Key questions to ask at your Canadian Market Advisor meeting

Canada is an affluent, high-tech industrial society with a market-oriented economy, low inflation and high living standards and has recently strengthened its close trading relationship with Ireland.

If you are considering doing business in Canada, your first step should be a call with our team in Toronto.

    The questions below were designed to help Irish businesses get the best out of their first Market Advisor call

    • What should I be aware of as I start to think about exporting to Canada?
    • Do I need to localise my products or services for Canada in any way?
    • Are there any differences between Canada and the USA market?
    • Is there a trade deal or are there any trading barriers I should be aware of?
    • Do I need a local presence and is it easy to establish one?

    Set up a call with our team in Toronto today and also check out our Going Global Guide.

     

    Enterprise Ireland’s top tips for entering the Canadian market can be viewed by clicking the graphic below.

    Horizon 2020: Supporting transformation in the agri-food sector


    There were multiple challenges, including a substantial amount of EU politics at the start with many partners wanting to take the lead, but we were determined to keep DEMETER rooted in Ireland.

    Kevin Doolin, Co-ordinator of the DEMETER project and Director of Innovation at Telecommunications Software & Systems Group

    Overview:

    • TSSG, part of the Waterford Institute of Technology, is leading a project that aims to transform Europe’s agri-food sector through the rapid adoption of advanced Internet of Things technologies, data science and smart farming.
    • The DEMETER project is being significantly funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
    • With 60 partners, 18 countries and 20 pilots, DEMETER is one of the largest Horizon 2020 projects coordinated by an Irish entity and is expected to have significant impact across the agri-tech sector in Europe, and beyond.

    The European Union has identified smart farming as a key component in supporting sustainable agriculture and food production, protecting natural resources and boosting food safety. At the heart of this is the need for new technology and standards to achieve full supply chain interoperability.

    This is the subject of DEMETER, a large-scale, €17.7m Horizon 2020 project involving 60 partners across 18 countries, 6,000 farmers and 38,000 devices.

    At the helm of DEMETER is Kevin Doolin, Director of Innovation at Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG), an internationally recognised centre of excellence for ICT research and innovation and part of the Waterford Institute of Technology.

    “The situation now is that you have various different elements in the agri supply chain – machinery, warehouses, trucks, sensors and so on – but none of these systems talk to each other so it’s impossible to get a holistic view from farm to fork,” explains Doolin.

    “With DEMETER we’re trying to connect those elements, so we’re developing new industry standards, writing software for platforms and building interfaces.”

    DEMETER’s goal is nothing less than the digital transformation of Europe’s agri-food sector and it includes a series of 20 pilot programmes that aim to demonstrate the impact of the technology.

    A key deliverable is the DEMETER Dashboard. “This will give farmers an instant update on the status of their farm. It’s a precision support system that provides information to assist decision making, and increase productivity and efficiency,” says Doolin.

     

     

    The Horizon 2020 process

    The first step in the Horizon 2020 process is building the consortium, which Doolin did using his extensive network of contacts and the opportunities afforded by networking events run by the Commission.

    “It’s important to identify a core set of partners that you can rely on to help write the proposal. Within DEMETER there are about 10 partners that did most of the heavy lifting on that, and then we drew on expertise from the other partners when required.

    “We also engaged quite heavily with Enterprise Ireland’s National Contact Points who were able to introduce us to additional partners. And the EI financial support we got to write the proposal was really important.”

    As a highly experienced Horizon 2020 co-ordinator, Doolin was aware of the challenges a project of this size, one of the largest ever coordinated by an Irish entity, presents.

    “There were multiple challenges, including a substantial amount of EU politics at the start with many partners wanting to take the lead, but we were determined to keep DEMETER rooted in Ireland,” says Doolin.

    Co-ordinating 60 partners is an ongoing challenge but one that is mitigated, says Doolin, by having good work package leaders.

    “Each Horizon 2020 project is structured into a number of work packages with specific roles. If you have a good team of work package leaders you can leverage them very heavily to co-ordinate the overall effort.”

    Moreover, the challenges are offset by the benefits.

    “Horizon 2020 enables us to engage in large-scale work, with a substantial group of partners from across the agri supply chain. We have access to technology providers, research and academic experts, real works users and policy makers,” says Doolin.

     

    Walk before you run 

    Involvement in a Horizon 2020 project can be as a partner organisation or as co-ordinator. Doolin strongly recommends starting as a partner.

    “I estimate the level of work involved in being a participant versus co-ordinating to be about 1:10, so I think the best place for institutions to start is by partnering on a proposal and maybe taking a work package leader role where you’re involved in writing the proposal. After you’ve done a few projects you can go down the route of co-ordination, starting with a small project.”

    Doolin also advises engaging early with Enterprise Ireland to find out the project topics that are coming up in the next Horizon round of funding, and starting to build the consortium before the Commission launches the call for proposals.

    “After the call you’ve only three months to write the proposal, which isn’t a lot of time,” he says.

    “It’s also important to tell Enterprise Ireland what proposals you’re writing or you can end up in a situation where different entities in Ireland are writing competing proposals when in fact we should be collaborating. Enterprise Ireland is the mechanism for bridging that gap.”

    Within the DEMETER project €1m of funding has been reserved to be given out to new partners who want to join the programme.

    “We’ll be issuing our own mini-calls for proposals starting on September 16, inviting SMEs and farmers and so on to come up with a small project idea that will test elements of DEMETER in different scenarios.

    “These open call projects are something that I think industry in Ireland needs to take advantage of. It’s a really good way for companies to get into Horizon 2020 and get quite a bit of funding to do just one trial of the technology.”

    For advice or further information about applying for Horizon 2020 support please contact h2020support@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizon2020.ie

    Empiric Logic: Pivoting your business plan in the wake of Covid-19

    When the Covid-19 crisis hit, High Potential Start Up, Empiric Logic, repositioned the business to address new challenges

    Key Takeouts

    • High Potential Start Up ‘Empiric Logic’ hit by Covid-19 as they prepared for seed funding
    • CEO Gareth O’Sullivan applied for Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Business Financial Planning Grant’ which helped the team to re-evaluate their planning in the wake of Covid-19
    • Empiric Logic was able to connect with a local advisory company with a substantial background in business planning and finance

    Covid-19 has thrown up an unprecedented number of challenges for every business, particularly start-ups that could be at the very beginning of their business plans and in the early stages of establishing a flourishing business. For a company established in 2019, 2020 could have been the year in which they raised funding, developed further their product range, and got their offerings in front of potential clients through meetings, trade shows and more. All that was thrown into jeopardy by Covid-19.

