October 6, 2019 businesspost.ie
PRIMED FOR GROWTH: EI ELECTRONICS P3 SHANNONGROUP: ECONOMIC DRIVER P5 ATLANTIC AVIATION: GROWTHAHEAD P7 UL: VALUED TALENT PIPELINE P10
‘Our story is one of constant reinvention’ p8
EDITED BY ELAINE O’REGAN
Gateway to innovation Pictured at the Gateway Hub Shannon from left: Claude Costello, Zimmer Biomet; Shane O’Neill, Atlantic Aviation Group; Tony Regan, Baker Hughes,; Peter Murphy, EI Electronics; Adrian Sylver, Shannon Hotel Management; Harriet Cotter, Enterprise Ireland; and Fergal Lawless, Chemifloc. Front row from left: Vivienne Farrell, Modular Automation; Helen Downes, Shannon Chamber; Tomás O’Siochain, WDC; Nora-Lee Kennedy, UL; and Mary Considine, Shannon Group Alan Place
A track record for innovation, diverse opportunities and an idyllic location are among the reasons Shannon-based firms and educational institutions are known theworldover
resilient companies intheShannonFree Zone.” The number of people employed in Shannon represented a “big concentra- tion for a county the size of Clare”, said Moloney. “Alotofthoseareinengineering,man- ufacturing, sub-supply and, of course, aviation,whichislinkedtotheproximity to the airport,” he said. All were, he added, “thriving” as a re- sult of their location and the availability of locally of skilled candidates. “There are up to 19,000 students in Limerick at any one time and this has proven to be a good pool of talent for manycompanies in the area.Theywork very closely with colleges and the Re- gional Skills Forum to address skills needs,” said Moloney. For local heavy-hitter Ei Electronics, employer to 800 people, Shannon has been key to the company’s evolution. “The strategic decision to keep 100 per cent manufacturing here and the co-location of R&D and marketing in Shannon has been key to our growth and success,” said Ei Electronics chief executive Mick Guinee. “We compete very much on quality and service - and having 100 per cent manufacturing in Shannon enables us to excel in both.” Ei Electronics exports to 30 countries worldwide and employs more than 700 people in Shannon, with an additional 100 people in five wholly-owned over- seas subsidiaries in Britain, Germany, France, the US, and Poland. “A key element of our service is the highlydevelopedroad,sea,andairlogis- tics from Shannon,” said Guinee. “There is immediatemotorwayaccess from Shannon – with Dublin just over twohoursawaybyroad–and, of course, we have an international airport on our doorstep.” Industrial heartbeat Western Development Commission (WDC)chiefexecutiveTomásÓSíocháin saidShannon’slocationbetweenGalway and Limerick had helped tomake it the to page 2
E mploying 8,000 people across 170 companies, the Shannon Free Zone has evolved beyond its early origins to become a linchpin of the Irish economy. Built on innovation, Shannon continues to evolve, bolstered by strong private and public sector col- laboration, a healthy talent pool and the proximityofvital educational resources, including the University of Limerick. MaryConsidine,actingchiefexecutive at Shannon Group, sees innovation as a key part of Shannon’s “DNA”. “Shannonhasanillustriouspioneering history, where many ‘world firsts’ were born,” said Considine. “Among these are the Shannon Free Zone, the world’s first free trade zone, situated adjacent to Shannon airport, whichiscelebrating its60thanniversary this year.” Shannon Chamber chief executive Helen Downes sees a strong focus on innovation,andacarefullymanagedbal- ancebetweenmultinationalsandSMEs, as being key to Shannon’s success. “There is a phenomenal talent pool in this region, which is the result of both enlightened enterprise creation initia- tivesonthepart of academic institutions here and also a progressive approach by industryownersandmanagersworking in partnership to develop skills,” said Downes. Other advantages include an interna- tional airport “onthedoorstep”, offering immediate access toglobalmarkets and a proven track record as a business lo- cation. “ThenameShannonresonatesall over theworldandShannon-basedcompanies
have blazed a trail in a variety of sectors over the years,” said Downes. Diverseemployment With about 19,000 people employed in indigenousmanufacturingand interna- tionallytradedservicesbusinesseswithin the locality and the wider midwest re- gion,Shannonhasevolvedovertheyears to become much more than a business hub for the aircraft industry.
Ready to realise your ambition?
Enterprise Ireland is launching the final Competitive Start Fund of 2019 to enable companies in all sectors to reach key commercial and technical milestones. Designed to accelerate the growth of start-ups, as many as 15 successful applicants will each receive €50,000 in funding to help reach their full potential. Our €750,000 Competitive Start Fund can help.
“When Shannon was initially devel- oped as a duty-free zone, it was very successful inattracting foreign investors tomoveintothearea,withtheformation of Shannon Development,” said Jerry Moloney, regional director for the mid- west at Enterprise Ireland. “Alargenumberofmultinationalcom- panieslocatedthereand,outofthat,grew a groupof local suppliers, sub-suppliers andsolutionprovidersandthesebecame There isa phenomenal talent pool inthis region, which is theresult of enlightened enterprise creation initiatives
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