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Waterford Local Enterprise Office is ‘Open for Business’ during Local Enterprise Week

Local Enterprise Office Waterford has a large number events planned for Local Enterprise Week, March 6th to 10th, none more important than its ‘Open for Business’ panel discussions.

On Thursday, 9th March 2023, LEO Waterford will host a series of panel discussions looking at Waterford’s future in terms of work, enterprise and innovation. This event will be facilitated by local entrepreneur and well-known presenter Nichola Beresford. Also taking part are some of Waterford’s best-known entrepreneurs, thinkers and policy makers.

This event is intended for a forward-thinking Waterford, a Waterford that is open for business, attracting skills, investment and people. A Waterford that provides opportunities for entrepreneurship while ensuring a quality of life for all, with community at the heart of everything.

Running from 8.30am to 1pm, the event leads off with a panel discuss on ‘Building Waterford’s Future’, discussing the projects and programmes which are being planned and delivered to act as drivers for growth in the region.  The panel includes, Michael Walsh, CEO, Waterford City & County Council, Brian McGee, Regional Development Manager, IDA Ireland, Martin Corkery, Regional Director, Enterprise Ireland and Kathyrn Kiely, Vice President External Affairs, SETU.

This is followed by a discussion on Business Opportunities in Waterford. The panel includes, Conor Walsh, Visor MMC, Mailo Power, Monkey Reusable Products and Liam Dunne, Klearcom, and they will discuss how they saw an opening in the market and successfully changed or developed their offering to create a viable business.

The keynote speaker on the day is Gerry Duffy, of the Gerry Duffy Academy, one of Ireland’s foremost motivational speakers on optimising performance.

Gerry is followed by a panel discussion on innovation and the processes and supports available to increase efficiencies, market share and customer satisfaction in business. It includes, Dermot O’Reilly, Zenith Consulting, Ronan Cleary, Eagle Dreams and Sheila Gallogly, Marla.

The final panel of the day will discuss the Evolution of the Workforce. How employees play a major role in the success of business. This panel will discuss the shifts in hiring trends, remote work changes and employee expectations, and includes Feargal O’Neill, Alternative Thinking Processes for Organisations (ATPO), Ria White, Ria White HR & Training and Oren Byrne, Totem.

There is no doubt that the world of business is evolving at a rapid pace. Now the challenge is to prepare for what happens next or, maybe even more importantly, to be proactive in ensuring that our futures are the ones we want.

This seminar will look at Waterford’s plans for the next 5 – 10 years and examine what we can do, in the here and now to support that vision and develop a Waterford that promotes investment in ourselves and in others.

To register for this or any of the Local Enterprise Week events taking place in Waterford city and county from March 6th to 10th, or if you would like to find out more about what business support services are available visit

Photo:  Local Enterprise Office staff launching Enterprise Week.

Brid Kirby – Senior Enterprise Development Officer, David Walsh – Acting Senior Enterprise Development Officer, Maureen Fitzsimmons – Assistant Business Advisor & Kevin Higgins – Enterprise Administrator

Online is key to Finders Keepers growth

“The Trading Online Voucher gave us the means to build this fantastic website.”

Lisa Connolly and Luke Marsh are the founders and owners of Finders Keepers in Waterford City. While her background is in fashion and textile design, Lisa developed a love for retail when working abroad with her partner Luke, “I loved the experience of walking through the doors into someone’s shop and seeing how they have imagined their space.”

Finders Keepers is based in Waterford City, offering unique gift & homeware products and ideas. “We signed the lease on an old butcher shop in September 2017 and opened the door to Finders Keepers in November! My amazing little sister Beth joined us later that month & has been working with us since. A small family run business through and through!”

Following their opening they were very active on social media. They didn’t have the funds to advertise so it was their only way of promoting the business. “I was really just doing this with the idea of people from Waterford in my mind. I wanted them to come into town and find our shop. But our community quickly grew outside of Waterford. Our following was growing and suddenly we had customers in all parts of Ireland. But it was very frustrating, not having a website.”

