Local Enterprise Week 2021 – Making it Happen

Over 200 events for Local Enterprise Week are taking place across the country this year which will be of interest to entrepreneurs, start-ups and growing established businesses across all sectors.

The booking link is at the end of the following list:

Monday, 1st March

  • Funding the Digitalisation of SMEs, with Cork Smart Gateway

Tuesday, 2nd March

  • Cork-etail:   The Cork City Online Retail Event, with James Burke, Irish Retail Expert
  • Business Advice Clinic
  • Tips & Tools for Minding your Mental Health and Wellbeing during COVID-19, with Cork Healthy Cities & Counties

Wednesday, 3rd March

  • Partnership and Enterprise
  • Network @ Noon, with Cork Entrepreneurs Network
  • 3 Strategies to grow your revenue, with Network Ireland Cork

Thursday, 4th March

  • Da Silly Heads – Mental health Visual Advocacy Workshop

Friday, 5th March

  • LEAN for micro and small businesses – information session
  • Developing tourism opportunities for cultural and creative sector SMEs

For further information on the above and the National Spotlight Events, please click on the following link


Digital Responsibility: Divide or Unite











The UCC Commerce Society annual Digital Marketing Summit will take place virtually this year via zoom webinar on the 23rd and 24th of February.

The theme for this years DM Summit is ‘Digital Responsibility: Divide or Unite’.


On Tuesday the 23rd of February at 6pm we will have a business panel with panelist’s:

  • Jake Browne, CEO of The Go House
  • Muriel Foley, Founder at MGFD Digital Marketing Consultancy
  • Alison Sheehy, Digital Marketing Manager at Gym+Coffee


On Wednesday the 24th of February at 6pm we will have a creator panel with panelist’s:

  • Miriam Mullins, Tiktoker & Youtuber
  • Fionnuala Jones, Podcaster and Content Creator
  • Thomas Arnold, Co-Founder of The GO House
  • Jen Hatton, Content Creator and Sketch Comedian


Both panels will be hosted by Podge Henry, host of his own podcast ‘The Podgecast’ and marketing assistant for the Jameson Graduate Programme. Both panels will discuss all things digital marketing and there will be a Q&A section where students will be able to ask questions. 


You can register for the event now via the link below:












For more information you can contact us on our Instagram @ucccommsoc or email us commerce@uccsocieties.ie .


Additional Business Grants Announced

Additional Business Grants Announced
by Dave O'Brien

This week and last there have been 2 additional schemes introduced to assist with certain businesses trying to get through the next few months of Covid related restrictions. There is also additional funding being given to the Sustaining Enterprise Fund. The schemes are well meaning and will give a lifeline to some businesses but is it a little too late for these businesses?


The two new schemes are only available to businesses who do not qualify for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (“CRSS”). Please click here for more details on the CRSS. In essence the government realised the CRSS was unfair on certain businesses whose income vanished over night but because of certain rules they did not qualify for the CRSS.


The Tourism Business Continuity Scheme looks really positive for those businesses that will be eligible. Unfortunately the second scheme that was announced – the Covid 19 Business Aid Scheme is not nearly enough for the businesses it is targeting.


The Tourism Business Continuity Scheme


This was announced by Failte Ireland last week. It is a €55m funded support scheme for tourism businesses who were not eligible for the CRSS. Applications have opened for phase 1 of the scheme.


The following is a list of the entities who are eligible for phase 1 of the scheme – as per the Failte Ireland website:

  • outdoor activity providers (e.g. bike tours, surf schools, kayaking tours, angling, walking tours, instructor led/guided tourism equestrian experiences)
  • golf courses with a tourism offering
  • tourist boat tour operators
  • hop on/ hop off bus tours with onboard tourism experiences
  • visitor attractions not eligible for CRSS (e.g. attractions with charity/ not for profit status or that are primarily outdoor attractions)
  • caravan and camping providers registered with Fáilte Ireland
  • cruise hire companies


To be eligible for the scheme the business’ average monthly turnover from October 2020 to January 2021 must be less than 25% of its average monthly turnover in 2019. Any EWSS or Restart grant payments received do not need to be included in the 2020 turnover calculation. The business must have a minimum turnover of €50,000 in 2019. The business must also have been in existence prior to January 2020 and the business must be planning to return to trading once the restrictions are eased.


