SFA E-Zine – The Tuesday Edition
I am delighted to have been appointed the new Director of the Small Firms Association and I am very much looking forward to meeting all of our members in due course and to hearing your experiences and concerns.
With the SFA National Small Business Awards 2018 being launched this week, I would like to encourage you to enter this important celebration of small business and their vital contribution to the Irish economy. Tune into our webinar on 14 September on how to create a winning entry.
In this week's e-zine, we bring you details of a recent case of €825,000 awarded in a gender discrimination claim.
Each week in the SFA e-zine, we profile a different government support available to small businesses. In this edition, we focus on Enterprise Ireland's Market Access Grant, where you can get up to €150,000 to develop your strategy for a new overseas budget.
We bring you details on a public consultation launched on the dot ie domain registration policy and what it can mean for your business, and link to the Microfinance Ireland Progress report for Q2 2017.
Don't miss your last chance to book for the 1 day Project Management course on 15 September. GDPR is one of the topics which will be covered at the upcoming SFA Employment Law Conferences taking place in Limerick on 20 September and in Dublin on 9 October. Register your place for the SFA Annual Lunch 2017 taking place in the Mansion House on 10 November. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit: www.sfa.ie.
Recent press coverage
- SFA Awards 2018
- Getting paid on time
SFA Awards 2018
The SFA issued a press release on 5 September on the official launch of the SFA National Small Business Awards 2018 by Awards Patron, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD.
Getting paid on time
An article in the Irish Times and in The Fresh Plaza on 29 August reported that German retailer Aldi is reducing the time it takes to pay its small suppliers to 14 days. The new terms, effective as of 11 September, will apply to 100 or so suppliers that transact up to €300,000 worth of business annually with Aldi. The SFA were referenced in these articles that on average it takes 62 days for a small firm to get paid, even though the majority of contracts offer credit terms of just 30 days.
Search is on for best small business in Ireland
The SFA National Small Business Awards 2018 have been officially launched by Awards Patron, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD...
The SFA National Small Business Awards 2018 have been officially launched by Awards Patron, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD.
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 community to the Irish economy.
Small firms (employing less than 50 people) have from 4 September until 20 October to enter free of charge on www.sfa.ie/awards.
Speaking at the launch, An Taoiseach said, “"Every day 700,000 people across Ireland go to work in small firms and make an important contribution to their local communities and our economy. The SFA Awards are a great way to showcase the many successes of Irish small businesses, which help support the livelihood of families in every county nationwide. The Government is committed to supporting small firms as a vital part of our local and national economy and we will continue to build a business friendly environment in which they can thrive."
The Awards are free to enter and the prize package for ALL finalists is valued at €50,000.
SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens commented, “The SFA has a vision of Ireland as the most vibrant small business community in the world – supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small business and rewarding risk takers. The SFA National Small Business Awards are a celebration of the achievements of the 245,000 small firms in Ireland, who collectively employ 700,000 people, half the private sector workforce. The awards aim to promote excellence, achievement and innovation amongst small businesses in all sectors and parts of the country.”
“It is vital to celebrate the major contribution that small firms have made to growth, job creation and regional economic recovery in recent years. At a time of great uncertainty for many businesses, we call on the Government to support small firms to put their best foot forward, both domestically and internationally,” concluded Spollen-Behrens.
The competition is open to all companies in Ireland with up to 50 employees and the categories are:
- Manufacturing — sponsored by Energia
- Food and Drink — sponsored by Bord Bia
- Services — sponsored by Three
- Outstanding Small Business — up to five employees, sponsored by AIB
- Innovator of the Year — sponsored by Enterprise Ireland
- Sustainable Energy – sponsored by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
- Exporter of the Year – sponsored by DHL Express
- Emerging New Business - companies who are less than 2 years in existence - sponsored by IE Domain Registry
Skillnets are the Management Development Partner for the programme.
Entries to the awards will be accepted until 5.30pm on Friday, 20 October 2017, and entry forms are available here.
Tune into our webinar on 14 September for tips on creating a winning entry.
€825,000 awarded in gender discrimination claim
In a recent case before the High Court, Byrne v Minister for Defence & Ors, a female army captain was awarded just under €825,000 on foot of a 2016 judicial review of the Defence Force’s decision to exclude her from a promotion process...
In a recent case before the High Court, Byrne v Minister for Defence & Ors, a female army captain was awarded just under €825,000 on foot of a 2016 judicial review of the Defence Force’s decision to exclude her from a promotion process. The High Court held that the claimant had been discriminated against on the ground of gender as she was not informed of the promotional opportunities available or given the opportunity to present her case to the interview board.
