Wexford Enterprise Centre welcomes new Resident Company – Leahy Investment Advisors

Five new companies took up residency in Wexford Enterprise Centre in late 2020 and 2021 – Leahy Investment Advisors being one of them.

Though new to WEC, Denis and Paul Leahy set up Leahy Investment Advisers back in 2011. Together they have a combined experience of over 50 years in the Financial Services sector. They pride themselves on providing a first-rate service to all who inquire. No one is too small or too big to avail of their services and advice. And if these past couple of years have taught us anything, it is that it pays to work with local businesses, as you are guaranteed personal and attentive service.

Denis Leahy describes his business: “Leahy Investment Advisers provide advice and guidance from Life Assurance to Retirement Planning and everything in between whether you are a family, individual or a business. We cut through the jargon and provide financial advice that is simple and easy to understand. We can also review your existing Life Assurance/Protection/Pension/Investment plans to see if they will provide what you expect of them. We will prepare a report which will give advice that is appropriate to you and your expectations. We will make recommendations that suit your lifestyle and your budget. Feel free to give us a call (053-9140080).”

Wexford Enterprise Centre accommodates office and commercial spaces to suit the needs of its diverse business sectors located within the Centre. Currently there are 33 companies resident in Wexford Enterprise Centre. In addition, The Cube offers personalised work-spaces especially designed in mind for early start-ups and remote workers, with all the facilities and supports of a larger office environment to maximise productivity.

Wexford Enterprise Centre, one of the divisions of Wexford Enterprise Association, wishes Leahy Investment Advisors continued success! For more information about their personalised financial services, visit www.leahys.ie

Eleanor White becomes new Chairman of Wexford Enterprise Association

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA) has elected Eleanor White as their new Chairman. Eleanor has been involved with Wexford Enterprise Association since it began in 1986. She was one of an ambitious group of Wexford people who sought to address ways to combat the extraordinarily high unemployment rate in the area. Since then, Eleanor has been at the fore of the expansive physical and social enterprise development of WEA.

Her dedicated work in the community development of Wexford began initially through her involvement with Junior Chamber, Wexford, an international leadership training organization which encourages young people to participate in efforts towards social and economic development. As the Wexford branch President, Eleanor was pivotal in securing the European Conference to Wexford. Ultimately, she went onto become the National President and served for a time as an international officer for the European Jaycees.

Eleanor is a current board member of the National Opera House, Wexford and is a former board member of Wexford Festival Opera, where she remains active today, working with the 300+ volunteer corp. She is also director of a local community childcare facility.

Professionally Eleanor trained as a speech therapist, having received her degree at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) in London. She returned to Wexford as the first full time speech and language therapist for the County.

Eleanor takes over from Eamonn Murphy, who held the position of Chairman since 2017, and is looking forward to carrying on his exemplary work with the Association’s CEO and team of dedicated and talented individuals.

In addition to the change of Chairman, Colin Browne becomes the organisation’s Vice-Chairman, having previously acted as WEA’s Treasurer. Colin is currently Microsoft’s Senior Director of Global Customer Lifecycle Operations responsible for leading the implementation of the company’s Tele Sales Operations and Commercial Cloud transformation. Further details about the Voluntary Board of Management of Wexford Enterprise Association are available on www.weaireland.ie/board-executive

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA), an independent, not-for-profit organisation, was formed in 1986 by a voluntary committee of local community, diocesan and business leaders against the backdrop of the dire economic climate of the 80s. WEA currently employs 30 members of staff within its Social Enterprise division of Wexford Enterprise Centre (WEC), one of Ireland’s first and largest Enterprise Centres, Datagroup, a national supplier of document management services, and Recycling 2000, manufacturers of animal bedding products made from old newspaper which diverts hundreds of tons of wastepaper from entering landfill each year.

These social enterprises not only create direct employment opportunities, but they also help to provide the necessary revenue streams required to partially fund Wexford based social advancement initiatives such as Youth Mental Health and Disability Employment Opportunities. Funding is also generated within their social enterprises to support entrepreneurial development initiatives like the Student Enterprise Awards programme and the TradeBridge Initiative. TradeBridge is an international trade and export initiative linking Wexford Companies with customers in Savannah, Georgia. It is operated in association with Wexford County Council, Enterprise Ireland, Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA), the World Trade Center Savannah, and Georgia Southern University.

