Peter O’Dwyer casts an eye over the nominated firms in the emerging category in the Cork Company of The Year Awards 2016.
West Cork firm Global Shares targeting global equity administration market
With a decade of experience under its belt, an innovative company based out of West Cork has major growth plans for the coming years as it looks to capture a bigger share of the equity administration market.
Clonakilty-based Global Shares is a leading software-as-a-service company that develops cloud-based solutions for corporate clients to manage their employee share plans.
The self-styled “Google of West Cork” boasts a staff of 80 employees across a network of offices that spans the globe from London to New York and California to Brazil.
The software firm exports 98% of its business to more than 150 private and public companies including US giant Cargill, Mexico’s Corona and China Trust.
Closer to home Kerry Group also uses its software.
If client testimonies are anything to go by, Global Shares appears more than worthy of its Cork Company of the Year nomination.
“Global Shares are highly educated, they are very accurate, they know what they are talking about and they care about what they do,” Cargill global process manager, Clinton Shoap says.
One of the company’s major calling cards is its one-stop web-based solution that eliminates paperwork and reduces the risk of manual errors.
Having started as a service-only company in 2005, Global Shares management quickly realised that such a business model was unsustainable.
In 2009, company chief executive Tim Houstoun along with a number of employees and original investors bought out the company’s original founders at a time when the business was at a fork in the road.
Its major transformation kicked into gear four years ago, however, as an increased focus on innovation and in-house R&D pointed the way to sustainability and led to the development of the customer-orientated IT solution it offers today.
With an improved product the company’s focus on marketing itself and attracting new clients has helped set it apart from competitors in an industry traditionally poor at selling its wares.
Its “groundbreaking” team of marketers target equity plan managers worldwide - something the company says shows its global potential to scale.
Achieving that growth is the main priority for Mr Houstoun who says the recognition of Cork Chamber is an honour the company’s staff will enjoy.
“Global Shares is very excited and honoured to be selected as a finalist in the Cork Chamber Company of the Year Awards 2016.
"The team and I are determined to make Global Shares a world-class company and we are looking forward to an exciting year of strong growth ahead, bringing us closer to realising our vision to be the leading global provider of equity software for our industry,” says Mr Houstoun.
“We are very proud of our Cork heritage and the calibre of our employees — a winning combination.
Cork's Teamwork aims to facilitate better communication and productivity among teams
Having been among the finalists in last year’s Cork Company of the Year Awards and with a 100% increase in staff since then, it’s a case of on the double all round for Teamwork.com as it vies for the SME title again in 2016.
Founded in 2007 and based in Blackpool, Teamwork aims to do exactly what it says on the tin: facilitate better communication and productivity among teams.
It’s an approach that has yielded impressive results, with the past year among its best to date.
Last year alone, the company developed its third product, Teamwork Desk, to make dealing with customer enquiries easier for its clients.
Along with its productivity tool, Teamwork Projects, and Teamwork Chat which looks to improve communication, its third product rounds out its suite of software offerings.
Each of its products integrate seamlessly and serve to enhance the performance of teams by coordinating both processes and people simultaneously.
As well as bringing its third product to market, 2015 also saw the team double in size to more than 40 employees.
Coupled with this development was a doubling in the company’s office space.
The icing on the cake came by way of the company having its best ever year in terms of revenue.
Back for another crack at the Chamber awards, Teamwork’s staff are again delighted to be among the finalists in the SME category, according to co-founder Peter Coppinger.
“We were thrilled to be nominated as finalists for this great award.
"Being recognised by your peers is a great honour and something we are very proud of Cork has become very influential as a global tech hub,” Mr Coppinger said.
Another major achievement last year saw Disney come on board as a client to join the list of 370,000 companies across 150 countries using its software.
With more than two million projects managed to date, the company which has been 100% bootstrapped since its inception looks on course to continue its emergence over the coming years.
Its success allows it to continue investing in its people and practices as it heads into its next phase of growth which should see it facilitate better teamwork among an ever-growing number of employees across the world.
Irish International Trading Corporation has almost 100 years experience serving Cork
Among the multitude of modern companies named as finalists for this year’s awards, one traditional Cork powerhouse stands alone vying for the title.
Irish International Trading Corporation (IITC) has almost 100 years experience serving the people of Cork and having weathered not just the last downturn but all that have gone before it, the company is looking towards the coming years with renewed vigour.
IITC— founded on the Grand Parade before moving to Rocksavage/Anglesea Street and subsequently relocating to its current premises on Tramore Road in 2002— is one of the country’s leading wholesalers of hardware, steel, plumbing materials and bathroom supplies.
As an established name in the south of the country, IITC opened a Dublin depot in 1990 to service the midlands and northern parts
Its supplier list includes some of Ireland’s largest and most successful companies such as Dairygold Co-Op, Kerry Group and Glanbia while it also sells to hardware merchants across the country.
“We are honoured to be selected as finalist in the SME category for Cork Company of the Year by the Cork Chamber of Commerce.
"IITC has a long history and association with Cork business,” says finance director, David Heffernan.
“Getting to the final is recognition of the commitment and achievements of the excellent people who have worked for IITC.
"It is also a great motivator to everyone to carry on that tradition of hard work to achieve and exceed the ambitious plans we have for the company.”
Those plans include increasing its headcount to over 100 employees in 2016 having successfully avoided compulsory redundancies over the last number of years.
For a company that cares about its employees, it ranks as one of IITC’s proudest achievements.
Traditional as its business may be, innovation is nonetheless top of its priorities as management look to grow into the future.
IITC has continuously adapted and changed throughout its long history and with a strong focus on upskilling staff and a modernisation of IT and communication systems, the company is merging new and old to maintain its long and distinguished history.
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