SFA Fortnightly Update

Dear Member, 


Welcome to the latest edition of the SFA Newsletter.


The SFA community offers our support and solidarity with Glenisk at this awful time for their business. We ask that you show support if you can with a donation to Self Help Africa with Glenisk in mind for their partnership with the One Million Trees campaign, which plants one native tree in Ireland and ten more in Africa to help combat climate change.


This Thursday we are hosting the first virtual event as part of the SFA National Small Business Awards - make you register for the B2B Networking Event to learn how you can accelerate your growth, as well as expand your network by meeting with other small business owners and experts.


We are delighted to note that Minister Donohoe confirms that EWSS will remain in place and unchanged for the month of October 2021, see the press release here.


We were proud to partner with MediaPlanet for their CSR Making a Difference campaign; learn more about the impact of the pandemic on societal attitudes and how this has created an ethical shift in business and consumer decision making across Ireland.


There is a new UK tax on plastic packaging coming into effect from 1 April, 2022. Make sure you also read our article on a recent Norwegian case where an employer inappropriately forwarded employee’s emails which cost the company €40,000, serving as a helpful guide on best practice when it comes to data protection and data protection compliance.


Finally, .IE has updated their free e-books for 2021 which cover a range of topics for SMEs to guide them on their digital journey, enabling them get online and thrive online, and don't forget to check out our latest 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 our website.


Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director


SFA in the media
  • SFA Awards 2022 Launch
  • Making a Difference Campaign 
  • Budget 2022
  • MetorsWork

SFA Awards 2022

The 18th SFA National Small Business Awards 2022 were launched by Awards Patron, An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD. The aim of the awards is to celebrate the achievements of small businesses in Ireland and to recognise the vital contribution of the small business community to the Irish economy. The launch was featured across many media outlets including the Irish Independent, Women Mean Business, The Echo, Leinster Express and Sligo Champion.


Making a Difference Campaign

We are proud to support the CSR & Making a Difference campaign from Mediaplanet which launched in the Independent on 16 September. 

SFA HR ExecutiveEmma Crowley got involved and wrote an article on supporting employee wellbeing, which you can read here


Budget 2022

Following the SFA Budget 2022 press release, the SFA were featured in the Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Irish Independent, Leinster Express, asking for big cuts to capital gains taxes for business owners and much more generous reliefs for entrepreneurs who sell their businesses.



The SFA and our business support programme with Skillnet Ireland, MentorsWork was featured on Bank of Ireland's ThinkBusiness.ie.

Lack of legal basis under GDPR

Learn about a recent Norwegian case that serves as a helpful guide on best practice when it comes to data protection and data protection compliance...

In this case, it was found that the employer had activated automatic forwarding of the employee’s work emails. The employee had been absent through illness for more than a month. Upon their return, the employee discovered this unlawful processing of their data. It proved to be a violation of the national regulations concerning an employer’s access to e-mail inboxes and other electronic information. It was also a breach of the General Data Protection Regulation concerning legal basis whereby the employer should have informed the employee (data subject) and consulted with them to consider their objections prior to this process. 


The Norwegian Data Protection Authority (NDPA) fined the employer €40,000 for unlawfully setting up automatic forwarding of an employee’s work emails, without having a legal basis to do so. The case will be of interest to Irish employers as it could be a persuasive decision if an employee made a similar claim in this jurisdiction.  


If an employer wishes to monitor an employee's emails, they must comply with the provisions of the GDPR which, in short, require that: 

  • the employer must have a legal basis for the processing (such as legitimate interest) 
  • the monitoring must not be excessive - employers should look at whether there are less intrusive measures available; and 
  • the employee should be on notice of the monitoring. 

See the Data Protection Commissioner guidance note on processing personal data. If you would like more information on GDPR or to discuss your requirements further please contact Emma at SFA on 01 605 1668 or at emma.crowley@sfa.ie or visit our HR and Employment Law advice section on our website.

UK Government Introduce Plastic Packaging Tax

New UK tax on Plastic Packaging from 1 April 2022...

As part of the UK Finance Act 2021, from 1 April 2022 a new tax on plastic packaging of  £200 per metric tonne of plastic packaging. It will apply to plastic packaging manufactured in, or imported into, the UK (including Northern Ireland) where the plastic used in its manufacture is less than 30% recycled. The tax will also include imported packaging that already contains goods.


If you are a non-resident UK taxpayer that imports more than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging in a year (which means that this packaging is imported into the UK on your own behalf), including plastic packaging that contains more than 30% recycled plastic or is exempt from the tax, you will still need to register and account for any tax due. If you import less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging in a year, you will still need to keep some records to show this.


