Organico: Turning online retail into a healthy business during Covid-19

Online trading has become a lifeline for retail businesses that have had to close during the recent Covid-19 lockdowns.

Even when things eventually get back to normal, it’s widely predicted that the gains in online business will continue as consumers become accustomed to this way of shopping. Enterprise Ireland’s Online Retail Scheme is designed to help smaller Irish retailers develop their online offering – and those who availed of it pre- and during the pandemic have been reaping the rewards that a good ecommerce site can offer during difficult times.

One such business is Organico, a West Cork family-run healthfood business, which was founded in 1992 by Alan Dare and currently run by his daughters, Hannah and Rachel. The original bricks and mortar store was joined over time by a café and a bakery, and about a decade ago, by an online shop too.

“In West Cork there’s always been a strong interest in health, as a lot of people would have relocated here because they wanted to escape the mainstream,” explains Hannah. “As a result, we had a good customer base from the start. However, even though our customer base is spread out over all of West Cork and in the summer we would have benefited from the tourist trade, it’s still a limited market. So going online was an obvious move for us to expand our business.

“We first went online about ten years ago, when we had to choose between another bricks and mortar store and a website.

“We started out with just niche products on a WordPress site; now we have around 3,000 live products, and possibly another 1,000 products that either come and go or are in the pipeline to be added.” says Hannah

 

Expanding the business

For Organico, an online shop was a challenge as they offer such a wide range of products. Building this kind of ecommerce shop requires a lot of expertise, technology and funding, as a system needs to be put in place with such sophisticated functions as integrated stock levels to make order fulfilment as easy as possible for the company and for the business to be viable with less manual work. So before the company enhanced their online offering, Hannah and Rachel applied for funding from Enterprise Ireland’s Online Retail Scheme.

“We’ve had two rounds of the Online Retail Scheme, and Enterprise Ireland has been incredibly helpful,” says Hannah. “We received the first funding last year, and we applied because we wanted to upgrade the online shop software – which is a huge investment. 

“For us, the funding was hugely helpful, as to get the expertise and the work of good ecommerce specialists would be out of our budget otherwise.

“We also work with a digital marketing company who specialise in helping smaller companies. When you’re a small business it’s all about word of mouth; online was a completely different experience for us and you’re using a whole load of platforms you’re not familiar with. The scheme helped us access the right support for marketing our online offerings.

“The scheme has allowed us to access support companies, and I believe that is the scheme’s big benefit – to lift smaller retailers and allow them to compete with bigger companies.”

 

Overcoming Covid-19 and Brexit issues

For Organico, the funding couldn’t have come at a better time. “We were incredibly lucky because the funding came in before Covid-19 hit. We had a very busy Christmas with hampers in 2019, and we had to ramp up our production as a result. Then we had a little breather before the lockdown came in. But, by then, our new online shop was ready and we were able to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by lockdown to build our online business.”

As Organico is considered an essential retailer, their shop is still trading – that said, online is currently playing a massive role in the company’s operations. “Right now, it’s nearly 50/50 between online and the main business because of lockdown. During the last lockdown we got so busy that we had to temporarily turn the website off; this lockdown, we’ve built that online business even further. This time we’ve also had local people buying online, which is new for us.”

Any boost is welcome for businesses in these tricky times, especially for retail businesses like Organico, who also have Brexit to deal with. “We’ve had time to prepare for Brexit, to source products directly from Europe,” says Hannah. “There has been a lot of improvements in labelling over the last few years, which has allowed us look for goods from places like Holland. That said, because of the nature of the deal, our preparations didn’t translate into a smooth transition and we’ve had a couple of issues, such as organic certification and foods of animal origin, which affects even supplements containing fish oil.”

Alongside dealing with these issues, Hannah is keep to set up the right structure to service their clients even better post-lockdown. “Right now, we’re hiring to strengthen our online team, and we’re having to expand the physical space too, to cope with the online business. We’ve decided not to reopen the café as it’s a big space and although we’d be busy in the summer, it’s too big a space for most of the year. We’re currently using it as a warehouse for online, but our long-term plan is to expand the shop to make it safer for shoppers post-lockdown, and to make it more efficient for picking up online orders. Good service for both online and in-person customers is important for success in the future.”

