GRAPEVINE: Cork TAB selects company owners for elite alternative boards; plus other business news

Business owners in Cork are being cherry-picked to join The Alternative Board (TAB) Cork.
GRAPEVINE: Cork TAB selects company owners for elite alternative boards; plus other business news
Donagh Kiernan, CEO of Tenego Partnering, is inviting a selection of business owners to join The Alternative Board (TAB) Cork.

Business owners in Cork are being cherry-picked to join a group in which they will advise and support each other’s companies, aided by The Alternative Board (TAB) Cork.

TAB Cork was recently formed by Donagh Kiernan, founder and CEO of Tenego Partnering as well as a founder director of the National Software Centre, based in Mahon, Cork.

Many will be familiar with how Tenego Partnering helps technology companies to develop their sales internationally by forming alliances with companies already successfully operating in their target markets.

TAB Cork is a very different but also complementary venture to Tenego. It is part of TAB Ireland, which has more than 70 members and boards operating across Ireland.

And TAB Ireland is part of The Alternative Board, a global organisation formed in the US some 30 years ago and now supporting business owners in 21 countries worldwide.

Membership of TAB is by invitation-only. Every business owner on each eight-member board brings a different experience to boost the board’s collective strength.

TAB Cork will support local business owners, bringing them together into monthly advisory boards, as well as monthly one-to-one coaching meetings.

“I have launched TAB Cork to support Cork-based business owners, of all business types, to meet their business and personal goals,” said Donagh Kiernan. “I continue to lead Tenego’s growth in supporting tech companies around the world, with sales channel development consulting, execution services and Tenego Academy online training.

“Companies are going through a period of great change at the moment, and how they adapt to that change is imperative,” he adds. “TAB Cork brings business owners on a monthly basis, and the participants become their own advisory boards.

“The way that it works is that if a business owner brings a major issue to the table, the other business owners questions them and they go around the table and between them they try to resolve the issue.

“Each person on the eight-member board brings a lot of value, from legal and financial and across all sectors of business. There is also one-to-one coaching.”

Business owners come to TAB Cork with different expectations and different goals. Over 30 years, one key shared view of the outcomes is that participants end up not just with a better business, but also with a better personal life.

This is because creating better work-life balance is a key part of the experience. TAB’s model gives business owners 2% of their month “to work on their business, not in their business”.

PJ Timmins, former CEO of department store Clerys, brought and launched TAB in Ireland in 2013; see: He was also a peer board member when at Clerys. TAB’s Irish head office is based in Classon House, Dundrum Business Park, Dublin.

Donagh Kiernan says TAB is not a network, it is an alternative board. TAB has a suite of business tools that underpin its group approach to solving business issues and its individual coaching sessions.

One good example is the TAB Business Builders’ Blueprint, which it describes as “an MRI for your business”. This blueprint starts with a business diagnostic and works towards the individual’s key personal goals, such as the wish to inspire a team, to leave a legacy, to afford a better lifestyle or altruistic goals.

“Membership in The Alternative Board is exclusively by invitation, and the standards are high,” said Donagh Kiernan. “Over the coming months, I am building my first TAB boards of forward-thinking Cork-based business owners, of any business type, to help them meet their personal and business goals.

“Participating business owners will bring vast experience in business planning built up over years, experience in talent development. We talk regularly, we get advice, directions and feedback.

“With TAB Cork, we are looking for progressive business owners, people who can bring something to the board. We want people who can both bring something and gain something. It’s not all about size. You may be someone who is doing less than €1m in business a year, but still have progressive ideas.

“I have run similar things in the past, but the structure of TAB really feels like it fits well with the Tenego Academy, and it ties in with IT@Cork and with the NSC. Plus, through TAB Connect, we connect with members all over the world.”

The Alternative Board was set up in 1990 by Allen Fishman. He realised that his non-executive directors had been of enormous value in bringing his company public. Having sold his business in USA to the Dixons Group, he was driven by the passion to make that kind of experience of the non-executive board accessible to all business owners who were serious about achieving greater personal and business success.

Mr Fishman also realised that when his personal and business lives were in balance, it made him happier and more successful in his role as an entrepreneur.

TAB has helped over 30,000 business owners to improve their businesses and their personal lives. TAB was launched in Ireland in 2013.

“Each participant in the TAB groups each brings an expertise and all participants help one another to achieve their goals,” said Donagh Kiernan.

“Many of these companies already have the familiar advisory board format with non-executive directors, but they often feel that they are reporting to the board rather than getting support.

“The TAB model is about the business and the business owners, it’s about helping them to have a better business and a better life.

“It’s a model that has been proven to work over 30 years, with operations in USA, Latin America, Germany and indeed all over Europe.”

Gavin Patterson, president and CEO Salesforce International.
Gavin Patterson, president and CEO Salesforce International.

New Salesforce board to lead global growth

CRM services provider Salesforce has appointed an advisory board of senior international business leaders as part of its ongoing expansion strategy in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The EMEA was the company’s fastest-growing region last year. The new board, which will meet quarterly, is led by Alex Dayon, chairman of the Salesforce advisory board. The board’s members have all previously led major corporations from industries, including consumer goods, insurance, automotive, fashion and technology, and currently also serve as independent directors on corporate boards across a range of companies and industries.

“Tapping into the expertise of an advisory board of this calibre is essential as we navigate the unprecedented challenges that are reshaping our world,” said Gavin Patterson, president and CEO Salesforce International. “The board will provide vital perspective as we work with our customers across EMEA to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare their businesses for the new normal.”

