In the latest of our special series of profiles, Laureen Regan, President and Founder of the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce, Calgary, talks about doing business in Calgary and the province of Alberta.
Can you tell us a little about the ICCCC?
The Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce in Calgary works to promote and support bilateral trade between Alberta and Ireland. We create collaboration opportunities and business connections between Irish and Canadian professionals through networking and industry-specific events featuring key business leaders and diplomats.
What originally brought you to Calgary?
Waterford born, my family immigrated to Alberta for work many years ago. Here they found many opportunities, a strong entrepreneurial spirit to match their own and a welcoming community.
What advice would you give Irish companies about business in Alberta?
Irish Companies looking to start or set up a business in Alberta can see success if they are committed to maintaining a permanent presence here. It is difficult to gain traction when visits to Alberta are monthly or only every few weeks. Relationships are very important in the business community. It takes time, in market, to build connections and foster and grow the relationships needed to succeed.
Why Calgary? Top three things that make it a great place to live and do business
- Quality of Life
We are ranked in the top 5 most liveable cities in the world. The pool of highly qualified workers has made Calgary a global talent hub that is home to innovators and entrepreneurs.
The City has the benefits of having a large metropolitan centre, friendly and relaxed atmosphere, clean and safe environment, abundant green spaces and parks, longest urban pathway system, and an hour’s drive from the Canadian Rockies.
Calgary is ranked #1, out of Canada’s 100 largest cities for the sunniest days year-round – over 2,300 hours of sunshine annually!
- Connected to the World
Calgary has the highest head office concentration per capita in Canada. It has ready access to global markets through a highly integrated transportation and logistics system moving people, products, and services. Calgary also provides access to the rapidly expanding markets in Asia by air and via the Port of Vancouver and is also regarded by many European companies as a gateway to North America.
- Low cost of doing business
Compared to other Canadian jurisdictions, Alberta has no provincial sales tax, no health care premiums, lower personal income tax rates and the lowest fuel tax among provinces.
Calgary businesses also benefit from the fact that Alberta has no inventory tax, no machinery and equipment tax and no payroll tax, which are common in many other provinces and U.S. states.
Albertans. across all income ranges, will generally continue to pay the lowest overall taxes compared to other provinces.
If you could give one message to the Irish government about how to improve the Ireland Canada relationship, what would it be?
Canada is a large and diverse country, with much to offer. Alberta has strong, established markets in many sectors including agriculture, advanced industries, energy, renewables, forestry, water, manufacturing and more. Alberta also has leading university and research institutions.
Direct access through WestJet is opening up the Alberta market to Irish businesses and Canadian businesses are eyeing up the Irish and European markets.
Building awareness of the market opportunities in both directions is a crucial first step.
Is the future bright for Irish companies operating in or exporting to Canada?
The future is very bright for Irish companies looking for market access into Canada. Alberta has a strong focus on market diversification and a history of successful partnerships with many countries around the globe.
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, direct flights and a vibrant province that is ‘open for business’ all work together to create a solid foundation for opportunities in multiple sectors.
Alberta opens the doors to Canadian, American and Asian markets.
Anything else you would like to mention…
The time has never been better for Irish and Alberta businesses looking for new markets. Businesses and visitors alike will find a world of opportunity, an affordable business climate, young and educated workforce and a warm welcome in Alberta.
Image from left to right: Kate Hickey, Deirdre Giblin, Gerry Mongey, and Suzanne Drisdell
The ICBA recently presented Gerry Mongey with an honorary lifetime membership as she retired from her role as Trade Commissioner at the Canadian Embassy in Dublin. Here is the tribute paid to her on the evening.
The growth of Ireland’s relationship with Canada in tourism trade and in terms of the sheer number of young Irish people who leave Ireland every year to work in Canada is one of the great success stories in international relations. It encompasses the recent appointment of an Honorary Consul in Vancouver and the fact that five airlines now direct flights between Ireland and Canada. But it also but goes beyond this, spanning a wide range of areas from education, government, innovation, business to culture and tourism.
