Posted by Jim on January 17, 2024  /   Posted in Blog

Calling all Growing Businesses!

Have you thought about joining a consortium co-operative (with at least two other partners) to enable you to bid for larger contracts?

Cooperative Development Scotland (CDS) wants to talk about this opportunity in its webinar The Consortium Model of Bidding for Bigger Contracts.

The free webinar runs Thursday 29 February 2024, 2-3pm.


About the Webinar

The webinar will cover:

·    The key characteristics of a consortium co-operative

·    Benefits of joining a consortium co-operative

·    How the model is used for tendering

·    The support provided by CDS to businesses seeking to formally collaborate as a consortium co-operative

About Consortium Co-operatives

In a consortium co-operative:

·    Members work together for a common goal while retaining their own brands, identities, and control

·    Members can be limited companies, partnerships or individuals

·    A consortium co-operative works best for three or more businesses (due to the democratic voting nature of a co-operative)

About CDS

·    CDS works to provide support to companies and community groups who want to adopt employee ownership or co-operative business models

·    Co-operative Development Scotland is part of the Inclusive Models Team within Scottish Enterprise

·    This model acts on behalf of all Scotland’s Enterprise agencies (Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise)

A retiring consultant’s advice on consultants

Posted by Jim on September 06, 2023  /   Posted in Blog

How to manage the snake-oil salesmen

From the Economist 06/09/23

A man shaking hands with a management consultant who has tentacles for legs
Dear robin, I was delighted when you commissioned me to prepare this report for you after our discussion at the club. As a newly appointed chief executive at a Fortune 500 company, a thrilling yet perilous adventure awaits you. I commend your wisdom in choosing to hire a management consultant to guide you on your way.

I, naturally, would have been ideally positioned, given my many years of experience serving your company’s principal rival. Alas, the time comes in every man’s life when he must hang up his hat and retire to his home in the Bahamas. As my swan song, I have thrown together, as requested, a few thoughts on how to handle my kind. I hope you find the attached 120-page PowerPoint presentation useful. Below you will find a brief summary

Be ready for the “bait and switch”: Do not be fooled by the eloquent veterans who will turn up to your office to plead for your business. The work will mostly be done by clever but pimply 20-somethings, armed with two-by-two matrix frameworks recycled from client to client. What they lack in wisdom will be made up for in long hours. You need not feel sorry for them. They are cocooned in a shell of fancy meals, lavish hotels and private drivers—at your expense.

At first you will find them to be of no use at all—detrimental, even—as they harry your management team with endless questions and urgent requests for data. Eventually, they will win you over with their brains and gumption—or be quietly replaced. Meanwhile, those grey-haired senior partners will pop by from time to time. Beware.

Watch out for “land and expand”: We consultants are masters of the clandestine sale. If you hire us for a two-month project, it will assuredly take 12. By the time it ends, our tentacles will have spread. Ask for a new company strategy, blink, and we will be cutting your costs, fixing your it systems and tinkering with your supply chain.

Like many other bosses, you may one day tire of our eye-watering rates and decide to poach the cleverest consultants for yourself. We will happily oblige. The most reliable missionary for the merits of consulting is one of our own. The more senior, the better. Hire them, but do not give them the cheque book.

Question everything: Every self-respecting consultant knows that big recommendations demand big numbers. As a rule, divide everything you see by two. Never trust a benchmark; I made up most of mine. And carefully read those endless notes at the bottom of charts. That is often where the dirtiest secrets are buried. Be doubly dubious of any consulting reports your underlings happen to commission, especially when they recommend a bigger budget for said underling.

Take none of the blame: As a freshly minted chief executive, you are undoubtedly brimming with ideas. Many of them are terrible. Some may prove catastrophic. Among the valuable services offered by management consultants is the human shield. Make sure your board knows it was they who recommended the disastrous new product line or the overpriced acquisition. You always had your doubts, but trusted their illustrious reputations. Equally, your consultants may, from time to time, stumble upon a good idea. You thought of it first.

Experiment with polygamy: Your consultants will do their utmost to woo you into exclusivity. There will be much talk of “long-term partnership”. Yet it is a one-sided monogamy they seek. Fidelity is not in a consultant’s nature. Chances are they are already advising your competitors, with only the thinnest of Chinese walls between teams.

