…Ok, so you’ve heard of Dublin as an internet capital, and yes you’ve heard of Cork as a vibrant cluster area for pharma, and yes you’ve heard about the presence of medical devices in the west of Ireland too, but now get used to the concept of Ireland as cyber security hub.
IDA’s Communications team have been bringing some of the press around to meet some of Ireland’s growing collection of cyber security firms in recent days and this resulted in a piece in the Financial Times, focusing on Symantec, a key industry leader.
Symantec has a global response centre in Dublin and its just one of many cyber security firms either putting down roots here or expanding rapidly.
IDA client security software companies employ over aproximately 1,500 people already in Ireland and there is no reason to think this cannot be grown further.
The pace of growth of the industry is very impressive. In 2005 there were none of these firms, but now there are 8.
For example Lumension Security set up in Galway in 2009, Webroot in 2010, Total Defense and Mandiant in 2012, and FireEye in Cork 2013. MCAfee (Cork) expanded in 2009, 2011 and 2013, and Symantec expanded in 2011. Trend Micro (Cork) also had an expansion in 2009.
The reasons for coming to Ireland will sound familiar. Talent availability (both multilingual and technical), Ireland’s large existing base of software companies, ongoing investment in the sector, low corporate tax rate and improving competitiveness, particularly since the financial crisis.
The sector globally is growing due to the penetration of the internet, data proliferation and the complexity of cyber crime.
While it could be argued that Ireland is not a fully fledged cyber security `hub’ just yet, the building blocks are in place and further expansion is on the cards.
As Ireland has shown with its wider ICT footprint, once a niche or sector specialism gets rooted in an economy, it tends to remain and grow.
There are events all around the world in the period before St Patrick’s Day, but if you want to avoid the green hats, the beer and the crowds, but still want to know about Ireland and particularly its rapidly growing tech community it can be done right from your desk, or on the move via smartphone.
The #IrelandBiz tweet chat, held by IDA Ireland, is designed as an interactive question and answer session to share insights on trends impacting business. The first tweet chat will focus on the vibrant tech scene in Ireland, particularly opportunities and challenges for companies considering international expansion.
Our moderator is one of the most prolific Tweeters on the Irish business community in the US, Margaret Molloy @margaretMolloy, who is chief marketing officer of Velocidi, a startup digital agency based in New York City.
Margaret will pose questions to Barry O’Dowd, Head of Emerging Business at IDA Ireland, who will tweet from the Twitter handle @IDAIRELAND. O’Dowd is Senior Vice President of Emerging Businesses Division of IDA Ireland.
He is responsible for collaborating with companies looking to expand internationally by helping to facilitate the establishment and growth of business operations in Ireland.
The tweet chat will be conducted on Thursday, March 14th from 12 p.m. to 1p.m. EST / 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. GMT and is an important event, in the sense that Dublin has become a thriving hub for fast growth tech companies in recent years. Companies now are internationalising a lot quicker and establishing bridge heads in overseas markets very quickly in their development.
The chat will seek to talk about how this is done and what Ireland’s unique business proposition is.
‘Ireland is strong in software development and ICT’. This is how Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping described the sector when he visited Ireland in 2012. 9 of the top 10 global software companies now have important strategic operations in Ireland. Likewise, 9 of the top 10 US ICT companies are in the country in a big way. Activities vary from EMEA/International HQ’s, multilingual customer/technical support and shared services centres to supply chain management, R&D and manufacturing operations.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the ICT sector continued to evolve strongly in 2012, as evident by significant expansions from Apple, IBM, HP, Microsoft, Amazon, Electronic Arts (EA), Cisco, Xilinx, Salesforce.com, Workday and M/A Com, and first time investments from Dropbox, Total Defense, Guidewire, Datalogic ADC, ZMDI, Hubspot, Hittite Microwave, Zendesk, Mandiant, KeyedIn Solutions and Nuance Communications.
The new investments are testimony to company confidence in Ireland as a strategic business location for their international activities. Ireland’s ICT track record, technology base, 12.5% corporate tax rate, 25% R&D tax credit, top quality talent, English speaking base and EU/Euro membership all contribute to this confidence.
Looking ahead, IDA sees increasing levels of investment in cloud computing and ‘Big Data’ analytics. Ireland is well positioned to win investment in the aforementioned areas, due to, amongst other factors, a strong, internationally focused, innovative ICT corporate cluster, particularly in software/internet, a supportive R&D and educational environment (e.g. rapidly increasing computer graduate output), and solid telecommunications and datacentre networks.
World-class R&D centres in Cloud Computing (e.g. Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce –IC4) and Data Analytics (e.g. Clique Analytics Centre), coupled with the Irish Government’s Research Prioritisation Proposals in future networks, data analytics, digital platforms and smart grids/cities enhance the ecosystem further, as well as initiatives in broadband (e.g. next generation networks) and skills (e.g. National ICT Skills Action Plan).
