In Cork there is an appetite to make things work and to compete on a global stage

Cork is a great place in which to live and work according to Bob Savage, Vice President and Managing Director, EMC Centres of Excellence EMEA. He tells why here…

How do you find Cork as a location to do business?
Cork has quickly established itself as a tech hub and provides everything a company, big or small, needs in order to flourish on the international stage. From infrastructure, skilled graduates to the high quality of life on offer, Cork has all the essential ingredients for a company to operate successfully and for employees to build a fulfilling career.

How does it stack up cost wise against other locations?
Cork is a highly competitive international destination in which to do business. Many external and internal factors influence the cost of doing business in Cork. Business-friendly support services in place and other fiscal realities are certainly big advantages. The cost of living in Cork is also slightly lower than it is in Dublin which is certainly a benefit for our business and for our employees.

Are there good business supports available in the region?
Cork offers a wide range of business support services that all businesses can avail of. The IDA offers an extensive array of support services for MNCs and since its foundation has been incredibly successful in attracting and maintaining FDI in Ireland. This is only one of the support mechanisms the Government—which has been very supportive of the IT sector in Ireland—has put in place. The third-level institutions have also been a major benefit to us, as it allows us effortlessly to access a pool of highly educated and qualified individuals. Cork BIC and Enterprise Ireland also offer support to young companies in the region elevating Cork’s status as a tech hub.

If you were describing Cork to someone who did not know much about the place what would you say?
Cork is a vibrant and ever-changing city, with a rich business and social culture. Home to some of the largest companies in the world, the finest educational institutions in Ireland and an exciting cultural offering, Cork is a great place in which to live and work.

From your point of view what are the biggest advantages to operating a business in Cork?
The biggest advantage for me is definitely the availability of highly educated, skilled and motivated individuals. Other stakeholders such as local and national government, and organisations like IDA and Enterprise Ireland, are great supports. There is a “can do” attitude which is a really positive and important external factor.

Do you find it easy to attract people to work with your company in Cork?
In short, yes. Both EMC and Cork enjoy an excellent international reputation, making it easy for us to attract talented people from all over the globe. With leading educational institutions like UCC and CIT, great infrastructure and a vibrant social scene, the city is diverse and a cultural focal point. These are factors we cannot underestimate when attracting young and talented people from all over the world.

How would you describe the quality of the indigenous workforce in Cork?
Cork offers us a young, dynamic and well-educated workforce with excellent third-level institutions. University College Cork offers an excellent Data Business programme and Cork Institute of Technology offers Europe’s first Cloud Computing course, both developed in co-operation with EMC. These courses prepare graduates for the realities of the modern and ever-changing IT sector. Cork is also home to some of the country’s most prestigious and high-achieving secondary schools.

Could you describe the general work ethic that you have experienced in Cork?
There is a healthy pro-business attitude and strong work ethic evident in Cork. This work ethic and ambition is visible in every aspect of life. Our graduates are highly ambitious and motivated and want to succeed in the career of their choice. The recent economic downturn has only intensified that drive.

What is the general consensus of your team about working and living in Cork?
All our team enjoy living and working in Cork. Cork offers a high quality of life with a diverse and vibrant local culture. Cork is a beautifully creative and young city. It is also a key business hub with many pioneering companies and people establishing themselves here. We find that many of our people enjoy this aspect of the city, networking at the many industry events and meeting likeminded people.

How would you describe your personal experience of living and working in Cork?
As a Cork man, born and raised in the city and having studied at UCC and CIT, Cork is very much home. Cork is a great city to live and I’m fortunate that it is also home to EMC. Our Centre of Excellence in Cork is one of eight in the world and the Cork business is an important contributor to EMC on a global scale. The active business community in Cork, coupled with a talented team at EMC, means I enjoy arriving at the office every day.

Is it a good place to raise a family?
Yes, Cork is a great city to live, work and raise a family in. There’s great quality of life in Cork with some of the best schools in the country located here.

What is the one stand out feature about Cork that has resonated with you?
In Cork, there is an appetite to make things work and to compete on a global stage. This attitude mirrors the spirit of EMC making Cork the perfect location for us.

Dairygold’s Niall Sheehan discusses why Cork makes good business sense

Ahead of Niall Sheehan, Head of Property at Dairygold’s trip to the fDi Forum in London on September 24th, he took some time out to share his thoughts with us on why Cork makes good business sense…

How do you find Cork as a location to do business?
A vibrant and youthful city, Cork is an ideal location to do business. The city has a track record of attracting international investment with over 137 overseas companies operating successfully in the area, and a workforce of well over 22,500 people. A strategic hub, several of the world’s key corporate occupiers are situated in the Cork region – including Apple, Amazon, VMWare, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson.

