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Ambitious FDI strategy increases focus on job creation from services sector, emerging markets, ‘Tomorrow’s Twitter'

Horizon 2020 marks the first time that IDA has published its strategic thinking in this way. This strategy document articulates our view of the next decade’s significant future changes. It outlines the results of a detailed analysis of global mega-trends, economic geopolitical changes and technology roadmaps from which we have outlined the goals Ireland needs to set to capitalise on the opportunities that they represent.

Barry O'Leary, CEO IDA Ireland

Targets set for investment in the regions

Highlights needs for nationwide Next Generation Networks, improving competitiveness

IDA Ireland Strategy - Horizon 2020 - PDF

Today, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, T.D., launched ‘Horizon 2020’, IDA Ireland’s strategic blueprint for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Ireland in the coming decade. She said this initiative is an integral part of the Government’s Smart Economy policy noting that, “Within the Irish economy, foreign direct investment has been, and will continue to be, a catalyst for our national prosperity. FDI companies create hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs, both for the employees of the investing companies and in the firms, including indigenous firms, that provide them with goods and services.  Securing such investments can also play a pivotal role in rejuvenating part of a city, a town or region were employment opportunities are limited.”

The Tánaiste said that the continued attraction of sustainable foreign direct investment is critical to ensuring Ireland’s economic recovery and that ‘Horizon 2020’ sets out a compelling argument for the need for ongoing ‘transformation’ in our approach to secure leading FDI here.  She said that this ‘transformation’ included: within the existing FDI companies located in Ireland; within IDA Ireland itself; in how Ireland markets itself abroad; and in the way all stakeholders collaborate to ensure Ireland secures these investments.

Barry O’Leary CEO, IDA Ireland speaking at the launch said “Horizon 2020 marks the first time that IDA has published its strategic thinking in this way. This strategy document articulates our view of the next decade’s significant future changes. It outlines the results of a detailed analysis of global mega-trends, economic geopolitical changes and technology roadmaps from which we have outlined the goals Ireland needs to set to capitalise on the opportunities that they represent.” He added “IDA recognises that the ambitious goals set out in ‘Horizon 2020’ necessitate a deeper and broader engagement of all stakeholders requiring public and private sector partners working together in new ways to bring this to fruition”.

‘Horizon 2020’ recognises that FDI success is never permanent while acknowledging such challenges create business opportunities. Companies and countries best able to continuously adapt and renew themselves will harness those opportunities. Ireland can win new investments that will create thousands of high-quality jobs across the country.  These investments will come from the development of existing client companies, industries and markets. They will also originate from new types of companies, in new areas and from new markets.

‘Horizon 2020’ sets out a road-map of what is needed to fuel Ireland’s future success with leading global corporations over the coming decade. Significantly, it also outlines a series of impactful short term goals, including an ambitious target for job creation.

Investment Targets 2010-2014:

  • 105,000 new jobs
  • 640  investments
  • 50% of investments will be located outside Dublin and Cork
  • 20% of Greenfield investments originating from high-growth emerging markets by 2014
  • Annual spend in excess of €1.7bn in research , development and innovation by 2014

Commenting, Mr. O’Leary stated “The future global growth in services and the improving competitiveness environment will position Ireland to win the necessary investments to meet the aggressive targets outlined. Employment will increasingly be in the creation of and delivery of services and solutions, IDA will maximise those job opportunities.” He continued “New business models are emerging enabled by cloud computing and new technologies focussed on driving higher productivity and energy efficiency. Coupling this trend with increased convergence between formerly separate sectors and between collaborative networks of multinationals and indigenous companies will prove an increasingly important source of future employment” adding, “IDA is at the forefront of making sure those partnerships happen here in Ireland.”

The foundation for the strategy outlined within ‘Horizon 2020’ includes a series of new initiatives called the ‘Ten Steps of Transformation’ which are outlined in some detail in the publication.

New Initiatives – Ten Steps of Transformation

  1. Drive company transformation
  2. Win employment-intensive Services investments
  3. Win new forms of foreign investments
  4. Support regional economic development
  5. Increase investment from new emerging high growth markets
  6. Target new emerging and small technology companies
  7. Enhance Ireland’s brand and reputation overseas
  8. Embrace ‘Open Innovation’ philosophy
  9. Strengthen Ireland’s value proposition
  10. Increase collaboration within Team Ireland

Mr. O’Leary stated “That the role of IDA also has to transform and in doing so IDA will serve as a catalyst for change. Change in how our client companies operate and transform. Change in how IDA works with multinationals serving the Irish market and change in how multinational firms partner with indigenous firms and other foreign firms. Without a consistent, continuous drive to create value for investors and potential investors the Irish economy simply will not provide the opportunities needed.”

IDA firmly believes that the success of the strategy depends on an unprecedented level of collaboration from all stakeholders in the Irish economic eco-system to continuously adapt: Government, IDA, sister development agencies, higher education institutes, current multinational base and indigenous entrepreneurs; who together comprise the group that IDA refers to as ‘Team Ireland’. If our past success was built on a world-leading value proposition combining our track record, talent pool, tax regime and technology, our future depends on our ability to swiftly add transformation to that list of attributes in which Team Ireland needs to excel.

The ‘Horizon 2020’ strategy concludes with a series of six Team Ireland policy enablers necessary to enhance our world-class environment to continue to attract overseas investment in the future:

  • improve our  competitiveness to ensure that our work practices and cost base make us a highly attractive location for a variety of employment-intensive projects with multinational companies.
  • ensure our tax regime remains compelling when compared to those in other locations.
  • ensure that we quickly enhance our broadband infrastructure and deploy Next Generation Networks that enable the most advanced uses of cloud computing technology – all across Ireland.
  • ensure that Ireland’s energy infrastructure delivers world-class networks and energy at a competitive price.
  • continually enhance our education system and training programmes to ensure we have a workforce with relevant skills and that supports advanced RD&I activities.ensure that the regulatory environment of Ireland is fit for purpose. Regulation must be strong, credible and flexible to adapt to changing conditions to maximise the opportunities for job creation, innovation and the emergence of new sectors.


  • 140,000 direct jobs
  • 240,000 total jobs
  • 50% of corporation tax
  • €7 BN in payroll
  • €19 BN in expenditure
  • > 70% of national exports
  • 73% of all business RD&I


  • 8 of the top 10 in ICT
  • 8 of the top 10 in pharma
  • 15 of the top 20 in medical devices
  • More than 50% of the world’s leading financial services firms


  • 105,000 new jobs by 2014
  • 640 Investments
  • 50% of FDI projects outside of Dublin and Cork
  • 20% of greenfield investments from emerging high-growth markets
  • €1.7 BN investment in RD&I per annum by client companies


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