How Trinity Start-up ‘Locallee’ plans to save shipwrecked SMEs

The waves of restrictions that have been strangling Irish commerce in order to curve the effects of Covid-19 have wreaked havoc upon all levels of business within our domestic market and further afield. One group which has been particularly affected are the 248 small and 344 medium enterprises within Ireland. Many retailers within this group were left without major footfall, and with only 32% of these retailers having a functioning website, their source of sales dried up, starving them of any opportunity to survive Covid-19. This is where 3rd year Computer Science and Business students Seán Larkin, Franklin Ume Obiekwe and Daniel Grace have come together to design a much-needed platform for small retailers, enabling them to be able to connect with their customers online.

The Team

Seán knows firsthand how much of an impact COVID-19 has had on small business in Ireland. His parents are owners of an SME themselves, and while they have been fortunate enough to weather the hardships, many Irish businesses have had to endure during this time; some of their friends and many others in a similar position have not been as lucky. Seán asked himself what he could do to help small firms not only recover but prosper post-pandemic, and quickly identified the potential power of the internet. E-shopping has skyrocketed in light of restrictions cutting off the chance to shop in person, with Amazon alone seeing profits shoot up over 200% over the course of the pandemic.

The team’s efforts have culminated in ‘Locallee’, which hopes to act as an online shopping centre for local businesses. Locallee hopes to address current small retailer’s challenges by allowing businesses to meet their potential demand online, while also providing a host of online resources to allow retailers to perform to the best of their abilities. Locallee’s potential is obvious; with a model reminiscent of Amazon’s and with Ireland’s S.M.E.s forming the backbone of the Irish economy, Seán, Franklin and Dan are confident in their ability to scale their project as traffic rises. Seán and Franklin already have some experience in this field, having been successful in reaching the knock-out stages of a start-up accelerator competition within Tangent with their commerce app, Digitill. This prior knowledge has been instrumental in creating a product with real potential.

Where They Are Now

Locallee’s sign-up process takes less than thirty minutes providing retailers with little to no e-commerce experience the opportunity to benefit from this mode of trade. No technical experience is required by Locallee users, bridging a skill gap which in many instances can be the death of retailers trying to ply their trade online. Seán highlights how the likes of Squarespace, while allowing retailers to establish a website, lacks the marketing and other business functions needed to create monetary value. Locallee hopes to change this.

The team highlighted the trojan effort taken to get their idea off the ground, the platform is currently in its developmental phase, with focus being placed on creating their ‘minimal viable product’, or the first workable version of their business concept. Dan has been handling the technical side of things, while Franklin has been busy establishing platform features needed to add value to the user experience. Even with well north of one hundred hours of individual work put into the project each, the team also wanted to mention all the help they’ve been glad to receive so far regarding their project. In particular, Tangent’s Joe Lanzillotta and Alison Tracey have been a great help to Seán and Franklin’s previous projects and they are glad to have their expertise and support, as well as that of Tangent’s C.E.O. Ken Finnegan, with this new endeavour also.

Plans For The Future

In the immediate future, the Locallee team will be testing and refining their software and business models in a select group of towns across Ireland. Seán, Frank and Dan are hopeful that before the end of the year, Locallee will be boosting local businesses across Ireland.

During our conversation, the team alluded to the further potential of Localee’s ability to provide not only a platform, but also support to their patrons. They firmly believe that Locallee will also be able to assist businesses using the platform in regard to the fulfilment of orders through the design and provision of an order and delivery model. This scalability is not only restricted to how Locallee can function, but also to where it functions. Small retailers across the globe have all been faced with a lack of customer interaction, and with a meteoric rise in e-commerce, many need to shift the way they operate to stay competitive within the evolving retail climate. Countries within the E.U. and the U.K. are an obvious first choice. In Seán’s view, after expansion throughout Ireland, the allure of the United States economy is not out of the equation further down the line. All of this hope for the platform’s future is validated by the fact that Locallee possesses the ability to enact real positive change to small retailers across the globe.

Get In Touch

You can check out Locallee’s brochure website here, and if you wish to hear more about the project, the team can be contacted at @locallee2021@gmail.com

From Graduation to Innovation – Interview with Trinity Start-Up Covid Interns

Trinity Global Business graduates Rob Muldowney and Paddy Ryder experienced the all too familiar story of having their graduation plans unexpectedly dismantled by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Except, their story stands out – Rob and Paddy adapted and identified an opportunity to use global chaos to launch a successful business  – Covid Interns. With support from Trinity Business school the entrepreneurs hit the ground running. Here Rob tells us how.

What does Covid Interns do? “It offers an array of opportunities for third-level students to work with SMEs.” Rob and Paddy are uniquely positioned to understand the flexible employment needs of students. Their business offers three types of placements – “projects, part time roles and full time roles”. Rob provides the example of a student working part time in the hospitality business. Covid Interns can connect their third-level skills and learning to the admin side of the industry, for instance to run a social media platform. This provides the foundations to gain practical experience in their chosen field and helps build the CV. Covid Interns is epitomising the redefinition of business purpose captured by leading Oxford University Professor Colin Mayer at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, in terms of businesses now producing profitable solutions to the problems of people rather than profiting from the problems they create. To date, Covid interns has supported in excess of 180 businesses and placed over 200 candidates with experience from New York to Singapore from more than 40 leading universities including the University of Cambridge, Science Po and Imperial College London to name but a few.

With “first-hand knowledge of the anxiety and stress students face when sourcing internship opportunities”, their idea hatched from “the beast of a strategic management module assignment.” Rob and Paddy agreed that the pandemic was ripe with opportunity for innovation as the “SME market was hugely overlooked and underserved”. The outcome would provide a win-win scenario for students and SMEs as an industry that was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. While students bring fresh skills and talent to the table, SMEs provide practical experience and bespoke learning opportunities.

Envisioning the future of Covid Interns in a post pandemic world, Rob affirms that their business is here to say, albeit with the baptism of a new business name on the horizon. There “will always be a market for flexible opportunities” and gusto from students for seizing them.  Next, I asked Rob how can a student apply to Covid Interns.  It is as easy as going directly onto their website and completing the student friendly application form. You can also stay up to date with Covid Interns via their active social media domains – Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. With four strategic additions to the team Covid Interns is constantly growing, and with links to global platforms such as the Irish International Business Network it is only going to grow faster.

Entrepreneurship comes with a host of challenges, especially in a global pandemic. Rob identifies the biggest challenge facing students as “trying to start a business from the four walls of your  bedroom.” In absence of the possibility of “face to face interactions it can difficult to build relationships and collegiality with business teams.” Rob suggests three key strategic moves students pursuing an entrepreneurial position during the pandemic can make. Start with “identifying products and services that can stand the test of time”. The benefit of launching a start-up in a pandemic is that you can clearly spot gaps in the consumer market and successfully fill them. Next, Rob maintains that “ a feel good story” can act as a springboard to capture positive press and people’s imaginations, simultaneously helping to grow a loyal consumer base.  Lastly “although Covid can mess up plans” as the saying goes every cloud…

1 Continent, 1 Billion+ People, Endless Opportunities – Maeve Rafferty, International Development in Africa Specialist

Think about the t-shirt you are wearing. Who sew it? What are their working conditions like? Where they paid a fair wage? The rhetoric of a global village means the habits of consumers of the Global North have wide-ranging ramifications, stretching from the factory floor to the price of your t-shirt on the high-street. However, student decisions as ethical industry leaders of tomorrow can break ground in new markets while leaving a positive footprint. As global business interest in Africa flourishes, I recently interviewed Maeve Rafferty, a Trinity College Business, Economics and Social Studies alumnus with a passion for international development, innovation, and identifying opportunities for entrepreneurship in the emerging African markets. She spotlights Africa’s underestimated potential as a market for innovation, investment, and social entrepreneurship for enterprising students. Maeve also discusses the interaction between social entrepreneurship and positive societal development.

Market Opportunities
As an MSc in Africa and International Development at the University of Edinburgh candidate, Maeve has extensive insight and practical experience in understanding how globalisation interlocks with policy, practice, and business strategy. Acknowledging the market reluctances on part of buyers and suppliers in the West towards doing business with companies in Africa, Maeve highlights two reasons driving opportunities in these markets for forward looking student entrepreneurs. Firstly, delineating the economic shift that is under way in the continent Maeve draws
parallels with development challenges experienced in the 1960’s Asian markets which turned into a rapid growth period for the Four Asian Tigers- Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea. Where is next? Maeve suggests “Africa, as it is far too big of a global player to ignore.” According to a recent United Nations Forecasts, the continent is expected to double its population by 2050, from 1 billion to nearly 2.4 billion inhabitants. The implications of this growth present high long-term rewards for entrepreneurs who unleash Africa’s strategic position and potential.

Trends indicate rising incomes across the continent presenting an “attractive market” for those who identify gaps in the consumer market and seize the opportunity before competitors do. Secondly, innovation is needed where there is a lack of infrastructure. According to Maeve “Africa presents underexploited potential for sustainable industrialisation and innovation.” A 2016 report by Afrobarometer indicated that only 63% of the African population has access to piped water, and half the population live in areas without paved roads. It is important to bridge the distorted historical perception gap of Africa as a disconnected continent, 93% of the population has access to mobile networks. This reflects a continent of innovators and digital adopters. Developing sustainable infrastructure is an important step towards increasing productivity and competitiveness.

Social Entrepreneurship
Social entrepreneurship can create value in societies while also assisting their development. This is particularly pertinent in “lower or middle income countries which have less employment provided by the public sector, making the private sector a crucial employer.” For example, 3% of Tanzania’s employment is in the public sector. The remaining 97% presents opportunities in the private sector for social entrepreneurs seeking to create benefits which can improve “living conditions, and ensure people can live a dignified and secure life”. The wider knock on effects of entrepreneurship enables society to benefit from “more expenditure and higher demand for consumer goods which increases the ability for to create the supply to meet consumer demands”.

What can students do to drive social entrepreneurship? From Maeve’s experience in the education sphere, she suggests that students are already empowered to know that “decoupling needs to occur”. We need to decouple the idea that in order to have “economic growth there also has to be negative ramifications for the environment
and wider society.” Maeve views students as “ethical industry leaders of tomorrow, if they acknowledge and work towards ensuring the organisations they lead are conscientious in how their decisions are made, they have the power to contribute to sustainable development or hinder it.” The challenge of the COVID-19 lockdown presents opportunities for students to “reflect on society’s needs and meet consumer demand.” Maeve sees the student generation as social innovators, intuitively possessing skills that organisations are now acquiring, she recommends “reaching out to these global players and applying those skills positively to have a powerful impact” not just locally, but globally.

“Nowhere close” to enough climate action?

A new report from the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Action (UNCCF) has announced that the world’s nations are doing “nowhere close” enough to keep the global temperature increases well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

What does the report show?

The initial Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Synthesis Report measures the progress of national climate action plans. The report described the findings, based on 75 countries that account for roughly 30% of the world’s emissions, as falling “far short” of what is required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and marking a “red alert” for the planet. Countries were required to submit their reports by the end of 2020, though many failed to do so due with Covid-19 further backlogging civil services. For this reason, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary insists that the report is just a snapshot, and that a clearer picture will have emerged before the COP26 climate summit in November.

Of those countries that did submit reports, the majority did indeed commit to lowering their emissions by 2030. However, the totality of the 75 countries’ current commitments would result in an estimated 1% total drop by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that to meet Paris Agreement’s lower-bound of 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, the cumulative reduction should be around 45%.

Why is it important that countries do meet the Paris Agreements standards?

The historic Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2015, is a legally binding international agreement that mandates signatories to do their part in the common effort to limit global warming. Its goal is to limit global temperature increases to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and preferably only 1.5°C above these.

If temperature levels are allowed to increase by more than this, experts predict that serious and likely irreversible harm will be done to many of the earth’s natural and human systems. While the risks will not be felt equally everywhere in the world, the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C above pre-industrial temperature levels is likely to be significant. These facts are what have urged the UN and many of its members to call for more meaningful commitments from the Paris Agreement’s signatories.

Will 2021 see improvements from the initial report?

The UN’s General Secretary, António Guterres, called 2021 a “make or break” year for global climate action, stressing that global emissions must be reduced by 45% from 2010 to reach the 1.5°C goal, with the landmark COP26 climate summit taking place in Glasgow this November.

The inclination to imagine that reducing emissions by 45% compared to 2010 levels seems unlikely is understandable, given the report’s findings. Three of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters failed to submit their NDC reports on time. It is still unclear if China and India will submit reports before the COP26 summits. Additionally, countries such as Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia, failed to improve upon their 2015 plans’ commitment to emission reduction. Meanwhile, Brazil’s plan made no commitment to reducing emissions by 2030.

However, despite the dreary premonitions that the UNCCF’s report may arouse, seeds of hope can be found in the dynamic, if not rocky, field of global climate action politics. The EU27 is the only one of the world’s four largest emitters to submit a plan on time, but Joe Biden’s American government, which has re-joined the Paris Agreement, is expected to submit an NCD plan by April. It is thought that strong American action to reduce emissions will signal to the world that green commitment is the future.

China has also promised to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. Many critics are understandably sceptical of the authoritarian regime’s commitment to the global attempt to mitigate climate change, given the behemoth scale of their brown investment. However, there are others who believe that the Chinese government’s changing rhetoric is not merely verbose signalling, but rather a recognition of the world’s (and its profit-seeking investors’) desire for trustworthy investments that will truly contribute to the fight against climate change.

With this in mind, 2021 may well be a “make or break” year for the effort to reduce global emissions.

‘Your Network is Your Net Worth’: Trinity Business Alumni

What is the Trinity Business Alumni?

The Trinity Business Alumni (TBA) is an association of Trinity College graduates who are engaged in the business world. The aim of the TBA is to create a forum for Trinity alumni to connect, network, learn and contribute to the development of College, business and our wider society. Since it was founded in 1592, Trinity has educated a community of alumni that spans the globe, and currently has over 140,000 alumni in over 148 countries worldwide. In recent years, the membership base of the TBA has grown to over 6,000 members. The TBA recognises the diversity of thought required to drive successful organisations and for that reason it welcomes members of all academic disciplines, industry sector or career level. The TBA believes that a Trinity education continues beyond the front gates and throughout our graduates’ lives, which is reflected in what they do as an organisation.

The TBA has a number of core values that shape the culture and define the character of the organisation. These core values ultimately guide how the TBA behaves and makes decisions. They are outlined below:

Club For Life
Aiding and enabling members to maintain a connection and sense of identity and pride as a Trinity College Alumnus.

Excellence and Relevance

Providing high calibre events for our members which are pertinent to their interests and business needs.

Inclusive and Accessible
Welcoming all graduates of Trinity, regardless of academic discipline, industry sector or career level.

Strong TCD Heritage

Fostering a continued sense of our collective history in College while contributing to its development as a leading global university.

Mutual Value Creation
Developing a community of professionals who connect for mutual gain through personal development, business opportunities and shared interest.

What are the Benefits of Being a Member of the TBA?

Being a member of the TBA has a number of benefits including:

  • Invitations to exclusive TBA Dinner in Camera events, which have boasted fantastic speakers in the past, such as former professional rugby player Gordon D’Arcy and Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe
  • Invitations to joint TBA and MBA Masterclasses and breakfast briefings with top-class speakers. Events recently have included topics such as “Networking & Career Transition in a Post-Covid World” and “The Future of Start-Ups: the innovation landscape after Covid-19”
  • Opportunities to develop your professional network through events and online platforms
  • Mentoring current Trinity students online and at in person events

The TBA also possesses close ties with the Trinity Business School and supports innovative events such as the Trinity Global Business Forum, not to mention sponsoring the Trinity Business Student of the Year Award. As well as this, the TBA is affiliated with a number of corporate partners that help to bring much needed resources, skills and capabilities to the association.

As aforementioned, the Trinity community of Alumni spans 148 countries across the globe. The TBA is no different, with active member groups in a vast number of international cities, including places such as New York, London and Brussels. Having access to such a diverse range of members and locations is most certainly another benefit of being a member of such a broad and experienced association.

Plans for the Future

The ambition of the TBA is to grow the Trinity Business Alumni in support of the evolution of Trinity College, and to become an ever more relevant network to the wide range of Trinity graduates in business today, as stated by President of the TBA and Managing Director of Investec Corporate Finance Ireland – Liam Booth. Although the ongoing pandemic has put a halt to the in person events of the TBA, the current series of webinars hosted by the TBA have proven popular.

However, the TBA is looking forward to a time in the near future where the option of hosting in person events is once again available. Recently, there has been a focus on increasing the membership of younger Trinity graduates. In today’s world there is no limit to the amount of connections that a person can have, so why not start to expand your network now.

Membership with the Trinity Business Alumni network is automatically given to all graduates from the School of Business. However, the TBA network is not just for Business alumni – it is open to all graduates of Trinity College, from every discipline, who work in the business sphere. If you wish to join the TBA, please go to https://tba.ie/become-a-member-of-the-tba/ and fill in the form, it is free to join and I would highly recommend it.

“Your network is your net worth” – Porter Gale

Gradlife with Tom Lynch

This week on Gradlife, Danny talks to Tom Lynch, a pricing analyst for Avolon, one of the world’s top aircraft lessors. Having completed a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce in UCD, Tom went on to undertake a Masters degree in Aviation Finance, which led to an internship with Avolon. Tom gives us an insight into his role as a pricing analyst in Avolon’s Hong Kong office and also details his involvement in the ‘Project I’ a study around the development of Ireland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. A quick but fascinating chat with one of Ireland’s top young prospects in aviation.

The Shebeen and Covid-19 in Ireland

The shebeen (or síbín, in Irish) has seen a quiet revival in Ireland since the pandemic of loneliness accompanying Covid-19 lockdowns reached Ireland in early 2020. It is widely known that the pub is a temple of communal interaction, deeply entrenched in the psyche of many Irish people. Pub closures have left a void in Irish society and particularly in its rural communities, where pubs are not only social hubs, but economic pillars. It appears that some have reverted to the shebeen in an attempt to quell their craving for human contact that social distancing and lockdowns induce.

What is a shebeen?

A shebeen is an illegal, unlicensed pub, usually found in people’s homes or sheds. Their historical origin is in Ireland, but the illicit bars soon made their way around the world, appearing and evolving in countries like South Africa, the US and Canada. Interestingly, while shebeens have long been in decline in Ireland, they became an essential meeting-place for the black people community under apartheid in South Africa and most are now legally operated there. Shebeens have become far less numerous in Ireland, but have made somewhat of a comeback since the onset of multiple Covid-19 lockdowns, which left people craving physical and social interaction. While shebeens are not exclusive to the Covid-19 period, there has been an upsurge in shebeen raids and reports in Ireland since the first lockdown in March.

The problem with shebeens during Covid-19

Shebeens have raised concerns for two main reasons during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Firstly, leaving the pandemic aside, they are illegal. Defined as “unlicensed drinking premises” under the Intoxicating Liquor Act of 1962, to be found attending (or to supply alcohol to) a shebeen is to break the law. It is reasonably difficult to differentiate between a shebeen and a “man-cave” or legal home-bar. Gardaí are provided with vague metrics to instruct their course of action. The Act states that large quantities of alcohol stored on a premises and evidence of frequent consumption are indicators of incriminating behaviour. This allows for substantial variation in the make-up of a shebeen. They may range in sophistication from a crude few taps and some seating to being almost indistinguishable from a licensed pub. In addition, the law states that an unlicensed premises can serve alcohol to the owner, family members, residents, workers and “bona fide” guests. Hence, the distinction between a genuine private gathering space and a shebeen is precarious under this framework. However, these ambiguities are irrelevant in a time of national lockdown, during which household visits are banned.

Consequently, the second issue that the shebeen’s return to relative prominence in Ireland presents is that assembling in a shebeen likely breaks public health rules, even during milder levels of government regulations. Non-adherence to these rules can contribute to the spread of Covid-19, which is economically and physically undesirable, and may result in unnecessary burden being placed on an already inefficient national healthcare service. It can also cause undue tension between citizens making sacrifices to comply with regulations and those using shebeens, which carries its own undesirable ramifications. Likewise, licensed publicans and other business-owners feel aggrieved that their pubs, which must obey public health guidelines when open, have been labelled as virus-spreading “scapegoats” and forced to close while shebeens have become increasingly prevalent. It is important to note that while shebeens have become more pervasive since the outbreak of Covid-19, an Garda Síochána have repeated that their presence does not represent endemic lawlessness. Shebeens have always been in Ireland and probably always will be. The Gardaí have appealed to the public to report any shebeens, and will raid all illicit premises they are alerted to.

Understanding the Irish shebeen renaissance during the pandemic

Social drinking is a unique outlet for Irish people. The swathe of mental health issues that have arisen as a result of lockdowns and social isolation offer a simple explanation of why many have risked breaking the law and public health guidelines. People have become lonely, and one of their primary means of interacting with other humans has been placed off-limits. Generally, shebeens are not in the business of cramming in rabbles or making money. Rather, they are small spaces where a few people meet to satisfy their need for human connection. While the shebeen presents complex moral and legal quandaries, the reasons behind their upswing are as basic as any other human craving.   

The pandemic’s effect on food delivery services

The impact of the pandemic has affected companies in various industries differently. However, food delivery companies, have been on the receiving end of better performance unlike their hospitality peers. In fact, the pandemic completely turned around the situation for certain companies. 

