SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member, 

 

Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine.

 

I am delighted to announce that Blueacre Technology was the overall winner of the SFA National Small Business Awards 2019. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists.  

 

This week our Brexit update focuses on the possible impacts for food business operators. We also link to the European Commission Preparedness Notices, which aim at preparing citizens and stakeholders for the withdrawal of the UK.

 

I am pleased to announce that the SFA has successfully secured Skillnet Ireland funding to provide subsidised training to small and medium sized enterprises. The newly established SFA Skillnet training network aims to improve the competitiveness and productivity of Irish companies through training across three core areas.

 

We provide you with a series of FAQs around the St Patrick’s Day 2019 public holiday entitlement and advise on your requirements under the Employment (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act which came into force on 4 March. We also link to a new global CEO survey by PwC which finds growth in an uncertain world.

 

Our Business Bytes series returns tomorrow from 5.30-7.30pm looking at how to use consumer research and market insights to grow your business. Limited places are still available to book. Our next Smart Business Workshop is taking place in Cork on 21 March, register to attend now. 

 

You are invited to a practical Energy Saving Breakfast hosted by SEAI, SFA and Chambers Ireland at the SEAI Energy Show on 27 March. Bookings are now open for the SFA Smart Business Conference taking place on 2 May. The theme of this year's conference is innovate or expire and through a series of expert speakers and case studies, the conference will help future proof small businesses for a rapidly changing environment and see how technology can help navigate these changes.

 

The second of our three digital marketing masterclasses is happening on 25 March and will focus on search marketing. Find out more about our upcoming training courses on filming your business video on a smartphone, management and employment law. We also provide a summary of 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 on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: sven@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit: www.sfa.ie.

 

Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director


SFA IN THE MEDIA
Recent press coverage
 
  • Smart Business Workshops
  • SFA Awards

Smart Business Workshops

 

The SFA Smart Business Workshops were covered in The Sunday Business Post on 1 March. 

 

SFA Awards

 

M&C Hyrbid Energy, one of the finalists in the SFA National Small Business Awards 2019 in The Anglo-Celt on 28 February. The finalists and sponsors of the Awards were profiled in a specially commissioned supplement in the Irish Independent on 7 March.

 

The winners of the Awards were announced via press release on 8 March. This was covered in the Irish Independent on 8 & 9 March and on Business World on 8 March.

NEWS
Blueacre Technology named overall winner at the SFA National Small Business Awards 2019
 

Finalists from over 14 counties gathered in the RDS Concert Hall on 7 March for the Small Firms Association National Small Business Awards 2019. Find out who the winners were...


Finalists from over 14 counties gathered in the RDS Concert Hall on 7 March for the Small Firms Association National Small Business Awards 2019.

 

The awards celebrate the achievements of small business in Ireland and recognise the vital contribution of the sector to the Irish economy. The winners were selected from hundreds of applications received for the 2019 programme.

 

Blueacre Technology was named the winner of the Overall SFA National Small Business Awards 2019.

 

Blueacre Technology, founded in 2006 by Dr. David Gillen, is based in Dundalk, Co. Louth and employes 15 people. It provides specialist laser micromachining equipment to the medical device and other manufacturing industries. Processing thousands of high value parts daily from its 24/7 facility in Dundalk, Blueacre Technology offers highly sophisticated solutions to the most demanding engineering problems.

 

The seven category winners are:

  • Manufacturing: Blueacre Technology (Louth)
  • Food & Drink: The Foods of Athenry (Galway)
    • Highly commended: Fenit Fruit & Veg (Kerry)
  • Services: Ryan's Pharmacy (Kildare)
    • Highly commended: Contracting PLUS (Dublin)
  • Innovator of the Year: NVP Energy (Galway)
    • Highly commended: Ovvo (Louth)
  • Exporter of the Year: Prodigy Learning (Dublin)
  • Sustainable Energy: Monasterboice Inn (Louth)
  • Outstanding Small Business (up to 5 employees): Horan Automation (Tipperary)

The following Emerging New Businesses (under 2 years) were recognised on the night.

