Those of us above 30 will probably remember the old Ferrero Rocher adverts on TV, where a nameless ambassador served them stacked high on a platter to various visiting dignitaries. Well, have you ever wondered if they really are on the Ambassadors shopping list? If so, I can confirm that they are, or at least they are when you visit the British Ambassador’s residence in Dublin, as I did last week.
It was a privilege to be the guest of Robin Barnett, CMG during my trip to Ireland, following the very kind invitation from the Department of International Trade office, based in Dublin. The reason for the trip was to meet the recently formed Eirmersive tech cluster of the leading Irish immersive technology companies, to discuss expansion opportunities in the North East of England, highlighting the strong and growing cluster of similar companies here, the market opportunity and the world class assets available to them, such as Proto: The centre for emerging technology.
The visit was a huge success, with some excellent connections and conversations, many of them building on those we had with some of the businesses when they visited the North East back in April this year. I’m confident we will see some of the cluster opening studios over here before long.
Whilst in the city (which is beautiful and particularly festive looking at this time of year) I also took the opportunity to meet up with Fintech Ireland and visit the Guinness Enterprise Centre to discuss potential collaborations and links between the two regions.
What struck me about the visit was the similarities in culture between the North East and Ireland. We have a matching sense of humour, work ethic and know the value of a good after dinner chocolate! It is also incredibly easy to travel between both locations, with daily flights from several operators and flight times of approx 45 mins. The journey through both airports was incredibly efficient and a genuine pleasure to travel.
Come what may with Brexit, the links we’ve established between the two regions are getting stronger all of the time and I look forward to working with the team at DIT, Eirmersive, Fintech Ireland, the Guinness Enterprise Centre and the other key cluster groups moving forward.
I’ll also look forward to another pint or two of the black stuff next time I’m there and if I’m lucky enough to visit the stunning ambassador residence again, maybe another Ferraro Rocher!