Foreign direct investment (FDI) has been a key factor in the establishment of Ireland as an elite business destination. Bill Archer, Managing Director eir business, gives to us his insights into FDI and its role in Ireland.
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Ireland has remained one of Europe’s leading destinations for business due to a number of important factors and variables.
At the forefront of innovation and business in Ireland is eir. Bill Archer, Managing Director eir business, has been in the vanguard of the telecommunications game for over 20 years. As an American, Bill has experienced a major industry on both sides of the Atlantic, being a senior member of AT&T, and is a prime example of witnessing FDI and foreign involvement in an innovative industry.
Ireland’s FDI attractiveness
“There are a number of variables that make this an attractive destination for US [and international] businesses”, said Bill, speaking to Business & Finance.
The eir business MD highlighted the importance of digitisation and what it can do to enhance your capabilities as a business.
“Digitising business makes everything in the value chain, the end-to-end process that you present to your customer, more efficient, faster and more satisfying.
“It makes business more agile, more responsive; it allows them to offer ways of interacting with their customers that are more flexible and more satisfying for the user, or the customer, in this case.
“So, digitising activity is not just something you do to make your financial objectives or create more efficiency in your business, it’s a way to satisfy your customers and make your proposition unique to your customers.”
Important sectors for FDI
We’re inundated with a distinct amount of technologies and new developments shaping our business and societal landscape, but Bill pinpoints the key ones that are most attractive for FDI in Ireland.
“It’s a wide array of sectors with a tech orientation. So for example, advanced biotechnology would certainly be one and all forms of new and emerging digital technologies – cybersecurity is one that comes to mind.
“And I would guess that, given Ireland’s strength on the technology investment front, some of the emerging areas like machine learning and artificial intelligence would be natural for location and investment here in Ireland.”
Keeping Ireland’s interests at the front
If not careful enough, with all of this investment and foreign involvement, the interests of Ireland as an entity in itself may be overlooked. These interests would include domestic enterprises, employment, culture and local Irish products and services potentially suffering or looked over due to an overzealous nature in FDI.
Bill recommends preparing your staff for new emerging areas: “First, prepare our workforce to participate in the emerging area of opportunity.”
Leading on from that, Ireland investing itself will continue the domestic trail into innovation and will continue to see Ireland as a fresh investment prospect being at the helm of business.
“Second is to invest as a country to engage and be a part of some of these developing industries and developing areas of commerce. The best way to ride that wave would be to directly participate.”
Getting the world business leaders on Ireland’s side also creates a great image for the country.
“And probably beyond that, it’s to continue to invite the world leaders in these emerging areas to locate here in Ireland and to be a part of the country and to invest in the country. In so doing, it will create value for the society and for the business community at large.”
Will international businesses continue to see Ireland as a vital part of their operations?
It’s important for the country not to rest on its laurels and keep FDI on the upward move. A vital part of this is through policy implementations and the support of foreign activity.
Bill sees the continued growth of FDI in Ireland as long as all entities work together to create a suitable environment.
“I would predict, yes, presuming that policy and initiatives like FDI continue at the same level of commitment and that the same kind of support exists in both the business community and in government and other policy sectors to create the environment that will ensure continued success for the country.
“So there’s no reason to predict anything less than continued growth and continued success for the country given what’s been achieved to date. I’d be optimistic about the future for sure.”
With this continued approach, a key expert in international involvement in Ireland such as Bill Archer views Ireland as a beacon of business inspiration for international companies. This view, alongside many global players setting up their European hubs in Ireland, will continue the country on the path of international business activity, employment and relationships all the while sticking to what we can offer as a country ourselves, too. This mix can only breed further success in the FDI sector.
Connect on LinkedIn with Bill Archer.