What drives SMEs to suceed

In this week’s column, Kehlan takes a look at the some of the businesses he talked to in 2015. He explores what drives these SMEs to succeed.    

What drives SMEs to suceed

Early on in 2015 I spoke with Ciaran Finnane of Finline Furniture which is based in Emo in Co Laois.

The company was started by his father, but refusing to reduce quality or price during the recession it turned from selling through stores to open its own outlets in Dublin and Cork.

It produces custom-made and high-end furniture.

A new deal includes supplying furniture to a Middle Eastern royal family.

I have to admit to loving the Cool Bean Company a lot.

It was started by Sarah O’Conner and Isolde Johnson.

It makes gourmet beans for the consumer market.

It started as a throwback to the comfort food of beans on toast that many of would have had as kids.

“We just love beans,” Sarah told me. “Beans are so good for you as well.”

They are experimenting with all kinds, including lentils and cannellini.

Parameter Space is a UCD spin-off developed by Professor Lorraine Hanlon and Dr Sheila McBreen to disseminate data from space missions and exploratory satellites.

The data will be open to ‘citizen scientists’ and academic scientists and may help to uncover new information to help understand our planet.

Movidius this year raised one of the largest venture capital investment rounds, attracting over $40m (€36.7m) in funding.

The company develops silicon chips for visual processing units that aim to improve human vision — by using virtual reality and robotics.

The investment will allow the company to scale-up and move from developing to bringing new products to a wider market.

Along with the investment, the firm announced plans to create 100 jobs over the next few years.

It is looking out for high-end engineers and integrated circuit designers.

Nova Broadband in June announced plans to expand outside Munster.

Then it announced it would be connecting customers with the ultra high-speed Hibernia Line, the undersea cable connecting New York and London via Ireland.

David McDonald said it wanted to change the way everybody everywhere receives broadband and it needed its own standalone network to do that.

It transmits a wireless signal through masts for customers simply to tap into the broadcast at their homes or businesses.

Expect to see Nova Broadband gain more of a national foothold in the coming year.

The products of East Coast Bakehouse are not even on our shelves, but the company is already making waves.

In the early part of 2016 Ireland will welcome a new biscuit range from the East Coast Bakehouse, based in Drogheda.

The management is made up of former Jacob’s employees.

Daragh Monahan said: “I’ve had 20 years inside the FMCG market and developed a number of key relationships within that time.

"We’ll be making our brands but store label brands as well. So while we don’t have a product on the physical shelf, we have commitments already”.

MicksGarage.com is one of Ireland’s e-commerce success stories. MicksGarage.com sells more than 5m car parts for all sorts of makes and models of cars.

The story began in 2003 when it took over three months before it secured a single online order. It now ships 18,000 parts to 70 different countries and sells over €11m in products.

It launched MicksBikeParts to target the motorcycle market.

Kieran Crean, co-founder of MicksGarage.com, told me it plans to go “pan-European”.

FoodCloud connects supermarkets with local charities so that food, which ordinarily would be thrown out, can be given to people who can use it.

This social enterprise is the work of Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien. Supermarkets and local charities are connected through an app.

France recently made it illegal for supermarkets to throw out usable food and the EU Commission is mulling over something similar.

SurgaColl earlier this month was shortlisted for the Medtech Awards in the emerging medtech company category.

A Royal College of Surgeons spin-out company, SurgaColl has developed Hydroxyicoll which can replace lost or damaged bone in the bodies of people or animals.

It hit the headlines this year when it helped repair the jawbone of a thoroughbred horse.

It promises to change forever the treatment of fractures and breaks.

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