Follow their example and hire their rivals, too. Ideally, sit them in adjacent rooms at your offices. Consultants are fiercely competitive, and nothing will better spur them on to even longer reports than seeing their nemeses wandering the halls of your company. If bored, invite representatives of two warring firms to a meeting and watch them tussle for your favour.

As I look back on my career, I am not too proud to admit that I have occasionally fleeced the odd firm. But I maintain that my profession is a noble one. “Impact”, after all, is our industry’s watchword. (Admittedly, I never was quite clear what it meant, but you cannot deny it sounds lofty.)

One final thought to conclude: there is never a problem too big or small for a consultant. That I can confirm from experience. Your bill, including expenses, is attached. Good luck. 

Read more from Bartleby, our columnist on management and work:

A man shaking hands with a management consultant who has tentacles for legs

Enterprise Ireland: Support for firms on the green transition journey

Posted by Jim on September 04, 2023  /   Posted in Blog

Alexa Toomey

Irish Independent

Enterprise Ireland backed Strong Roots and its founder and CEO Sam Dennigan
Mitigating the impact of climate change and addressing environmental issues requires a whole-of-society approach.

Sustainability is a core pillar of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy, and we believe it is now a pivotal time for companies to consider how their operations impact the environment and how climate change affects their business.

Businesses supplying large private and public sector clients are increasingly finding that to win contracts and sales, they must be able to share their sustainability plan and explain how they are putting it into practice. Many businesses we work with selling directly to consumers also find customers have increased expectations around sustainability and want to buy from companies that can demonstrate what they are doing in this space.

Businesses now need to develop a sustainability plan covering everything from resource efficiency to supply chain, and this must be supported with an implementation roadmap.

The transition to a low-carbon economy and greener future is a journey and not something that will happen overnight.

If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, no matter what stage of the sustainability journey you are on, whether it is initial planning or implementation, Enterprise Ireland is ready to support client companies on their green transition.

We have developed a new Green Transition Webinar focusing on decarbonisation’s opportunities, challenges and benefits.

This eight-part series starts on September 6 and will focus on several aspects of the sustainability journey – from initial planning and capability building – to investment, research and innovation, and developing new products and processes.

The first webinar will focus on ‘What does a climate action journey look like?’, and attendees will hear from Paul Murphy of Climeaction, an industry expert with extensive experience in industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation of manufacturing organisations. This discussion will offer advice and insights from his work with some of the world’s largest companies across the food and dairy, beverages, manufacturing and life science sectors.

The second instalment will focus on SMEs, particularly those at the beginning of their sustainability journey, and participants will learn about the SME Climate Hub, a one-stop shop where they can get free tools to measure emissions, take climate action and report progress.

The series will focus on other important topics, including green finance, green skills, sustainability reporting ESG, becoming a B Corp and the circular economy. We will look specifically at the policy, regulatory and business focus on net zero emissions by 2050.

Each webinar will hear from industry experts such as Brian O’Kennedy from Clearstream Solutions and Ingrid de Doncker of Future Planet and will also feature an Enterprise Ireland client company, such as Urban Volt and Strong Roots.

Enterprise Ireland is ready to support client companies in developing innovative responses to meet the demands and opportunities that sustainable business offers. For more information about the Green Transition webinar series, visit

Alexa Toomey, head of Sustainability, Renewable Energy & Agtech at Enterprise Ireland

Businesses and Social Enterprises are invited to attend the free Meet the Buyer North 2023 Event on 12 September 2023.

Posted by Jim on August 10, 2023  /   Posted in Blog

The Supplier Development Programme, in partnership with Scottish Government and the Commercial & Procurement Shared Services (CPSS) representing Aberdeen City, Shire and Highland Councils, are hosting Meet the Buyer North 2023 at the Music Hall in Aberdeen on 12.9.2023.

Get your questions ready!

This year’s event will be on a larger scale and higher profile than ever, with an opening address by Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade. He will also be participating in a panel discussion, alongside Nikki Archer, Deputy Director, Head of Procurement and Commercial Policy & Strategy at Scottish Government, Fiona Conti, Strategic Procurement Manager (Interim) at the Shared Procurement Services – Aberdeen City, Shire and Highland and Gillian Cameron from SDP, focusing on connecting SME with opportunities.

