Celebrating Irish Business: Interview with Country Rep Teresa Lewis
Extracts from Our Interview with the Irish International Business Network
This week, we would have been excited to attend the 6th All-Ireland Business Summit, run by our friends at the All-Ireland Business Foundation. The event, rescheduled until September, celebrates the brightest business minds in Ireland. In lieu of the event, we look forward to virtually attending their latest accreditation ceremony today and toasting the latest All-Stars!
To celebrate our Irish business and connections, this week we are reposting an extract of our interview with Irish International Business Network’s newsletter, published earlier in the year. The IIBN connects Irish entrepreneurs and business professionals globally to create and develop new business opportunities.
In the piece, Country Representative Teresa discusses some of the big issues of the day in the Irish marketplace and her hopes for the future. She also gives some surprisingly accurate predictions about global mobility challenges that came true sooner than we could have predicted!
In your own words what does your company / business do?
White Coral Business Consulting is the Irish arm of the Mauve Group – a global organisation that has been supporting other companies to expand overseas since 1996. Our vision is to be a trusted partner to organisations seeking to expand their horizons and achieve growth beyond their home markets. We help companies of any size and industry, whether they require assistance with deploying staff into a new location, setting up a company overseas, building an overseas expansion strategy, supporting international staff with payroll, HR and employment law consultancy and so on. We turn our local expertise and on-the-ground support into bespoke solutions that answer the specific requirements of our clients.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
My role is to source new business opportunities in Ireland, support our existing Irish clients with their overseas expansion plans and facilitate international investment into Ireland. A key goal is to help Irish clients realise the potential of their products and services in overseas locations and to give them the confidence to make plans for expansion.
What are your biggest challenges?
It can sometimes be difficult to get past the preconception that global expansion is only possible for large corporations. We’re here to tell SMEs and small-scale operations that they too can reap the benefits of entering new markets, with the right planning and support in place. Mauve started in an office the size of a cupboard and was taking on international projects within a year of operations. If this is a goal for their business, companies of any size can do the same.
What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
With rising concerns about climate change and our increasingly tech-savvy lives, I think in future we will see far less business travel, and an increase in other measures such as video conferencing, remote working and local hiring. It is being said that there will be a 25% decrease in business travel over the next five years. This will impact the wider global mobility industry who facilitate international worker assignments and deal predominantly with expatriates – they are already seeing a reduction in expatriate overseas relocation after years of a steady rise. There will always be a need for some kind of presence in-country for businesses, but the industry needs to adapt to the new ways that companies are doing this.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
Apart from the rising trends I mentioned in the previous answer, compliance has been a growing trend over the past few years. This has been the case as governments clamp down upon tax loopholes and “creative” accounting. A part of what we do falls under the “employment solution” category – that is, providing Employer of Record (EoR) services to employ workers compliantly in a new country on behalf of companies who do not have their own local entity set up. The industry has moved away from providing solutions that could be manipulated to reduce income taxation and maximise net pay. Over the next few years I think we will see tighter legislation to prevent the practice of “disguised employment” by contractors and clients.
Are there any changes you would like to see in your sector?
This is not necessarily a skills gap, but in terms of a niche that Mauve fills, I think there is a tendency amongst competitors to forget the importance of the human element in their efforts to appeal to corporates. While efficiency is key to us, people are at the heart of what we do, whether this means our own employees or those of our clients, partners, stakeholders, consumers and so on. We would prefer to avoid seeming like a faceless solution or new type of software, and instead provide real support and human interactions. Testimonials and references still speak volumes. I think there is considerable value in providing personalised support and ensuring our warm, family-run ethos is felt by our customers at all times.
How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis?
Like every organisation, we did feel some of the effects of the global financial crash, but we were able to weather the storm through our broad network – when there is difficulty in one area, we are positioned in such a way that another location that is performing more successfully can pick up some of the slack. In another way, the collapse of huge corporations galvanised SMEs and start-ups, and this has led to increased creativity in business and more fluid global working practices – something that we have benefited from as we assist companies to think more innovatively about their international strategy. The crisis underlined to us the need to diversify and this is something we communicate to our clients every day.
What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
I am really proud of developing our partnerships with organisations celebrating Irish successes in business. These include IIBN, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, WIBN, Pinehub and the All-Star Business Foundation. We have participated in a number of events around the country, meeting fantastic Irish entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. It’s also been wonderful to be part of Mauve’s growing platform in Ireland.
Where do you want the business to be this time next year?
It would be wonderful to see White Coral and Mauve Group becoming by-words for innovation and growth support in the Irish market by this time next year. I want to continue partnering with the best of Irish entrepreneurship and give confidence to businesses that their products can perform in a market away from home. I look forward to Irish business success stories arising from a turbulent time globally.
This is an extract from a longer interview that appeared in the IIBN newsletter at the start of 2020. To become a member and sign up to the IIBN, click here. For more information about our solutions in Ireland and the rest of the world, get in touch here.
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