Taking Care of Business

Sponsored by: Local Enterprise Office Laois, Offaly & Westmeath
Entrepreneur and HR expert Ronan Berry steals ideas from the best business minds in the midlands, every Tuesday from 7pm.

Supported by the Local Enterprise Office, this programme introduces you to successful people, happy to share their insights and winning formulas – or from whom Ronan can prise the answers.

Need advice? Have a question or a discussion topic suggestion? You can contact the show, or select an article below to read more about previous shows in the series.


Taking Care of Business can be emailed at business@midlands103.com.


The ticking Pension Timebomb. Will the proposed auto-enrolment of all workers into pension schemes diffuse the problem?

At present in Ireland there are four people working for every one person not working (unemployed; retirees, etc). By 2050 its predicted that there will be two people not working for every person working.
How will the state provide for an ageing population that will work and live longer? The answer is through auto enrolment of employees into pension schemes.
QFA Michael Lynam of Prisma Financial joined Ronan to discuss.

Are you ready for a career in hospitality? Midlands Park Hotel Portlaoise is the place to be on Wednesday 17th October.

General Manager Dara Cruise on the challenges the hotel and the hospitality sector face to entice people into the industry. Dara also discusses the impact that the Budget 2019 will have now that the special rate of VAT has been ceased.
Pat Keegan Lead Partner at RSM provides some background into the reduced rate that was introduced in 2011.

BREXIT – the border and a backstop? Do you understand what’s being proposed?

How relevant is the border between north and south of Ireland?
Listen to this short piece from Taking Care of Business that features a well-known TV character, guidance on Brexit for kids and a famous Irish actor!

What you should know about domestic and commercial fire safety by an expert engineer.

National Fire Safety Week runs from 1st to 8th October 2018.
Issues around fire safety in residential developments have made headline news over the past decade with numerous examples of Irish buildings failing to meet requirements and of course the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.
Have changes to legislation and building control standards had the desired impact?
Ronan was joined by Fergal Finnerty Senior Engineer on the Fire Safety Team at ORS Consulting Engineers in Mullingar to discuss all matters domestic and commercial fire safety and to outline current fire safety legislation and requirements.

Do you have any stories, memorabilia or other material about Maxol, a fully Irish owned and family run company?

As they prepare to celebrate 100 years of business, Director Noel McMullan has put a call out for anyone with stories, memorabilia or anything else associated with Maxol, or Mex as it was once known, to get in touch on 01-6076800 or noel.mcmullan@maxol.ie. The information will form part of the research for a book by Turtle Bunbury, specially commissioned by the company.
Noel also discusses the growth in electric vehicles, clearly a challenge for a company with 125 petrol stations and a further 150 under contract. But as you’ll discover, the company have withstood many industry crises in the past!

‘CULTIVATE’ Farm Loans are now available through seven credit unions in the Midlands.

Ronan was joined in studio by Brendan Heneghan, Project Manager of Cultivate and a former Regional Manager with Teagasc and Michael Evans, Manager of Birr Credit Union.
The Cultivate farm loan package can offer up to €50,000 loans for a variety of purposes in line with the stakeholder/market research feedback, this is based on finance for -working capital, livestock purchase, farm development, farm machinery purchase. Start-up finance for young trained entrants to farming will also feature in the loan package. The term of the loan can be up to 7 years and over €10m has been issued already.
Credit Union farm loan officers have completed a bespoke “Farm and Finance Training course” organised by Teagasc and Pallaskenry Agricultural College.
Information and application forms for Cultivate farm loans can be got from your local Credit Union offices or at www.cultivate-cu.ie

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) oversee employment law compliance and promote best practice. A must listen for employers!

Oonagh Buckley, Director General of the WRC, speaking with Ronan at the National Ploughing Championships in Offaly.
Is your business compliant with employment law and thus prepared for an inspection?
The WRC currently undertake 5,000 to 5,500 inspections per year including at night and at weekends.
What are the typical findings and non-compliance matters from typical inspections and what steps should be taken to increase compliance?

Westmeath auto repair company looks to the future by becoming the first Irish franchisee of a major auto-repair group.

Criostoir Sleator, MD of Sleator Kia and Sleator’s Body Shop in Mullingar dropped in to discuss the move which sees the latter being rebranded to Fix Auto Westmeath.
The move will mean the company can avail of the most advanced technologies in a rapidly changing repairs market.
Criostoir was joined by Jonathan Penny, Market operations Director for Fix Auto Ireland as they prepare for the official launch on Tuesday 18th September.

