man applying for funds

Support when it’s needed most

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) has launched a range of supports for employers and people who have lost work and income in order to support them during the COVID-19 crisis. These include the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment.

 

Pandemic Unemployment Support

The COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is an emergency payment of €350 per week introduced by the Government in response to the numbers of people who have lost employment on foot of the pandemic. It is designed to quickly get thousands of people into payment.

According to the DEASP, all workers, including the self-employed, are eligible to apply for this emergency payment provided they are aged between 18 and 66 and have lost employment – or temporarily ceased trading if self-employed – due to the pandemic, and live in the Republic of Ireland.

To be eligible, workers must have been in employment or self-employment immediately before Friday 13 March and have been temporarily laid off from work, and are not in receipt of any employment income. For employees, their employer must not be in a position to retain them on the payroll.

 

Apply online for quick payment

The quickest and easiest way to apply for the emergency COVID-19 payment is to apply online at MyWelfare.ie All that is required is for the individual to have an email address, a bank account and a PPSN. Simply go onto the COVID-19 Services section of the website and apply for the payment. You will have to set up an account, but it is a simple and straightforward process.

The DEASP advises those with an adult dependent and one or more dependent children to apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and then apply Jobseeker’s Benefit instead, as this will pay more than the €350 available under the COVID-19 scheme.

 

Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment

The Enhanced Illness Benefit Payment is available to workers who have been told to self-isolate by a doctor or the HSE, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a doctor. To be eligible for this payment, a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility. The rate for this payment is €350, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203. It will be paid for a maximum of two weeks where a person is self-isolating and for a maximum of 10 weeks if a person has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

A doctor will complete a medical certificate on the person’s behalf and send it directly to the DEASP. Alternatively, where the person has been advised by the HSE to self-isolate, they will need to submit a copy of the HSE notification with their Illness Benefit application form.

Once again, the quickest and easiest way to apply for the payment is by applying online at MyWelfare.ie

 

Short Time Work Support

Another payment available to workers is Short Time Work Support. This is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit for people temporarily placed on a shorter working week. The payment is made in respect of the person’s regular salary for the days that they are no longer working. For example, if their working week has been reduced from a five-day work pattern to three days, they can receive support for the other two days. Payment is proportionate to the €203 Jobseeker’s Benefit rate.

People can apply for Short Time Work Support by applying at their local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.

 

Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Operated by Revenue, the Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme is an innovative initiative to support companies to retain employees and to re-employ employees who have been laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the terms of the scheme, employers will be refunded 70% of an employee’s wages – up to a level of €410 per week.

The subsidy scheme applies both to employers who top up employees’ wages and those who aren’t in a position to do so. Employers make the support payment to their employees through their normal payroll process and will then be reimbursed by Revenue within two working days of receipt of the payroll submission.

The scheme is available to employers from all sectors (excluding the public service and non-commercial semi-state sector) whose business activities are being adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To qualify for the scheme, employers must be experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic; be able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of Revenue, a minimum of a 25% decline in turnover; be unable to pay normal wages and normal outgoings fully; and retain their employees on the payroll.

Revenue has made it clear that declarations made under the scheme are not declarations of insolvency.

Employers wishing to register for the scheme can apply to Revenue through ROS myEnquiries on the COVID-19: Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy section.

Market Watch Germany – Webinar – Covid-19 challenges and market sentiment

Market View Germany

Enterprise Ireland’s offices in Germany have launched a series of Webinars; Market Watch Germany, to help Irish companies exporting to Germany navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by Covid 19.

The first webinar on Friday April 3 looked at overall market sentiment and the German Government support package for companies facing acute difficulties in light of Covid-19. We were joined by market, legal and tax experts from Germany Trade & Invest, SHWP Tax & Law and MHL Law.

