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.

Industry Bulletin – Opportunities and  Risks in the UK Construction Industry

Download the report here.

The instinct to survive always trumps the need to adapt, at least in the first iteration. This is a primal and ungovernable force, and is as prevalent in corporations as it is in human nature. Notwithstanding, the widespread return to business in June, presents an opportunity for the industry to re-set our ambition; an opportunity to re-build in the image of the businesses we would like to be, ‘future ready’.

This Enterprise Ireland report has set out to identify and analyse key opportunities and risks in the UK Construction Industry as we emerge from the strictest lockdown measures in modern times.

Inside Innovation Show – Hibergene

Inside Innovation brings you the stories of Ireland’s leading innovators and changemakers. Across the series we will cover a whole range of topics from innovating in a crisis, to looking at the future of many business areas. We go behind the stories, to understand what drives these innovators and what the innovation success factors are, from capability building, to culture and leadership.

The podcast is hosted by innovation expert Aidan McCullen.

The second episode is part of a series ‘Innovating in a Crisis’. In a rapid response to Covid-19, Hibergene Diagnostics launched a new Covid-19 test, that delivers positive results in just 30 minutes. Gary Keating, CTO of Hibergene talks capability building, agility, speed and collaboration, all important factors in the company’s success in innovation.

How the CSF supported PeachyLean’s growth

“The Competitive Start Fund enabled PeachyLean to make a significant hire and provided the strategy required to support our growth into new markets.

Sharon Keegan, Founder and CEO PeachyLean 

1. Describe your business

PeachyLean is an award-winning shapewear and active wear business instilling support, shape and confidence to women all around the world.

 

2. How did getting the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) progress your business?

CSF enabled me to make a significant hire within the Peachylean team as well as providing us with the mentoring and support, both from Enterprise Ireland and Innovate Dublin BIC, which has given our team the confidence and strategy for growth and scale into new markets.

 

3. What are your top tips to other businesses interested in applying for the CSF?

  • Take your time and use the application process to take a good look at your strategy for scale.
  • Research the cost implications around your plan and ask for advice from any previous CSF candidates.
  • Take feedback on applications as great advice and understand that if you’re not successful first time around there is always room for growth and progression.
  • Believe in yourself and keep going!

 

4. What are the next steps for PeachyLean?

This year we launch our new innovation in shapewear, working alongside our new distribution partners we will launch into the UK market. We continue to meet and work towards strategic partners in the US and South American Markets.

Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund for Female Entrepreneurs opens on 7th July 2020 – See other founders discuss CSF or Click here to apply

    Padraig Neylon, CEO AddJust

    AddJust – Creating solutions for the construction sector

    “Getting the Competitive Start Fund gave AddJust the validation needed to support our growth trajectory.

    Pádraig Neylon, Co-Founder and CEO, AddJust

    1. Describe your business

    AddJust is a contract and financial management platform helping the construction industry to streamline its communications, payments, budget management and change requests.

     

    2. How did getting the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) progress your business?

    Being backed by Enterprise Ireland’s CSF gave AddJust the validation that helped us when introducing our service to public sector and established private sector clients.

     

    3. What are your top tips to other businesses interested in applying for the CSF?

    My advice would be to carefully plan how the CSF investment will progress your business and ensure you get to the next stage.

     

    4. What are the next steps for AddJust?

    The next step for AddJust is accelerating our growth across public sector and large scale clients.

     

    Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund – All Sectors opens on 7th July 2020 – See other founders discuss CSF or Click here to apply

       

      Inside Innovation Show – Combilift

      Inside Innovation brings you the stories of Ireland’s leading innovators and changemakers. Across the series we will cover a whole range of topics from innovating in a crisis, to looking at the future of many business areas. We go behind the stories, to understand what drives these innovators and what the innovation success factors are, from capability building, to culture and leadership.

      The podcast is hosted by innovation expert Aidan McCullen.

      Episode 1 – Interview with Martin McVicar, CEO & Founder of Combilift

      The first episode is part of a series ‘Innovating in a Crisis’. An Irish innovator who innovated in the Covid-19 crisis is CEO and Founder of Combilift, Martin McVicar. The Irish engineering firm leveraged the innovation skills that make it a world leader in forklift trucks, to solve a global shortage of the ventilators required to fight Covid-19.

      Market Watch Industry Bulletin – Automotive

      The spread of the coronavirus led to an unprecedented collapse of many important car markets in terms of producers, their suppliers and the distribution channels across the globe . Work came to a standstill in almost all countries. But as severe as the slump was initially, the return of production is currently giving the industry hope. A large number of vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers were able to resume operations, albeit only to a limited extent. In addition, stabilization strategies and aid packages have been developed in recent months.

