David Cass, Partner, Sia Partners: “The influx of capital, expertise and innovative organisations…changed the mindset of a generation”

David Cass, Partner, Sia Partners, explores the innovative, confident mindset of a generation leading growth in the U.S.

Note: This piece was originally published in the Ireland INC US 250 Index Special Report 2023

For decades, Ireland, with its proximity to Europe and young, educated workforce has been a global hub for attracting multinational interest and foreign direct investment. A diverse range of industries spanning from industrial to pharmaceutical and then technology sectors have set up significant and long-lasting operations on this island. These operations began as location, tax driven & lower cost production facilities but they landed on fertile ground and over time, through growth and development, have evolved into important value creation centres for global corporations.

The influx of capital, expertise and innovative organisations did more than create employment here, it changed the mindset of a generation of young, ambitious, Irish people and has created something bigger and more transformative to our society than could ever have been imagined or dreamt of. We were now at the forefront of innovative thinking and ways of working and far from believing we must accept the roles defined for us, we can co-create and bring our convictions and expertise to a bigger stage. We now understood that we don’t have to migrate to America, Europe or beyond to create a career, or business, that can challenge and compete on a global stage. We can do it here, ourselves, in our way and have an impact that reflects our unique view of the world.

This belief led to a growth in confidence in long established Irish industry to innovate, invest, take risks, grow, and develop new products, services, and markets. It has also inspired a new generation of entrepreneurs to dream big and start new Irish businesses with ambition to take on the world. Irish businesses continue to draw inspiration from American entrepreneurial culture, with many companies seeking to replicate the success of Silicon Valley and other innovation hubs here.

The importance of the US in this transformation cannot be overstated. The relationship between Ireland and the US has been long-standing, with millions of Irish migrating to the US over the centuries creating a unique two-way bond between our countries and cultures. The success of our ancestors in building a valuable community and contributing to the growth and success of America has a direct impact on our transformation here many years afterwards.

In more recent years, the country’s entrepreneurial spirit has expanded far beyond its borders, with Irish businesses increasingly looking towards the United States as a destination for growth and expansion. There are a number of factors driving this expansion such as: 

  • The significant Irish American population in the US and a positive attitude to Ireland, especially in senior political and business figures, provides a supportive and welcoming environment for Irish businesses to operate.
  • Ireland’s membership in the European Union has enabled Irish businesses to access the American market more easily through trade agreements and other initiatives. The EU’s trade agreement with the US, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), has created new opportunities for Irish companies to expand their operations and access the American market.
  • Irish businesses benefit from favourable tax policies in the US, which provide incentives for foreign companies to invest and operate within the country. The US corporate tax rate was reduced from 35% to 21% in 2018, making it one of the most competitive tax regimes in the world. This has encouraged many Irish companies to establish a presence in the US, either through partnerships or by setting up subsidiary companies.
  • The US is home to some of the world’s most advanced research and development facilities, innovative technologies, and a highly skilled workforce. This has made it an attractive destination for Irish businesses looking to tap into the latest trends and technologies, particularly in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and software development.
  • The growth of Irish business in the US has been particularly noticeable in the technology sector, with Irish companies such as Stripe, Intercom, and Workhuman making significant inroads in the US market. These companies have been able to leverage their Irish heritage and global reputation to create a unique brand identity and carve out a niche in the highly competitive US market.
  • In the Agribusiness, Dairy and Food sectors established Irish players such as Kerry, Tirlán and Ornua are now investing in production facilities in the US – bringing innovation, expertise, and the quality of their operations & products to a scale market.

Despite the opportunities Irish businesses also face significant challenges in their inroads to the US. The prohibitive cost of doing business, particularly in cities like New York and San Francisco has led many Irish businesses to explore alternative locations, such as Austin, Texas, or Nashville, Tennessee, which offer lower costs of living and a more affordable business environment.

Another key challenge facing Irish businesses in the US is the sheer scale and competitive nature of the market. The US is home to some of the world’s most successful companies, with fierce competition in almost every industry. To succeed, Irish businesses need to have a clear understanding of the local market and be able to adapt to the unique challenges and opportunities it presents.

So, what does the future hold? If the trend in recent years continues there is a bright future ahead. Irish businesses bring a unique perspective and innovative spirit to the US market, while the US provides access to a vast and diverse customer base – if done right it can be a match made in heaven delivering huge dividends to both sides of the Atlantic. The scale and ambition of the companies in the Ireland Inc US 250 Index is a testament to the global vision of Irish business leaders who with right strategy and approach show that Irish businesses can continue to thrive, innovate, and grow in the US market.

At Sia Partners we are committed to developing strong business relationships and a bridge across the Atlantic to service our key Irish clients in their growth journey in the US and also to work with our US clients as they operate in Ireland & Europe.

Sia Partners is a next-generation consulting firm focused on delivering superior value and tangible results to its clients as they navigate the digital revolution.

Our global footprint and our expertise in more than 30 sectors and services allow us to enhance our clients’ businesses worldwide. We guide their projects and initiatives in strategy, business transformation, IT & digital strategy, and Data Science. As the pioneer of Consulting 4.0, we design AI-powered, enterprise solutions.

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