Pictured at the Ireland INC Summit at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dublin (L-R): Ian Hyland, founder and president, Ireland INC; Paddy Cosgrave, founder, Web Summit; Oisin Hanrahan, co-founder, Handy; Bill Archer, managing director, eircom Business Solutions.
Prominent figures from the private and public sectors met today to discuss key business development goals for Ireland.
A number of senior executives from the business community met today at the inaugural Ireland INC Summit in association with eircom Business Solutions. The Summit was established to assess the current state of Irish business – both at home and abroad – and to identify how best to facilitate accelerated growth for those businesses in the future.
The distinguished list of speakers at the event spanned both the private and public sectors. Prominent figures in the Irish business community such as Stuart McLoughlin, Oisin Hanrahan, Domhnall Slattery, John Hartnett, Sean O’Driscoll and Danny McCoy discussed topics ranging from the importance of aligning CSR programmes to a company’s core strategy and the increasing importance that today’s consumers place on a company’s CSR values.
The panels focused on issues such as the reality that Ireland is not as digitally advanced as it often claims to be – and that the education system is fundamentally flawed in terms of delivering a generation which is digitally capable. This focus on the ‘millenial’ generation was a main feature of various discussions, with panellists such as Fiona O’Carroll from Independent News & Media commenting that there is an increasing willingness to learn from failure in places such as Silicon Valley which Irish entrepreneurs often lack.
The theme of technology, and its role in allowing Irish business and entrepreneurs to thrive, was also raised. Bill Archer, managing director of eircom Business Solutions, acknowledged that high speed connectivity is a necessity for start-ups, and discussed eircom’s role in offering that connectivity to entrepreneurs in a world which is becoming increasingly connected.
Commenting specifically, Bill Archer said: “Ireland’s business community is well positioned but more needs to be done to create genuine support for businesses. The importance of widespread and robust partnerships cannot be underestimated and it’s vital that Government, the private sector and academia work together more to help advance the business agenda in Ireland. More needs to be done to create a genuine Venture Capital culture, to increase incentives for entrepreneurs and we need to look at increasing the numbers of innovation labs and groups in Ireland overall. It’s all about helping businesses to get better connected and setting them on the right path to even greater success.”
Ireland’s talent and capability is not in doubt, but several panellists raised the point that, as a nation, Ireland often fails to give its success stories the credit they deserve internationally. Paddy Cosgrave, speaking on a panel titled ‘Ireland’s next big idea’ said, “One thing Ireland does very well is roll out the red carpet for foreign companies, we need to start doing the same for Irish companies”.
The public sector was also well represented, with US Ambassador Kevin O’Malley giving his first public address since assuming the role. Ambassador O’Malley spoke about the importance of US-Irish economic ties, commenting that the “unique” relationship “spurs innovation”, and that “the new economy is based on technology and science, and is predicated on attracting talent”.
The Summit provided a valuable forum for discussion across a broad spectrum of topics, all of which will contribute to Irish businesses across the globe.
Ian Hyland, founder and CEO of Ireland INC, said of the Summit: “Ireland INC is about partnerships between the public and private sectors. The success of today’s summit reflects that spirit of collaboration, as it would not have been possible without eircom Business Solutions. To have so many distinguished figures from the business community present illustrates the collective desire to help Irish businesses grow, and the summit has provided a valuable platform to influence how those businesses can develop over the next six years.”