 

Marina Donohoe

Market Watch – A view from the UK, Central & Northern Europe

There is no doubt that COVID-19 is making its presence felt with businesses across the globe feeling its impact and Marina Donohoe, Regional Director, UK, Central and Northern Europe, says Enterprise Ireland clients in the region are no different.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Great uncertainty on how deep the recession might be and its length makes it a particularly challenging time for Irish industry. 
  • Restriction of movement is causing further issues for Irish exporters.
  • Prepare for the upturn – invest in client and partner relationships to secure existing business and research potential new opportunities to emerge now and post the crisis.

 

“Restrictions on movement of people is impacting on clients’ ability to respond to customer and partner needs,” says Donohoe. “Market confidence and demand has been eroded, and deals are being lost while fund raising plans have been curtailed or stalled. There is great uncertainty on how deep the recession will be and how long it will last, and this makes for a particularly challenging time for Irish industry.

“Enterprise Ireland has eight offices across the region which are working closely with clients on a one-to-one basis to support them throughout this difficult period focusing on sustaining existing and securing new business where possible.” says Donohoe.

 

Strengthening partnerships

Donohoe says it’s vital for companies to stay connected by keeping abreast of what is going on, exploring the possibilities of virtual business and continuing to invest in client/partner relationships.

“It’s a time to listen and learn about the problems your clients are experiencing and how together you may find potential solutions which strengthen your partnership,” she says. “But also, it’s important to exercise caution when extending credit, especially when your business partners are relatively new, and you’re not familiar with their current liquidity position.

“So, I would encourage companies to actively research the marketing issues their clients are facing, seek out information on the current situation from trusted sources like the WHO or local government departments. And continue to invest in marketing because while industries globally are in crisis mode, they are still seeking solutions to trade so with heavy restrictions on travel, focus on virtual meetings and as a means of engaging prospective new customers.”

 

Global supports for business

While it is undoubtedly a difficult time in business, the regional director says there have been many supports put in place across UK, Central & Northern Europe and Russia.

“A variety of measures have been adopted by the British and other European governments,” she says. “Each country is offering a range of specific supports including loans, wage subsidies or guarantees and these may be relevant for Irish companies with a presence overseas. OECD provides a regularly updated Country Policy Tracker to help navigate the global policy response and provides information on travel, border crossings and general health advice.

 

Key sectors facing challenges

“Many sectors are severely impacted such as the tourism and hospitality trade, personal and professional services and certain areas of the financial and manufacturing sectors.

“Transport is also a major concern and although some countries (e.g. UK and Sweden) have not closed their borders, many others have created temporary regimes which are causing problems for road deliveries – logistics details can be found here.

With all these added complications, doing business can be difficult for Irish exporters and Enterprise Ireland is currently preparing sectoral market insights which will be shared with clients and updated weekly to provide view on market conditions, government supports etc.  Details on public sector contracts and offers can be seen on this platform and also on the GOV.UK site.

 

Opportunities for growth

Donohoe also says there are still opportunities for growth but in a few core sectors:

“The healthcare, pharma, digital services and medical device sectors are still experiencing growth and Enterprise Ireland has been fielding requests for solutions in this area,” she says. “Similarly, solution providers for retail, BPOs, food production and office solutions may also see some growth.” 

“As markets and sectors emerge from this crisis with expected fundamental shifts in consumer/business needs it is a time to also prepare for these changes. Ireland’s SMEs have demonstrated resilience and flexibility by adapting to Brexit challenges and a global recession so remaining agile will be an advantage”.

No-one knows when the crisis will be over, but Donohoe says it’s vital for Irish exporters to stay connected and prepare for the reopening of markets.

“Utilise all digital tools to deepen relationships and promote your business,” she advises. “Prepare for the upturn to secure existing business and research potential new opportunities to emerge now and post the crisis.

“Business and consumer demand will change so investment in research, new idea validation, competitor analysis and the development of strong market development plans will all position Enterprise Ireland clients for the next global economic growth cycle.  Enterprise Ireland’s executives across the 8 offices in UK, Central & Northern Europe are on hand to support you through this exceptionally difficult and unprecedented period.”

