#agenda 2018 Business, politics and Brexit


Ulster Bank

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce, KPMG  and Ulster Bank have come together to address the various challenges and opportunities that Brexit has brought about for business interests in the UK and Ireland.

Multiple events

They are organising multiple events to address challenges & opportunities of Brexit on SMEs, ICT, infrastructure, life sciences, finance, agribusiness & CAST sectors.

 Turning a Challenge into an Opportunity

On the 27th of February, they will cover 'Turning a Challenge into an Opportunity’ will focus on five specific topics:

  • Winning the War for Talent
  • Driving Entrepreneurism
  • Incentivising Investment
  • Supporting the Sector to Grow
  • Developing the UK-Ireland Tech Corridor.

Jeanne Kelly, LK Shields

Jeanne Kelly of LK Shields is chairing that session. Jeanne is a partner, specialising in technology, data protection, privacy and contracts, working with both multinationals, and scaling companies. She has an interesting perspective on Brexit and is Chair of the Information and Communications Technology Committee (ICT) of the BICC:

Look outwards

“I think there was a degree of shock in the “corporate world” at the Brexit referendum result, certainly in Ireland.  The later opinion polls were worrying certainly, but many people who were mostly working with and speaking with London-based contacts, including me, were overly optimistic. .  However, if you take an entrepreneurial perspective, Brexit is an opportunity to explore a wider product/services market, by looking outward beyond the UK. There is a big EU market out there and will continue to be.  Ireland and UK will continue to be strong trading partners, that’s inevitable.  People, and the markets which are made up of them will adjust to whatever Brexit brings. 

Entrepreneurs are used to frequent adjusting, so they are perhaps better placed than many to do this. 

Certainly, I think there is more willingness now to be public about the good that the EU has brought about, like many good things, we perhaps took it for granted.  As a woman in business, I'm acutely conscious of the employment rights that are enjoyed across the EU and that in my view would not have happened in Ireland as quickly without our EEC membership.  Post-Brexit, I wear that view “on my sleeve” more, before it, I would have considered that a private opinion, not especially relevant to my “work life”.  That was wrong-headed, but we live and learn.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that.   


“Enterprise Ireland and other enterprise agencies deliver strong state support on how to deal with Brexitand I encourage people to make use of those resources, especially as we adjust to a world where tariffs and duties are being considered..”


The biggest opportunity in Jeanne’s view is the influx of talent into Ireland as a result of Brexit. “There is an ongoing war for talent, it is well documented. EU citizens living in the UK are willing to move, and there are many reasons (not least of which are long-term residence certainty and family unity issues) and Ireland is well placed to be an alternative home for that talent. We are already seeing the impact, and while there was always a tradition of some young professionals working in the UK for several years and returning, Brexit for many of them accelerated a return decision. There are strong, long-term career prospects here for many sectors, including the one I'm closest to, the technology and data privacy sector.

Her three tips:

  • Familiarise yourself with all the supports available at local and national levelTap into the networks you are part of (like BICC) to remain up to date on how your industry is responding to Brexit. We are all so busy, it’s difficult to make the time, but it’s necessary to be as current as is possible in this changing environment
  • GDPR is already a hot topic. Brexit will have data flow consequences which adds to the uncertainty, and its worth keeping a close eye on this if you are in a data-dependent industry.   Free movement of data (as with people, goods and capital) will no longer apply after the UK leaves the EU and could have serious consequences.  You need to factor in Brexit into your general data strategy. If you are recruiting for talent as an SME and want to compete with the larger companies, including FDI business which can and do offer a range of benefits which most SMEs can only dream of.  Consider what you can offer to meaningfully compete in recruitment. That might be quality of life, flexible work, being closer to core management and strategy issues in your business.  Whatever it is that differentiates your SME, you need to refine and be vocal about  For some people it is the removal of a punishing daily commute, so if your location makes that possible for your employees, say so!

Live streaming

Unfortunately, all event are now sold out. Ulster Bank is streaming the events on www.business-achievers.com. This is the link https://www.business-achievers.com/bic-live-stream



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