  • Get the Shifts (Clare)
  • Gym+Coffee (Dublin)
  • PeachyLean (Dublin)
  • Zarrdia (Dublin)
  • The UX Studio (Galway)

The award categories are sponsored by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, Bord Gais Energy, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Three, PermanentTSB and One4All. The Emerging New Business section is sponsored by IE Domain Registry. Skillnet Ireland is the SFA Awards management training partner and Irish Independent is the media partner.

 

Read the full press release and view photos of the gala on our Facebook page

Brexit advice
 

This week our Brexit update focuses on the possible impacts for food business operators. We also link to the European Commission Preparedness Notices, which aim at preparing citizens and stakeholders for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom...


On 13 March, the FSAI is hosting a free seminar on Brexit and the possible impacts from a food law compliance perspective. The seminar will also address the issues of import controls of food. Speakers will be from the FSAI along with other governmental agencies. Register here.

 

In February, the EU Commission published a notice for food business operators detailing the legal repercussions, which need to be considered when the United Kingdom becomes a third country. This notice is also relevant for food coming from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

 

In addition, the UK Government has released information on actions that UK food producers should take before EU exit to ensure that trade can be maintained in a ‘no deal’ scenario, on issues such as, health marks on meat, fish and dairy products, food labelling and producing and processing organic food.

Brexit Preparedness Notices for your industry

 

The European Commission have several Brexit Preparedness Notices, which aim at preparing citizens and stakeholders for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom. The Preparedness Notices set out consequences in a range of policy areas. SFA urges members to read the Preparedness Notice most relevant to their area of work. 

St Patrick’s Day 2019 – FAQs for this public holiday
 

There is confusion this year on whether the St Patrick’s Day public holiday entitlement is for the Sunday 17 March or Monday 18 March. Read on and learn through our public holiday FAQs what your business should prepare for this year’s Patrick’s Day public holiday…


There is confusion this year on whether the St Patrick’s Day public holiday entitlement is for the Sunday 17 March or Monday 18 March. Read our public holiday FAQs below to find out what your business should prepare for this year’s Patrick’s Day public holiday.

 

Q. We operate a seven-day week schedule. Some of our employees will be working on Sunday 17 March, is the public holiday on 17 March or Monday 18 March?

 

A. The public holiday falls on Sunday 17 March this year which means if your employee is rostered to work that day, they are entitled to the public holiday entitlement for another day or by way of payment. It is often the case that a public holiday falls on a Monday, however, Sunday 17 March is the official public holiday. Many businesses are choosing to close on 18 March to ensure their employees receive their public holiday entitlement.

 

Q. What are the public holiday entitlements for employees?

 

A. An employee is entitled to one of the following:

  1. a paid day off on that day – this would be either 17 March if your business is open seven days a week or 18 March if your business operates a Monday to Friday working week
  2. a paid day off within the month
  3. an additional day of annual leave
  4. an additional day’s pay

Q. Are there conditions for qualifying for Public Holiday benefit?

 

A. Full time employees have an immediate entitlement to public holiday benefit. Part-time employees must have worked at least 40 hours in the five weeks ending on the day before the public holiday in order to qualify for public holiday benefit.

 

Q. How is an employee’s public holiday pay calculated?

 

A. If the employee works or is normally required to work during any part of the day which is a public holiday, then it could be one of the options below:

  1. If the employee’s pay is fixed each week or month, the amount paid to the employee for the public holiday is equal to the amount paid to them in respect of their normal daily hours last worked before the public holiday. This payment includes any regular bonus or allowance that does not vary in relation to work done but it does not include any pay for overtime.
  2. If the employee’s pay is variable, for example casual employees or those on commission, the amount paid to them for the public holiday is equal to the average daily pay of the employee (excluding any pay for overtime). This is calculated over the period of 13 weeks ending immediately before the public holiday. If the employee did not work in the preceding 13 weeks during that period, the average daily pay is calculated over the 13 weeks ending on the day that the employee last worked before that public holiday.

