Creche chain sold; a deal for Omnium; and keeping the lights on

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk

Will the State be able to keep the lights on? Reputations and careers have been lost in lesser challenges, suggests Chris Horn. Photograph: iStock

Will the State be able to keep the lights on? Reputations and careers have been lost in lesser challenges, suggests Chris Horn. Photograph: iStock


English childcare provider Busy Bees has bought Park Academy Childcare, expanding the number of childcare facilities it owns in Ireland. The deal, as reported by Ciara O’Brien, will see the transfer of eight creches in Dublin and Wicklow. Busy Bees bought another Irish childcare provider, Giraffe, in 2019.

Shard Capital, a city of London wealth management firm, has agreed to buy a 50 per cent stake in Dublin-based investment technology platform, Omnium. Mark Paul has details of the transaction, which would give Shard access to Omnium’s investment technology and also to the EU market.

Charlie Taylor reports that Irish food delivery software platform provider Vromo has agreed a major new partnership with DoorDash that opens up the possibility of its technology being used by hundreds of thousands of restaurants across the world. Vromo is headquartered in Dublin and has offices in Waterford and New York.

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has called for the establishment of a fund to “reboot” the economic relationship between the Republic and the UK in the wake of Brexit. In a pre-budget submission, the chamber urges both governments to establish the collaboration fund. Eoin Burke-Kennedy has that story.

The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered a change in the skills in demand for board members, a new study published by the Institute of Directors has found. Ciara O’Brien writes that the areas in which skills are expected to be in demand in the coming two years include governance, innovation and cyber security.

Chris Horn has power on his mind in his column this week, arguing that just keeping the lights on is becoming the State’s top imperative. “Reputations and careers have been lost in lesser challenges,” he remarks, with a nod to ongoing warnings about power cuts as winter approaches. Innovation is needed, he writes.

In her Net Results column, Karlin Lillington looks at where technology meets education and wonders why there is not a greater focus on properly integrating the two for teachers and students. She suggests that angry frustration is too often the outcome of what should be positive initiatives.

Olive Keogh takes a look back at 10 years of the FoodWorks accelerator, the joint initiative between Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc for high-potential start-ups. More than 100 companies have participated in the initiative to date, with this year’s crop featuring a spicy gin, a poitín-based cream liqueur and a whiskey finished in a non-traditional way.

In our technology section, Ciara O’Brien enters the metaverse, a digital world that some say could soon be a hub for business and leisure. She speaks to the experts at Waterford-based VR Education, who are working hard at making the metaverse for business a reality that could see our avatars interacting with others at work as if in person.

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