Billions of dollars worth of losses for the food delivery sector were forecasted at the beginning of the year. One of the most notable food delivery businesses, Grubhub, was actually contemplating “putting itself up for sale after losing its foothold on the market.” 

The pandemic has proved to entirely reverse situations like these as more and more restaurants shut down during lockdown periods. As a result, people who were forced to stay indoors turned to food delivery. 

How did Uber respond?

As Uber’s core ride business drastically declined, it heavily focused on its delivery services. Sales for meal delivery increased by 135% in the US alone. With positive trends like this, Uber has planned a $2.65 billion acquisition of Postmates to increase its market share and reduce competition. This will allow Uber to control 37% of the food delivery sector in the United States, second behind DoorDash. The company also tried to merge with Grubhub but JustEatTakeaway beat the company to it, now allowing JustEat an entrance into the US market. Uber has also been focusing on diversifying its service portfolio by launching a grocery delivery service in the US. The idea is to create services that consumers form habits off of, to ultimately continue its boom growth trajectory post-pandemic.

How did DoorDash respond?

DoorDash has been taking full advantage of the soaring appetite of customers for its services and has secured an opportunity for an initial public offering. It was able to secure $2.5 billion in capital to expand from its original food delivery service to offer convenience and grocery store products as well. DoorDash also expanded its product portfolio to create Storefront to support restaurants in listing their stores on DoorDash without the charge of commission on items sold. It also set up Self-Delivery which allows restaurants to be listed on the app but use their own delivery services. DoorDash is aware of the benefits it is receiving from current circumstances and is not ignoring the possibility of its soaring demand potentially decreasing once the pandemic starts to settle. “Warnings in its IPO paperwork [that]… the circumstances that have accelerated the growth of our business stemming from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic may not continue in the future.” Nevertheless, consumer dependence on such services continues to grow the longer the pandemic prevails, which is why DoorDash is now valued at $38 billion.

The holiday season

Food delivery services are now increasingly focusing on speed of delivery as a key source of competitive advantage – especially as orders increased during the holiday season. For example, Postmates is launching a new business model for retail that allows customers to get “instant delivery from clothing, home, beauty and wellness retailers, and allowing the delivery company to broaden its reach.” It seems as though companies that initially started off in the food delivery sector are now beginning to dip their feet in offering services similar to that of Amazon. Mike Buckley, the senior vice president of Postmates, notes that there has been a shift in consumer habits as they increasingly transition to online shopping. Companies are allowing faster provision of these products as they work to increase the speed of their deliveries.

This shows the new opportunities the pandemic has created for the food delivery industry. The use of digital marketplaces is now being broadened to provide a bridge for customers to virtually shop for both household essentials and recreational products from retailers.

The Murky Business Of Territorial Waters

The thought of international waters conjures images of shady dealings, pirate radio and lawless seas, but the claimed areas of water bordering these oceans have questionable origins, too. Territorial waters appear straight-forward on the surface, but peering into their depths often leads to a sea of murkiness surrounding politics, natural resources and importantly, trade. In a world where natural resources are becoming ever-more depleted and in conjunction with the departure of Britain from the European Union, these waters will become even more important.

Defining Territorial Waters

In international law, territorial waters are defined as the areas of water directly adjacent to a state, and are subsequently subject to the jurisdiction of that state. This means that the adjacent state has sovereignty to the water, the seabed below, and the airspace above. Other states may only enter this body of water for “innocent passage”, with foreign aircraft or submarines not permitted to pass through. Due to this, fishing rights are not extended to the trawlers and fishermen of foreign nations, although the Common Fisheries Policy of the E.U. is an exception to this.

While this is perfectly reasonable regarding a nation’s immediate borders, the laws can and have been bent to meet a nation’s needs in a variety of ways. For example, Chile and Peru claim their territorial waters reach as far as their continental shelf: an area of submerged land still connected to the continent with relatively shallow waters, which lies directly before the much deeper ocean floor- much like the steps leading to a deeper swimming pool. This gives these nations an additional 370 kilometers of offshore territory, and more importantly, access and ownership to natural resources such as oil and gas.

Similarly, Russia has made claims that an ocean ridge on its northern coast stretches into the Arctic circle, allowing them to lay claim to the huge reserves of oil and gas estimated at $2 billion, which for millennia had been protected from mankind due to the difficulty in its extraction due to harsh weather conditions in the Arctic. With global warming melting these obstacles to harvesting, Russia has staked its claim to the Arctic seafloor, in the form of a Russian flag being planted by a miniature submarine on the North Pole seabed. This region of the world is very susceptible to ecological harm and any type of oil extraction poses as a serious threat to the climate and wildlife of the region. The indigenous Saami tribe of the area are threatened from the potential claim, with their culture and livelihoods at stake.

Colonial Claims

France’s territorial waters are the largest of any nation with nearly 10,760,500 km2 under the 5th republic’s governance. This initially seems odd, given the size of France (643,801 km2), but taking a look at the country’s colonial history gives an explanation. The embers of a once great French Empire lay scattered across the globe in the form of small inhabited islands, archipelagos and atolls stretching from la France métropolitaine to Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean, further still to Antarctica and across to the Caribbean islands of the French West Indies.  While many of these once subjugated islands were granted independence, many still belong to France, leading to a situation where France’s longest land border lies not with Belgium or Germany, but rather between French Guiana and Brazil, 7,216 kilometers from Paris. These satellite dominions give France a global presence in terms of military activity and natural resource exploitation. The huge swathes of ocean associated with these areas also gives great opportunity to the French fishing industry.

Chinese Island Construction

China has come under fire recently due to its decision to engage in “island-building” in the south China sea in order to bolster its territorial claims. China has built on sandbanks and small uninhabited islands in the region, transforming them from scraps of land into military installations, strengthening its presence in the area. While China isn’t the first to engage in such practices in the region, the rate at which it is aggressively pursuing this course is a cause of concern for many parties. A third of the word’s trade flows through the South China Sea. With China having the potential to effectively control this trade route, many states fear that sanctions may be imposed, and restricted movements enforced by the Chinese government. The actions would cripple industry and business within their respective economies.

How A Small Island Can Play A Huge Role

While the points above highlight the role these island outcrops can play, one could still be forgiven for questioning how important a small island may be on a world-wide scale. One can look toward the small island chain of French Polynesia. The micro-state only possesses a population of 270,000. With the main industries consisting of agriculture and handicrafts, it’s clear that it is far from an industrial powerhouse. However, the importance of French Polynesia is best highlighted in terms of its waters, whose combined area exceeds 4.7 million kilometers2. For context, this is comparable to the entire landmass of the European union.

This ability for small plots of land to hold huge strategic importance can be highlighted a lot closer to home. The basalt outcrop of Rockall has long been a source of contention between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The uninhabited rock lies 370 kilometers north of the Donegal coast and 300 kilometers west of the Scottish island of St. Kilda. Officially incorporated into the United Kingdom through an act of Westminster in 1972, following its annexation by the British navy in 1955, Britain’s claim to the island is still yet to be recognized by the Irish government. Presently the fishing rights around Rockall belong to Scotland, and with Britain’s departure from the European Union, the tension surrounding the Rock is bound to escalate further. This is best highlighted in the Scottish Secretary for Economy’s threat to deploy naval vessels to the area to enforce Scotland’s exclusive fishing rights to the waters surrounding Rockall. The fishing industry is vital to County Donegal and many of its fishermen risk being wiped out if they are denied access to fishing in Rockall’s waters, highlighting how large an influence a now-extinct volcanic island can possess.

“Be Brave, Be Bold and Take Risks” – Kate Simpson, President of the Irish Chamber of Commerce Singapore

‘Be brave, be bold and take risks’

Meet the Corporate Globetrotter, Kate Simpson, President of the Irish Chambers of Commerce Singapore speaks about the strategies students need to succeed in the global business playing field.

Grappling with virtual networking, applying for internships and preparing for dream job interviews in an increasingly competitive environment, students and graduates alike can feel overwhelmed by the pressure of the hunt. I recently interviewed Ms. Kate Simpson, to discuss a range of issues pertinent to students, including insights from her journey to corporate success, her thoughts on how students can utilise their professional connections and prospects, as well as the importance of achieving gender equality and greater diversity in the corporate world.

Kate graduated from University College Dublin in 2008 with a Bachelor of Commerce in International Commerce with Italian. Attributing her adventurous nature to her Erasmus year spent in Università Boconni, Milan, Kate went on to achieve a CEMS (Community of European Management School) Master’s degree from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in International Management and HEC Paris.

Graduating at the onset of the global financial crisis, Kate faced a challenging employment climate where “jobs were few on the ground”, exacerbated by a fragile economy similar to the pandora’s box 2020 has unleashed on “Covid graduates”. Before the pandemic shook the world and rocked the global economy, students expected to graduate into a landscape of fruitful employment opportunities and promising prospects. The hiring field has drastically changed.  However, as the world gains understanding into emerging economic trends, Kate remains optimistic for the prospects 2021 will offer graduates.

Drawn to Singapore as a fast paced city and global financial hub, Kate and her husband relocated there in 2014 from Paris. With an Irish diaspora of approximately five thousand people, Kate describes how the Irish community has been supporting each other on a commercial as well as a personal level throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an investment banker at J.P. Morgan Singapore, Kate’s role focuses on new markets and product access of derivative products in the Asia-Pacific region. Kate became the President of the Irish Chambers of Commerce Singapore in September 2020 having served as Vice President since 2017. The organisation aims to create networks and connections of business leaders and, support Irish companies and professionals seeking exposure and launching into the South East Asia region. From a practical perspective, companies that would have traditionally visited Singapore to scope out a market or business opportunity are currently unable to do so given travel restrictions. This is where the Irish Chamber of Commerce Singapore steps in to be the sounding board for prospective companies who wish to expand their business East. 

The Global Irish – Insights for Students Planning to Emigrate

Kate invited me to join the Chambers of Commerce first virtual event, “An Evening with An Taoiseach” which she hosted. The event was truly international with opening words from the Irish Ambassador to Singapore His Excellency Pat Bourne, alongside ambassadors representing APAC countries and guests from every corner of the globe. Discussion revolved around the gateway the Irish Diaspora Strategy 2020-2025 offers to expand cultural innovation as well as foster dynamic commercial relationships for Irish entrepreneurs and businesses abroad.

Expanding the cohort of the Irish diaspora, driving growth, and promoting international networks, the strategy is ground breaking for both students and graduates. Embracing a vision that reflects the flexibility and adaptability of the Irish abroad, students planning ventures overseas can be assured that they will be supported by the Emerald isle.

Key to Success

Persistence, drive and vision are key components to success. I asked Kate what she did differently to excel in the corporate sector. Kate pin points her success to “remaining humble and hungry combined with a little luck”. She advises students not to be “deterred by rejection in the context of a job or internship interview since a greater opportunity is always around the corner”.

The job market in 2021 is going to be more competitive than ever before so positioning is key. Going into an interview “up to speed on the latest news pertaining to that company, being ready with meaningful questions and sending a follow up note after the interview will help you stand out”. Trusting your gut feeling, taking opportunities as they come, and maintaining a “say yes” frame of mind are inroads to success. 

Integral to success is the ability to network effectively. According to Kate the best place for students to start is “joining a University society that reflects a keen interest and passion”. This provides you with the opportunity to meet friends outside of your course and also adds another “feather to your hat” when interviewing for roles.

Diversity and Inclusion

How does the financial services sector fare when it comes to gender equality? According to a 2019 Deloitte report the proportion of women in leadership roles within financial services firms stands at 21.9%. In order to stop the permeation of gender related roadblocks in the financial industry some firms have taken strides to empower, encourage and energize women to progress in the corporate sector.

As co-chair of JP Morgan’s Women on the Move Initiative Kate is committed towards ensuring both men and women receive equal opportunities and career advice. Kate hosts a range of events for women to advance in the business world ranging from “coaching, presentation and technical skills and financial education with a role on financial independence”. Her motto is “you can’t be what you can’t see,” it is imperative for a firm to have both gender diversity in a management team as well as cultural diversity where everyone can voice their opinions openly.  

Graduate careers are affected by a firms commitment to gender equality and diversity in more ways than one. A diverse company will attract the most talented graduates and often “forms a priority for millennials selecting a job”. Kate views company culture as crucial in “promoting and valuing diverse teams,” it is well known that a diverse workforce leads to smarter, stronger and innovative decisions, “contributing positively to financial performance”. Diversity makes sense both socially and commercially. Graduates are central players in accelerating positive change by forcing companies to refocus and rethink their inclusion and diversity policies. Embrace the opportunity to “ask about your perspective firm’s diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives”.

Making a Positive First Impression in the Corporate World

A flawless application, a distinct LinkedIn profile and a bulletproof CV undoubtedly  plagues the conversation of students as the season of internship applications approaches. Reminiscing on her first-hand experience as a marketing intern at the New York Stock Exchange Euronext’s European headquarters in Paris, Kate elucidates how this sowed the seeds to securing a full time contract with the company for six years. Kate prospered in an environment where she was “thrown in the deep end” and faced the challenge of conducting business through French head on. Describing the cultural difference alongside the initiative linguistic challenges, Kate embraced the experience as a “firm believer in what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger”. One of the key lessons from Kate’s experience in Paris was to be empathetic when people are studying or working in a second language.

Those fortunate enough to secure an internship often mention how a coffee meet up with a senior member of a firm sets the tone of the much anticipated agenda. I asked Kate her opinion on how students can develop a relationship beyond a “one-off coffee”- here’s what you can do. According to Kate “first impressions count”. It is important to make a lasting impact on a prospective employer. Kate advises to “think big and beyond the scope of your internship.” Finding common ground is essential, it is human nature to connect through shared passions and experiences. Asking “questions about the long term strategy of the company, challenges ahead and always sending a thank you note can go a long way in ensuring [a partner] remembers you and demonstrates a genuine appreciation for their time and advice”.

Students working as interns or graduates entering the corporate world aim to portray an image that is confident, intelligible and driven. To reflect these traits Kate recommends to start by “removing these words from your vocabulary”. The first word is “sorry” – a series of studies found that women apologise more than men. Over apologising can have a negative effect on your career by “undercutting professionalism” and “diminishing credibility”. Next, eliminate the words “just” , “like” and “think,” using phrases such as “I just want to ask” or “I think” implies a “degree of doubt” and has the potential to create a “weak impression of yourself where there need not be”. You can replace these words with “I suggest,” which reflects confidence and authority. Establishing credibility and professionalism from the outset of your career is an invaluable asset.

“Be brave, be bold and take risks” is the advice Kate advocates to aspiring business leaders reading this article. Living in the “digital age anything is possible,” Kate encourages students to connect with a strong sponsor to share ideas and confide in – a process which can be an invaluable “two-way learning curve”.  There is a large difference between a mentor and a sponsor, you need both according to Kate. A sponsor will be someone who has clout and vouches for you when you are not in the room, while a mentor can provide guidance and support through their career path.

Simultaneously, Kate points to the trend of employers researching candidates to screen CVs, being social media savvy is more important than ever, as future employers can obtain their “first digital impression” of employment candidates with just one click. She advises to be cautious with what you post online as it will be picked up as part of the initial CV screening process.  Post graduating, keep connected with your local alumni association,  this also provides an opportunity to give back to the current student base in the form of speaking at career meetings or mentorship. Kate maintains that Ireland has an incredible education system that allows us to work globally. 

Message from Kate –

If you are reading this and are based in Singapore or are considering a move, please feel free to reach out to the Irish Chamber of Commerce Singapore to help you hit the ground running – https://www.irishchamber.com.sg/

Butterfly – Trinity’s New Social Media Start-up

Butterfly is a new social media concept, created with the mission of negating biases and connecting people through shared interests. The primary objective of Butterfly is to connect users over events that relate to their specific interests. For someone with an interest in fitness and art, the app might suggest a photo walk in St Stephen’s Green, a group jog the Phoenix Park, or painting seascapes at Dun Laoghaire harbour.

Functionally, the app is quite straightforward. Users input their information, build a profile, and navigate events on the app’s map-like interface. The idea is built around user anonymity. Users are connected based solely on shared interests. Users do not know who will be in attendance until they arrive at the events. This has been implemented with the objective of safeguarding against bias by removing the opportunity to judge others based on perceived racial, cultural, or economic status.

For safety reasons, people may be intimidated by the prospect of meeting a group of strangers. The plus one feature incorporated by Butterfly allows users to include a friend in the event without making other attendees feel too excluded. The group dynamic is a defining point for Butterfly as they believe as it is less intimidating than meeting strangers one on one, as people do with their competitor apps, Tinder, Friender and Bumble.

The Team

Butterfly’s team is currently two members strong, consisting of Seamus Conlon and David Kubala. Seamus is a 3rd year Global Business student with start-up expertise in the field of software development and enterprise software sales. Dave is a 3rd year Computer Science student known for his graphic design work and is proficient in Python, Java, Dart, C#, C++, and Objective-C programming skills. They was inspired to create the idea during a discussion about race following the Black Lives Matter movement in America.

Where They Are Now

Over the past two months, Seamus and David have accomplished a number of early milestones. Their initial market research included 500 responses and yielded promising results regarding their target market’s enthusiasm for the project. Using the feedback gained from the survey, Dave refined the app to coincide with relevant design queues.

Butterfly’s functional minimum variable product (MVP) is now ready for testing with a small group of users and the team is excited to gain more insight into what users would like to see in future versions. Butterfly has benefited greatly from the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society’s Incubator experience as they have had access to experts to help them refine strategy and realise their vision. They highly recommend the programme to all students studying in Trinity.

Plans For The Future

Butterfly hope to conduct alpha testing on an MVP of the app and develop a research report from the findings within two months. At the same time, they are looking to get letters of intent from local businesses that will promote their venues on their platforms when it goes live.

In the longer term, Butterfly aim to launch the app exclusively to Trinity students in 2021, after which they will conduct further research and refinement of the platform for a Version 2. This will be released to all college students in Dublin, and later to the general public. Butterfly plan to firstly release to college students because their market research indicates that this group is the most enthusiastic for this idea and Butterfly hope to gain traction here before expanding outwards.

Get In Touch

If you would like to volunteer for alpha testing for Butterfly’s product or are interested in promoting your venue on Butterfly, please email Seamus at the following address: Seconlon@tcd.ie

Skills you need in order to succeed in a post-coronavirus business world

The business world is dynamic in nature and so the skills that are needed to thrive in this world also continue to evolve, from navigation skills to IT skills and much more. To handle the aftermath of Covid-19, we need to adapt and evolve, as the business world does. So, what competencies will be most important in the next few years? What are the skills needed to succeed in the near future?

Communication 

Communication is the key to success. Working in this world is bound to involve constantly working with other people. As a result, it is important for individuals to have good communication skills. In order to achieve that, you must first be an active listener before being a good speaker.

Companies all around the world seek employees, who are active listeners, strong public speakers and have superior verbal, written and presentation skills. In fact, now as the world moves into the digital ‘Zoom’ environment, it is more important than ever.

If the business world continues to stay online for the next few years, as predicted by many, you might want to work on those skills. As the likes of KPMG and Deloitte continue to carry out their work online, they will demand their employees to be active speakers and active listeners. So, next time you attend your online lecture – speak up, turn that camera on and work on those skills!

These expertise will never be unnecessary or unimportant. Whether we like it or not, we will have to communicate with people for the rest of our lives. There are also hundreds of great short courses on how to become better at this – check out corporatetraining.ie and professionaldevelopment.ie for more!

Technical Skills 

Without technology we cannot work nor study in today’s world. Some examples of increasingly necessary technological competencies include knowledge of programming languages, design programs, data analysis, or even basic presentation-making skills.

Once again, many companies demand these skills, as they can help employees and businesses become more resilient to future pandemics. People who know how to use IT will be crucial to all companies in the next few years, not just in the business world, but in law, manufacturing and many other disciplines and industries.

Do not be afraid if your IT skills are not perfect! There are lots of certifications and online courses that can help you learn such as MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) or CAP (Certified Analytics Professional). Take advantage of the free resources that are out there. Countless inspirational talks, webinars, articles, podcasts, and videos are available online for free – make sure to check them out.

Creativity 

In the past year, we have all seen the importance of constant innovation. The businesses that were able to come up with creative ways to offer their services to customers have shown how important it is to be original and inventive in today’s environment and adapt to this dynamic world. 

Due to global restrictions and lockdowns, Airbnb and Bumble collaborated in an effort to encourage people to try virtual dating. With millions of people using video calling services like Zoom to meet while in isolation, Airbnb and Bumble managed to bring their customers together in a virtual date setting. This is just one of many examples of how companies are adapting to the current situation – creative right? 

There are loads of ways to improve your own creativity: 

  • Brainstorm; 
  • Shifts negative thoughts into a positive mindset; 
  • Avoid being a perfectionist; 
  • Watch stimulating videos (TED talks); 
  • Determine your goals; 
  • Surround yourself with nature 

Trinity offers a number of creativity and innovation modules to undergraduate business students. However, if you want to step up your game, there are numerous programs online and face-to-face to improve these skills, including the postgraduate certificate in Creative Thinking, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, ran by Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace.

Leadership 

If the business world stays online for the foreseeable future, more people at all levels in companies will find themselves in a position where they have to lead others and work on group cohesiveness; bringing everyone together. Being self-aware is particularly important during these challenging times.