Learn how the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme can support your retail business online growth.

Greenes Shoes: Putting their best foot forward in online retail

Fashion online retail is a fiercely competitive area; here, an Irish retailer might find themselves fighting for business alongside stores from all over the world, not to mention giants such as Amazon, ASOS, Shein, Littlewoods and more. But for Greenes Shoes, with seven shops in Letterkenny, Galway and Limerick, an improved online presence meant opening their market up beyond their geographical area, and most importantly, providing insurance during the unprecedented effects of Covid-19 lockdowns.

Recognising that the retail environment was changing rapidly, Orla McFadden, general manager and director at Greenes Shoes, applied to Enterprise Ireland’s Online Retail Scheme  to improve their website, a move that was to pay off immensely in 2020. “We began our website about ten years ago, as we knew that online was going to be a big part of the future for retail. We started off small, with only our bestsellers and just one image per shoe, and it’s only really in the last couple of years that we’ve really concentrated on it.

“I think you also have to remember that a website is not just about selling online; a lot of people do their research online before coming into the shop to buy. So we felt that having a presence online was vital for our business. The main challenge online is competition, but there’s also the challenge of showcasing our brand to a wider audience amidst all of that competition and driving more traffic to the website.”

But rather than being put off by the intensely competitive nature of online fashion retail, Orla and her team decided to go for it, applying for the scheme to update their website’s platform. “Our previous platform was quite old and when online activity increased during the first lockdown, I realised how much manual work was involved in fulfilling orders. So I used the money to move to a platform that was integrated with our stock system and with our couriers.”

 

Lifeline during lockdown

Orla was already planning the new site, and when lockdown hit and Greenes had been accepted for the scheme, she was able to give the project her complete attention and get the new site up and running as soon as possible – which she achieved in mid-April 2020. “The timing was ideal as I was able to concentrate on it 100%, and obviously when trading stopped, so did our cash flow, so knowing we have that funding there for the job really was a godsend.

“It was harder for people who had no online presence at all because it was a lifeline during lockdown. The updated website allowed us to do a lot more ourselves, such as putting certain products at the front of the site, rather than having to ring a company to do it for us. For instance, at the start of the lockdowns, sales of healthcare workplace shoes, such as nurses’ shoes, just went through the roof, and we were able to promote these and put them to the front of the site so easily. The customer journey was so much easier too. Really, it was like chalk and cheese between the old and the new website.”

With the bricks and mortar shops closed for a third of 2020, the increased online business was a lifeline for the company and showed Orla and her team that just because the shops were shut, this didn’t mean that people did not want to shop for shoes. “About ten days after the shops shut, online picked up and rapidly increased after that. You could see then that people still had the appetite for buying shoes and if they couldn’t come into the shop, they’d go online instead. And in a way, I think the crisis changed people’s buying habits. 

“Our online business plateaued and levelled when we reopened, but they stayed at a much higher rate than before the lockdown.” says Orla

 

Going a step further

Orla now believes that their website is the perfect accompaniment to their seven shops, especially as consumers have now adapted to shopping online. “I think online really is the way of the future,” she explains. “You don’t know what’s coming down the line, so it’s good to have that part of the business developed. I think people have changed their habits too, maybe discovered how handy online shopping is. Plus it opens up our business to the entire country and beyond.

“I can’t open a shop in every county in Ireland but by going online, I can sell to every county. We also have customers in the UK and Europe, and this is something we’d like to develop further.” 

And with Brexit causing issues for Irish shoppers on UK sites, Greenes is in a great position to increase their business both online and in-store. “I think we will benefit from Brexit; added charges and longer shipping times might encourage Irish people to order from Irish retailers instead. Also, I think the Covid-19 pandemic has made Irish people more inclined to buy Irish and support local retailers, and Brexit has just intensified that.”

For now, as she awaits the signal that their shops can reopen, Orla is concentrating on improving the website even further. “This time, we’ll invest in adding extra functionality to the site, such as store locators, giftwrapping, a virtual shopper to show you more styles that you might like in the same category or brand. These functions will make the site even smarter and more user friendly, and really establish Greenes as a strong online retailer.”

