Ireland’s economy has remained strong over the last 12 months, outperforming almost all other advanced economies, despite the disruption of Brexit and challenges of COVID-19. The strength, depth and diversity of multinational companies in Ireland demonstrated significant resilience for Ireland’s economy during 2020. While many businesses in the technology and life sciences sector grew in Ireland, the Irish Government responded quickly with unprecedented support and finance to strengthen all areas of the economy during the pandemic, positioning Ireland very well to capitalise on recovery and drive the transformative, green and digital agenda.
The strength of technology capability, in all sectors, has been instrumental to Ireland’s resilience and growth. The Tech ecosystem is diverse, sophisticated and very accomplished. It’s powered by investors from well-known blue-chip enterprises and fast-growth companies from across Europe, the US and Asia Pac, excellent research capability and a deep pool of talent from Ireland and right across the EU.
Furthermore, trends and competition show companies tend to move with the success of others and Ireland is always ‘on the shortlist’ for technology investments by companies across all sectors.
Ireland has one of the youngest populations in the EU, with one third aged under 25 and almost half under 34. We have the highest level of STEM graduates per capita in EU and the second highest rate for female graduates in STEM in the EU. The energy and ambition of Ireland’s young population, enabled by strong education systems, good public policy and an open, diverse, rich quality of life, all blend together in a very compelling way when companies think about talent.
Ireland packs a punch. The European State of Tech Report 2020 reported Ireland has one of the highest numbers of Software Developers per one million inhabitants in Europe and the highest ratio of AI talent across Europe on a per capita basis. The right high skill / high quality talent, with a track record to deliver, makes Ireland one of the most attractive locations in the world to grow and build a strong business.
One of the real strengths of Ireland’s FDI attractiveness is the quality of our education system and our graduates. Ranked among the top 10 most innovative EU countries in the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS), Ireland is number one for knowledge diffusion and third for knowledge impact in the Global Innovation Index. Ireland has two Ministers focused on Education; one Minister for the growth, development and advancement of school going children, and the second Minister focused on higher education, research and innovation. There’s a clear connectedness and investment in the future, education, skills and talent, for all ages, right across the country.
Vibrant, creative and competitive
Ireland has a proven track record of success for multi-nationals with more than 1,500 of the world’s leading businesses and 250,000+ people working in cities right across the country. Recent investors, including We.Trade, Zalando, Wuxi, TikTok and Personio have all joined and added to a technology and talent ecosystem build up over the last 35+ years.
It’s not only the technology leaders like Microsoft, Apple, Ericsson and SAP, it’s the breadth of technology capability, talent and real global challenges being solved across all sectors, in engineering companies like Liebherr and Siemens, Sanofi and Novartis in life sciences, Mastercard and Stripe in financial services.
Industry & innovation clusters
Education with open collaboration and dialogue, between IDA Ireland client companies, Ireland’s home-grown companies, government and academia, on strategic goals like skills, the future of work, green economy, advanced manufacturing and digitisation, really works. A great example is the recent, industry driven, €500m Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF), for transformative research collaborations between industry, researchers and the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre network.
Our clients’ role and contribution in EU-wide collaborations and access to the very best of research capability, through Europe’s ‘Horizon Europe’ €95.5bn research budget, is a tremendous asset to talent and adds depth of capability. It’s one of the reasons Ireland has been so strong on technologies like AI and Blockchain and won investments from companies like Henkel, ABB and Valeo. Early next year IDA Ireland will open Ireland’s Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC) adding an important capability and opportunity to our manufacturing and science sectors to trial, adopt, deploy and scale new technologies. Through such investment, Ireland has become a lighthouse for global companies to grow and build new technologies with best-in-class partners.
Ireland is among the most outward looking and internationally engaged countries in the world. Ireland was elected to the UN Security Council in June 2020; and our Minister of Finance was elected President of the Eurogroup in July 2020. Ireland’s Government and citizens remain overwhelmingly supportive of EU membership. Ireland continues to advocate at the EU and internationally for free and fair trade, and for the highest environmental and labour standards.
Climate targets are established in law as Ireland sets course for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 under the National 2050 Climate Objective. The enterprise sector will be supported to mitigate climate impact and transition to more sustainable production in a cost-effective and competitive way. Relevant European Green Deal funding is to be directed towards decarbonisation projects such as renewable energy infrastructure, decarbonisation technology, digitisation, health tech, R&D, and upskilling.
In January, IDA Ireland published our new strategy to 2024+ focused on two important competitive factors; Transformation through RD&I, digitisation, training and upskilling and Sustainability and the Green Economy “to make Ireland the best country in the world for sustainable FDI” it’s very ambitious and not without its challenges, and crucially, it maintains our focus on attracting the next generation of leading investors and companies to Grow their business in Ireland.