Professionals with strong leadership skills and the ability to bring out the best and inspire teams as well as encourage them, will be in serious demand. A number of tips on to improve your leadership skills include:

  • Being decisive 
  • Being visionary 
  • Analysing your strengths and weaknesses 
  • Showing a willingness to seek input from others
  • Problem solving
  • Seeking to boost your own self-confidence 

There are also online courses in DBS, UCD, and FutureLearn – check them out!

Commit to a Lifetime of Learning 

It is important to note, that the only way to remain skilled in a post-coronavirus world, is to commit to a lifetime of learning. It is very likely, that the skills needed in the business world will be change more than once in the coming years. 

Improving your skills has never been easier – there are so many resources online on how to become better at certain things. Search for the skills you want to develop and check out platforms such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, or FutureLearn as well.

If you have some spare time during the next few weeks, work on your self-development – it will definitely help you in the future.

Stay safe and innovative! 

Hungary and Poland block ground-breaking EU budget

While conflict and drama are not uncommon during negotiations for the EU’s seven-year budget, this week’s round of negotiations were notably tense. The stakes were higher and the implications of deadlock more consequential than ever, with the EU’s largest ever budget and historic Covid-19 recovery fund hanging in the balance.

What is the issue with the plan?

The €1.1 trillion budget, along with the €750 billion recovery fund, has been vetoed in the European Council. Hungary and Poland have blocked the historic deal, which required multiple rounds of negotiation with the European Parliament, due to the budget’s rule of law conditionality mechanism. This aspect of the budget has birthed protest from the two countries, who insist that their regimes operate democratically. They claim the EU’s rule of law requirements are extremely vague, and that linking them to EU funding “jeopardises trust” within the bloc.

In reality, both governments are opposed to the clause because it ties the receipt of EU funding to the EU’s rule of law requirements which, to varying degrees, Hungary and Poland are both in breach of. The two countries are currently being investigated by the EU for undermining the independence of courts, the press and NGOs within their borders. If the rule of law mechanism is implemented, it could cost them billions of euros in EU funding.

How have they blocked the budget?

The EU’s long-term budget is initially formulated by the European Commission. Then, it is usually amended by the European Council, who send it to the European Parliament for debate and approval. If it is rejected in Parliament, the Council make further amendments. Once approved in Parliament, the final draft of the budget must be approved unanimously by the European Council, before being sent off for ratification in national parliaments.

The clause was initially accepted by the European Council, because only a qualified majority was required to link rule of law adherence to EU funding. However, the budget needs unanimous approval in the Council to be passed. Every country in the EU has the power to veto legislation under this voting system, which has famously caused problems in the past. Poland and Hungary have withheld their consent to sign off on the finalised legislation.

What does rejection of the budget mean?

Most significantly, it means that an agreement is unlikely to be reached before January. The Parliament will not offer any more opinion on the rule of law mechanism, declaring it an internal Council dispute.

This news comes at a time where EU funding is desperately needed. EU economies have been significantly damaged by a second wave of Covid-19, and the support brought by the Covid-19 recovery fund in January would be warmly welcomed. Quite ironically, Poland and Hungary are two countries who could benefit the most from the fund being promptly distributed, particularly if they do adhere to the rule of law, as they claim.

Significantly, the dispute is likely to affect other EU policy areas. The most immediate example is the likely delay of the EU finalising its climate change plan. Talks are due to take place from December 10-11, but a plan cannot be made without the financial stability that a finalised long-term budget will bring. Again, Poland is ironically set to be the biggest beneficiary of the EU’s €17.5 billion Just Transition Fund, designed to help economies deal with the shift from fossil-fuel to renewable energy dependent economies.

However, EU leaders have said that they will continue to insist on linking EU funding to rule of law adherence. Angela Merkel also assured the EU that talks with Poland and Hungary would push forward and find a way to overcome the Council’s deadlock. Hungary’s Prime Minister, Victor Orbán, too is confident that the issue will be resolved, indifferently stating that this is “how it [EU negotiation] usually goes”. He is likely correct, but time is of the essence.

Covid-19 Vaccine News Sparks Market Rally

Investors showed confidence in the market last week as certain stocks hit all-time highs. This bull market comes on the back of positive news in the race to find a vaccine for Covid-19, which has been responsible for putting many countries into output crushing lockdowns. Investors are betting that the vaccine developed by Pfizer in collaboration with Germany’s BioNtech could be the key to ending the pandemic.

Investor confidence was also given a boost when it became clear that Democrat Joe Biden would become the next US President. Investors see this as a return to predictable policy-making especially in combination with a Republican controlled Senate. A Republican Senate would make it very difficult for any radical regulatory or tax changes to be enacted, giving investors more confidence.

Market Records

The apparent turning point in the fight against the Covid-19 and the election of Joe Biden have given investors the chance to look beyond the current crisis. So-called “stay-at-home” stocks such as Zoom and Netflix fell sharply while the stocks hit the hardest by lockdowns such as British Airways rose 16% on Monday. Last week saw the largest capital inflow into equity markets in past twenty years according to The Financial Times. $44.5 billion worth of US stocks were bought in the first half of the week. This growth came mostly from large institutional investors such as pension funds. Smaller retail investors accounted for just $3.3 billion of inflows. Extremely low interest rates and the promise of more fiscal stimulus will have also played a part in the rally.

Yield Curve Growth

The yield curve on U.S Treasury Bonds – the difference in interest rates between long-term and short-term bonds – which can be an accurate measure of the likelihood of a future recession grew from 0.57% to 0.77% signifying growing investor confidence. The steeping yield curve will help banks who borrow for the short term and lend for the long term.

The Winners and Losers

The stock price rally was the most visible in what are known as value-stocks. The performance of these stocks is more linked with the overall performance of the economy as opposed to individual companies. This has meant that tech stocks did not see the same rise with the tech heavy NASDAQ index actually falling a percentage point. This bucks the trend seen over the decade as value stocks have been unable to produce the same yields as growth stocks.

Market Challenges

There are still many reasons for investors to remain cautious. Attention will inevitably turn to the complex roll out of any new vaccines. It appears for the short term that European countries will have variations of lockdowns that have suppressed economic activity in order to suppress the virus. Germany’s health minister confirmed on Saturday that “severe restrictions” would be in place for the next 4-5 months. The U.S has seen its largest daily case figure of 155,000. The incumbent President Donald Trump has vowed that there would be no lockdown, however the incoming President may be more cautious.

Gradlife with Orla Comerford

This week on the Gradlife podcast Kate spoke to Orla Comerford, an Irish Paralympic athlete, who is currently focused on the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

They discuss the Orla’s journey from the Leaving Cert to the 2016 Rio games, where she represented Ireland for the first time on the international stage. Orla speaks about how disappointing herself in Rio motivated her into the next phase of her competitive career.

They also discuss recovering from injury, training during Covid-19 and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Games. The podcast also touches on studying at NCAD and how Orla has managed to balance college with her athletic career.

Socialify: Designed to Create Disruption Through Digital Strategy

Speaking to co-founder Ethan Monkhouse, Trinity Business Review gained an exclusive insight into digital strategy and business during a pandemic. Founded in April 2018, Socialify is a digital marketing agency concerned with psychological digital marketing. Their work focuses on creating bespoke digital strategies for businesses through content creation, paid traffic campaigns and social media management. 

The Team

Socialify’s founders are Trinity student Ethan Monkhouse and his business partner Killian O’Neill. Ethan is a Computer Science and Business student, while Killian is studying Sustainable Energy Engineering, Energy Management and Systems Technology at Cork Institute of Technology.

Director of Business Development Ethan and Director of Marketing Killian decided to commercialise and bring together their respective interests in film and Killian’s passion for photography to birth Socialify.

Where They Are Now

While countless businesses found themselves in deep waters as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Socialify experienced the opposite. Due to the necessity of an online presence during COVID-19, many small businesses came to Socialify to increase their online reach.

With campaigns often generating in excess of €250,000 in revenue for clients, and with a portfolio of more than 15 clients, Socialify has seen great success. As Socialify grows, due to the constraint in regards to the scale of the local workforce, they now outsource projects to subcontractors. Even prior to the pandemic, Socialify worked almost entirely remotely, so transitioned seamlessly into the new wave of widespread online working.

Plans for the Future

Socialify is continuing to scale up year on year. With both founders being full-time students, during the academic year Socialify focuses solely on social media management and paid traffic retainers, with their main clients including car dealerships such as Lexus and Toyota, as well as marine companies both nationally and within Europe.

Meanwhile, the summer months see a restructuring of Socialify, with summer 2020 seeing their biggest project to date; building e-commerce stores.

Get in Touch

Interview with Mr. Conor O’Kelly – CEO of the NTMA

By Victoria O’Connor

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global community on the broadest of spectrums. One area that has increasingly been overlooked is the impact the crisis is having on student entrepreneurs, their motivations to launch businesses and their ability to establish new enterprises. I recently interviewed Mr. Conor O’Kelly to discuss how new and evolving hurdles have challenged youth-led enterprises as they learn to sink or swim.

Conor, a proud Trinity alumni, is the Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management Agency. He has an extensive range of experience ranging from former Chairman of Investec Holdings (Ireland) Ltd to Chief Executive of NCB Group. He is also a former director of the Irish Stock Exchange. Conor studied ESS (today’s BESS) in Trinity. During his college years, Conor embraced student life representing Trinity in both rugby and golf, two passions which he still holds today. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1982 and the first student to be awarded a prestigious scholarship to Senshu University in Tokyo, Japan, where he completed a master’s degree.

The outbreak of COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the global economy, commercial markets and consumer behaviour. I asked Conor his thoughts on the repercussions of lockdowns and if we’re moving towards a society where the average consumer will no longer shop on the high street. He sees the issue as two fold, firstly, the pandemic’s role in shifting consumer behaviour and secondly, the trends that are developing from the global remote working experience.

It is important for young entrepreneurs to separate and identify the short-term repercussions of the pandemic from the permanent trends that are materialising. Businesses are either on the “right side or wrong side of the digital divide”. Conor sees the challenge for businesses as keeping up with the acceleration of the market shift from “bricks” to “clicks”.  As the pandemic unfolds, existing trends in the market have been accelerated dramatically, Conor describes it as “time traveling forward to 2030”.  Young entrepreneurs must respond and be experimental and innovative in not only with what their enterprise can offer the consumer but also how they can connect, engage and sustain a customer base.

Shifts in Consumer Spending and Attitudes

The pandemic is changing city centres around the world in irreversible ways. The global “working-from-home experiment” has meant consumer spending has shifted from city centres to local communities. City centre businesses whose success is based on a commuter workforce are going to be adversely impacted by this crisis. One strategy for centrally located enterprises is to focus less on their traditional presence and increase efforts towards driving consumers towards their online channels.

Young entrepreneurs aspiring to operate in retail outlets, must take steps to build consumer trust by adapting to the new health and safety expectations in the community. It is both a responsibility as well as an opportunity for business owners to provide a “safe environment” where consumers are comfortable with the risk, thereby encouraging shoppers to return. Conor opines that emerging technology is likely to be a prominent method in which business owners can confidently deliver on this. Scientists at Oxford University have developed a COVID-19 test that can produce a result in less than 5 minutes. While logistically implementing this at scale may be difficult, it demonstrates the potential for businesses to establish COVID-free spaces.

Opportunities and Challenges Facing Young Entrepreneurs

As the pandemic increasingly pushes consumers towards the world of e-commerce, Conor considers this as a golden opportunity for young entrepreneurs to maximize the opportunity presented by changing consumer behaviours.  A report by Digital Business Ireland found that 74 per cent of shoppers surveyed have been put off by the queues, capacity limits and social distancing requirements in stores. Most young entrepreneurs form the large part of the digital generation, Conor sees them as possessing an “intuitive sense” of how to understand the online spending pattern and behaviours of today’s consumer.

Overall, the pandemic has had a tremendously adverse impact on SME’s who face a unique and difficult challenge for survival. In spite of the turbulence caused by the crisis, a number of companies have improvised, adapted and thrived. Conor provides insight into the ways in which student enterprises can mirror the resilience and success of global companies – “if a business has a good product, they will be able to access distribution channels and will be encouraged to do so”.  Amazons “shop local scheme” is just one example of a global platform opening up access to local businesses.

Reimagining Business – The Role of Technology

Young entrepreneurs must seek opportunity for reinvention and differentiation in times of market disruption. Zoom, an app that was available 9 years ago and largely unknown, has emerged as one of the leading platforms for businesses to ensure their teams can function and communicate effectively and is now worth approximately €25bn.

Encouraging consumers to adopt new products is one of the most challenging obstacles for new businesses to overcome according to Conor. The world has experienced a simultaneous collective grief like no other, and consumer behaviour has changed as a result of it.  We’re living through “seismic societal change “, and the opportunities are endless for the entrepreneurs who successfully identify opportunities and react to consumer demands and expectations living in the “new normal”.

Technology is playing a key role in reducing barriers to business entry for young entrepreneurs launching businesses, it opens a window towards perpetual innovation. Before the internet, start-ups faced costly processes of finding and operating a premise, ordering stock and paying for licenses etc. Now, with an ability to eliminate the majority of traditional overhead costs, online opportunities are increasingly available and more accessible than ever.

Risks Facing Young Entrepreneurs

The short-comings of e-commerce are exposing the difficulties many entrepreneurs face in connecting emotionally with their consumer base to establish loyalty. One recommendation Conor offers is for young entrepreneurs to enhance, augment and personalize the online shopping experience for their consumers.

Providing consumers with an enriched experience by connecting with them is likely to establish both brand loyalty and brand awareness, these can be developed as competitive tools for new and adapting enterprises.

Creativity, imagination and innovative marketing ideas can be driving factors that enable organisations to connect with their target market, and are crucial constituents for young entrepreneurs in 2020.  In the dawn of the internet, any brand can instantly become a viral sensation or a viral nightmare. Companies must prioritise developing and protecting their online reputation as the image of an enterprise is more pertinent than ever before. Citing being on the “wrong side” of a sustainability issue or exercising “greenwashing” as examples,  Conor explains how reputational risk can threaten the survival of the business itself. With a global audience comes a global risk. Money talks, but it’s the consumer who decides where that money goes. In an increasingly cashless society,  a transaction is only a click away with the consumer in ultimate control – that’s a powerful concept at scale.

Advice

Most young entrepreneurs with innovative business concepts face obstacles without the benefit of having a lived experience. Against the backdrop of the current pandemic, youth-led enterprises should adapt and find experience and partners that can help. Conor advises them to take advantage of opportunities to learn from others, whether it’s through a mentor, alumni or listening to podcasts from industry leaders. The perspective and insight of others added to the imagination and creativity of student entrepreneurs is a powerful combination.

Gradlife with Gabriel Ogundipe

This week on Gradlife, Kate spoke to Gabriel Ogundipe. Gabby is a Trinity MSISS graduate (2020) who is currently working at a fintech company, Checkout.com. 

During his time at Trinity, Gabriel co-founded a start-up, Luminary Hub, securing a place in the Trinity Launchbox programme, placed in the world finals of a case competition in New York, and was the vice-president of the Irish Student Consulting Group. Gabby also secured the George Moore scholarship to complete a masters in the US upon graduating from college. 

They talk about motivations, the importance of extra-curriculars in college, job applications, and more. 

JMK Consulting: A Trinity Start-Up Focused On All Things Pandemic

After the pandemic took hold and thousands of business were facing forced closure due to government restrictions, JMK Consulting was set up with the aim of helping businesses traverse the ever changing landscape of COVID Payments, Business Restart, Restart Plus Loans, Grants and supports. JMK Consulting also advises businesses on Employers PUP Payments, Employee / Customer COVID Protection, training and responsibilities for the duration of the pandemic, which will be with us for the foreseeable future.

The JMK Mission Statement is “To help business remain and recover during the largest global medical and economic crisis in a century while [their] vision is to act as an enabler for businesses now and in the future.”

The Team

The JMK team consists of Joseph Keegan, Principle Consultant, who has 25 years experience in Researching and Consulting on IT Systems and Technology Grants through JMK Computer Support Services, dealing with Manufacturing, Services and Academic Industries. Along with three recent IT & Project Management degrees he has also just graduated from Trinity Tangent, Ideas Workspace Programme, Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Thinking, Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Mr. Keegan is currently attending the E-Labs Innovation Programme with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Tangent, in conjunction with University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) and EIT Health WHO.

Ray Crean, Principle Researcher, who also shares the same BSc (Hons) in Information Systems and Postgraduate Certificate both from Trinity College Dublin and has wide experience in Corporate Compliance and Board Level Membership.

Where They Are Now

JMK have successfully consulted on the reopening, staffing and grant aiding of two hospitality businesses to the tune of €50,000, both of which are now starting to gain a following and traction again, despite the recent risk of not being able to open again, at great loss to the owners and staff.

With the movement of government restrictions to Level 5, JMK are now focusing their attention on building up their knowledge base as to how to enable businesses to reopen in the future.

Plans For The Future

Given the global acceptance that the pandemic will remain relevant for at least another 12-18 months, JMK client offerings will be even more important and they intend to continue to provide a non-biased point of view in every respect of maintaining businesses through these unchartered waters.

The long-term goal for JMK is to expand into all industries and become a business of excellence with regards to the ‘new normal’ of what they see becoming the “Hybrid Economy both for Business Owners and Employees” when all of this passes.

Get in Touch

EthiCart: The Trinity Start-Up Focused On Promoting Sustainable Shopping

EthiCart is a user-friendly app that provides consumers with easily digestible information about the sustainable or ethical attributes of food products they have selected by simply scanning the product’s barcode. Amongst other educational features, EthiCart removes the confusions around the many different certifications on packaging by explaining these clearly, thus enabling their users to become more conscious and educated consumers.

EthiCart aims to empower the growing community of people who want to shop sustainably and buy products aligned with their values. EthiCart offers quick, easy to understand information, and suggests more sustainable alternatives where possible, helping you become a more conscious consumer. EthiCart is committed to making sustainability simple.

The Team

EthiCart’s founders are Trinity students Laura Brennan and Lara Páircéir. Laura is a final year Computer Science & Business student and Lara is taking a year off books from Sociology & Social Policy. They both share a passion for sustainability and social entrepreneurship.

They participated in Tangent’s LaunchBox in the Summer of 2019 and have since been featured in ‘Ireland’s 30 under 30: Best and Brightest Young Entrepreneurs’, awarded the Blackstone LaunchPad Summer Fellowship and are finalists in the Irish Student Entrepreneurship Forum.

Where They Are Now

EthiCart have launched the first version of the app in Trinity this September, starting small with the products supplied on campus available on the app. The homepage of the app includes blogs, articles, recipes etc. to keep their users informed and engaged. They also have lots of fantastic tips & tricks for what to look out for when shopping sustainably, which anyone can avail of, and some handy Trinity tailored features. Click here to download now!  

Plans For The Future

Small acts when multiplied can transform the world. EthiCart is looking forward to seeing their user base grow by scaling into more mainstream supermarkets so that they can get as many people shopping sustainably as possible.

Get In Touch

EthiCart believe that when sustainability is mixed with enterprise and an amazing community real change can be achieved. Follow their growing online community @ethicart_app on Instagram and Twitter.

The Demise Of Dairy

The Unstoppable Rise of the Alternative Milk and what it means for the Dairy Industry

By Eleni O’ Dwyer

It is hard now to imagine a time when you couldn’t go into your local coffee shop and order yourself an oat milk flat white. It seems impossible now, but before the age of almond milk cappuccinos, for the unfortunate lactose intolerants around us, there was no alternative to cow’s milk other than to simply not drink it.

As recently as ten years ago, the only real alternative to cow’s milk was soya milk, and even that required searching in rare health-food shops. Today, however, the alternative milk industry is estimated to be worth approximately €14 billion globally. UK plant milk sales have grown by 30% since 2015, and nearly half of all consumers in the US are now opting for non-dairy milks.

In the sea of alternative milks ranging from hazelnut to cashew to coconut milks, almond milk remains the most bought, making up two thirds of all plant milks sold. However, oat milk is the fastest-growing category of alternative milk. From April 2018 to April 2019, the Swedish oat milk brand Oatly grew by 222%. The rapid transformation of Oatly from a little-known, obscure health brand to the dairy alternative of choice surprised even CEO Toni Petersson, saying; “[h]ow do we supply when the growth is crazy?”.

This ‘crazy’ growth has been a result of an overwhelming increase in health-consciousness. The rise of vegetarian and vegan diet choices, and the general societal push for sustainability, has undeniably changed consumer habits. The surge of the wellness movement across all facets of society has created what Oatly has labelled the “post-milk generation” as Millennial and Generation Z consumers account for more and more of the overall market. Research has shown that UK teenagers now consider cow’s milk less healthy than dairy alternatives; a phenomenon that David Dobbin, former chairman of Dairy UK, has described as “a demographic time bomb”.

But alternative milks are not a purely modern phenomenon. In 1981, Philippe Vandemoortele, a Belgian food technician, used a new packing technology, the Tetra Brik, to sell his own soya milk which he called Alpro. His local supermarket refused to stock it. Today, Vandemoortele’s Alpro is owned by Danone, and in 2017 had a turnover of more than £183 million.

Meanwhile, the superfood reputation of cow’s milk is under pressure due to ever-growing concerns around animal cruelty and the dairy industry’s environmental impact. This is accompanied by an increase in lactose intolerance diagnosis, and new links between dairy products and hormone-related conditions, such as acne and premature puberty, according to Dr. Michael Greger, author of the book “How Not to Die”. For Ireland’s agriculturally dependent
economy, this presents valid fears for the future of dairy.