Businesses who are considered as “undertakings in difficulty” as at 31 December 2019 will not qualify but this criteria does not apply to small and micro enterprises. In reality if your business is making annual losses prior to 2020 then you will need to ask your advisor as to whether your business is considered an undertaking in difficulty.


How much is the grant worth?


The minimum grant is €3,750 and the maximum grant is €200,000. The grant is based on the 2019 turnover figure and is calculated as 9/12ths of 10% of the 2019 turnover figure…


As an example for a business with a €500k turnover in 2019 then the grant amount will be €37,500.


This could be a lifesaver for some of these companies. There is only €55m to spend on this so we would recommend getting your applications in quickly for this one. Applications are made through the Failte Ireland website.


Covid 19 Business Aid Scheme (“CBAS”)


This scheme was introduced this week by The Tanaiste Leo Varadkar. It is again only available to businesses who do not qualify for the CRSS or the above Failte Ireland scheme. The following details of the scheme are only provisional and therefore are subject to change.


Unfortunately, the scheme is still linked to a fixed business premises. So if you did not qualify for CRSS because you did not have a fixed premises then you will still not qualify for this scheme. This means there are still some industries which the government are just ignoring, such as mobile traders and musicians.


What it does benefit are business who operate from a fixed premises but who do not have customers coming to them. This should fit nicely for caterers, wholesalers and events companies.


In order to qualify the business must be in receipt of a rates bill from their local authority. The business must also have a current tax clearance certificate. The minimum turnover of the business must be at least €50,000 in 2019. The qualification criteria is similar to the CRSS – the turnover of the business during the claim period must be no more than 25% of the average weekly turnover of the business in 2019. For new businesses (commenced after 1 November 2019) the comparison is based on the projected average weekly turnover of the business for 1 January to 30 June 2021.


While the funding is easily calculated  - it’s an €8,000 grant – it is relatively small in size compared to amounts available through the CRSS and the Failte Ireland scheme explained earlier. Overall the new scheme is quite disappointing.


The scheme will be administrated by your local authorities and further details are expected shortly.


Sustaining Enterprise Fund


This is a fund, run by Enterprise Ireland, where the funding is divided between a non-repayable grant and a loan. Companies can apply who have over 10 employees and are manufacturing or internationally traded service companies. The business must have seen a 15% reduction in turnover as a result of Covid 19 to qualify. You do not need to be a client of Enterprise Ireland to qualify. The downside to this funding is that the shareholders must match the funding given by Enterprise Ireland. However it is definitely worth considering for certain companies.


We acknowledge the above is a very short summary of the new schemes available. Please contact Quintas for further information or get in touch with your own advisor who should be able to advise you further.


As ever once new updates come for these and other schemes we will let you know in further bulletins.

Thanks again and stay safe.


Kind Regards,

Dave O'Brien

Cork Smart Gateway Webinar on #CloudComputing Services  25th of February 9 am -10.30 am

Since the start of the Covid pandemic, remote work has become reality for millions of people globally. As a direct result of this, businesses and their employees worldwide are facing the challenge of maintaining business continuity.

To address this issue, Cloud Computing has emerged as a saviour. By providing remote computing resources and services over a network, Cloud Computing supports companies in their business processes saving them from the capital and operational costs of maintaining varying IT resources and facilitating a remote workforce to stay connected with each other and therefore, enabling a more efficient collaboration among team members.