Marina Donohoe is Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Director for the UK, Central and Northern Europe. To learn more about the steps companies can take to address the impact of Covid-19 visit our business supports page.

Aerogen

Ireland races to produce ventilators, nebulisers and more

As the global battle against Covid-19 intensifies, Irish medtech and life sciences firms are ramping up production to meet soaring demand for nebulisers, ventilators and other badly-needed treatment and protection equipment.

Doubling production of critical devices

Half of the existing ventilators in acute hospitals around the world were made in Ireland, which is ranked as one of the top five global medtech hubs.

Medtronic, the world’s largest standalone medical device maker, produces ventilators in a large manufacturing plant in Galway, in the west of Ireland. It is doubling its capacity by more than doubling its workforce of 250 and moving to round-the-clock production.

Another firm increasing production to meet high global demand related to coronavirus treatment is Enterprise Ireland-backed client Aerogen. It’s the world’s leading supplier of aerosol drug delivery products through ventilators to patients in critical and intensive care.

Before the current crisis, Aerogen already provided hospitals in more than 75 countries with its products, benefitting 10 million patients.

Aerogen CEO John Power expects the company could ship 3m or 4m units in 2020, up from 2m in 2019. It is also investigating how to address the global ventilator shortage by adapting non-invasive ventilation systems and are striving to ensure they can meet the sudden and unprecedented growth in demand.

“We are a global company and we are balancing demand from across the world.” says Power

Demand up by as much as 300%

Galway-based M&M Qualtech manufactures products for the medtech, aviation, ICT and other sectors. It produces ventilators, nebulisers and medical monitoring equipment for its medtech customers, including Aerogen and Medtronic. It says it’s seeing capacity demand three to five times higher than the usual pre-crisis level.

M&M Qualtech began to see this spike in manufacturing demand in early March and already expects to produce 4m nebulisers this year, up from 2m last year. It also anticipates a similar rate of increase in production of nebuliser controllers (likely to produce 45,000, up from 35,000) and ventilator AC modules (expecting to make 18,000, up from 5,000 in 2019).

It’s increasing capacity by focusing factory production on the most critically needed medical products, hiring up to 25% more Production Operators, engaging with suppliers daily to expedite materials into production, and redesigning its factory to meet social distancing requirements.  

Ripple effect of Covid-19 crisis 

Also based in the west of Ireland, Vitalograph is the world leader in the analysis of cough drug trials. It specialises in cardiorespiratory and related devices that measure lung and cardiac function, diagnose lung disorders and also produces associated products and software.

Vitalograph is working to meet increased demand for spirometers and consumables such as bacterial-viral filters and test kits and seeing a significant increase in orders of remote monitors. Over the past 15 years, Vitalograph remote monitoring has mainly been used in clinical trials but is now rapidly being adopted by mainstream healthcare.

According CEO, Frank Keane, “Remote monitoring enables the most vulnerable patients with conditions such as COPD, cystic fibrosis and IPF to remain in their homes and not travel to hospitals or clinics and risk picking up infections,”

“As the patients we serve will be the most vulnerable to a respiratory disease of this nature, we are doubling our efforts to ensure we can fulfil our mission and serve them at this time.” said Keane,

Vitalograph has also recruited more staff, and increased both capacity and orders from sub-suppliers, and activated their comprehensive business continuity plan.

Deirdre Glenn, Head of Lifesciences with Enterprise Ireland, said “In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, Irish medtech companies are rising to the challenge of meeting the increased global demand for essential equipment needed for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19. As the second largest exporter of medtech products in Europe, and with the highest number of people per capital employed in medtech in Europe, Ireland is primed to play its role in the global fight against Covid-19”

Anne Lanigan Enterprise Ireland

Market Watch – A view from the Eurozone

Anne Lanigan, Director of the EurozoneThere is no doubt that the impact of COVID-19 on mainland Europe has been profound with most countries operating on a skeleton crew of essential businesses and services. However, Anne Lanigan, Regional Director, Eurozone, for Enterprise Ireland, says goods are still moving and it is possible to do business.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • The situation is evolving daily and the 45 strong Enterprise Ireland team on the ground in the Eurozone are working and available as normal, albeit remotely to be of assistance.
  • Business is still moving although slower, particularly in the Medtech, Pharma, Construction, Food, eCommerce and other services sectors.
  • The innovation, flexibility and commitment of Irish companies will help them survive this crisis.