Zoosh Investment Partnership plans to invest in over fifteen start-ups over the next eighteen months.

Bert Farrell, CEO of Zoosh Ventures, explains the Zoosh Investment Partnership striving to provide seed funding to domain expert entrepreneurs with ambitions to create cloud technology start-ups.
He also gives an overview of some companies that have availed of the funding and developed expertise in areas such as paperless ticket sales, continuous improvement programmes for manual assembly lines, advanced vehicle telematics and smart sports scouting.
Listen back to the full interview here.

The secret is in the wick!

Find out why and learn more about natural, Irish produced beeswax candles.
Jennifer Doyle, co-founder of Beeswax Candle Makers, dropped in to talk about her business.
The range of hand-poured and hand-rolled candles are made using 100% natural beeswax.
Learn more about the rigorous product development process and the journey to market here.

Flavours untamed – meet the Laois based creator of Irish sauces with an African kick!

Michael Onalimi talks about the journey and the inspiration behind his distinct sauces made using Irish and African ingredients. Neither the flavour or Michael’s passion is untamed!

Voice searching, chat bots and personalising on-line communications – what you need to know about digital marketing.

Business Fairy Aisling Hurley outlines the latest digital marketing trends that businesses should be aware of.

Ray Geraghty of Westmeath Dublin Business Network discusses the aims and objectives of this new group.

The Westmeath Dublin Business Network (WDBN) was established in March 2018 to foster greater ties between Westmeath business people who are working in Dublin.
WDBN’s key aim is to encourage its members to refer business and to share contacts with each other while at the same time promoting the interests of Westmeath in the wider Dublin business community.
They are hosting a networking event on September 13 at 6:30pm in House, 27 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin.

Introducing Midland Business Hubs

With plans to open facilities in Tullamore, Athlone and Mullingar, Midland Business Hubs aim to cultivate an environment where entrepreneurial minds can come together to exchange ideas and gain a new perspective on their business.
Whether you need a hot-desk or fixed desk, an office or a HQ, Tom McNamara explains how these hubs can provide office space where you can work independently while being surrounded by driven, enthusiastic like-minded people.

Athlone branch of the Samaritans answers over thirty-five thousand call every year. And that number is rising steadily.

Westmeath businessman Tom Fitzpatrick has a long association with the group and he dropped into studio to talk about the increase in callers and the prevalence of calls from self-employed people and those in full-time roles.

Assessing the tourism potential of Irish canals and greenways

Head of Marketing at Waterways Ireland Sharon Lavin and Fiona Casey of Grand Canal Adventures discuss the importance of the Royal and Grand Canal’s in increasing tourism trade in the region.

Are excessive compensation pay-outs and rising insurance premiums the largest threat to Irish business?

Peter Boland is spokesperson for the Alliance for Insurance Reform and he joined Ronan to discuss this and to talk about the ’10 Asks’ his organisation is lobbying for.
These include amending Section 8 of the Civil Liability Act 2004 to make it mandatory and reduce the period for reporting accidents to 1 month as opposed to 2 years at present.

‘Guests checked out after first night due to inadequate broadband’

With a collapse of the National Broadband Plan looking imminent, Margaret Edgill of Mount Briscoe Organic Farm talks to Ronan about the negative impact a lack of high speed broadband is having on their business.
The Edgill’ s provide guest accommodation as part of their business and Margaret tells of two guests who checked out after one night such was their reliance on broadband for work reasons.

Did you know an Athlone water park has the world’s tallest floating slide as confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records!

Founder and Director of Baysports Richie O’Hara dropped in to studio to talk about his latest expansion plans to his famous floating water park.
With over forty thousand visitors expected this tourist season Baysports are clearly doing something right. And they scooped a Merit Award at the Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards too!
Listen back here.

Business leaders tell their success stories at Founder Friday, Tullamore.

Founder Friday is a free monthly event, where local start-ups and established business owners share their entrepreneurial journey from the initial start-up stages right through to maturity.
Caroline Spollen of The Junction, Local Enterprise Office Offaly’s innovation hub and co-working facility popped into studio to discuss the event.
The event is open to all and takes place on the last Friday of every month.

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