Learn how the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme can support your retail business online growth.

German Healthcare System: Telekom Healthcare Cloud

 

The German healthcare market is the largest in Europe offering a wide range of opportunities for Irish medtech and e-health businesses.

This Enterprise Ireland webinar discusses the importance of using a reliable cloud provider when providing business services to the German Healthcare System.

Watch the webinar to hear insights from Alexander Gerlach,  Telekom Healthcare Solutions on:

  • Why businesses should use a trusted cloud provider in the German healthcare sector?

  • What makes the German market so unique?

  • Open Telekom Cloud: Public LaaS for European Enterprises

  • Importance of Data protection and compliance – Certifications

 

Middle East Aviation: Ready to soar once again in the post-pandemic future

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit few sectors harder than the aviation industry, with severe restrictions on travel and closed borders resulting in a dramatic decline in passenger volumes globally. Airports around the world have had their resilience tested to the limit as they faced the initial paralysis of the skies, followed by the ongoing waves of the pandemic. However, there is a glimmer of light on the horizon driven by the rollout of the global vaccination programme in the majority of countries, albeit at different levels of implementation.

 

Predicted growth

Despite the significantly curtailed demand globally and regionally due to Covid-19, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts the Middle East will see a 4.4 percent growth in passenger journeys over the period through to 2039. “With the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) home to some of the most advanced airports in the world and often exceling in passenger service, they are on the front foot to ensure restored confidence in flying once again,” said Alan O’ Mahony, Market Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region at Enterprise Ireland.

“Airport operators and airlines are monitoring the situation closely and continue to adapt to the evolving situation. They are now faced with the challenge of balancing additional health and safety requirements with providing a good passenger experience as they seek to restore confidence in air travel. Innovation and technology across the Middle East will play a key role in unlocking improvements for passenger experience and safety whilst also igniting the recovery for the sector. Ireland has forged a strong reputation for delivering world-leading innovative solutions that are used every day by the largest airlines in the world and across the wider aviation sector. We need this innovation now more than ever to power the industry’s recovery and Irish companies will continue to shape this new age for air travel.”

Pandemic-era air travel

Technology has advanced swiftly over the course of the pandemic in reaction to the ever-changing environment, and a new focus on health considerations in technology and process transformation has emerged.

“One trend that will become more widespread is the adoption of contactless technology in order to minimise the spread of viruses and reduce interaction between staff and passengers throughout the entire journey,” explained Alan. “A good case in point is Irish company IO Systems which operates the automated baggage return tray systems in Dubai International Airport. The company has adapted its latest models to include blue light cleansing technology to ensure their trays are actively cleaned as they automatically return through the baggage system. Airports can ensure additional safety measures are applied whilst still ensuring a good passenger experience is delivered through the introduction of these type of innovative solutions.”

 

Taking flight

“The hot topic in the industry right now is the digital health certification to capture the completed vaccination process or Covid-19 status of people intending to fly,” said Alan. “Irish biometric identity assurance specialist Daon is leading the way by creating the world’s first widely adopted mobile health passport to help those eligible to travel to navigate the changing entry requirements associated with Covid-19. The company’s new VeriFLY app, which has already been adopted by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia Airlines and Aer Lingus, is designed to offer peace of mind before travel by ensuring passengers meet the entry requirements of their destination.”

VeriFLY provides digital health document verification, confirms eligibility, and allows people to combine necessary travel documents, such as Covid-19 test results, in one place, allowing travellers to ensure they are fully compliant with all the departure and arrival requirements before leaving home. Certified customers will be fast-tracked through the airport where specially designated desks are available for check in.

“The ingenuity, ambition, and adaptability that Daon and their partners have demonstrated throughout the pandemic are making a significant contribution to restoring traveller confidence and ensuring a positive passenger experience. It’s just one example of how innovation from Ireland, one of the major travel tech hubs in the world, is playing a leading role in the recovery for the sector.”

