Feature Article
Welcome to This Week's Issue | Here's What's Inside...

We're delighted to bring you another jam-packed issue of Dublin Chamber Weekly, kindly sponsored by PwC.

 

Inside this week's edition, you will find details of the Chamber’s latest policy and lobbying work. There's also information on unmissable upcoming events.

 

All that plus your regular helping of member news and much, much more. Enjoy the issue!


Lobbying Update
 

In recent weeks Dublin Chamber has been lobbying both Government and opposition on the key challenges facing businesses in the capital. We have been assured by Government that there will be no cliff-edge to business supports as economic and business life returns to normality, but we will continue to ensure that the voice of Dublin business is heard at Government level.


Cities have been badly hit by the current crisis. That is why we have called on the Taoiseach to act now and undertake a national response to the crisis facing our cities. Along with our fellow Chambers in the city regions of Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford, we have called on the Government to deliver a national strategy for urban Ireland to complement its strategy for rural areas. You can read our letter to the Taoiseach here. We also have written to the Tánaiste to prioritise supports for urban centres and provide certainty on the duration of financial supports and the sustainability of the re-opening over the coming months. 

 

Dublin Chamber is leading the conversation by promoting our vision of Dublin as a 15 Minute City, renowned for its sustainability and quality of life. This has been well-received in recent meetings with Minister Eamon Ryan and Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald among others, and is already being integrated into development plans across the city region. Meanwhile, we are working closely with Dublin’s local authorities on plans for reopening and recovery from the summer onwards.

You can find out more about recent developments in this newsletter. As always, we welcome input from all our members.

 

Here are a few ways you can to help shape and inform the Chamber’s policy work:

  1. Take 2 minutes to answer our Q2 Business Outlook Surveywhich focuses on the Future of Cities.
  2. Participate in one of our policy Focus Groups. The next focus group, scheduled for Tuesday 25th May at 12pm, is on digital transformation. Keep an eye on your inbox for further details.
  3. Send us an Email with your feedback. We are always keen to hear from members, whether on the specific issues raised in this newsletter or any other matter. If you have thoughts or feedback on policy from a business perspective, please get in touch with us by emailing: policy@dublinchamber.ie.
Grants of up to €40k under Online Retail Scheme
 

The Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment has issued a new call for applications to the Online Retail Scheme in response to the Covid-19 crisis and the urgent need for retail businesses to step up their online capability. The goal is to help Irish-owned retailers enhance their digital capability and develop a more competitive online offer that will enable an increase in their customer base and build a more resilient business in the domestic and global marketplace, both online and offline.


Grants are available from a competitive fund of €5 million, administered by Enterprise Ireland. Successful applicants will be awarded funding to support a maximum of 80% of the project’s eligible costs with a maximum grant of €40,000. Typical elements involved in developing a sophisticated and transactional online presence include research, consultancy costs for strategy development, implementation and training. A starter guide on developing an online retail presence can be downloaded here.

 

To qualify your business must be an Irish-owned retail enterprise that had a retail store and employed at least 10 people in the Republic of Ireland on or before 29th February 2020.

 

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 25th May at 12pm. Due to a high level of interest, strict adherence will be given to the deadline for receipt of applications, together with statutory accounts.

For more information on eligibility and assessment criteria, click here.

30km Speed Limit in Dublin City?
 

Dublin City Council is considering new speed limits to come into force at the end of 2021, with the aim of reducing road deaths and noise pollution, and making the city a more attractive place to walk and cycle. Under the plans, the 30km/h speed limit would become the default across the city, with some exceptions on major arteries. You can see the latest version of the plan and accompanying report here. What impact would this have on your business? Tell us by responding to our quick survey here or by emailing policy@dublinchamber.ie.