    To help clients navigate through this challenging time, Enterprise Ireland (EI) is offering a Covid-19 ‘Business Financial Planning Grant’, which provides financial support of up to €5,000 (100% grant funded) for engagement with an approved third-party consultant. The offer is designed to encourage companies to be proactive in developing a detailed financial plan that identifies funding needs and potential sources of funding. This allows the client work with an expert to prepare a detailed financial and business plan with forecasts and assumptions to help reposition the business to address challenges presented by  the Covid-19 crisis.

    One EI client that has availed of the grant is Empiric Logic, a High Potential Start Up (HPSU) company that began trading in August 2019. “Covid hit us at a time when we were aiming to onboard a number of new customers,” explains CEO Gareth O’Sullivan. “We also had some existing customers with whom we were hoping to extend contracts. In addition, we were in the middle of preparing for seed funding. So it really couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

    “We’ve lost a couple of customers; thankfully our business has increased with another. But the uncertainty has also led to a lot of investors holding off on new investments – so it’s been very challenging.”

    Empiric Logic is a software as a service bioinformatics company that provides a platform to enable organisations derive greater value from their biologically generated data, solving many of the challenges associated with aggregating, correlating, analysing and gaining valuable insights from complex health-related data. The company has already won a number of significant clients, including Open Orphan, a rare disease and orphan drugs pharma services company. With a significant role to play in supporting the more accurate, faster and more secure development of drugs and treatments, the platform offered by Empiric Logic is even more important during this time.

    “Essentially what we’re doing is analysing data on behalf of other  companies and providing a platform to enable owners of data get more from it,” explains Gareth. “Our [main] target market is obviously pharmaceuticals and the medical space. We pivoted slightly to look at some Covid-related data analytics, to see if we could offer something there. One of our existing customers and a potential new customer are looking at Covid-related treatments, and we’re hoping to help them with their data.”

    The importance of flexibility

    While the pharma space is understandably important for a company like Empiric Logic, flexibility is vital for a start-up, and so Gareth and his team have spent a lot of time looking at how their platform can be used in a variety of other sectors. “From our perspective, we see applications for our product across a wide range of verticals as well as pharma. We’ve looked at areas where we can support companies working in the medtech sector, biotech, nutrition, foodstuffs, even further into biothreats – we recently completed a pathogen analysis proposal to help analyse viral and bacterial presence in an environment.”

    The need to be flexible has taken on a whole new importance in 2020, when everyone’s plans simply flew out the window. “We had just come through the review with EI, and we intended to hopefully raise some funding early in 2020, which would give us six months to build the platform out more substantially and take it to market in Q4; go to events, get in front of potential clients and showcase the platform. But as a result of Covid, this has all changed. We have tried to maintain contact as best we can though Zoom meetings and phone calls – but none of that is a great substitute for networking and face-to-face meetings.”

    Gareth was encouraged to look at the €5k Business Financial planning grant, which was approved quickly and proved invaluable. “We’d done some rudimentary business plan development; this was offered as a way to re-evaluate your planning in the wake of Covid-19, and we felt it was a great opportunity to revamp our business plan. And it worked well for us – it was a very useful process. It also helped us connect with a local advisory company; up to that point we had been managing our books with a book keeping service, but this process allowed us work with a company that had a more substantial background in business planning and finance.

    “EI is a lifeline during times like this; the Business Financial planning grant is just one of the many supports offered, and it’s helped refine our message to potential investors.”

    This grant enabled Empiric Logic to look at Covid as simply a bump on the road in terms of their business – getting that expert insight and practical advice has helped the company plan for a brighter and more secure future, with more clients across more sectors. Most recently, Empiric Logic was approved for a feasibility grant, which they will use to investigate other sectors for their platform. “We’re in contact with a medtech consultant, and we’re hoping to develop more substantial use cases for our platform that enables us to prospect into verticals other than biotech and pharma, which predominantly we’ve been focused on until now.”

    Click here for more information on the Covid-19 Business Financial Planning grant

    Ticketsolve

    How Ticketsolve met client needs with support from the Sustaining Enterprise Fund

    Ticketsolve“Due to Covid-19, our sales fell off the edge of a cliff. SEF has kept us going and allowed us to  continue to support our customers. Thanks to Enterprise Ireland, we have a plan for the future.”

    Paul Fadden, Managing Director, Ticketsolve

    Key Takeouts

    • Ticketsolve is a complete box office, online ticketing, and marketing solution servicing over 300 clients across Ireland and the UK. Due to Covid-19, the company experienced a dramatic drop in sales. Despite the hit, Ticketsolve continued serving customers. They quickly adapted their product and service offering to bring value to theatres, festivals, arts organisations, and visitor attractions.
    • In order to supplement lost revenue, Ticketsolve applied for the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, which includes a non-repayable grant. This enabled the company to continue to refresh its product and reimagine their customer support to meet client needs.
    • Enterprise Ireland helped Ticketsolve to develop a financial plan for the future and provided the necessary funding to bridge the gap caused by a global pandemic. The company onboarded 13 new clients during the lockdown and plans to continue innovating their product with the help of the Sustaining Enterprise Fund.

    Case Study: Ticketsolve

    At the start of March 2020, Paul Fadden was in the UK meeting with clients. During this trip, he discussed Covid-19 with friends and colleagues and remembers realising that the ramifications of a global pandemic would be enormous. Two weeks later, the world came to a grinding halt. Fadden was in the office when the government directive came in. The entire team left early to go home—and nothing has been the same since.

    Ticketsolve is a complete box office, online ticketing, and marketing solution for arts and entertainment venues. Lockdown meant worldwide postponements and mass cancellations of events, shows, and concerts. As a result, Ticketsolve experienced a dramatic loss in sales overnight.

    “It was one of the most anxious moments of our career,” recalls Fadden. “Our customers are extremely passionate about their work, so to see everything suddenly shut down was mind-blowing. The world as we know it has changed.” 

     

    Adapting in order to meet customer needs

    Fadden says the Ticketsolve team acted fast during the period of closure for their customers. Their goal was to offer uninterrupted support to their customer community. First, they encouraged ticket holders to donate a partial or full amount of their ticket bookings to the arts organisation. Customers also had the option to exchange their refund for a credit note. Through developing The Ticket Exchange Tool, Ticketsolve were able to secure 52% of ticket revenue through donations and credit for customers. The product was created to preserve their clients’ cash flows.