 

“A lot of sectors have been very badly hit, particularly in the hospitality, aerospace and automotive sectors,” she says. “High tech construction of pharma facilities and data centres is still continuing, with some challenges in Germany and the Netherlands. Pharma, Medtech and Food still continue as best they can, and we have good examples of clients in the technology, eCommerce and employee engagement sectors who are experiencing growth. However, for many sectors things are likely to get worse before they get better.”

“I would encourage Irish exporters to make contact with customers, partners and distributors. Communication is crucial at this point. Getting an understanding of the situation your customers are in will help you in forward planning and may help you to deliver an immediate or different solution. In addition, the contact you make now will be appreciated and remembered once we are over this crisis.”

Speaking to customers over the telephone or in a virtual meeting, rather than by email, will offer a much better opportunity to engage and get insights into their situation, what their future plans are and how you might feature in those future plans.

Depending on staff availability and the level of slowdown, Lanigan says some businesses may be able to use this time to build their export capability.

“This could be an opportunity to do market research, a very important element of successful exporting” she advises. “This crisis is temporary so fundamentally it’s still important to validate markets and sectors for your products and services, carry out competitive analysis, build a pricing and communication strategy and develop a strong market development plan.

Doing an online language course for an hour every day might also be a welcome break away from home working while also building up a necessary skillset for exporting to Europe.”

The Eurozone director says there are many supports available to Enterprise Ireland clients as well as government supports available to all companies. These can be found on the Enterprise Ireland Covid-19 business response pages and new supports will be added as soon as they become available. Specific market supports such as the Market Discovery Fund are of course still all available. And Eurozone Market Advisors can provide specific information on supports available locally in their markets.

“Alongside the obvious market challenges, we are seeing a number of other challenges. Our clients are in some cases finding it difficult to engage with customers who are busy trying to resolve their own internal problems,” she says. “Movement of product is also more complicated as extra paperwork is required in some locations. It’s also difficult to get clarity regarding the movement of people as the situation is evolving. However, we continue to assist client companies in meeting buyers (virtually), and we are seeing business deals– it’s not anything close to normal but it is still moving.”

“In addition, in every crisis there are opportunities. Irish companies are typically highly innovative and are quick to pivot. Our clients are known for their flexibility and can change focus quite quickly so there is the possibility to adapt products and services to win business in new markets and new sectors.

Lanigan says the key to surviving this crisis is to stay close to customers, demonstrate flexibility, and be innovative:

Markets will start to open again so we need to ensure that we are ready to get going when we come out of this crisis.”

“Enterprise Ireland Market Advisers are available to help. Our team across the Eurozone are working remotely and contactable by phone or email for one-to-one support. Our priorities are to respond to particular requests from clients and to proactively support clients to continue to do business. In addition to supporting contact with customers, distributors and partners, Market Advisors can also provide advice and help with local market knowledge on the evolving situation and help deal with particular issues as they arise. If you haven’t had recent contact with your Enterprise Ireland Market Advisers please get in touch with your Development Adviser who will make the introduction.”

Irish companies are known across Europe for being innovative, flexible, easy to work with and committed. These characteristics will stand to us and help us through this difficult period.” says Lanigan.

 

Market Watch – View from Asia Pacific

Mary Kinnane, Enterprise Ireland Asia Pac directorAs Covid-19 impacts markets globally, our Market Watch will provide timely insights to clients. Mary Kinnane, Regional Director, Asia Pac, Enterprise Ireland discusses the view from the APAC region.

 

1.What are you seeing on the ground in the APAC Region in terms of the impact of Covid-19?