If you were describing Cork to someone who did not know much about the place what would you say?
Cork is a distinctly unique location, a metropolitan mix of culture and commerce all rolled into one. Cork is known as Ireland’s food capital, and we have the Wild Atlantic Way right on our doorstep. The city has a pulsing work/life balance and a thriving commercial hub. It has a totally unique sense of identity.

From your point of view what are the biggest advantages to operating a business in Cork?
Cork has massive advantages to offer businesses. The region’s scale is extremely convenient, in that it operates very efficiently for corporations of all sizes. Energetic and youthful, the city has long been characterised by commerce and enterprise. The city enjoys both indigenous and international corporate occupiers, offering unrivalled experience and industry insights. The region is also extremely accessible and connected.

How would you describe the quality of the indigenous workforce in Cork?
The quality of the indigenous workforce in Cork is second to none. The region has a large talent pool with over 30,000 third-level students. The city’s two primary third-level institutions – Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and University College Cork (UCC) – as well as several further-education centres such as St John’s Central College, Cork College of Commerce and Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, all offer an extremely capable workforce.

Could you describe the general work ethic that you have experienced in Cork?
The people of Cork have one of the best work ethics in the country; they are an extremely motivated, inspiring workforce. Employees in Cork strive for a balanced work/life approach, enjoying the varied cultural and social lifestyle the region has to offer, complimentary to the city’s bustling commercial attitude.

What is the general consensus of your team about working and living in Cork?
My team’s attitude to working and living in Cork is an overwhelmingly positive one. The city is rapidly growing from strength to strength, both commercially and culturally. The region boasts a varied selection of experiences, from retail, dining and entertainment, anything from heritage pubs to cool nightclubs and key places of interest like The English Market and Cork Opera House.

How would you describe your personal experience of living and working in Cork?
My personal experience of living and working in Cork is similar to the team’s own experience; a thoroughly enjoyable one! The city has a mix of both young and old, and there is without a doubt something to please everyone. The pride people take in the city is contagious.

Is it a good place to raise a family?
Cork is a great place to raise a family, offering exceptional quality of life to its inhabitants. The region offers an easier pace of life to Dublin, with less commuting, less cost of living and friendly locals. Cork is a genuine student city of international scale, offering a wide choice of educational routes at all levels. A city of cultural spirit, there are family-friendly attractions dotted around the map, and you’re always just a short drive from fresh country air.

What is the one stand out feature about Cork that has resonated with you?
Cork’s connectivity is without a doubt a stand-out feature. An exciting commercial quarter, the city is exceptionally well serviced by public transport facilities and a series of pedestrianised streets. Cork Airport – Ireland’s second busiest airport, serving over 2.1 million passengers across 50 routes to the UK and continental Europe – is approximately 10 minutes by car to the city centre. Kent Train Station – just 10 minutes from the city centre by foot – sees hourly trains from Cork to Dublin Heuston. Cork is also fast becoming Ireland’s internet hub, with the vast majority of businesses operating in the city being served by fibre optic connectivity.

Teamwork.com talks “doing business in Cork”

Cork based, Teamwork.com offers a suite of business applications, which are used by over 20,000 companies in over 147 countries worldwide to manage projects and streamline day-to-day operations. Teamwork’s clients include Ebay, Microsoft, Puma, Oxfam, Forbes Travel, Paypal, Electonic Arts, and NBC.  

We asked Peter Coppinger, co-founder of Teamwork.com, what doing business in Cork means for him. 

How do you find Cork as a location to do business?
So far so good. We started here and continue to expand in Cork so that says something in itself. Our client base is predominantly outside of Ireland but everything else that we need to successfully run a business is here in Cork.

How does it stack up cost wise against other locations?
Cork is very affordable by comparison to other cities.  San Francisco for example has staggering costs. When you’re located in a city that’s affordable like Cork it means there’s more opportunity to pump money back into the business.

Are there good business supports available in the region?
Yes. There is a good sense of community among the businesses in Cork.  There is always something on to keep you connected.

If you were describing Cork to someone who did not know much about the place what would you say?
Cork is a small city with a big vibe. It’s full of culture but at the same time maintains it’s own sense of identity that makes it a great place to live and work.

From your point of view what are the biggest advantages to operating a business in Cork?
As mentioned it’s cheaper to run a business here by comparison to other cities, there’s a strong business network here, and we have reasonably good access to talent.

Do you find it easy to attract people to work with your company in Cork?
Yes and no. We look for a very specific skillset which I think is difficult to find in Ireland in general as demand is high. However when we do find potential candidates getting them to come work for us isn’t too difficult because Cork appeals to lots of people.

How would you describe the quality of the indigenous workforce in Cork?
We’ve had a very good experience to date. Among our Cork workforce we have American, French and Bulgarian staff who all seem to love it here.