This new Cork Smart Gateway webinar will present two proud Cork companies: CloudCIX, a Cloud Computing services provider that will showcase the solutions that this technology is capable of, and WorkVivo, a company that has developed an employee communication platform and that utilises Cloud Computing as a core technology for its success. Additionally, this online session will introduce work by two academic partners of the Cork Smart Gateway. The first presentation will be from the Nimbus Research Centre at MTU and the second from the School of Computer Science and IT at UCC. The presentations will address the adoption of Cloud Computing in different technology areas such as Fintech and how Cloud Computing helps small companies who are not able to afford an IT department.

Event Programme

09.00am - 10:00am – Speakers

  • Jerry Sweeney, CloudCIX
  • Andrea Graham, WorkVivo
  • Dr. Alex Vakaloudis, Nimbus Research Centre
  • Dr. Christos Papadopoulos, University College Cork

Moderated by: Ruth Buckley, Head of Information Systems in Cork City Council

10.00am - 10:30am Q&A Session
Interactive session between audience and speakers, moderated by Ruth Buckley


Register here

Government €160m boost to COVID-19 business grants


  • new Scheme targets businesses currently ineligible for CRSS and other sector specific grants
  • wholesalers, suppliers, caterers and events companies down 75% or more in turnover expected to benefit
  • €10m extra for companies developing and making PPE and equipment used in fight against COVID-19

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD today (Tuesday 9 February) announced €160m for measures to help businesses during the pandemic. These were agreed by Cabinet today.

The government has put in place a comprehensive package to help businesses and workers during the pandemic, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), low-cost loans, the deferral and warehousing of tax liabilities and the waiver of commercial rates.

An additional €10m will be allocated to the COVID-19 Products Scheme to help in the fight against the virus. Firms researching or manufacturing PPE, sanitisers, tests, equipment or other medicinal products which are relevant to COVID-19 are eligible for funding of up to 50% of their capital costs.

The Tánaiste announced today that a new €60m Scheme, called the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) is being developed to provide grants to businesses ineligible for the government’s other existing schemes designed to help with fixed costs. Wholesalers, suppliers, caterers and events companies down 75% or more in turnover will benefit.

The government also approved an additional €90m for the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, which offers funding of up to €800,000, with €200,000 or 50% in non-repayable grants to eligible manufacturing and internationally traded services companies. The Fund has protected 22,000 jobs across the country to date.

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar TD said:

"The government today agreed to do more to help businesses respond to the economic challenges arising from the pandemic with a particular focus on firms that do not qualify for the weekly CRSS grant from the Revenue Commissioners or existing sectoral schemes in areas like the arts, transport and tourism.

"The government has sought to help as many businesses as possible through wage subsidies and the many different grant and loan schemes we have put in place. A new Scheme, the CBAS, will help some businesses that aren’t eligible for existing grants, largely due to the fact that the premises they operate from have not been closed to the public. We estimate that this will help approximately 7,500 businesses. While the grant is modest it will be of substantial assistance to smaller businesses with some of their fixed costs like rent, utilities and security. For example, wholesalers, suppliers, caterers, office-based businesses and events companies down 75% or more in turnover will qualify. We are finalising the details and it will be open for applications shortly.

"We’ve seen huge demand for the Sustaining Enterprise Fund, which is there to support our manufacturers and exporters which have experienced a drop in orders. The Scheme has protected 22,000 jobs all across the country to date and we hope this €90m will secure many more.

"We’re also putting more money into the Life Sciences sector. This will help companies making PPE and other COVID-19 related products to expand thereby increasing supply and reducing our dependence on imports."

The Minister of State for Employment Affairs and Retail Businesses Damien English TD said:

"These additional direct financial supports for qualifying businesses, are a tangible reassurance that Government are engaging, listening and responding to their needs as the pandemic continues to impact on their operations. Businesses want to get back to what they do best – to be in a position to trade unhindered by COVID-19, to be profitable and to expand their operations once again. So, along with the range of measures already in place across Government, we are firmly focused on the post pandemic scenario for the economy, for business and for a jobs led recovery. We will continue to engage with businesses, stakeholders and across Government to support the growth and development of ambitious firms who are determined to grow and expand into the future."

