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!


Chamber Lobbying Update
 

As the voice of the Dublin business community, Dublin Chamber is continuing its lobbying efforts on a range of challenges facing our members. Throughout the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on informing Government about the impact which Covid-19 and the public health restrictions are having on businesses of all sizes in Dublin, and the effectiveness or otherwise of various support measures, as well as the medium-to-long-term policy concerns that it raises in terms of business recapitalisation, remote working, and the future of our urban centres, for example. These all remain live issues, and you can get a sense of our recent policy work on our submissions page here.


This month Taoiseach Micheál Martin joined us for our virtual AGM event. His address to Dublin Chamber members covered Brexit, the impact of Covid-19, and the transition to a green economy, among other issues raised by the Chamber over the past year. He also promised to prioritise supports for businesses, employment transition, and rehiring to underpin a more impactful and sustainable path to recovery.

 

As the voice of the Dublin business community, Dublin Chamber will continue its lobbying efforts on a range of issues facing our members. Throughout the pandemic, we have focused our efforts on informing Government about the impact which Covid-19 and the public health restrictions are having on businesses of all sizes in Dublin, and the effectiveness or otherwise of various support measures, as well as the medium-to-long-term policy issues that it raises in terms of business recapitalisation, remote working, and the future of our urban centres, for example. These all remain live issues, and you can get a sense of our recent policy work on our submissions page here.

 

Meanwhile, the particular concerns of smaller businesses remain at the forefront of the Chamber agenda. Last month our Budget & Competitiveness Taskforce considered proposals for a summary rescue process for small companies, also known as ‘examinership lite’. Feedback from members has been fed into a collective national submission made on behalf of all Chambers. Thank you to those who shared their view.

 

As always, we are seeking input and feedback from all our members to help shape and inform the Chamber’s work. Here are a few ways you can contribute:

  1. Take 2 minutes to fill out our Q1 Business Outlook Survey on the issues your company is dealing with at present and what further measures are needed to support businesses this year. You can fill out the survey here.
  2. Participate in our next Focus Group, scheduled take place on Monday 22nd March at 12pm. Keep an eye on your inbox for further details.
  3. Send us an Email with your feedback on policy. We are always keen to hear from members, whether on the specific issues raised in this newsletter or any other matter. Get in touch by emailing: policy@dublinchamber.ie.
Time to Boost Investment in SMEs
 

Enterprise and entrepreneurship are at the core of Dublin Chamber’s agenda, and we have long been vocal about the need to improve the environment for equity investment in Irish businesses. But encouraging investment in SMEs is now more important than ever as Ireland charts a path to recovery from the global economic impact of Covid-19. That is why Dublin Chamber has been campaigning for improvements to the Employment & Investment Incentive (EII) scheme, a tax relief to encourage individuals to invest in trading companies. 


Dublin Chamber is recommending a renewed policy focus on Ireland’s indigenous enterprise environment to establish entrepreneurship and SME growth at the heart of Irish economic strategy post-pandemic, alongside continued success in attracting and retaining FDI. The EII scheme can provide a valuable means of accessing finance for start-ups, but needs reform to be more effective.

 

In our recent submission to Government, Dublin Chamber made a number of recommendations to improve the scheme, including:

  • Enhanced support for start-ups under EII by reducing the administrative burden and other inappropriate barriers to qualification;
  • Improved the attractiveness of the scheme, e.g. by increasing the lifetime limit;
  • Widening investor participation by increasing the range of eligible investment vehicles.

 

You can read the full submission here.

New Covid Support Now Available
 

Applications open today for the €60m Small Business Assistance Scheme for Covid (SBASC), aimed at businesses which are ineligible for the CRSS and other sector-specific grants. Businesses down 75% or more in turnover are among those expected to benefit. Dublin Chamber has repeatedly highlighted the exclusion of certain companies from existing Covid-19 supports, and while the funding under this scheme is modest, it represents a positive step. Eligible businesses will receive a payment of €4,000 for Quarter 1 of 2021. There will be a second payment of €4,000 for businesses continuing to meet the criteria. It is available to companies, self-employed, sole traders or partnerships with a minimum turnover of €50,000 not eligible for the Revenue scheme CRSS, Fáilte Ireland Business Continuity Scheme or the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s Live Performance Support.  In order to be eligible the business must pay rates to a public authority. You can read more about the scheme here.