/ends

Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development visits Wexford Enterprise Centre as TradeBridge gets ready to launch its Regional Development Programme

News of the further development of TradeBridge, the international trade programme between Wexford and Savannah Georgia, is expected within the coming weeks. In the run-up to the announcement, a trade delegation from the US State of Georgia, including the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Pat Wilson, paid a special visit to Wexford Enterprise Centre where the TradeBridge programme is based. This high-level delegation from Georgia is visiting Wexford as part of a greater European Trade Mission.

As Commissioner, Mr. Wilson is responsible for creating jobs and investment opportunities in Georgia through business recruitment and expansion, small business growth, international trade and tourism, as well as the arts, film and music industries. Though his Department is not directly involved with TradeBridge, the Commissioner has been following this successful pilot trade initiative as well as the establishment of the International Learning Center with Georgia Southern University, which will also be based in Wexford town. Joining Mr. Wilson from the Georgia Department of Economic Development were Brittany Young, Chief Operating Officer, Ashley Varnum, Global Commerce Division Director and Coryn Marsik, International Relations Manager. Also on the trade mission were Mr. Trip Tollison, President & CEO Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) & World Trade Center (WTC) Savannah, Ms. Jessie Jenkins, Director of Research & Trade Development, WTC Savannah and Ms. Kendria Lee, Director of Economic Development at Georgia Southern University.

TradeBridge was founded and built on historical ties from the time when immigrants from Wexford fled the famine and settled in Savannah. A pilot programme was launched in 2018 with the key aim of creating a trade corridor into the US for Wexford companies, as well as creating a new gateway for Savannah based businesses to export into Europe.

TradeBridge is based in Wexford Enterprise Centre and was conceived and developed by Wexford Enterprise Association, Wexford County Council, Enterprise Ireland, Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) and the World Trade Center Savannah. 35 companies from Wexford and the Southeast engaged with the initial pilot programme, representing the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, Agritech, Education and Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) sectors.

In 2020, a further three-year funding was granted from Enterprise Ireland under their Regional Enterprise Development Fund to develop TradeBridge into a fully-fledged Regional Development Programme. This will see it expand into the five counties of the Southeast of Ireland and sixteen counties in the Southeast region of Georgia. The pandemic slowed the progress of this programme, but is now able to forge ahead again. Details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA) Launches their Stakeholders’ Report 2019 -2020

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA) today launched their Stakeholders’ Report highlighting the progress and challenges faced by the organisation during 2019 and 2020.

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA), an independent, not-for-profit organisation, was formed in 1986 by a voluntary committee of local community, diocesan and business leaders against the backdrop of the dire economic climate of the 80s.

WEA currently employs 30 members of staff within its Social Enterprise divisions of Wexford Enterprise Centre (WEC), one of Ireland’s first and largest Enterprise Centres, Datagroup, a national supplier of document management services, and Recycling 2000, manufacturers of animal bedding products made from old newspaper which diverts hundreds of tons of wastepaper from entering landfill each year.

These social enterprises not only create direct employment opportunities, but they also help to provide the necessary revenue streams required to partially fund Wexford based social advancement initiatives such as youth mental health and disability employment opportunities. Funding is also generated within their social enterprises to support entrepreneurial development initiatives like the Student Enterprise Awards programme and the TradeBridge Initiative. TradeBridge is an international trade and export initiative linking Wexford Companies with customers in Savannah, Georgia. It is operated in association with Wexford County Council, Enterprise Ireland, Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA), the World Trade Center Savannah, and Georgia Southern University.