The Minister of State for Trade Promotion Robert Troy TD said:

"Today’s announcement is a welcome one and follows continued work with officials, industry representatives and businesses over the past number of months. The introduction of the COVID-19 Business Aid Scheme will act as a further aid for enterprises as part of the suite of enterprise measures that are already in operation.

"Micro and small businesses are particularly vulnerable to the economic effects of COVID-19. Many businesses, even while closed, continue to incur costs without being able to generate revenues. While not a silver bullet, the COVID-19 Business Assistance Scheme (CBAS) will help address some of the needs of businesses as we navigate the ongoing public health crisis, and keep viable businesses in operation and jobs in the economy."

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said:

"I’m delighted to welcome the additional €100m in funding approved by Government today. The additional €90m for the Sustaining Enterprise Fund will provide much needed liquidity to help the sustainment and recovery of companies who have been impacted by COVID-19. Furthermore, the additional €10m approved for the COVID-19 Products Scheme will enable innovative companies across Ireland to make the necessary investments to develop new products in response to COVID-19."


Minister Burke announces further commercial rates package


Minister Peter Burke, Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, has announced another commercial rates package for local authorities totalling €160 million for the first quarter of 2021.

This is being provided to assist local authorities during the current further round of Government Covid-19 restrictions and to ensure businesses most affected by these restrictions are not facing commercial rates bills.


This three month waiver is more focused than the previous nine month waiver and Minister Burke has outlined that support to businesses will be targeted to those most severely impacted, such as hospitality, leisure, childcare, personal care, entertainment, retail (excluding large supermarkets), airports, health and service stations.


It is estimated that the extension of the waiver to these categories of business in the first quarter of 2021 will cost €160 million.  The waiver of commercial rates beyond the first quarter of 2021 will be kept under review and considered in the context of public health guidelines.


Minister of State for Planning and Local Government, Peter Burke TD, said:


“I am committed to supporting businesses while also making sure our local authorities continue their own vital services to the public. Today I can confirm that commercial rates for those most severely impacted by public health requirements will continue to be waived for the first 3 months of 2021. To support local authorities in the continued delivery of key services and in their ongoing response to the Covid-19 crisis, this cost, expected to be approximately €160 million, will be met by the Exchequer.


“Local authorities have always worked with ratepayers of all types and will continue to do so in these uncertain times. This measure will assist local authorities to balance their obligations to levy rates with the vital need to support employment and economic activity. Local authorities will play a vital role in regenerating the post-COVID local economies and will engage with ratepayers to offer enterprise support, relevant to their circumstances.”

Ibec voices support for staff health and wellbeing initiatives with Choral Festival partnership

The Cork International Choral Festival announces Ibec’s sponsorship of and participation in the inaugural Workplace Choir of the Year competition to help improve staff wellbeing through music 

Cork International Choral Festival is delighted to announce that Ibec, Ireland’s largest business representative group, has come on board as the title sponsor of the festival’s new Workplace Choir of the Year competition.

The Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year competition will be the culminating event of Cork International Choral Festival’s ‘Choirworks’ programme, which has been devised specifically for the 2021 event. The programme offers workplace colleagues around the country the chance to learn to sing and form a virtual company choir, or improve their singing and existing workplace choir, through online interactive music lessons, choir workshops and team building activities.

The aim of the initiative is to help companies connect with their staff and teams during Covid through the uplifting medium of music.


Ibec has voiced its support for the festival initiative, not just by sponsoring the new workplace choir competition, but by committing to forming a virtual workplace choir of its own and competing in the 2021 Workplace Choir of the Year competition.

Commenting on the announcement, Peter Stobart, Cork International Choral Festival director said,

“We are thrilled that Ibec has lent its support to this new strand of the Cork International Choral Festival programme, not only by sponsoring the new competition but by committing to participating in the ‘Choirworks’ training programme and online competition as well.  This is the start of an exciting three-year partnership with Ibec.

