25 February 2018
"Imagine all the People....."
Written By Mark Redmond
Microsoft brought the formal part of the opening of #OneMicrosoftPlace in Dublin to a close this week with the #DublinGospelChoir singing John Lennon's "Imagine". It is an incredible building that does inspire all who visit it to Imagine. Last Thursday one area of the building, DreamSpace, was full of second level students - collaborating, imagining, experimenting with technology.
Over the next four years Cathriona Lisa Niamh James Theresa Joanne Rebecca Aisling and all their colleagues will welcome over 100,000 students and teachers "to use their imagination to create their own future". In her remarks at the opening Peggy Johnson extended a special invitation to girls at school to come to DreamSpace and pursue a career in tech so that "you can help change the world".
DreamSpace forms part of a workspace that is designed to evoke an island - an island of communities and neighbourhoods that makes it easy to meet, ideate, communicate and innovate - where there is no hierarchy of talent or opportunity - equality of talent is matched by equality of opportunity. There are now 2,000 people and 71 nationalities innovating on "The Island".
It was so fitting that Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar officially opened the building. He has set out his vision of "Ireland as an island at the centre of the world". And in the past week his Government has called on the people on this island to "Imagine all the people...".
They published Project Ireland 2040 which is designed to plan for population growth of 1 million over the next 20 years. This will bring the population of the Republic to almost 6 million - incredibly restoring it for the first time to the level it was at before the devastating famine of the 1840's. Ireland has an impressive track record of managing and emerging from crises. It has had less experience of managing success.
The Report does highlight some key success facts and figures - top of the list is Ireland's FDI story and its GDP per capita. The people behind this story will be profiled in the AmCham Ireland US-Ireland Business 2018 Report
The Government has said this is "A great opportunity for a new generation to imagine, and implement, a shared vision for each community on this island." Leo Varadkar said last Thursday that he was inspired by the journey that Microsoft has been on in Ireland - and there is so much to learn from how in 2.5 years they have shaped their island of communities with a shared vision.
AmCham's President Barry O'Sullivan raised some key issues about implementing the national vision on the Morning Ireland Radio Show on Friday - Barry said that we need "certainty of timeline and decision-making and knowing when you will get an answer" when planning for a house, a road or a data centre. Getting this right will mean Ireland is leading and not following.
John Lennon cautioned those that might dismiss him as a dreamer by saying that he is not the only one - I guess in a week where we got to see how a building can empower imaginations and a country is asked to imagine a shared vision a song for Dreamers is so appropriate.
15 December 2017
Ireland in 2017: An Investment and Growth Story
This week, Pluralsight, a leading US enterprise technology learning company announced plans to open a new EMEA headquarters in Dublin in early 2018. The Dublin office will house the company’s strategic business operations for the region and will lead to the creation of 150 new jobs and bring more than €40m to Dublin’s local economy.
Recent investment by US companies such as Twilio and Mobile Technologies round off 2017 as an international growth and investment story for Ireland. We are seen as an essential location of choice to gain access and service customers in European and international markets.
Because the unique set of advantages Ireland offers includes our position as the only English speaking, euro-zone member, our reputation has been enhanced in 2017 by major announcements by Microsoft, Indeed, MSD, Pramerica and many more - and shows that for US companies, Ireland's value proposition remains very strong.
With this in mind, it is not surprising that Ireland’s popularity among European jobs seekers has surged. Recent research from Indeed.com shows Ireland has recorded a 33.6% increase in its share of searches for jobs in Europe. The research found that Ireland recorded the second largest increase of all countries across the EU15 analysed.
As we head into 2018, this investment story shows no sign of slowing down. Ireland's role in the transatlantic relationship will be vital and our voice at the European table more critical. That means it will be more important than ever to have a Chamber that advocates for conditions that enable business leaders and decision-makers with innovative teams based throughout Ireland – from Letterkenny to Ringaskiddy - to service EMEA and international markets.
1 December 2017
Ireland-US Relationship: Deepening Ties
Last week the Chamber met with over 1,300 members and stakeholders at events throughout the country as part of our Thanksgiving week. As the US travelled en masse to enjoy some family time, those working for, and with, US companies here had an opportunity to reflect and take stock on an extraordinary year.
We entered 2017 with more questions than answers. As the next phase of the Brexit negotiations get underway, some of those answers are still to be resolved. Investment flows from the US to Ireland and vice versa shows that the business linkages are stronger than ever. However, this is not something we can take for granted.
According to the IDA, 6000 jobs and €800m investment has been announced by Foreign Direct Investment this year, with over 74% of IDA clients US Headquartered. At the launch of his presidency in January, James O’Connor, Managing Director for Microsoft International Operations, announced that in the midst of global uncertainty, Ireland must remain ‘match fit’ for the challenges ahead. Eleven months on, that message is still as important as ever. In an interview last Friday with the Irish Examiner, James noted that “It is a time for making sure that we continue to be very ambitious, and that we continue to be strategic in keeping Ireland competitive from an FDI perspective.”
