  • Italian Tile & Stone - Dublin
  • PolyPico Technologies - Galway
  • Sweet Spot Sourcing - Kildare
  • Woodrow Sustainable Solutions - Sligo
INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR FINALISTS (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Enterprise Ireland:
  • Ash Technologies - Kildare
  • CustomsMatters - Dublin
  • Gannon Eco - Westmeath
  • Vennetics - Louth
  • Ventac - Wicklow
  • Wood Energy Solutions - Tipperary
SUSTAINABILITY FINALISTS (up to 50 employees), sponsored by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland:
  • Ecocem Ireland - Dublin
  • Gannon Eco - Westmeath
  • Killary Adventure Company - Galway
  • Oriel Sea Salt & Minerals - Louth
  • Ryans Cleaning – Tipperary
  • Southern Tapes & Packaging - Cork
SMALL BUSINESS EXPORTER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS (up to 50 employees), sponsored by DHL Express:
  • Adams & Butler - Dublin
  • CustomsMatters - Dublin
  • Eurieka IT Services - Dublin
  • Prodigy Learning - Dublin
  • Topform - Galway
  • Ventac - Wicklow
In addition, 5 of the best recently established companies have been selected to be profiled:

EMERGING NEW BUSINESSES (up to 50 employees and under 2 years in business), sponsored by IE Domain Registry:
  • Able Table - Meath
  • DentPro - Kildare
  • THEYA - Dublin
  • VideoDoc - Dublin
  • WorldBOX.ie - Dublin
The Awards prize package for ALL finalists includes an exhibition stand at that SFA National Small Business Showcase in February 2016, a strategic management masterclass weekend, a voucher for a Skillnets ManagementWorks management team/CEO course, as well as broad-ranging national and local media coverage, valued at €50,000

Finalists also receive five complementary tickets to the Gala prize giving ceremony which will take place in March 2016 when the category winners and overall winner will be announced. The category winners will be presented with a trophy and free membership of the Small Firms Association, and the Overall Winner will also receive a bursary of €5,000 to present to a charity of their choice (funded by the 2013 Overall Winner, Megazyme International Ireland).

Full details are on the special SFA Awards website at www.sfa.ie/awards or follow us on Twitter: @SFA_Irl #sfaawards2016

Are you prepared to manage retirement, given the changes on the horizon?
 
1 January 2014 saw changes in the age at which a state pension becomes available from 65 to 66 years. It will change further to 67 years in 2021 and 68 in 2028...

1 January 2014 saw changes in the age at which a state pension becomes available from 65 to 66 years. It will change further to 67 years in 2021 and 68 in 2028.

SFA member companies are now being asked by their employees if they can extend the retirement age from 65 to 66, 67 and even 68 years given the changes on the horizon.

The Employment Equality Act 1998 states that "it shall not constitute discrimination on the age ground to fix different ages for the retirement (whether voluntarily or compulsorily) of employees or any class or description of employees."

It is advisable for companies to set the 'normal retirement age' of the company in contracts of employment, as there is no mandatory retirement age in Ireland and employees over the age of 65 are covered by unfair dismissal and equality legislation.

View the SFA's guide to retirement at small firms, or alternatively contact Jonathan Callan, SFA Executive on 01 6051668 or email jonathan.callan@sfa.ie to discuss managing retirement in your business.

Up to €150,000 available to help your business expand
 

Spotlight on the Business Expansion Grant, which offers up to €150,000 to manufacturing and services businesses with the potential to grow and export. This article provides information on the scheme and advice on how to apply. 


There are over 80 different government supports available to small businesses but many of them are not well known or understood. Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different support that could improve your business, giving you information and advice.

#5 Business Expansion Grant

What?

A cash grant of up to €150,000 to assist growing businesses. The grants are primarily aimed at manufacturing and services businesses with the potential to trade internationally.  

The grant can be used to co-finance (maximum 50%) the following expenditures as part of a business expansion project:

  • Capital items
  • Salary costs
  • Consultancy/innovation/marketing costs
  • General overheads

 Why? 