The dairy industry accounts for around €1.2 billion of the Irish economy annually, with the average Irish family consuming over 6 litres of milk per week. Domestic milk intake in 2019 was just shy of 8 billion litres of milk, according to the Central Statistics Office. This was in fact 400 million litres more than the 7.6 billion litres of milk recorded for the previous year. Moreover, the EU saw a 0.5% jump in milk intake in 2019.

As countless industries have been stifled over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish dairy industry has had room to grow. A survey of over 2,000 adults in June 2020 showed that almost 40% of Irish consumers under the age of 35 increased their milk, cheese and yoghurt consumption since the outbreak of the pandemic, with people seeking familiarity and quality during uncertain times. Even pre-pandemic, 90% of plant milk buyers still purchased other dairy products, such as cheese, yoghurt and ice cream, all of whom are seeing increases in demand.

So, it seems that the milk traditionalists of the dairy industry do not have much cause for worry. While the alternative milk industry has gained huge traction, in reality, it is not superseding the dairy industry. Rather, the two are working alongside one another, both growing year on year. Instead of one milk emerging triumphant, the ambit of what consumers look to for milk simply expands to encompass all.

What the EU Court Ruling On The Apple-Ireland Tax Case Means

By Isha Neurgaonkar

On 15th July, the European General Court in Luxembourg ruled that the Republic of Ireland did not give Apple illegal state aid, reversing the decision of the European Commission. In 2016, the Commission stated that Ireland broke EU state aid rules by granting undue tax benefits to Apple. It had ordered the Irish government to collect €13.4 billion of unpaid taxes from 2003–2014.
    
What happened? 
Ireland has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the EU (12.5%). It is Apple’s base for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 2016, the European Commission said that Ireland had allowed Apple to attribute nearly all of its EU earnings to an Irish head office that only existed on paper, thereby avoiding paying tax on EU revenues. The Commission declared this constituted illegal aid given to Apple by the Irish state. The Irish government argued that Apple should not have to repay the taxes, deeming that its loss was worth it to make the country an attractive home for large companies.


In 2014, Apple’s Irish structure consisted of two subsidiaries, Apple Operations Ireland (AOI), an Irish-registered holding company and the Apple Sales International (ASI) an Irish-registered subsidiary of Apple Operations Europe (AOE). Apple did not follow the Double Irish structure by using two separate Irish companies but instead used two separate branches inside one single company, ASI. The EU Commission alleged this was illegal state aid. This structure was not offered to other multinationals in Ireland, which had used the traditional “two separate companies” version.


The Commission argued that the rulings allowed Apple to make most of its European sales through an employee-less head office, which was non-resident for tax purposes. Only the activities of the Irish branches within the same units were subject to tax in Ireland. The intellectual property behind Apple products lay inside these Irish branches, signifying that most of the profits were taxable by Revenue. Apple argued that it was held outside the branches and controlled by the group headquarters. 


What next? 
A report from the OECD predicts that the rate of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) internationally may fall by 30-40% as companies re-evaluate their strategies post the COVID 19 pandemic. FDI has been an integral part of the Irish economic strategy since the 60s. To this day, the Irish economy is still reliant on FDI. Eduardo Baistrocchi, a professor of tax law at the London School of Economics, described Ireland as a “non-G20 hub in the international tax system” to DW. He then explained that Non-G20 hubs are “a group of countries that connect multinational enterprises (MNEs) with market jurisdictions to minimise the tax entry and tax exit costs of the MNEs. Ireland connected Apple with markets across all continents. Baistrocchi also remarked that “in 2014, for every $1 million of profit that Apple earned from its European operations, Apple paid $50 tax in Europe: an effective tax rate of 0.005%.”

According to both Baistrocchi and Liz Nelson at the Tax Justice Network, this problem is global. Baistrocchi comments that the tax-hub model is not prohibited by the international tax regime. Thus, the international tax regime is “broken” due to the power and influence of big multinationals like Apple. While the General Court said that there were “inconsistencies” and “defects” with Revenue’s approach, the Commission failed to show that the outcome was flawed and that Apple paid less tax than it should have. The ruling of the court has since been appealed by the European
Commission before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court.

In the current global politico-economic scenario (where all countries are fighting to gain more in an environment of uncertain economic globalisation), abiding by the rules of geopolitical organisations like the EU and implementing strong FDI policies are both important factors for the growth trajectory of relatively smaller economies like Ireland. Ultimately, balancing these factors correctly could help both national and global economies and businesses thrive.

Are The Days Of The Traditional Workweek Numbered?

By Ruadhán Glover

In recent months, COVID-19 has given rise to economic disaster for countless companies across the globe. Millions of people have lost their jobs, while those businesses who have managed to survive the economic crash thus far face the daunting challenge of controlling and mitigating the upset to all facets of their operations. However, amidst the huge disruptions to workplace and societal norms brought on by COVID-19, the potential for increasingly flexible models of work has been inadvertently highlighted. The idea of a four-day workweek is one such model which is currently shifting from the fringes to the mainstream with growing momentum. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently endorsed the idea of a shorter workweek as a method of increasing employee welfare and productivity in these trying times. Likewise, the results of a survey published by the Four Day Week Ireland campaign this week revealed that over three-quarters of people would support the government researching the potential of a four-day work week. But what exactly does a four-day workweek entail, and is it really possible to increase productivity by working less?

What is a four-day workweek?

Many common misconceptions surround the model of a four-day workweek, predominantly that it merely involves the compressing of a forty-hour workweek into four days rather than five. An authentic four-day workweek involves employees reducing, rather than compressing, their number of hours worked per week by approximately eight, in the hope of driving productivity out of such flexibility. Furthermore, progressive models of the shortened workweek should not include any reductions of salaries. If, as a result of greater productivity stemming from a shortened workweek, an employer’s bottom line is actually improving, then it is arguably unreasonable to cut the wages of those responsible for the increase in efficiency. A trial of the shorter workweek model by Microsoft in their Japan base in August 2019 reported a 40% increase in productivity during this period. With greater control over when and how they work, employees are more concentrated on the quality of their tasks, and less on how frequently they are working.
The recent momentum behind the concept of the four-day workweek has come on the back of workers need for flexible work arrangements during the Covid-19 crisis. However, this is not the first time in history that the length of a typical workweek has seen a drastic reduction.

In the final decade of the 19th century, it was estimated that an average factory floor employee in the US worked 100 hours per week. However, by the mid-20th century, a mere 60 years later, this had been reduced to the current standard 40-hour workweek. When put in such context, the reduction of our workweek by eight hours isn’t nearly as extreme as first seemed.


Additional Employer Benefits

Employees are not the only beneficiaries of a shortened workweek. In addition to the aforementioned increase in productivity that can be obtained through the model, a four-day workweek presents employers with the opportunity to diversify their pools of talent by attracting those who cannot, for various reasons, work the traditional five-day workweek. Furthermore, employers can safeguard their future talent through the provision of flexible work arrangements. Now, more than ever, young working professionals are placing great emphasis on their own wellbeing. Millennials are drawn to employment perks such as flexible working hours in addition to traditional pension and bonus benefits. The implementation of a four-day workweek can consequently greatly enhance an employer’s ability to attract and maintain the best and brightest workers in the industry.


Additional Societal Benefits

In addition to the aforementioned benefits to both productivity and employee wellbeing, a four-day workweek also has the positive effects of promoting both equality in the workplace and a more positive carbon footprint. The pressure to abide by gender roles and to take responsibility for household welfare sees many women excluded from the workplace. According to Gender Pay Gap research, the largest barrier for women in paid employment across the board is the struggle to balance work with family responsibilities. A four-day workweek would encourage the sharing of these responsibilities among partners, while allowing workers to balance their work commitments and family responsibilities. Furthermore, from an environmental perspective, a four-day workweek would have a more
positive effect on the national carbon footprint. The use of office spaces for shorter periods of time would result in a lower output of energy, while removing just one day of worker commutes could greatly assist in the reduction of damaging carbon dioxide emissions. Indeed, Microsoft Japan’s one-month trial saw their electricity costs alone decrease by 25%.


Will we see any change?

It is quite feasible that when Covid-19 passes, we may plead to return to work five days a week in order to regain a sense of normality. However, if nothing else, this pandemic has presented employers with both the business reasons and the opportunity to transition to shorter work weeks. By creating a company that values employee wellbeing and productivity over hours put in, businesses can reap the rewards of working less hours. If we all finally give up on the idea that working longer will result in greater standards of business and life, the four-day work week could well become the latest shake up in a long list of changes to workplace and societal norms brought on by Covid-19. Indeed, maybe some good will finally come of this crisis.

Budget 2021: What We Know So Far

By Paul Ralph

  • Minister announces no changes to PAYE, USC or PRSI.
  • Central Bank Governor Gabriel Makhlouf calls for path to “sustainable debt” and a focus on building resilience to future shocks.
  • IBEC lobbies for gradual tapering of business supports into 2021 as opposed to a “cliff-edge” end.

Last Wednesday, the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe confirmed that there would be no changes to income tax, USC or PRSI. At a press briefing he explained that cabinet had agreed that increases in taxation would be counterproductive. The Minister wants to “give confidence to those earning income or who a have level of deposits in our economy” in a time of “heightened economic uncertainty”. The main focus of the government is the management of the Covid-19 crisis and the looming prospect of a no-deal Brexit at the end of the year. This was made clear when the Minister explained that only “future budgets” would be guided by the commitments made in the Programme for Government agreed between the three governing parties. 

Minister Donohoe declined to rule out any possible changes to welfare payments.

Donohoe’s Fianna Fáil counterpart, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said that government spending this year would be 23% higher than forecasted due to the unprecedented scale of government intervention in the economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.   

The unpredictability of the current crisis is adding to the difficulty of planning a budget. Speaking to RTÉ news on Wednesday, Minister McGrath said he was currently working with officials to ascertain how much extra spending will be required next year for schools, the health service, new college places and the additional costs of reduced capacity public transport.   

On the same day, the Governor of the Central Bank Gabriel Makhlouf wrote to the Minister for Finance in his pre-Budget letter outlining what policy needs to focus on. In the letter, the Governor outlined three goals of policy:

  • Policy should focus on “supporting the productive capacity of the economy”.
  • Path to lower and sustainable debt will eventually have to be forged.
  • Continued “focus on building resilience to future shocks”.

Regarding the first point, Minister Donohoe has yet to introduce any labour market activation policies such as new training programmes. He is instead opting for the continuation of a reduced Pandemic Unemployment Payment scheme until the end of the year. This has received condemnation from the opposition with Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin calling for the reintroduction of the €350 weekly payment in light of increased restrictions.  

The Central Bank Governor also advised against supporting loss-making enterprises, arguing that it was “not in the community’s interest”. However, it will be difficult for the government to distinguish what firms had an unsustainable business model entering this recession given its nature. The Governor recommended that the Government make provisions for business support grants. Also, he expects that debt will be an unattractive prospect for many SMEs because of the “scarring effect” of the previous crisis, banks’ reduced lending appetite and any debt overhang during the recovery. So far, the government has not yet hinted at any changes for the whole economy after Level 3 restrictions were introduced in Dublin last Friday. Nonetheless, the government committed to an extra €30 million in aid for businesses in the Capital.    

Covid-19 restrictions have hit SMEs extremely hard. The Government’s current emergency supports are due to end in the first half of 2021. In IBEC’s pre-budget submission they call for provisions to be made for the tapering of supports to avoid a cliff edge for thousands of businesses. The group said that the package of supports would need to be in the region of €6 billion on top of the €20 billion that will have been spent by the government on business supports by the first half of 2021.

According to IBEC’s chief economist, Ger Brady, who was speaking at the launch of the group’s pre-budget submission, the Government will run a deficit this year of about €30 billion. To give this figure more context, in 2019 there was a small surplus of €1.5 billion. The last time the deficit was so large was in 2011 when it hit €30.5 billion, starkly illustrating the extent to which the Irish economy is now reliant on government stimulus. 

A Guide For Incoming Freshers Of Business-Related Degrees

by Jody Murphy

Hello, and welcome! If you’re reading this article, I presume that you are one of two things, an incoming student, or, someone keen on reading insightful business-related content. If you fall into the first category, I hope this article will benefit you greatly as you progress through your first year of study. Anyone else may find that reading this article lacks relevance, and thus I encourage you to explore our website for content better suited to your interests.


I believe a congratulations are in order to all those successful in making it into Trinity’s Class of 2024! I hope this article will assist you in your navigation of academic and social life at Trinity. Although you have started your college career during a global pandemic, with the aid of technology, you can rest assured that it will have only a marginal impact on your life as an undergraduate.

Societies

Trinity is host to many great societies, but there are six focused specifically on business. It is important to note that there are no requirements for becoming a member of these societies. You don’t need to be studying a business-related degree, nor do you need any prior experience or credentials.

Trinity Student Managed Fund (SMF)

I spoke to this year’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Liam Collins.

“The SMF is Trinity’s premier society for finance, investing, and professional services. Traditionally we run workshops on investment research, trading and professional development alongside our fantastic, highly regarded sponsors. The SMF will be running as close to ‘business as usual’ as possible, running these events online for the first semester. Anyone interested in these workshops is encouraged to apply to be an Analyst on our website (http://www.trinitysmf.com/). Also online this semester will be our annual Women in Business Conference. We are looking forward to running some great events this semester, even with the new normal.”

Trinity Entrepreneur Society (TES)

I spoke to Daryne Kushnir, the society’s PRO.

“There are few societies in Trinity that have hatched multi-million-euro business ideas, but TES prides itself in being able to do so (if you have a multi-million idea, that is). We offer a steppingstone to young inventive students, who want to become the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, through programs such as Incubator, Dragon’s Den and through various networking events. TES has always had a fantastic presence on campus, despite being only seven years old. We consistently gather around 2000 members each year, aided by our brilliant Fresher’s Week campaign and our high-quality, professional events. Continuing this standard online will be a challenge, but the current TES committee has worked unstintingly to organise exciting new events for the coming year. We’re starting off with an Information Night, for those new to the university (or anyone who would like to learn about the society in general), an event with Kingsley Aikins (a brilliant storyteller and the CEO of The Networking Institute) and some exciting competitions with goodies, to give students the Freshers Week buzz they might be missing this year. Our Incubator and Dragon’s Den competition will be held online, with applications coming soon. A chance to do these events from home means we can hopefully, gather more students to participate. Pitching and receiving professional guidance will now be a matter of logging onto Zoom and just showing up. We’re also running our Ambassadors program, with applications to come on our social media in the next two weeks. The best piece of advice we can give right now is to head over to Facebook and Instagram and give us a follow. All of our updates, Zoom links and goodie-competitions will be posted out there. We can’t wait to see some fresh new faces and ideas!”

Dublin University Business and Economics Society (DUBES)

The society’s PRO, Sarah Davis, and Careers Convenor, Ana Bellow, gave an introduction to the society.

“DUBES is one of Trinity’s oldest and largest societies founded in 1929. DUBES was established with one clear goal; to provide our members with access to academic, social and professional opportunities that will help prepare them for the professional world.  Although we are facing a significantly different challenge this year, like other successful organisations, we will adapt rather than buckle. As of now, popular social events like the BESS Ball and the Mystery Tour are on hold this year, but the reasons for joining our society are more compelling than ever. We have moved everything online for the upcoming Michaelmas term but have doubled the number of events held this year compared to last year. Our members will have access to an exciting line-up of speakers from companies such as Linkedin, Ernest and Young, Revolut, Salesforce and BP as well as a host of educational events throughout the calendar year. So, DUBES is taking a glass-half-full view of our enforced reality. We will continue planning in accordance with government regulations and guidelines and in the best interests of our members. Of course, if these regulations and guidelines are relaxed in future, DUBES will also begin hosting on-campus events and a range of social events. We are looking forward to engaging with our new members with a sense of hope and optimism. We remain upbeat. We are resilient. This year, Freshers Week will not have the same frenetic buzz that many of us were lucky enough to experience in the past, but Trinity societies still have plenty to offer. We are collaborating with Trinity Hall JCR for a virtual Freshers Week Social Event so keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook pages for more information. This is hopefully the first of more virtual social events, we are testing how we would be able to run them at the moment.  We will continue to innovate and excite. We will continue to provide the kind of opportunities that have enriched college life for so many students for so many years.”

Dublin University Consulting Society (DUCS)

A new addition to Trinity this year, Conor Perry, an active member of the Irish Student Consulting Group spoke to me about what this new society involves.

“DUCS is the Trinity branch of the Irish Student Consulting Group (ISCG). The ISCG aims to provide a platform for Ireland’s highest achieving students across all disciplines to get real-world business experience and insight into the world of consulting. Within Trinity, the DUCS will aim to attract the highest achieving students within the college and engage them in working with clients to help solve tangible business problems within a real-world business environment. Given the current pandemic, all consulting projects and events will be completed virtually. These include digital information meetings, networking evenings with our alumni network and the likely digitisation of the consulting competitions (both national and international) that DUCS intends to enter. We encourage all students to apply to join and attend one of our information evenings to learn more about the DUCS.”


Trinity’s Developer Student Club (TCD DSC)

Another new addition to Trinity this year, I spoke to society’s Marketing and Relations Lead, Alexandra Ichim.

“TCD DSC is a student-led tech community. It’s open to students from any course with an interest in using Google Developer technologies to solve real-world problems. We’ll be hosting events to cater to members of all skill levels throughout the year featuring talks from guest speakers, technology workshops and ongoing certification programs. TCD DSC is a great opportunity to connect with and learn from students across campus, all while making a real difference in your community. To join, follow the link in our bio on our Instagram account @tcddsc.”

Trinity Business Review (TBR)

Last but certainly not least, the Trinity Business Review. TBR is an online student-run publication that gives its readers unique insights into the business world. The review is an excellent way to meet people from a diverse range of courses and disciplines with an interest in the ever-changing business environment. We are always looking for new correspondents as well as Junior Fresh representatives so if you are interested in writing for TBR, or generating publicity for the review, send an email to trinitybusinessreview@gmail.com.

Modules

Getting to grips with the modules you are studying is essential to avoid any unnecessary confusion. I highly recommend that you use the links below to look up the modules you are taking.

Business modules can be found here:
https://www.tcd.ie/business/undergraduate/module-outlines/

Economics modules can be found here:
https://www.tcd.ie/Economics/undergraduate/modules/

Politics modules can be found here:
https://www.tcd.ie/Political_Science/undergraduate/module-outlines/

Sociology modules can be found here: https://www.tcd.ie/sociology/undergraduate/modules/

Law modules can be found here:
https://www.tcd.ie/law/programmes/undergraduate/modules/

Personal Experience

Recently I’ve been thinking about my first year as a BESS student, and I’ve come up with some advice that I hope you will find useful.

The first is to relax. Making the transition from an environment where you know a great number of people to one where you know few, can be an experience shadowed by anxiety and stress. You may find that prospect of going to your first in-person lecture, attending a society event or interacting with new people somewhat daunting. I can assure you that you are not the only one. It can take some time to fit into college life. The best way to speed this process up is to get involved. Why not become an ambassador for TES, an analyst for the SMF, a consultant for the DUCS or, a correspondent for the Trinity Business Review? You’re in the first year of your degree, there has never been a better time to get stuck in!

The second piece of advice relates to module selection. Towards the end of Hillary term, you will select your second-year modules. It’s important you know that whichever modules you choose to study for second year will determine which modules you can choose for third and fourth years. For example, if you are a BESS student and you chose not to study ‘Mathematical and Statistical Methods A & B’ for your second year, this will limit which economics modules you can study for third and fourth year.

I hope this article serves you well as you progress through Junior Fresh. Be sure to follow the Trinity Business Review on social media to learn of new articles as they are published. On behalf of the TBR team, I would like to wish you the best of luck throughout your years at Trinity.

Sustainability in Business, Sustainability as Business

By Ciarán Quinn

Before the pandemic consumed the eyes and ears of the world, the cry for the halt to climate change and destruction caused by the world’s economy was a silent wave coming to its peak. Whether it was a schoolgirl from Sweden being awarded Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for her efforts to raise awareness on the issue, or the hundreds of school strikes organized around the globe, a wary eye was cast once again on the efforts companies are making to heed these warnings. There are plenty of examples of companies who have blatantly disregarded their environmental responsibilities in the past. Take Volkswagen’s ‘Diesel gate’ or the continued deforestation of the Amazon by the likes of Costco and Walmart. It is clear from the profile of these companies, an auto industry powerhouse and the world’s largest company by revenue in 2019, that thus far sustainability is not something they feel is vital to the present and future success of their businesses. The likes of Ryanair have introduced a voluntary ‘carbon footprint offset fee’, which seems to try and give back through environmental schemes, rather than tackling or reducing the issue head-on. This all begs the question, is sustainability within business achievable? And is the notion of sustainability as a core business element constituent only possible as an allusion?


There are examples of hope to contrast the examples of doom mentioned above. Many household companies have embraced sustainability and the chances it creates, with different approaches to the issues allowing for innovation and creativity in this field. This has led to disruption and new improvements across all aspects of business. Whether it be supply chain or the product itself, sustainability is slowly being embraced across the board, although some companies have shown great agility in their conversion to sustainable practices also.