While many individuals and bodies can take credit for this great success, in both Canada and Ireland, it is widely recognised that one individual stands out. This individual’s contribution can be traced back to one morning in February in 1981 when a young Gerry walked in to the Embassy offices. Gerry Mongey is often described as the central ‘common thread’ in the success of Ireland Canada. For the last 38 years and 8 months she has nurtured the relationship and has steered and guided many who came to work on the relationship down the years.
Gerry has worked with many ambassadors and trade commissioners in promoting Canada in Ireland. She has helped literally hundreds and hundreds of Canadian companies come into the Irish market to become established and employ many Irish people. She has lead trade mission after trade mission and brought Irish journalist’s and industry experts to conferences in Canada to witness best practice. As a tribute to Gerry’s outstanding contribution Gerry received a letter from PM Justin Trudeau upon her retirement last week.
Steve Jobs said “Choose to do something you love if not keep looking”. It is fair to say that Gerry’s love of her job made her a joy to work with. Her enthusiasm for Canada is infectious and her professionalism always impressed.
In today’s roller-coaster world, the terms ‘champion and visionary’ are often mis-used and over-used. In the case of Gerry Mongey, they are completely apt. Since 1981 Gerry has more than delivered on her job in international business development. For Ireland and Canada over the last four decades a great gift has been bestowed, providing inspiration and models for many others in Canada and Ireland.’
Kate Hickey, Executive Director, Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA)
A delegation of the Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA) recently returned from a high-level business mission to Canada. The mission coincided with a meeting in Paris between Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, where Brexit, Northern Ireland and CETA were discussed.
Ireland and Canada already enjoy close bilateral business connections and the purpose of the ICBA mission was to further strengthen those ties and capitalise on the opportunities that Brexit, CETA, and NAFTA renegotiations present.
The ICBA mission revealed that Canada’s business and political leaders firmly believe in the vast potential of the Canada / Ireland relationship. With further efforts on a governmental level, a number of opportunities can be capitalised upon. They include:
- Canada’s desire to do more business with Ireland
Meetings held with the Board of Trade in Toronto and Quebec trade development agencies highlighted the attractiveness of the Irish market for Canadian businesses looking to export beyond the US. There is an opportunity for Ireland to showcase its attractive business environment across Canada, focusing on the country’s talented workforce, open economy and ease of doing business. With the continued efforts of the ICBA, IDA, Ambassador Jim Kelly, and Tánaiste Simon Coveney in highlighting what we have to offer, Ireland will become a real contender for Canadian investment this side of the world.
- Canada is looking for direct investment from Ireland
Roundtable meetings held with investment agencies in Ontario and Quebec confirmed that these provinces wanted strongly to promote themselves as a location for Irish direct investment. Irish and Canadian business cultures are very closely aligned and both share a legacy of common law. Meetings with Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney confirmed that this shared legacy is an important aspect of the Ireland Canada story. In fact, Ireland remains the last common law English-speaking country which is a member of the European Union.
- The changing Canada / US trade relationship presents Ireland with a big opportunity
Canada urgently needs to diversify trade beyond the United States and increase links to other market economies. For a long time, being right beside the US - the biggest, richest market in the world — has allowed Canadian companies export with ease. The experience of renegotiating NAFTA into USMCA has highlighted Canada’s vulnerability to a dominant trading partner that buys approximately 75% of Canadian exports. Only Kuwait, Bermuda, and Mexico have a higher geographic concentration of exports than Canada. When compared to countries where there are similar dependence issues such as Ireland & UK, Hong Kong & China, and New Zealand & Australia, Canada’s exports are much more concentrated. As a result of these factors, the delegation heard from well-placed sources that Canada is very open to increasing trade with Ireland and to using Ireland as a stepping stone for the wider EU market.
- Toronto Financial International (TFI)– a potential ally
TFI is a public-private partnership between Canada’s three levels of government, the financial services sector and academia with a mission to drive the competitiveness and growth of Toronto’s financial sector. Currently Toronto is the 2nd largest financial centre in North America. Aligning financial activities with a transition to a smart economy is a key concern for TFI and also for the Irish Government. Currently, the organisation is looking for international cooperation in the areas of Fintech and sustainable finance. Ireland, with its thriving international financial sector and a shared common law legacy with Canada, is very well placed to be a partner. There exists the opportunity to replicate the role of the Canadian financial sector in supporting actions that address climate change and collaborating with TFI.
