Bitesize Business: tech jobs, Louth expansion and startup funds

By Business & Finance
14 February 2017
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Business & Finance brings you the day’s Irish business news in brief.

Irish Life plans major Dundalk expansion

Irish Life

Irish Life has announced today that it plans to build a new Irish Life Customer Service Centre in Finnabair Business Park in Dundalk.

The new building planned will accommodate omni-channel customer service contacts over three floors. A planning application will be submitted to Louth County Council in the coming weeks for the proposed site development.

Irish Life has operated a Customer Service Centre in Dundalk since 2002 and is a key employer in the area, currently employing 160 staff. All current Irish Life employees based in Dundalk will move to the new building upon completion, which has the capacity for future growth.

Chief executive David Harney said: “The expansion of our operations in Dundalk is an indication of our future growth strategy for the company, in keeping with our ambitious plans for 2017 and beyond. A new and larger premises for our Customer Service Centre also reflects our continued customer-first focus, which is a core element of our business.”

Owen Killian to leave food group Aryzta


CEO of Irish-Swiss food group Aryzta has resigned, it was announced today.

Chief financial officer Patrick McEniff and chief executive of Americas business John Yamin have also resigned from the company and will leave at the end of the financial year.

Dermot Murphy, Ronan Minahan and Robert O’Boyle have been announced as the trio’s replacements.

In a statement, company chairman Gary McGann commented: “On behalf of the board, I would like to express our gratitude to Owen, Patrick and John for their contribution in building a unique infrastructure with a very strong franchise in the speciality baking industry.

“The newly constituted executive management team, together with an improved capital structure, provides stability with an objective to deliver, in time, both performance and growth.”

Aryzta will announce H1 2017 results in less than one month from now.

Career-FIT programme to attract international research experts


Details have been announced of Enterprise Ireland’s Career-FIT, a postdoctoral fellowship programme with the aim of bringing 50 high-level research fellows into Ireland to work in the Enterprise Ireland technology centres.

These centres, which are jointly supported by IDA Ireland, deliver industry-focused research to the 482 company members.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland connects business and academic research to drive new innovative products, processes and services, helping Irish companies to develop a competitive edge in international markets.”

The Career-FIT programme will facilitate the placement of 50 international academic experts in 13 technology centres where they will work on industry-led research of direct relevance and value to Irish businesses.

Mobile and web testing platform to create Dublin jobs through expansion


BrowserStack today announced that it has operationalised its state-of-the-art real device mobile data centre in Dublin.

The company also announced it plans to expand its Dublin operations and employ talent to lead the development of the next generation of mobile and web testing solutions, creating over 40 roles within the next three years.

BrowserStack is a cloud-based service that allows web developers to perform these tests quickly and eliminates the need for expensive in-house testing infrastructure. The company currently supports more than 1,100 combinations of browsers, operating systems and devices.

BrowserStack serves more than 1.6 million developers worldwide and has more than 35,000 paying customers including Twitter, AirBnB, Microsoft, and more. BrowserStack is a privately held company with offices in Dublin, San Francisco and Mumbai.

Optimism improves for Irish businesses


Irish business sentiment improved at the start of 2017 following a marked decline through 2016 according to a survey by KBC Bank Ireland and Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Irish-based firms expect growth in their business volumes in the months ahead, but there are signs of a more cautious approach to hiring.

This may owe something to an increasing focus on accelerating wage costs but it also likely reflects heightened uncertainty about the implications for their businesses of Brexit and the new Trump administration in the US.

The survey suggests that modest pay increases are likely to be the norm for most firms in 2017. Four out of five companies surveyed say they will raise average pay rates, with about half of these envisaging increases of less than 2%.

HBAN assisted 202 Irish start-ups in 2016


Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) today announced that it set up 202 startups with angel investors during 2016.

The all-island group is responsible for the promotion of business angel investment in Ireland and last year’s matchmaking efforts resulted in 50 relationships blossoming.

The not-for-profit group held 51 funding events last year. That included a nationwide roadshow that aimed to raise €6m in 48 hours through the recruitment of more angel investors.

John Phelan, national director of HBAN, said: “Our focus now is to get more angel investors on-board so that we can continue to support Ireland’s start-up community. The fact that one-in-four start-ups receives funding is an attractive figure for potential angel investors.”