Many companies across a variety of sectors applied for the Ireland Portugal Business Network’s 2023 Business Success Awards, and the success stories shared truly highlighted how rich and diverse the network has become. The judges representing the IPBN focused on achievements in innovation, transformational change, sustainability, and employment opportunities along with the promotion of trade between Portugal and Ireland. The applicants from the Real Estate Sector, ProprHome represented by CEO John McCoy, and Rural Properties represented by Paul Rees ticked many of the boxes off within their applications, which made the selection process even more difficult, so we have decided to share their stories with the network to better illustrate just how tough of a job it was.
The Proptech company ProprHome is a marketplace for residential properties that operates on a rewards-based marketing model on a platform that works on blockchain technology, which allows the company to provide verified data throughout the buying and renting process.
Their standout success, according to John, came when "we tested our first marketing campaign on TikTok focused on bringing more transparency to the market and hit over 1m views within 4 days. 5 weeks later we have reached over 5 million people, and all with zero paid media spend - 100% organic. We 100% would not have achieved this without an innovative product that encouraged engagement throughout this campaign." This success accelerated ProprHome's arrival to market in January 2024. Achieving an organic return like this allowed the company to focus on improving the product and achieving true product-market fit faster.
Meanwhile, Rural Properties works effectively in the niche rural property sector in Portugal, buying old and empty houses, renovating them with vision and design, and then selling them to a growing market of those settling in the country. The company has a local impact, bringing back to life empty properties whose new owners help regenerate the local economy and increase the headcount in local parishes. Furthermore, the company provides income for a wide range of locally-based suppliers and workers, which falls in line with the national policy of reducing desertification and increasing local economic output and income.
Paul described his standout success by saying, "When faced with an opportunity to purchase an at-risk historic town center property, the company attracted three individual investors to equally share in the property's substantial purchase and redevelopment costs...This innovative investment by collaboration has been a great success with all three investors fully engaged in the property's history, its redevelopment, and the sales process. The technical services upgrade ensured the early-1800s property was heated and insulated to accord with current eco-best practices while retaining its unique character." The impact of this success led to Rural Properties being offered a further site in a nearby town. In the same family for at least 150 years, this mix-used building (tavern, shop, and accommodation) was secured and work has started on what the local council archivist states is a property that is at least C17th. Additionally, a further townhouse has been offered by a local family and secured in a private sale. In general, the company has managed to secure its place in leading the resurgence in the rural property market.
Aside from these successes, there are certainly many more still to come. We look forward to receiving updates from these innovative members and will likewise be sharing the success stories from IT, Tech and Telecom sectors, and the HR, Hiring, and Marketing service sectors shortly.
Moderated by former Chair of the IPBN Aoife Healy, the second panel focused on "How to Tackle and Create Disruption in the Hospitality Sector." In the words of panelist Sofia Almeida, the overall takeaway is that “We have to adapt. And COVID was proof of that.”