The Ireland Canada Business Association strongly believes in the potential that lies in the economic and political relationships between our two nations. Already we have seen the number of jobs created by Canadian companies in Ireland grow by over 40% since 2014, and almost double-digit growth in the value of exports from Ireland to Canada. With Brexit strengthening Ireland’s position as a natural gateway to Europe for multinationals, boosted by the recent opening of an IDA office in Toronto, the opportunity is sizeable.
The ICBA’s recent business mission has confirmed that Canada’s industry and political leaders share our belief in the Ireland Canada relationship, and can clearly see ways to further strengthen it. We call on the government to continue to build on the great work it is doing in this regard, so that Ireland can make the very most of the opportunity currently presented.
Dear ICBA members and friends,
As incoming Chairperson of the ICBA, I'd like to first thank Garrett Monaghan for his service as Chairperson over the past four years. We have made great strides as an organization under his leadership.
During this period, and through the hard work of our Executive Director Kate Hickey and the Chair of our Membership Committee Dan O'Donnell, the ICBA has more than doubled its membership. There is no question that the ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and Europe has provided an impetus for ICBA's growth as companies in both countries were looking to new trade markets as a result of Brexit and NAFTA (now USMCA) renegotiations. However, it took a strong ICBA team to convert that interest into new members.
In addition, during Garrett's tenure, we have hosted two very successful business summits in Dublin, led two trade missions to Canada and held countless trade briefings, networking and social events. We have also increased our communications internally, through the creation of this newsletter, and externally, having revamped the website, created a twitter account and a Linked-in page, not to mention countless hits in traditional Irish media.
As a result, the ICBA has improved its ability to be heard by decision makers on key issues facing our members. For example, following an ICBA advocacy effort, it was announced that the IDA would open an office in Toronto. Finally, we recently updated the organization’s constitution from 1978 to modernize its operations and ensure compliance with the Companies Act 2014.
Moving forward, we will continue to build on this strong foundation to increase membership in the ICBA by continuing to demonstrate value through our communication and advocacy efforts, business events and social functions.
Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to welcome Joanne McEnteggart from IQEQ (formerly First Names Group) to the Board of the ICBA replacing myself as Vice-Chair. Joanne has shown a real commitment to the ICBA and will no doubt help us drive the ICBA agenda into the future.
ICBA Business Mission to Canada - May 2019
A delegation of the Ireland Canada Business association (ICBA) recently returned from a high-level business mission to Canada. Ireland and Canada already enjoy close bilateral business connections and the purpose of the ICBA mission was to further strengthen those ties and capitalise on the opportunities that Brexit, CETA, and NAFTA renegotiations present.
The mission was organised in co-operation with the Ireland Canada Chambers of Commerce in Toronto and Montreal, and the delegation was accompanied by Ambassador Jim Kelly and Deputy Head of Mission, Michael Hurley. Meetings were held with:
- The Attorney General of Ontario, Minister Caroline Mulroney.
- Mr. Goldy Hyder, CEO Business Council of Canada
- Former Deputy Prime Minister John Manley, Chair CIBC.
- Business Council of Canada
- Toronto Finance International
- Ontario Ministry for Economic Development
- Invest Quebec
- Toronto Board of Trade
- Montreal International
- Irish Park Foundation
- Public Sector Investment Board
The mission revealed that Canada’s business and political leaders firmly believe in the vast potential of the Canada / Ireland relationship, and, with further efforts on a governmental level, there are numerous opportunities to further strength the economic, cultural and political relationships between our two nations.
IN PROFILE: Jackie Gilna - President, ICCCOTT
In the second of our series of Ireland Canada Chamber profiles, we catch up with Jackie Gilna, President of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce Ottawa.
Jackie talks about doing business in the city and region, top tips for success, and the Galway man that she is proud to call an ICCCOTT member.