The key highlights of the report include:

Wexford Enterprise Association (WEA):
• Creating social enterprises to generate social and entrepreneurial change.
• Has created 2000 jobs across 200 companies since it began.
• More than 80% of its income is self-generated.
• €1.2m per annum of expenditure into the local economy.
Social Enterprise
• Wexford Enterprise Centre (WEC) – Resident Companies contribute €10m per annum to the local economy each year.
• Datagroup – set up in 2010 to create employment opportunities for those combating disability, social exclusion and marginalisation.
o Employed an average of 23 people in 2019 and 2020
o 50% of employees have a physical disability.
o 11 years highest level ISO security standards certification.
o 100m pages of information managed.
o 400 local, national and international clients.
• Recycling 2000 – Produces high-quality, environmentally friendly animal bedding product from recycled newspaper. Set up in 1993 to create direct employment and to improve our local environment.

Environmental Impact
• In each year of 2019 and 2020, Datagroup and Recycling 2000 combined, diverted 700 tonnes of paper from our landfills. This resulted in the saving of:
o 11,900 trees
o 4.9m gallons of water
o 266,000 gal of oil
o 2.8m kw of energy
o 2,100 cm less in our landfills

Social Advancement
• Youth Mental Health Programme – Partnered with Ferns Diocesan Youth Service (FDYS) to help fund Youth Mental Health Programme.
o Funding allowed quicker access for 112 youth people in Co. Wexford to professional counselling services through enhanced assessment capabilities. Hundreds more young people were then supported through other youth service programmes. Participants were aged between 10-24 years old. 69% female and 31% male.
• Disability Employment Opportunities – WorkAbility initiative launched in 2019. Partnering with Employability Wexford, this programme gives Resident Companies in Wexford Enterprise Centre incentives and supports to employ people with disability.
o 19% of WEC Resident Companies participate in this initiative.
o 50% of Datagroup employees have a physical disability.

Entrepreneurial Development
• Student Enterprise Awards – co-founded in 1994 with Wexford County Enterprise Board, (formally Wexford Local Enterprise Office) who successfully manage this programme today in association with Wexford Enterprise Centre.
o In the academic year of 2019/2020 1,155 students created 480 mini-companies in 18 schools in Co. Wexford.
• TradeBridge – an international trade initiative linking Savannah, Georgia
o 35 companies from Wexford and the Southeast engaged with the TradeBridge pilot programme, representing the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, Agritech, Education and Information, Communications & Technology (ICT) sectors.
o 100+ business to business meetings.
o Received confirmation of three-year funding from Enterprise Ireland to develop the international trade programme into a Regional Development Programme expanding throughout the Southeast of Ireland.

Chairman of Wexford Enterprise Association, Éamonn Murphy said, “Our journey has presented many challenges along the way. 2019 was particularly difficult and brought several new challenges which were not of our making. During 2020, Covid-19 tested us in ways we never thought possible. But adversity forces new thinking, change, and a determination to succeed. With guidance from our dedicated voluntary Board, our Chief Executive Brendan Ennis and his team, we embraced change, developed new strategies, and delivered for those we serve, while remaining true to our core values of integrity, inclusiveness, and innovation.”

Dr David Dempsey, co-founder of Salesforce Europe and member of the Wexford Enterprise Association Board, officially launched the Stakeholder’s Report. David hails from Wexford and is Country Leader and General Manager at Salesforce Ireland. Additionally, David is Salesforce’s Senior Vice President for EMEA Corporate Relations and sits on the Salesforce European Leadership Team. Under David’s leadership he has overseen the growth of the European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division of Salesforce from a three person Irish start up to a pan-European business with offices across Europe including regional hubs in Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam and Munich.

Prior to establishing Salesforce EMEA, David held executive positions at Oracle, in both the UK and at home, including nine years spent as Head of Ireland Consulting Services. David is a certified Member of the Institute of Directors and has both an MBA (2005) and DBA (2015) from Waterford Institute of Technology. His recent book ‘Industry Trends in Cloud Computing’ was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2018.

Launching the Stakeholders’ Report, Dr Dempsey commented, “I was invited to join the board of Wexford Enterprise Association back in 2015. It’s unique business model and the many dynamic people, past and present, that have served on the board, made me want to be part of this team working for the betterment of Wexford. I believe the phrase is: Think globally. Act locally.”