If the person on whose behalf plastic packaging is imported into the UK does not account for the tax, including through fulfilment houses, businesses in the supply chain may be found to be secondarily or jointly and severally liable for any unpaid tax.


More information can be found here


SCARP Webinar with PKF:

On 7 of October at 11am the SFA and our partners in PKF will be hosting a webinar that will go through the new Small Business Summary Rescue Process, also known as Examinership lite. Please register here.

CSR & Making a Difference Campaign

Learn more about the impact of the pandemic on societal attitudes and how this has created an ethical shift in business and consumer decision making across Ireland...

The SFA are proud to support the CSR & Making a Difference campaign that launched on 16 September within the Irish Independent.


CSR & Making a Difference looks at the impact of the pandemic on societal attitudes and how this has created an ethical shift in business and consumer decision making across the five key CSR pillars:

  • The Workplace
  • The Environment
  • The Community
  • Governance & Communications
  • The Marketplace.

It features insightful content from Business in the Community Ireland, Volunteer Ireland, CIRCULÉIRE Ireland & Irish Manufacturing Research, World Economic Forum, Chambers Ireland, Small Firms Association, Bord Bia (Origin Green), Engineers Ireland, ESB, Fidelity Investments Ireland, Nestle, The Kraft Heinz Company, Coca-Cola HBC, Vermilion Energy, SSE, University College Dublin, Dublin Bus and One4All.


SFA HR Executive Emma Crowley contributed an insightful article on supporting employee wellbeing which you can read online here, and be sure to check out the rest of the campaign. 

.IE Guides for SMEs

.IE has updated their free e-books for 2021 which cover a range of topics for SMEs to guide them on their digital journey, enabling them get online and thrive online...


.IE has updated their suite of free e-books for 2021 which cover a range of topics. These e-books are intended as resources for SMEs to guide them on their digital journey, enabling them get online and thrive online.


1. Website costs – how much should you pay?

This e-book takes a close look at the costs involved and how to make the most of your budget when developing a new website. Advice is broken down into practical and manageable tasks, showing you what you need to consider when going through the process. We profile four typical Irish business scenarios: Start-up, Micro-business, Small business, Medium business.


2. Choosing a domain name

Your domain name is a crucial part of your online business. Not only is it your online address, but it also reflects who you are as a business and your brand. This guide takes you through the process of choosing your domain name. It outlines why it is important to secure the domain name that best fits and describes your business. At the end, you should have all the tools to brainstorm domain names and know how to register one.


3. How to get an accurate website quote

Did you know that 68% of Irish consumers spent more online in 2020 than they did in 2019? A well-designed website is crucial and can help to increase your revenue, attract new customers and market your business. This e-book guides you through the questions you need to ask to get the best website for your business at the right cost. It also contains a useful tender template and cost outline for the developer to complete.


All e-books can be downloaded here.


B2B: A virtual networking event for small business
  • Thurs, 30 September

  • Thurs, 30 September 4.00pm - 6.00pm

Are you looking to accelerate your growth?

Are you interested to hear from business experts?

Are you keen to meet fellow small business owners?

This B2B event will be an immersive virtual experience, streamed via a digital platform allowing you to watch the presentations in real-time and interact with the speakers and panel via live chat. Following the presentations, we will host a speed networking session where you can meet other attendees in small groups, for a series of 5 minute sessions. You will be able to build your profile in advance and view other participants that you would like to meet with.

This will be a great opportunity for networking and as the SFA National Small Business Awards are underway you will also hear how SFA award winning businesses have grown their business on the back of the awards.


4pm – 4.40pm       Accelerate your growth – Allen Kiernan, Business Mentor, The Agile Executive

In his presentation Allen will help businesses to define their objective for growth, look at their strategy to achieve that growth and how to position themselves for best results.

Allen Kiernan has over 30 years’ experience as Finance Director, consultant and roles for several Irish and multinational companies, primarily in the professional services, production and communications sectors.

He has a demonstrated history of success across many industries, skilled in Business Planning, Strategic Partnership, Mergers and Acquisition, Change Management and Human Resources. Allen has   successfully managed to steer companies through good times and bad with a focus on driving profitability and operating efficiency. In all cases, this has been achieved without adversely affecting the   quality of the service or product being delivered.