With Covid-19 being present in the Asia Pac region for some months with serious human health implications, the collateral damage to business and economic sentiment has been apparent since early Q1.  This past fortnight has seen the global implications of the virus really impact economically with business indicators and sentiment on the ground turning very negative.  There has been a near collapse in regional and international travel as governments across Asia Pac try to control the spread of the virus.  The situation varies to some extent across the region, and also across sectors, but the overall impact in the region is profound.

 

2. What’s your advice to Irish exporters in terms of engaging with customers and suppliers?

Stay focused on what you can influence and control, both in respect of existing sales delivery in the near term, and on planning for the recovery when it does come. Proactive and regular communication with suppliers is to be advised to instill and ensure mutual confidence.

 

3. What Covid-19 business supports are being put into place across the APAC Region to support business continuity?

The increase in remote working and split teams in mission critical areas within organisations has unfolded at an unprecedented pace in APAC.  Company policies have and are evolving rapidly with respect to such supports.  On a macro basis government and central bank stimuli are being deployed at scale in an attempt to contain the potential longer term economic impact of the crisis.

 

4. What advice would you have for Irish businesses exporting to APAC during this time?

If already exporting to the region the advice would be predicated on the simple premise that it is much easier to retain a customer than to win a new customer in the region.  Within whatever constraints you are operating under, communicate proactively and try to support business continuity.  As with historical crises in the region customer loyalty will more often than not be rewarded in the longer term.

For potential new entrants to the region whilst travel is not possible in the short term, if resources allow, it is a good time to research and prospect new opportunities remotely.  We are finding that some APAC companies have time and are more amenable to digital contact than heretofore.  As always with the APAC region, Irish companies must be realistic on the runway required to winning new business.

 

5. How is the Enterprise Ireland office network across the APAC Region supporting Irish companies during this period?

The Enterprise Ireland network of offices from Beijing to Sydney is fully operational with teams working remotely to ensure continuity of service to both existing clients and to support the pipeline of new entrants to the region.

Our focus is twofold;  firstly, supporting the immediate challenges of clients with respect to customer delivery and supply chain management and secondly, continuing to support new business prospecting in the region in preparation for the uptick which will come in time. There is every reason to believe that the high growth APAC region will continue to offer serious rewards to client companies once the current crisis abates.

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.

From tech enthusiast to industry innovator – How Immersive VR is revolutionising education

“It’s not just the money that HPSU provides. It’s the information, contacts, and the advice they give you.”
David Whelan, Founder, Immersive VR Education

Overview:

  • Immersive VR Education was founded in 2014 based on the belief that virtual reality has the power to transform how training and educational content is delivered and consumed globally.
  • The business was ushered into the New Frontiers Entrepreneurial Development programme before qualifying for High Potential Start-Up support, which was used for product development, talent acquisition, conference attendance and more.
  • Today, Immersive VR Education has a staff of 40 people and sales of its applications and education licenses are growing at an average of 50% each year.

 

Case Study: Immersive VR

David Whelan is a self-taught web developer and all-round tech enthusiast. When he came across the first model of the Oculus virtual reality headset on the fundraising website Kickstarter, he was intrigued. The recession had hit Ireland and money was tight, but Whelan still spent his last €300 to purchase the cutting-edge product.

Inspired by the new technology, Whelan built one of the very first review websites for virtual reality. He realised that, despite the potential power of this tech to impact learning, most existing VR content consisted of video games and entertainment. It’s true that NASA and several medical research facilities were using virtual reality for training, but access to these experiences was extremely expensive. He had identified a glaring gap in the VR market: educational material for the average consumer. That’s when Whelan decided to start his own virtual reality business: Immersive VR Education.

Whelan was convinced that his idea held merit for educators worldwide, but in order to make it happen, he needed funding. He paid a visit to his local Enterprise Ireland office in Waterford, bringing along the VR headset.