The Wexford Enterprise Association Stakeholders’ Report 2019 – 2020 is available to read on their website www.weaireland.ie

Twitter @WEAireland
LinkedIn – Wexford Enterprise Association

/ends

The Scoop on Scúp

When Wexford company, Scúp Gelato set up their business in 2014, they focused on developing their wholesale market, suppling top restaurants and hotels around Ireland and abroad. And quite successfully too. However, with the onset of the pandemic and the subsequent shut-down of the hospitality sector, this family-owned business was quickly forced to find new income streams and have spent the last year developing their retail trade. Here’s their story.

Scúp Gelato, located in Wexford Enterprise Centre, is a family owned and operated business run by the Devereux family. Even the name ‘Devereux’ is distinctly Wexford. However, their award-winning Gelato can be enjoyed all over Ireland and as far away as Singapore, Dubai and South Korea.

Willie Devereux co-director of Natural Ice Cream Wholesale Limited, operating under the trading name of Scúp Gelato, shares the role with his mother Siobhan. The company was set up seven years ago in 2014 with the vision and ambition of making a range of world class premium quality Gelato and Sorbet products, using the highest quality Irish dairy products, Irish fresh produce, and other natural ingredients at our food grade approved unit at Wexford Enterprise Centre. In that short space of time, Scúp Gelato has won several prestigious food awards. No wonder it is served in Ireland’s top restaurants and hotels.

“Our recipes were created and developed with a Gelato master operating out of Milan, Italy. Our product range was developed for the non-retail food service sector on the island of Ireland with the concept of being natural and only using the highest quality ingredients available, many sourced locally from here in Wexford.

To date, our products have already won prestigious industry awards, including:
• 2 star in Great Taste Awards 2016
• Silver in Blas na hÉireann 2016
• Silver & Gold in Blas na hÉireann 2020
• Blas na hÉireann- Best in Wexford award 2019 & 2020
• Awarded designation under the Origin Green initiative of Bord Bia.

In 2017 we ventured into the export markets of Dubai and Singapore with the help of Board Bia. Encouraged by this positive experience, we decided to further expand our export sales in 2018 we decided to expand export sales via the quality retail consumer sector, again with the help of Bord Bia. This resulted in export sales to South Korea in 2019.

With year-on-year growth and an ever-expanding customer base nationally and internationally, the future of the company looked bright and secure having reached our intended sales and revenue targets while still maintaining the premium quality and integrity of our product.

We began 2020 with very definitive goals for the year. Sales revenues were targeted to steadily increase yet again coupled with employment numbers. We were committed to introducing new production line equipment to increase capacity and efficiencies capability. We planned to introduce new products to our food service range and to the new export consumer retail range. Then came the Covid-19 pandemic crisis which impacted heavily on our business operations and sales revenues.

Since March 2020, we have seen our food service sector customers (hotels and restaurants) and our consumer retail service customers, at home and abroad, face unprecedented challenges. We have had to respond to market conditions that are chaotic, changing constantly, and to a large extent governed first and foremost by the absolute need to protect public health in all the geographical markets we serve. We will pivot to deliver new income streams, particularly in the immediate future through consumer retail sales in the home market as well as available food service channels. The most prominent of these being a shop located on Wexford’s quay front alongside two other local business. This is an exciting new venture and which will also garner great brand awareness to the general public.” – Willie Devereux, Managing Director Scúp Gelato

Yet another tremendous example of the ‘entrepreneurial mind-set’ that is pulsates within Wexford Enterprise Centre. Challenges, anticipated and unforeseen, are the nature of being a business owner. However, it is the ability to adapt to these challenges and ride-out the storm that is the measure of a business. A smooth sea never made for skilful sailors. We wish everyone at Scúp Gelato continued success!

For more information on where to find their award-winning gelato, visit their website www.scupgelato.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A Whale of a Wexford Story

There’s a story behind every door in Wexford Enterprise Centre. One such story began hundreds of years ago in the sea off the coast of Ireland and landed in Helen McLean’s Art Studio, which has its home in the Centre. The ‘Wexford Blue Whale: Chanies Across the Sea’ project is County Wexford art project which connects shipwrecks, a blue whale and a 77-year-old woman’s extraordinary collection of pieces of pottery collected over the years on the beach in Rosslare. A large whale mosaic created by Helen, in association with Wexford Arts Centre, supported by Wexford County Council, recalls the 25m blue whale which beached in Wexford in 1891 and whose skeleton now hangs at the entrance hall of the Natural History Museum in London.