 

Advanced technologies

Responses to Covid-19 have accelerated the adoption of digital technologies across almost all sectors, and it’s thought that many of these changes will have a lasting impact. “With the global smart airports market to top $22.6 billion (USD) by 2025, the requirement for advanced technologies – especially as part of the immediate recovery – will continue to be an important market for the vast array of Irish companies operating in the sector. We are likely to see new entrants into the airport space across technologies such as biometrics, robotics, cloud technologies and IoT.”

“There is no doubt that the Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on the air travel industry and the recovery for the industry is still some distance away. With that said, recent trends offer reasons for cautious optimism. While it’s certain that air travel will never look the same again, these innovative solutions will help to ensure international airline travel is, once more, cleared for take-off.”

 

Germany’s Hospital Future Act

     

     

    The German healthcare market is the largest in Europe offering a wide range of opportunities for Irish medtech and e-health businesses.

    Due to a new law signed this year, the German government is investing €3 billion in digitalising its healthcare system.

    This Enterprise Ireland webinar examines

    • the opportunities arising from healthcare digitalisation

    • the Hospital Future Act and the significance for companies with relevant solutions

    • how to navigate the landscape and position your solution effectively

    This webinar is chaired by Enterprise Ireland Market Advisor Nicol Hoppe

    with expert insights from:

    Carsten Schmidt – Co- Founder of Digital Health Port

    NIVA – simplifying the Common Agricultural Policy claims process

    Horizon 2020 is an ideal funding stream as it enables cross-border collaboration and ensures that technology developed will be fit for purpose on a pan European basis.

    David Hearne, Walton Institute, NIVA Horizon 2020 project

    Key Takeouts:

    • Walton Institute (formerly TSSG), part of the Waterford Institute of Technology, is involved in a project that aims to develop and implement a range of digital innovations to improve the administration of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
    • The NIVA project has received €10.5m in funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
    • Walton Institute is focused on developing a geo-tagged photo app to help simplify the CAP claims process for farmers and paying agencies.

    H2020 Case Study: NIVA

      The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) supports farmers, safeguards agri-food supplies and encourages sustainable management of land resources. Administering and controlling payments to farmers under CAP is done through the integrated administration and control system (IACS), which is the subject of the Horizon 2020 project, NIVA (New IACS Vision in Action).

      The three-year project, led by The Netherlands’ Wageningen University & Research and involving 27 partners, aims to modernise IACS by delivering a suite of digital solutions, e-tools and good practices for e-governance. These will ultimately produce more transparent, simpler processes that will reduce the administrative burden on farmers, paying agencies and other stakeholders.

      In Ireland, a multi-disciplinary team made up of The Walton Institute (formerly TSSG) – a centre of excellence for ICT research and innovation – the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – and led by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is tasked with developing a geo-tagged photo app.

      The app will be used to resolve claim queries by enabling farmers to send digital photos of their land parcels directly to the paying agency, which will reduce the need for inspections and accelerate claim processing.

      “Our app is one of nine innovations in this project with different countries working on each,” explains David Hearne of Walton Institute’s Creative Design Unit. “Other areas include decision support systems, machine data and a solution for simplifying payments, but in the end they will all come together in one ecosystem, which will be used by paying agencies across Europe.”

      Although it won’t be the first geo-tagged photo app on the market, Hearne explains that what sets this one apart is the user-centric, multi-actor design.

      “We take the approach that we don’t know what the users want; we can’t decide what’s best for a farmer in the west of Ireland who needs to send a photo to the Dept of Agriculture. So the project started by gathering data about the needs of all stakeholders, not just in Ireland but across Europe. It’s an iterative process, so when we’d developed the first version of the app, it was tested by users across Europe and their feedback informed the next iteration and so on.

      “The fact that farmers and other stakeholders have been involved from the beginning gives them a sense of ownership, and that should result in a higher adoption rate at the end,” adds Hearne.

       

      Horizon benefits  

      Horizon 2020 has provided €10.5m in funding for the project, but beyond the financial investment the programme offers multiple other benefits.

      Horizon 2020 is an ideal funding stream as it enables cross-border collaboration and ensures that technology developed will be fit for purpose on a pan European basis,” says Hearne

      “Currently, our app is being tested across nine EU countries with over 200 users, and other solutions being developed under NIVA will likewise be tested across different countries, so there’s a lot of interaction, integration and learning across the project.”

