As the Utah tech scene thrives, ambitious companies from the Silicon Slopes have been looking beyond the United States to fuel their growth. In this State, which has been named best for business by CNBC & USA Today, that means that "good enough" doesn't cut it when they are looking for new locations to grow their customer base overseas.
Utah firms that are used to a pro-business environment, a well-educated & tech savvy workforce seek similar advantages when looking to open a new office. This is why so many are drawn to Ireland when looking to establish a European operation.
Ireland is consistently voted as one of the best locations in the world for doing business. Successive Irish governments have instituted business-friendly policies and invested heavily to develop infrastructure to attract foreign companies. Free higher education, transparent and flexible regulations, a 25% R&D tax credit and government funding of collaborative programs between companies, academia and state agencies have established a really attractive business environment for US companies.
Like Utah, Ireland has the advantage of a young, highly educated workforce and since this includes people from many nations, multiple languages are spoken. In addition, Ireland has no cap on the equivalent of H-1B visas, which appeals to foreign companies seeking to staff up. In fact, Ireland has the third largest international workforce in Europe.
U.S. companies well beyond Utah have been paying attention, with dozens of American tech companies expanding business to Ireland in recent years, such as Google, Facebook, Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Oracle, Twitter, Slack, Uber and Looker. When it comes to Utah-based companies, the current list spans from A (Ancestry.com) to Z (Zagg).
Qualtrics first established its EU headquarters in Dublin in 2013 with a landing team of 6 people. Today, they employ more than 300 people across multiple functions & languages. “Dublin felt like Provo to us. There is more of a scrappy culture,” Ryan Smith CEO said. The company has continues to thrive and just this week, it was reported that Qualtrics intend to treble its workforce at its Dublin Office.
The strength of Irelands tech scene was also an attraction for Pluralsight, the well known Farmington-based developer of online training courses for software and creative professionals. The firm announced in Dec 2017 that it is to open its EMEA headquarters in Dublin with plans to hire 150 people and invest millions in the region. Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard stated that, "Dublin’s thriving tech community will allow us to build a strong team of high-caliber, multi-lingual talent."
Also in 2017, the sales tracking software provider InsideSales, based in Provo, announced plans to open new R&D offices in Ireland and is hiring data scientists and analysts to help pursue its efforts in AI and machine learning for global markets. The company intends to create more than 120 high-quality jobs over the next three years, bolstered by $50 million in funding from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and a new partnership with several Irish university research institutions.
Another great example of Utah - Ireland links is Draper-based StorageCraft Technology, which develops data backup and disaster recovery systems, who set up their international headquarters in Cork, on the South Coast of Ireland in 2013 to support and grow its global distributor network.
Some well-known Utah consumer brands that have chosen Ireland for their European base include Ancestry.com, Zagg and Overstock.com. Ancestry employs more than 120 technical and customer support people in Dublin supporting their European user base. Meanwhile, Overstock.com from Salt Lake City, established a software development centre in Sligo which focuses on building out its platform for international markets.
Zagg, which is best known for its line of protective coverings for consumer electronics and hand-held devices has a 30,000 sq ft facility in Limerick in the West of Ireland to allow the Salt Lake manufacturer to ship products the same day that they are ordered to customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
On the medical end, two well-established Utah leaders are taking advantage of the benefits that Ireland gives their business: Merit Medical and Utah Medical Products. Merit Medical, which makes disposable medical devices used in hospitals worldwide, has had a manufacturing plant since 1994 in Galway that now employs over 500 people. Merit chairman and CEO Fred P. Lampropoulos stated that he has had a "high level of satisfaction" with the Irish facility's ability to take on new challenges and its successful track record in developing new products over the past many years.
Merit and Utah Medical join hundreds of U.S. medical device firms that have located in Ireland. One of many advantages is a pro business regulatory climate, which enables products to be tested and brought to market more quickly than in the United States.
There are many parallels between Utah and Ireland – both have a very pro-business ecosystem, allowing both international and local companies to grow and thrive. Both locations produce great talent from globally ranked universities and have a vibrant, young, multilingual workforce, as well as a sense of community, friendliness and openness. For businesses from Utah that are looking to better support and grow their customer base in the European market as well as supplement their teams with fresh innovative ideas and workers, Ireland is definitely a place to consider as a home away from home.