Dublin City Council Waives Street Furniture Fees to End of 2022
 

Dublin City Council has announced today that they have decided to waive all street furniture fees until the end of 2022 in an effort to help businesses struggling to recover post Covid-19. They have also launched a new helpful brochure for businesses entitled 'Street Furniture Guidline' which includes details on business use of public spaces, you can read that here.

 

For details on how to apply for funding under the Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme click here


Dublin Chamber is working closely with the Office of City Recovery to feed into the short, medium and long-term plans to help the city centre recover post Covid-19. The focus is currently on the short term plans to get the city ready for the anticipated Outdoor Summer. Please get in touch if you have any feedback on the plan. 


Getting Exit Strategies Right for Business Owners is Critical
 

Having worked hard to build a successful company and create a legacy, selling a business can be a high-stakes, emotional event. How can businesses ensure a well-structured exit process?

 

Despite economic headwinds, corporate and private equity investors have unprecedented access to capital for potential deals. As valuations increase, sellers are expected to be more rigorous and unwanted surprises in a deal are more costly. Sellers need to give confidence to buyers to move transactions toward a successful conclusion. Proactive preparation has become mandatory. Processes have accelerated and become more data-driven. Quality of earnings analysis and sell-side due diligence are becoming commonplace.


By Mark McEnroe, Deals Partner, PwC Ireland

Having worked hard to build a successful company and create a legacy, selling a business can be a high-stakes, emotional event. How can businesses ensure a well-structured exit process?

Despite economic headwinds, corporate and private equity investors have unprecedented access to capital for potential deals. As valuations increase, sellers are expected to be more rigorous and unwanted surprises in a deal are more costly. Sellers need to give confidence to buyers to move transactions toward a successful conclusion. Proactive preparation has become mandatory. Processes have accelerated and become more data-driven. Quality of earnings analysis and sell-side due diligence are becoming commonplace.

A well structured exit process has five distinct phases:

Making the decision to sell

It is important to identify the business and personal goals and objectives, both monetary and non monetary, of selling your business. To a large extent, these considerations determine the right exit strategy. Being proactive at the outset empowers you to assert more control when the time is right. It also enhances the eventual value of the business to buyers.

The process of identifying objectives will help you determine the right exit strategy. Objectives will be both financial (liquidity, valuation, tax/estate planning) and non-financial (succession, employee and other stakeholder concerns and family dynamics).

Understanding the buyer universe

It is important to see the business through the eyes of potential buyers. Are you going to manage a continuing role in the business? What are their expectations about control? Can you determine the appropriate transaction structure and reconcile both the buyer and seller objectives?

One of the smartest moves you can make to sharpen your selling story is to look at your business through the eyes of a buyer. We believe the earlier you step away from the day-to-day and study the business afresh, the more time you have to make substantive changes that add to the value of the business. 

Preparing the business for a sale

The actions required when preparing your business to be sold include:  Putting together the best package;  Valuing and evaluating the business, including price expectations;  Determining the right time to sell; Conducting a pre-sale checkup and corrective actions; Preparing sell-side due diligence; Preemptively addressing potential buyer concerns;  Managing employee expectations and putting in place appropriate retention packages in the transaction setting and turning complexity into confidence.

The deal process

You’ve made the decision to sell. You’ve considered the possible types of buyers and the type of sale that will work well for your business. You’ve considered the value of the business and geared up for an actual sale process, building a package to present to potential buyers. Now you’re ready to approach potential buyers and begin the actual sale process.

Preparing for life after the deal

How are you going to preserve and transfer the wealth generated by the exit from your business? There are estate and tax planning considerations. It’s important to recognise  that managing wealth well is not too dissimilar to running a business. You have alternatives to preserve wealth for a long time and to ensure it flows where you want it to in the most tax-efficient manner as possible.

Five key actions to take now are:

1.Align the business objective with the sale objective: Once the decision has been made to sell, the business switches to a faster gear, you need to remain focused. If attention to the day-to-day operational matters gets pushed aside, the business will likely suffer just when optimal performance is critical. At the same time, you’ll need to step aside and think through everything that the sales process will impact, from other shareholders and employees to lenders, suppliers, customers and competitors (who may become a buyer). 