Q. What about employees who do not work on the public holiday or who are not rostered to work on that day?

 

A. Their pay would be calculated as follows:

  1. If the employee’s pay is fixed each or month, the amount paid to the employee for the public holiday is equal to one-fifth of the amount paid to him/her in respect of the normal weekly hours last worked by the employee before the public holiday. This payment includes any regular bonus or allowance that does not vary in relation to work done but it does not include any pay for overtime.
  2. If the employee’s pay is variable, for example casual employees or those on commission, the amount paid to the employee for the public holiday is equal to one-fifth of the average weekly pay (excluding any pay for overtime) of the employee calculated over the period of 13 weeks ending immediately before that public holiday. If no time was worked by the employee during that period, the average weekly pay is calculated over the period of 13 weeks ending on the day on which time was last worked by the employee before that public holiday.

 

Q. Who decides what public holiday benefit is given for employees who are rostered to work on the public holiday?

 

A. The benefit provided is at the employer’s discretion.

 

Q. When must an employee be advised of the public holiday benefit they will receive?

 

A. The employer has the discretion to decide which type of public holiday benefit will apply to employees. The Act allows an employee to request, not later than 21 days before the public holiday arrives, that the employer selects which of the above options applies to the employee for the upcoming public holiday. Where the employer fails to do so within 14 days of the public holiday, the employee will automatically be entitled to a paid day off on the public holiday.

 

Q. Can an employee be entitled to a public holiday benefit when they are no longer in employment?

 

A. Yes. If an employee ceases to be employed during the week ending on the day before a public holiday, having worked during the four weeks preceding that week, they will be entitled to receive pay for the public holiday.

 

Q. A career break has been agreed with an employee, are they required to be compensated for the public holiday during the career break?

 

A. Yes in this case, as the employee continues to accrue public holiday entitlement for the first 13 weeks of career leave that has been authorised by the employer.

 

Q. An employee is on sick leave during the public holiday, is this a sick leave day or a public holiday?

 

A. If the employee has provided a sick cert and they have followed the company sick leave policy then yes it would be classed as a sick leave day and they would retain their entitlement to public holiday to take at a later date. However, if the employee is out on certified sick for 26 weeks or more due to illness or injury or 52 weeks due to an occupational injury they no longer receive the public holiday entitlement.

 

Q. Are employees who are on maternity leave, parental leave or adoptive leave entitled to the public holiday entitlement?

 

A. Yes as these are protected leaves. They continue to maintain their public holiday entitlement for the duration of their protected leave. 

 

If you would like more information on public holiday entitlements, please contact Helen at SFA on 01 605 1668 or at helen.quinn@sfa.ie or visit the annual leave and public holidays section of our website.

 

Training funding success
 

The SFA is delighted to announce it has successfully secured Skillnet Ireland funding to provide subsidised training to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The newly established SFA Skillnet training network aims to improve the competitiveness and productivity of Irish SMEs through training across three core areas...


The SFA is delighted to announce it has successfully secured Skillnet Ireland funding to provide subsidised training to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The newly established SFA Skillnet training network aims to improve the competitiveness and productivity of Irish SMEs through training across three core areas, namely:

  1. SME Management Skills
  2. The Talent Lifecycle; and
  3. Future Skills (tying in with the SFA’s Grow Scale Succeed initiative)

We are pleased to also announce that Geraldine Lavin has joined the SFA team as the SFA Skillnet Network Manager. Geraldine brings a wealth of training experience to the team from her work with SMEs and business support organisations.

 

Critical to the success of this initiative will be input from you, our members. We will formally launch the SFA Skillnet soon and in the meantime, please contact Geraldine on geraldine.lavin@sfa.ie or 01 605 1606 to discuss your training needs.

 

The SFA Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.