Adidas have concentrated on creating a greener supply chain, with a focus on reducing energy used and importantly water consumption- which has historically played a huge role in the fabric-dyeing process. This has been made possible through the reconfiguring of their production process with the implementation of ‘Drydye’ technology. Another project by Adidas is their collaboration with Parley, a non-profit organization to commit to creating shoes from 100% recycled polyester. This will be possible through a material called ‘primeblue’, which the two have collaborated on creating from plastics and polyesters recycled from the ocean. Another lifestyle-clothing stalwart is Nike, who have
focused on the introduction of recycled and reconstituted materials in their products. Most notably, 75% of the products produced by Nike partially contain some recycled material. This effort has culminated in the release of Nike’s ‘space hippie’ collection, which combines sustainability with radical design. The result is a fashionable sports lifestyle shoes made from between 85-90% recycled materials. Furthermore, Companies have focused on logistics to drive improvements. British supermarket Tesco have invested to improve rail systems to shift a portion of their distribution
network from road to the more environmentally friendly rail network. It’s clear that these firms see sustainability as an important issue in their profitability and future growth. While the companies mentioned above have begun to adopt sustainability as a core element of their businesses, there are several companies that have sustainability as a core constituent since their inception. Patagonia is a clothing company which puts the environment and sustainability above all else, whether it be through their ‘don’t buy this jacket’ campaign or use of 70% recycled materials across their range. Tesla have shifted their product focus to machines that build a future foundation for the firm, where the use of fossil fuels is eliminated through their groundbreaking technology.


None of Tesla’s vehicles have tailpipe emissions and the company have revolutionised how homes can be fueled through their intuitive solar roof technology. The potential for advancement through renewable energy and sustainability can be seen here, with the opportunity for solar energy to charge a customer’s car at home rather than having to stop at a petrol station. With every advancement in sustainable fields such as renewable energy for Tesla, even more innovation is demanded, and the likes of Tesla are delivering.


Another company taking an approach similar to Tesla’s, but within the fashion industry is the brand SAYE. SAYE is a start-up founded in Barcelona, which has incorporated sustainability across all its activities from the start. Their shoes are made from a host of ecological and recycled materials. The leather comes from European farms, which have been vetted as respecting environmental stewardship standards. The laces are produced from organic cotton, allowing them to easily integrate back into the cycles of the earth for future generations. The insoles are produced from PU foam, repurposed from the by-products of the European car industry. The company has also ensured all packaging is made entirely from recycled materials and promises to plant two trees for each pair of their shoes sold, with 90,000 trees planted to date. With their production facilities located in northern Portugal, the company guarantees fair wages and working hours, with worker friendly policies concerning overtime and conditions. With sustainability underpinning the ethos of the company, SAYE are in the best position to take advantage of the many opportunities and innovation stemming from this vital and growing sector.


The struggle between sustainability and profitability has long been a source of contention within business regarding its achievability. Too many companies have given lip service, but few up until now have made it a real purpose. Today’s world of Greta Thunberg and climate activism doesn’t see this issue as it once did and demands that real change be made. Patagonia, SAYE and Tesla have risen to the challenge. The idea of sustainability as business is clear from these companies making honest change, and the success of these businesses is reflective of that.

Striking the Balance: Will Hindsight Lead the Way?

By Sinéad Flynn

Overview

Innovation and technology are the most prominent buzz words for firms and corporations around the world. The next big idea, next invention, and next discovery are waiting to emerge. Society has evolved from the 1880s, where it was once thought by Commissioner of US Patent Office Charles Duell that “everything that can be invented has been invented” to new advances exploding at our fingertips without limits. FinTech has received a great deal of attention, and it’s only in its infant stages.  Marc Andressen notes that ‘internet companies might end up in 180 countries before they have 180 employees.’ Globalisation and technology have had a huge impact on markets, and the role of Fintech is just a new stimulation.

What is Fintech?

Fintech is a financial technology that aims to compete with traditional financial methods. Fintech can take the shape of crowdfunding, cryptocurrencies, or blockchain, and notably is expanding into new markets rapidly. While online banking has been prevalent for years, fintech adds a new dimension to the payment’s services. Within seconds, users are sending and receiving money faster than ever before. Fintech has begun to dominate our everyday lives where it is commonly seen with those who use Apple Pay or Samsung Pay or those that have sent funds via GoFundMe. The limits to what may be considered Fintech can be unlimited, where most start-ups are embracing technology to create innovative products and services. FinTech is emerging throughout trading, insurance, and risk management as well, which has appeared quite disruptive to these industries that haven’t changed for quite some time.

Opportunity or Threat?

While business may be booming, and the financial crash seems to be forgotten, how does commercial law interact with this fast-paced business environment? It is argued that fintech firms receive a competitive advantage and create an attractive space for investors when they comply with regulations. Cryptocurrency companies and those that are an unregistered seller of securities have been hit hard in the US by the Security and Exchange Commission. These fines have diminished confidence in these certain start-ups and created financial loss through settlements and fines. There are concerns that fintech firms are utilising their institutions to harbour illegal assets utilised for criminal activity. While fintech firms have been embraced for their revolutionary growth and modern methods to business in this age of technology, it must be approached with caution due to poor ethical choices being made at times.

Striking the Balance

Countries such as Ireland that rely on a great deal of foreign direct investment must adequately strike the right balance between attracting new business, but also ensuring the system is not abused. Research shows that there is no specific legislation designed to regulate certain services that fall under this broad FinTech category, besides those concerning the Central Bank of Ireland and minimal EU Regulations. Ireland is a lucrative location for start-ups and businesses looking to set up a European hub, as they have more freedom to do so while then receiving this passport into the European market. Diversity in our financial markets reflects this growing desire to explore alternative mechanisms to enhance society. While research is ongoing for the limitations and effects FinTech firms bring to the table, these initiatives are looking primarily to law firms to structure and protect their interests.

A Closer Look

If one narrows the analysis of Fintech into electronic payment companies, the Payment Services Regulation 2018 will apply. This Regulation has effectively created a more level playing field for fintech start-ups to enter the market and develop their technology services further with an overall aim to increase competition for the benefit of consumers. At the moment, it is argued here that the EU is fully embracing these innovative and competitive practices. If one assumes that the market will regulate itself and that the legislature should be more laissez-faire, then more relaxed regulations should be welcomed. While this may be worrisome to those that appreciate the traditional style of banking and finance, this is ultimately a positive step, as time and time again, traditional banking models and financial institutions of the past have failed multiple sectors leading to dire losses.

Has the Balance Been Struck?

The right balance must be struck in order to protect investors, but also to facilitate this necessary development. The Central Bank of Ireland is conscious that there is a lack of legislation specific to Fintech entities, and that it has assumed the role as the main regulator where able. This leaves investors and innovators in a precarious spot. In one regard, there is little law guiding their activities, but in turn, this allows them to receive the freedom necessary to develop and surpass imaginable limits on their ventures. While the Payments Services Regulation may increase accountability and reporting, this may not be enough to accurately analyse how these institutions are operating.

What Next?

The embrace of the change in the financial markets may be a positive step, and a mechanism that may prevent future economic crashes and downturns as new perspectives and ways of managing the financial sector are introduced. Consumers must be wary for that this partially unregulated ecosystem may produce detrimental effects that hindsight may prove useful.

Demi’s Basic Business Questions: What is Commercial Awareness?

This week instead of looking to myself for the answer to your questions, I looked to you for the answer to the meaning of Commercial Awareness. Commercial awareness is a phrase I’ve been seeing lately all over commercial law applications and all over financial and professional services sectors too. My idea of commercial awareness has always been wishy-washy and recently I’ve wanted to gain a more succinct definition.

To achieve my objective, I asked a few students from Trinity and UCD how they would define commercial awareness. 

I spoke to students from business backgrounds who gave exhaustive responses:

 “Being cognisant of the way businesses operate and affect our lives and how we affect businesses” (1st Year BESS), 

“..being able to tack together different current affair stories and making real sense of them for your industry,” (2nd Year Law and Business)

“..understanding the external environment that impacts the specific industry, i.e the Political. Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors (PESTLE)..” (1st Year Global Business)

I also spoke to law students like myself, who kept things short and simple:

“..an understanding of how businesses work”

“Knowledge of a business or company, which is important if you want to get recruited by that company!”

I spoke to older students whose responses were.. interesting, to say the least:

“It means being aware, commercially of course.” (3rd Year Biomedical Sciences)

“Being able to tell the difference between all the ads or commercials on TV” (3rd Year Children’s and General Nursing)

Not only was I able to get student insight, I was able to get some industry perspective on commercial awareness too. My application for Legal Cheek’s Commercial Awareness Question Time with Matheson, Barbri, Pinsent Masons and Arthur Cox was successful so I was invited to attend the event at the Law Society.

The Commercial Awareness Question Time taught me the wide range of issues that commercial awareness encompasses. It ranges from having an in-depth knowledge of what the implications of Brexit are on the legal sector to knowing that a company is a brand that has to sell and distinguish itself from competitors. 

Nearing the end of my search for “commercial awareness”, I’ve come to the realization that commercial awareness is as broad or as succinct a definition as we want it to be. It really is as simple as taking a little time out of your week to become “..aware, commercially of course” by following some financial institutions, newspapers or even keeping up with my Basic Business Questions.

If you have any more Basic Business Questions you are interested in me tackling, please do not hesitate to email me at dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade

A Long Road Ahead? Here’s what happened when the 33rd Dáil Convened Today

  • This afternoon the 33rd Dáil convened for the first time, with 48 newly elected and 112 returning TDs.
  • No leader secured the required number of votes to become Taoiseach today, and there are differing arguments as to how long talks on the formation of a new government will last.
  • Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ó Fearghaíl beat independent Denis Naughten and was re-elected as Ceann Comhairle, meaning Fianna Fáil’s seats are now on a level with those of Sinn Féin at 37.

Today the 33rd Dáil convened with the agenda of electing the Ceann Comhairle and seeing through the Taoiseach nomination process, which entails a vote among all TDs on candidates put forward for Taoiseach.

None of the four leaders that were nominated to become Taoiseach – Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin, Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil, Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael or Eamon Ryan of the Green Party – conjured up the 80 votes required to win. This is due to the lack of success thus far in inter-party discussions to form a coalition or come to any sort of agreement on how the next government should look following the general election on February 8th, which returned no clear majority. The results of the nomination process instead simply give an indication of the level of support for the main parties’ respective candidates among TDs.

Leo Varadkar received 36 votes in favour of his becoming Taoiseach, Micheál Martin received 41 votes, Mary Lou McDonald received 45 votes and Eamon Ryan received 12 votes. With none hitting the 80 vote threshold, the Dáil will now be suspended and Leo Varadkar will remain as a caretaker Taoiseach.

Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald benefitted from the support of 5 Solidarity People Before Profit TDs and a handful of left-leaning independents. The Social Democrats chose to abstain from voting for any candidate for Taoiseach, criticizing the process as a “popularity contest”, which is a dent to Mary Lou McDonald’s numbers as she would have been hoping to secure the support of all smaller left-leaning parties. However her party will surely be buoyed by today’s result as they enter into the coming negotiations, however long they may last.

In the election for Ceann Comhairle, Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ó Fearghaíl beat independent Denis Naughten and was re-elected, meaning Fianna Fáil’s seats are on a level with those of Sinn Féin at 37. Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath stated that he believes the loss of the seat will have little impact on their ability to play a key role in the formation of a government.

Fine Gael, with their 35 seats, appear intent on leading the opposition in the next government, with TD Richard Bruton suggesting that such an outcome would present an opportunity for the party to reflect on their weaknesses. TD Simon Harris reiterated his party’s position of ruling out any potential coalition with Sinn Féin, and stated that the impetus to form a government was on “the party that has won the most votes – Sinn Féin – and the party that won the most seats – Fianna Fáil.” Leo Varadkar, however, has not ruled out the prospect of his party forming an alliance with Fianna Fáil.

Micheál Martin believes that talks in relation to the formation of a new government could last up to two months, which has recent precedent given the 70 day wait for the formation of a new government in 2016. Fellow Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath is more optimistic and suggests it is more a matter of weeks. Fianna Fáil maintain that they have ruled out a coalition government with Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin, however, suggest they are open to negotiating with all parties.

Meetings between party leaders will intensify in the coming days as the Dáil is suspended and discussions on how to form a government begin in earnest. There remain numerous possibilities on the outcome of such talks. There may be a minority government made up of left-leaning parties led by Sinn Féin, a minority Fianna Fáil and Green Party coalition bolstered by a confidence-and-supply agreement with Fine Gael, or perhaps a Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael alliance. It’ll be a long road of debate and compromise and intra-party bickering. And if discussions end up fruitless, we may be headed for another general election.

What Is the Circular Economy and Why Should We Care?

The world’s population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion in 2050, according to the United Nations. Yet, the earth’s resources are not limitless. Basic economic principles tell us that more demand, without a simultaneous increase in supply, results in higher prices. While this economic model of price determination is pretty straightforward, it highlights a pressing problem that humanity faces: the scarcity of resources. Our current economy is largely linear – we collect raw materials (take), turn those materials into products (make), use the products (consume), and discard them as waste when we do not need them anymore (dispose). This take-make-consume-dispose approach however is not sustainable.

The Solution

The circular economy is a systemic approach with the aim to eliminate waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems, according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation. There are several components to a circular economy that make our economic system more sustainable:

  • Maintain, prolong and share: By making products more durable though design, maintenance and repair, and by making products accessible to other users, the need for creating entirely new products that require resource input can be removed.
  • Reuse and redistribute: Certain materials and products, especially technical ones, can be reused multiple times or redistributed to new users. Sometimes, there may be a need to slightly change or enhance a product or material, but online marketplaces like eBay showcase that this is viable and already being done.
  • Remanufacture and refurbish: Both approaches refer to the restoration of the value of products. When a product is remanufactured, it is dissembled and rebuilt, with certain components being replaced when necessary. This results in an as-new condition of the product with the same warranty as an entirely new product. Refurbishment on the other hand refers to a cosmetic process where a product is repaired as much as possible but usually without dissembling it or replacing components.
  • Recycle: Recycling is an already well-known process where a product is reduced to its basic material level that can be used to manufacture new products. However, recycling is a lower-value process compared to the previously mentioned processes. This is because recycling results in a loss of embedded labour and energy, the costs of remaking products entirely are higher, and recycling inevitably results in material losses.
  • Cascades: The Ellen McArthur Foundation describes the cascades process as “[…] putting used materials and components into different uses and extracting, over time, stored energy and material order”. This is done until the material is ultimately returned to the natural environment as nutrients. An example of this, according to the foundation, is a pair of cotton jeans that first is turned into furniture stuffing, then into insulation material, and ultimately returned to the soil as nutrients after being anaerobically digested.

The circular economy promises many benefits for the environment and the whole economy. For example, increasing revenue from circular activities and more productive utilisation of resources may result in overall economic growth. There is also the possibility of job creation across industrial sectors and SMEs, and through increased innovation and entrepreneurship. The environment may benefit from lower carbon dioxide emissions, a reduction of primary material consumption, higher land productivity and enhanced soil health due to more nutritious fertilisers from natural sources rather than chemical ones.

Also, businesses and individuals can benefit from the circular economy. By lowering the cost of remanufacturing and introducing new revenue streams, companies can increase their profits. Also, by using more recycled inputs, a company can reduce the risk of volatile raw material prices. Moreover, the circular economy demands new business services, such as supply chain logistics to support the reintroduction of end-to-end products into the system, and new sales platforms to facilitate longer product use or higher product utilisation.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation even suggests that a circular economy could result in a €3000 increased disposable income per EU household by 2030. Also, a circular economy could result in products that are better tailored to customer needs, resulting in more choice and higher perceived quality. Moreover, longer-lasting products would increase the convenience for customers since hassles with repairs and returns could be avoided. By introducing a circular economy in the food value chain, healthcare costs could be lowered that are related to pesticide use. Additionally, lower air pollution, lower water contamination, lower antimicrobial resistance and lower foodborne diseases, achieved by a circular economy in the food sector, could save up to 290,000 lives by 2050 that would otherwise be lost due to outdoor air pollution.

The Future

Currently, only 9% of the world economy is circular, according to the Circularity Gap Report 2019. However, the scarcity of resources makes a transition towards a circular economy all the more pressing, especially with a growing global population and other related issues like climate change. Major global brands (e.g. BlackRock, Google, 3M, Heineken, IKEA, McDonald’s, Apple and Microsoft), universities (e.g. UCL, Arizona State University and TU Delft), cities (e.g. Brussels, Milano and Toronto) and governmental bodies (e.g. the Danish Business Authority, the Scottish Government and the Republic of Slovenia) have already opted to learn, share knowledge and put ideas with regards to the Circular Economy into practice by joining the CE100 Network. The circular economy creates exciting opportunities for companies, organisations, the public sector and entrepreneurs alike, and it is likely that we will see a variety of innovative circular economy initiatives on both local and global scale in the not-so-distant future.

Demi’s Basic Business Questions: What is Corporation Tax?

We often see headlines about Ireland’s low corporation tax – some are critical, others ecstatic about it. A pretty common question people have is what exactly is corporation tax, and how does the tax big corporations like Google and Facebook pay affect someone like me, the average college student. The aim of the following article is to give a bite-sized introduction to corporation tax and give some guidance on whether it is to be loved or hated.

Firstly, a definition. Corporation tax is the tax companies pay in countries they are resident in on the profit they earn from their business. In Ireland, the tax is at 12.5%, significantly lower than other countries. The average corporation tax rate in Europe is 25.3%, for example. 

Similarly to when we looked at why it is not feasible to print more money in order to combat financial crises, we are brought back to one of the fundamentals of economics – the law of demand. Generally, when something costs more money, less people want it. When something costs less, more people want it. Pretty reasonable, right?

The law of demand can easily be applied to our low corporation tax scenario. If it costs less money to make profits in Ireland (due to the low corporation tax), more corporations will want to set up here. It is argued that this is a positive phenomenon as it leads to Ireland becoming an international hub for multinational companies. Where there are increased companies, there are increased jobs. This reduces the number of skilled young people, university graduates etc. emigrating in search of work. Increased employment boosts the Irish economy and is often something to smile about. 

However, on the other side of the coin, those who are against our competitively low corporation tax level make strong arguments. They point to the profits that corporations such as Twitter and Facebook make and suggest better use for those profits, such as contributing to social welfare schemes. It is also argued that we are putting ourselves at an advantage at the expense of fellow European countries. The discrepancy between corporation tax rates is so high that it is a significant challenge for them to compete. This can be seen as unethical. 

There are numerous points to be made on either side of the debate but it is up to you decide where your opinions lie. 

If you have any more Basic Business Questions you are interested in me tackling, please do not hesitate to email me at dadenira@tcd.ie

Yours in Learning,

Demilade

Meat Substitutes Are on the Rise, but What Does This Mean for the Meat Market?

Every day, more and more people are abandoning meat as part of their diet in favour of plant-based meat substitutes. The movement towards meat substitutes has been spearheaded to the mainstream by Millennials and Generation Zers as a statement against animal cruelty, an acknowledgement of newfound evidence linking meat products to certain cancers, and the harmful impact the production of meat (particularly beef) has on the environment. While the movement grows in popularity by the day, the business world carefully observes how the meat market is projected to develop.

Markets and Markets projects the meat substitutes market to grow from US$4.6 billion in 2018 to $6.4 billion by 2023. With billions of potential revenue still up in the air for the next few years, companies are flocking to fill in the gap in the meat substitutes market.

Startups specialising in the production of plant-based substitutes have seized the market opportunity presented to them. Beyond Meat, a publicly-traded meat substitute producer based in the United States, currently has a market capitalisation of over US$6 billion. The company became one of the most successful companies that went public in 2019. Although its valuation has decreased since a massive peak in the summer, Beyond Meat is poised to be a leader in the growing market. Its success demonstrates the massive potential in the meat substitutes market.

After Beyond Meat’s prosperous year, other producers of meat substitutes have been under pressure to separate themselves from the pack in the meat substitutes market. Impossible Foods is a popular producer of meat substitutes that is not (yet) public. One of their notable moves was their partnership with Burger King, who rolled out the Impossible Whopper near the end of 2019. Considering how well-marketed the Impossible Whopper was leading up to its release, the massive success of Beyond Meat since its initial public offering (IPO) may have compelled Impossible Foods to make a move that would increase their own publicity.

However, it is not just newcomers who are seizing opportunity in the market for meat substitutes. Massive meat producers have begun to produce their own plant-based meat substitutes. Such a strategy is a recognition that plant-based substitutes are no longer a niche component of the meat market. If the world’s established meat producers want to continue their dominance in the market, creating plant-based substitutes appears to be a must.

As the market for meat substitutes grows, the competition between startups and established companies will generally lead to one side triumphing over the other. In an age where globalisation is more of the standard than the exception, the large meat companies are advantaged by having the means to creating a globalised network for producing and distributing their products. However, public perception heavily favours the startups over the established companies. The growing awareness around the treatment of animals by meat companies has accelerated the growth of the plant-based diet movement. Ethically conscious consumers will resist buying plant-based products from the very companies that compelled them to abandon their meat-eating ways in the first place. Also, unlike the large meat companies, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are dedicated to sustainability and have embraced environmentalism as a core value. While the startups have broadcasted a clear mission as a part of their penetration into the market for meat substitutes, the large meat companies are simply reacting to demand without any substantive value at the core of their change in strategy. As the value-oriented Millennial and Generation Z consumers incorporate a larger and larger portion of the global consumer base, the dedicated actions of Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods should prove to outlast the reactionary actions of the large meat companies.