2.Select key management team participants and retain trusted specialists: Demonstrate the depth of management and deal capabilities to move to a close. For owners, the art lies in forming the optimal internal team. The right people must be identified to gather information and interact with buyers. At the same time, the group must be narrow enough to control the consistency of the seller’s message and minimise overall distraction from day-to-day operations.

3.Get ready for deep dives: Unpleasant surprises can quickly derail buyer- seller momentum and deflate perceptions of worth. Comprehensive sell-side due diligence will take much of the mystery out of valuation exercises. It should reflect considerations of the key drivers of the business from both the seller’s and buyer’s perspectives. The process helps identify areas that have deal and value implications and prepares and coaches management to address the issues with potential buyers. 

4.Identify buyers and what’s important to them: Transactional value depends to a great degree on who’s doing the purchasing: buyers interested in potential synergies and cost savings or private equity sources seeking an anchor investment and focused on optimising the financing structure and putting their capital resources to work. By better understanding a buyer’s philosophy and attitude toward value, a seller can begin to understand how this outlook applies to the attributes of the business and its emerging valuation. An external market perspective also prepares owners to present the most credible and most compelling picture of future growth and profitability.

5.Evaluate potential tax and transaction structuring alternatives and review the legal landscape: Entrepreneurs / business owners typically prefer to sell shares in the trading company and incur only one level of tax. There are a number of tax reliefs available for personal shareholders in such instances to help reduce the effective tax rate where certain conditions are met (e.g. entrepreneurs relief / retirement relief). Alternatively, the establishment of a personal holding company pre-sale is often seen as an attractive option for individuals to divest all or part of their business. Exiting through a personal holding company can be efficient from a tax perspective whereby certain conditions are satisfied to avail of an exemption from tax at the level of the personal holding company divesting of the shares.

 

Right to Request Remote Working
 

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has been taking steps to progress the recently launched National Remote Work Strategy, most recently through a public consultation on the Right to Request Remote Working. Dublin Chamber has been working to outline the concerns that members have conveyed to us on this subject through focus groups, surveys, and conversations to all the relevant policymakers and political leaders.

 

In our submission made in response to the Right to Request consultation, key points in relation to financial cost, health and safety, operational requirements, tax and FDI implications, female labour participation impacts, and city vibrancy are detailed, you can read our submission here.


Pedestrianisation on Merrion Row & Capel St
 

Dublin City Council has brought forward a number of pedestrianisation initiatives and consultations to improve public realm and outdoor space within the city centre in preparation for our Outdoor Summer.

 

The Chamber backed the business-led calls to significantly enhance the pedestrianisation on Merrion Row. In particular, we commended the use of trial runs and pilot programmes and how improving public realm and pedestrian access brings us closer to achieving the 15 Minute City, you can read our submission here. There was a significant positive response to the consultation with over 93% of respondents in favour, the proposed trial will take place from 6am on Saturday May 15th until 11pm on Sunday May 16th.

 

There is also a consultation live on increasing pedestrian space on Capel St, the deadline is the 14th of May and you can submit your views here.


 

We have a number of great virtual events, workshops and training sessions lined up over the coming weeks that you won't want to miss. Here's a snapshot of some of the highlights.

 

14th May: Monthly Speed Networking. Book here. 

 

17th May: Monday Wellness with Eric Donovan. Book here. 

 

18th May: Sustainable Dublin 2050 - Sustainable Mobility. Book here.

 

31st May: An Audience with TD Mary Lou McDonald. Book here.

 

15th June: Leaders Series - Culture Change why it’s now or never. Book here.

 

24th June: Maximise your Dublin Chamber Membership. Book here. 

 

For a full listing of all our upcoming events please head over to our website here.

 

*Some of our events are only open to specific member categories.