Could you describe the general work ethic that you have experienced in Cork?
It’s excellent. People really take pride in and value their work. It’s a great thing for us.

What is the general consensus of your team about working and living in Cork?
Everyone is happy here. Cork has a nice mix of young and old and there seems to be something for everybody here.

How would you describe your personal experience of living and working in Cork?
So far so good. I love experiencing new cultures but it’s a great place to have as base.

Is it a good place to raise a family?
So I hear. One of our team recently moved here from Sacramento California with his wife and 4 children so it seems to have a lot to offer families. There is a good choice of schools here and you’re only ever a stone’s throw from the countryside.

What is the one stand out feature about Cork that has resonated with you?
Probably how proud Cork people are about being from Cork. It’s something they carry with them wherever they go. Cork people sell Cork really well!

Colliers International helping to reboot Cork

Roger Hobkinson and Michael Donohoe from Colliers Ireland will be with senior Cork executives from the public and private sectors at the fDi Forum in London on Thursday 24th September.  They will be supporting Cork as one of the lead sponsors of this high profile event to be held at Kings Place, Kings Cross.

Roger took some time out to talk about Colliers International’s collaboration with Cork City Council.

Cork has lots going for it.  This was the first observation when Colliers’ started an extensive period of work in the region early in 2012.  However there were key gaps in the “portfolio of products and services” Cork should offer.  Work was needed to ensure Cork could be seen as Ireland’s second tier European city, complementing the capital Dublin and adding more depth to Ireland’s European and global offer.

The Cork conundrum was that in a world where people and economic activity is increasingly happening in cities, too much economic activity had been allowed to go out of the city.

A phrase we used when starting our work was to help Cork “position for the upturn”, which is now thankfully underway.  We’ve had two strategic aims, first to give Cork a much healthier heart and second to help grow demand for the Cork Region.  We’ve led advice on the following to help achieve these aims:

  • A fresh action plan to deliver development in Cork Docklands. A crucial action was to deliver a new Central Business District for Cork and the south of the island of Ireland. This is now emerging in the area closest to the City Centre in the area we termed City Harbour. We believe 5,000 to 7,000 additional jobs could be created in this area by the end of the decade.That’s a lot more people shopping, eating, drinking, staying in Cork and enjoying Cork’s urban buzz. The first major office building by John Cleary Developments will house nearly 2,000 people when complete in late 2015/ early 2016.
  • A strategy and action plan for the core City Centre. We set out a blend of practical initiatives, catalyst and transformational projects that through integrated destination development and management would add more vibrancy to the heart of the City. This covered retail, office, hotel, leisure, tourism, cultural, public spaces, place branding and marketing initiatives and summary action plans to guide delivery.
  • A place brand strategy for the Cork Region, bringing fresh clarity to the experience, offer and reputation of Cork so that all in Cork are clear on the key messages they should use when promoting the region. Cork needs this to elevate itself internationally, especially when city regions around the world are competing more intensively for talent, investment and tourists.  With nearly €1bn of development projects either underway or due to be announced, a big Cork dig is happening.  The brand and marketing strategy will help to leverage this public and private sector investment.
  • A destination development strategy for the reuse of the iconic Port of Cork Customs House and Bonded warehouse buildings at the point of City Island. This along with the Event Centre will be a game changer project in making Cork the preeminent leisure, entertainment and recreational destination for the south of the island of Ireland.

With these and others developments, a truly exciting pipeline of projects is emerging.  The mix of development, branding & marketing, organisational change, the quality of domestic and international people and businesses in Cork means at Colliers International we believe Cork is a great place to live, visit and invest.

There’s something special happening

Denis Collins, CEO Smarter Dynamics & Chairman of LearnLode, has been involved in every aspect of the IT sector in Cork, and he sees this as a promising time for the region.

“We’re seeing an exciting renaissance of industry from small indigenous to multi-national, significant city centre capital investment, arts, food, global pedigree science/ R&D innovation supported by an accessible, integrated
infrastructure of industry, government, public sector and academia… all tied up with a bow of terrific lifestyle.

A very compelling proposition. Work, learn, live – Cork, it’s the right mix.” 

Denis says “It’s not about Cork vs Dublin vs Galway. Every region has a lot to offer. If we can lead successfully down here, we can deliver something that helps the national bottom line. I’ve seen it from multinational, start-up and regional leadership perspectives. Cork right now is not just a place, it’s a frame of mind. There’s something special happening right now where we see a resurgence of indigenous business while the multinationals continue to invest. Tourism, agriculture and research and development are all helping drive this.

There is a passion and can-do spirit to the place that lends a type of Silicon Valley atmosphere. It can be complementary to Silicon Docks in Dublin. Some companies will always want to go to Dublin but there are others that will find the appeal of the eco-system and the lifestyle down here. It’s about work-learn-live.