Considering that the plant-based startups seem poised for massive growth, the plant-based movement is officially here to stay. The value-driven approach of the startups will propel them into dominance of the meat substitutes market. Rumours of Impossible Foods going public after the success of Beyond Meat shows that investors are willing to engage in the meat substitutes market and also trust the startups to dominate the market in the future over the established meat producers. The sudden growth of both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods also indicates just how much social movements can dictate the actions of businesses. Both companies’ focus on the environmental benefits of eating plant-based has resonated with younger consumers and has developed an appreciation of both companies’ efforts. By the day, consumers care more and more about what a company stands for rather than just what it sells, and the rise of plant-based producers and their disruption of the meat market is a practical example of just that.

The Globalisation of Sports Competitions

What is globalisation?

To begin, what exactly is globalisation? It is a commonly used term but it is worth noting that it also delves into other disciplines, not just business. When asked, different individuals give equally different interpretations of their definitions. Taking it from the business point of view, we can consider it to be the concept of treating the world as a single, integrated marketplace. However, if we asked an economist, they could say globalisation is more or less an expansion of global trade. In contrast, a sociologist might interpret globalisation as the sociocultural changes which stem from the international migration of both people and information. A political scientist could potentially define globalisation as the integration of laws which govern the interaction of states and global institutions. Given these differences in the definition of globalisation across different disciplines, understanding if sports have become truly globalised is not an easy task. 

Background

Without a doubt, international sports competitions have a long history. The first international sports match was a cricket match between the U.S.A. and Canada in 1844. The first international sports competition was the first modern Summer Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. However, its origins date back to Ancient Greece. The ancient Olympics do not count as international though because only men from Ancient Greek city-states and kingdoms were allowed to compete. It is worth noting that many early examples of international sports competitions took place in generally wealthier European or American countries and cities. Keeping the Summer Olympic Games example, it can also be observed that the subsequent seven editions took place in other European cities with the exception of the 1904 St. Louis Olympics in the U.S.A.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in hosting rights to international sporting events. This can be observed through the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2018 Winter Olympic Games and 2019 Rugby World Cup. 

All of these events had one thing in common – they were the first of their kind to be hosted in their respective countries and/or continents. The 2010 FIFA World Cup was the first to take place in the African continent. That summer, South Africa hosted 32 international teams and their fans. Last year, Japan became the first Asian country to host a Rugby Union World Cup. They hosted 20 international teams and their supporters over the September-November period. PyeongChang also became the first South Korean city to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2018. Hence, we can clearly see the more recent globalised trend in the hosting rights of large sports competitions.

Advantages

Naturally, we expect a diversification in host nations to possess a myriad of benefits, and they do, of course. Usually, these large-scale sports competitions take place in equally large cities. Hosting such a popular event and experiencing a large influx of foreign tourists can have a significantly positive impact on the host nation’s economy. During their stay, visitors pay to be spectators at the event but also stay in local accommodation and cover their necessary daily expenses. A Deloitte report estimates that Rugby World Cup visitors alone can directly contribute between £200-810m GBP into the host nation’s economy. Large companies, especially in the hospitality industry, certainly benefit but local, small and family-run businesses also benefit from such a large inflow of tourists. 

FIFA reports that during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, 3.4 million foreign tourists visited all eleven host cities. That is a remarkably large number, without counting the number of tourists that went to less than the eleven Russian host cities and the 3.4 million Russian fans who travelled to all eleven host cities as well. Another benefit would also be the increased cultural awareness and cohesion that is fostered at these types of events as locals get to meet other foreign visitors and vice versa. In this aspect, sport really does become more globalised both in a sociological aspect but also commercially as event tickets are sold to people from all over the world. Taking the example of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, SportsPro reported that the final between England and South Africa saw a record attendance of 70,103. Official ticket prices sold for maximum 100,000 Japanese Yen which is roughly $900 USD, without counting resold tickets. Two Category A tickets even sold for an estimated $31,700 USD on a ticket reselling website.

Host nations can also potentially exploit a boost in their international rankings, if they defy expectations and perform above what was expected of them. Japan, as host nation of last year’s Rugby World Cup is a great example of this. Japan has qualified for every edition of the tournament since 1987 but did not experience great success. In all of the editions before 2019, they were always knocked out of the competition at the pool stage. Japan’s ranking in rugby union increased slightly after the competition. They went from ninth to eighth best in the world. A relatively successful host nation who surprises their fellow competitors can inspire other countries as well. Why? Seeing another country with little experience in both hosting large sports events and competing at the highest level in the chosen sport could potentially encourage another country with a similar background to want to host the next edition. An unexpected but successful host nation could lead to a large surge in popularity in the particular sport, as seen by the large surge in Japanese rugby fans after seeing their country’s success. 

Disadvantages

However, there are downsides to allowing countries with little hosting experience to organise a huge, international sports competition. Such large sports competitions are often surrounded by equally large scandals or money mismanagement accusations. Brazil, hosts of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, were surrounded by scandals regarding the two competitions. The Brazilian government was lambasted by both national and international media for abandoning the infrastructure they built exclusively for both events. Last year, Business Insider remarked that Brazil spent $3 billion USD in building new stadiums for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. One particular stadium, the Arena da Amazonia in Manaus, cost the Brazilian government between $220-300 million USD, as well as the lives of three workers who died during construction. This stadium now sits on an abandoned and derelict site. In 2017, Business Insider again reported that the Olympic Village apartments built for the 2016 Rio Olympics (and worth $700 million USD) were abandoned. They were meant to be turned into luxury condos and sold after the Olympics but only 7% were actually sold. This of course, further infuriated locals. 

The next edition of the FIFA World Cup is due to take place in Qatar in 2022 although that has already been met with fierce criticism of the alleged human rights violations of migrant workers working on Qatari stadiums. Amnesty International estimates that there are 1.7 million migrant workers in Qatar. They are allegedly paid less than what the recruitment agency in their native countries promised them and have had their passports confiscated so they cannot go back to their respective countries. These examples reflect a failure in achieving globalisation from the political science perspective as regulations in these countries are not as fiercely imposed such as the ones in Europe for example. Experienced European host nations are usually not met with such large scandals as they have a more accomplished background in organising such large-scale competitions. 

To conclude, these statements raise the question of whether inexperienced countries should be trusted with such a large responsibility or not. The attempt to globalise sport by reaching other audiences is predominantly welcomed worldwide but certain failures in previous competitions undermine the potential success of the concept of globalised sport. Can inexperienced countries provide the necessary infrastructure such as enough public transport routes and accommodation to withstand the very large volumes of incoming spectators? For the most part, this is usually achieved but unethical abandonment of this infrastructure once the competition is over is unfortunately often a recurring event. These are complex questions which have led to numerous debates on the matter and varying opinions which are of course, a product of personal interpretation. However, one thing is certain, the increase in the diversification of hosting rights of international sports competitions has undoubtedly started. The real question is whether it will continue or not.

“The Power of Diversity”: 3 Takeaways from the SMF’s Leadership Perspective Series

Last night was the concluding conference of this years Leadership Perspective Series, organised by Trinity’s own Student Managed Fund, the first of its kind in Europe. The speakers invited to this conference were, for a lack of a different expression, very diverse. Declan Curry, a Northern Irish journalist, moderated the discussion between panelists Heather Melville (Director and Head of Client Experience for PwC UK), Brian O’Sullivan (CEO of Fulfil Nutrition), Cecil Martin (Sky Sports Broadcaster, Motivational Speaker and Former NFL Fullback) and Amanda Pullinger (CEO of 100 Women in Finance). Between the many questions asked by audience members and the former NFL player Cecil Martin asking everyone to stand up and stretch, the conference was an incredibly insightful experience into how leaders look at diversity and how they have been affected by it.

1. Diversity of Thought

This was probably the most talked about topic of the night. Each speaker offered a unique perspective into what they believed was the most vital type of diversity: thought. Overall, the panelists agreed that diversity of thought implies the breaking of the fundamental barrier of following the easiest path and rejecting challenges to one’s own ideas. O’Sullivan mentioned that at the start of his time with Fulfil Nutrition, he noticed the company had, unlike industry giants with very rigid structures, a culture that incentivised openness to learning and challenging ideas, which in turn led to the creation of an extremely diverse team. Cecil Martin also added to this in that his recommendation was to ‘strengthen as many “muscles” as you can’, in the sense that one should be involved in as many things outside their own skillset as possible. In other words, in order to grow as a leader within business, one needs to grow in other areas which will then feed unique ideas into an organisation. Pullinger approached this idea by accepting that as leaders, business people need to acknowledge the fact they don’t know everything, and that for a team to be successful, being diverse in terms of age, gender and specially ethnicity is essential, as research has already shown.

2. The Power of Visibility

During the discussion, it was stressed how important it is to have role models, who give visibility to minorities across a range of senior positions. Melville mentioned how not being able to see people like yourself in these positions makes it almost impossible to see yourself up there, and that the path you would need to take is practically invisible. Organisations should be, in theory, fishing in diverse talent pools for new positions but directorial boards of most large corporations still tell a story of inequality that is becoming less and less antiquated as new generations enter the workforce demanding diversity as a basic pillar of organisational culture. Pullinger’s 100 Women in Finance launched an initiative to put some of the world’s very few fund managers, who make up for an alarmingly small proportion of total fund managers across the world (around 7% and numbers haven’t changed much for 30 years), in the frontline of the media, in their website and even supporting a handful of these fund managers to pitch at American news channels. Pullinger said that the results were clear from the get-go: the women brought diversity to these panels on television, and with that came new ideas and discussions. Being exposed to the general public allows these women to become role-models, and inspire a younger generation of soon-to-be female leaders.

3. Authenticity

Another recurring theme throughout the night was authenticity. The panelists agreed that believing in oneself and being confident in the skills one acquired during college and with extracurricular activities are what can set apart a successful candidate when it comes to job hunting. The best talent comes in the form of diverse candidates that have been able to gather skills in a wide range of specialties, which makes them able to reach a level of problem solving that will be hard to replace with AI. Furthermore, Melville commented that knowing one’s self-worth is extremely important as you rise through the ranks of the organisation. It’s important to be grateful , she says, but it’s even more important to know that you’ve worked hard and that you deserve to be where you are and that it was your skills and competence that are leading you through the corporate ladder. This becomes especially relevant when the discussion turns to diversity policies and quotas that may not necessarily pick candidates based on their skills, but rather as a tool for image improvement.

Finally, it appears that organisations have realised that diversity is something that has to be rooted in their cultures for them to remain relevant for the generations to come, which will continue to demand more diversity at the bottom as well as at the highest ranks. Without this diversity, any company will face the risk of becoming obsolete and inefficient when compared to those who have truly embraced it. These will be the companies that will head into the future with an enormous advantage, as their leaders finally begin to realise the power of diversity.

Use criticism to develop yourself!

By Neha Verma

At some point in life, we all face criticism personally or professionally. Criticism doesn’t come easy and at times it is difficult to acknowledge the same. We often get bogged down by the criticism so much that we ignore what we can actually learn from it. So instead of retaliating or being defensive; pause for a while think critically and then respond – though easy said than done.

I am amongst those who would become extremely uncomfortable when criticized. My initial reactions were driven emotionally. I would carry the distress caused by criticism throughout the day and affect my work. Over the time, I realized that we don’t have control over others; how they judge and form an opinion about us, but we can definitely learn to respond in a better way and display our maturity.

If you are going through difficult time combating criticism, I have listed a few suggestions to face criticism bravely:

  • Criticism opens a whole new perspective which you might not have thought of. Life is a process of continuous learning and we learn best from our flaws.
  • When you accept criticism, you show humility towards the fact that you are ready to acknowledge your own weaknesses.
  • Criticism helps enhance your emotional quotient. You learn to listen.
  • Criticism makes you strong; you will learn to tackle difficult situations and people.
  • Criticism enhances your problem-solving skill and makes you a rational thinker.
  • Learn to let go unconstructive criticism, do not dwell on it for a long time and create a stressful environment for yourself.

We are often scared of being judged and are obsessed with the thought of what other people think of us. Most of the time, we receive unsolicited criticism/feedback and we tend to misinterpret the intention behind it. Criticism challenges our disposition and to maintain a calm demeanor becomes relatively difficult. But, remember you are being critiqued because you created something. So, next time when you are criticized, remember you and your work are being noticed. Don’t let opinion of others stop you from doing what you believe in.

Training is an investment, not an expense!

By Neha Verma

Training is an integral part of any organization; it equips the employees with skills required to perform the job. Every organization invests in training their employees that are responsible for giving results. Most organizations/businesses consider training as an expense when it is actually an investment.

There are numerous reasons to invest in training, like; improved quality or in other words reduction in errors or defects, enhanced productivity, increased motivation, helps in retaining the talent pool, capacity building, groom the leaders, etc. Training helps in building capacity within an organization and investing in people is vital as this is the workforce which can bring excellent profits to your business.

In the times of economic crisis, organization often control its budget by cutting down on non-core or non-billable activities, and unfortunately training is one of such activities – if not cancelled completely. However, training can help both employees and organizations in such challenging situations. With the advancement of technology and globalization, there are various methods to reduce the cost of training whilst maintain its effectiveness. Virtual classes, use of instructional system designs, video conferencing and other technological improvements have helped revamp the training making it cost effective. In this era of globalization, where organizations are spread across the globe, such advancement in training delivery techniques are highly cost effective and have reduced the need of face to face training.

Training should be designed to focus on immediate business need and to cater the various talent pool bespoke training or curriculum is the preferred way of keeping at pace with the organizational changes and needs. Training should be pragmatic in approach and directly applicable to day to day activities which will help organizations to measure ROI. An efficiently trained staff with improved skill set will have high productivity and quality, efficient at their job whilst feeling recognized and valued by management.

As leaders and managers, you are responsible for the success of your organization, and developing your people to increases your chance of success. For any organization, people are one of the biggest investments and they should not be left to rust.

Meet the team behind EiSHT – a start-up strengthening young people’s soft skills

EiSHT is a social enterprise created by a team of management professionals and avid volunteers who together possess years of experience in recruiting, training and developing young people. Caroline O’Connor initially came up with the idea in January en route back from an event with Naas No Name! Club.  What began as a means of helping young people achieve their goals in getting their first summer jobs has evolved and adapted to what the market seeks.  It has become a programme to help arm young people with the skills, competence and self-awareness required to adapt to the rapidly evolving workplace.  “We want you to have the skills, confidence and competency to be the High Potential Leaders of the future and to realise your superpowers”. 

EiSHT was born – Emotionally intelligent, Skilled, Happy Teens – from paying attention to the recurring concerns of teenagers and young adults under 25 and of recruiters, trainers and managers of under 25s.

What sets this programme apart is that it is founded on the core pillars of employability, professionalism, self-awareness, gratitude and social citizenship.  It focusses on soft skills, which are not part of the second level curriculum, to build resilience and adaptability going into third level and beyond.  It will be delivered through a combination of self-organised learning on their online platform, psychometrics, workshops, and coaching.  “Where we are in the 4th industrial revolution, this programme will help to secure the options and opportunities for young people in the humanisation of work”.

Caroline O’Connor was elevated to the Short Term Enterprise Allowance in the summer.  Intreo supported her completion of that programme and enabled her to come to Trinity via Springboard to join Tangent on the PgC in Creative Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  “It’s been an avalanche of progress and proved that once you make the first terrifyingly challenging decision, everything else starts to fall into place and so many doors have opened”.  Caroline, mother of two, has over 20 years’ experience in hospitality and FMCG.  She has been involved with No Name! Club since senior secondary school and has run the Naas club for the past four years. 

The organisation works with TY to 6th year students on a programme of social confidence without peer pressure of alcohol and other drugs.  Conor Dalgarno is the web designer, developer and technical genius behind EiSHT.  One of the first .IE registrars, Conor works with start-ups consistently through this ownership of Silkweb Group.  Aside from being a classic car owner and enthusiast, he is the voluntary director of youth rugby with Navan RFC.  Aoife Sheehy is their coach, mentor and psychometrics whiz from their partners in Thomas International.  Aoife was on the UCC Ignite Incubator with her previous employer and is fellow volunteer of No Name! Club.  Caroline brought the team together with their shared core drive to make a social imprint and improve opportunities for young people.

Partnerships with Thomas International, Dulann.com, Silkweb Group and John Murray Headshots have propelled this idea into a fully supported, scalable solution.  The team is charging on, with help from the TES team & Incubator, the Tangent team and others.  The next stage includes rolling out further trials in second level education and development of the web platform.  The whole programme is scalable and can be exported – the key for the team is to continue to prototype and reiterate each stage of the process to its customers. Results from trials have so far proved that the team is set to make EiSHT a social success. 

“We have a deal!” But where to next?

Just as fears of a no-deal Brexit were reaching their peak, news came from Brussels yesterday that a deal is finally reached.

Last Thursday Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the UK, had a semi-formal meeting with Leo Varadkar in the Thornton Manor. Although no one really expected this would lead to any kind of breakthrough, the results were rather surprising. When the two came out of the private meeting room with a smile, declaring that they see “a pathway to a deal”, the exchange rate of pound sterling gained more than 2% against the US dollar on that very day. One week later, the EU passed the new Brexit deal.

Yesterday was definitely a day to remember in both the UK and the EU’s history, but after the cheerful moment, we need to stop and think about what could happen next, and what the implications are.

Firstly, the deal is not final. It did pass a difficult hurdle – coming to an agreement with the EU. However, the hard journey through the British parliament has just begun. Boris Johnson has two days to seek allies before the unusual “Super Saturday” session in the House of Commons. Although Boris believes the deal is of the best interest for both parties and is quite confident about the results of the voting, analysts hold different opinions. Sporting Index, a lottery company who successfully predicted the results of previous Brexit votes, have sent out an email estimating the “Yes” vote would be 313 while Boris needs 320 to pass the deal in the British parliament.

In one scenario, the deal will be passed in the British Parliament this Saturday. This will mean no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the rights of EU citizens in the UK will be protected (as will those of UK citizens living in the EU). The UK will leave the customs union as a whole, while Northern Ireland will still remain an “entry point”. For most of us life will remain the same, except we might notice that grocery shopping seems a bit more expensive. Establishing the UK to EU “entry point” on the island is set to make Ireland more of a focus area between the two, which will give rise to both opportunities and challenges. Dublin had already seen big names such as Travelers Insurance Company moving its European business to Ireland to avoid risks associated with Brexit. If the deal is passed and Brexit is official, more London-based international companies will start seeking new bases in the EU, and Ireland is no doubt one of the most appealing options.

If the deal is not passed by the House of Commons, the Benn Act will require the PM to seek an extension of the Brexit date from the EU. For businesses in the UK, this will amount to another period of uncertainty and continuous economic stagnation. For the past three years, uncertainty has caused numerous British companies and investors to suffer, and has seen the bankruptcy of long-standing companies such as Thomas Cook. The Benn Act may appear to be inconsequential for the EU from a political perspective – or even beneficial. However, given the significance of the UK in the global market, the ramifications of further uncertainty for businesses operating there may result in harm for industry in the EU.

Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace

By Andrés Soto Ramos

Key Points:

  • Importance of diversity in the workplace
  • Diversity and inclusion?
  • Healthier organisational climate:
  • Prevents knowledge inbreeding
  • Enhances employee engagement
  • Encourages open communication

Enough has been said about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In the digital era that we live in, organizations are under heavy scrutiny of society and can face severe brand image damages if they are caught not following inclusive practices.

We can see an example of this in how U.S. companies have been quick to dismiss any situation in which racial profiling or any kind of abuse to minorities has taken place in their establishments, that are often resulting in the termination of the employee that caused the issue. But business should not advocate for inclusiveness only because it is what our society expect, they should also consider the positive impact in the bottom line of fostering diversity and inclusion within their organisations.

What exactly is diversity and inclusion? These two words are often (wrongly) used as synonyms in advertising or company communications, but it is important to remember that they do not have the same meaning. Instead of going into the dictionary definition of each, we can explain these with a simple metaphor that has proven useful to clarify this subject in corporate environments; diversity means that everyone is invited to the party, and inclusion means that everyone will also be invited to dance. Therefore, diversity an inclusion (D&I) in the workplace translates to building a talent pool of individuals from different background, gender, age, creed, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, languages, education, etc; and to nurture an environment in which everyone feels safety in sharing their opinions and that allows them to have access to the same growth opportunities.

While this feels again as an overly romanticised definition that companies can use as a sales pitch, organisations that adopt D&I practices are bound to reap on a wider and more valuable set of benefits that come from a healthier organisational climate:

Prevents knowledge inbreeding

Just as the organisms in an ecosystem have higher disposition to a set of diseases when they share a common gene-pool, organisations that hire and promote individuals from similar backgrounds to management positions are prone to adopt ideas within an identical line of thought, therefore reducing the chance of bad ideas being scrutinised and discussed, and limiting the innovating output.

Enhances employee engagement

Companies around the world invest millions of dollars per year in workshops and teambuilding activities to promote employee satisfaction. But since most modern workers will spend at least a third of their day in their workplaces. Satisfaction and engagement can be also improved by fostering a safe climate in which different opinions are respected and equally taken into consideration. Individuals will show higher attachment towards organisations that genuinely value their contributions.

