After a whirlwind trip from Dublin to Toronto for Paddy's weekend, I have had time to reflect on the time spent there in a very positive light.
Morgan McKinley Technology are starting a somewhat new venture to break into the Canadian market. It was important for me to meet with several other Irish companies who have, and are thriving within the Canadian markets and have built strong working relationships with other businesses throughout Canada.
One of the highlights of my trip was a breakfast briefing hosted by Enterprise Ireland at which the Minister of State Eoghan Murphy and Irish Ambassador to Canada, Mr. Jim Kelly were guest speakers. The theme was to celebrate another fantastic year for Irish-Canadian business and the growing educational links between our two countries.
The event was a sell out and to me it was quite unusual to see so many people in their work attire on St. Patrick's Day attending the breakfast briefing before heading to work; As it’s a bank holiday in Ireland, what I am used to is people dressing up in green and getting prepared for a busy day in the pubs of Temple Bar!
Both Eoghan and Jim shared extremely positive insights into how Canada and Ireland continue to trade successfully and Irish companies continue to receive a warm welcome with open arms by the Canadian people. As Morgan McKinley Technology are a somewhat unknown entity in Canada at the moment, what I have found so far is that the Canadian people are extremely open and welcoming thus far; So I can understand why the two countries continue to have strong direct business links.
Part of Minister Eoghan Murphy's remit is of particular interest to me. First of all Eoghan is a younger guy than most in office in Ireland at the moment and I believe this to be a good thing. He is quite in tune with the current technology sector in Ireland, in particular the technology sector within financial services or FinTech.
Eoghan has a strategy plan called IFS2020 and the vision is to make Ireland the location of choice when it comes to specialisation or innovation in financial services. Eoghan has already made several inroads assisting FinTech start-ups through various funding programs backed by Enterprise Ireland. He believes that offering Ireland as a gateway into Europe when it comes to financial services and in particularly FinTech is something we will excel at.
What excited me about this, was the fact that there are a number of new Irish companies who are trading well in Canada. If Ireland keeps offering the benefits it currently has in terms of taxation, talent and infrastructure, it will continue to see Ireland and Canada establishing very direct links between each other within the technology sector.
On a final note, Eoghan said if he could live and do business anywhere else in the world his first choice would be Canada. I couldn't agree with him more.