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‘I took over the business from my father – we embraced tech in order to survive’

For two decades, Perigord’s Alan Leamy has been tapping into the changing needs of the life sciences sector and transforming his family’s business with tech.

Alan Leamy is the CEO of Perigord, a Dublin-headquartered company that has become one of the global leaders for providing labelling artwork and other services to life sciences companies worldwide.

With operations in Ireland, Germany, the US and India, Perigord has gone through many transformations since it was first established. It now operates in more than 100 markets and produces artwork for 10 of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies, helping ensure that pharma packaging complies with local and global regulations.

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It has also moved into tech space, enabling life science companies to digitalise and integrate their supply chains with software and services. In March 2021, digital transformation and consulting business Tech Mahindra acquired a 70pc stake in Perigord.

Over the past two decades, Leamy has led the company as it has gone from a family business to a 500-person organisation achieving $30m in revenue. He now plans to continue growing the Perigord workforce in Ireland over the coming years as the company expands into new markets.

‘It was important that we embraced tech instead of running away from it in order for the business to survive’

What are the biggest challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?

What we have observed over the last decade is that there are many challenges facing our sector and our clients, one being sustainability and the other is the amount of company product data that exists across our clients’ business. So Perigord has been working hard alongside our clients to develop services and software to support these two areas.

Today we have our GLAMS (Global Labelling Artwork Management System) Interchange software to help our clients manage all of their content and assets in a single source. We have also developed a SaaS system to help our clients measure and control the carbon footprint of their packaging portfolio – the software also allows them to scenario-plan the effects of changes and optimisations with their portfolio.

What are the key sector opportunities you’re capitalising on?

A key opportunity that we are capitalising on is the move towards sustainable packaging. Companies must be seen to be taking initiatives in order to make their products more sustainable as addressing the climate crisis moves higher on government agendas.

Our goal is to reduce our clients’ carbon footprint in the context of their supply chain. Perigord uses its comprehensive knowledge of packaging, the supply chain and sustainability to help our clients rethink their packaging and to look at their carbon footprint and ways they can reduce it while remaining within their margins.

What set you on the road to where you are now?

I joined what was my father’s company, Litho Studios, when I was 17 years old. At the time I did an apprenticeship in graphic reproductions.

During this time I would regularly travel between Ireland and the US. I would often do up to three trips over seven days to transport images that featured on the covers of National Geographic, Time and Life magazines. It was incredible.

I then took over the business from my father in 2002, which was a very different one from what I started in because of technological advancements. When Apple developed the Mac computer and then Photoshop was introduced, it made Litho’s skills redundant.

In the end, we brought technology into the business and began to reskill employees. It was important that we embraced tech instead of running away from it in order for the business to survive. In 2003, I decided that Perigord would no longer be a family business and from there we rebranded and expanded into new areas such as pharma and life sciences.

Then jumping to last year, 70pc of the company was bought by Tech Mahindra and here we are now! We are entering a new stage of the company that is pivotal to its growth. Since the acquisition, we were able to grow Perigord into new sectors in Ireland such as consumer goods and marketing departments of pharmaceutical agencies. I am really looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

In order for the business to survive, many risky decisions had to be made. One of the risks I took was deciding to move from the realms of a family business to focusing on scaling the business globally. This was tricky!

Working with family can be hard and often there are emotional ties to the business, but because of the industry that we are in and the ever-changing landscape, remaining a family business was not possible.

What one work skill do you wish you had?

Detail! I am a big-picture person – I love strategy, envisioning future states and creatively solving problems and challenges.

I also love detail – but having a busy life, it’s not exactly my greatest attribute.

How do you get the best out of your team?

I believe learning is important for teams to grow professionally. I find that learning from your peers is where you learn the most and I encourage this among all my teams at Perigord.

I experienced this first-hand when I attended a course at Stanford University in 2011. The group participating in the course was mostly made up of other CEOs and entrepreneurs. The course was interesting in itself, but I felt that I learned most from the others doing the course as well.

