Shannon Chamber president Eoin Gavin (third left front) pictured with the visiting delegation from the Ireland India Business Association. The meeting was attended by the Cathaoirligh of Clare (second left front) and Tipperary (second right front) County Councils. Photograph by Eamon Ward
A collaborative undertaking between Shannon and Tipperary Chambers and the Ireland India Business Association (IIBA) resulted in a delegation from Indian companies in Ireland visiting Shannon last week. The visit included a tour of Jaguar Land Rover’s software development centre in Shannon and a meeting with Shannon Chamber members in Shannon Airport House.
The primary focus of the visit was to identify areas of opportunity for increasing trade links between the visiting companies and Chamber member companies and to address key issues impacting the growth of business between India and Ireland and vice versa.
The delegation was led by the chairman of the IIBA, Liam Lynch, partner, KPMG. He was accompanied on the visit by Roger Kennedy, Cathaoirleach, Declan Burgess, Councillor, and Anthony Fitzgerald, Head of Enterprise, Tipperary County Council and Michelle Aylward, chief executive, County Tipperary Chamber. The Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Tony O’Brien, also attended.
The visiting companies represented a broad spectrum of sectors including technology, mining, hospitality, retail, pharmaceutical, consultancy services whilst Chamber member companies attending the meeting are involved in instrumentation, software, healthcare, automation, and transportation.
As stated at the meeting, the opportunity to do business with India is vast, but understanding where to start, adapting to cultural differences, and building trust and confidence are essential starting points.
Focusing in on two discussion areas, people and doing business in India, the key takeaways from the meeting were that a mechanism for addressing skill gaps in both countries needs to be found and that the vastness of India and a perceived lack of trust is hindering many Irish companies breaking into the Indian market.
Solutions put forward included reducing the time span in acquiring visas for Indian nationals seeking to work in Ireland, enhancing connectivity and networking opportunities in India using the resources of the IIBA and its sister organisation in India, and working with State agencies to assess the possibility of organising trade missions between the two countries.
IIBA chairman Liam Lynch summing up the actions emanating from the meeting said: “India now ranks 37th in the world for the ease of doing business with and it has very advanced networks, however, key challenges for Irish companies looking to expand to India are breaking into the market and finding the right partners. Increasing the awareness of brand Ireland in India, and collaboration and exchanges are the way forward and the IIBA will do everything in its power to move this agenda forward.”
Helen Downes, chief executive, Shannon Chamber, speaking on behalf of Shannon and Tipperary Chambers said that both Chambers, while noting the key actions emanating from the meeting, will focus particularly on asking Government to address the issue and concerns raised regarding the issuing of visas.
“We are particularly concerned about the long processing time in issuing visas, the paperwork involved, and the high cost of visas. Many companies within our networks have stated that the work permit and visa process combined is extremely cumbersome and inefficient, adding significantly to companies’ talent acquisition costs. That will be our priority action from this meeting in the weeks ahead.”
The IIBA and the Chambers in Shannon and Tipperary plan further collaborative undertakings of this nature during 2023.