Understanding your requirements for the Employment (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act
 

The Employment (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act came into force on 4 March, read on to learn more about our informational webinar and other supports for this new act…


The Employment (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act is now in operation and it impacts employers in the following ways:

  1. Employers will need to provide new employees with five core terms of employment within five days of starting their new role. This is referred to as the Day 5 statement.
  2. Zero-hour contracts will be restricted.
  3. Banded hours have been introduced.
  4. The National Minimum Wage rates for younger people and trainees have been simplified and sub-minimum trainee rates have been removed.

In response to this, the Small Firms Association have produced a video webinar that takes you through these changes and covers issues such as:

  • The five core terms that must be issued within five days of an employee starting work
  • What a sample Day 5 statement would look like
  • The consequences of not providing the core terms and four ways that business can meet their contractual obligations and streamline this process
  • What are banded hours
  • How to manage a banded hours request as well as grounds to refuse them
  • The ban on zero hour contracts and alternatives to using them
  • The new wage rates under the National Minimum Wage Act

We have also updated our sample contracts of employment for permanent, temporary and casual working arrangements to factor in these new changes.

 

You can view the webinar and download our sample contracts of employment here.

 

If you would like more information on this issue, please contact SFA Executive, Helen Quinn on 01 605 1668 or on helen.quinn@sfa.ie.

New global CEO survey by PwC – Finding growth in an uncertain world
 

PwC’s 22nd annual global CEO Survey shows that Irish leaders are cautiously optimistic, looking to find ways to grow their businesses amidst the atmosphere of uncertainty. While almost 60% of CEOs believe in Ireland’s growth prospects, there is an increase in those who are uncertain about the Irish economy. But when it comes to their own businesses, CEOs are much more optimistic...


PwC’s 22nd annual global CEO Survey shows that Irish leaders are cautiously optimistic, looking to find ways to grow their businesses amidst the atmosphere of uncertainty. While almost 60% of CEOs believe in Ireland’s growth prospects, there is an increase in those who are uncertain about the Irish economy. But when it comes to their own businesses, CEOs are much more optimistic. They anticipate that the year ahead will be focused on growth by way of things they can control themselves. In light of external uncertainties like Brexit, it is critical that CEOs take charge of their own destiny. The key messages from the report for CEOs:

  1. Ensure your organisation is fit for growth

CEOs’ focus is turning inward, to things they can control in their businesses. They are planning to invest in organic activities within their organisations they believe will propel them to success. That means they must ensure their organisations’ combination of processes, tools, workforce and culture are fit to cultivate, deliver and sustain growth.

  1. Close the information gap

As CEOs look inside their businesses for growth opportunities, they are contending with gaps in their organisation’s data analytics capabilities. Irish CEOs need to ensure they are extracting the maximum value out of their data to allow them to leverage new technologies in sustainable ways.

  1. Prepare for the Artificial Intelligence revolution

To help unlock internal growth potential in their organisations, CEOs are paying close attention to emerging digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Irish CEOs need to understand how AI can be applied in their businesses, and ensure their businesses have the right talent, data and technology to exploit the opportunities that AI presents.

  1. Invest in key skills

The challenge of finding staff with the right skills is at an all-time high. The majority of Irish CEOs see this as the biggest threat to potential business growth. Irish businesses should look inwards and invest in their workforce to make them fit for the future, providing them with the right training and career development support.

 

Download the full report.

EVENTS
How small business can use consumer research and insights
 
  • 13 March

Tomorrow’s Business Bytes session will focus on how to use consumer research and market insights to grow your business . Attendees will here from Grace Binchy, Consumer Insights Specialist at Bord Bia and David Scully, Customer Analytics, Bord Gáis Energy, on the fundamentals of consumer research and market insights and how they can be implemented and benefit small firms. Attendees will also learn from successful case studies from Bord Bia and Bord Gáis Energy.

  • Date: Wednesday, 13 March 2019
  • Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • Venue: SFA, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

Business Bytes events, which are entirely free of charge, offer small businesses access to expert information, advice and an opportunity to network with their peers. The series is supported by Bord Gáis Energy.

