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.


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.

Embracing an ‘inside-out’ approach to interior architecture.

Award winning interior architect Audrey Gaffney discusses the merits of an ‘inside-out’ approach to building design and refurbishment and how the right design is key to growing revenue.
Audrey Gaffney and Associates has recently won the All-Star Female Led Business of the Year and the All-Star Hospitality Interior Design Team of the Year. Listen back to the full interview here.

President Michael D. Higgins; the Midlands National, Best Dressed Lady Competition, Brexit and more!

Managing Director of Kilbeggan Races Paddy Dunican dropped in to talk about the next meeting taking place on Friday 22nd July where President Michael D. Higgins will be guest of honour. The main event will be the hotly contested Midlands National and not forgetting the Best Dressed Lady competition.
Listen back here.

Have you ever considered becoming vegan? Could being a ‘flexitarian’ be a viable alternative?

Brendan Cleary of Ethica Planet Foods joined Ronan to discuss their organic oat based sustainable foods range. The company recently picked up the Herstelle Start-Up Award at BIOFACH in Berlin, the worlds leading trade fair for Organic Food.
Listen back here.

New CEO of Retail Excellence plans to lobby to have a Minister for Retail appointed to represent the sector contributing over €7bn to the exchequer annually.

Former Senator Lorraine Higgins officially became CEO of Retail Excellence on Monday 2nd July 2018 and joined Ronan to discuss her objectives for the years ahead and why she believes a Minister for Retail is required. Retail Excellence is Ireland’s largest retail representative body and supports over 1,800 businesses.
Lorraine also outlines how consumer demand for ‘mid-week conveniences’ is presenting challenges to the traditional retail model, but she is also adamant that the high street will continue to play a crucial role in Irish towns and cities.

There is plenty of money available to SME’s but is the onerous application system proving detrimental to business development?

The Treasury Hub is a collaboration between Treasury Solutions Limited and four prominent accountancy and advisory firms, one of which is Athlone headquartered RBK. John Finn of Treasury Solutions spoke to Ronan about the objectives of the collaboration and how it can support SME’s.
Regarding Brexit, John suggests that ‘businesses should never waste a good crisis’ as there is always merit in reviewing the terms and conditions of your financial loan agreements irrespective of the size of your organisation.

Rare and Traditional Breeds Show on 22nd July promises to celebrate native breeds of cattle, sheep, horses, ponies and dog.

Margaret Edgill of Mount Briscoe Organic Farm in Daingean, Co. Offaly, popped into studio to talk about the annual show that is gaining in popularity year on year. It promises to celebrate the rare native and traditional breeds of animal, many of which are unique to Ireland. The one exception being pigs as there is no native Irish breed still in existence. There are a number of new classes added to this year’s show including an interesting sounding ‘Go Native’ class – Margaret explains all here!

35 years in business and still a cut above the rest!

Ken Grennan of PJ Grennan Quality Foods popped into studio to talk about the famous Tullamore shop and restaurant.
Established in 1983 by Ken’s parent’s PJ and Angela Grennan the business has experienced the ups and downs of economic recessions and more.
They celebrate 35 years in business this week.
Listen to the full interview here.

Mr. Pat Miller – An appreciation

Prominent business man and community activist Pat Miller sadly passed away on June 20th 2018 after a short illness.
Ronan spoke to Patrick Miller Junior about his father’s legacy and his devotion and loyalty to his customers.
Patrick also talks about the closure of the original business late last year and how he has now reopened in new premises.

Mr. Philip Lumley – An appreciation

The business and wider community mourned the passing of Philip Lumley last week.
Ronan spoke to Mark Lumley about his father just days after his passing.

The National LifeScience and Engineering Expo 2018 takes place in Mullingar on 28th and 29th June.

Dr. Ann O’Connell is an Industrial Researcher at Irish Manufacturing Research in Mullingar and a committee member of the group organising the expo.
Dr. O’Connell provides an overview of the participating companies, guest speakers and the schedule of events including a unique networking opportunity on Thursday 28th June.

What are the challenges faced by Irish emigrants hoping to return home to work?

Dermot Carey Director of Safety, training and Manpower Policy at the Construction Industry Federation joins Ronan to discuss the challenges that returning Irish emigrants are facing as they attempt to fill vacant job roles in the country. These challenges are documented in the Indecon Economic Report on Addressing Challenges Faced by Returning Irish Emigrants, commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and published in February 2018.
Alongside the lack of available housing, other issues include the prohibitive cost of motor insurance and the unwillingness by employers to accept training certificates attained in other countries.
This comes at a time when it is reported that the construction sector in Ireland needs to fill 100,000 job roles within the next two years to ensure demands are met.

Diversification & Innovation in the Irish drinks industry will greatly increase tourism in the region

Patricia Callan Director of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland discusses the role the drinks industry can play in increasing tourist numbers in the region.
The Guinness Storehouse was the most visited paid tourist attraction in the country in 2017.
Currently almost ninety thousand tourists visit the Tullamore DEW Visitor Centre and Kilbeggan Distillery and Patricia firmly believes these numbers cans be vastly increased through increased collaboration across the drinks and tourism sectors.

Juno paints currently operate in over twenty-five countries and just recently opened a facility in Portlaoise.

Dory Kiblawi, Director of International Business and Exports and Martin Galvin Sales Manager for Juno Paints Ireland dropped in to studio to talk to Ronan about the new facility in Clonminam Industrial Estate, Portlaoise.
They also talk about the opportunities the Spanish headed company, founded in 1927, spotted in the Irish market.

What is blockchain technology and what role is it likely to play in everyday business transactions?

Tech expert Andy O’Donoghue explains blockchain technology and its practical uses.
Often associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the technology can be applied to other processes and transactions such as warranty management and storing of health records.
IDA Ireland recently announced in initiative aiming to position Ireland as global leaders in blockchain.
Listen back here as Andy suggest that blockchain technology must be considered for the school syllabus to ensure we have enough graduates to meet the anticipated job roles being created.

Would you leave a thirty-year career as a financial advisor to set up a photography company?

Paul Moore joined Ronan in studio to discuss his passion for photography and how he went about leaving a career in financial services to establish a business in an undoubtedly competitive market.
Paul has developed his offering to encompass photography workshops on creating digital photographic content and storytelling through photography to having his pictures on the front covers for novels.
In fact, one of his pictures formed the cover of The New York Times Bestseller Almost Dead by Lisa Jackson and his son Conor is pictured on the cover of The Hearts Invisible Furies by John Doyle, author of the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Paul’s passion for his work is apparent throughout the interview – listen back here.

Is it possible that just 4% of SME’s have a formal Brexit strategy in place?

With only 297 days to go until the UK formally leaves the EU on 29th March 2019, what contingency plans must companies make to counter the effects of Brexit?
Richard Dunne is AIB’s Brexit Advisor for Laois, Offaly and Kildare and he spoke to Ronan on Taking Care of Business recently.
Listen back to the full interview here.

Birr Castle – the star gazing tourist hotspot with generations of history spread over one-hundred and twenty acres.

Created over generations it is an environmental and scientific time capsule that remains the family home of the Parson’s, a fact that is a key driver of the amenities success according to General Manager Grainne O’Malley.

Mark Healy of The Pantry Café Portlaoise on the importance of exemplary customer service and empowering staff to simply ‘be themselves’ with customers.

The Pantry Café in Portlaoise took home two awards at the Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards for Best Café and Best Restaurant Manager Rachael Doyle.

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