Enterprise Ireland and the IPBN Team up with the Irish Embassy to Foster Ties Between Ireland and Portugal

Portugal and Ireland are stronger together

The Embassy of Ireland and the IPBN, in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland, held a fascinating seminar on Ireland-Portugal Economic Relations on Friday, April 29 at the offices of the União de Associações do Comércio e Serviços in Lisbon. 

The seminar was well attended by IPBN members and distinguished guests of Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Embassy in Portugal. The event was kicked off with a welcome from Ireland’s Ambassador to Portugal, H.E. Ralph Victory, followed by opening remarks by Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital, and Company Regulation Mr. Robert Troy T.D., who said, “While Enterprise Ireland is doing invaluable work on the ground, I genuinely believe it is networks such as [the IPBN] that complement that work.”

Secretary of State for Tourism, Trade, and Services Rita Baptista Marques, who noted the importance of Ireland and Portugal's ties, cited among other noteworthy figures that Ireland is ranked 14th in terms of foreign direct investment in the country, complemented by the following short presentation by Enterprise Ireland Eurozone / Central and Eastern Europe Regional Director Anne Lanigan on the “Untapped Opportunities for Trade in Europe” from the perspective of the government agency responsible for the development of Irish owned industry with their team of 60 across 11 offices in 9 countries. As the Eurozone is a cornerstone of Enterprise Ireland’s diversification strategy, considering that if exports to EU were the same per head of the UK population, Irish Enterprise exports to the EU would be seven times what they are now.

According to Anne, Ireland’s unique ecosystem of research, education, and business delivers innovative solutions to today's problems, especially in the areas of Telecomms and digital technologies, travel tech, fintech, and high tech construction, so there is a lot of room for collaboration between Ireland and Portugal in both business and research and innovation.

IPBN Chairperson Geoffrey Graham moderated guest panelists Sharon Dehmel, IPBN member and Cross-Cultural Communication Coach, Carolina Almeida Cruz, IPBN member and Entrepreneur at C-MORE | Beyond the Obvious, Cathal Sheehy, IPBN member and Partner at Kish Capital, and Pedro Teixeira, IPBN member and Senior Partner at Taxlibris, Lda. in a discussion on “Challenges & Opportunities of Doing Business in Ireland & Portugal.” 

One of the topics discussed was the importance of taking culture differences into account when building and managing a team comprised of various nationalities. For example, silence can be interpreted differently depending on the nationality of the colleague. Another topic of interest was Carolina’s decision to locate her HQ in Ireland, not only tax reasons but also in terms of favorable legislation for her software tech business. The panel went on to discuss the tiger resurgence in Ireland and compared it to Portugal’s capabilities and the road ahead to become comparable. Lastly, the discussion turned to challenges in remote working and how companies like IPBN member company Otonomee has managed to adapt to the new workplace reality and the growing need to build awareness on culture differences in the workplace, be it in a virtual or on-site setting.

Following the seminar,  Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Mr. Robert Troy T.D. and Secretary of State for Tourism, Trade and Services Rita Baptista Marques took the occasion to further strengthen links between Portugal and Ireland with a bilateral discussion in a private meeting room near the event space.