 

Local Authorities in every county are taking applications today with a closing date of 21st April, 2021 for the first round of the scheme. Interested businesses should contact their local authority. Please keep Dublin Chamber informed on any issues you encounter in relation to this support by emailing policy@dublinchamber.ie.


PwC 2021 Global Family Business Survey
 

 PwC has polled over 2,500 global family businesses including in Ireland and here are the key takeaways: 


- Just 37% are factoring in sustainability in their strategy


- Global family businesses are weathering the pandemic with less than half (46%) expecting sales to fall despite the pandemic; Over half expect their businesses to grow in 2021 and 2022


- 62% of respondents described their digital capabilities as ‘not strong’


- More to do on family governance


By Mairead Harbron, Director, PwC Entrepreneurial & Private Business Practice
 

Global family businesses risk missing the mark on ESG - PwC 2021 Global Family business survey.  PwC has polled over 2,500 global family businesses including in Ireland and here are the key takeaways: 


-Just 37% are factoring in sustainability in their strategy


- Global family businesses are weathering the pandemic with less than half (46%) expecting sales to fall despite the pandemic; Over half expect their businesses to grow in 2021 and 2022


- 62% of respondents described their digital capabilities as ‘not strong’


- More to do on family governance

In a year where business has had to transform the way it meets the needs of society and the environment, global family owned businesses risk falling behind, according to a new global survey of 2,801 family business owners, including Ireland.

While more than half (55%) of global respondents saw the potential for their business to lead on sustainability, only 37% have a defined strategy in place. However, larger businesses and those owned by later generations bucked the trend, with greater focus on sustainability. This reluctance to embrace sustainability comes despite the fact that family owned businesses are highly likely to see a responsibility to society. Over 80% engage in proactive social responsibility activity, and 71% sought to retain as many staff as possible during the pandemic. Nor is it a function of economic pessimism - less than half (46%) expect sales to fall despite the pandemic and survey respondents felt optimistic about their business’ abilities to withstand and continue to grow in 2021 and 2022.

Instead, the issue is an increasingly out-of-date conception of how businesses should respond to society, with 76% in the US and 60% in the UK placing greater emphasis on their direct contribution, often through philanthropic initiatives, rather than through a strategic approach to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) matters. Family businesses are also somewhat insulated from the investor pressure that is currently pushing public companies to put ESG at the heart of their long term plans for commercial success.

It is clear that family businesses globally have a strong commitment to a wider social purpose. But there is a growing pressure from customers, lenders, shareholders and even employees, to demonstrate a meaningful impact around sustainability and wider ESG issues. Many listed companies have started to respond but this survey indicates that family businesses have a more traditional approach to social contribution.  Family businesses around the world must adapt to changing expectations and, by failing to do so, are creating a potential business risk. This is not just about stating a commitment to doing good, but setting meaningful targets and reporting that demonstrate a clear sense of their values and purpose when it comes to helping economies and societies build back better.

In Ireland, PwC’s 2020 Next Generation (NextGen) Family Business survey highlighted that a third (33%) of respondents did not perceive any change was needed to their family business sense of purpose. This is surprising in a time of such uncertainty and challenge. At the same time, Irish and Global family business leaders see a clear link between a sense of value and purpose and business success.  All indications are that ‘purpose’ is an undervalued resource.

Growth - weathering the pandemic
The survey suggests family businesses have weathered the pandemic relatively well. Less than half (46%) expect sales to fall despite the pandemic and survey respondents felt optimistic about their business’ abilities to withstand and continue to grow in 2021 (64%) and 2022 (86%).

Family business lagging on digital transformation
Even though 80% of global family businesses adapted to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by enabling home working for employees, there are also concerns about their overall strength when it comes to digital transformation. 62% of respondents described their digital capabilities as ‘not strong,’ with a further 19% describing it as a work in progress.

Yet here there are clear generational differences: 41% of businesses that describe themselves as digitally strong are 3rd or 4th generation, and Next Gens have taken an increased role in 46% of digitally strong businesses. 

It is a concern that family businesses are lagging behind the curve. There is clear evidence that having strong digital capabilities enables agility and success and that they have a similar enthusiasm for sustainability. In particular, family businesses should consider how they can engage the experience and fresh insight of Next Gens when it comes to prioritising their digital journey.
In Ireland, PwC’s 2020 NextGen survey revealed that 93% of Irish NextGens said that having a strategy fit for a digital age is a priority.  While they recognised that technology is a top driver for change, few regarded technology skills as particularly relevant.  In the context of digital transformation, having the digital skills are critical to move the dial.

