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The Maple Leaf meets the Shamrock! 🍀

Newsletter published on:
March 16, 2022

Happy St Patricks Day! Now that the month of March is officially Irish Heritage month in Canada (as approved by the Canadian parliament last summer), there is no better time to celebrate all things Irish.

Like Canada, Ireland has two official languages & Ontario is one of the few places outside Ireland that has its own “Gaeltacht,” an Irish-speaking region recognized by the Government of Ireland. Canadians beloved hockey is actually a modern day evolution of an Irish field sport, hurling.

Even Justin Trudeau tweeted earlier this month that “The Irish community has helped define Canada, and Irish-Canadians have contributed so much to our country’s success”.

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Whilst Ireland might be best known for good Guinness, lively dancing and green fields, did you know that Ireland has a special place in the heart of Canadian tech too?

In the last 4 years, the number of Canadian companies with operations in Ireland has almost doubled. IDA Ireland, the organisation responsible for helping international companies set up in Ireland, sees the importance of the Canadian market, and the growing links between the two countries. It has an office in Toronto that works closely with the 60 Canadian companies that have operations in Ireland, employing over 8000 people & they continue to grow – up 12% in the last year alone.

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Tech - Canada and Ireland’s Lucky Charm

Tech leads the way as the top sector represented by Canadian companies in Ireland with financial services & fintech a close second.  In fact, 8 of the top 10 largest Canadian companies on the Fortune 500 list have a presence there.

Canadian tech leaders like Shopify, OpenText and TELUS International have all chosen Ireland as their European base. Ireland is also a global centre for cybersecurity and home to the likes of eSentire and Blackberry. Recently, it has become the location of choice for the growing list of Canadian unicorns including Trulioo, eSentire & Clio (who’s offices are in a restored whiskey distillery, no less). All of these companies have set up sales, support and technology teams there.

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Why might you ask?

Jack Newton, CEO of Clio, credits Ireland’s talent and business environment as reasons why they made Ireland their hub. “We are genuinely excited to launch in Ireland,” Newton said. “They offer us a highly-skilled talent pool and a great business environment with a lot of sector-specific cloud technology expertise.”

Stephen Ufford, founder and CEO of Trulioo, had a similar sentiment about Ireland’s tech scene. “Our physical presence in Dublin will allow us to work more personally with our partners and customers in Europe,” he said. “Eighty percent of global technology firms have a presence in Dublin, so it’s no surprise the city is emerging as a Tech centre.”

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Top Talent, Diversity & EU Market Access

Ireland is one of the most educated workforces in Europe with levels of participation in 3rd level much higher than the EU average. Today 1 in 6 people living in Ireland were not born there, one of the highest international workforces in the EU.  Companies can hire any EU citizen and they can live and work in Ireland without any paperwork. It also has a very progressive immigration policy with zero caps on numbers.

Shopify is a great example of scaling a diverse workforce in Ireland. Shopify started in Ireland with just 30 support roles back in 2015. Today they have over 750 people in Ireland, covering 15 different languages and 30 different functions.

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And finally Ireland is a committed member of the EU. Thanks to Brexit, Ireland is now the only English speaking member of the EU and this access to the European market and workforce is a key advantage for companies setting up there.

With over 5 million Canadians of Irish heritage, Ireland really is a home away from home for many Canadian businesses -  Reach out to us at IDA to hear more about how Ireland can help your business scale internationally.

And Happy St Patricks Day or Lá Feile Phádraig Shona Daoibh Go Leir!” (prize for anyone who gets that right 😉 )

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Deirdre Moran

SVP Technology, IDA Ireland – Toronto Office