Happy holidays from the IDA West Coast team! 2015 has been a fantastic year for us – we hope it’s been just as good for you.
Foreign direct investment from the West Coast was particularly strong in 2015, with continued investments by new and existing companies across Ireland. The year got off to a great start with Apple’s announcement of a €850m data centre investment in Galway, the company’s largest data centre project in Europe to date. Facebook, Microsoft and Workday also announced large investments this year, while LinkedIn celebrated 5 years in Ireland by starting construction on its new European HQ which will bring their total employee numbers to over 1000.
Uber, one of the world’s fastest growing companies, chose Limerick as the location for its new 150-person customer Centre of Excellence. Prudential added 330 tech jobs to its Letterkenny operation, while Seattle's Tableau Software opened their new Dublin office with plans to grow to more than 120 employees.
Ireland also continues to be the Go-To location for young companies who want to scale their international business. Many fast growing start-ups including Slack, Coupa SoftwareWrike,Asana, Daqri and Wave2Wave, all invested in Ireland for the first time in 2015.
On a broader note, the Irish economy performed very well throughout 2015, and is projected to continue expanding over the next few years. The European Commission predicts that Ireland’s GDP will grow by 6% this year and by 4.5% in 2016 – the fastest growth rate in Europe. Ireland also continues to improve its offering for international companies. For example, budget 2016 introduces the new Knowledge Development Box (KDB) which offers a 6.25% tax rate for income from qualifying patents and copyrighted software.
Over the last couple of years, connectivity between Ireland and the West Coast has improved hugely. Aer Lingus now runs a daily direct service to San Francisco and additional direct services to both LA and Vancouver will be available from next summer, meaning the entire West Coast of North America will soon be linked directly with Ireland!
A major highlight of 2015 here on the West Coast was President Michael D. Higgins’ visit. A key focus of the president’s October trip was the role of the Irish diaspora in America and the strong cultural and business links they create – a point he made during his address at Filoli House and Gardens and during employee events at Microsoft and Google.
Ireland made headlines around the world this May when we became the first country in the world to legalise marriage equality through popular vote. Taoiseach Enda Kenny summed up the post-referendum atmosphere nicely when he said: “With today’s vote we have disclosed who we are. We are a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people who say yes to inclusion.”
In the new IDA strategy announced this year, we set out to win 900 new investments for Ireland and create 80,000 new jobs over the next four years. To help us achieve this goal, we are hiring two more executives to join our team here on the West Coast.
IDA West Coast would like to thank our partners and friends for all the support you have provided throughout 2015. We wish you all the best in the year ahead. As always, we are here to help or assist in any way we can, so drop us a line anytime.
Thanks again and I look forward to working together in 2016. Nollaig Shona agus Ath-bhliain faoi Mhaise daoibh!
West Coast Director, IDA Ireland
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