SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition
 

Dear Member, 

 

Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine.

 

This week our Brexit update focuses on funding available to support future working capital requirements and a Trader Notice on the importation of animal products into Ireland from the UK in the case of a no-deal Brexit. We also update you on an Ibec briefing with the Data Protection Commission on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on data protection compliance.

 

We include details on a new streamlining system which will make it easier for the non-EEA partners and spouses of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders to apply for work in Ireland. Members are invited to submit comments on the consultation on how the concept and objectives of community banking and local provision of banking and financial services may be furthered.

 

Did you know there’s a direct link between training and business performance? This is just one of the findings on the benefits of training from the most recent Skillnet Ireland Annual Report.

 

You are invited to a practical Energy Saving Breakfast hosted by SEAI, SFA and Chambers Ireland at the SEAI Energy Show tomorrow in the RDS. Following a fantastic event in Cork last week, our next Smart Business Workshop is taking place in Limerick on 4 April, register to attend now. Our next Business Bytes seminar on 10 April will focus on cyber security and GDPR. 

 

I am delighted to announce Dr Paul Redmond, a leading expert in generational theory & employability will be speaking at the SFA Smart Business Conference taking place on 2 May, book your place early to avoid missing out on this great day of learning and networking. 

 

Do you want to provide your managers with an overview of their roles and responsibilities for the day-to-day practical concerns of integrating health and safety with operational management? If so then we have an ideal safety awareness course for your managers coming up on 4 April. 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

SFA Awards

 

The winners of the Awards were announced via press release on 8 March. Recently this was covered in: 

  • Dundalk Argus - 12 Mar
  • Dundalk Democrat - 12 Mar
  • Irish Daily Star - 13 Mar
  • National & Munster Advertiser - 14 Mar 
  • Kerry's Eye - 14 Mar 
  • Tuam Herald - 20 Mar
  • Tipperary Star - 21 Mar

Smart Business Workshops

 

The SFA Smart Business Workshop in Cork was covered in the Irish Examiner on 22 March.

 

Brexit

 

SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens and SFA Chair, Sue O'Neill were quoted on RTE.ie on 25 March on the big impact of Brexit on Ireland's small businesses. 

NEWS
Brexit advice
 

How and when the UK will leave the EU is still not yet certain, therefore, we must continue to be ready for Brexit. In this edition we provide members with information on funding available to support future working capital requirements and a Trader Notice on the importation of animal products into Ireland from the UK in the case of a no-deal Brexit...   


Importation of animal products into Ireland from the UK from the date the United Kingdom exits the European Union

 

From the date the United Kingdom exits the European Union, the introduction of animal products from the UK into the EU will be subject to veterinary controls at the point of entry in to the European Union. If you are an importer of animal products from the UK which are subject to veterinary controls, you are required to comply with the import conditions as laid down in EU legislation. For more information see the recently published Trader Notice from the Department of Agriculture.  

 

Be financially prepared for Brexit

 

Despite the ongoing uncertainty we must continue to be ready for Brexit. One way to do this is to ensure that your business has access to funding to address cash flow and working capital issues that may arise due to the challenges posed by Brexit.

 

Listed below are several government schemes available to eligible Irish businesses to support future working capital requirements, innovation, change or adaptation of the business to mitigate the impact of Brexit.

 

Several financial providers have also put in place funds and provisions to support small firms at this time. Members are reminded that the Credit Review Office provides an independent review process for SMEs, sole traders and farm enterprises that have had requests for credit refused or had existing credit facilities reduced or withdrawn.

  • The new Brexit Loan Scheme, which was announced in the 2018 budget, will provide affordable financing to businesses that are either currently impacted by Brexit or will be in the future. The Scheme, which will be delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) through commercial lenders will make €300 million available to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees at an interest rate of 4% or less.
  • Start to Plan Voucher Scheme (through InterTradeIreland) offers SMEs advice and guidance to help navigate their way through Brexit. The vouchers offer 100% financial supports of up to £2,000/€2,250 (inclusive of VAT), towards professional advice in relation to Brexit matters. This support can help businesses get advice on specific issues, such as the movement of labour, goods, services, customs, logistics and financial issues such as VAT and currency management.
  • The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is designed to assist small businesses. It offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online. Participating in this scheme can make the process of trading online much easier for you.
  • The Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters (TAME) grant supports LEO clients to explore and develop new export market opportunities. This scheme is a matched funding opportunity with up to €2,500 available to eligible businesses. Under the scheme costs incurred when investigating, researching and accessing export markets can be part funded.
  • Microfinance Ireland offers loan funding up to €25,000 to both new and existing small businesses in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Local Enterprise Offices offer several other financial supports see for more information.

If you require additional information, please contact SFA Senior Executive, Elizabeth Bowen on elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie or 01 605 1626.