You can read it HERE.
ICBA - MAKING HEADLINES
Kate Hickey, Executive Director of the Ireland Canada Business Association outlined the ICBA's position:
"The ICBA and its members fully support Ireland’s move to a lower carbon economy, but it will take time. Oil and particularly gas are an essential part of the transition and we believe that is far preferable to source oil and gas through Ireland’s indigenous sources.
Canada and Ireland have close links in the resource sector through the likes of the North Atlantic Petroleum Systems Assessment (NAPSA) agreement, re-signed in 2018. The Petroleum Sector is a strong contributor to the Canadian economy and even as we transition to a low-carbon economy, developing our indigenous energy supplies can bring jobs to rural Ireland (as the sector has done in Canada in places such as Alberta and Newfoundland), inward investment from multinational companies, and a level of energy-security that we currently do not enjoy.
We welcome Minister Richard Bruton’s rejection, ruling out an immediate banning of fossil fuel exploration in Ireland, and we ask that the government continue to consider further the longer-term impact of this Bill. We ask other political parties to consider the challenges that lie ahead for Ireland in terms of securing its own energy supply and the effect that energy security has on inward investment."
Congratulations to the winners of ICBA Inaugural Quiz on 27th June in Clontarf Castle. Top prize went to ISC/Enterprise Registry Solutions captained by Laurel Garven!
Do you know your Ireland - Canada history?
What do Toronto’s healthcare system, the Home Rule movement, and Ireland’s departure from the Commonwealth have in common? They're all part of the fascinating shared history between Ireland and Canada. Thanks to Robert G Kearns of the Ireland Park Foundation for putting together a great article for the ICBA - you can read it HERE.
Mark O’Neill, CEO, Canadian Museum of History, Ottawa, and Robert Kearns, Chairman and Founder, Ireland Park Foundation, Toronto, will be special guests at the Thomas D'Arcy McGee Summer School next month. More information can be found HERE.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
4th September 2019 - ICBA AGM. Canadian Embassy Residence, Dublin.
18th October 2019- Annual Maple Leaf Dinner.
November 2019 - Ireland Canada Trade Briefing (date and venue tbc)
As the Chairperson of the Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA), I am pleased to welcome you to this website. Since 1978, the ICBA has been the voice of Canadian companies with operations in Ireland and Irish companies exporting to Canada. The mission of the ICBA is to Connect, Communicate and Influence Irish-Canadian stakeholders on behalf of our membership, which has now grown to over 100 companies.
Canada and Ireland share a strong links dating back to the famine – indeed over 13% of Canadians claim Irish ancestry. Today those links continue to be underpinned by Irish and Canadian transatlantic businesses creating jobs, growth and prosperity. In recent years the two nations have forged even strong economic links, with visits by Prime Minister Trudeau to Ireland and by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to Canada, as well as countless ministerial visits and trade missions from both countries.
There is also a close relationship between Canada and Ireland’s Ministers of Finance, since both countries are part of the same representative constituency at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In fact, Canada represented Ireland during the IMF bailout negotiations, with Canada’s Finance Minister at the time, Jim Flaherty, credited with achieving favourable terms for Ireland.
With modern economies, a liberalized trade approach, and progressive values, both Ireland and Canada are indeed two ‘signpost’ countries for the future. The ICBA will continue to work hard to foster this relationship on behalf of our members.
Recipient of FDI
Canada is very quickly becoming one of the most significant FDI influences in Ireland, with over 75 operational companies here employing some 13,000 workers. Ireland is the 15th largest recipient of Canadian FDI globally. Our members welcomed the opening of an IDA office in Toronto and the decision by the Department of Foreign Affairs to open a new consulate in Vancouver, providing an Irish footprint in Canada in three major urban areas across the country.
Due to the uncertainties being caused by Brexit, and the opportunities created by CETA, investment in Europe through Ireland is becoming the preferred option for many Canadian companies as well as existing Canadian companies already in the UK.
