SFA E-zine - The Tuesday Edition

Dear Member, 


Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine. 


The SFA Annual Lunch took place on Friday, 15 November in the Mansion House.  Thank you to all that attended making the day a huge success, and please have a look at our Annual Lunch Roundup photos and video.  If you did not get to attend the lunch, we have plenty of upcoming events you won't want to miss! The SFA Members Christmas Evening is happening on 12 December in the Davenport, and be sure to secure your spot at Business Connect 2020 in Aviva Stadium on 6 February, 2020. 


This week in part two of our series on redundancy, we explore the selection process and how a business can ensure it is a fair selection in the redundancy process.  The new IE Domain Registry report has been released, revealing that two thirds of Irish SMEs do not believe that Government can deliver the National Broadband Plan in its current form. 


Please invest five minutes of your time this week and take part in our Winter Sentiment Survey. Your input will help us voice small business concerns with central government and allow us to track key trends in the small business sector.


Consider yourself a wine enthusiast? Enter for your chance to win a case of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau wine - all you have to do is answer one question, so make sure you enter by Thursday!


If you would like to feature your business in our next issue of Better Business magazine please let us know before close of business on Tuesday, 26 November.  We also provide a summary of our 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
  • SME Strategy
  • Paternity Leave


The SFA featured in the following publications.


SME Strategy

Following our press release, SFA and SFA Chair Sue O'Neil were featured in The Irish Times and Leinster Express calling on Government to publish its strategy to help SMEs.


Paternity Leave

SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens was mentioned in The Irish Independent in an article about six months' paternity leave.  



Please invest five minutes of your time and take part in our Winter Sentiment Survey

Please invest five minutes of your time this week and take part in our Winter Sentiment Survey...

We would like to invite you to take part in the Winter 2019 Small Firms Association’s Business Sentiment Survey. To do so please use the following link - it shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes.


Your survey responses will help us in our efforts voicing small business concerns with central government and allow us to track key trends in the small business sector, which we look forward to publishing in late December with an accompanying media release.


Do please get in touch if you have any questions about this survey. Your support is greatly appreciated!

SME Digital Health Index 2019

IE Domain Registry has launched the 2019 edition of the SME Digital Health Index,  where 1,000 SMEs were surveyed on their digital behaviours...

IE Domain Registry has recently launched the 2019 edition of the annual SME Digital Health Index. This year, 1,000 SMEs were surveyed to analyse their digital behaviours, including their usage of digital assets like websites, social media and e-commerce, and their general attitudes towards digital technology.  


In addition, to understand more about the current generation of consumers, 1,000 Irish adults were asked about their attitudes to digital technology, e-commerce, and retail trends. 


Here are some of the key findings: 

  • 87% of SMEs have at least one digital asset, like a website, an e-commerce web sales platform, or social media profile. A website is the initial step in building an online relationship with a customer. It’s also the basis of a first impression: 63% of consumers believe that a business looks outdated if it doesn’t have a website.  

  • 72% of SMEs say that being online and digitally savvy has increased customer awareness of their business. An ability to connect and transact online creates benefits and opportunities offline. 73% of SMEs with a website say it has contributed to their face-to-face, in-store sales. 

  • 66% of SMEs do not believe the Government can deliver the National Broadband Plan in its current form. For 1 in 12 SMEs, poor internet connectivity is the number one reason preventing them from doing more online.  

  • Only 32% of SMEs with a website can take sales orders or process transactions through it. 59% of consumers say making online purchases is important to them. Consumers are online and spending, and they won’t wait for their local high street shops to catch up with rival businesses and international online competitors. 

  • Many SMEs, particularly microbusinesses, are resource poor. 28% say that a lack of time is a major barrier to doing more online. Consumers want more digital experiences. SMEs need to know that modern digital tools, like website builders and e-commerce platforms, are affordable, easy to use, and time efficient. 

The full digital health index can be downloaded here

A look at redundancy part two – the selection process

This week in part two of our series on redundancy, we explore the selection process and how a business can ensure it is a fair selection in the redundancy process….

It is essential that when roles are being made redundant that the selection process is fair and that those employees who are selected are done so in a transparent and fair manner. Most third party claims in relation to redundancy are often based on the selection process and the most common types of claims made in relation to redundancy are taken under the Unfair Dismissals Act and the Employment Equality Act. So how can employers ensure they are conducting a fair process when it comes to making roles redundant? 

When pooling employees for redundancy selection, the most common methods are: 

  • Last in First Out, often referred to as LIFO 

  • Selection matrix that is objectively based on the skills of the employees who are pooled for redundancy 

In addition, businesses need to be mindful of the following two points: 

  1. Custom and practice – what did the company do in previous redundancies? 

  1. Agreed procedure – is there a precedent or an agreed procedure? This is more commonly seen in unionised work environments. 

Businesses need to be careful that when it comes to selecting employees for redundancy, that a claim could be brought against them if the redundancy is found to be based on one of the following basis: 

  1. Other employees should have been included in the pool. This can often arise in the case of standalone redundancies where one person is selected but others are not included in the pool.    

  1. There has been a contravention of an agreed procedure or the company is not following its own custom and practice. It is important that companies are aware of how redundancies have been previously managed, did they use LIFO or selection matrix?  If it was a selection matrix, is the company now using a similar objective method for the current redundancy selection? 