Bringing together buyers from the public sector, including Scottish local authorities, NHS Scotland, Universities and Colleges, Construction, emergency services and many more, the event offers businesses and social enterprises in the North of Scotland an unparalleled opportunity to speak directly to a wide range of purchasers and decision-makers. In addition, there will be large private contractors exhibiting at this event that are keen to engage with new suppliers and promote their sub-contract opportunities

-Check out our list of exhibitors to plan which buyers you want to meet.

-Hear from a fantastic range of speakers, talking about contract opportunities, the hydrogen hub project , Tendering with NHS Grampian , how to sell your food into the market and many more, so be sure to check out the action-packed agenda:

– And don’t miss the Supplier Development Programme’s Top Tips for Tendering workshop.

You must pre-book your free place

InterTradeIreland Business Summit ’23

Posted by Jim on June 15, 2023  /   Posted in Blog

I am delighted to have attended the recent Business Summit-a great lineup of speakers and great networking opportunities-thank you IntertradeIreland!

InterTradeIreland Business Summit ’23

Posted by Jim on May 16, 2023  /   Posted in Blog

Join us at the InterTradeIreland Business Summit ‘23, to find out about the real opportunities and innovations that will shape the future of doing business on the island of Ireland. From digitisation to drone delivery, this free to attend event will give you a front row seat to the cutting-edge technologies and global trends that will impact firms of all sizes.

It will include a keynote address by economist and broadcaster, David McWilliams, case studies, and contributions and insights from successful entrepreneurs from Ireland and Northern Ireland on future growth opportunities, including Bobby Healy the CEO of Manna.

Brian O’Driscoll, former Leinster and Ireland rugby player and entrepreneur will share how vision, ambition and drive fuelled his phenomenal sporting career and how you can tap into those skills to deliver business excellence and success.

This is your opportunity to hear from expert speakers and large and small businesses about their experiences of innovation, collaboration and ambition and how it allowed them to gain competitive advantage.


TED Ambassador award

Posted by Jim on March 20, 2023  /   Posted in Blog

Rules of competition


What is the TED Ambassador award?

The ‘TED Ambassador award’ is a competition that aims to identify and reward research in the field of public procurement.

High-quality research is crucial for fostering innovation, sustainability and transparency in public procurement.

Applicants are invited to submit essays they have published in this field. The winning essays will receive prize money and will be advertised on the official website for public procurement of the EU, TED (Tenders Electronic Daily). They will also be included in an online catalogue of high-quality studies aimed at fostering knowledge sharing and innovation in public procurement, making it more efficient, greener and more transparent.

The contest is promoted by the Publications Office of the European Union under the Preparatory Action on ‘Transparency in public procurement’.

The Publications Office is the official publisher of EU law, public procurement, publications, open data and research results. It brings together data on public contracts from all EU countries and beyond and publishes them on the TED website.

TED is the online version of the ‘Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union’, dedicated to public procurement. It publishes 676,000 procurement notices a year, including 258,000 calls for tender, which are worth some € 670 billion. TED brings buyers and bidders together. It is the official gateway to business opportunities in the European Union, the European Economic Area and countries that are members of the Agreement on Government Procurement.

Who can participate?

The competition rules are based on Articles 206 and 207 of the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Union. The competition respects the principles of transparency and equal treatment.

The competition is open to applications from public procurement specialists worldwide.

  • You can submit an article, paper or chapter of a volume. These essays must have been published online. Monographs and theses are excluded from the competition. Maximum length of the essay: 10,000 words. This includes all text. For example, the abstract, footnotes, references and all text in tables, figures and appendices.
  • Language: English.
  • We accept both individual and joint essays (co-authored). If you choose to submit a joint essay, please make sure that all authors agree and give their permission to enter the competition.
  • Each individual author can submit only one essay.
  • Your essay must have been published between 01/01/2018 and 31/12/2022 in peer-reviewed online journals or in edited volumes with an ISSN and/or ISBN.
  • Essays that have not yet been published will not be accepted.
  • Any submitted essay hosted in a publication of which a member of the selection panel is an ‘editor’ or a ‘co-author’ will be excluded.
  • The competition is not open to staff working in the EU institutions, agencies, bodies, offices or to contractors of the Publications Office.

What are the research topics?

The competition focuses on 4 research topics. You can submit an application for one of the following:
  1. Topic 1: ‘Transparency in public procurement’

    Promoting transparency, efficiency and accountability. For example, tools to monitor transparency in public procurement; public procurement statistics in Member States about the quantity/quality of public procurement above/below the threshold; non-compliance of EU Member States with EU legislation on public procurement, etc.