Ireland’s role and offering to Canadian and international companies as a gateway to the EU single market remains unparalleled. Ireland’s hard won and well-established reputation for winning and maintaining foreign direct investment is critically important in the coming months as Brexit becomes a reality.
The strong trade relationship between Ireland and Canada is reflected in the estimated €2.75 billion of annual trade between Ireland and Canada. This includes fast-growing exports by innovative Irish companies to Canada and major Canadian investments in Ireland. In recent years, Enterprise Ireland client company exports to Canada grew by 7.3% to 282 million Euros, or in excess of 425 million Canadian dollars. Canada is the destination for $6.3 billion of Ireland’s foreign direct investment abroad. In addition, bilateral merchandise trade between Ireland and Canada is growing steadily and reached a value of CAD $2.23bn in 2015. In 2016, Canada imported $1,934,344,594 CAD worth of Irish goods.
High Profile Investments
In recent years the investments between the countries have been both large and small and span many sectors: whether it be the Great West Life acquisition of Irish Life for €1.3bn, €450m acquisition of Topaz by Couche-Tard; the acquisition of Whitegate refinery by Irving Oil; the purchase by Nexen of four licences for gas exploration as in Ireland’s southern Porcupine Basin; the €41m acquisition of All Seasons Mushrooms Mushroom Co by Fyffes; the €5.5m investment by Canadian firm Mark Anthony Brands in the Glendalough Distillery; or the establishment of Canadian firm Shopify in Galway. The story continues with the acquisition of BPO Voxpro by TELUS, both Press Reader and Teknicor opening up international headquarters in Dublin, the Greystone purchase of a majority stake in the Ballycadden Wind Farm; the acquisition of Dublin-based Brown Bag Films by 9 Story Media Group; the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) purchase of Shell’s 45% stake in Corrib Natural Gas Field for €830m or Brookfield takes major stake in Imagine Communications.
The Comprehensive Economic Free Trade Agreement (CETA)
As Canada’s nearest neighbour to the EU, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement between Canada and Europe presents Ireland with substantial opportunity to take the initiative in working with Canadian, international and domestic companies on significantly liberalised cross Atlantic trade. While indigenous Irish company exports to Canada have grown by over 250% in the last five years, it has been predicted that CETA will result in a €250m increase in Irish exports per annum.
As a result of CETA, Canada will be one of the only developed countries in the world with guaranteed preferential access to the marketplace of almost one billion consumers in NAFTA and the EU. This represents over half the world’s output of goods and services.
Ireland, with its common law system, business friendly government, highly educated workforce, competitive 12.5% corporate tax and the OECD-approved 6.25% Knowledge Box tax for IP profits, is an ideal location for Canadian firms looking to establish operations in Europe as a result of CETA.
The Ireland Canada Business Association is proud of the work of our members and believe that a strong business community is the bedrock for a successful society. The ICBA remains committed to assisting them their bilateral investment and trade between Canada and Ireland and will build on the work accomplished over the last 40 years to promote member views and protect their transatlantic businesses.
Philip Lee Solicitors
Robert G. Kearns, Chair and Founder of Ireland Park Foundation
Ireland Park Foundation (IPF) is an arts, culture and heritage organization, dedicated to commemorating and celebrating the story of the Irish in Canada. We believe that through these lenses, the people of Canada and Ireland can enrich the mutual understanding of their interconnected identities. IPF promotes artistic connectivity, engages in original academic research, and hosts public art and cultural events to help build a stronger sense of community between Ireland and Canada.
Ireland Park Foundation takes a multidisciplinary approach to celebrating and commemorating the story of the Irish in Canada. Through public parks we commemorate, through theatre and film we relate, through music we inspire, through history we discover and through migrant stories we reveal.
The histories of Ireland and Canada are closely intertwined in so many ways, here are 6 of the most significant:
1. Migration of Irish during the Famine to Toronto and Canada as a whole
During the years of the famine in Ireland, many migrants made their way by boat to various points in eastern Canada, particularly Grosse île, Montreal, Kingston and Toronto. In 1847, the worst year of the famine, 38,586 Irish migrants descended upon the Toronto Harbour. While many migrants moved out of the city in the months and years to come, Toronto has a rich Irish influence, visible in its public figures, architecture and place names. Today, in the Province of Ontario alone, around 16.5% of the population claims Irish ancestry.