From a work standpoint, there are opportunities from start-up to multinational. With learn, there is an eco-system of academia tightly connected all through Munster. You also want to live, the region has a topology of the whole country from mountains to beaches. That’s a compelling value proposition.”

The one area Collins said needs to be developed further is the centre of the city itself. The IT activity to date has been largely on the fringes of the city. Now, however, he sees a digital quarter developing in the city.

“We need to build from the city out. There is a coalition of the willing with industry, government, and academia. When you do that right and build out, the lifestyle part kicks in and other parts start to develop. That way it goes further out into the region on a complementary basis. Accelerating that digital quarter is similar to what happened in San Francisco. Across the board there are developments that help, like the convention centre and the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, that build up the city. We now need to accelerate business in the city centre, which Tyco’s new office is playing a big role in.

Combined with that we want to ensure we can allow business to flourish by feeding in the likes of restaurants and concerts. I want to see more acquisition of Nama buildings to create more opportunities to build out this digital quarter. Industry players from start-up to multinational are going to play a big role in this. The city is starting to boom in a way that has both a European and American flavour at the same time.”

Tyco Ireland’s Donal Sullivan talks ‘doing business in Cork’

We spoke to Donal Sullivan V.P and G.M of Tyco Ireland about what doing business in Cork and life in Cork means to him. Here’s what he told us…

How do you find Cork as a location to do business?
Tyco finds Cork to be excellent, great workforce with a ‘can-do’ attitude.

How does it stack up cost wise against other locations?
Cork is a very competitive 2nd City location in a European context. For complex manufacturing and test or for global business services, Cork can compete and win in the international market.

Are there good business supports available in the region?
Yes, Cork is particularly strong here, IDA and Enterprise Ireland are very proactive, offer invaluable help advice and support and enable collaboration with peer companies, to drive up standards, develop talent clusters and best practice learning. The Cork Chamber of Commerce is very strong and does an excellent job in the region and a very helpful partner.

If you were describing Cork to someone who did not know much about the place what would you say?
Cork has an excellent quality of life, a great energy, a new wave of companies landing and established ones expanding. There’s a growing diversity in the region with people from many nationalities relocating to Cork. It’s a university city, with 30K+ students, so there’s an excellent talent pipeline and high quality education available.

From your point of view what are the biggest advantages to operating a business in Cork?
Cost competitive, high quality talent, proven track record of success, cluster of world class companies in the ICT & Life Sciences and Food & Beverage sectors.

Do you find it easy to attract people to work with your company in Cork?
Yes, like anything you have to invest effort and energy into the process, but we have had no difficulties in securing what we need.

How would you describe the quality of the indigenous workforce in Cork?
There’s a world-class talent pool, who have gained tremendous experience working with some of the world’s leading companies. In addition you have returning Irish from all over the world and non-nationals moving to Cork for the opportunities available and quality of life on offer.

Could you describe the general work ethic that you have experienced in Cork?
Most FDI companies are U.S. and there is a great sense of cooperation and mutual understanding. The work ethic here is a winning one, a combination of hard work, can-do attitude and pursuit of excellent business results.

What is the general consensus of your team about working and living in Cork?
They love it!

How would you describe your personal experience of living and working in Cork?
Where else would you rather be? Great food, great scenery, great education, safe and friendly. A bit more sunshine would be nice though!

Is it a good place to raise a family?
It is – an excellent education system for a low cost, a broad array of attractions and activities, a compact city with great shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings, and a huge sporting culture.

What is the one stand out feature about Cork that has resonated with you?
Cork is a place where you can get a lot done. It’s easy to engage with all stakeholders and there’s a sense of common purpose, driving the region forward that’s really refreshing and energising.

What I love about working and living in Cork

As part of a some research that was conducted very recently we asked people working in Cork what they loved about working and living here.

briefcase

Its people, character, potential in terms of business development and culture!”

“Great people, no pressure at work, support from colleagues”

“The friendly happy people”

“The positivity and togetherness that businesses seem to have in relation to getting out of this recession”

Ease of access, bike friendly, diversity of food options, being able to pop into the shops, The English Market, the Pubs!”

“That it is Cork not Dublin. Cork has the city rights but people here are still friendly locals, not strangers from the city”

“Airport access; relative ease of commute; good access to Dublin; good logistic providers for shipping; local third level colleges”

“The lifestyle, a beautiful place to retreat to after a hard day’s work. A place to come to, good for mind and soul, to take time out”

“Strong brand image as a quality location sense of being exotic relatively unspoilt nature & sense of community”

“Access to pools of local talent and highly qualified professionals who value the quality of life that Cork provides”

Let us know what you think by replying below!