SFA and Vodafone Ireland launch campaign to help businesses stay ahead in a changing environment

Monday, 7 January 2019

    • Vodafone Ireland launches ‘Smart Business’ workshops in partnership with the Small Firms Association (SFA)
    • The regional events will take place across five locations: Drogheda, Gorey, Galway, Cork and Limerick

Vodafone Ireland today announces the launch of ‘Smart Business’ regional workshops, in conjunction with the Small Firms Association (SFA), to help Irish businesses grow, scale and succeed in a changing business environment.

The Irish business landscape is changing and these workshops will enable business leaders to have a conversation with HR, business growth experts and peers to help them stay competitive, increase revenue and attract and retain top talent through the adoption of smart working.

Results from a global new rules of business survey, commissioned by Vodafone, showed that 63% of Irish business leaders see customer expectations as the area of most profound change over the last five years. This is followed by changes in the competitive landscape at 50% and talent attraction and retention at 33%.

The survey, of 4,000 business owners across Europe, Asia and the US, also found that Irish businesses have one of the lowest rates of investment in digitisation and technology at 32% compared to the country which invested the most – India at 56%. Ireland has the second highest percentage of firms with between 10 and 499 employees at 44%.

The ‘Smart Business’ series will take place in co-working spaces in the SIRO-powered hub, The Mill, Drogheda, The Hatch Lab, Gorey, Portershed, Galway, The Republic of Work, Cork and BOI Workbench, Limerick between January and April 2019 and coincides with the recent launch of Vodafone’s industry report – The Future of Business: A Conversation with SMEs. Vodafone Ireland and Abodoo will host conversations with attendees on the benefits of smart working for businesses and how it can be introduced across various sectors. Vodafone solutions allow businesses to stay connected to one another, to customers and to data, regardless of location – allowing for this anywhere, anytime smart working.

The SFA will introduce their new engage and grow framework to help companies increase profits and retain top talent. There will also be experts on hand to discuss the HR and technology requirements for making businesses smarter and help transform traditional workplaces into more digital ones.

Treasa Doran, Head of Small Business at Vodafone Ireland, said: “We are delighted to have teamed up with the SFA and Abodoo to host this series of regional workshops to lend our support and expertise and enable consistent growth across the vital SME sector through smarter business practices.

“We believe that smart or flexible working is the next frontier for SMEs. By adapting to new ways of working and using the technology available to them to create more efficient operating models, SMEs can attract and retain top talent, reduce costs and increase productivity. It also has the added benefit of supporting the local economy and decreasing carbon emissions through a reduction in long commuting times for employees.”

Sven Spollen-Behrens of the Small Firms Association said: “The number one issue impacting small businesses is the ability to recruit and retain the right people in a highly competitive labour market. Our regional workshops with Vodafone and Abodoo will help small businesses to future proof their business in a rapidly changing environment. Our recent survey finds that 70% of our members recognise that Smart Working will benefit their business, it improves productivity and enhances employee engagement”.

Additional content on smart working – the combined use of technology with flexibility and agility for employees to work from home or co-working hub or hybrid model – is available at Vodafone.ie/business.


For further information, contact:
Kate O’Neill

Sarah Horgan
Vodafone Ireland

Sven Spollen-Behrens
Small Firms Association
087 1609403


Smart Business Breakfast Series:
    Treasa Doran, Head of Small Business, Vodafone Ireland
    Vanessa Tierney, Abodoo.com
    Marina Bleahan, Small Firms Association
    Experts ‘pods’ will be set up for HR and technology information

Event details:
Breakfast will be served from 7:30am with the events starting at 8am sharp.
    1. The Mill, Drogheda, Thursday 24th January, 7:30 – 9am
    2. The Hatch Lab, Gorey, Friday, 15th February, 7:30 – 9am
    3. Portershed, Galway City, Thursday, 28th February, 7:30 – 9am
    4. The Republic of Work, Cork City, Thursday 21st March, 7:30 – 9am
    5. BOI Workbench, Limerick City, Wednesday, 3rd April, 7:30 – 9am

Vodafone New Rules of Business Research:
Vodafone has undertaken research examining how the traditional rules of business have transformed and how senior decision makers feel their companies and sectors have been affected

Vodafone surveyed nearly 4,000 senior decision makers at SMB and large businesses across 13 counties in the US, EMEA and Asia Pacific

About Vodafone Ireland:
Vodafone is Ireland's leading total communications provider with 2.3 million customers and employs over 2,000 people directly and indirectly in Ireland.

Vodafone provides a total range of communications solutions including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications to consumers and to small, medium and large businesses. Since 2011, Vodafone has expanded its enterprise division, offering integrated next-generation fixed and mobile solutions in addition to cloud-based platforms, machine to machine services and professional ICT support.

Vodafone Group is one of the world's leading international mobile communications groups with mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 49 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. For more information, please visit www.vodafone.ie

About the Small Firms Association

The SFA proudly represents a diverse membership of businesses with less than 50 employees; homegrown and spanning every sector of our economy. Our members can be found in every town and every city in Ireland. Its vision is of Ireland being the most vibrant small business community in the world - supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small businesses and rewarding risk takers. Its mission is to be the trusted partner of small businesses in Ireland, to deliver business-focused advice and insights to member companies, influence government policy to the benefit of small businesses and connect its members in a thriving community.

SFA will launch the Grow, Scale, Succeed campaign on 10 January 2019 to empower small businesses to find the right people, keep the right people and embrace Smart Working practices to future proof their business and people. Please visit www.sfa.ie for more information.
    About SIRO hubs
    SIRO is a joint venture of ESB and Vodafone which is investing €450 million in building Ireland’s first 100% Fibre-to-the-Building broadband network. In April 2017, the Gigabit Hub Initiative was created by Vodafone and SIRO in order to empower local businesses and communities through connected technologies and to spark a digital revolution in the regions. The initiative is giving business and social hubs two year’s free gigabit connectivity.

    The nine hubs that have received gigabit connectivity to date are Enterprise House (Carlow), Ludgate Hub (Skibbereen), Tralee HQ (Tralee), Dundalk RDC (Dundalk IT), The Mill (Drogheda), Cavan Innovation & Technology Centre (Cavan), Social Gain at Castlemanor Community Centre (Cavan), Irish Manufacturing Research Technology Centre (Mullingar) and The Landing Space (Sligo).