The evening of 23rd February was off to a great start at Beauchamps solicitors: name tags were handed out and glasses of wine were handed round, in what was hands-down a most welcoming evening of networking! At IIBN events it is unheard of for somebody to stand on their own for more than a few seconds before somebody else comes over and introduces themselves.
Our esteemed MC and IIBN Ireland board member Conall O’Morain had to use his best radio voice to be heard above the din. Once he had everybody's attention, he took us through the running order of the evening, to start with the three-minute pitches. Three-minute pitches are a fixture of IIBN events and a wonderful benefit of membership, allowing members the opportunity to speak to a select audience of entrepreneurs, professionals, investors, international visitors and sponsors.
Tony Rudden, Caragon was the first to take to the stage as he spoke about importance of backing up and protecting critical data in the cloud . Many long-standing members recognised the next speaker Susan O’Brien at Smigin, as the previous co-chair of IIBN New York, and will have followed the rise and rise of her practical knowledge app. She was followed by Brian McGurk from BrandCreate who spoke about the importance of brand, how monetisable it is when done right and how branding leads to relevance, referrals and revenue. Finally, Andrea Linehan from Grid Finance shared with us the wonderful news that the company has €30 million euro of debt finance available on their peer-to-peer lending platform for retail, hospitality, tourism and services businesses who want to pursue growth opportunities.
Conall then introduced the man of the evening! Previous Labour Leader and Tanaiste Dick Spring has had a wide-ranging career through politics, business and rugby. He travelled up from his native Kerry to speak to us about the Irish 2023 Rugby World Cup bid. Dick Spring is the chair of the oversight board, whose role is to dovetail the views of the Irish government, Northern Ireland Executive and the IFRU, with a view to putting Ireland’s best foot forward – and convert this “try” in order to bring the global event to the Emerald Isle.
Currently France and South Africa both have a solid case to put forward, but Ireland has very convincing assets too: not only is it the GMT timezone, but the Irish supporters won the hearts of the world in Paris last year, changing flat tyres and singing babies to sleep in the Paris metro (the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, even gave them the official medal of the city for their “extremely positive, joyful and exemplary behaviour”); they showed their true colours again in Chicago against the All-Blacks in November, showcasing the uniquely special relationship that Ireland has with America. Add our world-famous hospitality and tourism offering, and you have all the ingredients of a compelling USP.
After a lively Q&A, IIBNers were welcome to the reception, where our sponsor Beauchamps offered delectable canapés and sumptuous wine. The networking continued unabated until quite late, when it was finally time to leave with pockets full of business cards and hearts full of the potential of the 2023 Irish dream!
Susan HayesCulleton (www.thepositiveeconomist.com )