Lisa met with the Local Enterprise Office in Waterford, who recommended a ‘Trading Online Voucher’ in order to get to the next phase of growth for Finders Keepers. “We found local web designers Transpose Digital. They were absolute pros and really worked hard with us to achieve the vision we had. If we were going to build a website, it needed to be done right and to a standard that could sit alongside with some of the bigger retailers. The TOV gave us the means to build this fantastic website.”

A Trading Online Voucher (TOV) is a financial incentive developed by the Local Enterprise Office for small businesses with no more than 10 employees, less than €2m turnover and who have been trading for at least 6 months. This voucher is designed to stimulate the applicant business to develop their online trading presence. The voucher is administered through your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and takes the form of matched funding where the maximum amount payable will be €2,500 or 50% of the eligible cost (whichever is the lesser), exclusive of VAT.

They launched the website in November 2019, just a few months before the pandemic. “I was never so grateful for the website during this time. We were suddenly busier than ever before. It was a crazy time. I live less than 1km from the shop so could walk here each day and continue dispatching orders. It was a hugely challenging time, taking on such a workload alone but our business grew exponentially.”

Fast forward to today, they have just moved into a new premises on Michael Street in the City, that is much bigger. They have a whole floor in the building dedicated to online and have built a studio for photoshoots to improve their digital offering on the website and through social media. The aim is to continue to grow the website within Ireland but start moving into the European market.

“Our bricks and clicks business model is working very well. I don’t think you can have one without the other. On a day where it may be quiet in town, our website will pick up the slack. We also have a large customer base from Waterford City who may be time poor and will use our click and collect service, ensuing their gift is wrapped and paid for on collection. It works very well.”

Irish consumers spend around €850,000 per hour, 24 hours a day online. With the trend ever increasing towards online spending it is estimated that only 30% of small Irish businesses are engaged in any meaningful way in e-Commerce sales. For businesses employing less than ten people this percentage could be even lower. It is now believed that of online purchases made in Ireland that 70% of these are done in overseas markets.

Applicants interested in a Trading Online Voucher can now apply online using a link on Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office website. Those wishing to avail of a voucher, must attend an obligatory information seminar. At each seminar attendees will be informed of the purpose of the scheme and how best to use and get value from the application of the voucher. You can book the next information seminar via the website.

Please reach out to your local LEO team by emailing if you any questions in relation to your application, quotes or Information Seminar.

Finders Keepers can be reached by

Call for supply of Waterford corporate gifts

The Local Enterprise Office is making a public call out on behalf of Waterford City & County Council, seeking expression of interest to supply corporate gifts

Every year the Council presents dozens of corporate gifts to dignitaries visiting our City and County. The gifts are also brought when Waterford officials are visiting other countries on behalf of the county. Corporate gifts representing our heritage have travelled all over the world, in recent times to countries such as Germany, Spain, Norway, Ukraine and China.

At the launch of the appeal, Honor Dunphy of Corporate Services with Waterford City and County Council elaborated on the importance of these gifts, “These are more than just token gifts presented to visitors, they are expected to be a representation of what is best about our City and County. The wealth of heritage that comes with the Waterford name and its international prominence makes the choice of these corporate gifts extremely important. They travel all over the world and are given to only the most influential guests. We take it very seriously and expect our suppliers to also.”

The procurement of these gifts by Waterford City and County Council is not only an honour for the suppliers, but it can also be a lucrative source of income and international publicity. Brid Kirby of the Local Enterprise Office Waterford explains what it entails, “Waterford’s craft and design industry has a rich heritage but is also currently extremely vibrant. We at the LEO have a wide range of local craft clients with international reputations and renown. But we are aware that there might be other businesses not on our radar who could fulfil this requirement. We wish to cast the net wide and see what is on offer.

“We are looking for a range of non-perishable corporate gifts which represent our county at its best to be given to visiting dignitaries or brought abroad as gifts on civic trips.”

The Department of Corporate Services will ultimately select which local suppliers will provide this service, but for now the Local Enterprise Office is seeking expressions of interest from Waterford businesses who think they have product which would be suitable.

