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ConneCt with ireland

A vibrAnt economy in tHe AbSenSe oF LUcrAtive nAtUrAL reSoUrceS reLieS to A LArge extent on A FUnctionAL privAte Sector. WHAt iS being Done in ireLAnD to get peopLe bAck to Work?

a significant number of the worlds developed nations face austerity and lateral growth, what are they doing to relieve the pressure? How are they getting their labour force back into employment? Qatar is using every tool and consultant available to evoke a culture of entrepreneurship. Various agencies and specialised banks are on hand to give small and medium-sized businesses the practical and financial assistance they need. Qatar has a thriving economy driven by its hydrocarbon sector and should be a lucrative location to set up a business. The future looks bright. Far away from Qatar, on the west coast of Europe, Ireland is trying to get its people back working. The global financial crisis in 2008 put the little nation in a spin taxes were increased, benefits were slashed and unemployment and emigration levels soared. It has since received a significant bailout from the IMF to keep the countrys finances from failing. The incumbent government was unceremoniously voted out in


by rory c oe n

the 2011 general election and the new regime has set about reversing the recent trends. A special task force has been charged with jobs growth. Huge numbers of skilled workers left the country in recent years as work dried up. ConnectIreland was established to get these workers back home, whilst also attracting interested foreign companies to Irish shores. Chairman and Founder of ConnectIreland, Terry Clune explains that it is about connecting Ireland to a global audience to help create new jobs through its network of contacts. ConnectIreland is delivering an Irish Government programme, Succeed in Ireland, which will offer a minimum financial reward of 1,500 (QR6,700) per job up to a maximum of 100 jobs to people who can host introductions to overseas companies which create new sustainable jobs in Ireland. We are implementing a unique referral model, asking individuals to make contact with family, friends and business connections to identify and make intro-

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cal corporations, 17 of the top 25 global medical device companies, and more than half of the worlds leading financial services firms. The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012 ranks Ireland number one for availability of skilled labour and also for flexibility and adaptability of the workforce. According to the yearbook, Ireland is the best place for investment incentives including capital grants, research and development grants and training and employment grants. It has double-taxation agreements facilitating international business; it has signed comprehensive double-taxation agreements with over 60 countries and has a Special Assignment Relief Programme (SARP) tax relief aimed at people who come to work in Ireland having spent five years outside the country. The rebalancing of the Irish economy has produced a number of favourable consequences for businesses, both small and large. In fact many international commentators are suggesting that Irelands competitiveness has been restored in terms of reduced labour and commercial rent costs. This is reflected in a 10% reduction in wages in the professional, technical and scientific sectors and a 42% decrease in office rents, he says.

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ductions between ConnectIreland and overseas companies that are considering international expansion, says Clune. Punching above its weight So why would anyone want to bring their business to Ireland? Its fair to say it was a very attractive option in the late nineties and into the new millennium, but since 2008 it has been in the international financial news for all the wrong reasons. It is haemorrhaging skilled labour to overseas companies every day. Taxes are high and will probably get higher. Are there even any guarantees that Ireland will remain in the euro? Ireland, in line with the rest of the world, has experienced economic contraction resulting in challenging trading conditions, says Clune. Despite these challenges, it is punching above its weight and is still very much favoured by investors the world over. Almost 1,000 multinational companies have chosen Ireland as their strategic European base due to our pro-business environment and attractive taxation rates. These companies have done their research and voted with their feet, resulting in significant investments in their Irish operations. Keen competitor Clune explains there are a number of compelling reasons why many global corporations have establlished and continue to establish operations in Ireland. Three of the top five games companies are based in Ireland, he says. Eight of the top 10 global ICT corporations, nine of the top 10 global pharmaceuti-

Use connections Who is this initiative aimed at? Is it looking specifically at Irish nationals, or can anybody who sees an opportunity for a company to setup in Ireland participate? What kind of company would be best suited to setup in Ireland? The programme is open to everyone around the world, says Clune. Wherever you come from, whatever your nationality, if you can introduce our team to a company that is expanding internationally, we want to speak with you. You can also use your connections to help find companies that are growing. We all have connections some of whom are working in, or have friends working in, expanding companies. Through your friends, business contacts or extended family, you can work together to introduce our team to an expanding company. We are looking for overseas companies seeking to internationalise and are looking for a base that will provide a natural springboard for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) operations. Typically the type of company that will want to locate to Ireland will be engaged in high-end manufacturing or demand fulfilment, support services such as EU headquarters, sales and marketing, customer support and financial administration, or research and development. We will work with potential investors to show them the benefits of doing business in Ireland ranging from our talent to tax structures and competitiveness. Working closely with interested companies, the ConnectIreland team of FDI (foreign direct investment) specialists will establish the key criteria for the company to have a viable operation in Ireland. Following this process the next step is to facilitate site visits and provide any additional information required, he says

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