Ireland is already viewed as a strategic location for cloud and analytical investments, as evident by recent datacentre investments from Microsoft, Google and Digital Realty, cloud based investments from Amazon, Salesforce.com, LogMeIn, Zendesk and KeyedIn Solutions, and analytics based investments from Accenture, Fujitsu and Infobright.
Looking forward, Ireland will continue to attract substantial ICT FDI, as the country is recognised as an excellent international business location for strategic corporate activities. Already in 2013, Huawei has announced the opening of a 50 person R&D centre.
ON a recent trip out of Ireland and the reaction to talk about Ireland exiting the rescue programme put in place in 2010 by the ‘troika’ is quite noticeable. Likewise similar reaction is to be found in the international press.
Europe needs a win after assisting a number of stricken economies to re-shape their balance sheets. But assisting them is not enough on its own, countries need to see that re-entry to the bond market is possible and Ireland is potentially going to be in that position in 2013.
Expect Ireland to become a key test case for wider European efforts next year.
The reaction of markets to the Budget in December will also be interesting.
Its recognised Ireland has made progress on lowering the costs of investment here, thereby boosting the return on capital for interested FDI investors. Now progress on Ireland’s funding sources is potentially around the corner, even in a climate of low growth.
This could all be very slow moving and fraught with potential setbacks, but 2013 could yet be a defining year.
So the deal done in Brussels in last week is now being analysed a little closer and the markets want to know how much debt could come off Ireland’s overall stock of sovereign debt. Nobody ultimately knows yet, pending detailed negotiations. However early guessimates are most interesting, particularly those from US sources. The influential Heard on the Street column in the Wall Street Journal- now apparently only known as the WSJ- estimates Ireland’s debt to GDP at peak could fall to 90%, from earlier domestic estimates of 120% at peak - if the restructuring is radical enough. In a similar vein, the Financial Times has said Ireland is a “major winner” from the summit last week. Next few months the haggling over the precise debt impact will begin and sentiment towards Ireland on credit markets is likely to gyrate accordingly.
Following on from a piece in the Sunday Business Post (www.businesspost.ie) by IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary on Sunday about opportunities in the pharma sector, the FT now also report on the growth of “niche busters” in the same industry.
Brought up as we all are on mass medicine and their natural by-product, the “blockbuster”, its going to take a cultural shift to think a lot more about personalised medicine, i.e. treatments aimed at the those most likely to benefit from the drugs.
The FT piece by their pharma correspondent Andrew Jack, talks about the FDA approving a test from a company called Qiagen that will allow doctors to identify the 60% of patients who will benefit from a new drug called Erbitux. Instead of prescribing to a whole unfocused target group, smarter more targeted niche drugs are on the way.
I have heard a lot of talk about niche busters recently, but never read a very succinct summary of their benefits. But the people at UBS have come up with one, and it could end being used by others in the pharma sector.
“Twenty years ago the paradigm was that for every 100 cancer patients treated, 10 benefitted. If you could instead only treat those 10 patients, you get the same result without putting through 90 who don’t benefit and society gains”.
Hard to deny the logic and science is now allowing the industry to take that step fortunately.
Lots of coverage in the Irish newspapers about the phrama sector at the weekend. Particular focus on ‘branded’ pharma V `generic’ pharma. Two things occur. One is that many companies do both. Secondly, Ireland is a host to both parts of the industry. For every large branded drug player, there are generic makers here. Ireland’s improved competitiveness in recent years has also made it possible for IDA to compete for and win investments from generic manufacturers, such as Mylan’s recent investment.
Hello and welcome to the first blog entry for IDA Ireland from Emmet Oliver, Head of Corporate Communications.
A brief introduction first, I am a former financial journalist with experience working in newspapers and other media outlets in Ireland (The Irish Times and the Irish Independent) and the UK (Bloomberg). I am also a former radio broadcaster with NewsTalk 106 and regular TV commentator on business.
I have covered financial markets for almost 15 years, on and off, and was particularly active covering the global financial crisis, with us now (can you believe?) since late 2007, covering unprecedented events in Dublin, Brussels, and New York.
I am now interested in all things FDI, investment, trade, innovation, skills.. in other words that thing we call the `real economy’, or for US readers, `Main Street.’
Here the emphasis will be on real economy issues, how countries engage and trade and how big and small corporates try to innovate, particularly using Ireland as their base.
Much of what is written here is hopefully of interest to overseas business people looking for inward investment locations, whether in Europe or further afield.
In that sense hopefully entries will offer something a little different to mainstream financial news coverage, which has all gone a little one dimensional just now- i.e. the European debt crisis.
So hang around, take a peek, and hopefully the occasional snippet might just arouse a reaction or two, good or bad.