The members of the advisory board are: Stefan Heidenreich (vice-chair), former CEO, Beiersdorf AG; Jayne-Anne Gadhia, former CEO, Virgin Money and founder and executive chair of Snoop; Ana García Fau, chair, Finerge SA and former CEO of Yell Publicidad SA; Harald Krüger, former chair and CEO, BMW AG; Peter Löscher, former CEO, Siemens AG; Guillaume Pepy, former Chairman and CEO, SNCF Group; Francesco Trapani, former CEO, Bulgari; Véronique Weill, general manager, Publicis Groupe SA; Alexander Wynaendts, former CEO and Chairman, Aegon NV.

Micheal Collins, spin-out manager, UCC Innovation.
Micheal Collins, spin-out manager, UCC Innovation.

Collins to build UCC’s links with investors

UCC Innovation has boosted its engagements with Irish venture capitalists and the venture support community by naming Micheal Collins as its new spin-out manager.

Returning to his native Cork from a 15-year stint in EdTech in Asia, Mr Collins will lead the commercialisation of patentable deep tech research through start-ups. UCC sees this as a key area of growth and economic as part of the BRIDGE network including Teagasc and MTU.

Mr Collins began his career as a software developer in Dublin having completed an MSc in Physics and H Dip in Applied Mathematics and Numerical Computing in UCC, and began working on pioneering Irish FinTech and software translation technologies.

Moving to Spain, he became a consultant with PwC and IBM leading to an international career in IT consulting culminating in an MBA from global business school INSEAD.

Starting firms in education, software development and consulting in Singapore, he also led the European Chamber of Commerce and founded the EU ASEAN Business Council.

He volunteered as entrepreneur-in-residence and innovation fellow at INSEAD, and founding an incubator and accelerator for INSEAD start-ups.

Cormac Fitzgerald of accountants Fitzgerald & Partners and the Doing Business in Kinsale group, says businesses will need a grant of at least €10,000 per business in liquidity support in 2020.
Cormac Fitzgerald of accountants Fitzgerald & Partners and the Doing Business in Kinsale group, says businesses will need a grant of at least €10,000 per business in liquidity support in 2020.

Businesses need €10,000 in liquidity support

Small businesses need a dedicated SME task force to accelerate their post-Covid-19 recovery, says Cormac Fitzgerald of accountants Fitzgerald & Partners.

A new report commissioned by the Kinsale-based firm highlights the need among SMEs for a clear staged plan to follow. This would build upon the leadership already shown by the State.

“Tourism needs a more radical stimulus package. Our analysis and data suggests businesses will need a grant of at least €10,000 per business in 2020 in terms of liquidity support linked to employment numbers,” said Cormac Fitzgerald, who is also the founder of the Doing Business in Kinsale collaboration (DBK), which is now in its third year.

“The TWSS Wage subsidy scheme is working well, but some of the other supports can be hard to access. The cost of business closure in terms of impacts to the community are over ten times this number which we need to avoid.”

Stakeholders in Kinsale are currently working on plans to introduce pedestrianisation, walk and cycle lanes and more outdoor seating. These measures were suggested by 90% of respondents to a recent DBK survey.

“There are many measures that have been put in place, all of them well intended,” said Mr Fitzgerald. “What we need now though is a clear short, medium- and long-term plan that will deliver an all of Government and all of society approach to getting our SMEs back to stability with the formation of a SME task force.”

“Now is the time for collaboration and supporting each other. These are difficult times for our town and the tourism sector in general,” he said. “The economic impact on the tourism and hospitality sectors has been catastrophic.

“Timely decisions now need to be made quickly, to enable these sectors and businesses to reboot and recover from this global health crisis and the resultant economic crisis that has unfolded. We look forward to playing our part in the economic recovery and with the appropriate financial and policy stimulus.”

Kinsale has recently had a deep clean and is improving amenities in the locality on a phased basis. The Kinsale Chamber of Tourism comeback marketing campaign is also underway.

Dermot Malone, director of Qsafe, advising businesses on safe reopening.
Dermot Malone, director of Qsafe, advising businesses on safe reopening.

Salons are keen to lead retail reopening

Social distancing solutions provider Qsafe is offering a personalised consultation to help speed up the Covid-focused reopening of retailers and offices.

Wicklow-based Qsafe says hairdressers and beauty services are particularly keen to reopen. The Qsafe team is giving business owners guidance on protecting both staff and customers once they return to normality.

Qsafe has a six-step tailored consultation service to help businesses to identify what they need to do in order to open their premises safely.

These steps cover a site visit, an interview, a walkthrough, a report, a follow-up talk through proposed measures, fit-out and measurement.

Dermot Malone, director of Qsafe, said: “Qsafe has been at the coalface of providing social distancing solutions since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have a flexible and responsive team working in a multitude of environments — retail, industry, business, leisure, court services, hospitals and places of worship. As the country moves to re-open, many business are in need of advice to ensure that they are putting the appropriate measures in place to ensure that they comply with the appropriate guidelines provided by the National Standards Authority of Ireland. Qsafe can help to identify and provide all that you need. “

Qsafe has also just announced the release of their Thermo Checks system. The DAMOC Thermo Check is a contactless and accurate method of temperature measurement, with facial recognition technology built in. Wi-Fi capability allows seamless remote management in high traffic locations.

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