      Monthly work package meetings and bi-monthly project meetings, all virtual at the minute, keep the project on course and ensure that innovation is shared across the partners.

      On a personal and professional level, Hearne believes his involvement in Horizon 2020 projects has been highly advantageous.

      “It’s great to focus on these large projects with so many moving parts. You learn so much, for example, the various technologies used in different countries, how they are implemented and what the issues are.

      Hearne confirms “The opportunity to collaborate with researchers in other countries is also invaluable. You build up a huge contact base, which gives you the opportunity to collaborate on more projects.”

      To others who have not yet dipped their toe in the Horizon water, Hearne simply says “Do it”.

      “It’s a great opportunity to be involved in projects that can actually change people’s lives. With NIVA we’re reducing the burden on farmers, so we’re making a difference. My advice would be to focus on something that you’re really passionate about.”

      His other advice is to seek out the right partners at the start and use the supports that are available to help with putting the proposal together.

      “I was involved in writing sections of the NIVA proposal. It was a new experience for me because I come from a very technical background, but I had the support of people in WIT to guide me in how to approach it. And the more you do it the easier it gets.

      “We’re also in close contact with Enterprise Ireland, who have a real interest in the project, and we know that they’re there to help us if we need it.”

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

       

      One Planet. One Health – Danone and GreenPlus

      “The health of people and the planet are intertwined.  You can’t have one without the other”, states Mark Stafford, Nature and Sustainability Manager at Danone, Wexford.

      Danone’s mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible with high quality products contributing to all life stages. This is where sustainability and the environment comes in and it is one of the four key pillars at the company – they have now adopted ‘nature’ as a business fundamental for all supply points and sustainability roadmaps for their brands.

      The company used Enterprise Ireland’s GreenPlus scheme to empower line management and teams to manage and improve energy performance at basic unit level and they have now achieved certification to the prestigious ISO 50001 International Energy Management Standard.  This standard aims to help organisations to continually reduce their energy use and therefore their energy costs and their greenhouse gas emissions.

      Through their work with GreenPlus, the Energy Management System (EnMS) at Danone has now been implemented successfully across the site, system accreditation has taken place and a number of energy saving opportunities have been identified. This has enabled the company to implement solutions and their annual energy savings are now measured and verified.

      So how was their journey with Enterprise Ireland’s GreenPlus and what were their main challenges? Peter Pearson, Nature Co-ordinator explains: “We started looking at the gaps and found the biggest gap was metering.  Data monitoring and reporting systems presented a challenge as the metering available on-site did not satisfy our requirements with regard to reporting detail and frequency”.

      “Going down the ISO 50001 route focused our minds on the areas we needed to tackle. It raised awareness within the company.  It identified savings and improved our knowledge on the use of energy onsite.  We found the process easy to navigate and it was fairly straightforward. It was great to have the support of Enterprise Ireland and it was very helpful.”

      Danone aims to become carbon zero across their value chain by 2050 and to do that all elements of the business need to become carbon neutral. “Our plant in Co. Wexford has become the first infant formula production site in the world to be certified as carbon neutral.”

      “Our net zero carbon rating has been certified by the Carbon Trust, an independent global climate change and sustainability consultancy,”  said Stafford

      Explaining the benefits across Danone of engaging with GreenPlus, he pointed out that “We needed buy in from management which we quickly achieved and it was also important to make all employees aware of where we needed to get to and our ambitions. We weren’t surprised that through the GreenPlus process we identified many opportunities – we knew they were there but just didn’t have visibility of them.  The process helped us to pinpoint exactly where we needed to make improvements”.

      “As part of our roadmap for the project there was also a huge focus on energy reduction and efficiencies and implementation of the ISO 50001 was crucial to that journey”.

      From a business perspective, Mark Stafford and Peter Pearson point out that consumers and customers are looking for sustainability more and more and all the research backs this up.  The expectation is there and that goes for all activities within a company.

      “The feedback is that people want more sustainably produced products and environmentally friendly products.” 

      “All employees are now aware of where we need to get to.  We have nature champions across our business units and they are now bringing in their own ideas in relation to sustainability and the environment for our brands.  There are a lot of projects now going on in the company. This includes our intention for all of our supply points and business units to be BCorp certified. We know where we are and where we need to get to and what we want to achieve.  We are very focused.”