 

The event is open to SFA members and non-members. It will last for approximately one hour with an opportunity to network before and after. Refreshments will be provided.

 

This event is entirely free of charge, but you must pre-register online.

 

Running order

  • 5:30pm Registration
  • 5:35pm Networking and refreshments
  • 6:00pm Welcome and introductions
  • 6:10pm Grace Binchy, Consumer Insights Specialist, Bord Bia
  • 6:30pm David Scully, Customer Analytics, Bord Gáis Energy
  • 6:50pm Q&A
  • 7:00pm Networking
  • 7:30 Event close

Our January Business Bytes session The Wealth of Business depends on the Health of Workers is now available to watch on the SFA website

Smart Business Workshops
 
  • Cork & Limerick
  • 21 March & 3 April 

The Small Firms Association and Vodafone have partnered to help businesses grow, scale and succeed in a changing business environment.

 

Alongside Abodoo, Vodafone will share the benefits of smart or flexible working and how to implement it in your business to increase productivity and attract and retain talent through a series of regional workshops. You will also learn about increasing your profits through employee-led models from the SFA.

 

Set within co-working spaces, you will gain insight into:

  • The benefits of smart working and why you should avail of it
  • How technology can empower your business to work anywhere at any time through technology, connectivity and security
  • How to increase sales and profits by ensuring that every employee is a profit centre and loves what they do

Event details:

The events are free of charge and pre-registration online is essential. Places are limited so please book now through the above links to avoid missing out.

 

Agenda:

 

Time Topic Speaker
8:00 – 8:30 Breakfast / registration/ networking  
8:30 – 8:35 Welcome Sven Spollen-Behrens, Small Firms Association
8:35 – 8:45

How to increase your sales and profits and engage your people

Marina Bleahen, Engage and Grow

8:45– 8:50

What is smart working?

Vanessa Tierney, Abodoo

8:50 – 9:00

The four pillars of smart working

Treasa Doran, Vodafone

9:00 – 9:05 Implementing smart working in your business Vanessa Tierney, Abodoo
9:05 – 9:30 Q&A and roundtable discussion  

 

 

 

SEAI Energy Show: Your opportunity to save money & energy
 
  • 27 March

Free energy saving consultation breakfast for small or medium businesses

 

You are invited to a practical Energy Saving Breakfast hosted by SEAI, the Small Firms Association and Chambers Ireland.

  • Date: Wednesday, 27 March
  • Time: 8:30am - 10:00am
  • Venue: The Minerva Suite, RDS

Here’s what to expect from this free event for small businesses at the SEAI Energy Show, and why you can’t miss it!

  • Free energy advice from an expert
  • Bring your bill and start saving money!
  • Network with businesses who have saved money and energy
  • Free breakfast
  • Skip the queues – attendees will gain exclusive early access to the SEAI Energy Show

This event, brought to you by SEAI, the Small Firms Association and Chambers Ireland will give you practical advice on how to save money on your energy bills.

 

Energy may not be your biggest cost but it’s well worth taking a closer look at what you’re spending. Based on experience, the average SME can reduce its energy bill by up to 30% by implementing energy efficiency measures.

Bring along your bills for a free consultation

 

We are giving everyone the chance to bring along their energy bills and avail of a free consultation with energy expert Liam Tolton. Liam has a wealth of experience in identifying real money saving solutions for businesses.

 

Attending this event will also provide you with an opportunity to experience what the SEAI Energy Show has to offer.

 

Who should attend?

 

This event will be of interest to all small & medium business owners/managers.

 

Agenda

  • 8:30am Registration, Networking and Energy Clinic
  • 8:50am Welcome and Introduction - Andrea Carroll, SME Programme Manager (SEAI)
  • 8:55am ‘Save Money Through Energy Efficiency’ – with Energy Expert Liam Tolton (Second Sight Technical).
  • Hear from small and medium businesses on their energy saving journey.
  • 9:40am Q&A

Register to attend now. 

