Borders? In business there are no borders

Four Irish businesses share how they plan to go global

Too many Irish businesses remain blind to the opportunities that lie just offshore our tiny little island. With 0.075% of the world’s population onshore Ireland, it’s a fair guess to say that the larger population, a massive market with all its potential, starts just across the Irish Sea, and continues until you circumnavigate the globe, back to our Westerly shores. That’s why we insist that guests wanting to come onto should show us that they are serious about ‘getting off the island’. That’s also why we give practical advice and tips about how to find markets, and how to set up beachheads into those often-daunting markets.

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Childcare - a world problem

Kate Clark of very early stage start up joined us on Episode 7 to explain how she worked on her childcare platform whilst working in New York doing data analysis for a commercial property firm. She respected her boss who helped mentor her and he was impressed by what she was proposing for her software platform. She announced her first commercial contract on the podcast and we put her in touch with the Ireland Connecticut Business Council that has already said they’ll find her contacts in the US, where childcare is as much as problem as the rest of the world.

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Do something different

There are already many, many electric bike companies dotted around major cities everywhere in the world. It’s already a saturated market. But, and there’s always a but, Thomas O’Connell of Moby who also joined Jamie Heaslip and myself on Episode 7 has taken a very different approach. His tip, applicable to many other types of businesses, is to try to get maximum engagement with his customers. What he is hoping to do is to raise funds locally, for example get investment from Waterford people to invest in Waterford based electric bikes. And why? Because investors are likely to mind their investments better – they’ll pick up bikes lying on the street, and maybe even give them a quick clean before parking them correctly? Thomas, on his third start-up, is hoping to apply this approach in the UK and beyond. Because that’s where this successful entrepreneur is headed. To the larger markets…

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Tackling the rugby world head-on

There’s a total of 95,000 rugby players in Ireland. However, with 8 million rugby players around the world the Irish market is just over 1% of that world market, so it makes total sense for Mark Ganly of N-Pro, a rugby helmet that removes 75% of the impact from tackles, to target that entire 8 million cohort worldwide. Gary joined That Great Business Show Episode 7 as part of a pretty relentless marketing campaign that will help his online worldwide sales. With each of his helmets costing around €150 that could make Mark and his team a very tidy sum. But again, the real business is offshore.

The cream of the crop

Finally, we have to celebrate with Mary Sadlier, a supporter of That Great Business Show podcast when it was merely a glint in the eye. Mary is chief boots and bottle washer at Coole Swan, a Meath based cream liqueur manufacturer, that has just been named ‘best cream liqueur in the word’ by drinks industry bible, Wine Enthusiast. With the success of Baileys internationally no one questions the wisdom of putting every effort into cracking the US market and this accolade (never won by Baileys!) is going to help Coole Swan crack the US market, the biggest cream liqueur market in the world with 250 million adults. But getting your drinks (and other goods) distributed in the US is not quite that straightforward as Mary explained to co-host @JamieHeaslip and myself. She also hints at some of the little tricks that drinks distributors have been known to get up to. We give you the real inside track on That Great Business Show.

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Going global? Get the smarts

Most people in business are already aware of the great supports you get from your local Local Enterprise Office (LEO), that you then grow into becoming an Enterprise Ireland (EI) customer (when you’re heading overseas and have more than ten employees). But did you know that the Dept of Foreign Affairs also has a Trade portfolio and that they can be super helpful in arranging meetings in embassies or even hosting dinners with important customers, with the Ambassador sometimes in attendance! If it’s a crucial contract that bit of razzmatazz can make all the difference.

Outside the governmental agencies you should also check out the Irish International Business Network ( ) – full disclosure, I chair it! – and for those looking for a beachhead in the US, Connecticut (CT) is the ideal location, sitting pretty on the East coast, perfectly poised between New York and Boston. Amongst the many attractions of beautiful CT (it really is a gorgeous State) are the direct flights between Ireland and Bradley International (thank you Aer Lingus) and you have much, much better value if you’re setting up an office there. The Ireland Connecticut Business Council (founded by honorary Irishman, PJ Cimini – and yes, I’m also involved with them, @IrelandCTBiz on Twitter) is a pro-bono resource for those looking to take baby steps in setting up in the US. And it’s not just for those starting out. Mary Sadlier of Coole Swan had already made big strides in the US but she still found jumping on our weekly call (30 mins sharp, Wednesdays, 3pm Irish time) very worthwhile making huge, friendly (important) connections into the State airports and State supervised (truly massive) casinos.

We’re such a different business podcast to anything else you’ve heard. Everyone on the podcast joins TeamGBS. TeamGBS is here for you. Business people know we’re all in this together, and as I so often say, if you’re not eating their lunch great business people are always willing to help other business people be great.

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