In the last couple of days the news has emerged that Ireland won the race to get Twitter to site it’s European Headquarters there. Unsurprisingly this news emerged on Twitter itself – apparently after a concerted effort by Irish Tweeps to persuade Twitter to come to the land of the Celtic Tiger.
It was interesting timing for me because a U.S. based Hi Tech company had just asked me for my opinion on where to base it’s European Headquarters and I was also reading this article here about some ” tinkering ” that the U.K. government is planning with start-up investment incentives.
I am sure that IDA Ireland would have been delighted to know that my recommendation was to look closer at Ireland. I don’t have any real connection with Ireland other than the fact that I love Ireland and the Irish people – well doesn’t everyone ???
As a former Royal Navy officer in the 80′s Ireland was sort of ” off limits ” to me – especially Northern Ireland – but when I left the Navy and joined the Hi Tech world ( e.g. Memorex and then Fibernet ) the magic of Ireland started to pull me.
Memorex had strong representation in Ireland and of course the Irish Memorex salespeople were ” memorable ” !! Fibernet also did a lot of business in Ireland ( customers included Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank ) and M.D. Charles was always being ” led astray ” by the Irish – they delighted in trying to get him to miss his plane by having ” one more Guinness “.
Guinness is of course just one reason why you have to go to Ireland.
For me there followed about 3 ” Stay on a farm ” tours with the children with so many highlights it’s difficult to remember them all – being in a country pub when a céilidh erupted; the visit to Bunratty Castle; the visit to the Irish National Stud; the visit to the Jamieson’s Distillery. An Irish wedding in Cork. A corporate event with the U.K. Sales Director of 3Com. The occasion that I took the whole of Voyager Networks staff to Dublin to celebrate the sale of Voyager. Staying in the Shelbourne Hotel when ” The Monkees ” walked in !
This is the problem with Ireland – it’s just too much fun !!!
In fairness the Irish really have their act together at a time when the U.S. Hi Tech industry is awash with venture capital investment and many U.S. firms are looking for a base for their European Operations.
According to IDA Ireland Ireland is becoming the Internet Capital of Europe
and I am not going to argue with them. Even if all the tinkerings with the Enterprise Investment Scheme in the U.K. happen
the issue is more about which country has it’s act together in terms of the whole package : Country Brand & Likability Factor, Financial Incentives, Communications infrastructure etc etc
When I was asked my opinion on where to base I said Ireland off the top of my head. I also asked a friend of mine who has a business helping U.S. companies to establish themselves in Europe – he said the U.K. I also Googled the question and came across a Linkedin answer with a lot of recommendations for Ireland. Just trying to get back to that Linkedin answer I found this:
Reid Hoffman of Linkedin asks Linkedin where best to place Linkedin’s proposed European H.Q. !!
The answer voted best to this question summarised as follows:
” My final choices as a potential company moving there? Luxembourg, Ireland, Switzerland. “
Linkedin eventually went to ………………………. Ireland !!
and note this:
Kevin Eyres, managing director of LinkedIn Europe commented, “We now have more than 14 million members in Europe and 60 million worldwide. As our membership continues to grow quickly, this is the right time for us to establish an international headquarters. Being based in Dublin gives us access to a highly skilled workforce and enables us to coordinate our business growth across Europe and beyond to deliver the best possible service to our members.”
But also see this ( hot off the press ) in respect of Tax:
and I quote
” That, in effect, represents a saving of €140,000 – or 53 per cent – from situating its European office in Dublin rather than London.
In actual fact, though, Twitter will probably save much more than that, if they’re clever enough to deploy tactics which exploit tax loopholes all over the globe.
It was revealed last year that accounting practices known as a Double Irish and a Dutch Sandwich – owing to similarly favourable tax conditions in the Netherlands – helped Google to reduce its tax bill by €2.2bn.
The 12 per cent Irish corporation tax rate which has contributed to the relocation of so many big companies to these shores has raised the heckles of the likes of France and Germany, who are adamant that Ireland should agree to a more uniform Europe-wide tax rate as a payback for the bailout provided by the (financial terrorists) good folk at the EU, ECB and IMF.”
and the point is that you need to have ALL your ” ducks in a row ” if you are going to win the ” which country am I going to base my European Headquarters in ” game.
If London wants to win in this game it had better put the sort of effort behind it that won the Olympics for 2012.
The Irish brand and the “ Double Irish and a Dutch Sandwich “ is going prove difficult to beat !!!
btw The Celtic Tiger awakening is not just about Internet companies the same is going on in the movie industry and healthcare sectors