    Ticketsolve put a stop to all outbound sales and marketing efforts, which Fadden says would have been insensitive during this time. They redeployed resources into initiatives that would help their customers recover and prepare for a successful and safe reopening. The team launched the “Ticketsolve Academy”, a webinar series offering clients three sessions per week. Sessions included a mix of industry guest speakers, skills sharing, brainstorming sessions, and steering groups. More than 3,500 people attended their virtual events over a 13-week period.

    Ticketsolve also introduced the “Arts Recovery Toolkit”. This free resource was designed to guide event organisers through the coronavirus fallout as they work to make their premises safe so they can resume operations.

     

    Continued service required support

    Ticketsolve adapted quickly to unexpected circumstances, but there was still the issue of revenue. How would they pay the bills? What was the plan moving forward? Fadden says this is where Enterprise Ireland came in. After applying for a Covid-19 Business Financial Planning grant, they were appointed a finance mentor. She worked to understand their business and then created a number of scenario models for the coming months and even years. Fadden says this was a really useful exercise. This well-defined financial plan also enabled Ticketsolve to apply and qualify for Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund, which includes a non-repayable grant.

    “Applying for the SEF gave Ticketsolve the security we needed,” says Fadden. “It took away some of the anxiety caused by Covid-19. Funding isn’t the silver bullet—we’re working on new ideas we believe will really sustain our business—but Enterprise Ireland’s support was a lifeline.

    Ticketsolve used SEF for working capital. The funding also enabled the team to focus on the complete redevelopment of their backend technology. This refresh is a large project, which they are still working on. These improvements would not have been possible without the SEF. The grant enabled Ticketsolve to keep staff working as they adapted their services to meet the evolving needs of their customers.

     

    Looking to the future

    Despite the upheaval and interruption of outbound sales efforts, Ticketsolve has won and onboarded 13 new clients since the lockdown. Among their newest customers is well-known Dublin tourist attraction, The Book of Kells. The Ticketsolve team have adapted their processes, moving on-site implementation to remote meetings and repurposing support tools. Overall, they’re getting used to this new way of operating and customers are up to speed.

    So, what’s next for Ticketsolve? Fadden says they will continue to prioritise customer support and new product innovation. It’s his goal that Ticketsolve always be a helpful partner, making a difference for customers and patrons of the arts, now and into the future.

    Enterprise Ireland has been a huge support during these times of massive uncertainty,” says Fadden. “Without the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, things would be very difficult for us.”

     

    Click here to learn more about applying for the SEF. Contact your Development Advisor or our Business Response Unit to find out more.

    How the Sustaining Enterprise Fund helped Bizimply launch new solutions

    “Enterprise Ireland did two things for us: Firstly, they gave us the confidence that comes with having a plan. Secondly, they gave us oxygen on the balance sheet.”

     

    Conor Shaw, CEO, Bizimply

    Key Takeouts

    • Bizimply’s workforce management platform lost 50% of their revenue due to the global pandemic. Despite cutting costs and adapting their offering, the company was in need of additional financial support.
    • CEO Conor Shaw applied for Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund, which gave the team confidence as they continued to innovate and support customers.
    • Bizimply was able to retain a customer base, 70% of which are operational again. The SEF, along with a willingness to improvise, allowed the company to thrive in a difficult time.

    Case Study: Bizimply

    Bizimply is a workforce management platform primarily serving hospitality and retail companies. In 2019, the company grew over 60%, but in March 2020, everything changed. With the spread of Covid-19, businesses were closing their doors and workers were suddenly staying home. The majority of Bizimply’s customer base was shut down.

    Conor Shaw, Bizimply’s CEO, says the team moved quickly to cut internal costs. They also contacted their customers to assure them they were available for support. In the beginning, the company took advantage of government wage support. They halted marketing efforts and rallied their newly remote workforce around a few immediate projects. Shaw’s goal was to keep the team focussed, busy, and feeling positive.

    “We gathered around a shared cause,” says Shaw. “There was less departmental demarcation—we rolled up our sleeves, working together, regardless of roles.”

     

    Solving the funding problem

    Behind the scenes, Shaw was working on the company’s finances. What he saw was worrying.Revenue had declined by about 50% in two months. Wage support was not going to be enough to get them through this crisis. So, when Shaw heard about Enterprise Ireland’s Sustaining Enterprise Fund, which included a non-repayable grant of up to €200,000, he began the application process.

    “When we were awarded the SEF, you could see a visible relaxation within the company,” recalls Shaw. “You can believe in yourself, but it’s nice to know that Enterprise Ireland believes in us, too.”

     

    Confidence and oxygen

    Receiving the SEF did two things for Bizimply, according to Shaw. Firstly, it gave the team the confidence that comes with having a plan. Secondly, the grant added much needed liquidity to their balance sheet. The funding allowed them to evaluate what was required in a post-Covid business environment and respond with ways Bizimply was able to meet those needs. Suddenly, Shaw says, the team had capacity to tackle the projects they had been promising to complete.

    Bizimply used the SEF to “get stuff done.” They pushed into new markets, launching solutions specifically for pharma and care home environments. The team also created an innovative mobile application, which allows workers to answer questions about their health and Covid exposure as they clock in for their shift. This customisable screening tool offers crucial support as hospitality and retail businesses open their doors again.

    Shaw says, “Thanks to Enterprise Ireland, we can say this was a year out, rather than a year lost.”

     

    Advice for other impacted businesses

    Today, 70% of Bizimply’s business is back. Hospitality and retail customers are operating again, with adjustments. Care homes are implementing the company’s new and adapted products, and Shaw believes the future is bright for Bizimply. Looking back, he says that, in addition to the important support provided by Enterprise Ireland, the key to survival was staying focussed on the aspects of their business that truly made a difference for them and their customers.

    “My advice to other impacted companies is to remember: nothing is sacred anymore,” says Shaw. “You’re going to have to unlearn some of the stuff that led to your past success, give up on things that were previously held sacred, and stay focused on the future.”

     

    Click here to learn more about applying for the SEF. Contact your Development Advisor or our Business Response Unit to find out more.

     

    H2020 Gal Weiss

    Horizon 2020: Supporting the development of privacy-preserving technologies

    Gal Weiss

    “In collaboration 1+1 is more than 2. When you work with other parties you will achieve much more than you planned to.”

    Gal Weiss, IBM, Co-ordinator of the MUSKETEER Horizon 2020 project

    Overview:

    • IBM Research Europe (Ireland) is leading an international consortium that is conducting research and development on how to use federated machine learning where the confidentiality of data is of primary importance.
    • The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
    • Progress on work package integration is significantly ahead of plan, using the cloud-based MUSKETEER platform, and the majority of the outcomes are open-source and already publicly available.