  2. Topic 2: ‘Green procurement’

    Analysing current gaps, future challenges and best practice. For example: current context; current policies; tools to identify and monitor green public procurement, etc.

  3. Topic 3: ‘Emerging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in public procurement’

    Increasing efficiency, transparency, sustainability and gender equality in public procurement through AI. For example: how AI can facilitate better decisions, lower costs and increased transparency; mapping public entities that use AI technologies for procurement; integrating AI and good public procurement governance, etc.

  4. Topic 4: ‘Stimulating innovation through public procurement’Bringing innovative solutions to the market. For example: the extent to which EU legislation stimulates innovation through public procurement; how pre-commercial procurement could foster innovation in the EU; markets where public authorities have a potential to encourage demand for new technologies; converting new inventions into new products and jobs; promoting globally accepted solutions instead of locally tailored ones, etc.

    Competition timeline

    Milestones Deadlines
    Submit your application
    You must submit your application by filling in the online form.
    Please include a short bio (max. 250 words), the title of your essay, a valid link to your essay and an electronic copy of your essay published in an online journal or edited volume. Please make sure the URL you provide works properly and that the copy of your essay is accessible. Your application will be rejected if the URL is broken or the content is not accessible.
    28 April 2023
    23:59 CEST
    Selection phase
    The selection phase ends and all candidates are notified via email. Only the first 120 essays to be submitted will be evaluated – 30 per research topic. The top three winners per research topic will be announced on the TED website.
    May/June 2023
    2023 Winners
    12 winners will receive prize money (€1,500 per prize).

    Evaluation process


    The selection process takes place after the deadline to submit applications for the competition (28 April 2023). During this phase, a selection panel appointed by the Publications Office assesses each application.

    Applications are assessed and graded against the selection criteria (table below). For each research topic, the 12 applications that score the highest number of points (i.e. the top 3 per research topic) are selected as the winners.

    Selection criteria Maximum number of points
    Relevance to the chosen research topic 10
    Clear explanation of concepts for a non-specialist audience (e.g. writing clearly; absence of technical jargon) 10
    Relevance of the essay in contemporary debate 10
    Innovation and development perspectives (e.g. predicting future trends; promoting further research) 10
    Impact on policymaking and/or possible application in technological systems 10
    The essay is open access, i.e. fully available for anyone to read at no cost 4


    All applicants will be notified via email about the selection results. On request, applicants may also need to provide further information or clarifications about their submitted application for the evaluation.


    Each of the 12 winning applications will be awarded prize money of €1,500 under the TED Ambassador award.

    The winning essays will be promoted and referenced on the TED website, together with the authors’ biographies, and will form part of an online catalogue of high-quality studies in public procurement. The 12 winners will also benefit from online publicity via social media.

    To receive the prize money, the winners are required to submit a feedback report by filling in a survey about the competition.

    Place Award
    Top three per research topic
    • 12 winner essays will be advertised on the TED website, via a link to the online journal/volume’s page hosting the essay.
    • Author biographies will be published on the TED website.
    • Publicity via social media.
    • Prize money: €1,500 per winning application.
    Applicants outside the top 12
    Some essays that did not make the top 12 may still be advertised on the TED website (at the discretion of the Publications Office).

    Additional information


    If you have any questions about this competition, you can ask us, in writing only, up until 14 April 2023. Email your questions to

    Awards payments

    Awards payments are subject to winners registering their details on the legal entity form and the European Commission’s bank account database. We therefore ask winners to provide all the necessary supporting documents – duly signed and stamped – at the latest three weeks after being selected.

    Winners must also decide to whom the prize money should be transferred. You can find additional information and links to download templates for the legal entity and bank account forms here. The Publications Office takes no responsibility regarding the distribution of awards among the winners.