Transfers of data to the UK following Brexit
 

Does your business transfer personal data to the UK, including Northern Ireland? If yes, read on to find out about an Ibec briefing with the Data Protection Commission on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on data protection compliance...


Ibec held a briefing with the Data Protection Commission (DPC) on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on data protection compliance on Monday 25 February 2019. A webinar was produced for members who could not attend the event which is available on our website along with slides from the briefing.

In an earlier edition of the ezine we discussed the guidance issued by the DPC on how businesses can prepare for a “no-deal” Brexit and ensure that the transfer of personal data to the UK, including Northern Ireland can be transferred legally. 

 

Ibec have also issued guidance on the impact of potential no-deal scenario on data transfers. 

Change to immigration arrangements for spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders
 

Details on a new streamlining system which will make it easier for the non-EEA partners and spouses of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders to apply for work in Ireland...


The requirement for spouses and de-facto partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders to obtain an employment permit has now been removed by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) will grant eligible spouses and de-facto partners of CSEP holders permission to reside in this State on Stamp 1 Conditions which provides direct access to the labour market without the need to obtain an employment permit. 

 

Arrangements for spouses/partners who already hold a ‘stamp 3’ permission

 

It is open to spouses and de facto partners of persons who are currently resident in Ireland on Stamp 3 conditions to attend their local immigration office with their spouse/de-facto partner who is the holder of a CSEP to obtain a permission to reside on Stamp 1 conditions without the need for an employment permit. They must provide a copy of the CSEP.

 

The local immigration officer will issue eligible persons a new Irish Residence Permit (IRP) on Stamp 1 conditions without the need for a DPSEP. 

 

New preclearance arrangement

 

On 1 April 2019 a new preclearance policy will be introduced for the non-EEA de-facto Partners of CSEP holders. This will apply to both visa and non-visa required nationals. This will provide certainty to applicants in this category prior to their arrival in the State and make the immigration process as straightforward as possible both at arrival at the port of entry and on registration of their immigration permission.

 

Further details in relation to eligibility and the application process can be found on the INIS website. Members should consult the INIS website first before contacting INIS with queries.

Banking and financial services consultation
 

Invitation for comments on the consultation on how the concept and objectives of community banking and local provision of banking and financial services may be furthered...


The SFA are seeking views and/or opinions from members to the consultation on how the concept and objectives of community banking and local provision of banking and financial services may be furthered. The purpose of the consultation is to conduct an external independent evaluation of the concept of public banking. In order to draft our submission in enough time, I would ask that you return your contribution before close of business Friday, 5 April 2019 to elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie.

 

In July 2018, the Department of Finance published a report on Local Public Banking in Ireland. While the report concludes that there is not a compelling case for the State to establish a new local public banking system, alternative means of establishing local public banks may have the potential to bring additional competition to the financial services market and the Government is committed to examining this.

 

Mr. Paschal Donohoe T.D., Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, has appointed Indecon International Economic Consultants to undertake an independent evaluation of how the concept and objectives of community banking, and local provision of banking and financial services, may be furthered in Ireland.

 

The terms of reference

 

To conduct an external independent evaluation of the concept of public banking to:

  • Examine whether there is a clearly defined market ‘gap’ or ‘failure’ in the local provision of banking and financial services in Ireland.
  • Examine the local provision of banking and financial services, including those services offered by local public and /or community banks, operating in other jurisdictions.
  • If there is an identifiable market gap or failure.
  • To identify any regulatory or competition barriers to entry for the local provision of banking and financial services that could be eliminated or mitigated by the State.
  • To examine and recommend possible delivery mechanisms for community, or enhancements to such existing mechanisms, by which local provision of banking and financial services and/or community banking could be implemented in Ireland:
    • Through the existing financial services system in Ireland, including the Credit Union Sector and An Post;
    • Through leveraging existing State infrastructure;
    • Through new market entrants;
    • Through an online offering or other opportunities such as Fintech; and/or
    • Other options.
  • Potential alternative models for the delivery of community banking and local provision of banking and financial services should be outlined based on the above examination.
  • Outline and consider the likely costs associated with the provision of local and/or community banking services through any such delivery mechanisms.
  • Provide potential policy recommendations:
    • Any policy recommendations should take into account current and forthcoming actions already being undertaken by Government and, where relevant, other stakeholders and bodies;
    • Any policy recommendations should provide an indication of their potential likely impact on Government spending, spending priorities, budget and deficit; and
    • State aid and competition regime considerations should also be taken into account in any such policy recommendations.

The Small Firms Association is keen to hear from members on the terms of reference, as your views and opinions will help us draft our submission. Comments should be sent by close of business Friday, 5 April 2019 to elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie.

