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  • Calendar - Submission Deadlines

  • Sector - Fin-Tech Trends Demystified

  • HR Toolkit- Performance Management

- 3 Min Book Summary

  • The Innovators Method by Nathan Furr & Jeff Dyer -click here

  • Services
  • House - Discounts
  • Executive Team
Accountancy & Finance
  • Quarterly P30 - 23rd Apr
  • Quarterly VAT Return - 23rd May

Export Grants
Competitive START Fund
  • Graduate Entrepreneurship -24th Apr
  • Female  Entrepreneurship -15th May
  • Fin-Tech & Deep Tech - 12th June
  • Marine & Ag-Tech -10th July

Innovation Voucher
  • Deadline - 30th May

Export Programme Calls
New Frontiers Phase I
  • Limerick IT - 3rd Apr
  • IT Tralee - 6th Apr
  • Cork IT - 13th Apr

New Frontiers Phase II
  • IT Tallaght - 11th Apr
  • Galway-Mayo IT - 18th May
  • IT Tralee - 29th June
  • Cork IT - 6th July
  • IT Carlow - 10th July
  • Limerick IT - 15th Aug

Business Competitions
  • NDRC - The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition - 25th Apr
  • Seedcorn Competition - 1st June

Regional Enterprise Development Fund
  • Deadline -27th June

Horizon 2020
  • Cluster Facilitated Projects for New Industrial Value Chains - 12th Apr
  • Block-chain & Distributed Ledger Technologies for SME's - 15 May 2018
  • Workplace Innovation Uptake by SME's - 17th Jan 2019
  • European SME Innovation Associate Pilot - 17th Jan 2019

The following represents a small number of EU/National Opportunities - tailored consultations are available!
SECTOR SPOTLIGHT: Fin-Tech Trends Demystified
Fin-Tech can be a complicated sector to master. Technology and Business development is growing at an exponential rate and sometimes it is hard to keep up! If you , like so many others are struggling to demystify this emerging area of business development - read on and obtain an overview of some of the key trends responsible for the explosion of Irish companies in this industry.
Big Data Analytics examines large amounts of data to uncover hidden patterns, correlations and insights – this information may relate to usage patterns, risk, purchasing profiles and many other variables across financial services. The sector has huge volumes of data that can be used to generate deep risk insights; however, this information must be mined securely to ensure compliance with data protection legislation. It must also yield valuable, utilitarian data from complex, interrelated processes.
 Artificial Intelligence (AI), can be defined as systems and processes which gather, perceive information from their environment, understand what it means and act accordingly. Advanced systems also have the ability to learn by themselves and in the last number of years; machine learning, robotics and pattern recognition have benefitted from major advancements. Combining service with automation is fast emerging as a core focus for Financial Services e.g. alert notifications, auto-diallers, automated customer service agents; thus, financial institutions are working toward managing relationships easier and with a degree of personalisation.

It is possible to generate huge volumes of data from various types of connected devices in homes, businesses, automobiles and wearables. The insurance industry in particular, is now starting to use this data to provide for more personalised products and services.

Financial institutions have embraced mobile design as a critical component of their UX and CX strategies. Design Thinking is thus a research approach that is gaining traction in this sector. This is driven by a need to elevate brands, communicate authenticity and engage with customers.

Insur-Tech is expected to see an increase in investment in 2018, as incumbents continue to recognize and prioritize the need to evolve with the market place. Supporting this view, 2016/17 saw the introduction of insurance technology accelerator programmes in London, Silicon Valley and Singapore amongst other locations. 
Reg-Tech is also expected to see an increase in investment in 2017 where big data will be used to ensure proper regulatory reporting (compliant with global prudential & conduct risk requirements).  Deloitte in partnership with Bank of Ireland launched a proof of concept initiative in 2016 to tackle this issue, combining blockchain technology and regulatory reporting.
A block-chain facilitates secure online transactions. Traditionally when transacting money/stocks/valuable information, people have had to rely on intermediaries to perform the validation process (e.g. authentication and record keeping). This process is to ensure that the same value/unit is not spent more than once. It takes time, is open to security issues and has associated administration. Block-chain moves away from a central administrator (e.g. bank, government, accountant) to a distributed model of databases/ledgers, all synchronized via the internet, visible to all within
the network. It is a collaborative verification process and records transactions across many computers, allowing participants to verify and audit transactions in a cost-effective manner, minimizing data uncertainty. Block-chain significantly reduces the risks that come with data being stored centrally via an intermediary – hacking etc.
RPA is a solution, which often incorporates artificial intelligence - to capture, process and store vast amounts of data. RPA is helping to redefine back-office functions in financial service industries, eliminating human intervention in repetitive, time-consuming tasks.

 Cyber Security is seen as one of the top risks for financial institutions owing to technological trends (cloud computing, data analytics, mobile device, financial technology and the IoT) increasing the exposure to cyber risk.
Ireland is cognisant of this, whereby the Central Bank of Ireland published a Cross Industry Guidance in respect of Information Technology and Cybersecurity Risks in September 2016. Furthermore, it is a key consideration for the private industry also- whereby the PwC FinTech Study 7 showed that 54% of IFS companies rated information security as a viable threat to the FinTech industry.
 Many European regulatory changes and directives from Central Banks have been initiated as a direct result of the financial crisis in 2008. An example of this is Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) - this regulatory directive forces banks to offer their data through Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) to trusted third parties, such as Stripe. It is expected to bring increased investor interest in complementary technologies, such as data and analytics. There is concern regarding regulatory mandates and the implications that this will have on technology integration (i.e. what can and cannot be actioned). As a result, legislative bodies have begun to introduce sandbox initiatives that are enabling the prototype testing of technologies in specific environments with certain regulatory ease. However, it is now not simply enough to have technical capability, one must also have domain expertise in order to navigate the legislative limitations.

Performance Management
  • Have you undertaken staff performance reviews in the last 12 months?
  • Do you have KPI's for your Staff?
  • Do staff understand their respective roles and how that links to business goals?

Make 2018 the year of goal setting - my not follow this practical step by step guide to performance management reviews!

  1. Determine what the role/job output should be - break it down weekly, monthly or quarterly (relevant to your business operations and goals)
  2. Hire Based on these goals +/ Evaluate existing jobs
  3. Ask your employee to complete the following document - click here and return to you.
  4. You as line manager will now complete a partner form - click here
  5. Arrange a meeting to discuss variances between both forms, areas for improvement, support and actions moving forward
  6. Set a date for the next review / deadline by which all the actions are to be completed by.
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Alan Carey, Chairman
Bernard Carol, Director
Martina McGrath, CEO
Richard Lennon
Head of Finance


Cathy Walsh - Financial Controller

Rachel O'Callaghan - Business Analyst/ Researcher/ Facilitator

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Yvonne Woods - Account Manager/ Facilitator