    The massive increase in data collected and stored worldwide by business and organisations calls for new ways to preserve privacy while still allowing data sharing among multiple data owners. That’s the challenge the MUSKETEER project is addressing with its aim of providing secure, scalable and privacy-preserving analytics over decentralised datasets using federated machine learning techniques.

    Led by IBM Research Europe (Ireland) in collaboration with 10 other partners from across Europe, the project has secured 4.3m in funding from the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Union’s research and innovation instrument. With an €80 billion funding pot over a seven-year period (2014–2020), Horizon 2020 aims to deliver research and innovation breakthroughs, discoveries and world firsts.

     

    Horizon 2020’s crucial role

    Gal Weiss, IBM’s EU Programs & Partnerships Manager in Ireland, is the project co-ordinator. Instrumental in establishing IBM’s research laboratory in Ireland, he has been involved in numerous Horizon projects over many years and understands how crucial Horizon 2020 support is to large, complex projects.

    “Only Horizon 2020 could bring this type of project to life because you need so many stakeholders. Some big companies would find it challenging to collaborate with anyone else because of the need to protect their data, and even between universities and research organisations, just to get agreements in place never mind the funding, this programme removes barriers and makes it happen,” he says.

     

    Steps to success

    The MUSKETEER idea was forged in EU conferences and workshops where IBM and some other partners merged their initial ideas into one proposal.

    “Collaboration proposals are now very much about quality. For that, you need to build your network, be well connected and choose the right partners. Taking part in EU events is essential when you want to join R&D collaboration in Europe,” says Weiss.

    “Connecting people can also be done via social networks, however, when it comes to finding unique partners in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland’s National Contact Points are brilliant.”

    The NCPs provide information and guidance on all aspects of Horizon 2020 from helping to identify partners to reviewing proposals.

    “The application process is challenging and you really need to look at the quality of the writing and get into the details. Even deciding what the right theme is and what call to go after can be difficult,” says Weiss. “Some internal measurements, planning, monitoring and control of the proposal are all essential to be successful.

    Enterprise Ireland helps a lot but it’s really important to start early. I believe there’s a need for organisations to be more connected within Ireland and externally so that they’re ready to collaborate when the opportunities arise.”

    With his extensive experience of directing EU-funded projects and a great research team, Weiss has been able to steer MUSKETEER to the point where, at the midpoint of the project, progress on work package integration is significantly ahead of plan and the majority of the outcomes are already publicly available as open-source software.

    “Co-ordinating an international project with 11 partners is challenging. It’s essential to choose the right partners in terms of their capabilities and reputation, set your expectations in advance, create a management plan, and be very clear about deadlines and how you want to work,” says Weiss.

    Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the partners transitioned from traditional offices to  leverage virtual meetings via video conferences and digital technologies.

    “When I asked the team if Covid-19 was having any effect on their collaboration on the project, everyone said no, all on track. So it’s about being connected with them all the time and being transparent, so they know what I need next and what’s going to happen.”

     

    A win-win situation

    Weiss believes that the benefits of programmes like Horizon 2020 are significant and wide ranging.

    “Firstly, in collaboration 1+1 is more than 2. When you work with other parties you will achieve much more than you planned to. And this has happened to us many times,” he says.

    “There are great benefits especially for smaller businesses and also academic and research institutions. 

    “It’s an opportunity to meet bright people from other organisations across Europe but it’s also a great way to promote your business or institution across Ireland, across Europe and across the world.” says Weiss.

    “For example, we gave an online webinar about MUSKETEER recently and there were over 100 people listening virtually, and many of the attendees were from outside Europe. That’s publicity for all the partners. So SMEs will potentially get more business by taking part in Horizon and doing a good job. Everyone in Ireland should be taking part in Horizon 2020 programmes because they will achieve more and they will be known for what they are doing.

    “Quite simply, if everyone plays their part it’s a win-win situation.”

    For advice or further information about applying for Horizon 2020 support please contact h2020support@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizon2020.ie

    Cheryl Baker

    Horizon 2020 – Supporting the fight against cybercrime

    H2020

    “We felt we had to do this project because the problem and the solution are so important. We were just waiting for the opportunity and Horizon 2020 provided that.”

    Cheryl Baker, Director, UCD Centre for Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Investigation

    Overview:

    • University College Dublin is leading an international consortium that is developing a shared intelligent platform and a novel process for gathering and analysing data related to cybercrime.
    • The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
    • The output will be made freely available to law enforcement agencies internationally.

    “A problem that urgently needs to be solved,” is how Cheryl Baker, Director of UCD’s Centre for Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Investigation, describes the ambitious Horizon 2020-funded project that she is leading, comprising 18 participants from across Europe.

    The Intelligence Network & Secure Platform for Evidence Correlation and Transfer (INSPECTr) project  aims to develop a shared intelligent platform and a novel process for gathering, analysing, prioritising and presenting key data to help in the prediction, detection and management of crime in support of multiple agencies at local, national and international level.

    “The problem for law enforcement is that a huge amount of data is generated but joining the dots is difficult.” says Baker.

    “There are numerous tools to help investigate cybercrime but they all have different outputs so creating links and seeing the commonality between different crimes and different investigations in different jurisdictions is really difficult. Our aim is to harmonise the output and enable the data to be better managed,” explains Baker.

     

    The Horizon 2020 opportunity

    Baker and her team have been working with law enforcement for over 10 years and have received support for various projects under the EU’s Internal Security Fund.

    “When we came up with the idea for INSPECTR, we realised that to go to the next level we needed a different funding mechanism that offered more money, was more research oriented, required more partners and was more long term.”

    The solution was Horizon 2020, the European Union’s research and innovation instrument, which has an €80 billion funding pot and is supporting consortia across Europe to transition great ideas from the laboratory to the market.

    The three-year INSPECTr project received funding of €6.9 million and involves law enforcement agencies and commercial companies.

    “Because we’ve worked with law enforcement for a number of years we were able to reach out to people that we knew already to bring them on board. When it came to commercial partners, Enterprise Ireland was really good at helping us link with a number of SMEs in Ireland,” says Baker.

    Unusually for a project, the final developed platform will be freely available to all law enforcement agencies.

    “The Centre for Cybersecurity & Cybercrime Investigation was set up support law enforcement in the fight against cybercrime, and everything we do we give back freely to the law enforcement community,” explains Baker.

