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Global Irish Economic Forum 2015 to support entrepreneurs and businesses to scale up and create jobs

Irish Abroad, Minister Charles Flanagan, Press Releases, Ireland, 2015


The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., today announced that the Global Irish Economic Forum will take place from November 19 to 21 and will focus on a number of Government priorities including fostering entrepreneurship, targeting sectors with strong job-creation potential and growing Irish exports in a diverse range of markets – participants will be drawn from almost 40 countries.

The Forum, organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will bring together more than 300 leading Irish and Irish-connected figures from across the globe in Dublin to play their part in building on Ireland’s recovery.

Minister Flanagan stated:

“The 2015 Global Irish Economic Forum takes place in a different context from its predecessors - this is the first Global Irish Economic Forum since Ireland successfully exited its bailout programme and our focus on this occasion is firmly on sustaining and strengthening our robust economic growth, complementing the range of Government initiatives in place to support entrepreneurs and assist businesses to set up and to scale up.

“Last week’s CSO figures showing that unemployment has fallen to a six-year low of 9.6% demonstrates the impact of the Government’s annual Action Plan for Jobs. Over 125,000 jobs have been created since the Government’s first Action Plan for Jobs in 2012 and we are determined to maintain this progress and continue to create the environment where companies can grow and offer employment. The Global Irish Economic Forum is one of the suite of interconnected Government measures to deliver jobs and growth – indeed, this Forum will bring together a number of departments and illustrate a dynamic approach to job creation across government.

“Building on new policy initiatives by the Government, this Forum will target specific areas of strategic interest including financial services, international education and research and innovation to ensure that we are capitalising on the opportunities that exist for Ireland in these growing spheres.

“The Forum is also focused on fostering entrepreneurship and supporting existing businesses to scale up, grow their exports and create jobs at home. The Government has committed to the goal of full employment by 2018 and increased Irish exports are a crucial part of our plan for jobs and growth. Many members of the Global Irish Network can play a role in developing export opportunities for Irish companies in overseas markets, with the support and assistance of the embassy network and the State agencies.

“The Forum provides an opportunity to draw on the expertise and experience of the Global Irish Network, which is composed of more than 300 of the most influential Irish and Irish-connected individuals in almost 40 countries.

“Working in close collaboration with State Agencies, and following on from the Start-Up Gathering in October, the Global Irish Network members will provide mentoring and support to entrepreneurs seeking to build and develop new businesses.

“A separate session on Scaling Businesses will use the international expertise and experience of the participants for the benefit of companies who aspire to be global brands.”

Minister Flanagan said that the Forum would also provide an opportunity to showcase some of the successful initiatives from previous Forums such as The Gathering, ConnectIreland, Irish Design2015, Uversity, and the Global Irish Contacts Programme, all of which have contributed to our economic recovery. Minister Flanagan added:

“The Fourth Forum provides an opportunity to reflect on some of the successful initiatives that have emerged from previous Forums. It also provides an opportunity to bring new voices into the Forum – this year we have invited a number of high profile female business leaders to participate in the Forum."

This year’s Forum will also have a series of regional meetings that complement the Government’s new series of Regional Action Plans for Jobs. Minister Flanagan stated:

“The Government’s current focus is on spreading the benefit of our growing economy throughout the country. This year we introduced the first of a series of Regional Action Plans for Jobs, beginning with a Midlands Action Plan. In line with this approach, I am pleased to announce that we will hold regional Forum meetings in Derry, Galway, Limerick and Laois. These meetings will focus on sectors and themes most relevant to these areas and will spread the opportunity for engagement with members of the Global Irish Network beyond Dublin,” he said.

Minister for Diaspora Affairs Mr. Jimmy Deenihan T.D. said:

“The Global Irish Economic Forum is a model of engagement that has attracted widespread international attention and established Ireland as a world leader in the increasingly important area of diaspora engagement.

“It is one of the many ways that we engage with the Irish overseas. This year also saw the first ever Global Irish Civic Forum which provided a very successful platform to address the social and community dimensions of the relationship between Ireland and its diaspora.

“The Global Irish Economic Forum comes during a period of reflection where we are commemorating the centenaries of seminal moments in our history. Forum participants will be briefed on the Government’s 1916 Commemoration plans. It is also important that we look forward to the next 100 years and think about what our legacy will be. The Forum will provide the opportunity for participants and members of the Global Irish Network to contribute to that vision and to re-imagine the Ireland of the future.”

Press Office
31 August 2015


Programme and notes to the editor

This will be the fourth Global Irish Economic Forum since the inaugural one in 2009. An indicative draft outline programme is below. This programme will evolve as planning for Forum progresses.

Global Irish Economic Forum 19 – 21 November, 2015

Indicative Outline Programme (some elements may be subject to change)

Thursday 19 November

Regional meetings in Galway, Limerick, Laois and Derry

Friday 20 November

09.30 Opening Session

10.00 Plenary Session (Showcase of Outcomes from Previous Forums)

11.45-13.00 Ireland’s Entrepreneurs - mixture of structured discussions with Irish entrepreneurs and members of the Global Irish Economic Forum

14.30-15.15 Presentation - 2016 Commemorations

15.30-17.00 Breakout Sessions

Financial Services – in line with International Financial Services Strategy 2015-2020

International Education focusing on Building Alumni Engagement

Ireland’s place in the world in the face of global challenges

19.30 Dinner - Briefing and showcase of Agri-Food industry including the Origin Green brand

Saturday 21 November

10.00 -15.00 Breakout Sessions:

Session for Start-ups

Session for Businesses Scaling Up to become international brands

Research & Innovation

Re-imagining our legacy for the future

15.30-16.15 Final Plenary - Reports from each of the sectoral sessions

16.15-17.00 Key note high level international speaker


Notes for Editors:

The Global Irish Network and previous Forum participants have been invited to attend the 2015 Forum. In order to improve the gender balance of the Forum additional, internationally successful Irish women have been invited.

The Global Irish Network: Based in almost 40 countries, the Network consists of over 300 of the most influential Irish and Irish-connected individuals abroad and provides Ireland with an invaluable resource of international expertise.

As with previous Forums the majority of participants will be members of the Global Irish Network. In addition, in order to improve the gender balance of the Forum and get a broader perspective, a number of internationally successful Irish women who have not to date been involved in the forum have been invited. All participants travel to Ireland at their own expense and the Government will offer modest accommodation for the nights of the Forum to those who require it.

  • Enterprise Ireland manages the Global Irish Contacts Programme which has over 120 members of the Global Irish Network who have signed up to support exporters under providing expertise in 32 markets across 14 sectors;

Among the initiatives that arose from earlier Forums were:

  • The launch of The Gathering, the largest ever tourism initiative organised by the State;
  • ConnectIreland harnesses the power of Irish networks across the world targeting the creation of over 1,500 jobs with the potential for thousands more in the pipeline. To date over 2,500 companies have been introduced to ConnectIreland with 50 new projects establishing operations in Ireland. Close to 100 companies are in advanced dialogue with ConnectIreland with regards to their expansion plans. At present over 50,000 connectors have registered and continue to reach out to their networks with the hopes of creating sustainable Irish jobs.
  • Irish Design 2015, which is showcasing the best of Irish design both at home and internationally throughout 2015 with a view to adding 1800 new jobs to the sector.
  • Uversity, a recognised college of the National University of Ireland, offers a Masters in Creative Process in collaboration with 24 leading universities, institutes of technology and independent colleges across the island of Ireland.