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How can Cork turn Brexit to its advantage?

How can Cork turn Brexit to its advantage?

How can Cork turn Brexit to its advantage?

The city and the surrounding region are in a prime position to win jobs in the wake of Britain’s exit from the EU.

Cork has long established itself as a strong hub for entrepreneurial activity, indigenous business and multinational companies to set up and that advantage will only continue to grow.

As far as opportunities go, Cork and the surrounding Munster region is in a prime position to grow. As the second biggest city in the Republic of Ireland, it has been gradually building up its base as a prime hub for Private Enterprises, both small and large, to grow and develop.

Fintan Walshe, a Director in KPMG Cork, says that the advisory, tax and audit services it provides help businesses with their growth strategies, funding structures and more recently GDPR and Brexit considerations. “We help business to grow, create jobs and thrive in new markets “We take an acorns to oaks mentality,” he says. “We are literally there at each stage of the journey, with the skillsets to cover their needs at each step.

“There’s a lot of optimism which means the conversations are about growth, that growth is sometimes inorganic, what that means is sometimes help them with acquisitions, and that is a space where we find ourselves spending a lot of time.”

Part of what makes KPMG a significant player is its international network. The optimism surrounding the business landscape means more companies are looking to expand into other areas so the connections around the globe help immensely.

“We use our international network to help businesses understand the particular tax and business environment which may be new to them, saving the business considerable time and investment,” he explains. “We can leverage our international networks, identifying emerging trends and opportunities within specific sectors which our clients find of huge benefit. If they’re looking to go into Amsterdam, we’ll talk to our colleagues looking at commercial and strategic opportunities as well as the optimal structure”

“Sometimes funding is required, we source the appropriate funding to make that acquisition or to make that investment appropriate to the capital base of the business. It is important to add that the activity and growth in our clients is throughout the Munster region and most sectors.”

A key part of that international element is how much Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) goes into the region.

Celine Fox, a partner at KPMG Cork, believes the region is synonymous with FDI and punches well above its weight when attracting large global companies.

"There is an increasing trend for FDI to seek city centre locations and Cork city offers an urban way of living with easy access to a region steeped in natural beauty, culture and tradition – the best of both worlds,” she says.

“A tech startup client of mine, headquartered in the US and operating in the cybersecurity space, recently opened its first EMEA office in Cork city. This start-up company chose Cork over London, Singapore and others for [multiple] reasons but the overriding factor for this company to locate in Cork was our people.”

After Brexit passes, Cork will be the second-largest English speaking city in the EU, and Fox expects that when the model is determined, we’ll see a transition of jobs from the UK over a period of years.

“Cork is well placed as global companies deal with this era of transformation, for the same reason companies have been investing heavily in Cork for years - our people,” she says. "Our people have the ambition and the ability to embrace and drive change and possess the necessary “soft skills” to lead and effect change”.


This article was originally published in the Sunday Business Post 17/06/2018 and has been reproduced here with their kind permission.