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Over the past 40 years, KPMG has made its mark on the West of Ireland and on the business community of Galway said Laurence May, Partner and Head of KPMG in Galway.

“We are celebrating 40 years in business in Galway this year,” he said. “When we set up here in 1980, we knew Galway and the wider region had great potential and our continued presence and expansion reflects our confidence in the region and the success of our clients, which range from dynamic private and family owned businesses to leading multinationals.”

KPMG is involved in many aspects of life and business in the city. “We are actively involved with and support the Galway Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its initiative with Galway City Council in developing the Galway City Innovation District (GCID) and the PorterShed project, of which we are a proud sponsoring partner. In addition, we have a very strong relationship with NUI Galway, with whom we have collaborated with on an innovative Data & Analytics programme.” KPMG also support various charitable and sporting initiatives.

Galway - a good place to do business

Galway is a very dynamic city and a great place to live and work and a good place to do business. “The eco system is important as you get clustering in certain sectors like the MedTech sectors and the growing ICT sector,” said May. 

“The success of Galway has been based on a range of factors, including excellent third level education at NUI Galway and the GMIT meaning that good talent is available, and the work of the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Office in supporting existing businesses and attracting new ventures to the region. They do a great job in that space, evidenced by the significant clustering of the MedTech and ICT sectors and by the presence of other significant employers in the healthcare, marine, arts and tourism sectors.” 

“The business community constantly sells the virtues of the West of Ireland: our people and their education and skills, our entrepreneurial drive, the support we offer those businesses who chose the West of Ireland as their European Gateway, and the incredible quality of life available here on Europe’s West Coast.” 

The eco system is important as you get clustering in certain sectors like the MedTech sectors and the growing ICT sector.

Support in a crisis

COVID-19 has led to a renewed focus on remote working and the role of co-working spaces to facilitate that. Organisations such as the Western Development Commission and the Northern & Western Regional Assembly have published research into this area and the investment and support required to support the success of the region. “This has the potential to create further employment opportunities in the region and will lead to more balanced regional development,” said May. “The agenda of business leaders everywhere has radically shifted since the beginning of the year. Our recently published 2020 KPMG CEO Outlook report shows that existing trends in wider ESG efforts, flexible working and digital transformation have greatly accelerated because of the global pandemic. It’s important that as a region, the West of Ireland is seen to be responding to these shifting trends, so we can capitalise on opportunities and remain a great place to do business in this ‘new reality”.

It is important that the upcoming budget contains measures to support these businesses and the people that they employ.

While FDI is very important to the West, the bedrock of activity remains the indigenous sector, including numerous family-owned businesses, many of whom now have operations throughout Europe and further afield. 

“The challenges in building and sustaining a successful family business have never been greater,” said May. “Our family business clients deal with the complexities of raising finance, entering new markets, growth through acquisitions and succession planning, to name just a few.” 

“In addition, the indigenous sector has been hit particularly hard by the economic impact of COVID-19 and, while Government supports to date have been welcomed, it is important that the upcoming budget contains measures to support these businesses and the people that they employ.”

The success of the West of Ireland is important, not just for people living in the West, but for the country as a whole.

Conclusion

Galway had been in a great place, but the twin challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit will need to be dealt with to ensure that continues.  May said that Government messaging is important to ensure continued public support of the required public health measures, and it needs to focus on tax certainty, stimulus and infrastructural spend, including broadband and construction of physical infrastructural initiatives across the region. 

“The success of the West of Ireland is important, not just for people living in the West, but for the country as a whole. With proper planning and support, we can act as a counterbalance to the concentration of economic activity in Dublin.”

“Businesses, particularly the indigenous ones, need to continue to innovate through R&D, invest in technology, develop new markets and identify emerging trends. And, we as individuals, need to buy local more often and holiday domestically to help domestic demand considering potential challenges with International demand.”

This article was originally published in the Business Post and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

Get in touch

To find out more about how KPMG perspectives and fresh thinking can help your business or organisation thrive in the West of Ireland, get in touch with Laurence May.