Search marketing
 
  • 25 March

SFA are partnering with 3XE to deliver a Digital Marketing Executive Series for Small Businesses. The second masterclass will focus on search marketing.

  • Date - 25 March 2019
  • Time - 9.15am to 12.30pm
    Venue - SFA/Ibec Offices, 84-86 Lower Baggot St, Dublin 2
  • Cost - €135 +VAT SFA Members, €185 +VAT Non Members 
  • Book online now

Session 1: AI & Machine Learning For SEO - How Good Is It Really! 

Overview:

 

Over the past 10 years SEO has shifted from keyword stuffing and directory listings to multichannel digital campaigns. Join us while we discuss how the SEO landscape has changed and understand how to use SEO tools to your advantage. We’ll be reviewing case studies to give you insights into what’s making Google tick in 2019.

  • How Does Google Rank Websites in 2019 – Case Studies
  • An Overview of an SEO Audit
  • SEO Tools - Take advantage of AI

Session 2: KISSing (Keep it Super Simple) Google Ads

Overview:

 

The structure of Adwords can be mind boggling, even though its abilities are endless your knowledge on the topic might be limited. The aim of this session is to give you an understanding of how an AdWords Campaign goes together, and tips to give you the best chance of developing campaigns that deliver a cost effective return.

  • Learn the basics of how a campaign goes together
  • Learn about the most common errors
  • Understand user intent
  • How to monitor your account effectively

Session 3: SEO should be at the top of your marketing agenda in 2019

Overview:

SEO is a misunderstood marketing medium; a task often left to a developer when in fact it should be a marketer’s main priority.

Understand why SEO should be at the forefront of your marketing campaign and how it can drive a business’ overall marketing strategy by getting a more comprehensive understanding of your customers. Understanding your users, knowing how they are searching for your service and what content to show them is vital to your campaign’s success.

  • Where does SEO fit on the Marketing Funnel?
  • What’s the link between Blogging & SEO?
  • The importance of Personas for SEO
  • Know your competitors and where you stand

This programme is designed and delivered in conjunction with 3XE Digital. Every year 3XE host conferences covering different areas of digital marketing, e.g. Search, Conversion, UX, Social Media and Digital Transformation.

SFA Smart Business Conference 2019
 
  • 2 May

Join the SFA Smart Business Conference on Thursday, 2 May 2019 in The Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4.

 

The theme of this year's conference is innovate or expire and through a series of expert speakers and case studies, the conference will help future proof small businesses for a rapidly changing business and work environment and see how technology can help them navigate these changes. The conference will explore:

  1. The future of work
  2. Innovate or expire, how small businesses can leverage technology in an age of digital disruption

This half day event will begin at 8.30am and close at 2pm, with lunch and opportunities to network throughout the day. 

The cost of the event is €49 plus VAT for SFA members and €89 plus VAT for non-members. Don't miss out, book your tickets today online.

TRAINING PROGRAMMES
Training Matters - Essential skills to grow your people and build your business in 2019
 

Make sure that vital upskilling does not get usurped by the urgent but non-important day-to-day distractions in your business. Read more for details of our upcoming training courses...


In 2019 the SFA is offering courses designed to address the needs of small businesses. Important versus urgent is a key distinction for small firms, but one which is not always easy to make.

Is too much of your time spent on tasks and meetings that seem urgent but are not important for the future of your business? At SFA, we’re here to help you create time for things that can make a real difference, like developing management capacity and other skills for you and your staff. The SFA training offering for 2019 contains an interesting mix of courses – online and offline – to enhance key skills in your business.

They are delivered by expert trainers with many years of industry experience. Based on your feedback, the courses are short, so that you can get on with running your business. Now is the time to plan your training calendar for 2019 – to make sure that vital upskilling does not get usurped by the urgent but non-important day-to-day distractions. Below are the training courses, dates and booking links. You can also find more information in our brochure.