It is as much of a community project as it is an artistic one. The story of the whale and that of Ann Borg, who collected the shards of pottery over the past seven decades, has sparked the attention of people on both sides of the Atlantic, including that of the Natural History Museum in London.

RTÉ recently interviewed Helen, Ann and Elizabeth Whyte of Wexford Arts Centre about this fascinating project https://rb.gy/uwnnsg

The Whale Mosaic will soon be installed permanently on Wexford’s Quay at the Wexford Bridge side. It will be officially unveiled as part of the Arts Council’s ‘Brightening Air/Coiscéim Coiligh’ festival and will be open to the public from Saturday, 12 June. A beautiful story of history, the community of Wexford and art – all coming together. This tale is set to be told for many more years to come.

If you’d like to know more about Helen’s Artwork, visit her website on https://www.helenmcleanart.com/ or follow her Facebook and Instagram.

Wexford Enterprise Centre opens back up to the General Public on Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Wexford Enterprise Centre is delighted to welcome back the general public into the Centre after the easing of Government restrictions. From Wednesday June 2, the Centre will be open to the public from 8:30am – 5pm, Monday through Friday. Social distancing, mandatory wearing of facemasks, hand sanitizing and temperature access control procedures will continue to be in operation.

The re-opening of the Centre means that anyone wishing to meet with any of the businesses located within the Centre or avail of the popular Centre Point Cafe may once again do so during normal business hours. The Centre Point Cafe is also open from 8:30-3pm daily for ‘Grab & Go’ service until indoor dining resumes on Monday, 5 July.

In addition, the two state-of-the-art Conference Rooms, The Williams Innovation Room and the McConnell Conference Room, have both been upgraded with additional safety features, including the installation of perspex screens and are now open for booking once again.  The Williams Innovation Room can comfortably and safely accommodate up to 6 people, while the larger McConnell Conference Room can safely accommodate up to 11 people.

We wish to especially thank our 30+ Resident Companies who unreservedly supported all the Covid-19 health and safety measures implemented in the Centre over the past year, which included the restriction on outside visitors. It was because of their efforts that the Centre continued to operate and remained a safe place to work for their businesses and their staff.

We look forward to welcoming you back! Stay Safe.

Centre Point Café
Pre-order your breakfast / lunch: anna@ovendoorcatering.ie or ring 053 9144055
Meeting Rooms
To book the Williams Innovation Room or the McConnell Conference Room email info@wec.ie or ring 053 914 1711.

Sharon Ginnetty, Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimise Marketing

Marketing Consultant and founder of Optimise Marketing, Sharon Ginnetty, decided to open her own business 8 years ago after working in the field for 16 years prior to establishing her own company. With a broad range of experience in national and international roles across a variety of sectors, Sharon uses a variety of digital tools to assist other businesses in implementing their marketing plans. She notes that 2020 has been a big challenge and yet one that also proved to be the most rewarding since she began Optimise Marketing in 2013.

“One positive aspect of 2020 was that it propelled the adoption of digital routes to market at a much faster pace. In some ways the total upheaval threw the rulebook out and businesses tested and tried techniques that they may have been more cautious about pursuing in the past. Those who were quick to accept change and adapt to reaching their customer by digital means, discovered that they could get closer to their customer, get real-time feedback and adjust the tone of their communications accordingly. This enabled them to follow through to increased online sales.

During the first week of March 2020, I was involved with National Enterprise Week, delivering a number of talks on Digital Marketing for the Carlow and Kildare Local Enterprise Offices. At the time, I had some great clients in the hospitality sector with lots of exciting projects in the pipeline. Then in less than a week, everything was put on-hold. This didn’t last long thankfully and I was suddenly thrust into assisting as many companies as possible to help them transition to online trading and/or to further develop their range of products and services online.

