Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Launch of The Cork Smart Gateway - 4th May 2016

When:           Wednesday 4 May 2016, 8.30-10.45am. 

Where:         One Albert Quay (Floor 3), Cork.

What             An initiative developed by Cork City Council, Cork County Council,   Nimbus Research Centre and Tyndall National Institute.

Who:             Cork Smart Gateway 

The Cork Smart Gateway is an initiative developed by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Nimbus Research Centre and Tyndall National Institute.

The aim of the Gateway is to establish Cork as an attractive place to live, work and visit by applying smart solutions and utilising best in class technologies to drive economic growth, improve public services and promote better engagement between residents, visitors and local authorities.

Monday, 2 May 2016

New Government Urged to Make Enterprise Education an Integral Part of Teacher Training

BizWorld Ireland, the not-for-profit organisation that delivers free enterprise workshops in primary schools nationwide, has called on the incoming Government to make enterprise education an integral part of primary-school teacher training programmes.

Speaking at the organisation’s annual BIZ Factor competition in Dublin today (28.04.16), BizWorld Ireland CEO Fiona McKeon said: “Education plays a significant role in fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, yet business programmes are not traditionally offered at primary level. If we want to instil a spirit of entrepreneurship in children from a young age, we need enterprise education to be an integral part of primary-school teacher training.

“Our idea is to establish an optional BizWorld ‘train the trainer’ module on all Bachelor in Education degree courses and work with all primary-school teacher training institutions to ensure the delivery of at least one BizWorld workshop becomes a standard output of all teaching practice placements.

'This is a simple and cost-effective idea that would provide the next generation of primary-school teachers with the tools necessary to engage and excite young students about entrepreneurship. We’re calling on the incoming Government to recognise the value of enterprise education in primary schools and to work with us to make this idea a reality.

“We’ve already pioneered this approach with great success with Mary Immaculate College in Limerick and NUI Maynooth in Kildare, where we train students in the delivery of the BizWorld programme for primary schools. The beauty of the partnerships is that we’re not just delivering workshops in primary schools; we’re also training future teachers in how to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the classroom on an ongoing basis.”

Annual BIZ Factor Competition
Ms. McKeon was speaking at BizWorld Ireland’s annual BIZ Factor competition, in which eight schools showcased their business ideas and pitched ‘Dragon’s Den’ style to a judging panel of high-profile figures from the worlds of enterprise and education. All of the finalist schools had participated in a BizWorld Ireland workshop earlier this year.

The judging panel for today’s event included: BizWorld Ireland Ambassador and founder of Casey Games Jordan Casey; entrepreneur and investor on RTE’s ‘Dragons’ Den’, Gavin Duffy; Group Managing Director at Alternatives, Charley Stoney; Head of External Collaboration at ESB, John McKiernan; and MD at Irish TV, Mairéad Ni Mhaoilchiaráin.

‘Mind and Body’, a business idea from pupils from Scoil Mhuire NS, Broadford was awarded Enterprise of the Year at the competition by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh. The business is a board game that aims to give both the mind and body a work-out.

The other seven finalists were:

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Janesboro, Limerick with ‘Mop Socks’. Mop Socks are brightly coloured socks with mops attached to the sole which allow you to clean your floor simply by walking around.
St Michael’s NS, Castlepollard Westmeath with ‘Eazy Keyz’, an app that links your piano with a smart device to help you learn to play by lighting up the keys of your piano.
Gaelscoil Sáirséal, Limerick with ‘Bye Bye to Bullying’, a workshop presentation about how to deal with bullying that is available for schools throughout the country to use in their classrooms.
St Marys College Junior School, Dublin 6 with ‘Gymlets’, a family gym that includes a health food shop and a sports clothes shop.
SN Chreachmhaoil, Craughwell, Galway with ‘Safety Net’, a button built into all social media platforms that children can click to automatically send an email to their parents if they witness cyberbullying.

Scoil Mhuire, Shankill, Dublin 18 with ‘Zoo and You’, an educational app with live zoo video feeds and animal themed games and crafts including instructions on how to make origami animals.
Our Lady’s Grove Primary School, Dublin 14 with ‘Daasie & Co’. Daasie & Co present a sensor for the doors of the Luas which tags passengers of and off automatically with their Leap Card to reduce the number of people who dodge fairs or simply forget.

Congratulating the students participating, Ms. McKeon said, “I warmly congratulate our budding entrepreneurs who participated in BIZ Factor this morning, particularly ‘Mind and Body’, which is a shining example of a creative business idea that contributes to society. The fifth and sixth class pupils who participated in the competition today are naturally curious and are bursting with ideas, imagination and creativity. Clearly, primary school is an ideal time to get children thinking about entrepreneurship and to start equipping them with relevant skills so that, in the future, they might take that courageous decision to start their own business.”

Business Partnerships

Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner for Start-Ups, delivered a keynote address at today’s event.