    “That did impose a bit of a challenge when it came to getting commercial partners on board, but we explained that they were going to get access to law enforcement agencies across Europe, which would give them the opportunity to develop and sell in products and services tailored to that community.”

     

    The co-coordinator challenge

    “This is our first time as co-ordinator on a Horizon 2020 project and there’s no getting round that it’s a challenge. Firstly the application process is time-consuming; close to the deadline we were working 24 hours a day,” says Baker.

    “Enterprise Ireland’s help was great. Their expert knowledge and honest review of the proposal was invaluable. Their response was very positive, which gave me a lot of confidence.

    “As the co-ordinator, the project fails or succeeds with you. You’re the interface with the Commission and the consortium.” explains Baker.

    “For our law enforcement partners this is not their day job, so we have to provide a lot of hand-holding support to them. But we felt we understood the project better than anyone else so we wanted to lead it. If you feel strongly about your idea, it’s best to lead it.”

     

    Horizon 2020 benefits

    Baker believes that there are huge benefits for SMEs that get involved in Horizon 2020, either as a partner or a co-ordinator, but is aware that there’s a perception that the process is complicated.

    “I think it’s key that SMEs partner with a co-ordinator that they know and trust, because they will show you the ropes and look after you. It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re being asked to do and are clear about what’s expected of you. It’s a really good way to boost your revenue and to network and you can be involved in a small way and still reap lots of benefits,” she says.

    “For co-ordinators, you need to ask yourself, have you really bought into your concept; do you feel that this is a problem that urgently needs to be solved? And it’s vital to understand that the administration is as important as the research so you need the supports in place for that.

    “We felt we had to do this project because the problem and the solution are so important. We were just waiting for the opportunity and Horizon 2020 provided that.”

    For advice or further information about applying for Horizon 2020 support please contact h2020support@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizon2020.ie

    How Competitive Start Fund approval helped Nasal Medical lead the way in drug-free allergy prevention and relief

    How Competitive Start Fund approval helped Nasal Medical lead the way in drug-free allergy prevention and relief

    Martin O’Connell, founder, Nasal Medical

    “Getting the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) approval validated what we were trying to do and gave us the confidence to grow.

    Martin O’Connell, founder, Nasal Medical.

    Key Takeouts:

    • 25% of Europeans suffer from a nose, chest or sinus allergy, a figure set to rise to 50% within a decade.
    • With support from Enterprise Ireland, including a Competitive Start Fund (CSF) investment in 2016, Nasal Medical’s Allergy Filter has revolutionised the drug-free allergy-prevention market.
    • Nasal Medical has a presence in the UK and will launch in the US in October. The company is working on a contract with one of the largest pharma companies in India and is exploring other markets in Europe with help from Enterprise Ireland.

    Case Study: Nasal Medical

    According to Allergy Ireland, about 25% of Europeans suffer from some sort of nose, chest or sinus allergy, a figure that’s set to rise to 50% within the next decade. While medical products can offer some relief, finding a long-term drug-free way to alleviate symptoms is high on the wish list of sufferers. With the help of several supports from Enterprise Ireland, including a Competitive Start Fund (CSF) investment in 2016, Nasal Medical has revolutionised the drug-free allergy-prevention market with its discreet and effective Allergy Filter.

    “The ‘light bulb moment’ came through an unfortunate event on my family’s farm in Kerry,” explains founder Martin O’Connell, “when our cattle contracted tuberculosis I knew that I had to come up with a solution to prevent a reoccurrence, and from this, the concept for Nasal Medical, and a filter for humans, was born.”

    How Nasal Medical secured CSF support“Nasal Medical specialises in anatomically designed nasal products to aid comfortable and effective breathing. Covering five target markets including pollution, allergies, sleeping disorders (mild sleep apnea and snoring), congestion and performance endurance, we address a myriad of major global problems – alleviating sleep disorders, protecting against the inhalation of seasonal allergies and contaminated air and enhancing athletic performance.

    “We have launched two products so far, the Discreet Snoring Aid and the Allergy Nasal Filter, while the Travel Nasal Filter, Sports Aid, Pollution Filter and Snore Watch App will be launched in early 2020.”

    The products are currently sold online, as well as in pharmacies in Ireland. “Google and eBay have been really helpful; we’re also recently selling through Amazon,” Martin explains. “We have a presence in the UK and will be expanding this soon along with our launch in the US in October. We’re also working on a contract with one of the largest pharma companies in India. In addition, we’re exploring other markets in Europe, with the help of Enterprise Ireland.”

     

    How Nasal Medical secured CSF support

    Martin and the team first approached Enterprise Ireland after developing a product prototype. From there, he was introduced to a development advisor in the High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU) unit, who helped the company to secure a feasibility grant and mentor in 2014, followed by a CSF investment in 2016.

    “Aside from the funding, which has helped us in key areas of our business, the support and mentorship we have received as clients of Enterprise Ireland has been invaluable to us. They have opened doors for us, and connected us with people we could only dream of talking to.

    The team in Enterprise Ireland has supported us every step of the way. We benefitted from advice and help from development advisors in the HPSU team and have also worked with the Eastpoint-based Market Research Centre, as well as overseas market advisors who took us to another level in export growth development.”

     

    More than just funding

    “The mentor Enterprise Ireland provided had huge experience in our sector, as well as great contacts. He was able to offer us first-hand advice and guidance and played an integral role in making sure that our patent protection and regulatory affairs were in order.

    Following this, we were introduced to the team at SteriPack. Without them and without Enterprise Ireland, we probably wouldn’t be in existence today. The manufacturing side of the business was an obstacle for us, but the team at SteriPack were there to help us throughout the whole process. We have also received huge support from Eamonn Sayers in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, Chanelle, Lady McCoy, Pat Mullen of MSD Accountants, Dr. Paul Carson and John O’Dea.”

    Being awarded the CSF in 2016 was a big turning point for the company. “Getting the CSF investment validated what we were trying to do and gave us the confidence to grow. The CSF also helped to get our product ready-to-sell, in terms of packaging, literature and finance for our first order.

    “There’s a bit of work involved in applying, but that work will stand to you in the future – it will help you to develop a robust business plan, a detailed presentation, and iron out any issues, such as applying for patent protection and getting your finances and projections together. It will also help you to create a clear vision of your company for the future.”

     

    Advice for companies planning to apply for future CSF calls

    • Martin’s advice is to get your business plan in place: “Know exactly where the money will be assigned within the business and make sure key areas are prioritised.”
    • Next: “Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with the money, and where you want the company to be in five years’ time. If you don’t have much financial experience, you should speak with an accountant who will assist with the financial projections and P&Ls in the business plan.”
    • And: “Seek advice from someone who has been through the CSF process before.”