    Cancellation of the competition
    The Publications Office reserves the right to cancel the competition, or to abstain from awarding one or more prizes without any obligation to compensate the teams.
    Intellectual property and copyright 
    The submitted essay will remain the property of the rights holders. The EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies will be allowed to mention, describe and promote any essays submitted to the competition with due reference to the author or authors on their channels (websites, social media, press releases, etc.).
    The winning applicants will be advertised on the TED website and promoted via social media channels. The biographies and copyright of the authors will be mentioned.
    At the discretion of the Publications Office, some essays that do not make the top 12 may also be advertised on the TED website. In such cases, no prize money is granted, nor will there be any publicity coverage through social media.
    Processing of personal data 
    If you participate in the competition, your personal data will be processed by us according to Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 on the processing of personal data by the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies. We will process your data only as needed in connection with organising and following up the competition, although we may send it to certain bodies responsible for monitoring or inspection, as laid down in European Union legislation.
    You may at any time ask us to view your personal data, or ask us to correct it or remove it from our systems. Please note that removing your data will cancel your participation in the competition. For more information about the processing of your personal data, please check the TED privacy policy and terms of use.
    Sole liability of the teams
    If there are any claims relating to the activities carried out as part of the competition, applicants are solely liable. The Publications Office cannot be held responsible for any claim relating to the activities carried out by applicants as part of the competition.
    The Publications Office cannot be held liable for any damages caused or sustained by any of the applicants, including any damages caused to third parties because of or during the implementation of activities related to the competition.
    Applicable law and competent jurisdiction
    The competition is governed by the applicable EU law. The General Court or, on appeal, the Court of Justice of the European Union, will have sole jurisdiction to hear any dispute between the EU and any applicant in relation to the competition, if such a dispute cannot be settled amicably.
    Applicants can refer to the European Ombudsman if they consider that any of the EU institutions:
    • fail to act according to the law or the principles of good administration;
    • violate human rights.
    Exclusion criteria and administrative sanctions
    By submitting their essays, candidates declare that they are not in one of the situations mentioned in Article 136(1) of the Financial Regulation. Candidates who are in any of those situations or fall into other categories indicated in Article 141 of the Financial Regulation will be rejected from participating and from being awarded a prize in the competition.
    The rejection does not affect any decision to exclude candidates from participating in award procedures governed by the Financial Regulation, or the application of financial penalties (Articles 136-140 of the Financial Regulation).
    Early detection and exclusion system
    If participants are in one of the exclusion situations stated above, their personal data may be registered in the early detection and exclusion system (EDES) in line with Articles 135, 142, 143 and 144 of the Financial Regulation. For more information, see the privacy statement for EDES.
    Suspension of the competition, cancellation of the award and reduction of the prize
    If the award procedure is found to have been subject to irregularities or fraud, the Publications Office will apply the measures referred to in Article 131 of the Financial Regulation.
    Checks, audits and investigations
    The winners accept that the European Commission, the European Anti-Fraud Office, the Court of Auditors and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office are allowed to perform any required checks, audits or investigations in relation to the competition and the prize received.

Belfast Region City Deal: Opportunities for the construction sector

Posted by Jim on March 07, 2023  /   Posted in Blog, Sales & Marketing

02 March 2023

Events to outline opportunities from the Belfast Region City Deal for construction businesses.

The Belfast Region City Deal is a transformative programme of investment aimed at delivering inclusive economic growth for the region. Deal delivery will provide a suite of opportunities for the construction sector over the next five to 10 years, with some of the most advanced projects preparing to go to market in the year ahead.

To ensure that local businesses are aware of the opportunities that will be brought to market across the next 12 months, the city deal partners are hosting a number of events to:

  • promote the construction pipeline arising from the Belfast Region City Deal capital investment programme
  • communicate the inclusive growth ambitions of the deal
  • showcase the employability and skills support available through the Belfast Region City Deal, council, college, and university partners to help the sector respond to labour and skills challenges, including those relating to social value commitments

Belfast Region City Deal build contracts breakfast event

This event will focus on procurement opportunities linked to build contracts on a number of projects including the Lagan Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge, Newry City Centre Regeneration and i-REACH Health.

Date: Tue 21 Mar
Time: 8:30am – 11am
Venue: CEF Offices, Belfast
Cost: Free

Belfast Region City Deal professional services contracts breakfast event

This event will focus on procurement opportunities linked to construction professional services contracts. A number of projects will be profiled at this event including Destination Royal Hillsborough, Mourne Mountains Gateway and Bangor Waterfront.

Date: Thu 23 Mar
Time: 9am – 11:30am
Venue: Innovation Factory, Belfast
Cost: Free

To register for either event you must email providing the names and email addresses of those seeking to attend by Wednesday 15 March 2023.

Associated With

Copyright © 2012 JCR Network Services. Site Development by TickTockDesign
^ Back to Top