In November 2012, the employee went on maternity leave and subsequently took additional maternity leave. While she was on additional maternity leave, four male engineers in her cohort were promoted. In making the award, the judge held that the claimant was excluded from the promotional process as a result of her being on maternity leave.
The compensation awarded is made up of future army pension and gratuity payments and compensation for loss of anticipated income from overseas army services. In addition, as the award is taxable, the judge doubled the award to take account of the tax payment due.
This ruling reminds employers to ensure that all employees on maternity leave are also made aware of any internal recruitment or promotional opportunities. It is important that companies have fair, clear and consistent procedures in place to deal with how employees are rewarded and promoted to ensure they do not fall foul of the law.
For further information on equality, you can consult the SFA guideline or contact Ciara McGuone, SFA Executive, on 01 605 1668 or email@example.com.
Up to €150,000 to develop your strategy for a new overseas market
Spotlight on the Enterprise Ireland Market Access Grant, a grant of up to €150,000 to develop a viable marketing strategy for a new overseas target market. This article provides information on the grant 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.
Market Access Grant
A cash grant of up to €150,000 to offset up to 50% of the cost of entering a new overseas market. The grant can also be used if entering an existing market with a new product or service.
The grant is designed to assist companies to develop viable marketing strategies in target markets. Eligible activities will vary depending on the company and the market, but examples include:
- Verifying that a market opportunity exists
- Determining the best route to market
- Identifying channel partners
- Identifying target customers
- Developing a market/customer-specific value proposition
- Developing an appropriate messaging strategy for target market and customers
The aim of the grant is to assist companies to build their business in international markets. It encourages and supports small businesses to engage diligently in market research before launching in their target market, acquiring the information and expertise to successfully launch a product or service in a new market.
The grant is available to Enterprise Ireland clients only. Companies must discuss their intention to apply with their Development Adviser and preferably with the Market Adviser in the target market prior to filling out the application form (form available here).
If successful, the following expenses can be offset, to a maximum of 50% (€150,000 limit):
- Salary costs of a new staff member in Ireland or overseas
- Salary costs of an existing staff member assigned to carry out the research
- Consultancy costs
- Marketing costs prior to launch, including office rental, trade fair participation, purchase of market research reports and databases and developing marketing collateral
If you are interested in applying, don’t forget:
- Only Enterprise Ireland clients in the manufacturing or services sectors, with more than 10 employees (full time equivalent) are eligible to apply
- The company must be trading for more than five years with sustainable revenues of at least €500,000 (there are some exceptions to the five-year rule)
- Any expenditure incurred prior to receipt of an application by Enterprise Ireland will not be eligible for grant aid
- More information is available on the Enterprise Ireland website.
Public consultation launched for dot ie domain registration policy
IE Domain Registry are proposing a change to remove the ‘claim to the name’ requirement for registering dot ie domain names. This means that anybody with a connection to Ireland can register any dot ie domain name they want...
IE Domain Registry are proposing a change to remove the ‘claim to the name’ requirement from their Registration & Naming Policy. The ‘claim to the name’ refers to the requirement on registrants to prove a legitimate claim when applying for a new dot ie domain. Businesses won’t need to provide a claim to register their dot ie domain name. This means that anybody with a connection to Ireland can register any dot ie domain name they want.
This would be a big change to how dot ie registrations work. IE Domain Registry currently check every dot ie domain registration to ensure that the applicant has a valid claim to the domain name and a connection to the island of Ireland. This proposed policy change effectively means that any dot ie domain name is available on a first come, first served basis, to anybody with a connection to the island of Ireland.
What’s not changing?
.ie domains will still be:
- Reserved only for people and businesses with a connection to Ireland
- As safe as ever
- Checked to verify that the people registering them are who they say they are
- Checked to ensure that the people registering them have a connection to Ireland
A public consultation on the proposed policy change is currently underway and will close on 30 September 2017. You can have your say through an electronic form here.
IE Domain Registry are available to work with SFA members to make sure that this change is a positive one for all Irish businesses and consumers. An informational flyer is available here and a FAQ is available here. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or if you would like any more information.
Microfinance Ireland Progress Report for Q2 2017 published
Microfinance Ireland (MFI) has published its progress report for Q2, 2017. The latest report shows that almost €20m of loans have been approved under the Microenterprise Loan Fund to date, supporting 3,145 jobs in borrowing companies...
Microfinance Ireland (MFI) has published its progress report for Q2, 2017. The latest report shows that almost €20m of loans have been approved under the Microenterprise Loan Fund to date, supporting 3,145 jobs in borrowing companies.
The reasoning behind the Government’s establishment of MFI in 2012 was that access to finance for microenterprises, in particular, was a major issue with the banks at that time continuing to decline loans in the microfinance space (i.e. loans of up to €25,000).