    Enterprise Ireland is launching a new Competitive Start Fund – All Sectors call on Tuesday 7th July 2020. Aiming to support early stage start-ups, this CSF is open to early stage companies in manufacturing and internationally traded services.

    Learn more about the Competitive Start Fund.

    MD of Wellola Sonia Neary

    Wellola aims to revolutionise the healthcare communication industry in Ireland and the UK

    “Female entrepreneurs are frequently juggling growing a business and rearing a family in parallel. They often require additional supports in order to realise their vision” 

    Wellola co-founder and MD, Sonia Neary

    Case Study: Wellola Patient Portal Software Solutions

    At a time when healthcare is never far from the news headlines both in Ireland and the UK, the race is well and truly on to find solutions that save money, streamline services, and ultimately make healthcare more accessible and cost-effective for patients. Leading the way is an innovative Irish start-up company, Wellola, whose founders believe only the sickest of the sick should be hospitalised and that the future of healthcare is preventative, community-based and supported by digital tools.

    Wellola’s co-founder is Sonia Neary, a physiotherapist who worked in clinical practice for 15 years, gaining unique insights into the needs of patients and practitioners in today’s digital age. Sonia received funding and support to realise her vision from Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund, which will open another call on March 24th 2020.

     

    Wellola supports hospitals and clinics to communicate efficiently with patients

    Winning the Irish Medical and Surgical Trade Association Integrated Care award in 2019, Wellola aims to revolutionise the way clinics and hospitals care for, and communicate with, their patients. Wellola currently serves clinics in the allied healthcare space (occupational therapists, psychologists, speech and language therapists, and more), the majority of whom are mental healthcare professionals.

    “Our patient portal system enables your patients to schedule to see you in person or online, depending on your settings”. explains Sonia. “GDPR-compliant messaging is a key feature of our software. This can be useful when sharing protected health information, saving on correspondence costs or as a therapy adjunct; for example, to support patients who mightn’t be able to put into words verbally what they want to say – both counsellors and speech and language therapists have mentioned this as a useful aid.”

    “Put simply, we’re centralising patient communication in one platform, branded to our customers’ use…” 

    “..different patients have different needs and, ultimately, it’s about giving clinics the tools to offer a more equitable, accessible and rounded care package. Accessing advice and care via smartphone can be invaluable in facilitating marginalised patients, including ethnic minorities, travelers and socially disadvantaged groups.”

    Wellola benefitsNot only does the Wellola system allow for a more seamless experience for the patient, but it also has the potential to generate huge savings for  the healthcare industry by making it easier for patients to self-manage (make, reschedule and cancel) appointments. Nearly half a million outpatient appointments were missed in Ireland in 2017 – a significant figure in such an overstretched healthcare system and the financial implications of which are catastrophic.

    “Much of this is to do with miscommunication – letters not reaching patients on time, patients not being able to get in contact with clinics via telephone to reschedule and so on,” says Sonia. “The current system is cumbersome, slow and costly – ultimately, our aim is to disrupt the way communication and scheduling is done in the healthcare industry and to make it more efficient and streamlined. Wellola could offer cost savings of €1 for every appointment letter, bill, receipt or other correspondence that doesn’t need to be posted. Almost €100 is saved for every appointment that is attended to as opposed to missed (as a direct result of the auto-reminder system) or re-filled via our real-time self-scheduling system.”

    This ambition to modernise healthcare communication has translated into a slight shift in the company’s business model, as Sonia explains: “Wellola is currently being used by over 150 clinics on the ground level in the UK and Ireland and next month sees us launch our first large scale mental healthcare network and NHS trust in the UK. Our system can be deployed in both business to business (works from clinic website) and business to enterprise settings (works from professional body or hospital site).  So whereas before we were looking at the individual clinic level, the enterprise solution version of Wellola is much more scalable; with one contract we can reach a couple of hundred or even a thousand clinicians.

     

    How support from Enterprise Ireland has helped

    It’s a fast-moving industry, and certainly there’s a keen race to be innovative and ahead of the pack. “The move towards digitization in the healthcare industry in Europe is palpable– which is great and about time. Current care models are unsustainable; our resources are limited. So what remains for us to do? Digitize and automate our processes where we can, leverage digital tools to enable and support care-giving humans to do what they do best. The key is to use a software partner who not only offers a slick communications tool, but also has the necessary endorsements, compliance and safety standards in place. We’ve had huge support from the Enterprise Ireland network in terms of implementing many of these key elements. Getting the right advice and help is key to early traction and growth.”

    Wellola MD Sonia NearySonia and co-founder Dr. Greg Martin have decades of experience in healthcare, which gives them a unique insight into the needs of the industry. But while they can see what the industry needs, they have not always had the business experience to realise that vision.

    Enterprise Ireland has given us fabulous networking and learning opportunities, as well as vital start-up funding. We actually met our now CTO and co-founder, Criostoir O’Codlatain Lachtna, during Phase 2 of New Frontiers at the Synergy Centre two years ago. We’ve received invaluable help and advice from experienced mentors such as Alan Costello, Conor Carmody and Martin Murray who ran the INNOVATE programme I participated in at Dublin BIC (we enjoyed it so much, we now have our offices onsite at the Guinness Enterprise Centre!).

    “I couldn’t underestimate the support and learnings gleaned from my peers and mentors on these accelerator programmes. Enterprise Ireland staff have always been of instrumental support; I was given access to the wonderful Anne Marie Carroll, my Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor as a Competitive Start Fund client, and now Damien McCarney as a High Potential Start-Up client. We also were able to avail of the Market Research Centre and their knowledgeable team, who gave us access to several detailed reports on our industry and its trends. Business acumen wouldn’t have been part of my original clinical training, so to have such a vast range of opportunities where I could hone my skills about the legals, marketing, sales, the pitfalls to avoid, lean business models, product/market fits, GDP, and more has been superb.”

    “I’m an equalist, which is why I’m hugely in favor of Enterprise Ireland’s remit to balance the scales in favor of diversity and gender diversity. We know that, in business, greater diversity lends itself to greater innovation and commercial success for both the company and the economy as a whole.” 

