That Ireland has been very successful at attracting high-value Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by both well-established and high-growth companies, particularly from the US, is without question. The track record is well publicised and promoted: 9 out of 10 global software companies, 9 out of 10 global pharmaceutical companies, 15 of the top 20 medical technology companies, over 50% of the world’s leading financial services firms and so on, have set up significant operations in Ireland.
It may well be hard to argue with success, but the promotion and marketing of Ireland as a home for FDI investment is too often reduced to a high-concept “Why Ireland” bullet-point list of high-level facts regarding Ireland:
Access to skilled talent across the EU
Access to EU market
Efficient, online regulatory and tax system
Low cost of business
These high-concept, high-level facts are certainly important reasons why Ireland has been so successful at attracting FDI, and should be part of the marketing and promotion of Ireland as an FDI home.
But, as important as such high-concept, high-level facts may be, they are only a start, as they overlook an overall more important reason why FDI companies have been so successful setting up and operating in Ireland: business and social cultures of Ireland in which such FDI companies and their employees actually operate, work and live in.
Culture is a big word and is crucial to any FDI company deciding where to set up in Europe. The intertwined business and social cultures of a country affect every facet of a company’s business life and the lives of its employees. Ultimately, the business and social cultures of the society an FDI company chooses will determine the company’s:
speed and efficiency in setting up operations in Europe; and
success of those operations in Europe.
Ireland is unique as a European country in that it is not just the geographically closest EU member state to the US, but the closest culturally as well. When asked how Germans view Ireland, the responses could be summarised as "stubborn, creative, under-European". [i]
And there is much truth in that. A prime example is the work culture of Ireland. US companies, particularly technology companies, will find a work culture in Ireland not dissimilar to the US: a work culture familiar with and readily adaptable and accepting of tech work culture.
Coupled with Ireland's refreshingly economically minded policymaking, it is the fact that overseas companies and personnel find Irish business and social cultures easy to understand and adapt to, and thus navigate, manage, operate, work and live in, that makes Ireland such a successful location for FDI.
If you and/or your organisation are interested in setting up EU operations, talk to Interval's expert advisors today. We offer a range of services to support you in making your venture a success.