And the US-Ireland Business relationship is not all about inward investment. As US Chargé d’Affaires Reece Smyth noted in the Sunday Independent, “it is a two-way relationship, once a country lane, US Irish commercial activity is now a superhighway valued at over at over $590bn. Irish firms like, like CRH and Glanbia, have already invested over $85bn and employ more than 80,000 people in the US.”
On Wednesday at LinkedIn, the next generation of Irish companies ready to make an impact in the US and the US companies establishing here met to discuss their experiences so far. This was all part of the Chamber’s emerging FDI programme, aimed at supporting US high growth companies in Ireland and Irish companies expanding in the US. The success of high growth Irish companies in the US, especially in the tech sector, underpins the depth of this business relationship.
Business, like the family and cultural ties creates a uniqueness about this two-way relationship. As US Chargé d'Affaires Reece Smyth remarked “There is no other quite like it.”
27 October 2017
The South-East Region- It's closer than you think
Ambition and innovation were at the centre of the contributions at the Chamber’s Leadership Forum on Wednesday evening (25 October) to promote the South-East Region. Hosted by State Street Kilkenny and attended by senior leaders from Chamber members, County Councils, Higher Education Institutes and Chambers of Commerce, attendees were universal in their commitment to promotoing the South-East region as a perfectly positioned location for both inward investment and domestic business growth.
The discussion was informed by two very dynamic panels. The first panel, anchored by Chamber President James O’Connor with representatives from Glanbia, Kilkenny County Council and IDA Ireland spoke about the key opportunities and challenges facing the South East. Our second panel was opened by our Deputy President Barry Sullivan with contributions from the Waterford Institute of Technology and Westford County Council. The contributions from the delegates covered key stakeholders from Tipperary and Carlow.
Some key takeaways:
- The collective “one region” approach is happening and working
- Broadband access, planning for the impact of Brexit and continued capital investment is vital
- The National Planning Framework should recognise the potential of the South-East
- The existing strong collaboration between the key stakeholders – County Councils; Chambers of Commerce; Higher - Education Institutes and business must be deepened
- The unique “selling points” of the South East – on the doorstep of our capital city – needs imaginative and continued promotion
This event formed part of the Chamber’s deep commitment to promoting all the Regions of Ireland as great places to create jobs and innovative collaborations.
29 September 2017
'Ireland's reputation earned through talent'
Last week, we welcomed Kevin Delaney, Global Vice President of Learning and Development at LinkedIn to address our members and stakeholders at our annual Education Conference. In his inspiring speech, Kevin remarked that LinkedIn’s goal is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce and that Ireland plays a pivotal role in that ambition. He added that the leadership team at LinkedIn looks at Ireland and its team here as crucial to their overall global strategy.
Kevin’s vision aligns with what the leadership of our member companies tell us- that Ireland plays a crucial role for US companies operating in international markets. But critically, it is talent available and developed here that attracts US Multinationals to choose Ireland as a hub to service European & global markets. It is this Talent that has led to Ireland’s reputation as the location of choice for US business investment being at an all-time high.
It is important to note, with 700 Irish companies in the US, the Ireland-US business relationship is not a one-way street - Irish companies are now creating almost as many jobs in the US as US companies create in Ireland. Therefore any potential policy changes by the US administration to reduce burdens on business will be seen as good news for these Irish companies, who operate in over 2,000 locations across all 50 States of the US.
The US Administration’s Tax Blueprint announced this week reminds us that Ireland is competing globally, as part of the European Union, for inward investment and that tax is a really important lever. We welcome the statement by the American Chamber of Commerce EU that recent tax equalisation proposals by the European Commission and some members states would hurt the attractiveness of the EU as an inward investment location.
In the context of the discussions on both sides of the Atlantic, we also welcome this week’s re-statement by Minister Paschal Donohoe of the certainty of Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate and Ireland’s commitment to maintaining sovereignty over its corporation tax regime. While our corporate tax rate is part of the reason why our reputation with US investors is at an all-time high, it is not the number one reason. That simply comes down to talent!
18 September 2017
Broadband access key to Ireland's competitiveness
Just over three in 10 households in Ireland don't have a fixed broadband connection, according to the latest data from Eurostat. However, according to the ComReg quarterly report, 68.7% of actual broadband connections in Ireland are now greater than 30Mbps (megabits per second), ahead of the accepted international definition of 25Mbps.
The Chamber’s recent pre-budget submission to Government has restated the imperative that Ireland has the broadband coverage demanded by our knowledge-intensive economy. This is important if we are to avoid digital, and thereby economic blackspots.
