Niall McKeown
Niall McKeown Educator, Visiting Professor, Author and YouTuber

Niall is founder of Ionology. Ionology began as a technology company and they built one of the first available email marketing tools for enterprise. It was fairly ground-breaking, at the time, an app for email in the cloud. However, around 2007/2008 landscape had become extremely competitive with new players entering the marketing and disrupting the industry.

The experience made them change tack and they began to explore the factors and forces that create radical change within industries; what motivates customers and how organisations can lessen the impact on their profitability. Soon they began developing strategies to help customers take advantage of digital opportunities. That's how the Ionology digital transformation framework was born. Since then they’ve been running training courses, seminars, workshops and more. They fly all over the world to help large organisations implement effective digital transformation strategies. Their YouTube Channel is the most popular channel on the topic of digital transformation in the world.

Niall is also a visiting professor at Ulster University and lecturer at Cambridge University.

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Philip Delaney
Philip Delaney SFA Awards Winner 2023, Owner of Dairyglen/Smooch

Family business Dairyglen provides best-in-class ice cream, milkshake and frozen beverage solutions across Ireland and the UK and its exclusive ice cream brand Smooch is growing fast. Having started in 1991 initially just selling soft-serve ice cream to retailers, co-founders of Dairyglen Edgar Delaney and his son Geoffrey noticed that a lot can go wrong with the equipment. Edgar had worked in the ice cream industry for 15 years. “Ice cream machines are complex and typically take about three hours to clean. They became aware that no-one was addressing this with engineer support and saw no reason why they couldn’t do it,” says marketing manager Kirstie Delaney, who is part of the third generation of the family to get involved in the business, which now employs 34 people.

They went into supplying equipment; then acquired the Smooch ice cream brand shortly after. This led to Dairyglen’s unique selling point: a full, end-to-end solution including installation and maintenance of the machines, menu development, staff training and marketing. “When you show a retailer how to take ice cream seriously like this, you get similar results to good coffee service,” Kirstie explains. “In the past couple of years the introduction of a 4D Bluetooth system to monitor and maintain machines has allowed us to grow very quickly and scale the business properly. We partnered with Italian family-run company Gel Matic to develop the technology. A lot of the time we can fix issues remotely. Otherwise an engineer is sent to a retailer within 48 hours following an automatic alert. This reduces a lot of problems for retailers.”

The Smooch ice cream concept is now in around 200 locations, primarily forecourt convenience stores in Ireland, and recently entered the UK. In 2022, Dairyglen partnered with Cadbury to create Cadbury Smooch Cups, which included a big food-truck launch with onsite activation in Ireland.

Dairyglen was the winner in the Food & Drink category at the SFA National Small Business Awards 2023.

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Erica Hargaden
Erica Hargaden SFA Awards 2023 Finalist, Co-founder of Babogue, Family Sleep Coach, Child Sleep Consultant, Corporate Wellness

Since Babogue was established in 2017, Certified Child Sleep Consultant, Erica Hargaden (on the left) has worked with families all over the world. To date, Babogue has helped over 4,000 families in 35 different countries. With each and every family Erica is getting to fulfill her passion.

Hargaden made good use of social media to create visibility for Babogue and word of mouth was also sending business her way. “I realised that my revenue was capped and I only had so many hours in the day. So I started thinking about how I could grow the business,” she says. In late 2018 she put some video content on social media; the ‘Seven Steps to Better Sleep’. It struck a chord and she got queries as to when she would do more. It was then that she came up with the concept for Sleep Series – a suite of videobased child sleep courses at an affordable price. After putting about nine months into it, she launched it in October of 2019 and, she says, it simply “took off”.

Babogue now has over 4,000 customers in 36 countries; while there are plenty of sleep consultants in Ireland, no one else is ticking the digital box in quite the same way. This, says Hargaden, is something today’s parents want.

Babogue was one of the finalists in the Outstanding Small Business category at the SFA National Small Business Awards 2023.

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Barry Prost
Barry Prost SFA Awards 2023 Finalist, Co Founder of Rent A Recruiter & Propel Consult

Barry Prost is the Chair and Co Founder of Propel Consult and Yala (Rent a Recruiter), multi award-winning recruitment brands. He specializes in providing recruitment-on-demand and employer branding services to employers in Ireland, Europe, US, Australia and the Middle East.

They provide monthly subscription, embedded recruitment solutions - where their Talent Partners act as in-house recruiters for their clients, while they are scaling up.

Committee Member of the Employment & Recruitment Federation with oversight of Quality Assurance and Education.
Vice Chair of the Dublin Regional Skills Forum.
Member of the SFA Skillnet/SME Productivity Board.

Rent a Recruiter was one of the finalists in both Services and Workplace Wellbeing categories at the SFA National Small Business Awards 2023.

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Start Date September 28, 2023
Time 6:00 - 8:30pm
Duration 2.5 hours
Delegate Price Free
Location SFA Office - 84/86 Lower Baggot Street Dublin 2. D02 H720