Taking Care of Business

Sponsored by: Local Enterprise Office Offaly
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 and Albert 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.


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.

Leadership trainer Kathleen Kinsella discusses the relevance of ‘soft skills’ training in the healthcare sector.

Kathleen Kinsella provides soft skills training to the public and private healthcare sector.
Popular courses include Conflict Management, Peer to Manager People Management and Dignity at Work Management

Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards

This episode of Taking Care of Business is dedicated to the inaugural Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards that were held in the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise on Monday 21st of May. In all 45 awards were handed out to the winners, chosen by a panel of expert judges from hundreds of nominees as selected by over four thousand Midlands 103 listeners. A full list of all the nominees and winners is available at www.midlands103awards.com . Here, Ronan chats to some of the judges including David Whelehan from Whelehan’s Wines, Executive Chef of Fire Restaurant Richie Wilson and Restaurateur Nick Munier. Also, Colm Neville owner of the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise and Brian Cunningham co –founder of the Midlands 103 Hospitality Awards. Paul Bell from the Brewery Tap, Tullamore drops in for a chat about his nomination for Best Sports Bar and we hear from some of the winners on the night. Ronan starts the show by taking to the Chief Executive of Laois County Council John Mulholland about what the region has to offer.

On-farm Craft Brewery

David Walsh of Craft Brewery Ballykilcavan, Stradbally drops into studio to chat to Albert about why he’s installed a new brewery on their family farm.

Condron Concrete

The Midlands business community were saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Offaly businessman Johnny Condron last week.
Johnny’s son John Jnr talks about the beginnings of Condron Concrete and where it is today, employing 120 people at its two plants in Tullamore.

Meet the young entrepreneur with a novel fundraising idea for your sports club!

Runner up in the Junior Category was Joanne Cushen, Ballyboy of Gnó-Jó who has developed a simple but highly effect product that allows sports clubs to raise much needed funds.
But the concept is merely the starting point and Joanne is a driven and determined 13-year-old entrepreneur. Joanne and her father Bobby joined Ronan to talk about her business.

An ambitious Laois tourism strategy has just been launched – but how effective will it be?

A Strategic Plan for Tourism in Laois (2018-2023) was published recently and sets out the strategic ambitions and key targets for tourism in the county.
Stradbally based Big Idea Consulting have been appointed to spearhead the implementation of the strategy and partners Jackie Carroll and Rose Bergin dropped in to talk about the project and its key metrics.

HSE Tullamore Staff Choir brings employees together in the spirit of wellbeing.

The choir has brought together a diverse range of employees from across all local HSE functions and reunited former colleagues and friends.
And they can sing too!

The dispersion of manufacturing using 3D printing will mean that companies no longer need to operate large scale facilities in low cost regions of the world.

Dr. Andrew Lynch Chief Innovation Officer at Irish Manufacturing Research explains the vision behind the facility located at the National Science Park in Mullingar.
Andrew outlines the ‘act local but think global’ ethos of the research facility and introduces the concept of Manufacturing 4.0.
He also pays tribute to ‘an extraordinary eco-system of companies based in the Midlands’.
The interview is a must listen for those in the manufacturing sphere and those considering a career in manufacturing.

Mayor of Athlone Aengus O’Rourke and Richie O’Hara of Bay Sports discuss Athlone’s strategic location in ‘Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands’.

Listen back to Aengus O’Rourke (Mayor of Athlone and owner of Midland Print and Signs) and Richie O’Hara (Bay Sports) in conversation with Ronan Berry at the Athlone Chamber of Commerce Awards in the Sheraton Hotel Athlone on Saturday 21st April 2018.

Are the Midlands considered the ideal place to live and work or do companies face an uphill battle in attracting talent to the region?

Listen back to Senator Gabrielle McFadden; David Gleeson (RBK), Mary Mullin (Collins McNicholas, Marie Grenham (Grenham Travel) and Paddy Dunican (Kilbeggan Races) in conversation with Ronan Berry at the Athlone Chamber of Commerce Awards in the Sheraton Hotel Athlone on Saturday 21st April 2018.

The future of Irish business and innovation is in safe hands with these primary school kids!

Ronan really enjoyed his visit to Offaly’s Most Enterprising Student competition organised by Local Enterprise Office Offaly with the aim of encouraging entrepreneurship in primary school children.
Listen back as Ronan talks to 10-year-old Adam who has established a kindling business and currently supplies twenty-seven customers weekly. Adam is well versed on his operating and production costs too.
Twelve-year-old Sarah produces ‘stress reducing’ slime in her bedroom and demand has soared over the past year and she now sells her product on-line too!
Business Advisor Geraldine Beirne outlines the objectives of the programme and how it feeds into the Student Enterprise
Awards for secondary school children and ultimately Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.
The future is very bright indeed!
Listen back to the full interview here.

Are you one of the 400,000 Irish people who worked in the UK previously? You might be entitled to a UK state pension.

Frank Buckley of USP Financial outlines to Ronan how returned Irish emigrants will have paid UK taxes and social insurance during their time there. Many people do not appreciate the potential value of their accrued UK state pension rights and Frank has positioned himself to assist.

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