4.40 – 5.15pm       Panel discussion with successful SFA award winning small business owners on their challenges and successes as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic

5.15pm – 6pm       Networking Session

We will also be joined by our awards sponsors and partners: NSAI, permanent tsb, Enterprise Ireland, One4all Rewards, Bord Bia, .IE, DeCare, Sage, Cisco and Skillnet Ireland.

Book now to register and you will receive login details in advance of the date.

Why automation of the finance function is vital for SME success
  • Thurs, 30 September

  • 30 September, 12.30pm

32% of SMEs still rely on manual accounting processes, leading to errors, time wasted, costly delays, fraud risks and much more. As 80% of SMEs have seen their revenues decline due to the effects of Covid-19, adapting to keep businesses profitable is essential.


Automating Accounts Payable (AP) processes is an effective way of reducing back-office costs. Historically the technology needed to automate AP has been designed for larger corporate clients, leaving SMEs, with limited options.


Yooz, the Cloud AP Automation specialist, and Fexco, a premier payment solution, bring an automated AP solution specific to the needs of SMEs with robust cost-reducing and control-enhancing features designed for the requirements of a mid-sized company.


In this webinar hosted by SFA, join Yooz and Fexco to discover how:

  • Manual AP processes lead to errors and higher costs for SMEs and what you can do to solve this
  • Payments fraud is a continuing concern for SMEs and the steps your business can take to protect itself
  • Your business can benefit from tighter controls, streamlined approvals, strategic payments, and real-time access to transactional data.
  • A live demo of Yooz and Fexco offers you the smartest, easiest and most powerful solution to use.

Register now.

Explaining the Small Company Administrative Rescue Process (SCARP)
  • Thurs, 7 October

  • Thurs, 7 October, 11.00am

Declan de Lacy from PKF will do an in depth explanation on the Small Company Administrative Rescue Process (SCARP).

Register here

SFA Skillnet Ireland Masterclasses

Learn how to reduce waste and improve profits and cash flow in your business with our Award-winning business support programme...

Last week, MentorsWork won the Best Coaching/Mentoring Initiative at the Irish Institute of Training and Development Awards. Don't miss your opportunity to get the support you need for your small business - for free!


Register interest for one of the following Masterclasses below, available through Skillnet Ireland which are available on a first come, first served basis to get a sneak peak at the many innovative sessions that are running as part of the MentorsWork programme. Please see our website for more information or to apply.


Alternatively, if you would like to attend any of the individual sessions listed below, please register by filling in this short form with your details and we will be in touch.

Masterclass | SBCI: Demystifying Government Financial Supports for SMEs

  • Thur 30 Sep 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Join SBCI for this insightful masterclass which will clearly outline the government grants and supports available to SMEs. It will include supports for all types of SMEs, the amount of grants/loans available under each scheme, the application process involved and next steps to get started.
If your business could benefit from financial assistance, get the information you need to navigate available funding.

Masterclass | Responding to Business Risks in Times of Uncertainty

  • Tue 5 Oct 12.00pm - 1.00pm

Understand how to identify the tangible risks in your business, and how to assess, and respond to those risks in the current climate (including Covid-19 and Brexit). This interactive, concept-driven masterclass will enable you to evaluate the impact of external and internal risk to your business and provide practical tips and recommendations on how to mitigate risk.

Masterclass | Change is Hard, but Embracing it Brings Progress

  • Wed 6 Oct 12.00pm - 1.00pm

Change is constant, driven by a diverse range of disrupters from technology to financial and customer market fluctuations. How will you embrace change? Our Change Masterclass will focus on: Preparing for Change, your objectives, dealing with resistance & unplanned change. Manage Change, exploring tactics and bringing the team with you and Reinforce Change, creating sustainable initiatives.

Masterclass | Organic, Free Ways to Generate Leads for Your Business

  • Wed 13 Oct 3.30pm - 4.30pm

Getting that first meeting with target clients is often the hardest step with cold calling, networking events, and paid ad campaigns leading to inconsistent or fruitless results. This practical masterclass is designed to take the mystery out of lead and client generation, using key techniques to enable you to grow your business successfully and economically.

Masterclass | Sustainability: Why Business as Usual Is No Longer an Option

  • Thur 21 Oct 3.00pm - 4.00pm

Sustainability is the key topic informing international best practice for business in the 21st Century. But what is it? And what does it mean for SMEs? Businesses must adapt to include People, Planet and Prosperity as part of their business ecosystem through new sustainability strategies and design thinking business models. This masterclass will raise awareness of the Sustainability Agenda for SME businesses


If you would like to attend this session which is part of our MentorsWork Programme, please register here with your details and we will be in touch.