2. Irish migration fundamentally changed how Toronto’s healthcare system was run.
Many of the Irish migrants who arrived in Toronto during 1847 were inflicted with typhus, with 1,186 perishing that year alone. A Toronto doctor named Dr. George Robert Grasett was appointed Chief Attending Surgeon of the Emigrant Hospital in June of 1847, where most of the typhus-stricken Irish were treated. Dr. Grasett, along with 11 other medical professionals, gave their lives while tending to the migrants. To this day, Irish Famine migration to Canada is the largest health crises in Canadian history and fundamentally shaped this country’s celebrated public healthcare infrastructure.
3. Canada’s role in Ireland’s Home Rule movement.
While Canada did not have a direct role in Ireland’s Home Rule movement, it was a supporter of it, having received its own ‘Home Rule’ though Confederation in 1867. However, Mr. Edward Blake, one of only three Canadian Liberal Party leaders never to become Prime Minister of Canada, joined the British House of Commons to support Ireland’s Home Rule movement. Blake’s parents emigrated from Ireland before he was born and in 1892, he resigned his position as leader of the Liberal Party and moved to Ireland with his family. He was elected as an Irish Parliamentary Party Member of Parliament in 1892, for South Longford.
4. Ireland announced its departure from the Commonwealth in Canada
In 1948, at a dinner at the Governor General’s residence in Ottawa, Taoiseach John A. Costello allegedly declared that Ireland was leaving the Commonwealth. Popular legend claims the Taoiseach, offended at having been placed across the table from a replica of the cannon, ‘Roaring Meg’, declared Ireland a republic. The reality was that Ireland had for some time been in talks with the British Government regarding the External Relations Act, which Britain passed, and Ireland wished to repeal. During his visit, Costello arranged for a toast to the President of Ireland in exchange for a toast to King George VI. Governor General Lord Alexander reneged on the toast to President of Ireland and, at a press conference the following day, Costello announced that Ireland would repeal the External Relations Act, which led to the declaration of the Republic of Ireland.
5. Dublin and Belfast were major influences for Toronto’s architecture.
Toronto’s built heritage reflects both the multiple waves and constant streams of Irish migrants, particularly in the mid-to-late 19th and early 20thcenturies. Many Irish architects, builders, engineers and cultural leaders came to Canada during these years and helped to shape the city we see today. In the mid-to-late 1800s, Dublin’s Georgian architecture came to define much of the residential neighbourhood architecture, as well as that of major buildings, such as Union Station, Toronto’s main train station. In the 20th century, Toronto was largely influenced by Belfast’s industrial architecture, visible in areas such as the Distillery District and Liberty Village.
6. Canada’s role in securing better IMF bailout terms.
Canada represents Ireland at the IMF and World Bank, and Ireland is the only European country that Canada represents at both. Canada was a strong supporter of Ireland’s bailout terms and former Canadian Finance Minister, the late Honourable Jim Flaherty, was recognized as a strong supporter of the eventual favourable terms given to Ireland. (For the full story see the Sunday Independent’s article)
IPF has embarked on many exciting projects and programs over the past year. In August of 2018, Grasett Park was opened to the public, with its granite installation. We await the final piece of the park—the glass elements—which will be installed in 2020. On March 17th of this year, we signed the lease for 3 Eireann Quay, the former Administrative Office building of the Canada Malting Company, situated between Billy Bishop City Airport and Ireland Park on Toronto’s waterfront. IPF looks forward to converting this space into a permanent arts, culture, and heritage event and presentation space.
For the second in our series of ICCC profiles, we catch up with Jackie Gilna, President of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce Ottawa
Describe ICCCOTT and what its all about…
In cooperation with the Irish and Canadian business community, ICCCOTT established in 2010 promotes and supports programs that focus on trade and investment including sports, culture, and education as they relate to economic growth. We provide networking opportunities for members by organizing events with high profile speakers. Additionally, we support the business community representing member’s business views before the Irish and Canadian governments in Dublin and Ottawa.