    I was invited to be part of a panel of women recently to discuss the issues that face women entrepreneurs. Many were saying they didn’t want to be singled out as a woman, but the truth is that we have different needs, we shouldn’t be afraid to acknowledge that and support those needs. For instance, I had the idea for Wellola, but held onto a steady clinical job far longer than I intended, simply because I wanted a family and it was just too challenging from a maternity leave (there is minimal support for the self-employed) and childcare perspective. Female entrepreneurs are frequently juggling growing a business and rearing a family in parallel. They often require additional supports in order to realise their vision.”

    Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF) for Female Entrepreneurs is open for applications on 7th July 2020. Under this CSF, up to €50,000 in equity funding is available to eligible early stage start-up companies. Learn more here.

    Horizon 2020 – MiniStor – supporting the development of clean and efficient energy

    “Taking part in a Horizon 2020 project is a good way to progress not only as a researcher but also personally in terms of management skills. I’ve found the whole experience to be very enriching.”

    Dr Carlos Ochoa, Co-ordinator of the MiniStor Horizon 2020 project

     

    Overview:

    • Tyndall National Institute in Cork is leading an international consortium that is developing an advanced, compact, integrated solar-powered system that stores heat in a novel way.
    • The project is being significantly funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
    • The project is on course to achieve its first milestone of completing a preliminary design by July 2020.

     

    MiniStor case study

    If two heads are better than one then it goes without saying that multiple research centres, universities and specialist companies working together can achieve more than one. That’s the philosophy that underpins the Horizon 2020 programme. The European Union’s research and innovation instrument has an €80 billion funding pot and is supporting consortia across Europe to transition great ideas from the laboratory to the market.

    One of those great ideas is the MiniStor project, the brainchild of Dr Carlos Ochoa of the International Energy Research Centre, which is based at Tyndall National Institute in University College Cork in partnership with Cork City Council.

    “In basic terms the MiniStor project is about storing heat from the sun to use later. The heat is captured via renewable energy sources such as solar panels and then stored in special salts, making it much more energy efficient than water-based systems,” explains Ochoa.

    The project aims to significantly decrease energy consumption in residential buildings, reducing their overall environmental impact.

     

    Building the team

    “When I read the Horizon 2020 call for technologies enabling energy-efficient systems and energy-efficient buildings, I made a preliminary sketch of my idea and then we considered what the scope of the project would be and started looking for scientific partners who could help us make the idea a reality,” says Ochoa.

    “We needed particular expertise so we began contacting people via websites and LinkedIn to get them interested in the idea. We got help from Enterprise Ireland and the Tyndall European Office to find and contact some key partners.  

    “In the end we found 17 other institutions across eight countries who were interested in working with us. Then we were ready to respond to the competitive call.”

     

    Applying for Horizon 2020 support

    The process of applying for Horizon 2020 support is sometimes perceived as being complex and onerous but, as Dr Ochoa explains, there is plenty of help available.

    “It’s true that preparing the application is very time intensive but there are support services available. Nationally, Enterprise Ireland leads the Horizon 2020 support network and their support was excellent in terms of reviewing the main idea to determine if it had some potential; that’s like a reality check. They were also able to give advice on what’s required in the application documentation,” says Ochoa. “I also had a lot of support from within the Tyndall National Institute.”

    The application was a success and the project received funding of over 7.5 million, some 87% of its total budget.

    “Without Horizon 2020 support this project could not have gone ahead. We may have been able to do something at a much smaller scale but we wouldn’t have had access to the same amount of expertise,” says Ochoa.

     

    The experience so far

    Ochoa has been a participant in Horizon 2020 projects before but this is his first time as co-ordinator.

    “Being the co-ordinator for an international project that has so many participants can be challenging because everyone has their own working style and their particular corporate culture so you have to balance the needs of the partners with the needs of the project. So far it has been working well and we’ve been able to iron out any small issues that have arisen,” says Ochoa.

    Now six months into the project the team are closing in on achieving their first milestone – the preliminary design for the MiniStor system.

    “It’s not a trivial achievement because all these components have not been combined before.”

    Unfortunately the advent of the Covid-19 crisis and ensuing lockdown has impacted on the project. “We have slight delays because we have some demonstration sites, which are actual homes in different countries around Europe. The restrictions are preventing us from entering the houses to do monitoring. So that’s pushing back the timeline for a few months,” says Ochoa.

     

    Advice to others

    Dr Ochoa is keen to encourage other researchers to apply to Horizon 2020 or its successor Horizon Europe (2021–2027), an ambitious funding programme that will be larger than Horizon 2020 and will begin to roll out next year.

    “It’s a good way to progress not only as a researcher but also personally in terms of management skills, which are required if you are aiming for more senior positions. I’ve found the whole experience to be very enriching. Of course it takes a lot of time and effort but it pays off,” says Ochoa.

    “My experience of interacting with Enterprise Ireland has been very positive. If you have a question about Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe they know very well what’s going on and can provide advice, and they are also very ready to give us talks explaining the scope and opportunities presented by EU programmes.”

     

    For advice or further information about applying for Horizon 2020 support please contact h2020support@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizon2020.ie

    Portwest – targeting new markets with GradStart

    GradStart

     

    Bringing linguistic graduates onboard allowed us to bring in talent that could research Spanish and French speaking territories, and open opportunities for our sales teams, which contributed to our target of 20% growth.

    Deirdre Clarke, HR Manager, Portwest

    Overview:

    • Portwest is a market leader in the design and manufacture of stylish, comfortable, high-quality workwear that meets recognised international standards.
    • With customer support staff in over 120 countries, the company used Enterprise Ireland’s GradStart initiative to attract fresh graduate talent with French and Spanish language skills to research new markets and drive business activity.
    • The GradStart programme offers salary support of up to 70% for the employment of graduate talent to assist companies when expanding into new markets.

     

    1. What attracted you to get involved in GradStart?

    We are very fortunate to have a great Development Advisor (DA), who consistently keeps us informed of programs which may be of benefit to our specific business. As we had already taken part in the similar G4IG program, we felt that GradStart would be another fantastic initiative from Enterprise Ireland to help with the development and international growth of our business. At that time we were also in the process of developing a formal Portwest Graduate Program. The timing was ideal for us as GradStart gave us the additional option of introducing a linguistic element to this program.

     

    2. What did GradStart allow you to do that you wouldn’t have done otherwise?

    GradStart allowed us to provide opportunities to newly qualified graduates at our headquarters here in the West of Ireland, and to include a linguistic dimension to our commercial team which up to now was 100% English speaking. We now have two talented graduates with French and Spanish capabilities who are able to help us explore new market opportunities In particularly across South America and Mexico.

