Meet the finalists of the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2019: SME category

Meet the finalists of the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2019: SME category
Mike Ryan of the Cornstore Restaurant

In the second part of a four-part series looking at finalists for the Cork Company of the Year Awards 2019, Pádraig Hoare casts an eye over those competing in the SME category.

Business services firm ProStrategy 'at cutting edge of It since 1985'

ProStrategy says it has been leading the way in IT developments long before Cork reinvented itself as a region for technology — with more than 30 years of experience in the ever-evolving field.

The Fermoy-based firm has more than 200 customers that look to it for guidance for technology investments.

That’s a testament to the longevity of the ProStrategy team, which managing director John Coleman is quick to laud.

Managing director of ProStrategy, John Coleman
Managing director of ProStrategy, John Coleman

He said: “As we continue to grow, we are thankful to our 200 customers for their support and loyalty over many years. And of course, without a talented and hard-working team, we would not have been able to achieve our success to date.”

ProStrategy is committed to delivering business technology services that exceed customers’ expectations, Mr Coleman said.

With 200 customers, experience and depth of knowledge are what makes the difference, he said.

“We have a team of 55-plus highly skilled and experienced professionals with many years of experience that help our customers achieve their business objectives and maximise their investment in business technology,” he said.

The firm focuses on retail, consumer goods, pharmaceutical, wholesale distribution, manufacturing, insurance, and financial and professional services.

According to the firm, ProStrategy continues its long tradition of delivering leading global services from IBM and Microsoft, which help customers boost their investments in technology and ultimately, helps them to make better decisions to grow and improve their business.

Mr Coleman said: “We focus on analytics, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. ERP and CRM gather increasing amounts of data as businesses automate and streamline their processes and increasingly digitally engage with their customers.

“Our analytics team help our customers to harness their data and provide the tools and guidance to use that data to plan, monitor, and manage their business.”

Having recently announced expansion plans for 50 new jobs over the next few years, the company aims to become the leading provider in Ireland for data analytics, ERP, and CRM software services.

Its head office in Fermoy hosts half of its staff, with the remainder based in its Citywest office in Dublin.

To be recognised in the SME category for the Cork Company of the Year Awards is testament to the team working at ProStrategy, as well as the loyalty of its customers, Mr Coleman said.

“ProStrategy are honoured for being recognised as a leading SME IT technology company in the Cork region by Cork Chamber.

“We look forward to continuing being part of Cork Chamber and wish all the nominees for these awards the very best of luck,” he said.

‘Innovative’ O’Flynn Medical plans further growth from Millstreet

O’Flynn Medical is one of north Co Cork’s indigenous business stories, having established itself as a prominent player in the medical supplies market.

Having started with two employees in 2000, the firm now employs almost 30 people, and it has plans to grow even more this year and in future years.

Those people work across multiple disciplines.

Managing director of O'Flynn Medical, Tadhg O'Flynn
Managing director of O'Flynn Medical, Tadhg O'Flynn

Based in the north Cork town of Millstreet, O’Flynn Medical sells, rents, services, and decontaminates a wide range of medical equipment.

It is now one of Ireland’s leading suppliers of medical equipment, supplying hospitals, care facilities, and private homes.

From its roots in Millstreet, it now has operations across Ireland and the UK.

O’Flynn Medical says it is going from strength to strength.

The firm says it is constantly innovating, aiming to be a leader in its field for medical supply producers.

A major product offering of the firm is the ScrubEx, an automated textile management product that offers an effective “scrubs management” system that helps cut the costs for businesses.

It also operates a purpose-built decontamination facility where goods are fully cleaned, tested, and packed.

The firm has also recently installed what it describes as a new, innovative whole room disinfection system.

As well as Millstreet, the firm has bases in Dublin, Clonmel, Tralee, and Galway, and sells across Ireland and into Britain.

The firm is currently developing a new website that will help it respond to customers immediately.

It will also be able to execute product profiling, as well as online purchasing and ordering.

The company recently won a HSE tender to supply products to the North-West.

Corporate social responsibility in dealing with the local community forms a big part of O’Flynn Medical’s ethos, it says.

It says it engages with schools’ projects and supports initiatives such as the Tidy Towns competition.

It also offers work experience and sponsors St Vincent de Paul, and supports the St Finbarr’s Hospital Garden Party, the Friends of St Luke’s Annual Dementia Conference, Cork Stroke Recovery and Rehab conference, and Cork Simon.

It has sent equipment to hospitals in Moldova and has assisted in constructing a retreat centre for priests in Zambia.

For the team, being a finalist in the SME category of the Cork Company of the Year Awards is wonderful recognition of the efforts they have made over the years to put O’Flynn Medical in such a position, said managing director Tadhg O’Flynn.

“I’m delighted that the team at O’Flynn Medical is getting the recognition that it deserves. They are exceptional,” he said.

Cornstore restaurant ‘very proud’ to compete in awards

Having recently undergone its biggest and boldest transformation yet, the Cornstore restaurant says it is again raising the standards that made it one of Cork’s most successful restaurants since 2007.

Innovation is the key to the business, according to the firm, which also has a restaurant in Limerick.

However, the key ingredients will always remain the same, according to Cornstore proprietor Mike Ryan.

The restaurant is for those who love good food, great atmosphere, and outstanding service.

He says that the business is ever progressing and evolving.

Based on Cornmarket Street in the heart of the city centre, one of Cork’s traditional and historic areas, the restaurant specialises in premium dry-aged steaks, local seafood, and award-winning cocktails.

Having undergone its biggest transformation and rebranding project since its inception 11 years ago, it now boasts a newly refurbished interior as well as a heated outdoor all-weather terrace to suit the ever-changing consumer trends in the hospitality sector.

According to Mr Ryan, the location and proximity to sourcing local fresh produce for its menus has contributed greatly to the overall ethos of the brand.

“Undoubtedly another key success has been the fabulous team who take personal ownership and pride in the brand, and not to forget its great historic building which also adds to its unique dining ambience and character,” he says.

The Cornstore restaurant opens seven days a week for lunch and dinner with brunch served at weekends.

It serves thousands of customers every week, as well as catering for large corporate events up to 220 people at any given time.

Employing around 50 people, it largely managed to stave off the effects of the recession, employing 40 during the years in the aftermath of 2008.

To be nominated as a finalist in the SME category of the Cork Company of the Year Awards is a testament to the relationship between the team and its loyal customers, Mr Ryan said.

“Our recent rebranding and refurbishment project has been very exciting for all the team, and obviously for me personally, but one of the most gratifying parts for us is to see how much our customers embraced the new look.

“So when I heard about us getting to the final stages for the Cork Chamber’s SME Cork Company of the Year Awards, it was unreal.

“I felt very proud and also delighted for the team as I know how much it will mean to each and every one of them, as a lot of them have been with us on the Cornstore journey for many years.

“We have a lovely story to tell and this will help us to share it with a lot more people in Cork,” Mr Ryan said.

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