      In this latest industry bulletin, Enterprise Ireland has primarily surveyed leading market experts and industry leaders, and collected their views, gathering specific recommendations for companies, to stabilize, reset and recover from the current situation.

      Read the full report here.

      Industry Bulletin – Agritech & Machinery Dealership view


      Reporting from across world markets, Enterprise Ireland’s Agritech Market Advisors have compiled this buyer sentiment update consisting of case studies from importers, distributors and leading dealerships of agricultural equipment.

      As part of our Market Watch series, we have interviewed 23 companies to provide first-hand updates of the situation on the ground in key regions across the world.

      Read the full report.

      Resetting your business model

      Resetting your business model in response to Covid-19

      In preparing for tomorrow’s world, businesses need to reset their business model to remain relevant to their customers in the new environment

      The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world and transformed the environment and operating rules for business. Last year’s winning formulas have become failed propositions almost overnight, and many of yesterday’s compelling products and services are obsolete in the context of tomorrow’s needs.

      This requires businesses to take a long, hard look at their business models in order to remain relevant to their customers in the new environment. They will need to reassess what they sell, who they sell it to, and how they make money from that. They will also have to examine why people buy from them and how that translates into profitability.

      According to Business Financial Consultant Brendan Binchy, companies need to focus on four key areas when seeking to reset their business models:

      • Their current product offering and how can it be developed, changed, or delivered differently
      • Who their customers will be in future, both current and new, and if there is a need to drop some existing ones
      • The reasons customers buy from them, their new value proposition, and how they will do something unique; and
      • How they will make money – lower input costs, production efficiencies, premium price or volume increases.

      When looking at the product offering, Binchy advises companies to ask the hard questions. “Have you got any inherent future proofing protection for your product or service? What is unique about it? What is its lifecycle in the market? How much of your revenue is dependent on it? What are most profitable products?”

      The answers to these questions will help decide what products to retain or drop, as well as inform new product development efforts.

      Customers should be subject to a similar analysis, he advises. “Who uses your products? What are their demographics? Who are your most profitable customers? Where are they? What defines your ideal customer and where can you find more of them? Why are you still dealing with unprofitable customers?”

      This will assist in defining target customers. “Businesses should categorise customers into groups according to their profitability and different attributes, and then select which ones they want to deal with in future. This may lead them to stop dealing with some of them. Companies shouldn’t be afraid to fire customers who don’t value what you do.”

      The next step is to establish why these customers will buy from the business. “Go out and ask your customers,” Binchy advises. “Bring them in and talk to them about it. Find out the defining attributes of your most important customers and find ways of meeting their expectations. This will help you pick the right people to work for; people who value what you do. If a multinational has been buying from you for the past 10 years, you must be doing something right. Find out what that is and build on it.”

      Making money is the other and perhaps most critically important part of the jigsaw. This will require the business to look at the key business model drivers of products and services, marketing and sales, and finance, in terms of profitability, cashflow and return on investment. “They are the what, the who and the how of the business model,” Binchy explains. 

      “The enablers are your people and systems and processes that support the business. You can’t grow a business without all three drivers, being robust and in balance with each other. You can have great customers and products, but you won’t have a business if you’re not making money.” says Binchy

      An analysis of those drivers, along with the enablers, will give you a clear view of the revenue and cost bases of the business, and will help identify how the pathway to profitability can be bridged. “A business might look at reducing materials, labour or other operational costs. It can also look at production efficiencies or seek to increase prices if it can be positioned in a premium segment of the market.”

      The remaining question is how to finance the transition between the old and the reset business models. “The money and support are there to help companies bridge between the two. We just have to hope the transition period between them is going to be as short as possible,” Binchy adds. “The Enterprise Ireland Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant is there to help businesses start the journey. It offers a 100% grant up to the value of €5,000 to fund the cost of a financial consultant to prepare a financial plan that shows exactly how the company intends to reset and adapt its business model as it emerges from lockdown. The Lean Business Continuity scheme offers vouchers worth up to €2,500 to fund the cost of training and advisory services.”

      He points to the €450 million Covid-19 Working Capital Loan scheme and the €200 million Future Growth Loan Scheme available through the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland as potential sources of loan finance for companies.

      In addition, there are the Enterprise Ireland Sustaining Enterprise Funds which offer funding up to €800,000 to fund the implementation of stabilisation and viability plans. Smaller businesses can also apply for funding of up to €25,000 or €50,000, depending on the size of the business.