  • Simply visit Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office website and click!YGLZG0 where you can submit your expression of interest to be a supplier of corporate gifts for Waterford City and County Council.
  • Expression of Interest forms must be completed via the link by 5pm on Monday January 30th

All completed Expression of Interest Forms will be reviewed and applicants will be contacted by early February whether or not they have been successful. All successful applicants will get to pitch their products in late February.

Any questions can be directed to Jamie Whitty in the Local Enterprise Office by phone call on 051 849905 or email


LEO Waterford hosts networking event for clients at Mount Congreve

The Local Enterprise Office Waterford held a networking event for its clients recently at Mount Congreve Garden on Thursday December 15th. The purpose of the event was to celebrate grant recipients in 2022.

One of the many business services the Local Enterprise Office makes available is the allocation of Priming Grants, a business start-up grant available to micro-enterprises within the first 18 months of start-up. Expenditure is considered for capital items, salary costs, general overhead costs and innovation / marketing costs.

Jacqui Gaule, Acting Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Waterford explained the importance of the LEO, “In 2022 Local Enterprise Office Waterford continued to provide a range of supports to help small business get off the ground, overcome challenges, hire new staff, fund innovation, manage various challenges and plan for the future. The range of supports on offer from the Local Enterprise Office will help anyone seeking to start or grow a small business through highly practical services such as professional business and management training, mentoring, networking opportunities, finance and much more.”

As of 2022, the Local Enterprise Offices network supports over 38,000 jobs across over 7,000 LEO client companies all over Ireland. Since the LEOs were established in 2014 their clients have created over 18,000 jobs in small businesses across the country.


Coffeehouse Lane wins inaugural Waterford Digital Awards

Overall Winner
Michael Quinn – Waterford Council, Tommy O’Connor – Coffeehouse Lane, Cllr. John O’Leary – Mayor, Brid Kirby – LEO

Waterford Local Enterprise Office, together with Waterford City and County Council are pleased to announce Coffeehouse Lane as their first Waterford Digital Awards Overall Winner.

The ceremony, which took place at Dooley’s Hotel on Friday 28th October, aimed to recognise and reward SMEs based in County Waterford who have developed their ecommerce and digital platforms as part of their product offering.

Coffeehouse Lane, the overall winner, is an Artisan Coffee roaster and producer with strong Waterford roots. It is owned by the Bergin family and run by Mark Bergin. Its range of coffees is not just inspired by its name, but also by the ethos of coffee roasting and brewing back to 1690 when Coffee House Lane, adjacent to the then busy trading port of Waterford, boasted what is long believed to be Ireland’s first ever coffee house. Green Coffee was traded at the port, then roasted, brewed and sold at John Aikenhead’s Coffee House on what became Coffee House Lane of Waterford.

Mark was obviously delighted to win the award, “When Coffee House Lane started out, we were committed to not only producing Artisan Coffee of the highest quality but also building a business that we had fun working at. We are always open to new ideas and evolving. Any modern retail business needs an effective digital sales and promotions platform. Our website is an extension of our business and our family’s attitude to our work. We’re thrilled to win this, the first Waterford Digital Awards trophy and would like to thank the team at the Local Enterprise Office who have helped us grow and grow, for many years now.”

The winners of each award category were:

  1. Best Business to Business Website – NC Consulting & Co.
  1. Best Business to Customer Website – Coffeehouse Lane
  1. Best E Commerce Website – Murphy Larkin Timber Products Ltd.
  1. Best Export Website – Herdsy
  1. Best in social media – Pepper Hustle

The winner of each category received €1,000 towards technical advice, photography, videography and marketing. The overall winner received €2,500 in cash.

Jacqui Gaule, Senior Enterprise Development Officer with Local Enterprise Office Waterford was extremely impressed with the standard of entries, “For the past number of years the Local Enterprise Offices have been promoting the importance of online sales. Though even we didn’t realise how high the bar had been set. The judges spent much longer than expected debating and deliberating on who should win each category, let alone the overall prize.

“Through training and Trading Online Vouchers many of our clients have transitioned to include digital sales and promotional platforms. This development has reaped financial rewards for many, while these awards are an opportunity to give them some public acclaim also.”

For further information follow this link, contact LEO Waterford at 051 849905 or email