New Development Plans for Fingal & Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
 

Fingal County Council is currently preparing its new Development Plan for 2023-2029 and the first consultation period on the issues paper has just closed. Our submission focused on outlining the benefits of the 15 Minute City, advancing our vision for a compact, sustainable Dublin with the infrastructure and amenities to support Fingal’s growing population. Reduced congestion and pollution, enhanced public spaces, thriving local economies and efficient public transport would enhance not only the lives of its residents and local economy, but the city’s attractiveness as a place to do business. Read the full submission here.


Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown also recently published the second iteration of their Development Plan. In our submission the Chamber welcomed the commitment given in the plan to achieving 10 Minute Neighbourhoods and enabling the ‘creation of vibrant, sustainable neighbourhoods with access to good housing choice, open space and recreation, a range of quality transport options and appropriate social and community infrastructure’. This central vision echoes the guiding principles outlined in our own 15 Minute City report and should be placed at the core of what the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Development Plan is setting out to achieve. Read our full response here.

Transport Investment & the Circular Economy
 

The Department for Environment, Climate Action, and Communications is holding a Public Consultation on the Proposed Publication of the Circular Economy Strategy and Dublin Chamber will be making a submission to represent the views and concerns of its members.

 


The proposed Circular Economy Strategy will be a high-level document setting out the national approach to integrating circular economy principles and goals across society as a major contributor to achieving climate goals and a more sustainable, low carbon economy.

 

The Department of Transport has launched a Public Consultation on the draft National Investment Framework for Transport in Ireland (NIFTI), which is the Department’s new high-level strategic framework for prioritising future investment in the land transport network. Dublin Chamber will be making a submission to the consultation representing your views and concerns.

 

As always, we are interested to hear your thoughts as members on these important business issues. You can contact us with any feedback or comments on the proposed Circular Economy strategy before the consultation closing date on 11th June and the National Investment Framework for Transport by May 28th, by emailing policy@dublinchamber.ie

General Scheme for Small and Micro Business
 

Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD this week announced that next steps to address the need for a simplified restructuring process for viable small companies that is timely and cost effective are underway as permission has been granted to draft a new bill to amend the Companies Act 2014 to provide for a new dedicated rescue process for small and micro companies.

 

More details on the General Scheme for Small and Micro Business Administrative Rescue Process can be found here.


More News
Compliance Warning to Employers
 

The Workplace Relation Commission’s revelation that it carried out more than 5,000 unannounced inspections last year should serve as a warning to employers on compliance, a leading employment law adviser has said. Martina McAuley, Director at HR Team, said the significant increase in completed inspections (4,804 overall in 2019, with 2,896 unannounced) “sends a strong message to employers to ensure they are compliant”. Read more here.


Chevron College MBA Programme
 

Chevron College Masters in Business Administration programme is designed for ambitious, self-starting professionals looking to fast-track their career with a deeper understanding of business and leadership skills. The comprehensive online programme covers all major business disciplines including marketing, strategy, finance, and human resource management developing practical and theoretical business leadership skills. Enrolment deadline for May intake is 24th May 2021. Read more here. 


The Future Workplace is Hybrid
Member Webinar
 

The next ‘In Conversation with Q5’ webinar will take place on Thursday 27th of May at 9:15am. This event is named, 'The Future Workplace is Hybrid – are you ready?' and will be hosted by Q5’s Charlie Waterkeyn and Dr Claire Hamlin. They will be joined by expert speakers Dr Naomi Stanford, organisation design practitioner, teacher and author, and Kursty Groves, workplace strategist and advisor, author and founder of Shape WorkLife. Register here. 


JCI Ireland President's Day 2021
 

JCI Dublin is proud to be hosting President's Day and Ireland's Ten Outstanding Young Persons Awards Ceremony this Saturday 15th May 2021. On the day there will be some fantastic training and workshops starting from 9am followed by the awards ceremony in the evening. Find out more here.