      Both schemes feature repayment moratoriums for the first three years, a very important consideration according to Binchy. “That is very attractive when the company doesn’t have repayment capacity for the moment. They can’t go to the banks if they are in that position. Businesses have to dance very carefully when seeking funding, and these schemes certainly help with that.”

      Learn more about the Enterprise Ireland supports available in our Accessing Liquidity & Managing Cashflow webinar

      Adapting your business model

      Adapting your business operations in response to Covid-19

      As businesses reset and recover, every aspect of a business’s operations should be examined and analysed to identify efficiencies and better ways of doing things

      Having identified a pathway out of the crisis, made required changes to the business model and developed a cash conservation strategy, businesses need to turn their attention to operational matters if they are to adapt quickly to the changed environment.

      Every aspect of a business’s operations should be examined and analysed to identify efficiencies, better ways of doing things, or things which shouldn’t be done at all. Companies around the world are already engaged in this process and those that delay will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, according to Business Transition Consultant Brendan Binchy.

      He points to a survey of 3,000 CEOs carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit which found that almost all of them are going to implement operational agility measures as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. “That train has already left the station as far as they are concerned,” he says. “Every company should take a quick and hard look through the whole functional side of its business.”

      He offers a checklist of the five core functional areas of the business which require attention – products and services, marketing and sales, finance, people, and systems and processes.

      “They need to take a walk through that checklist and identify areas where they can improve effectiveness and efficiency,” he adds. “For example, when looking at the operational model they should ask if it is possible to morph to online, or if product and service delivery modes can be changed.”

      On products and services, he advises careful management of stock levels as a starting point. 

      “New product development should also be reviewed, you have to look at the cost to bring it to market and how quickly it can generate new revenues streams or if you need to do it at all at the moment.” says Binchy

      Similarly, expansion plans should be subject to reappraisal and put on hold if not justified by a clear payback. Supplier relationships are also important, and discussions should be held with a view to reducing costs and achieving efficiencies.

      “With international supply chains, some companies are moving away from “just in time” policies to making sure there is “enough in time” to meet demand,” Binchy adds. “There is risk associated with internationalisation, and companies could consider moving to a portfolio of multiple suppliers to deal with this.”

      Other considerations relate to the production process itself. “If the company is starting up again, what needs to happen in the production flow? Does everyone need protective screening measures? Will you sub-contract some things out which had been done internally?”

      Turning to marketing and sales, he recommends a selective appraisal of investment, but with targeted reductions based on return on investment rather than wholesale cuts which could cut off the market cycle.

      Another area to look at is pricing strategy and the potential impact of discounting. Care should be taken to avoid a situation where discounts lead to volume increases which in turn may cause problems in the production process and perhaps divert resources from more profitable lines. It’s a classic case of weighing up the price volume trade off.

      The finance function should become more fully integrated into the management of the business, he advises. “The finance team should be a core part of the overall management team. This means you will know all the things you need to know about the business and its finances as they happen, rather than find out about them in a report two or three months later.”

      Binchy says communication is vital when dealing with people in your business. “You have to remember that you’re dealing with human beings and you should support them in the same way as you support your customers. When you are faced with implementing inevitable pay rationalisation measures you should segment your employees carefully to ensure that those people who are adding most value are rewarded appropriately.”

      The final item on the checklist is systems and processes. Along with people, these are the underlying enablers of the business and every element should be assessed to ensure it is delivering value to the business either in terms of revenue generation, service improvement, or efficiency and productivity gains. Regardless of how good a process can appear there is always a better way, Binchy notes.

      Businesses seeking to adapt and modify their operations to meet the changed environment created in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic can avail of support in the form of Enterprise Ireland Lean Business Continuity Voucher and the Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant.

      The Financial Planning Grant is worth up to €5,000 to pay up to 100% of the costs of an approved financial  consultant to work with the company on the development of a business and financial  plan, while the Lean Business Continuity Voucher is worth €2,500 and can be used for training or advisory services to help them identify and implement the measures needed to ensure they can continue to operate during the current period.

      Where additional finance is required to fund new initiatives Binchy points to the Enterprise Ireland Sustaining Enterprise Fund which offers funding of up to €800,000 to eligible companies. There is also a fund for smaller companies which offers funding of up to €25,000 and €50,000 depending on the size of the business.