  1. The selection criteria are unfair and based on subjective reasons. It is crucial that a business can stand over its selection criteria and that the reason for making a role or roles, rather than the person, redundant, is based on objective grounds. This same objectivity is very important when using a selection matrix so the focus should be on employee competencies, disciplinary record, capabilities, teamwork and so forth. A scoring mechanism can work well in terms of ensuring it remains objective as opposed to personal commentaries on each employee who is being considered.  

  1. The redundancy was based on one of the nine grounds under the Employment Equality act, for example age, race, pregnancy etc. Earlier this year we shared a case where a pregnant employee was made redundant based on their pregnancy and they were awarded €17,000 which you can read here.  

  1. Part time or fixed term employees may not be selected before full time /permanent employees just because of their part time or fixed term status. 

The SFA have a webinar on managing redundancies which includes some case law on redundancies which you can view here.


If you have any specific concerns or questions please contact Helen on 01 605 1668 or at helen.quinn@sfa.ie or visit the advice section on our website www.sfa.ie/advice  

Wine Enthusiasts - It's Beaujolais Nouveau time!

Enter by Thursday for your chance to win a case of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau wine...

Wine enthusiasts around the world will enjoy their first sip of this vin de Primeur on Thursday 21 November 2019 to celebrate the arrival of the new vintage! Celebrating the end of the harvest, Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau will be distributed around the world for its global launch that day.


“The harvest began on 9 September under a benevolent sun and the grapes ripened magnificently. Our first tastings have revealed some excellent young wines, bursting with fruity aromas of raspberry and redcurrant. On the palate they are fresh and inviting, revealing the purity of Gamay and the vivacity of a delicious young wine” he added.


Tasting notes for Beaujolais Nouveau 2019: Shiny deep ruby colour with violet hues. The nose offers an aromatic array of red fruits: strawberry, raspberry, cherry, in a pure and elegant manner. This tasty fruits extends remarkably in the mouth, with a nice roundness and a very fresh finish!


Prize: A case (12 bottles) of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau wine, delivered directly to you.


Competition QuestionOn what date will Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau be released?


Please send responses to info@sfa.ie by 5pm on Thursday, 21 November.  The winner will be selected at random from the correct answers and contacted directly on Monday, 25 November.


Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2019 is available nation-wide through independent off-licences and O’Brien’s and retails at €12.95.” It is distributed in Ireland through Febvre Wine Company.  

SFA Annual Lunch Round Up

The SFA Annual Lunch 2019 was a great success, check out some photos here...

The SFA Annual Lunch 2019, sponsored by Bank of Ireland took place on Friday, 15 November in the Round Room of the Mansion House in Dublin. Over 350 members of the small business community came together to celebrate Irish entrepreneurship at this event. 


In her speech to guests, SFA Chair, Sue O'Neill called on Goverment to publish the OECD recommended SME and Entrepreneurship Strategy by the end of the year.  You can read the press release here


Our keynote speaker was David Meade - a mentalist, world-class international corporate speaker, performer and TV personality with a renowned reputation for helping organisations work more effectively. His mind-reading and mentalist skills impressed us all and we look forward to having him again at Business Connect in Aviva Stadium on 6 February, 2020. 


Check out the video of the event here.


SFA Members Christmas Evening
  • 12 December

Join us for some Christmas cheer at the SFA Members Christmas Evening. This is a light-hearted evening where you can make new business connections and catch up with familiar faces.

This year, we will be hosting the evening at The Davenport starting from 6pm on 12 December.


Speaker TBA.


This is a free event open to any friends or colleagues that you wish to bring along, but we do ask that you please register online.  We look forward to seeing you all there for some Christmas fun!

SFA On-Line GDPR Programme
  • 31 December

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a ground-breaking piece of data protection legislation, which came into force on 25 May 2018, has a significant impact on all organisations, as it enhances the data protection rights of employees, imposes specific obligations on employers and introduces severe financial penalties for non-compliance.


Enrol your staff and managers to ensure they are informed of their obligations under the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and GDPR.


This course will provide participants with the knowledge to:

• Describe personal information and data subject rights
• Define consent
• Explain the role of the Data Protection Commission, Data Controller, Data Processor and the Data Protection Officer
• Determine accountability
• Conduct breach management and outline our role in the prevention of breaches
• Outline data subject access requests
• Understand the issue of privacy and its implications


Member rate €70 | Non-member rate €80


Book on here

Business Connect 2020
  • 6 February

Business Connect is an event that brings together small business with leading medium and large companies across a wide range of industries. It is an opportunity to hear from small firms that have succeeded in securing major customers and clients and delegates also get a rare view inside the buying processes and decision making in some of Ireland’s leading companies.


The event will be attended by over 300 businesses large and small and it is a great platform for learning and networking. The event also showcases the best in Irish small business through the SFA Awards Programme, where awards finalists and emerging new businesses exhibit along with SFA awards sponsors and partners.


Our 2020 event will have three sessions

  • Getting the business
  • Influencing to win the business (delivered by David Meade) and
  • Sustaining Ambition – Innovation and Sustainability


Doors will open from 8.30am for registration and networking with sessions starting at 9.30am. The event will conclude at 1pm with a networking lunch.


Member Rate: €49 + VAT

Non-Member Rate: €99 + VAT