“When pitching my idea, the first thing I had to do was explain VR,” says Whelan. “Then I would let them try it. People were always blown away by the experience. They definitely thought I was crazy, but they could see I was committed. It’s hard to deny the power of VR once you’ve tried it.

Enterprise Ireland agreed that the start-up had huge global potential. Immersive VR Education was ushered into the New Frontiers Entrepreneurial Development programme with the goal of eventually qualifying for High Potential Start-Up support. Its partnership with Enterprise Ireland generated funding used for product development and enabled Whelan to bring his wife and co-founder, Sandra, on staff. The start-up’s HPSU development advisor, who came from a similar business and technical background, suggested applying for grant funding, so it participated in the HPSU Feasibility Study, which contributed toward costs to attend conferences in relevant industries.

 

Enterprise Ireland introduced Immersive VR Education to their overseas offices in places like New York, Tokyo, and London. Whelan says these international teams were extremely helpful and happy to advise whether the new VR products would be well received within their respective markets.

Whelan says, “I couldn’t have started a business anywhere but here. Enterprise Ireland vetted us and vouched for us, which gave investors confidence in our business idea. This opened important doors to funding and helped us to no end.”

 

Shoot for the moon

Most of the early fundraising went toward building Immersive VR Education’s first application: the Apollo 11 virtual reality experience. Whelan describes the 1969 moon landing as “a shining beacon in history.” He and his team of developers worked hard to build a virtual reality experience that would transport viewers directly to the surface of the moon with the Apollo 11 crew. He believed that this type of immersive learning would mean much more to students than simply reading about the event in a textbook.

When the demo for Apollo 11 VR was launched, Facebook used it in conjunction with the release of its new Oculus headset. The partnership gave Immersive VR Education the remaining funds needed to complete the application. When all was said and done, Apollo 11 VR cost about $100,000 to build and went out as a top title on the Oculus Rift VR headset. Since then, the application has generated over $2 million.

 

Education for everyone

Following the roaring success of Immersive VR Education’s first application, it began to build out its business and hire more staff. Whelan took the education angle to a whole new level, creating a virtual university where educators can teach anyone in the world via its virtual classrooms.

“We want a future where education is accessible to everyone,” says Whelan. “I fully believe there is another young Einstein out there, missing his chance to change the world because he doesn’t have access to quality education. We’re here to change that.”

Immersive VR Education hopes that in the future, we will see virtual universities around the world. Whelan dreams of providing the opportunity for students to attend a physics class at MIT in the morning and literature at Oxford in the afternoon. He also sees potential for exposing home-schooled students to the social benefits of the classroom experience, helping to alleviate isolation for children who are not involved in traditional schooling. The possibilities, he says, are endless.

 

Exceptional growth with Enterprise Ireland

Today, Immersive VR Education has a staff of 40 people. Sales of its applications and education licenses are growing at an average of 50% each year. The company sells products online globally, with its highest numbers coming from the US, UK, and Korea.

Although Immersive VR Education flew through the official HPSU programme in just under three years, Whelan says that Enterprise Ireland is still very much part of their daily operations. They regularly send advisors to Waterford, provide advice and industry connections, and enable access to further support and grants.

The company’s latest goal is to expand and hire more staff. Recently, it availed of the Enterprise Ireland GradStart programme, which Whelan says is invaluable when it comes to sourcing new recruits. Immersive VR Education expects to see exponential growth over the next three to five years as the company continues its work of revolutionising education around the globe.

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How Manna Drone Delivery is changing the global delivery industry

“Indigenous tech is at a huge disadvantage compared to FDI companies. Enterprise Ireland gives us policy support and the advantage we need in order to scale.”

Bobby Healy, Founder, Manna Drone Delivery

Overview:

  • Serial entrepreneur Bobby Healy of CarTrawler fame founded Manna Drone Delivery in 2017 to revolutionise food delivery.
  • The High Potential Start-Up team provided invaluable logistical support, training, and market access.
  • Healy plans to begin scaling the company globally in the next 18-24 months.