Encourages open communication

Companies with a diverse workforce that is empowered to openly communicate and share their opinions are most likely to display efficient conflict resolution within their work groups. As well as better problem-solving techniques due to the flexibility that comes with open-mindedness and respect for others’ opinions. In opposition, individuals that feel threatened or judged will refrain from communicating the issues they perceive in their companies due to the fear of being prosecuted by their peers. Consulting data and reports on diversity and inclusion have consistently proven a strong correlation between better financial performance and the adoption of D&I practices. Individuals and managers must not ignore this evidence and advocate for inclusive companies not just because of the positive advertising that can be generated because of this, or simply to follow what can be considered a trend in modern human resources practices. Building a truly inclusive workplace can become a real competitive advantage for organisations, with a direct impact in their climate and overall company performance.

Saudi Aramco’s impending IPO is set to be the largest in history

  • The oil giant’s mammoth IPO, to be formally announced this Sunday, is set to earn $40 billion for the kingdom.
  • Saudi Arabia is pushing forward after delays caused by international scandals, drone-attacks and fears of an economic downturn.
  • Investment banks are sharing in $450 million in fees paid out by Aramco in exchange for help with the listing, to the dismay of environmental and human rights groups.

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco has been planning its initial public offering (IPO) for about three years. The energy company is the most profitable in the world, making $111 billion last year – more than the top five publicly traded oil companies combined. On Thursday the government is expected to give the official thumbs-up for the IPO to go ahead, and a formal declaration is to take place this Sunday.

The Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s hope is that selling 3% of the shares in Aramco will raise money (estimated at $40 billion) for the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, and the proceeds are going to be used to diversify the Saudi Arabian economy away from an over-reliance on oil. This means it is projected to be the largest IPO ever, with the next highest being Alibaba’s 2014 IPO which raked in $25 billion.

A portion of the oil giant’s shares will be floated on the domestic stock exchange in the capital Riyadh, called the Tadawul, with general plans to pursue a listing on an international exchange at a later date. Why is it that such a lucrative opportunity for the kingdom has taken years to come to fruition?

Intense global backlash related to the murder of the outspoken critic of Saudi Arabia’s government, Jamal Khashoggi, last year almost certainly spooked international investors and resulted in the oil company pushing back its IPO. But more recent crises have heaped uncertainty on the nation’s oil industry specifically.

On September 14, two of Aramco’s largest refineries at Abqaiq and Khurais were attacked by drones, paralysing about half of the nation’s oil production (output plummeted by ~5.7 million barrels per day, which equates to about 5% of global oil production) and destabilising global financial markets. The U.S, a host of European countries and Saudi Arabia itself blamed Iran for the bombings, although the Yemeni Houthis declared themselves responsible.

Aramco states that it has recovered production to pre-drone strike levels, at about 10 million barrels per day. This remains shy of its full capacity of 12 million barrels that it expects to reach by the end of November. While this suggests the oil giant may be resilient in its ability to rebound back to its preferred output, the attacks nonetheless reveal major vulnerabilities in the firm’s infrastructure. Its seeming unpreparedness for threats of this nature no doubt worried potential investors, delaying its IPO.  

On October 7th, one of the Big Three credit rating agencies, Fitch Ratings, downgraded Saudi Aramco’s credit score by a notch given these concerns over security. In addition to all this, at the beginning of this week the price of a barrel of Brent crude measured at less than $60, and this is below the level prior to the drone attack. This signals universal fear among investors of an impending global economic slowdown.

Nonetheless, it’s full steam ahead for Aramco’s entrance to the public market, and in its effort to sweeten the deal for hesitant investors the firm is offering $75 billion in annual dividends. The kingdom is also going to pay between $350-$450 million in fees to professional advisors in exchange for help with selling its shares. This equates to about 1% of the expected proceeds of $40 billion, which is a lower proportion than many engaged in the project were anticipating. For comparison, Alibaba paid $300 million to its pool of investment bankers, coming to about 1.2% of its $25 billion proceeds.

Among those hired to sell Aramco’s shares are ex-Trump national security advisor and partner at Goldman Sachs Dina Powell, and ex- United States congress representative Eric Cantor. According to Bloomberg, “The roster of bankers reads like a who’s who of finance, underscoring the importance of Saudi Arabia a year after the murder of government critic Jamal Khashoggi prompted a brief spell of skittishness over doing business with the country.”

A question hovers over the company’s valuation. The Crown Prince originally desired a valuation of $2 trillion – but this looks to be overly ambitious. A recent Economist report which took the dividend yield as a reliable metric for valuing an energy company found that a valuation of about $1.2 trillion is closer to the mark.

The listing has incited criticism from a swathe of environmental advocacy groups (such as Earthworks and Share Action), discouraging potential investors from financing “the biggest single infusion of capital into the fossil fuel industry” since the passing of the Paris climate agreement in 2016. It has also attracted the ire of human rights watchdogs, who blast Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record in a letter sent to nine international banks associated with Aramco’s IPO (such as JP Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse). The antipathy is only set to escalate following the formal announcement this coming Sunday.

The Network Effect

By Brid O’Donnell

Key Points:

  • Be Brave
  • Prioritize Questions
  • Know when to move on
  • What’s next
  • Execute the follow up

Networking is hard, but necessary to be successful in the business world. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind as you begin your networking journey.

  1. Be Brave

Networking can sometimes feel like a game of luck, at a certain event, you may meet strangers who you can develop into good friends and allies or else you don’t. However, you can increase your luck by putting yourself out there as much as possible. Regularly try something new and be curious. That can be intimidating and challenging, but a good networker is continuously expanding their networks and leaving their silo. Thus you must put yourself in new situations, and you need to be ready to make the first move, a lot.

In the same thread as being brave, be the person who introduces people. Networking is about building mutually beneficial relationships; you must ask yourself what you can give, as opposed to thinking about what you want out of this connection. Often the answer to what you can give the other person is connections to new people as everyone needs a hand at networking. By bringing people together, you not only help other people network, but you are also signalling to those around you that you are a leader and creates a good reputation for yourself.

  • Prioritize questions, not stories

Everyone has stories that they enjoy telling. It is fair to say that you need to know your own story, aka your elevator pitch; the 60-second round-up of who you are, what you do, and why you do it. It’s important to make sure you get exposure and make yourself memorable and interesting. Thus you should prepare your story in advance and be ready to say. However, it should be brief and quick. After you make that introduction, the focus of the conversation should not be on you, but everyone else and the best way to achieve that is by asking questions.

Therefore, along with preparing your own story, you should also have a good list of go-to questions; broad, open-ended questions that help develop the conversation further. They are useful to fall back on when you are jumping into the deep end with someone completely new. However, don’t treat these questions like a checklist. Think of questions on the go, adapting to how the conversation unfolds. This shows that you are an active listener, which is a vital skill in networking.

  • Know when to move on

It often gets overlooked, but at a busy reception, it is easy to get end up in a conversation that has received its full potential; however, you feel too awkward to end the conversation. Don’t be afraid to shake their hands and say “Thank you for your time; It was so nice meeting you” or something similarly polite. You don’t need an excuse like I need to go to the bathroom, you need to acknowledge that you enjoyed the conversation and leave. If you are feeling like the conversation is nearing its natural end, the other person most likely feels the same way and appreciate the chance to start other conversations.

  • Next Steps

Introducing yourself to someone and having a chat isn’t enough to consider them a connection. Even adding them on Facebook or LinkedIn isn’t enough. You need to recall and formalize. I’m forgetful, especially when it comes to exact details, and the best advice I have ever received is to get a contact book or rather a personal CRM. Of course, you should take note of the person’s name, organization, background and contact details but don’t forget the small things. If you spoke about a certain topic or the person has a particular interest, include it. Even the stuff which seems irrelevant, like if someone mentions that they are a fan of Arsenal, remember that. Later on, when you reconnect, your contact will appreciate you remembering the small irrelevant things. There are many CRM apps out there you can use, but a well-designed spreadsheet could also suffice.

  • Execute the Follow-Up

The last step to networking is the follow-up. Emailing or reaching out to a new contact on LinkedIn soon after your first meeting can reenforce your first introduction and creates a new channel of contact. Use this opportunity to thank the person and show your appreciation and delight at meeting them. A specific thank you to someone can create a lot of goodwill and don’t be subtle about it. Finally, remember to keep your word and be thoughtful. If you said you would check something for them, follow through. This shows that you are reliable and quickly builds trust. As for being thoughtful, don’t be shy about sending people articles or clips that you think will interest them. This stage of networking can quickly become relationship-managing, and it can seem slow going, but networking is about continuous efforts that lead to future successes.

If you are interested in developing your networking skills further, Trinity graduate Kingsley Aikins has established The Networking Institute (www.thenetworkinginstitute.com) and has worked with major global corporates in finance, accounting and consultancy as well as governments and non-profit. Visit the website to pick up even more tips and advice on networking!

Luckin Coffee: Legend or failing unicorn?

Luckin Coffee was founded in 2017, yet has already established more than 3000 wholly-owned shops in China. The coffee chain successfully completed its IPO in the US this March, only 18 months after the founding of the company, raising $561 million. You may have never heard the name, but it is quickly becoming a key competitor in the ~$10 billion Chinese Coffee retail industry, and threatens the current leading player, Starbucks.

   To differentiate themselves from Starbucks, Luckin Coffee self-describes as a Coffee-Network or Coffee Technology Corporation. In its prospectus, the word “technology” appears 88 times, followed by the third most used word “network”, which appears 79 times.

Technology is clearly the key to its operations. Luckin states that AI enables them to analyse their customers’ behaviour and select better services and products tailored for each individual based on big data. The Luckin Coffee app also plays a major part in their operations. In fact, all purchases of Luckin Coffee are made through its apps (iOS, Android and Wechat’s built-in-apps), and no cashier can be found in any of its shops.

   As opposed to the company itself, the founder of Luckin is probably more famous. Zhiya Qian, the former COO of CAR (China Auto Rental), is known for leading the “subsidy war” in China’s car rental industry and won a large market share for the company. She strongly believes that her success in the car rental industry can be replicated in the fast-growing Coffee retail industry.

   The inner logic of this marketing model is simple. The initial approach is characterised by the use of large amounts of subsidies to break into an industry, in order to build customer loyalty and seize market share with rapid expansion. Having achieved this, the company makes use of “internet thinking” and reduce subsidies to turn losses into gains when most of the other competitors are no longer competitive. Luckin is still in the first stage, as it is still quickly opening more shops and offering huge discounts such as 81%-offs, and pricing the cost of a cup at around 1 euro to attract customers (while the general price per cup is between €4 and €6). The money burning strategy is no doubt doing its job, but the problem is how long can it last?

   In the financial statements from the prospectus, for the three months ended 1st March 2019, Luckin’s total revenue reached $713 million. However, the net loss is $110 million higher. This financial data is a dangerous signal that the speed of growth of the company might not be able to justify the money they have been burning in a foreseeable period of time. Data shows that if Luckin continues losing money at this rate, the company’s cash flow will be in severe danger and may not survive for another two quarters. This may be one of the reasons driving this start-up to rush to hold an IPO. Despite its financial state, Luckin still holds a positive attitude towards its strategy, claiming they will not slow down the rapid chain growth and will continue subsidising its products.

Last month, reporters found some Luckin Coffee shops have started to sell “convenience store food”. Meanwhile the company updated its business scope, adding clothes, shoes, hats etc to its product line. Is this a sign that Luckin Coffee is transforming into a comprehensive new retail chain to save its cash flow? The answer will be seen in no time.

The Economic Impact of UAV Technology: Regulatory Approvals Paving the way for a Billion Dollar Industry?

While the concept of an unmanned aerial vehicle (hereinafter UAV), also known as a drone, delivering products may seem futuristic it is set to become a reality. Given that, the Irish Aviation Authority (hereinafter IAA) have shown a willingness to support drone airspace. This is hardly surprising when considering that, according to Goldman Sachs, UAV technology is estimated to be worth $100 billion, in market opportunity, to the worlds’ global economy by 2020.

With the fastest area of growth projected to be in the commercial and civil sector. For instance, a study conducted by PwC has suggested that UAV powered business operations could potentially be worth $127 billion. While, UAV technology, which is of military origin, is likely to be as ground-breaking as similar products of military origin, such as the internet and GPS. It is questionable whether its value will be derived from its hardware which has low production costs and is, therefore, unlikely to drive industry growth. Since the technology used in this area can be easily reproduced, growth in this area is likely to be in services that operate and manage drones. For instance, Amazons’ drone delivery service, PrimeAir, which has been described as ‘ground-breaking’.

Although UAV’s have the potential for enormous market opportunity, regulatory approval is needed to start operations and to generate profits. For instance, in the U.S the Federal Aviation Administration (hereinafter FAA) must grant an air carrier certificate before commercial UAV operations can be commenced. Though Wing Aviation became the first U.S company that received FAA approval other companies such as Amazon, and UPS are still awaiting approval. In Ireland, Manna, which aims to facilitate “3-minuet food delivery” using UAV technology, should become a reality by Q1 of 2020. While the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order S.I. 563 of 2015 outlines that UAV registration is mandatory in Ireland for vehicles over 1kg.

It is submitted that since drone airspace is a new concept a more comprehensive framework will be needed. For instance, in April 2019 an Airbus A320 landing in London Gatwick had to swerve to avoid collision with a UAV. However, the IAA has indicated that persons operating drones illegally will be subject to the full rigors of the law. Moreover, in June 2019 the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 & Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 published European rules on UAV’s to ensure that UAV operations across Europe are safe. Given, the novel nature of commercial UAV activity safety has been a paramount concern for regulators. 

Due to economies of scale UAV technology is predicted to play a larger role in our everyday lives. Furthermore, there may be financial incentives for using this technology. For instance, in the construction industry, when lease agreements are in place, the lessor would likely qualify for tax deductions. While data privacy concerns and infringements of General Data Protection Regulations (hereinafter GDPR) have been raised. These concerns may likely be mitigated if commercial UAV’s operate using Lidar, Sonar, and GPS without cameras. The impact of the UAV regulations and whether they will bring harmony and economic growth to this area remains to be seen.

Foreign Language Skill: How it opens up a world of Job Opportunities?

Key Points:

  • English is not enough!
  • Speaking another language makes you stand out from the crowd.
  • Helps to discover new cultures.
  • Helps to meet new people.
  • You develop 4 key skills; listening, reading, speaking and writing.
  • Speaking more than one language increases your brain capacity and causes you to have a better memory.
  • It’s an impressive achievement to speak a foreign language and you’ll have better options for your future!

Today’s world is full of different and very interesting cultures. So why not to use this opportunity and learn something new – a new language. Having this skill, will help you in so many ways:

  • Open up a world of Job Opportunities

In English speaking countries it is important to stand out. You can do it by learning another language.

The world is changing fast. More companies than ever are doing business around the world, but they can’t do it without hiring globally minded people who can speak at least one foreign language. Ever wanted to be like those people you see in the airport travelling to foreign countries “on business” all the time? That can be you.

  • It’s great for traveling

Knowing more than one language opens up your vacation destination possibilities. Traveling to a foreign country becomes much easier if you can speak the language of that country.

Getting to a comfortable speaking level in a foreign language is a great motivator to get you out there – practise!

  • You build multitasking skills

Multilingual people, especially children, are skilled at switching between two systems of speech and writing easily. According to a study from the Pennsylvania State University, this “juggling” skill makes them good multitaskers, because they can easily switch between different structures. (Employers love this one)

Interesting Fact: It is also known that people who spoke more than one language made fewer errors in their driving tests.

  • You stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia

For monolingual adults, the mean age for the first signs of dementia is 71.4. For adults who speak two or more languages, the mean age for those first signs is 75.5. Studies considered factors such as education level, income level, gender, and physical health, but the results were consistent.

  • You become smarter

Learning a second language improves your memory and increases your attention span. The process of becoming bilingual exercises your brain, challenges you to concentrate and boosts your problem-solving skills.

Bilingual students tend to score higher on standardized tests than monolingual students, especially in the areas of vocabulary, reading and math. As you learn to switch from one language to another, you improve your multitasking abilities. Bilingual individuals have also been shown to be more logical and rational, be more perceptive and aware of their surroundings.

  • It boosts your creativity

Researchers are also concluding that multilingual speakers are more creative than monolingual speakers. Learning a foreign language improves not only your ability to solve problems and to think more logically, it also makes you experiment with new words and phrases.

Leveling up your second language skills forces you to reach for alternate words when you can’t quite remember the original one you wanted to use. It improves your skills in divergent thinking, which is the ability to identify multiple solutions to a single problem. This is exactly what kind of people employers are looking for!

  • It builds up your self-confidence

You’re about to teach yourself to believe, “yes, I can.”

Confidence increases when a new skill is mastered, and learning a foreign language is no different. And let’s face it: confident people are more interesting than those who are unsure of themselves. The techniques you use to develop a second tongue result in a greater sense of open-mindedness.

In order to master a new language, conversations with native and fluent speakers are essential. If you’re shy but want to meet new people, using the excuse that you want to practice your speaking skills is a great opener and a doorway to making new friends, expanding your horizons and broadening your life experiences. Plus, who doesn’t want to be more interesting?

  • It aids in self-discovery and self-actualization

It is an interesting outcome, not at all something that you list as your expected result when you embark to learn a new language. But trying to understand a language and the heritage that goes with it will put you in a position of self-discovery. It makes you come to terms with how you view the world and other cultures.

So which language are you starting to learn first?! In Trinity we have a choice from Russian to Spanish, from Polish to Italian and many more. Don’t miss this brilliant opportunity to have something unique along your creative business mind!

How the Internet of Things is Changing Business

John Fink

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a relatively new term used to describe the relationship between modern digital technologies; it is a paradigm under which consumer technologies record data about their usage and operation and share it with relevant devices for certain purposes in a sprawling network of interconnected machines. The power of the Internet of Things is in task automation, by using the data recorded from usage analytics, devices within the IoT can satisfy simply and repetitive tasks with minimal to no human input. It allows for your home thermostat to know when you’ve arrived home based on your phone’s location data, and warm up your house for you; Or it sends you an email when the postman was detected as arriving at your front door through your IoT security camera. The potential for what tasks can be automated, and what quality of life improvements can be developed, are vast in scope.

The market for the Internet of Things is rapidly expanding. Research, development, and marketing of IoT enable devices from major tech developers has seem a massive uptick over the past decade, and it’s slated to grow ever larger, you may be familiar with several AI personal assistants that have become more popular in previous years and are often bumbled with modern smartphones and speakers. As of late 2018, Forbes predicted that world spending on Internet of Things technologies will reach 1.2 trillion in 2022. This growth in popularity and creative application of IoT devices has not only affected consumers but has also changed business in more than a few ways. How businesses interact within themselves, with other businesses, and with customers all have the potential to change with IoT technology, and many already do. Using them, data about internal operations and external interactions can be unified within one interconnected network of devices for easy access and organization. Here are just a few of the ways that the Internet of Things has affected business.

  1. Product Management: Using scanners, cameras, digital ID tags, sensors for pressure/impact/temperature/humidity, and computers to manage them all, buyers and sellers in the IoT world can track not only the location of a shipped or stored product, but the conditions of its storage and handling. Grocers can ensure that perishable food was stored at the correct temperature throughout handling, and a window pane installer can ensure that a tempered glass screen was not dropped at any point while shipping.
  2. Operations Management: By connecting devices to your workflow that measure the frequency of the completion of a task, it can be quantified how productive certain measures are without the need of a human observer. Scanners, switches, and computers that record the use of devices on a worksite can compile their data into an accurate summation of workplace efficiency. In a complimentary light, devices like smart locks, lights, and HVAC systems can help to automate certain simple tasks, increase security, and decrease waste.
  3. Customer Management: Through IoT enabled consumer devices, notably the popular AI personal assistants that are found on smartphones and speakers (Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant), businesses can interact with their customers, and make sales, on a completely unprecedented platform, with an unprecedented amount of ease in making a sale for both buyer and seller. A good example of this is the Domino’s Pizza Alexa skill, by downloading it, you can shout at your Alexa enabled TV or speaker to order your favorite pizza without even requiring you to pick up your phone. This benefits Domino’s in that no employee time (and therefor, company money) is utilized to make the sale.

These are just a few of the ways that IoT devices are changing business. Several modular and bespoke technologies/software have been released recently with the aim of increasing consumer and business interconnectivity with the internet of things. Such devices are the raspberry pi and other popular small computer kits, the Amazon Alexa skills kit, AI assistant control interfaces like the Google Assistant Home, and more. There is a great opportunity now for businesses not only to integrate these technologies into their workflow, but to develop services that utilize the consumer versions of these technologies to increase their level of customer interaction.

Seanad Calls for Irish Government to Offer More Support for Irish SMEs

Paddy Ryder

The Seanad in recent days has called upon the Irish government to introduce additional supports for Irish SME’s. There are three classifications that compromise the SME sector: micro enterprises, small enterprises and medium enterprises.

A micro enterprise is an enterprise that has fewer than 10 employees and has either an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet not exceeding €2 million; a small enterprise is an enterprise that has fewer than 50 employees and has either annual turnover and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding  €10 million and a medium enterprise is defined as an enterprise that has between 50 employees and 249 employees and has either an annual turnover not exceeding  €50 million or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million.