The governance gap  
While global family businesses report good levels of trust, transparency and communication, the survey highlights the benefits of a professional governance structure. While 79% say they have some form of governance procedure or policy in place, the figures fall dramatically when it comes to important areas: just over a quarter state they have a family constitution or protocol, while only 15% have established conflict resolution mechanisms.

Family harmony should never be taken for granted – it’s something that must be worked on and planned for, with the same focus and professionalism that’s applied to business strategy and operational decisions. In Ireland, PwC’s 2020 NextGen survey found that almost all (98%) respondents said that professionalising and modernising management practice should be a clear focus for the business. However, one third (33%) admitted that the governance rules in their family business prevented them from having the impact they would like within the business.  There are growing concerns from regulators around the world about family business succession, especially with a third of 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation businesses expecting the next generation to become majority shareholders in the next five years.

It is therefore vitally important that businesses take a lead on ensuring they have formal processes in place they can ensure stability and continuity in the long run.
 
New Water Charges Deferred to October
 

Yesterday, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) announced that it was deferring the introduction of a new water tariff framework for non-domestic water users until 1st October 2021.

 

Over the past year, Dublin Chamber has been calling for a delay to the introduction of the new charging system until business conditions have normalised. The new tariff framework, which will lead to price increases for many commercial water users in Dublin, had originally been due to go live on 1st May 2020 and was then deferred to 1st May 2021. Yesterday’s announcement should come as a relief to many businesses under pressure.

 

Irish Water is encouraging businesses to visit www.water.ie where they can assess the impact of the new charges on their future bills using their online calculator tool available on water.ie.  Further information is also available online including a detailed Q&A and case studies. Customers who may be experiencing billing or payment difficulties can contact their dedicated business team on 1850 778 778.


Europe, Covid & the Euro with Minister Paschal Donohoe
 

Dublin Chamber is delighted to invite our members to attend this Dublin Economics Workshop seminar with the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD at 11am on Monday 22nd March, entitled Europe, Covid and the the Euro. The webinar will be hosted by Irish Times Business Editor, Ciaran Hancock. Paschal Donohoe has been Minister for Finance in Ireland since June 2017 and was elected President of the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers in the eurozone in July 2020. He will address the webinar followed by a Question and Answers session, with the event ending at 12 noon. Booking is essential. Register for the webinar by clicking 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.

 

16th March: St Patrick's Day Celebration and Online Networking. Book here.

 

25th March: Bid Services Tender Training. Book here.

 

26th March: Sustainable Dublin 2050, EU Green Deal. Book here. 

 

30th March: Momentum Series 2021. Book here.

 

31st March: Monthly Speed Networking. Book here.

 

7th April: Maximise your Dublin Chamber Membership. Book here.

 

21st April: An IT Roadmap for Remote Working. 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.

 

 


Making the most of EU Recovery Funding
 

The EU has made funding for Covid-19 economic recovery available to member states and has linked it closely to the digitalisation and green transition agendas. Ireland will be eligible for €853 million in grants through this fund over the coming years, but in order to access this it will need to provide the EU with a National Recovery and Resilience Plan detailing how the funding will be allocated. The Government must provide the National Recovery and Resilience Plan to the EU in April and it needs to centre on investment in objectives with deliverables in the next 5 years.

 

To represent the views of the business community, Dublin Chamber made a submission arguing that the funding should be allocated to key infrastructure projects that support Dublin’s sustainability objectives, and also argued that investment should be made to meet skills needs and support connectivity and renewable energy. You can find the Dublin Chamber Recovery and Resilience submission here.

 


Planning Dublin’s Future
 

Dublin Chamber’s Planning and Infrastructure Taskforce has had a busy couple of weeks as it has been looking ahead to the future of the Dublin region post-pandemic. The Government’s latest consultation on the National Development Plan focused on what types of capital investment in infrastructure should be prioritised and on whether the overall level of public spending on capital investment is correct. Dublin Chamber’s recent submission emphasised the need to prioritise capital investment in urban infrastructure in order to achieve the densification and sustainability goals of the National Planning Framework, Ireland’s plan for the spatial development of its city regions.


Dublin Chamber’s Planning and Infrastructure Taskforce has had a busy couple of weeks as it has been looking ahead to the future of the Dublin region post-pandemic.