Case Study: Manna Drone Delivery

Bobby Healy is an experienced entrepreneur, but his latest idea is probably his most revolutionary yet. For the last three years, he’s been building Manna Drone Delivery, a service with which he plans to revolutionise the world of online food delivery. Healy says he noticed that major food platforms don’t deliver to suburban Ireland. The reason? It is nearly impossible to drive or deliver food profitably. The practice is cost-prohibitive but still needed in many areas. He saw an opportunity to use new technology as a solution to the problem: drones. Healy founded Manna and began hiring experts who could turn his idea into reality.

A computer programmer by trade, Healy began his career writing video games for Nintendo. Since then, he has founded and led two successful businesses, including CarTrawler, the world’s largest mobility marketplace for airlines. Healy’s programming expertise was also the foundation for his drone delivery idea. Over the last two years, the Manna team has built and tested custom software, hardware, and batteries. They are also working with aviation regulators in multiple markets about airspace law. The end goal is to “make a 3-minute, low-cost food delivery service as pervasive as running water in Europe and the USA.”

Anywhere there’s an economy where food delivery is growing, we should be there. By 2021, we’ll begin to scale and then enter markets everywhere.” says Healy.

The entrepreneur’s last two businesses were supported by Enterprise Ireland, so it was only natural that Healy went to them with his newest idea. He says that onboarding with the High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) team was a straightforward process.

“The HPSU team were always available to meet and help us understand what they needed for us to qualify. It’s not a rigid organisation. They do everything they can to take care of formalities in the background as you get going on the work,” Healy says.

 

HPSU making headway on foreign soil

Currently, there are 23 people working for Manna. Healy says that with Enterprise Ireland’s guidance, he plans to begin commercially scaling the company in the next 18 to 24 months. He predicts HPSU will be invaluable when it comes to logistical support, training, and market access. He plans to lean on HPSU as he pushes Manna’s service into the global marketplace.

One of the biggest challenges to launching international drone operations is airspace regulation. Flight rules vary from country to country and Healy’s team will need to negotiate with lawmakers in each region where they hope to fly. The partnership with Enterprise Ireland will be crucial for gaining permission to operate in foreign airspace. The key to success is access to the people who control those regulations.

“Enterprise Ireland is there to help with introductions to regulators in foreign countries,” Healy says. “They offer an industrial international presence.”

Healy admits that his company is facing some inordinately large challenges, saying it is probably the most complex business you could build. Manna must find solutions for custom cloud services, market integration, new hardware, regulations, certification, and licensing. On top of everything else, there is the matter of finance. Healy says the first hurdle in fundraising was educating and convincing investors that his idea was viable. The scale and audacity of the plan can be hard to fathom for some.

Healy says, “Most businesses are predictable and believable. Ours is beyond cutting edge. We’re doing something totally new, but we’ve overcome disbelief and begun to successfully raise significant levels of capital.”

The international business community has shown faith in the fledgling company’s new ideas. In addition to regulatory access across borders, Enterprise Ireland has been working to assist Manna throughout the fundraising process.

“The team in San Francisco have been instrumental in opening doors for us as we raise funds,” says Healy. “They give us respectability and prominence in the industry.”

 

Sights set on more than just food

Manna is launching as a food delivery service, but Healy says the start-up won’t stop there. He decided to hone in on the food industry because the volume of potential deliveries is so high. Healy says this will allow the new business to be capital efficient. Once the infrastructure is in place, however, it plans to also roll out services for pharmacies, hardware stores, butcher shops, bookstores, and anything else that fuels a local economy.

In order to reach these goals, Healy says talent acquisition will be important. As drone technology continues to develop, Manna will need more high-quality technicians, designers, and programmers on board to keep up. He predicts that the company’s ongoing relationship with HPSU and Enterprise Ireland will once again be valuable as it scales.

“A small start-up company needs an endorsement that says, ‘These guys are a team to work with’. We’re competing with the big guys for talent, so HPSU helps address that imbalance.” says Healy.