Sharing experiences is very important as we can learn from each other’s mistakes. I am still very friendly with the group and we often lean on each other for guidance as we continue to grow our businesses.

Have you noticed a diversity problem in your sector?

We are a very lucky business as we have sites in Ireland, Germany, India and the USA, which highlights the breadth of people, skills, ethnicities and culture that we are grateful to have in Perigord.

People are what make Perigord and we will continue to embrace the strengths of our diversity across all of our colleagues. Each plays a vital role in making our business the success it is today.

What’s the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

One of the main takeaways from the Stanford course was, ‘Just listen to the client and build what the client wants.’ I took this piece of advice home with me and from then on applied it to my efforts of scaling Perigord into what it is today.

Also, don’t sweat the small stuff!

What books have you read that you would recommend?

The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters. The understanding gained from reading this book absolutely has made my decision making better and more informed – I highly recommend it.

What are the essential tools and resources that get you through the working week?

Sleep. The consistency of getting regular sleep enables me to manage my week. Without it, my performance drops, no doubt!

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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

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China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending ‘Taikonauts’ To The Moon From 2030 Onwards

China Reveals Lunar Mission

The Voice Of EU | In a bold stride towards lunar exploration, the Chinese Space Agency has unveiled its ambitious plans for a moon landing set to unfold in the 2030s. While exact timelines remain uncertain, this endeavor signals a potential resurgence of the historic space race reminiscent of the 1960s rivalry between the United States and the USSR.

China’s recent strides in lunar exploration include the deployment of three devices on the moon’s surface, coupled with the successful launch of the Queqiao-2 satellite. This satellite serves as a crucial communication link, bolstering connectivity between Earth and forthcoming missions to the moon’s far side and south pole.

Unlike the secretive approach of the Soviet Union in the past, China’s strategy leans towards transparency, albeit with a hint of mystery surrounding the finer details. Recent revelations showcase the naming and models of lunar spacecraft, steeped in cultural significance. The Mengzhou, translating to “dream ship,” will ferry three astronauts to and from the moon, while the Lanyue, meaning “embrace the moon,” will descend to the lunar surface.

Drawing inspiration from both Russian and American precedents, China’s lunar endeavor presents a novel approach. Unlike its predecessors, China will employ separate launches for the manned module and lunar lander due to the absence of colossal space shuttles. This modular approach bears semblance to SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, reflecting a contemporary adaptation of past achievements.

Upon reaching lunar orbit, astronauts, known as “taikonauts” in Chinese, will rendezvous with the lunar lander, reminiscent of the Apollo program’s maneuvers. However, distinct engineering choices mark China’s departure from traditional lunar landing methods.

The Chinese lunar lander, while reminiscent of the Apollo Lunar Module, introduces novel features such as a single set of engines and potential reusability and advance technology. Unlike past missions where lunar modules were discarded, China’s design hints at the possibility of refueling and reuse, opening avenues for sustained lunar exploration.

China Reveals Lunar Mission: Sending 'Taikonauts' To The Moon From 2030 Onwards
A re-creation of the two Chinese spacecraft that will put ‘taikonauts’ on the moon.CSM

Despite these advancements, experts have flagged potential weaknesses, particularly regarding engine protection during landing. Nevertheless, China’s lunar aspirations remain steadfast, with plans for extensive testing and site selection underway.

Beyond planting flags and collecting rocks, China envisions establishing a permanent lunar base, the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), ushering in a new era of international collaboration in space exploration.

While the Artemis agreements spearheaded by NASA have garnered global support, China’s lunar ambitions stand as a formidable contender in shaping the future of space exploration. In conclusion, China’s unveiling of its lunar ambitions not only marks a significant milestone in space exploration but also sets the stage for a new chapter in the ongoing saga of humanity’s quest for the cosmos. As nations vie for supremacy in space, collaboration and innovation emerge as the cornerstones of future lunar endeavors.

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