      Learn more about the Enterprise Ireland supports available in our Accessing Liquidity & Managing Cashflow webinar

      Industry Bulletin – Automotive – New mindset to focus on future solutions

      AVL is the world’s largest independent company for the development, simulation and testing of powertrain systems for passenger cars and commercial and industrial vehicles and is directly exposed to the deepest and most rapid business downturn in the history of the automotive industry. Dr. Daniel Kürschner, Head of the Company’s Munich-based advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) centre, remains optimistic, however.

      He points out that AVL is not a traditional Tier 1 supplier to the industry and is not directly connected to the supply chain. It is therefore also not directly affected by vehicle sales as many other companies.

      While some projects are subject to renegotiation and delay, there are positives to the current environment, he notes. “We as a German or European car industry need to see this crisis as an opportunity to rethink our traditional mindset and to focus on more sustainable, future-oriented solutions, following the CASE trends (connectivity, autonomous, sharing/subscription and electrification) and also noting different demands of the younger generations.” says Kürschner. “Car makers would have the time now to catch up on delayed technology developments which they have not focused on over the past decade. A lot of companies worldwide, particularly innovative start-ups, have technologies available that could be combined with those of the traditional corporations in order to speed up launching competitive products at the end.”

      AVL is already moving into new areas such as e-mobility, fuel cells and ADAS. “We see a big opportunity to grow within these new business fields and it would be great to see a green economy emerge in the near future,” he adds.

      As a direct impact of Covid-19, also AVL has successfully switched to remote working. “Like for others, it has affected us in the sense that people can’t come together in person , but that we are currently working in home offices but, luckily, our teams are experienced in digitalisation and web-based communication so that we can keep the productivity levels very high.”

      The downstream effect of the industry downturn is being felt, however. “The car industry in general is very cautious at the moment, so capital expenditure is on hold and also AVL – as one player in the industry – has changed over to short-term work,” Kürschner explains. “As a technology and engineering provider we are dependent on the automotive industry reopening, and we will continue to provide our technological expertise as best as possible, trying to overcome all hurdles resulting from the crisis.”

       

      Addressing future market demands

      Many of the challenges the industry is currently facing, already existed before the current crisis, he adds. “The current situation just accelerates the formation of fundamental structural changes within the market. The structural changes basically result from the green trend and because younger generations are demanding greener and more sustainable yet still safe and superior technology. However, they are still willing to spend money for this, so the industry must adapt to these changing circumstances and take measures to understand and accept future market demands.”

      This superior technology includes ADAS.

      “More and more customers will expect to find ADAS and autonomous driving features within their cars,” says Kürschner. “Moreover, autonomous driving is providing the technical basis for future concepts such as mobility as a service.”

      He also mentions the upcoming development of the centralised electronic control unit. “This has a lot of benefits for maintenance and remote updates. It allows the provider to keep the product updated all the time, and will also feature active safety and cybersecurity functions.”

      Innovation will continue to play a major role in automotive industry, he believes. “As we had already seen in the e-mobility trend starting over 10 years ago, today, also ADAS and newer trends will cause shifting supply chains, with innovative solutions looking to alter and take over from traditional fields within the industry.”

      He takes a positive view of the industry’s future. “Looking at the business perspective, the focus will be on measures over the near term to keep the industry and economy running, which is partially a government responsibility, but also the companies themselves need to sharpen their product portfolio, ready to keep up with the latest customer demands. People will continue to need mobility despite the deep crisis and despite the current uncertainty and therefore, for now I am not concerned that people will stop buying cars. However, in the medium and long term, I would focus on the technologies following the CASE trends in order to maintain our global competitiveness within the future car industry.”

       

       

       

       

      businesswoman

      Covid-19 Business Supports

      From 5,000 to 800,000, Enterprise Ireland has a range of funding supports to help you recover

      Enterprise Ireland has put in place a suite of funding supports to help Irish companies adjust to the immediate and future challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. These supports are designed to help businesses stabilise and adapt to the evolving situation, in preparation for getting back on the road to recovery.

       

      The Business Financial Planning Grant

      The Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant is designed to help companies develop a robust financial plan and secure their viability in the short to medium term. The grant, worth up to €5,000, can be used by companies to pay up to 100% of the cost of engaging an approved financial consultant to prepare a plan which can encompass the documentation required to support applications for finance from banks or other providers such as Enterprise Ireland.

      The plan will establish the company’s current financial position; examine the negative Covid-19 impacts on the business; establish where the company wants to be in three years’ time; identify a series of actions to be undertaken by the company to mitigate the effects of the current crisis; provide a framework to manage costs and identify funding gaps; and enable management to identify the finance required to sustain the business through the crisis and beyond.