“It shows that businesses recognise both the importance of staff wellbeing and the therapeutic power of music. Group singing, in particular, can help individuals express themselves, connect with one another and generally just feel good which is something I think everyone can benefit from, now more than ever in this ongoing climate of Covid.”

Liam O’Donoghue, Ibec COO and Deputy CEO said,

”Ibec is delighted to be the title sponsor of the first CICF of the Year Competition. As passionate and vocal advocates of employee wellbeing, the workplace choir of the year competition is a fitting match. We know so many workplaces, including our own as we have also entered, will benefit from the opportunity of getting their colleagues and friends virtually re-connected, through singing. The great healing and energising power of singing together is well known and we look forward to the beautiful music to come or as we say in Ibec, the voice of business!”

Since the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, remote working has become the norm in most organisations however working from home can often cause feelings of social isolation and loneliness in the workforce. Finding new ways to engage with staff and colleagues has therefore never been more important.

Research has shown that singing has both mental and physical health and wellbeing benefits. The social aspect of choral music participation also has the potential to play a more active role in improving social interaction among staff and helping achieve a good work-life.

CICF Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year competition intends to promote the beneficial impact that music has on collaboration, creative thinking and better mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace.

Companies across Ireland (and internationally) are encouraged to enter the Ibec Workplace Choir of the Year competition by submitting a video a virtual performance compiled of individual choir members’ videos. Closing date for entries is 2nd April. The winning workplace choir will be announced at the online Awards Ceremony of the 2021 Cork International Choral Festival on Sunday 2nd May.

Established in 1954, the Cork International Choral Festival is regarded as the premier event of its kind both nationally and internationally. Now staging its 66th edition, this is the first time the festival, which will this year be held entirely online, has introduced a workplace/company strand. The novel move has been made in an effort to help employers boost staff morale and improve employee wellbeing through the power of music.

For further information on how to register please visit www.corkchoral.ie or email kery@corkchoral.ie



For further press information email niamh@e-t-c.ie or contact mobile 0870617705



Skills for Work is a national programme aimed at providing training opportunities to help employees deal with the basic skills demands of the workplace. The initiative is funded by the Irish Government under the Department of Education and Skills, and delivered by the Education & Training Boards (ETB) across the country. The project is managed nationally by Dublin & Dún Laoghaire ETB.


  • A SFW programme may include a variety of subjects which support the educational needs of the employee.
  • The programme is offered on company premises where possible, the local ETB Adult Education Centre, or an alternative convenient location.
  • A SFW programme is designed and delivered in a flexible and adaptable way to meet the needs of the employer and employee.
  • Programmes can vary in duration
  • Sessions are usually 2 – 3 hours long and can be arranged for mornings, afternoons or evenings
  • Participants may be released from work to participate in SFW programmes.
  • Most offer free nationally recognised certification.
  • There are no tuition fees.


  • Promote an ethos of lifelong learning in the workplace
  • Contribute towards the creation of a well-educated and highly skilled workforce
  • Raise the competency level of employees
  • Develop initiatives to enhance employee’s communication and basic IT skills
  • Enable employees to cope with frequent and ongoing changes in work practices



  • In the private sector
  • Willing to promote the SFW Programme
  • With employees who need to improve their core skills
  • With a need to upskill their existing workforce
  • Creating a learning environment for their employees


  • Over 18 years of age and not in full-time second level education
  • In part-time or full time employment
  • With work skills needs
  • With few, out-dated or no educational qualifications
  • Willing to take part on a voluntary basis
  • Have a desire to improve
  • Have their employer’s support


  • Communication Skills
  • Customer Care Skills
  • Information Technology
  • Safety in the Workplace
  • Maths
  • Office Procedures
  • Personal Development
  • Culinary Skills
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Workplace Language Support 
  • Farming Support Programmes 
  • Many more……………………

Contact Lillian Buckley at lillian.buckley@corketb.ie or 086-0487406