We are committed to resourcefully connecting people and helping foster relationships to further business opportunities and help deepen economic ties between our two countries.
Please describe one of ICCCOTT’s members
We are fortunate to have one of Canada’s most decorated Irish entrepreneurs and leader in our community, businessman Pat Kelly (Galway), Director Community Affairs ICCCOTT. Pat is a recipient of the inaugural Presidential Distinguished Service Award 2012, and founder of the Gales. His success with the Heart and Crown group, construction group Bradley-Kelly and many other business interests is an example to all that hard work, focus, drive, and ambition drive results.
From the beginning of his journey in Canada Pat helped so many who came to Ottawa with a roof over their head, a job to get them started and introductions to help create their opportunities. He is a true example to all. It is often said the Irish abroad do not support each other in business. Not Pat Kelly, he set the bar and leads by example!
What originally brought you to Ottawa?
I spent many of my adult years in the Netherlands. Before leaving I was involved in the Dutch Oil &Gas, Aviation, Marine and Fire Fighting training sector as Managing Director and sat as Director on the Board of Directors for Merger& Acquisitions.
I thrive on challenge and felt ready for a change. It was a family decision and so we moved from the Netherlands via Ireland (nine months) to Ottawa, my Canadian husband’s hometown where his mother, a west-coaster, still lives.
I had no thoughts other than to take a sabbatical and see what inspired me on the next step of life’s journey. The journey subsequently morphed into two acquisitions ripe for management restructuring and two start ups in the tech sector.
Ottawa is a very safe city with a growing international community, tech hubs, talent and home to the largest employer in the country, the Federal government. We have access to great health care, housing and activities. Yes, the winters get very cold, but the warmth of our great Irish Canadian and local community compensates for the long weeks of boots and tukes!
Why should Irish companies consider Ottawa?
Ottawa has affordable housing costs in comparison to other major Canadian cities. We are a tech hub with over 1.3m people and 1,750 knowledge-based business employing over 68k people. We boast innovative talent, highly competitive business costs, incubator hubs such as Invest Ottawa and L- Spark, and access to the Embassies of the world to establish international opportunities. Not bad for our small Nation’s capital! And did I mention, it’s only 16 km to the ski slopes?
What are your key pieces of advice for Irish companies starting to do business in this city?
As we are in the nation’s capital Ottawa, a few simple rules to follow are: take the time to build relationships. Be punctual, give a firm handshake, maintain eye contact and opportunity will follow.
What’s next for ICCCOTT?
ICCCOTT continue to grow with representatives from predominately three sectors: Legal, Financial Services and Tech. We enjoy and are grateful for the support of the business community, the Embassy and our Chamber colleagues throughout Canada. We are excited and look forward to a unique event happening in this fall, an ICCCOTT initiative which will bring together the first Pan-Canadian Chamber meeting with guests ICBA and other parties in September 2019.
Check out part 1 of our series of Ireland-Canada Chamber profiles with Lar Quigley of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce Vancouver
Our business mission to Canada, Sovy profile, upcoming events, Ministerial interview, and more...
Dear ICBA members and friends,
We are delighted to be leading a business mission to Canada this month, in co-operation with the Ireland Canada Chambers of Commerce in Toronto and Montreal. This mission will take place from May 27 – 31 2019 and Ambassador Jim Kelly will participate alongside Senior Executives from the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. Participants will meet Policymakers, Industry Leaders and Senior Executives in the business communities in Toronto and Montreal (itinerary in full below).
A mission such as this presents valuable opportunities to bring our two business communities closer together and forge relationships that will last long into the future. We look forward to meeting our peers, colleagues and friends and we will report back on the events of the mission on our return.
ICBA & Cork Chamber Trade Briefing - March 2019
Thanks to Cork-based Canadian operations OpenText, Voxpro and eSentire for being part of the ICBA Trade briefing, kindly hosted by Cork Chamber. Leading Edge Group and Osborne Recruitment Consultancy shared their experiences of setting up operations in Ontario, while Dr Eleanor Doyle of Cork University Business School highlighted Canada’s ability to nurture clusters and the sectoral benefits that such clusters generate. Thanks also to John Roxburgh of the Embassy of Canada for a great address.