“The future of business in Ireland is in the hands of young entrepreneurs like the great contestants we see here today at Bizworld,” she said. “They are the role models of a future generation and their potential for themselves and for Ireland is immense. It's also encouraging to see how engaged our current business leaders are in educating the future generations. Working together, we can speed Ireland's growth in the global digital economy.”

BIZ Factor 2016 was sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Local Enterprise Office, Limerick Local Enterprise Office, pharmaceutical company AptarGroup, estate agents Twomey and Associates and mediation consultants Equita. The event took place as part of Tech Week, Ireland’s nationwide festival of technology, which is taking place this week.

Damovo announces profitability 24 percent.

Damovo a leading enterprise communications solutions and services provider, has today reported €92 million in revenue and underlying profitability growth of 24% in its first full-year results since it was acquired by Oakley Capital Private Equity II (“Oakley”) in January 2015. The company is on track with its ‘buy and build’ strategy to grow annual revenues to €200 million and become a leading unified communications (UC) provider in Europe within two to four years.

Preliminary unaudited results for the full year include:
  • · Revenue of €92m – up 12% year-on-year
  • · EBITDA of €7.1m – up 24% year-on-year
  • · €103m in new business wins - best year in company’s history
  • · >10% organic growth contributed €8.5m to top line revenue
· Growth across all key categories, with UC, WiFi and global managed communications solutions performing most strongly

· Expansion in all markets, with Germany and Benelux delivering strongest revenue growth

“We finished our first year since the acquisition with very positive momentum,” says Glen Williams, chief executive officer of Damovo. “This is a strong group-wide performance with excellent results in every area of the business. The figures reflect our progress in turning around a business that previously suffered from under-investment. Our strategy of investing for growth to build a high-performance business development environment and an engaged employee culture, is bearing fruit.”

In August 2015, Damovo acquired the unified communications operations of Centre de Télécommunications et Téléinformatiques Luxembourgeois (“CTTL”), signalling its entry into the Luxembourg market. It also set up a trading entity in Austria. These new ventures add to Damovo’s existing operational presence in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland and Ireland, as well as its Global Services business, which has a worldwide presence.

Going for growth

With a focus on organic growth in key markets, Damovo’s new product introductions, cross-selling and top partner accreditations have allowed it to achieve major milestones in the past year. These include winning its largest managed services contract to date in Germany, and developing its strongest sales pipeline ever, worth in excess of €200 million.

Williams comments: “We invested heavily in our sales team to capitalise on a growing market and the requirements of our current and potential customers to invest in unified communications and WiFi technologies, as well as the growing need for integrated global communications solutions. We see tremendous opportunities to build on our leadership in these key growth areas, as businesses seek to increase collaboration and productivity, while reducing travel and other costs.

“Our Damovo Global Services business has also benefitted from its focus on system integration partners who need our unique ability to reduce and control the costs of managing voice and data systems across diverse international locations.

“Our growth is built on rock solid customer satisfaction, which resulted in an impressive 95% customer retention rate in the 12-month period.”

Business simplification

“We have been particularly pleased that we delivered double-digit revenue growth, with no overall increase in our operational costs, and this has resulted in underlying profitability growth of 24%,” continues Williams.

“We achieved this by prioritising business simplification; allowing us to streamline and align operations across our three core regions – Central Europe (DACH[3] and Poland); Benelux[4]; and Global and Ireland. We have invested in management and information technology to drive efficiencies and create a platform for sustainable growth: we appointed group operations and commercial directors; established efficient group-wide CRM and ERP systems; and developed very strong relationships with key technology partners including Cisco, Avaya and Mitel. This included being the first company in the world to be awarded the Mitel Platinum Integrator Partner status.”

Current year plan to accelerate growth to push revenue to well in excess of €100m

“These are exciting times in Damovo,” says Williams. “Three months into this financial year, we are on-track to achieve our ambitious current year revenue growth plan and our EBITDA growth target of more than 20%.

“We have built a dynamic and well trained team, created a high-performance environment and streamlined our business. And, while we operate in a highly competitive landscape, we believe that we have strong advantages in serving large enterprises in Europe and across the globe. We are well on-track for our plan of building one of Europe’s leading unified communications companies, both organically and through highly selective acquisitions.

“This year will see us concentrate on business transformation as we aim to capitalise on the systems investments we made last year. We will also prioritise customer satisfaction as we launch a major ‘Voice of the Customer’ programme, designed to develop service leadership by understanding customer needs and prioritising innovative service enhancements. We will also see the benefits of our new 24x7 multilingual network operations and support centre opened in Poland last month.”

Bright future

“The future looks very bright indeed,” concludes Williams. “Macro-economic conditions are relatively favourable, however our sector and competitive value proposition - rock solid technology, highest technical accreditation, on-time delivery and market leading managed services - position us to grow at rates well in excess of wider economic predictions.”