2020 was a challenging year in so many ways, but for my business it was also the year my client list grew beyond compare. I am so proud of the businesses that I worked with who made tough decisions early on, protected their businesses, “pivoted” and now have strong market offerings for the times ahead. I’m proud to have helped so many businesses discover and benefit from online sales during a time of crisis. I’m proud of the way Irish people got behind the #shoplocal #buylocalonline #madelocal campaigns which ensured so many businesses survived and even thrived in 2020. But it’s important to understand that marketing is not a once off activity. It should be an integral part of your business and consistency is key.

Running a business is a constant learning process. If I was to offer any advice, I’d say: get support; join networks; ask for help; build a support network for yourself. Peer to peer learning is superb. My brother-in-law once joked that the first 10 years are the hardest! I’d have to concur! If 2020 has taught us anything it is the importance of being flexible and embracing change which is crucial to our survival and success. Being able to adapt to changing market conditions is vital.”

For more information on how Optimise Marketing can enhance your marketing strategy, visit www.optimisemarketing.ie or contact Sharon directly on 087 204 3486 or sharon@optimisemarketing.ie

2021 Wexford Student Enterprise Awards Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 Wexford Student Enterprise Programme Awards, held in association with the Wexford Enterprise Centre which were announced recently following a live-streamed awards presentation. Approximately 860 students from 16 post-primary schools across County Wexford took part in the annual programme this year.

The three winning student entrepreneurs hail from Bridgetown College, Wexford CBS, and St Mary’s Secondary School, New Ross and will represent Co. Wexford at the Student Enterprise Programme National Final on Friday, May 14. Once again, this year’s National Final will take place online, with approximately 80 teams logging in from all over Ireland.

Lauren Williams from Bridgetown College won the Senior Category with her company ‘Irish Sea Mist’. Lauren produced her own sea-based natural ingredient face mists which have sold very well for the young entrepreneur. In the Intermediate Category, Evan Dwyer from Wexford CBS won for his handmade candles and soaps, ‘Evan’s Handmade Gifts’. The Junior Category was won by twins Grace and Issy Walsh from in St Mary’s Secondary School, New Ross. The sisters produced and sold a fun Wexford-themed card matching game called ‘2 Peas in a Pod’. In total, 24 trophies were awarded to different student mini-companies from across County Wexford.

The very first Student Enterprise Awards Programme in the country was established in 1994 by Wexford Enterprise Association and Wexford County Enterprise Board, now known as Wexford Local Enterprise Office. Since 2003, this successful enterprise education initiative, funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland and delivered by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities throughout the country, saw over 29,000 students from just under 500 secondary schools across the country take part last year. The program supports students to create, design and market their own business as well as learning key skills on how to create a business idea, start a business and grow a business.

Congratulations to all the students and teachers who participated.

Further information around the Student Enterprise Programme is available from www.studententerprise.ie and by searching #studententerprise and #WexfordSEP on social media.

Keeping the engine running: Liz Breen – Group Operations Officer

It’s been some time since all those who work within Wexford Enterprise Centre and the other divisions of the larger Wexford Enterprise Association have been able to meet up in person. Though even in ‘normal’ times, it could be said that one of the key team members of the Organisation, Group Operations Officer Liz Breen, is heard more than seen. But for more than a decade, Liz has been a fundamental part of Wexford Enterprise Association’s growth.

Liz joined Datagroup in 2010 as Operations Officer. Datagroup is part of the social enterprise division of the organisation. Into this role, she brought her extensive background in Information Management and Data Protection and, working directly with the Group Chief Executive Brendan Ennis, she oversaw the development and implementation of Datagroup’s policies and procedures, as well as its quality and security systems.

In 2018 Liz was elevated to the position of Group Operations Officer to work with the CEO on operational matters across the Organisation’s three divisions of social enterprise, entrepreneurial development and social advancement.

Leadership, strategic implementation and attention to detail are core to Liz’s achievements within our Organisation. They say if you want something done, ask a busy person. Liz is just that person. Her long involvement with Ferns Drama Group and the local GAA is just another example of how experienced she is at keeping things running in large organisations.

Marking International Women’s Day, it’s timely to highlight the need to have women represented in Sr. Management positions. Women make most of the social and economic decisions for their families and account for the greatest percentage of consumers. Women’s influence, skill and experience needs to be reflected in both the provision and the consumption of business.