Ireland might soon have its first Technology Ambassador in Silicon Valley, as well as an Information and Communications Technology Chamber (ICT), in a move urged by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC).

Home to global tech companies including Facebook and Google, ‘The Valley’ is the hub of IT enterprise. As such, an ambassador representing Ireland would help establish its place on the map, attract more inward talent and help drive innovation in the industry.

Some of the benefits that the move could bring (outlined below), coupled with Ireland’s low corporate tax rate (12.5%) continue to make this an attractive location.

The Rise of the Docks

The development has arisen out of the opportunities presented by Brexit, as well as Ireland’s clear growth in the technology sector, which has seen a 40 per cent rise in the past seven years.

According to BICC, there are more than 105,000 professionals, 1,200 start-ups and 250 global tech companies based in Dublin’s docklands area, nicknamed ‘Silicon Docks’.

A Silicon Docks map illustrates the many European headquarters for tech brands it accommodates, including Google, Twitter and Linkedin.

Furthermore, Ireland has made great strides in artificial intelligence (AI), with local companies including Aylien and Movidius receiving investment in recent years.  Figures provided by TechIreland suggest the sector alone employs 2,500 people.

Attracting Talent

Despite significant progress in the market, the BICC has admitted that attracting the right talent has been a challenge, but believe that addressing the “tax burden” can help.

John McGrane, the Director-General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, said: “We would call on the Government to consider creating a Technology Ambassador to focus on and represent the Irish tech sector in Silicon Valley and establish new a National ICT Hub centred in Dublin, but with satellite hubs in the south, west, northwest and the midlands.”

Already, many companies are seeing the benefits of promoting their Irish roots, with an Irish domain registration to promote their status.

What does it mean for business?

If the move goes ahead, there could be benefits for both professionals and business’ in this sector, which would benefit the economy.

Along with the introduction of an Irish Tech Ambassador and National ICT hub, the Chamber suggests that a reduction in the marginal rate of personal taxation should be made. It also recommends that the ‘Special Assignee Relief Programme’ should increase from 30% to 40%, while reducing its threshold from €75,000 to €65,000.

They support the move for Capital Gains Tax for entrepreneurs working in innovation to be reduced, while Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs should more than double to €250,000;

The recommendations have been well received by the business community, but what action is taken is yet to be determined.

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