We welcome the Government’s ambition to ensure that the population of Ireland has access to quality fibre based broadband services across the island in its ‘National Broadband Plan’. There has been a step-up in the provision of digital infrastructure among Ireland’s competitors with basic broadband now widely available throughout the EU.
The challenge now is to improve the access to fast broadband outside the main population centres to add workplace flexibility, increase labour participation and widen the available skills and talent pool in Ireland's city-regions.
25 August 2017
Ireland's Global Footprint to Double by 2025
This week, in Canada, the Taoiseach expanded on his vision for Ireland to be “an island at the centre of the world”. Announcing Ireland’s Global Footprint 2025, he stated an ambition to double “Team Ireland” within the next eight years. While the details are to be worked out by Minister Simon Coveney it would appear that this includes not just the overseas Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFaT) team but also IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland (EI). The Taoiseach said he was “hugely proud” of the work they do.
That pride is fully justified. Our member companies constantly call out IDA as a best-in-class inward investment agency that provides invaluable partnership support when they establish and expand their mandates here. This is also true of the EI & DFaT teams who do trojan work on limited resources. Our Chamber welcome this recognition of the need to adequately resource these key State agencies if we are to maintain and enhance our position on a very competitive global business stage.
IDA do a super job winning investment - but our members know that we also need a laser like focus on the “after-care” service. To paraphrase – if we don’t continue to build, they won’t continue to come. The Chamber looks forward to similarly ambitious tax and investment plans in the forthcoming Budget designed to retain the very significant business investment we have fought hard to attract here.
23 August 2017
STEM graduates well positioned for the in-demand careers of the future
Leaving Certificate students across Ireland are calculating points this week and thinking about courses, careers and next steps.
For those considering a course at third level, science and technology disciplines (STEM) are an excellent start to unlocking opportunities in some of Ireland’s fastest growing sectors.
Research from Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) found that 72 per cent of Irish people have a favourable view of STEM careers as well paid and desirable while the European Commission estimates that 90 per cent of jobs in the future will require digital technology skills.
Graduates of STEM subjects can count themselves likely to join the #WorldofTalent in Ireland at one of the many global companies located here, with many companies requiring STEM skill-sets. With more than 170,000 people already working in STEM sectors, a huge variety of roles from advanced manufacturing, life science and pharma research to cyber-security and data science are available.
Even for those not thinking too far ahead, the skills learned in STEM disciplines such as project-work, collaboration and communication are invaluable in life and in the workforce. Whether it’s a career that hasn’t been invented yet or one in a leading-edge company, the opportunities starting from STEM are limitless.
8 August 2017
Five US Investment Trends for Ireland
According to the IDA’s first half year results, Foreign Direct Investment will create around 11,000 jobs this year. With US companies accounting for 74% of all IDA clients, many of these jobs will be created by US companies. Reflecting on the strong investment activity of US companies in the first six months of the year, five key trends are emerging:
#1 Substantial Investments
Announcements such as Zendesk (300), Microsoft (600), Citrix (150) and Indeed.com (500) show that companies are committed to building their talent pipeline in Ireland. Perhaps more significantly, companies are expanding their current footprint. Microsoft for example, has chosen Dublin as one of only four locations worldwide for a new Global Inside Sales Centre.
#2 Multinationals are investing nationwide
A strong trend carried over from 2016 is the regional spread of jobs announcements. The South East region saw investments by US multinationals including Red Hat, which plans to invest €12.7M, and create up to 60 jobs in Waterford. In the North East companies are expanding like Mobile Technologies which will hire 150 people in its newly established European Contact Centre HQ in Drogheda. In May, MSD announced that it will create 330 new jobs and invest €280 million over the next three years at two of its Irish manufacturing sites at Carlow and Cork.
#3 City regions are still winning
The larger cities outside of Dublin, in particular Cork and Limerick remain prime locations for US investment. From new ventures such as AlienVault to Stryker in Cork, the South remains a popular destination for US FDI. Meanwhile in Limerick, Northern Trust announced 400 new jobs in June. What is significant about this investment is the company's rapid growth. In just ten years Northern Trust has gone from a staff of 19 to just over 1,000 in Ireland.
#4 Companies are investing for the long term
While Ireland’s stock continues to grow in terms of attracting new high growth companies here, other US companies are celebrating significant milestones such as BNY (15 years in Wexford), Allergan (40 years) and Waters in Wexford which celebrated its 20th year here by opening a new ‘Manufacturing Centre of Excellence’.
#5 Silver lining from Brexit
Companies continue to navigate the post Brexit world. Citi, JP Morgan and Bank of America’s announcements to relocate operations to Dublin in response to the UK's decision to leave the EU demonstrates that Dublin is regarded as a solution for companies wanting continued access to the Single Market.