The supports recommended by the Seanad will impact all of the aforementioned enterprises. Such supports include further entrepreneurial education in primary schools, specific supports for female entrepreneurs and the introduction of a new junior ministerial role to represent SME’s. The new ministerial position will enable the shaping of SME policy and help to foster the growth of small businesses in traditional sectors. It is hoped that exposing primary school students to entrepreneurship will lead to more economic activity and similarly, that new supports for female entrepreneurs boosts female leadership.

The Seanad found that typical SME concerns included rising business costs most notably the costs of rent, insurance and rates, competitive recruitment, Brexit uncertainty and continuous delays in the roll out of the national broadband plan. Ireland’s tax system was also highlighted as a difficulty with CGT rates significantly higher for SMEs in Ireland than in the UK and other jurisdictions. The EIS scheme for investment into early stage business is also less attractive in Ireland than the UK equivalent.

The EU and US rarely see eye to eye on matters of trade and commerce, but both see SME’s as the backbone of their respective economies, meaning SME’s are the cornerstone of commerce across the globe not just Ireland. Having said this however, the role of SME’s in Ireland is particularly important given that 99.8% of business activities in Ireland are represented by SME’s. This translates to 238,000 businesses, employing more than 1.3 million workers in Ireland, almost half of the entire Irish workforce. SME’s are therefore the main source of jobs in the Irish economy, thus, the new Seanad recommendations are a welcomed proposition and it is hoped that the recommendations can positively impact the Irish business landscape creating conditions that allow Irish SME’s to flourish.

Read the full report at –https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/committee/dail/32/seanad_public_consultation_committee/reports/2019/2019-05-16_small-and-medium-sized-businesses-in-ireland_en.pdf

These 10 Companies Control Almost Everything we Consume

It’s a scary thought isn’t it. All of our favourite brands owned and controlled by no more than 10 individual companies. How is it possible for such a small number of companies to be associated with every single major food and drink brand that we have ever come across and who are they? Some of them you will most likely recognise and some maybe not. 6 of these companies are American, 1 is Swiss, 1 is British, 1 is French and there is also a British-Dutch company.

Oxfam released the information as a way of spreading awareness about the huge concentration of market power in the industry so that people would be aware of who owns what they are buying, ultimately in an effort to push these companies to make positive changes. Let’s take a look at them:

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  1. Mondelez
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Mondelez made about $25.9 billion in snacks in 2017. They own all of Cadbury (which incorporates a huge number of chocolate bars such as Crunchies, Freddos and Twirls) as well as other consumer favourites Oreo, Milka and Toblerone. They also own Sour Patch Kids and Kenco.

2.Unilever

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Another one of the well known companies that make up the 10 we will discuss. Unilever owns a vast wide-ranging catalog of brands including Lyons, Knorr and Hellmans. They are also the single biggest ice cream producer in the world with Magnum, Cornetto and Ben ‘n Jerrys under their belt. Unilever accumulated $51 billion in revenue in 2018.

3. Coca Cola

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Next on the list is soft drink giant Coca Cola. Coming in at a revenue in 2017 of 35.41 billion, the company is in charge of Coke, Sprite and Fanta. It is not just soft drinks that they own however as they also control Smart Water, Innocent Smoothies and Honest Tea.

4. Nestlé

The Swiss company made a staggering $90.8 billion revenue in 2017. These guys produce a lot of the chocolate we consume that Mondelez doesn’t under Cadbury. This includes KitKat, Smarties, Rolos and Aeros. They also own Nescafe of course but one that you mightn’t have been aware of is Polo mints being owned by Nestlé.

5. PepsiCo

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As far as drinks go PepsiCo owns Pepsi, Gatorade and Tropicana fruit juices. Interestingly they also own and market the Starbucks drinks available outside of Starbucks stores. Surprisingly Walkers is owned by PepsiCo, meaning that they control the production of Walkers crisps, Doritos and Cheetos. They recorded revenue of $63.53 billion in 2017

6. General Mills

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$15.62 billion is how much this company managed to make in 2017. They did this through their companies that include Green Giant, Old El Paso and Nature Valley. Not to mention the fact that they own 25 different cereal brands, one of which is Cheerios. Haagen-Dazs is another company owned by General Mills and they also own Parker Bros., the makers of Monopoly.

7. Kellogs

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Kellogs made $12.92 billion revenue in 2017, smaller compared to the rest of the companies in this domain but certainly not something to be scoffed at. This company produces Kellogs alongside over 30 other different cereals. Pringles, Nutri-Grain and Pop-Tarts are produced by Kellogs as well.

8. Associated British Foods

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The only solely British company in this group received revenue of roughly $19 billion in 2018. Probably owning some of the lesser known brands in the group, the company is in charge of brands like Twinings, Kingsmill and Ryvita Biscuits. They are however responsible for the export of massive American brands such as Tabasco hot sauce and Skippy peanut butter.

9. Mars

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Apart from the obvious, Mars owns pretty much any chocolate that isn’t Cadburys or Nestlé. Chocolate such as M&M’s, Galaxy and Snickers. What’s less obvious is their ownership of Wrigleys, which produces a plethora of chewing gum brands like Extra, Hubba Bubba and Orbit. Wrigleys also makes Skittles and Starbursts. The brands that few people would know are owned by Mars include Uncle Ben’s and Dolmio. $35 billion is how much revenue Mars made in 2017.

10. Danone

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In 2017, Danone received roughly $27.5 billion in revenue. Bottled water brands Evian and Volvic as well as yoghurts Activia and Actimel are owned by Danone. They also sell medical nutrition products such as Cow and Gate.

So there you have it. These are the 10 companies and the brands that they own. I’m sure you’ve heard of most if not all of these companies. However, it is still a little overwhelming to see just how many brands they own between them. Hopefully you got some interesting insight into who actually owns what brands and if you’re anyway similar to me, you will find it difficult to eat your Uncle Ben’s microwave rice knowing that it is made by the same company as your beloved M&M’s.

Differences between Hard and Soft skills? Why are they so important for employers?

  • What are the skills employers are looking from the graduates?
  • How can YOU learn those skills and become a better candidate for an internship or a job?
  • What are the differences between soft and hard skills?
  • Why are they so important?

What are the Hard skills?

  • Hard skills are the tough skills.
  • They show your knowledge about the job and your ability to do the work right.
  • They are specific to each job and are basis of job requirements.
  • They are quantifiable and are often learned in school, through earned certifications or in previous work experiences.
  • These skills can also be considered “resume keywords,” which are words recruiters use to search for applicants. Each resume should use the exact hard skills found in the job description.

What are the Soft Skills?

  • Soft skills are interpersonal skills.
  • These are much harder to define and evaluate.
  • They show how well employee can interact with customers.
  • They are non-measurable and so not specific to any job or career.
  • Soft skills are “people” skills.
  • These skills are personality traits that help define character but offer less proof of experience than hard skills.
  • Soft skills include communication skills, listening skills, and empathy etc.

Hard Skills List  

Examples of Hard Skills:                                        

  • Data Analysis                                                
  • Planning Skills                                               
  • Accounting
  • Financial
  • Software
  • Word Processing
  • Writing

Tips I recommend to improve your Hard skills

  • It is not a surprise that almost every type of job is in a strong connection with computers. Examples of basic computer skills are the ability to work with Windows, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook Express and Windows Share Folders. If you need education or additional learning for these essential computer skills, here are some helpful courses:

1) Microsoft Excel Course – Excel from Beginner to Advanced:

2) Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint Training With Certificate Data Analysis

  • Analyzing some kind of data is a common part of many job positions and responsibilities. There are many reasons to learn data analysis: want to start a new career, want to develop your hard skills in your current career, or you want to know how to use, collect and present data for any purpose. If you have one of the above reasons, here are 2 important courses that can help:

1) Complete Introduction to Business Data Analysis

2) Data Science A-Z: Real-Life Data Science Exercises Included

  • Knowing Foreign Languages: Although English is the official business correspondence language for many countries, it is a big advantage to know other languages. Examples of the most required languages are German, Spanish, French, Chinese. So, is it the time to go and start learning a new language? And the answer is – Yes. It will make you a better candidate for any internship or a job. Check out some courses here: https://www.duolingo.com/courses

Soft Skills List

Examples of Soft Skills include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • Time management skills
  • Willingness to learn

Five tips I recommend to improve your Soft skills

  1. Build self-awareness – Understand why you react to certain situations and certain people in a certain way. In order to develop any self-management skill, you first have to understand yourself.
  2. Change yourself not others – Some people might think or say that improving soft skills can help you manipulate other people actions. However, it is not true. Improving soft skills is all about changing yourself, your perception, your approach to situations.
  3. Understand other people’s motivations – Any action that cause a conflict and trigger yours or other person’s insecurity, will create a difficult or unexpected situation. By proactively trying to put yourself in their shoes before any interaction, you could communicate better and can better manage your reaction to unexpected situations.
  4. Start Easy and Relax –You cannot improve all your soft skills over one night, so identify one soft skill you want to start with. Start researching (books, blogs, etc…) and practice on that one skill. Once you make progress on one soft skill, it will give you the confidence to improve more on others a step at a time.
  5. Practice, Practice, Practice – Sadly soft skills are not something you can just study in a book to get better, improvement takes practice over time. Improving soft skills is fundamentally about changing your behaviour toward yourself and others. Every next interaction you have with people at work is an opportunity to practice a soft skill!

HARD Skills vs. SOFT Skills

A combination of hard skills and soft skills forms a well-rounded job applicant. While hard skills are quite different than soft skills, together, they create a good balance between hard knowledge and interpersonal attributes. Hard skills show mastery and proficiency while soft skills show communication and relational abilities.

The balance of hard and soft skills is important. Hard skills help the applicant get past ATS while showing experience level and qualification for the position. Soft skills make the applicant human, showing leadership, empathy, and character. Both of them added together can make a perfect employee or a graduate.

So, which skills are more important – hard or soft?

Of course, both of them are equal. Balance is the key and the best answer here. So, make sure that your resume and/or CV contains enough skills of both types! Good luck!

3 Lessons Every Young Entrepreneur Must Learn from Taylor Swift

I’m sure you must have jammed to ‘Shake It Off’ at some point in your life.

Or cried to “Love Story”.

Or danced to “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together”.

Or screamed the lyrics to “Blank Space” (it’s not ‘Starbucks lovers’!).

That’s Taylor Swift, who has a song for every mood.

She’s turning 30 this year, and has already been in the music industry for 13 years; that’s right, she began her career at the age of 17! Since then, she has made a successful switch in her genre from country to pop, and has won over 400 awards, including 10 Grammys. She has sold almost $935.4 million worth of tickets through 6 world tours. If you’ve watched her ‘reputation’ tour on Netflix, you know exactly how powerful she is and why she deserves to stand where she does today.

I’ve loved Taylor for years; but only now do I understand the influence this woman has over, well… the music industry!

This is what every young entrepreneur (or human!) must learn from Taylor Swift:

  • Don’t be afraid to start young

By the age of 9, Taylor knew she wanted to be a singer. She would have her mother drive around various record labels and studios in Nashville, where Taylor would walk in, give her demo cd, and say, “Hi! I’m Taylor.. I’m 11.. I want a record deal.. Call me!”. She was signed by various records by the age of 14, and finally released her first album, Taylor Swift, at the age of 17. Her debut album won her massive recognition, and helped her understand her target audience and future moves at a young age.

If you think you’re too young to start something, you’re wrong. The sooner you start, the more mistakes you make. And the more mistakes you make, the sooner you learn from them and the better you understand how to not make them again. Starting young is a boon; allow yourself this ‘extra’ time to learn through practical experience because this is what will propel you farther.

  • Make sacrifices

Love Story, one of Taylor’s most highly acclaimed song, was written in 15 minutes as she sat on her bedroom floor. That song came alive only because she decided to give up something else and spend her time writing it down.

If you want to create a difference for your own self, you have to give up things that distract you from your goal. What sets you apart from everyone else is how you decide to spend your time while others decide to hang out or party. It’s not wrong to party obviously, but you must realise when it is pulling you away from your dreams. If you have a goal, be certain about it and take action towards it. Spend your time wisely by making sacrifices every single day.

  • A combination of skills stands out

When Taylor first started sharing singing demo cds with record labels, she hoped they would listen to her voice and give her a deal. But she soon realised that everyone in Nashville had the same dream as her, and she was doing the same thing as everyone else. That’s when she decided to stand out of the crowd by writing her own songs and learning to play the guitar. Today, Taylor writes, sings and produces her own music, while also playing multiple instruments. What helped her along the way are her exceptional conversational skills, marketing strategies, persevering self-advocacy and brilliant stage presence.

If you want to stand out, you must be exceptional. One way to do that is to have a combination of skills. The best way to do that is to have a powerful combination of a hard skill and soft skill, or to have complementing skills. If you can learn and combine various skills and use them to enhance the one skill you are best at, then there’s no stopping you! For example, if you like writing, learn a bit of video editing or graphic designing. If you have an idea for a startup, learn pitch development and the art of effective written and verbal communication. (We really need to update the quote “Jack of all trades……”)

Whatever be your opinion of Taylor Swift, you can’t deny the staggering numbers she has achieved. These 3 attributes are what helped Taylor Swift get where she is now. So, why not give them a shot?

Career Choices: What’s Hot in Dublin?

John Fink

The Dublin Economic Monitor indicates in its most recent edition (February 2019), that as of Q3 2018 the employed workforce of Dublin measured at 696,200, the highest value since records began by the Central Statistics Office in 1998. Obviously, there is no shortage of available labor and as such, it takes talent to impress employers. Corporations seek the best from a wide pool of potential hires, and to stay competitive anyone seeking future employment will need to hone their professional skills to satisfy the requirements of the corporate world. Taking courses or reading literature on a new skill auxiliary to that of your primary studies might one day make the difference between you and another candidate for your ideal career, or help you discover a completely unexpected career path. Trends on sector growth in Dublin provide valuable insight into what industries are expanding, thus making new hires and from that one can approximate what skills might make them a more valuable member of the workforce:

Read more

How COVID-19 is Impacting Gender Inequality

BY Gaia Aviloff

COVID-19 has exacerbated gender inequality in the job market. Recent studies have shown that the global pandemic is disproportionately affecting women in two main ways. Firstly, women work in the hardest-hit sectors. Secondly, the closure of schools and the shift to online learning have impacted women’s ability to work from home. 

The study The Labour Market Impacts of the COVID‑19: A Global Perspective shows how 40% of all employed women work in the sectors that have been most affected by COVID-19.  The UN WOMEN has released data revealing how female unemployment fell by 50% in Asia and the Pacific compared to 35% in male unemployment. To help evaluate which sectors have been most affected, the study The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Inequality has distinguished two criteria:

  1. Whether or not current regulations have limited the sector’s output
  2. Whether or not the sector allows for telecommuting

The sectors considered ‘essential’ are Transportation and Material Moving; Healthcare Support; Farming, Fishing, and Forestry; Installation, Maintenance, and Repair; Protective services; Healthcare Practitioners and Technicians. Women work in 4 out of these six sectors, and men work in 6 out of the six sectors. Moreover, 70% of women who work in healthcare services, social work, or who are frontline workers are paid less than their male counterparts.

On average, in the United States, 28% of men work in sectors that allow for telecommute compared to 22% of women. Thus, women will be more likely to face unemployment as they work in industries that cannot adapt to the new remote working format. The graph below shows which sectors are considered essential and which allow for telecommuting in the United States.

 In households where both married members can telecommute for work, the wife will most likely quit her job to provide childcare and housework. In Europe, the pandemic has exacerbated these gendered patterns, with women reducing their work hours 4 to 5 times more than men.

The closure of schools, childcare services, and day centres coupled with older relatives’ unavailability has further splintered gender inequality. There has been an increase in childcare needs with children staying at home and having classes online. The distribution of childcare needs varies on the work arrangements of the members within a household. In the United States, 25% of married couples have a traditional labour division in which men are employed full time and women stay at home. However, in only 5% of married couples, the arrangement is the opposite. In marriages with traditional work distribution, the increase in childcare needs will fall on women. The European Institute for Gender Inequality shows how, before COVID-19, married women provided 39 hours of childcare and married men provided 21 hours. The rise in childcare needs has further amplified the gendered patterns in the unequal distribution of childcare. The graph below illustrates the division of childcare and housework in households across 22 countries.

                                   Source: UN WOMEN

The division of childcare within a family reflects the existing disparities between men and women.

Single mothers are the most vulnerable to these changes. They must juggle home-schooling, the rise of childcare needs, and work. Single mothers must also rely on a single income; however, studies have shown that they are more likely to work in sectors that have been most affected by current restrictions. According to the Central Statistics Office, there are 44.5% single mother households in Ireland compared to only 18.6% single fathers. Single mother households are more at risk of living in poverty since most governments worldwide do not supply social coverage.

Nonetheless, the study The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Inequality proposes that the flexible working format may produce greater gender equality. The conversion to remote working, adopted during the pandemic, is likely to persist in a hybrid form. More fathers will be able to participate in childcare needs and housework actively. Which can lead to an equal distribution of household tasks as both members may balance their careers with childcare needs and housework. Studies have shown that boys with a working mother will be more likely to marry a working woman contributing to changing gendered norms.

The European Institute for Gender Inequality suggests that the EU promotes education free from gendered stereotypes. Women may access less impacted sectors which allow for telecommuting. The study also states how: “Addressing women’s under-representation in STEM occupations could create up to 1.2 million jobs and increase GDP by up to EUR 820 billion by 2050.” By implementing policies that aim to reduce gender inequality in the labour market, EU member states will see higher economic growth and greater financial stability.

Cooking Up A Storm: The Importance Of Migrants and Street Food

Upon my arrival in Bavaria as part of my Erasmus programme, I was met with many nuances which were wholly expected. Namely, würst, brezel and plenty of beer from the many breweries dotting Germany’s largest Bundesland. One thing I didn’t expect were the many cultural cuisines scattered across nearly every city in Germany and the rich variety of dishes offered at great prices. Döner and Falafel have become cornerstones of youth culture within Germany and further afield too. In Dublin one is prone to find themselves enjoying a burrito or spicebag among many other dishes, which certainly do not have their routes in traditional Irish cooking. Immigrant workers have long established take outs and restaurants as a means to plant their roots in their new homeland. In appreciating the wealth of food and culture stemming from this practice, it does raise the question as to why immigrants so often turn to this practice, and how important are such businesses to a country’s economy?

A brief history lesson

Street food vending was first legalized in renaissance-era Turkey, with the selling of kebab meat being a long-established practice in the country. With Istanbul acting as a gateway between Europe and Asia, many cultures had the opportunity to try new dishes and furthermore bring tales of these tastes back home. Street food had been long been a central pillar of society within China, the Middle East and African communities. Through the emergence of mass migration across the globe by many populaces, the recipes and pallets brought along with these migrants added further depth to the cultural melting pots beginning to brew.

The backbone of the fast-food industry

Work within the catering industry has long been a source of income for migrants. With work opportunities often limited through a combination of lack of qualifications, language and sadly discrimination, many newcomers find work in the fields picking crops, cleaning dishes in a kitchen, or working as chefs also. In the United States alone, 10% of the catering industry’s workforce consists of foreign-born workers. Often this work is unappealing and lowly paid, but with few chances many migrant workers seize upon the opportunity to establish a foothold on the work ladder. This is best represented with the United States’ agricultural workforce, which consists of over 50% of undocumented immigrants.

Rising above poverty

After gaining experience within the sector, it’s easy to see why migrants would build upon their knowledge and endeavour to establish their own chains and restaurants, specializing in dishes from their homelands. These ventures present a fantastic opportunity through the combination of skills and specific culinary knowledge passed from generation to generation, along with the ability to appeal to niche markets of consumers who can’t often access such tastes within their domestic market. For many people, street food is not only a tasty treat, but also a healthy cheap source of nutrition, helping to reduce poverty in cities such as Bangkok and in turn raise ‘cultural capital’, enabling for easier mobility of people through social classes, allowing for many to escape the clutches of poverty and secure a future for their children.

Creating a springboard

All of these factors combined with the convergence effects of globalization have allowed for many of these once street vendors to establish themselves as restaurateurs and even go as far as to establish food chains. In Berlin alone there are over four thousand Döner sellers. This large density of competitors is a result of a labour agreement with the Turkish republic in 1961, allowing workers into West Germany. These numbers rose in 1974-1978, with worker’s families allowed to follow their breadwinners to the DDR (West Germany). The proximity of California to its southern neighbour, Mexico, allowed for a large influx of immigrants. The introduction of the residents of Los Angeles to foods such as Tacos as early as the 1890’s highlights how foreign food can become synonymous with a new city, with Mexican food being a core element of Los Angeles’ food culture. The introduction of the hibachi restaurant concept to New York in 1964 by Hiroaki Aoki sparked a thirst for Japanese cuisine within the United States. The restaurant grew in popularity before expanding due to increased demand. This has culminated in the Benihana franchise, with over one hundred franchised restaurants around the world.

Breaking bread with strangers

While many of these operations are still small family owned operations, operating on street corners or out of kiosks in busy train stations, they play a massive role collectively. Over 20,000 people are employed within German Döner shops, helping to support thousands of families and livelihoods. Their success also stands as a testament to the integration of the Turkish people into German culture, with the love for great street-food being a unifying factor. As globalization continues to induce effects around the world, different cuisine can often act as a bridge in allowing for a start in a new country, so too can it help to create a wider and more diverse society in the world we live in.

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