       To get your business ready for a green future visit Climate Enterprise Action Fund or contact the Climate Action Team

      Evolve UK Webinar – Pricing

      This webinar,  in  conjunction with Simon-Kucher & Partners, examines the most important profit driver; Pricing. It will also discuss how professionally managing pricing can add millions to your bottom line.

      Chaired by Deirdre McPartlin, Manager of Enterprise Ireland UK, with expert insights from Simon-Kucher & Partners, a leading global consultancy specialising in top-line growth strategies with 35 years of experience with monetization topics of all kinds – from pricing strategies, customer segmentation, user experience, offer design, and packaging, to negotiation techniques, and sales excellence.

        • Mark Billige – CEO

        • Peter Colman – Partner

        • Phil Derby – Business Partner, Ireland

         

        Changing Construction – How GreenStart has Powered Passive Sills

        Cork-based company Passive Sills was created with a vision of making changes in the construction industry

        The company could not be more timely in their mission as together building and construction are said to be responsible for a massive 39% of all carbon emissions in the world right now.  Passive Sills produces thermally efficient building products and offers environmentally friendly building materials and product options to the construction industry.

        Globally, leading cities and companies are committing to a highly efficient and decarbonised building stock by 2050 but put simply – the Paris Agreement is demanding an even more ambitious built environment strategy than is currently there and for this to happen strong implementation is required.

        The European Commission has recognised the vital role that the built environment sector can play in delivering the requirements of the EU2050 long-term strategy to become climate-neutral.

        Passive Sills wanted to push forward on this with the help of Enterprise Ireland GreenStart funding and gain a clear picture of the environmental impact of manufacturing their products.

        “In the construction industry, everything is going towards zero carbon emissions.  It’s going to be a requirement in EU legislation anyway and taking into account the Paris agreement and what this country, the world and individual companies are doing to reduce emissions, it made sense for us to get on board as soon as possible”, explains spokesperson Janice O’Leary.

        “We want to spread the word and change the way people think when they are building. They have the option to move away from heavy concrete and go for lightweight more thermally efficient options.  New Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standards requirements are a reality now and people are making more informed choices as it’s all about future proofing.  Our products including our insulated window sills and oversills suit most types of construction projects, have a lower carbon footprint and are 64% more thermally efficient than concrete, reducing cold bridging. They also have almost half the embodied carbon of concrete alternatives.”

         

        Support from GreenStart

        So how did Enterprise Ireland GreenStart support Passive Sills?  The company had very clear goals – to carry out a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of their products to understand clearly all the processes and materials that have an impact on the environment and to produce a Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and a public Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) which now sits proudly on their website. Passive Sills also wanted to produce an Organisation Environmental Footprint (OEF) for their custom manufacturing facility in Youghal.  In addition, they wanted to receive access and training for a new online reporting tool called Ecochain, to generate detailed reports for clients.

        “The Enterprise Ireland GreenStart grant helped us to nail all of this down. While we needed a lot of information for certain calculations and it did take time, we were able to calculate our carbon footprint and were pleasantly surprised with some of the results that we found. We have now also launched a new website – lightweightmouldings.ie – offering a full range of lightweight decorative mouldings and we’re expanding our product range.”

        “The GreenStart process made us think in a slightly different way.  All of this was something that we would have had to do in the future anyway – specifically we knew the requirement for an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) would be coming down the line – and Enterprise Ireland gave us a push to get it done now.”

        “We were more than happy with the process and what we achieved and we would highly recommend the process to other businesses.”

         

        To get your business ready for a green future visit Climate Enterprise Action Fund or contact the Climate Action Team

         

        Ground-Breaking BidX1: Building GHG Strategy with GreenStart

        Fast-moving digital property company BidX1 is changing the way property is bought and sold, making the process more transparent, efficient and convenient for users.

        The firm has developed an innovative digital platform, tailored specifically for real estate transactions, and has sold over 10,000 properties to date, raising more than €2bn.