 

The Government’s latest consultation on the National Development Plan focused on what types of capital investment in infrastructure should be prioritised and on whether the overall level of public spending on capital investment is correct. Dublin Chamber’s recent submission emphasised the need to prioritise capital investment in urban infrastructure in order to achieve the densification and sustainability goals of the National Planning Framework, Ireland’s plan for the spatial development of its city regions. Our submission also highlighted the importance of meeting our climate action targets, investing in sustainable infrastructure, maintaining our international connectivity after Brexit and Covid, and the critical need to progress ‘shovel ready’ projects without delay. You can read the full submission here.

 

Meanwhile, Dublin City Council is currently preparing its new City Development Plan for 2022-2028 and the first consultation period has just closed. Dublin Chamber is committed to improving the city’s business environment and quality of life in tandem, so it was positive to see that the Development Plan issues paper echoed Dublin Chamber’s recent call for a 15 Minute City in Dublin. Our submission focussed on outlining the benefits of the 15 Minute City, advancing our vision for a compact, sustainable city centre with the infrastructure and amenities to support its 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.

Did You Miss Our Events? Catch Up Here!
 

On Monday 1st March for our Monday Wellness Webinar we were joined by author, speaker, PhD candidate, university lecturer, and life-change strategist Brian Pennie. Brian discussed his programme for life, how he overcame a heroin addiction, and how he has built amazing relationships with internationally recognised experts in the areas of leadership and self-development. Watch it back here.

 

On the 2nd of March we were joined by European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness for an in-depth discussion on the impact of Covid 19 on the global economy, Brexit, green finance, and the pathway to a sustainable economic recovery. This event was kindly sponsored by Eversheds Sutherland. Watch it back here. 

 

Last week we held Dublin Chamber’s Virtual AGM event, in partnership with EY. We were joined by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, Malcolm Sheil, Chief Commercial Officer of Kerry Group, Catherine Moroney, President of Dublin Chamber & Head of Business Banking, Market, AIB, Frank O'Keeffe, Managing Partner, EY,  and Mary Rose Burke, CEO, Dublin Chamber.The event focused on the challenges of the current business climate and the need to focus on resilience and sustainability in rebuilding the economy post-pandemic. Watch it here.

 

On Monday we were joined by Catherine Moroney, Head of Business Banking, Market, AIB for our virtual celebration of International Women's Day sponsored by Irish Times Training. Catherine was joined by Dobrawa Brach, Managing Director of Arran Street East, Nuala Canning, Managing Director of Brandfire and Sharon Keegan, Founder and CEO of Peachylean Ltd for a panel discussion. Watch it back here. 

 

Earlier today we held our online event on 'The Digital Agenda - Position your Business for Success', sponsored by Dell Technologies. Martin Sinnott, Senior Solutions Consultant, Dell Technologies, Mike Orth, Solutions Architect, Dell Technologies and Paul Malone, Technical Support Manager, Dell Technologies joined us for a panel discussion MC'd by Marian O'Donnell, Dublin Chamber. They outlined solutions which will enable Irish businesses to take full advantage of innovative technologies. Watch it back here. 

 

 

 


More News
Monthly Financial Reporting
Member Offer
 

The Grey Matters Network are offering Dublin Chamber members a monthly financial reporting package at a discounted price. The service provides comprehensive reporting and analysis of your business’s monthly performance. It is delivered by one of their team of experienced, qualified and trusted financial experts.Read more here. 


Launch of Fire & Sole at Home
 

Award winning Dublin Restaurants, FIRE Steakhouse & Bar and SOLE Seafood & Grill have just launched FIRE and SOLE at Home; a wonderful menu of their most popular dishes for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home! Book here for contactless click and collect.


Philadelphia Ireland Day
Member Webinar
 

Littus will present a transatlantic virtual showcase on March 16th with the Irish American Chamber, featuring special messages from Ambassador Daniel Mulhall, Tourism Ireland and the Irish Whiskey Association. Register and read more details here. 


St. Patrick’s Festival
 

The National St. Patrick’s Festival takes place 12th -17th March 2021. Dúisigh Eire! / Awaken Ireland! is the theme of this year’s festival. More than 100 free events will be broadcast globally over 6 days and nights on St. Patrick’s Festival TV (SPF TV), a dedicated online TV channel. Check it out here.