The Ireland Portugal Business Network’s 2023 Business Success Awards was a chance for the network to share in the success stories shared by each applicant, especially those regarding innovation, transformational change, sustainability, and employment opportunities. The applicants from the IT, Tech, and Telecom sectors had incredible successes to celebrate, so the IPBN would like to highlight their stories and the impact of these successes on each one.
Celfocus and Vodafone
Tânia Videira, Marketing Director of Celfocus & Vodafone shared that in 2023, the standout success was undeniably the Safer Transport for Europe Platform (STEP), a groundbreaking project designed to revolutionize road safety and communication across Europe. One of STEP's notable achievements was its successful implementation in three European countries: the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain, marking a significant milestone in the platform's journey towards enhancing road safety and communication on a continental scale. STEP's key innovations include essential road safety features like Local Hazard warnings, Vulnerable Road User (VRU) Assistance, Road Intersection Assistance, and Infrastructure-to-Vehicle communication, underpinned by advanced technologies, the dedication of the team, and the collaborative efforts with partners like Celfocus. The commitment to mitigating CO2 emissions from road transport further underscores STEP's alignment with global sustainability goals.
The impact of this success, according to Tânia, is profound. She said, "The successful implementation of STEP positions Vodafone as a market leader in the intersection of connectivity and safety, strengthening its reputation as an innovative and socially responsible telecommunications provider...Celfocus, as a key partner, solidifies its position as a high-tech system integrator capable of delivering impactful solutions in strategic sectors such as telecommunications and road safety, enhancing its reputation and credibility for innovation and expertise." Beyond business success, STEP underscores Vodafone's and Celfocus' commitment to corporate social responsibility, innovation, and job creation with a focus on societal and environmental goals.
Techies Go Green
Co-founder and Membership Ambassador of Techies Go Green, Michael O'Hara reported that the company had achieved key milestones in 2023, from compelling signatory stories to groundbreaking news articles, they have been at the forefront of the tech-driven green revolution. Having grown to 420 members with a clear commitment to the IT industry becoming more sustainable and making a positive impact on the environment. The Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) in Dublin, home to over 160 start-ups including Techies Go Green, became a partner, after the company founded Go Green Ambassadors thought leader group, helped its members progress on their journeys to carbon neutrality, and allowed members to help guide each other through impactful Signatory Stories.
"Throughout 2024," according to Michael, "Techies Go Green will build out our support ecosystem that helps our members at all stages of their decarbonization journey...Our Support ecosystem includes Techies Go Green Charter, partner networks, knowledge exchanges, and more to make the Techies Go Green Partner Network the “go-to” resource for both our signatory members and the wider business community...Our current webinar panel series, featuring climate and energy experts, has built a strong following among Techies Go Green members and a wider business audience."
In 2023, Mobiweb's standout success, according to Product Manager António Rocha, was "the development and launch of Perkzai, a revolutionary digital platform designed to transform the traditional office experience...conceptualized in response to the global shift towards hybrid work models...We developed a unique solution that not only encourages office attendance but also enhances the overall office experience." Blending office space management, employee engagement, and reward systems, it features rewards and incentives and the promotion of community and collaboration. In essence, Perkzai embodies Mobiweb's commitment to innovation, with the potential to enrich work life and contribute positively to environmental sustainability, social well-being, and economic vitality.
The inception of Perkzai was marked by significant internal investment, raising a pre-seed round of €50,000 through the confidence of our own employees and visionary external supporters. The successful launch and anticipated growth of Perkzai are set to have a transformative impact on Mobiweb's business trajectory. This innovative platform's introduction signifies Mobiweb's entry into the product development space, marking a strategic expansion beyond service provision. António says, "With the development of Perkzai, we've expanded our team...the buzz around Perkzai's market entry is set to attract top-tier talent, eager to work on groundbreaking projects...In conclusion, Perkzai's success is poised to have a profound impact on Mobiweb's business, shaping our future as an innovative software house that delivers cutting-edge solutions.
Last year marked the successful conclusion of a two-year growth initiative that enhanced the commercial aspects of Lazer through its adoption of the 'Spotio' field sales platform and the recruitment of 24 additional staff members. These efforts resulted in a remarkable sales surge, exceeding 300% compared to previous years and a notable +68% increase in EBITDA. "Our commitment to innovation extended beyond commercial endeavors to encompass technical innovation...exemplified by the deployment of a comprehensive Fixed Wireless Network (FWA) in areas where delivering fiber was commercially unviable. This initiative empowered Lazer to extend its services to the rural areas of the Algarve, positively impacting the lives of the local population." according to CEO Des Wynne. The firm, as a result, went on to win the Algarve Business of the Year award at the Algarve Business Awards.
The company is poised to have a transformative impact on the business going forward through its improved financial health, commercial expansion, operational efficiency, and innovation leadership. Des said, "This strategic vision if sustained, can pave the way for continued growth and resilience in a dynamic business environment. Overall, the 2023 success story provides a solid foundation for future endeavors, fostering optimism for sustained growth, innovation, and positive contributions to both the business and the communities it serves."
According to Marketing Manager Rita Pimenta, in 2023 FinTru "focused on new possibilities that enable us to improve our final product. With the emergence of AI, we have introduced a new technology product in our KYC operations, TrU Label, which combines technology and people to deliver effective KYC processes to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and value creation to our clients." The goal of this process innovation is to drive improvements, increase productivity, reduce costs, optimize operations, and deliver better outcomes. The company's focus has resulted in the opening of a new Porto office in the city centre (approved as a ‘project of national strategic interest’ by the IEFP), and a commitment to creating 500 jobs over the next five years. "Since opening our Porto office, FinTrU has gone from 0 to 190+ employees...We have created strong partnerships with local universities...These numbers and expansion are just the beginning, as we expect to maintain this sustainable growth in the years to come."
With over 190 people now in place, the company is ahead of schedule with its hiring objectives. Furthermore, TrU Label will have a massive impact on the KYC process as it allows for quality check automation and document verification, and fraud detection among others. To summarize, the technology "streamlines the compliance and regulation process, solves possible human error, automates repeatable tasks, helps to reduce cost and time, and improves customer and employee experience. This, in turn, will position us more favorably with future prospective clients and our highly ambitious recruitment plans." according to Rita. The success FinTru has experienced so far has led them to a partnership with the children's charity Acreditar.
In 2023, Strongstep successfully sustained remarkable business growth that was propelled by projects secured from returning clients. The company's commitment to innovation was evident through the continued implementation of TISAX, a tool aiding automotive companies in adhering to information security best practices while its in-house project management platform, SCRAIM expanded its capabilities, encompassing areas such as project, ticket, quality, and creative ideas management. As a moderator at the IPBN Ocean Conference, Pedro helped solidify Strongstep's innovative position within the industry and gained recognition from The Ministry of Economy and The Ministry of Education and Science of Portugal.
The impact of these successes contributes to attracting top-tier talent while fostering a culture of creativity, social responsibility, and excellence within the organization. In 2024 the company will broaden its services to other ESG certifications, build stronger international relations through networks such as the IPBN, and gain further recognition from Portuguese government bodies. Pedro said, "The successes of 2023 set the stage for sustainable growth, establishing a robust foundation for Strongstep's future endeavors. With an expanded clientele, a flourishing innovation ecosystem, and a socially responsible image, we are well-positioned to capitalize on emerging opportunities, further solidifying our influence in the technology sector."
On Wednesday, October 25 at the EDP Auditorium of the Porto Business School the IPBN will take a look at the advances that the port City of Matosinhos is taking in the maritime world in an effort to highlight the synergies and potential partnerships that exist with Ireland.