The ICBA Meets: Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Having just returned from a visit to Canada as part of the 2019 St Patrick's Day programme, Minister Richard Bruton took the time to sit down with Patrick Haughey, Communications Consultant to ICBA and talk about the trip. In this interview the Minister talks about:
+ The Irish companies that are solving key problems for Canadian industry
+ Meeting the big Canadian investors in Ireland
+ Switching on the green lights at Niagara Falls
+ What Ireland can learn from Canada's approach to carbon taxes and rebates
+ How the Irish government plans to help multinationals establish and expand in Ireland
ICBA Business Mission to Canada
Ambassador Jim Kelly will accompany the group in Toronto and Deputy Michael Hurley will proceed to Montreal with the group . Key participants include IDA and Enterprise Ireland. Participants will attend a series of meetings, events and roundtable discussions with key political and industry leaders. Participation is for members only.
- Business Summit with Toronto Ireland Chamber ICCCOTT hosted by Gowlings. Keynote address by Ambassador Jim Kelly with featured speaker Jean Francois Perrault, Chief Economist at Scotia Bank
- Photoshoot with Premier Doug Ford
- Breakfast Trade briefing with Irish Canada Chamber of Commerce Montreal hosted by McCarthy Tetrault
Meetings & round-table discussions
- Jose A Santoyo ,Director Trade & Investment Services Office ,World Trade Centre Toronto
- Minister Doug Smith of Economic Job Creation and Trade
- Jennifer Reynolds, CEO Toronto Finance International
- Hon. John Manley, Chair of CIBC Bank
- Ken Anderson of Intact Insurance
- Invest Quebec
IN PROFILE: John (JP) Popolizio of Sovy
In the first of our series of ICBA member company profiles, John (JP) Popolizio of Sovy describes his experience of setting up operations in Ireland, he outlines the most positive and challenging aspects of the process, and also shares his advice for Canadian companies thinking of choosing Ireland as their EU base
Dates for your Diary
May 22nd - Lunch for participants of the 2019 mission to Canada
May 27th - ICBA Trade Mission to Canada
June 13th - ICBA Golf Classic, Castleknock Golf Club, Dublin
June 27th - ICBA Inaugural Pub Quiz, venue tbc
June 30th - ICS Canada Day Picnic, Malahide Castle, Dublin
For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in joining the ICBA please email email@example.com
Describe your company in 60 words or less
Sovy is the one-stop-shop for simplifying business compliance, providing cloud-based regulatory compliance solutions for Micro and Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) around the world. Sovy’s affordable subscription services enable a MSME to get compliant and stay compliant with privacy, conduct and anti-fraud regulations for a fraction of the cost of bringing in high-priced experts.
Why did you decide to set up a base in Ireland?
We chose Ireland as our base of operations in the fall of 2017 because of the great support system for high-tech start-ups and deep professional talent base. Crucially, Ireland also has a wide array of international trading partners, so having a base here can create major opportunities to do business with SME’s in several other countries, including Canada.
What has been the most positive aspect of doing business in Ireland?
Ireland is both people and business friendly, and there is a general positive can-do attitude that makes growing a business quite exciting.
What has been your single greatest challenge to date (of operating in Ireland), and how have you approached overcoming it?
The landscape is complex in terms of where to set up operations, and weigh the different areas, talent pools, partnerships and the like. We have been working with Enterprise Ireland (EI), the Local Enterprise Office in Meath County and trade groups to make informed choices. EI has also been invaluable when it comes to learning about Ireland’s key trading partners and opportunities to scale Sovy by working with companies internationally.
What key piece of advice would you give to a Canadian company thinking of setting up in Ireland?
Take the time to meet the government and public-private partnerships that are set up to help your business become established and known and avail yourself of the many supports those organisations offer. Key organisations that you will want to connect with include Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, and groups like the Ireland Canada Business Association.
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