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Connacht Tribune

IDA faces ‘fierce competition’ to attract jobs to the West

Enda Cunningham

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The IDA is facing “fierce competition” to attract Foreign Direct Investment to the West of Ireland – but the presence of global giants here acts as a top reference for Galway.

And with hundreds of jobs created by IDA-supported companies in Galway during 2017, the number of site visits here by potential investors is on the rise.

Government figures show there were a total of 43 IDA-sponsored site visits to County Galway up to the end of September 2017 (the most up-to-date figure available), which is up from 42 for all of 2016 and 41 for all of 2015.

The only county with more site visits was Dublin (247 up to the end of September 2017), while Cork had 38 and Westmeath 34.

IDA Ireland’s Head of Regional Development, Anne-Marie Tierney-Le Roux told the Connacht Tribune that while the agency has had a good success rate in attracting multinationals, it has been an extremely competitive process.

“Every investment for Galway and the West region is hard won and the agency competes with other European and global locations as well as other locations within Ireland.

“Competition is fierce, but we will continue to work hard to win any and all potential investment for Galway and the West.

“Galway has proven itself to be an excellent location for investment, as evidenced by the number of global companies of international repute that we have here. Our value proposition is strong, we have demonstrated that we can meet their needs; we have the skilled workers, connectivity, the required level of infrastructure, services and third-level institutes they look for, coupled with a robust and supportive business culture and we will leverage that to the fullest extent.

“Working with established companies to help them develop and grow jobs is an important focus for us and in 2017, we saw SAP and Shopify do just that, adding 250 new jobs between them.

“It’s important to note too that the move to new premises demonstrates considerable commitment by companies to Galway and the West region, as in the case of Wood Group and MetLife.

“We should also remember the companies in Galway and the West region who have great longevity, and the benefit to the local economy that has accrued from their long presence here.

“Companies like Penn Engineering who established operations in Galway 16 years ago and this year celebrated the company’s 75th anniversary with a substantial facility expansion,” said Ms Tierney-Le Roux.

Looking to the coming year, the IDA’s Acting Regional Business Development Manager for the West region, Emma Goode, said the outlook is very positive.

“There is a lot to be optimistic about. We have a vibrant technology hub here. Our Med Tech sector is strong. The presence of global companies in these spaces here in Galway acts as an excellent reference seller for further investment.

“Site visits by potential investors are up on 2016. Another plus is the new Advance Technology Building for Galway which is being constructed as part of IDA’s property investment programme for the West Region.

“Construction is underway and the property is being marketed by IDA as a turn-key solution for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). We have had enquiries about it already,” she said.

That development in Parkmore East will see 45,000 square foot of office space – for up to 300 workers – completed by the middle of 2018 by the IDA along with Singapore investment fund Fine Grain Properties.

Galway’s reputation as an excellent location for companies to establish operations was further enhanced by a number of job announcements in 2017, the IDA officials said.

Announcements were made by two established companies; global software company SAP in May (150 new jobs) and commerce platform company Shopify in July (100 jobs) and new Italian company Antares Vision in December (53 jobs).

“Other activity during 2017 included Wood Group’s official launch of its new Data Analytics Centre of Excellence with the company planning to grow the data analytics team to ten people by year end and with the intention of developing further employment opportunities this coming year.

“In May, OpenJaw Technologies, the travel software company, announced 50 jobs between operations in Galway and Dublin.

“In September Penn Engineering officially opened an 80,000 sq ft facility. The expansion brings the total footprint of Penn Engineering operations in Galway to in excess of 200,000 sq ft The company employs 200 people.

“Another company which opened new premises in Galway in 2017 was MetLife. The official opening of their new Global Technology Campus in Galway took place in November.

“With plans to employ approximately 200 skilled IT professionals when at full capacity, the new campus represents a major investment in the digital initiatives that will help MetLife transform its customers’ experience around the globe,” said Ms Goode.

Galway currently has 68 IDA Ireland client companies, providing employment to 16,851 people.

Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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