Commenting on the Report Minister Pat Breen stated: “I am pleased to see Microfinance Ireland continuing to develop and grow. The loans it approves help to support micro enterprises across the country…This quarter has been particularly noteworthy, with Microfinance Ireland being awarded the European Code of Good Conduct by the European Commission during Quarter 2 which confirms Microfinance Ireland’s position as a best in class micro credit provider in Europe.”
The Microfinance Ireland Progress Report for Q2 2017 is available here.
For more information on whether a Microfinance Ireland loan is suitable for your business, read the fact sheet from SFA here, visit the Microfinance Ireland website or speak with your Local Enterprise Office.
SFA Webinar - Creating a winning SFA Awards entry
Tune in on 14 September for an SFA webinar on how to creating a winning SFA Awards entry.
The SFA National Small Business Awards 2018 were officially launched by Awards Patron, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD yesterday (4 September). 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 community to the Irish economy.
Small firms (employing less than 50 people) have until 20 October to enter free of charge here.
The Awards are free to enter and the prize package for ALL finalists is valued at €50,000 and there are categories to suit all sectors.
SFA Executive, Louise Kenrick will deliver the webinar from 2:15pm - 2:30pm which will cover:
- What's in it for you - why your business should submit an application
- The entry categories and criteria
- Tips for completing your application
You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Register online now for the webinar here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you can't make this time, you can still register for the session and we'll send you a link to the recording afterwards so you can playback in your own time.
Getting to grips with GDPR - SFA Employment Law Conference
- Limerick - Castletroy Park Hotel - 20 September
- Dublin - Clontarf Castle - 9 October
Whats on the horizon?
This year’s SFA Employment Law Conference will be a vital opportunity for SFA members and other small businesses to understand recent changes in employment law and what they mean for your business, now and in the future. You will learn to protect your business interests while ensuring that you are acting in line with best practice and in compliance with the law.
One of the topics covered at the covered will be the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is due to come into force on 25 May 2018 and will have major implications for all businesses.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) very significantly increases the obligations and responsibilities for organisations and businesses in how they collect, use and protect personal data. At the centre of the new law is the requirement for organisations and businesses to be fully transparent about how they are using and safeguarding personal data, and to be able to demonstrate accountability for their data processing activities.
The GDPR significantly increases the scope and nature of administrative fines for non-compliance, with the effect that failure to address data protection compliance obligations could prove very costly, in financial terms, for businesses with fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover
At the SFA Employment Law Conference, Nichola Harkin, Ibec Solicitor, will be highlighting what you need to know about GDPR and the implications that this ground breaking piece of legislation will have on your business. Attendees will gain a practical insight into what the GDPR means for their business and how to get started on the path to compliance.
Who should attend?
- All owner managers or managers in small businesses who need to build their competence and confidence in the vital area of employment legislation.
- SFA Member rate: €190 + VAT @ 23% (€233.70)
Book your place at the Limerick or Dublin event now.
Book now - SFA Annual Lunch 2017
- 10 November
- The Mansion House
The SFA Annual Lunch is the highlight of the small business calendar. It is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution that small businesses make to the Irish economy and society.
The SFA Annual Lunch 2017 will take place in the Mansion House in Dublin on Friday, 10 November from 12:30pm - 4:30pm.
Join over 500 guests, including small business owner-managers, politicians, senior government officials and media for the biggest business lunch of the year for small business. This is also the perfect opportunity to bring together your invited guests, special customers, clients and valued employees to kick off the festive season.
Member rate of €750 + VAT for a table of 10 or €75 + VAT - book your tickets online now.
Last chance to book: Project Management one-day course, 15 September
The SFA’s Project Management course has been described by a 2016 delegate as: “Excellently delivered course with real life scenarios that I can bring into my role.” Book now for you and your key employees...
Do you or your managers need to develop your project management skills?
The SFA’s Project Management course has been described by a 2016 delegate as: “Excellently delivered course with real life scenarios that I can bring into my role.”
Topics covered include:
- Identifying the life cycle and phases of a project
- Key communication and interpersonal skills
- Ensuring deadlines are agreed and met
- Delivering results every time
- When: 15 September
- Where: Ibec, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
- Cost: €190 per delegate
- Book now by clicking here
Booking is now open for the following courses:
- Project Management: 15 September (see here) or 7 December (see here)
- Performance Management and Appraisal Skills: 14 December (see here)
- Foundations in Management: 23-24 November (see here)
- Foundations in Employment Law: 30 November-1 December (see here)
The price for SFA members is €190 per person for the one-day courses and €370 for the two-day courses.
For all upcoming events and training courses, see www.sfa.ie/events