A look at some of the Cork Company of the Year Awards nominees

In the third part of a four-part series looking at finalists for the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2018, Pádraig Hoare casts an eye over those competing in the Large category.

Fast-growing software firm Teamwork.com held in high esteem

Teamwork.com CEO Peter Coppinger said all at the operational software firm are delighted to be nominated.
Teamwork.com CEO Peter Coppinger said all at the operational software firm are delighted to be nominated.

Teamwork.com, in its own words, provides a suite of operational software to help run businesses — while that may technically be true, its modest appraisal of itself disguises the esteem in which it is held not just in Ireland, but all over the world.

The Blackpool-based firm has become one of the greatest success stories ever to come out of Cork since beginning life 10 years ago in the hands of college friends Peter Coppinger and Dan Mackey.

Teamwork.com is leading the way for SaaS, which is a software distribution model where a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the internet. Put in lay terms, the firm provides a suite of operational software to help run businesses.

In the 10 years since its foundation, Teamwork.com has built three products with 20,000 paying customers across 183 companies.

Some of its clients are global household names. Disney, PayPal and eBay are among those who sought out the services of Teamwork.com.

As its reputation mushrooms, so has its workforce. Since 2014 the company has been growing 40% year on year with the exception of 2017, where growth hit 50%.

Teamwork.com is set to grow operations to more than 400 by 2020.

Having won in the SME category in 2016, Teamwork.com is hoping to mirror its business growth by taking top prize in the Large category of Cork Chamber’s Company of the Year Awards.

For CEO Peter Coppinger, reliving the excitement of 2016 is at the front of his mind.

“We’re hugely excited to be in the running to win the award for Cork’s Large Company of the Year. Two years ago, we won the award for small company and it’s crazy to think we’ve grown so much that now we fall into this category. Awards like these are so important for the business community in Cork to be able to share in each other’s successes and even to learn a little bit more about others businesses. It’s always a great night and we’re delighted to be nominated,” he said.

Teamwork.com has also become synonymous with giving back to the community that helped it grow to new heights. One such policy is committing 1% of profits to charities and good causes. Money is divided between teams of staff who then contribute to the causes of their choice. Recipients have included Cork Simon, Bumbleance, Cork Penny Dinners, and Marymount.

Helping startups to get off the ground is also firmly in the ethos of Teamwork.com. In 2016, it began a programme called Teamwork Catalyst where its old office space is given over to startups in the SaaS model, with no payment required.

All that is asked of the startups is that they give their best and work hard — after all, Teamwork.com says, we started the exact same way.

MSL putting quality of Cork engineering on the European map

The quality of Cork engineering has always been of the very best standard — thanks to the likes of MSL Engineering, countries all around Europe are finding out why.

MSL Engineering is a Watergrasshill-based mechanical engineering contractor with multinational clients, working across a wide range of industry sectors.

Founded in 1979, MSL specialises in the fabrication and installation of process, utility and high purity pipework, platforms and steelwork and equipment installation across many industry sectors such as pharmaceutical, biopharma, chemical, oil and gas, power generation and utilities, food and beverage, data centres, transport infrastructure, medical devices, process drainage, and recently, fire protection.

It now employs 200 and has a 22,000 sq ft workshop fabrication facility.

By identifying and investing in new business processes, in the last three years, MSL has significantly increased turnover and expanded its area of operation to include the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Sweden.

MSL’s commitment to delivering the very highest standards in workmanship, safety, quality and reliability has driven it to excel in the industry, winning major industry awards along the way.

To be recognised by Cork Chamber in the Large category of the Company of the Year Awards would be very special, according to managing director Maurice McGrath.

He said: “We are delighted to be selected as one of only three finalists in the Large Company of the Year category for 2018. This is a tremendous endorsement by an independent panel of judges of MSL’s continuous improvement and success.

“It is recognition of our significant achievements and awards in recent years, growing our client base, our workforce, production facilities and range of services and delivering engineering excellence to our multi-national clients throughout Ireland, the UK, Belgium, Holland, Sweden and Switzerland.”

It is that mix of young talent and invaluable experience that has driven MSL Engineering on, he added. “We are fortunate to have an excellent mix of young, talented engineering professionals and experienced proven achievers driving the company forward, and we look forwarded to continuing this momentum into the future from our base here in Cork.” 

Giving back to the community is something that MSL Engineering prides itself on, with investments in charities, green initiatives and supporting sporting organisations and events such as GAA clubs and the Whitegate triathlon.

Working in industries that are inherently hazardous, the business has for a long time taken an uncompromised standing on safety, with its commitment lauded in the industry and beyond — it has had 1.7 million hours in the past five years without a single lost-time accident.

Poppulo looking to win Large after SME success nine years ago

CEO and founder of Cork software company Poppulo, formerly known as Newsweaver, Andrew O’Shaughnessy. Picture: Miki Barlok
CEO and founder of Cork software company Poppulo, formerly known as Newsweaver, Andrew O’Shaughnessy. Picture: Miki Barlok

It was nine years ago when employee communications software specialist Poppulo won in the SME category for Cork Chamber’s Company of the Year Awards. In 2018, it aims to trump that glorious win, only in the Large category.

For Poppulo, known as Newsweaver in 2009, the fact that it is in the final three of the Large category should be encouragement for all startups that growth and success is not only possible, but recognised and lauded when it happens.

With clients like sporting behemoth Nike, confectionary giant Nestlé, consumer giant Unilever, and legendary motor brand Rolls-Royce, the Cork company is truly a world-class band.

Poppulo, based in Cork Airport Business Park, is critical to many of the world’s biggest and most successful organisations for effective communication and engagement with employees.

Its unique software measures and analyses the impact of communications to tens of millions of employees every day, across multiple countries and continents, time zones and digital channels, ensuring they are aligned to and achieving business goals.

It ensures companies such as Nestlé and Rolls-Royce can solve complex communication challenges easily, ultimately increasing employee engagement and financial performance.

It has doubled in size over the past 18 months, growing to 160 employees. Most of the staff are based in Cork, with the rest in Boston and Australia. Poppulo chief executive and founder Andrew O’Shaughnessy said it was a wonderful honour to once again be in the running for a prestigious Cork Chamber Company of the Year Award.

“When we decided to target the employee communications industry we had one ambition, and that was to be the best in the world — producing ground-breaking technology from a sector-leading company based in Cork,” he said.

Mr O’Shaughnessy added: “Five years on, we’ve done that. But while that’s very satisfying, and we’re very focused and working hard to achieve even greater things, it’s a huge honour to be shortlisted for this award in Cork, where there are so many brilliant companies doing tremendous work. Just look at the calibre of everybody on the shortlist, and the winners in previous years.

“I also believe our nomination is important for startups to give them the encouragement to keep going, as nine years ago we were shortlisted in the small company category and here we are today in the large one, as a global leader with many of the world’s biggest brands as clients.”

Community outreach and social responsibility is vital for Poppulo. Initiatives include pro bono accounts for 25 charities so they can have the best communication tools, while its commitment to science, technology, engineering and maths and art initiatives has been a key focus.

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