      The plan should also include a complete set of financial forecasts for three years.

      Eligibility: The grant is open to all Enterprise Ireland clients as well as companies employing 10 or more in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors.

      How to apply: Contact our  Covid-19 Business Response Unit at businessresponse@enterprise-ireland.com or your Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor.

       

      Sustaining Enterprise Fund – funding of up to €800,000

      Aimed at giving manufacturing and internationally traded businesses the liquidity and cash resources required to make it through the Covid-19 crisis, the Sustaining Enterprise Fund offers funding of up to €800,000 to eligible companies.

      The purpose of the funding is to support the implementation of a Sustaining Enterprise Project Plan which will lead to the eventual stabilisation of the business and a return to viability. The Sustaining Enterprise Project Plan must outline the company’s liquidity needs and explain how the funding will remedy its immediate problems.

      Businesses can use the Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant to pay for the development of the Sustaining Enterprise Project Plan.

      Subject to an annual administration fee of 4% (with 0% fee for the first six months) there is a three-year grace period for repayments on funding, which must be repaid in full by the end of year 5, and the achievement of the objectives originally set by the company

      Eligibility: To be eligible for the fund, companies must have experienced a reduction in actual or projected turnover or profit of 15% or more, and/or a significant increase in costs as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

      In addition, eligible applicants must be unable to raise sufficient capital from the market (or other sources) to meet the funding needs of a Sustaining Enterprise Project Plan.

      Companies are not eligible if they were already in financial difficulty on 31 December 2019 or were experiencing difficulties for reasons not related to Covid-19.

      How to apply: For further information, contact your Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor or the Covid-19 Business Response Unit at businessresponse@enterprise-ireland.com

       

      Sustaining Enterprise Fund – Small enterprise

      Similar to the main Sustaining Enterprise Fund, this scheme provides financial assistance to smaller manufacturing or internationally traded services companies for a three to six-month period to support business continuity. Eligibility criteria are the same as for the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, and the assistance is to be used to support the implementation of a Business Continuity Project Plan. Companies eligible for this scheme are also eligible for the larger scheme.

      Companies can avail of the Business Financial Planning Grant to pay for the development of their Business Continuity Project Plan.

      The scheme offers repayable funding of up to €25,000 to companies with turnover of less than €1.5m and up to €50,000 to companies with annual turnover of €1.5m–€5m.

      As with the main scheme, there is a 4% annual administration fee and a three-year grace period on repayment. No administration charges are levied for the first 6 months and the advance can be repaid early if the company prefers to do that. Funding must be repaid in full by the end of year 5, subject to the achievement of the objectives set out in the Continuity Plan.

      Eligibility: Companies are not eligible if they were already in financial difficulty on 31 December 2019 or were experiencing difficulties for reasons not related to Covid-19.

      To discuss eligibility criteria or any other aspect of the scheme, contact your Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor.

      If you are not an Enterprise Ireland client or do not know who your Development Advisor is, you should first contact the Business Response Unit at businessresponse@enterprise-ireland.com

      How to apply: You can apply via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System.

       

      Lean Business Continuity Voucher

      The new Lean Business Continuity Voucher helps enterprises to identify and implement the measures needed to ensure that they can continue to operate safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

      It offers eligible companies up to €2,500 in training or advisory services from approved providers. The services may take the form of management advice or training of management or staff within the company and must be related to the continued operation of the businesses during the current pandemic. It is expected that the services will be delivered online in most cases.

      Project should focus on one or more of these categories;

      • Review of business strategy in light of changing marketplace/supply-chains & customer needs;
      • Introduction of new business practices in order to increase productivity (especially LEAN/Flow);
      • Development of processes for risk assessment and analysis for Business Continuity;
      • Development of working practices for staff safety based on government guidelines;
      • Development of strategy for or investigation of feasibility of doing business online (excluding website development or online marketing costs)

      A listing of approved service providers can be found in the Enterprise Ireland Service Provider Directory.

      Eligibility: The Lean Business Continuity Voucher is open to small, medium or large client companies of Enterprise Ireland or Údarás na Gaeltachta.

      For more information, contact your development advisor or email the Lean & Operational Excellence team in Enterprise Ireland at: businesscontinuityvoucher@enterprise-ireland.com

      How to apply: Companies can apply for the Lean Business Continuity Voucher scheme via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System.

        Watch financial expert, Brendan Binchy and Enterprise Ireland’s finance team in our Accessing Liquidity & Managing Cashflow webinar.