LO Wing Han, Henrietta
Senior Merchandising Manager
The Club, HKT Limited
Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is the country's centre of finance and commerce. Apart from low corporate tax, the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship contributes to rapid increase in the number of business births and a lower rate of unemployment.
Major corporations visited
We first visited the Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) where the programme manager introduced to us Ireland's Industrial and Enterprise Development Policy and explained how the centre empowers entrepreneurs to start and scale, develop and sustain their businesses. At the Centre, we also met two young CEOs from new start-ups, Go!21 and BeeInstant, who recounted their start-up journeys. They told us how GEC acted as a catalyst for their business growth.
We met three more start-up companies at Dublin City University on another day — Chasing Returns, Aylien, and HealthBeacon. Chasing Returns provides tools (PlayMaker and GamePlan) for learning how to improve trading discipline and create better trading habits. Aylien makes use of four key processes: Sentiment Analysis, Categorization, Extraction, and Processing to generate optimal hashtags for social sharing. For eight years, Aylien has been using artificial intelligence to collect, analyse and understand huge amounts of text content, and give recommendations to their clients. HealthBeacon demonstrated how their smart tools managed medication and recorded patients’ medication journeys.
There are some traditional businesses in Ireland. We visited Waterfall Farm which has been in the Keegan family for around 300 years. The farm is owned by full-time sheep farmer Michael Keegan who runs the sheep farming business on his own together with two shepherd dogs.
Pharmaceuticals and chemicals are key industries in Ireland. On the last day of our trip, we visited the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT). This Centre is so unique; it provides training and research solutions for the global biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. The training centre offers different kinds of training, making use of its up-to-date facility. In 2018, they served 4,300 trainees through over 100 courses.
Brexit poses a risk to all businesses in Ireland. We attended a lecture at Trinity Business School for a better understanding of the country's historical background, its social enterprise structure, and the potential impact of Brexit. Together with Trinity MBA students, we did a case study of peacebuilding organizations in a changing context, their missions and identities.
It was a valuable experience to talk face-to-face with CEOs and learn from their journeys of entrepreneurship. We came to know that the Irish government has been very supportive to young entrepreneurs in terms of providing resources, in particular special funding for woman entrepreneurs. Apart from that, we became aware of the similarities between Ireland and Hong Kong, including the fact that both of us have a colonial background. One difference is that Ireland will be directly influenced by Brexit, probably causing changes in business and the economy.