     

    3. What challenges and/or opportunities did GradStart help you address?

    We had struggled with the exploration of non-English speaking markets. Bringing linguistic graduates onboard allowed us to bring in talent that could research Spanish and French speaking territories, and open opportunities for our sales teams, which contributed to our target of 20% growth. In turn, this allowed us to provide further job opportunities in these regions as we were able to justify the recruitment of sales staff to follow through on the opportunities identified by our graduates.

     

    4. Which areas of the business did the graduate contribute to?

    Market research and explorative work in heretofore unexplored territories. This is ongoing and while GradStart partially funds the salaries for such graduates for a two year period, we would envisage the continuation of such due to the success of these roles and how the program helps contribute to Portwest’s growth.

     

    5. Were there any learnings from your participation in GradStart that you have taken forward into your business.

    We have learned that only hiring experienced staff with x years’ experience in x industry can be limiting. Hiring graduates with their fresh approach and up to date knowledge of their areas of expertise can truly contribute in a meaningful way to our corporate goals. Furthermore, the satisfaction of being able to bring these graduates straight from college to management roles within such a short space of time is highly rewarding for any employer. We currently have graduates in managerial positions in our sites in Australia, USA and HQ and will look to add Europe and the UK to this as part of our 2020 Graduate program.

     

    6. Would you recommend GradStart to your business peers? If so, why?

    This is a fantastic way to introduce a graduate program to your company if you do not already have one. We had previously brought in graduates on an ad hoc basis, but between G4IG and now GradStart, this meant that we were able to formalise a program and become confident in our offering. This is a fantastic opportunity for any graduate looking to kick-start their career and with Enterprise Ireland funding, it is wonderful that businesses can get involved in such a great initiative.

     

    7. Which languages were the graduates skilled in?

    French and Spanish.

     

    8. Have you stayed in touch with the graduate?

    Yes – our graduates are still with us as they joined us in September 2019 for a two year period. One graduate will remain on site here at Portwest HQ while the other, following an initial training period at Portwest headquarters, has now relocated to our Kentucky office where they will continue to work with our Sales, Commercial and Marketing teams on exploring new markets. We see this as an ongoing project now, and a model which we would hope to continue after our current GradStart program is complete.

    Learn more about GradStart and how it can support your business growth.

    How Payslip filled a gap in the multinational payroll market

    “Enterprise Ireland provided great support through its fintech network. They enabled us to leverage international channels and acquire clients.”


    Payslip Founder & CEO Fidelma McGuirk

    Overview:

    • Founded in 2015, Payslip empowers multinational companies to standardise global payroll processes and manage international data, resources and vendors on a single platform.
    • Began its seed funding process and applied for High Potential Start-Up support in February 2018.
    • Since then, Payslip has acquired 23 clients across Europe and the US, including LogMeIn, GetYourGuide and Airbus, and the company has plans to increase sales by 400% in 2020.

     

    Case Study: Payslip

    As CEO and Director of Operations for an international tax company, Fidelma McGuirk was in charge of company growth and management across 21 countries. At the time, her company was using a variety of payroll service vendors. Frustratingly, she found no existing technology that could automate, integrate, and streamline their global payroll operations. So, she decided to create a platform to deliver this.

    Payslip provides automation and integration technology to multi-national employers to standardise their global payroll management. Payslip technology integrates with human capital management and accounting/ERP systems, automating payroll processes and standardising global payroll data and reporting. With Payslip, multinational clients can centrally manage their global payroll operations with visibility, control and governance as they expand operations across borders.

    Pre-launch, McGuirk and her team conducted robust market testing. They spoke to over 470 multinational employers, payroll providers, and international payroll associations, including the Global Payroll Management Institute in the US and the Global Payroll Association in the UK. McGuirk’s instincts were correct: there was a strong need for a new global payroll model with a focus on automation and standardisation.

    In February 2018, Payslip began its seed funding process and applied for HPSU support. The start-up found solid support in its Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor (DA), who helped to guide Payslip through the application process. Once HPSU status was gained, the goal was to seek a strong investor partnership that would help grow the business and open international channels to multinational companies.

    “HPSU offered us established, structured support,” says McGuirk. “As an organisation, they have international market experience—they’ve been through this journey before. They were able to arrange the specific introductions needed in foreign markets.”

    Over the past two years, Payslip has acquired 23 clients headquartered across Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, and the US. Clients like Airbus, Teamwork, AMCS Group, Argon Medical Devices, LogMeIn, Phorest and others use the Payslip platform to manage and control global payroll for employees in over 60 countries. Sales increased 500% after the first year and McGuirk says the company has plans to increase by another 400% in 2020.

     

    Educating the marketplace on the need for payroll innovation

    Initially, the greatest challenge was helping potential investors and clients to understand how Payslip technology could disrupt and transform the market.

    “What we were doing was different than what was done before, Payslip is a technology solution for global payroll, not a service for payroll calculations,” McGuirk says. “We had to educate the market and help people understand that we don’t compete with payroll service providers—we collaborate with them.”

    Payslip brought something entirely new to the table: a technology solution to automate and standardise the global payroll process in a way that delivers central governance, while accommodating local country payroll nuances . Previously, the established industry players were traditional global payroll service offerings like ADP, Ceridian, and CloudPay. These service firms focus on delivering in-country payroll calculation and compliance expertise. According to McGuirk, there is no other platform that provides a single, end-to-end global payroll management solution like Payslip.

    Payslip began acquiring early-adopter clients and interest was high among high-growth, technology-based companies. McGuirk says the first client was naturally the hardest to land. After that, things took off quickly. Thanks to the growing number of multinational companies who are going digital to achieve central governance, Payslip is now the leader in the new Gartner industry category of digital payroll services.

     

    More markets, more clients

    Payslip closed its Series A fundraising in February 2020 and, so far, all its initial investors have followed their investment in Payslip. McGuirk says that being a HPSU company will help it achieve its goal of continued international growth pointing out that Enterprise Ireland has resources in the right foreign markets. Their international teams have a good understanding of what is happening locally, which is crucial for market penetration.

    “We intend to extend our reach into more markets and acquire more clients,” McGuirk says. “Our single focus is to continue growing our client base internationally from our headquarters in Westport, Co. Mayo. Enterprise Ireland is very supportive of this objective.

    Part of Payslip’s growth plan includes the expansion of its sales and engineering teams here in Ireland to support those global aspirations. Working together with Enterprise Ireland and the HPSU team, McGuirk is confident that her company can optimise its commercial capabilities to capitalise on growth opportunities and gain market share.

    Click here to learn more about becoming a HPSU or contact our Start-Up Enquiries Team to find out more.