March, 2012


30
Mar 12

IDA secures deal with China bank

Mr Kenny said a joint strategic partnership agreed between Ireland and China will put relations ‘on a new level’

The IDA signed a memorandum of understanding with the world’s biggest bank, ICBC, on the final day of a trade mission to China led by Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton.

The agreement is between ICBC Financial Leasing, ICBC’s leasing arm, which has an Irish office and currently has €1.5 billion worth of airline assets operating from Dublin. For its part, ICBC has nearly 400,000 employees and €1.43 trillion in assets.

Enterprise Ireland said more than €35 million worth of contracts and commitments were signed in Shanghai and Beijing during the three-day visit.

The memorandum was signed by IDA Ireland’s chief executive Barry O’Leary together with Cong Lin, the CEO of ICBC Financial Leasing.

“China is central to our Asian trade strategy and after a week visiting some of the main cities it is clear what an opportunity, and a challenge, this presents to Ireland Inc,” said Minister Bruton.

“There is also undoubted potential to increase the volume and quality of foreign investment in to Ireland from large Chinese companies, many of whom I met on my visit this week,” he said.

Later in the day, the Taoiseach and Mr Bruton met China’s top parliamentarian Wu Bangguo in the Great Hall of the People to discuss a joint statement confiming the establishment of a strategic partnership agreement to formalise cooperation between the two countries.

Commenting on conclusion of the agreement, Mr Kenny said: “This agreement will put Ireland-China relations on a new level. It provides a clear and important framework for closer engagement and co-operation in all of the key areas of interest to Ireland.”

Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland added that “exports create and sustain jobs; and visits like this, especially in China are crucial in building exports. We are extremely proud of our Irish client companies and congratulate them on their success this week in China.”

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30
Mar 12

Irish join social business competition

Irish Times managing director Liam Kavanagh, Terence O’Rourke of KPMG and rugby star Leo Cullen. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

IRISH UNIVERSITY students with “a head for business and a heart for the world” are taking part in a global competition for social entrepreneurship for the first time.

Almost 50,000 students from 1,500 universities worldwide are taking part in Students in Free Enterprise (Sife), which involves setting up projects to improve the quality of life and standard of living of people in need.

Previous projects have included training people on low incomes to run childcare services in the US; helping disadvantaged women in Brazil set up a chocolate-making enterprise; promoting a bike shop set up by a mental health group in Germany; and helping establish bee-keeping businesses in Ghana.

Accountancy firm KPMG was instrumental in bringing the initiative to Ireland because of its support for Sife abroad. KPMG managing partner Terence O’Rourke said it was a fantastic opportunity for students to use their talents and skills in a practical way. “It’s about ensuring our next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs act in a more socially aware and responsible way for the benefit of their communities.”

Students from Dublin City University, NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin are taking part in the competition. The winning team will represent Ireland at the Sife World Cup 2012 in Washington in September. US secretary of state Hillary Clinton will host a reception for the finalists.

Ireland international and Leinster rugby player Leo Cullen is on the board of Sife Ireland.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important that students realise how their skills and abilities can be fulfilled personally to effect positive change for people less well off in our society,” he said.

TCD law student Sarah Oppermann is taking part in the competition. She said her group was working on three ideas involving reducing food waste, putting empty shop space to better use and working with long- term unemployed people. “I think the concept of using business in a socially conscious way is very important, so when I read about Sife I was delighted to get involved.”

Daithí de Buitléir from DCU said his involvement had been “a brilliant experience so far” and he was looking forward to the national competition in May.

Sife Ireland is supported by The Irish Times, Arthur Cox, Chartis, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, The Ireland Funds, KBC Bank, McDonald’s Restaurants of Ireland, Unilever and Senator Feargal Quinn.

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30
Mar 12

Broadband rollout ‘single most important investment’ for job creation