        This rapidly expanding company, which is transforming the property landscape through technology has also taken a forward-thinking approach to climate action and sustainability.  BidX1 embarked on the Enterprise Ireland GreenStart programme to help them develop a GHG Emissions and Carbon Strategy – with the goal of ensuring that environmental principles are embedded in their business model.

        The company, which is headquartered in Dublin and has operations in the UK, Spain, South Africa and Cyprus, was founded on an inherently sustainable ethos.  “We knew we were doing well from a sustainability perspective, but we didn’t have precise metrics to work with because we have been in such a high-growth phase for the past few years.”

        “We’ve now established a Carbon strategy and have calculated our emissions across every market, identifying hotspots and key areas for improvement” explains Nicole Pomeroy, Head of Communications. 

        While 2020 and the global pandemic was a watershed for traditional real estate agents, it was not a significant transition for BidX1 who pioneered a fully digital model in 2015.

        “We have developed a digital platform which connects users across the globe with property investment opportunities in 5 markets – and enables them to complete the entire transaction online. We wanted to match that level of innovation and ambition in our environmental policies, putting climate action at the forefront of our decisions as we expand existing operations and also enter new markets”, she explained.

        Passion for sustainability

        Recommending the Enterprise Ireland GreenStart process she said: “All that is needed to start the process is somebody who is passionate and committed – and who is willing to bring that passion throughout the company” referring to her colleague Eanna Glynn who is part of the finance team and the Head of Sustainability at BidX1.

        Eanna is passionate about sustainability and environmental issues and has led the charge within BidX1 with the full support of CEO Stephen McCarthy and the management team.  “We looked specifically at greenhouse gas emissions for the GreenStart process. I wanted to aim for carbon neutrality and when I spoke to the management team, they encouraged me to figure out what that journey would look like for us. We kickstarted that with a carbon assessment. It did seem daunting at first but once we had connected with our advisors via GreenStart, who are experts in this field, the process became quite seamless,” he explained.

        “We have set up a dedicated sustainability team within the company with a sustainability lead in each of our markets as we had to think globally. GreenStart with Enterprise Ireland was the starting point for that.  We have been focussed internally so far but we will now be assessing more of our suppliers to encourage change externally too”.

        They have been blown away by the enthusiasm within BidX1.  “It has had a snowball effect – it’s not just us driving this – it’s everybody.  We always thought we would be pushing a rock up a hill but for us the rock is already at the top of that hill! There is such support and enthusiasm internally – and while we have said that we can’t do everything all at once when it comes to sustainability – that enthusiasm is a good problem to have!”

        The advice from BidX1 to other companies starting out on their green transformation journey is: “Don’t be afraid. Get started, with the right advice and assistance from Enterprise Ireland. Don’t think that because you are a professional services company or office-based firm that it’s not for you and it’s not relevant. It is. Until you start measuring and are clear on your own figures and targets, you cannot effect meaningful change.  It’s not just manufacturing companies that have to race to achieve the 2050 goals – it’s everybody.”

         

        To get your business ready for a green future visit Climate Enterprise Action Fund or contact the Climate Action Team

         

         

        How digital health companies can navigate and enter the NHS

        This Enterprise Ireland webinar examines how to successfully enter and scale digital health solutions in the UK market, drawing from the experience of our panel.  

        The webinar will outline the key challenges and opportunities for digital health companies entering the NHS from both a supplier and NHS procurement perspective. With expert insights from:

        –             Sonia Neary, CEO and Founder of Wellola

        –             Niall Rafferty, CEO and Founder Medxnote

        –             Dr Sam Shah – Chief Medical Strategy Officer at Numan & previous        Director of Digital Development for NHSX

        –             Andy Kinnear – Former CIO, NHS

         

        Regulations in the German healthcare sector

          The German healthcare market is the largest in Europe offering ample opportunities for Irish medtech and e-health businesses.

          This webinar is chaired by Enterprise Ireland  Market Advisor Nicol Hoppe and will examine

          • accessing opportunities in the German market

          • the opportunities emerging with digitalisation

          • how to manage budgets and timelines effectively

          with expert insights from:

          • Christoph Bischoff-Everding of HGC

          • Andrea Seidel of Dr. Seidel Lifesciences