The relatively small size of the domestic market means many companies seeking to expand their business must look to overseas markets for growth. Thousands of Irish companies are already selling successfully around the world. Export sales growth leads to an increase in demand for Irish goods and services and increases the flow of income into the Irish economy. This is fundamental to job creation and maintenance in Ireland.

Some of the benefits of exporting for your company could include: increasing sales and profits, faster growth, reducing risk and balancing growth, economies of scale, extending the product/service lifecycle, improved innovation, greater competitiveness and enhanced credibility.

How?

Business Expansion Grants are available from the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). To find your nearest LEO, visit the LEO website.

To apply for the grant you must fill out an application form with details of your business, the list of items to be purchased, other grants which the company receives, current and potential employment and the source of the remaining finance for the project (at least 50%). You must also provide a business plan, three quotations for any expenditure items over €5,000, your CV and a tax clearance certificate.

Tips 


If you are interested in applying for a Business Expansion Grant, don’t forget:

  • The grants are for established businesses which have been trading for at least 18 months.
  • On application for the grant, the business must have less than 10 employees.
  • The grants are aimed at companies which, on growth, will have the capacity to progress to the Enterprise Ireland portfolio.
  • Grants above €80,000 are the exception and are available to companies with a clear potential to export internationally.
  • Companies considering exporting should consult the Enterprise Ireland Export Start Guide
#hometowork campaign
 
The Government has launched a ‘Home to Work’ campaign in the run up to Christmas to try to encourage Irish people abroad to return home to work under the Twitter hashtag "#hometowork".

The Government has launched a ‘Home to Work’ campaign in the run up to Christmas to try to encourage Irish people abroad to return home to work under the Twitter hashtag "#hometowork". 

The Taoiseach said that it is hoped that between now and 2020, 70,000 people will return home to Ireland to work. 


Launching the initiative #hometowork in Dingle, Co Kerry, Diaspora Minister Jimmy Deenihan said the campaign will focus on making sure returning emigrants are put in touch with companies looking to fill vacancies. “We’re trying to encourage more people to come back to fill the job vacancies that are there and a number of companies are finding it very difficult to fill those vacancies,” Mr Deenihan said.

Follow the campaign on Twitter #hometowork. 

Scam alert
 
We would like to highlight a scam that has been brought to the attention of the SFA. It is a letter from a company called 'European Business Number EBN'.

We would like to highlight a scam that has been brought to the attention of the SFA. It is a letter from a company called 'European Business Number EBN'.

Address: Head Office Hamburg
Department: EBN
Subject: Missing information about your European Business Number

The letter asks the recipient to update their business details for an advertisement which falsely gives the impression that it's free, but actually costs €677 in the small print. If you receive such a letter, we advise you to ignore it. 

EVENTS
Business Bytes Seminar - Latest developments in employment law
 
Date for your diary:
  • Wednesday,13 January, 6:00pm - 8:30pm
  • Venue: SFA offices, 84/86 Lower Baggot St, Dublin 2

Webinar - Government supports for your business
 
Date for your diary:
  • Thursday, 21 January, 2:15pm - 2:45pm

Speed-networking - Limerick
 
Date for your diary:
  • Thursday, 28 January, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

SFA IN THE MEDIA
Press coverage
Annual leave, Small Business Saturday, cost competitiveness challenges

Annual leave

On 1 December, SFA Director Patricia Callan was interviewed on Today FM's the Last Word discussing annual leave and the fact that 10% of holiday entitlements are not taken in Ireland.

Small Business Saturday


Patricia Callan was interviewed on KFM on 4 December on SFA's call for 5 December to be 'Small Business Saturday'. This was covered in the Irish Examiner on 4 December and the Southern Star on 5 December. 

Cost competitiveness challenges for small businesses

On 8 December, Patricia Callan was on Newstalk Breakfast discussing cost competitiveness challenges for small businesses.