 

If you have any queries, please feel free to contact SFA Senior Executive, Elizabeth Bowen on elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie.

Training directly impacts the bottom line and employee engagement
 

Did you know there’s a direct link between training and business performance? This is just one of the findings on the benefits of training from the most recent Skillnet Ireland Annual Report...


 

An independent evaluation of Skillnet funded programmes given within the most recent Skillnet Ireland Annual Report shows the wide range of benefits experienced by businesses participating in Skillnet learning networks. 77% of businesses agreed that Skillnet training has enhanced the long-term performance of their business. Furthermore, 73% of businesses reported that Skillnet Ireland training helped improve business processes and/or productivity and enhanced their competitiveness and 72% saw an increase in staff engagement due to training.

 

Speaking at the launch of the report, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive, Paul Healy referred to the importance of upskilling across all sectors and urged Irish companies to engage with Skillnet Ireland before Brexit comes into effect.

 

“The world of work is changing rapidly and as a result, people’s skills are becoming dated more quickly. Employers are often distracted by a myriad of priorities and responsibilities and perhaps don’t always give staff training the emphasis it needs.

 

Without investing in upskilling and talent strategies, Irish companies could lose their competitive advantage, especially with the challenges posed by Brexit. Economic studies are already showing that low skilled workers will be hit hardest when Brexit comes into effect. So, we would encourage employers to start considering ways to protect their business and staff by providing vital training to ensure they can adapt to the challenges presented by Brexit.”

 

The report reveals that the number of businesses who accessed training through Skillnet Ireland networks grew by 5% with over 15,000 businesses availing of industry-led, subsidised training. 94% of the member companies that benefited from investment in training through Skillnet Ireland were SMEs.

 

Download the full report

 

We will formally announce our first SFA Skillnet training programmes soon. In the meantime, please contact Geraldine Lavin, SFA Skillnet Network Manager, on geraldine.lavin@sfa.ie or 01 605 1606 to discuss any training you would like considered for funding.

 

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.

 

 

EVENTS
Smart Business Workshops
 
  • Limerick, 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:

This event is free of charge and pre-registration online is essential. Places are limited so please book now through the above link 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  

 

 

 

Cybersecurity and GDPR one year on
 
  • 10 April

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

 

GDPR came into force in May 2018, in our next session we look at what has taken place in the last twelve months and explore future data protection issues.

  • Date: Wednesday, 10 April 2019
  • Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • Venue: SFA, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

The seminar will be delivered by:

  • Donna Creaven, Head of Supervision for the Multinationals and Technology, Data Protection Commission Ireland.

Donna will provide delegates with an overview of GDPR 12 months on and detail the pressure points in relation to data breaches and breach notifications. The difference between a security incident vs an actual data breach will be explained. Delegates will also be provided with the questions to ask when considering new technologies or relationships with technology vendors and receive information on data processors and data controller relationships.

  • Dave Feenan, Innovation Programmes Manager at Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet and Cybersecurity Skills Initiative (CSI).

Dave will present the activities that small firms can undertake to improve their cybersecurity hygiene and introduced the Government and industry supported Cybersecurity Skills Initiative.

  • Helen Quinn, SFA Executive.

The SFA’s Helen Quinn will also be presenting on the night. Helen will discuss the main GDPR queries received by the SFA over the past 12 months and on how small firms should manage data access requests.

 

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.

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. 

SFA Smart Business Conference 2019
 
  • 2 May

Dr Paul Redmond announced for SFA Smart Business Conference, 2 May 2019

  • Did you know for the first time in our history there are 5 generations in the workplace?
  • Would you like to understand how technology is changing the way we interact, work and do business?
  • To discover more, book your place at the SFA Smart Business Conference, 2 May from 08:30 to 14:00 in the Aviva Stadium, Dublin 4

Professor Paul Redmond kicks off the SFA Smart Business Conference with a highly engaging talk on the 5 generation types in the workplace and what the characteristics are of each type.

 

Discover the qualities of the silent type, the babyboomer, the Gen X, the Millennial and the Gen Y. Understand how you can leverage on the different personalities to effectively manage each generation type and get the best out of everyone in your business.

 

Paul Redmond will talk you through how technology is changing the way we think, behave and interact. He offers humorous insights into the disruptive nature of technology and how businesses can navigate this sea of change. To learn more about Paul Redmond visit his website or watch his video here.

 

To hear him speak in person, book your place at the SFA Smart Business Conference on 2 May. He is the first of many great speakers we will have on the day who will take you through the future of work and how small businesses can leverage on the future of technology.

 

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
Upcoming course in safety awareness for managers on 4 April
 

Do you want to provide your managers with an overview of their roles and responsibilities for the day-to-day practical concerns of integrating health and safety with operational management? If you answered YES then we have an ideal safety awareness course for your managers coming up on 4 April...


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.