Minakshi Batra is the Director – India for IDA Ireland and is responsible for driving and increasing investments into Ireland from India. With a precise understanding of the concerns of Indian companies, she is well-versed with addressing these issues and presenting the initiatives and benefits of Ireland as relevant to Indian firms.
With a stellar career spanning over two decades across the private and public sectors, she has been instrumental in promoting relations between Indian and European countries across sectors.
As part of her previous assignments, she has worked with the Spanish Trade Department as a ‘Market Analyst’, and also as the Country Manager of the 7th largest industrial conglomerate from Spain for the last ten years.
Q: What is the primary function of IDA Ireland? How many offices does it have globally?
A: IDA Ireland was established in 1969 by the Irish government with the primary role of attracting inward investments from other countries into Ireland. IDA is focused on securing investment from new and existing clients in the areas of High End Manufacturing, Global Services (including Financial Services) and Research, Development and Innovation. Key sectors within these areas for investments are:
- Information Communications Technology (ICT)
- Life Sciences (Pharmaceutical, Biopharmaceutical and Medical Technologies)
- Professional Services
- Digital Media
- Consumer Brands and International Services
Furthermore, IDA Ireland is actively focusing on emerging areas such as Clean Technology, Convergence and Services Innovation.
All of these sectors have been carefully selected by the Irish government, as they have the best chances of flourishing in a country like Ireland. The in-bred talent pool, multilingual capabilities, opportunities to scale up, and a flexible workforce all add up to providing the best-in-class infrastructure and opportunities for various companies to set-up base and expand aggressively in Ireland.
Additionally, IDA Ireland continues to work with investors and companies to encourage and assist in expanding and developing their businesses.
Today, IDA Ireland has 17 offices globally and 9 in Ireland: 6 in America, 4 in Europe, 1 in South America (Brazil) and 6 in Asia Pacific, including 1 in India.
Q:What does Ireland have to offer to Indian countries as compared to other investment agencies?
- The Irish Government is highly proactive, business friendly and an astute visionary
The Irish government has constantly observed and monitored global business trends and has moved ahead by creating strengths and capacities to foster and cater global changes. This is clearly evident in the Ireland’s ever transforming economy - from being a low tech, assembly type manufacturing economy in the 80’s to emerging as leaders in cutting edge R&D and high tech manufacturing. Ireland has always transformed its ecosystem to the needs of evolving business world. This has been possible due to the constant involvement of all the ecosystem partners with the Irish government – the industry, universities and colleges.
- Young highly skilled Talent
Ireland has some of the best highly skilled talent in its young work force. The world class education system set-up by the Irish government produces some of the best talent tailor made for the current
requirements of the industry. Ireland is ranked no. 1 in Europe for the most number of tertiary education qualified people in the economy.
This consistent investment in education ensures a plentiful supply of highly qualified resources with excellent technical, language and customer service capabilities, as well as a reputation for flexibility, innovation and adaptability.
Continuous innovation plays a central role in Ireland’s future as a knowledge-based economy. Recognising this, the Irish Government put in place a national Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI) in the 1990s. In line with this, significant funding and support are available to fuel innovation across industry, research and education.
This strategy is now paying dividends, fostering a new generation of innovators, supporting exciting collaborative projects and delivering future solutions to the marketplace.
Ireland has a standard, EU approved corporation tax rate of 12.5% on all trading profits. In addition to this, Ireland has had a 25% R&D Tax Credit scheme since 2004 (in addition to a tax deduction at 12.5% for R&D expenditure in Ireland). Its purpose is to encourage both foreign and indigenous companies to undertake new and/or additional R&D activity in Ireland. Additionally, Ireland has an excellent network of double taxation avoidance treaty with 55 countries in the world including India.
Q:How can technology companies look at Ireland as an attractive investment destination?
A: Ireland was the pioneer of the BPO industry in the mid 80’s and over the years has transformed into being a global hub for software development and exports. Today Ireland boosts of some of the best next generation R&D and cutting edge technology work capabilities.
Cloud Computing, Super Computing, Next Generation Data Centers & Management, Green and Clean Technologies, Renewable Energy, Smart Grid & Technologies, Nano Technologies, Convergence are some of the key opportunities for Indian companies to explore and develop in Ireland using the Irish capabilities and the prevailing mature ecosystem.
Additionally, the potential that the EU region presents as a market makes Ireland the best nearshore destination for all players in the technology space. Also, over the years, Ireland has made a constant attempt to supplement the burgeoning economy with the requisite infrastructure and talent, building universities to supplement the same.
All of these factors combined make Ireland a lucrative destination for technology companies to set-up base and operate for the EU region.
Q:Which Indian IT companies have a presence in Ireland? Are you seeing an increase in their investment commitment towards the country?
A: With the pace at which the Indian economy is growing, India plays a key role in the Irish strategy for the next ten year horizon. Currently, it is expected that 20% of foreign investments will come from the BRIC countries by 2014. India and China are expected to play a leading role in this investment.
Currently, IT companies who have invested in Ireland include TCS and SFO Technologies – TCS has a delivery centre in Ireland. Many more Indian ICT companies are looking seriously at Ireland for investing and setting up their operations.
Companies from other sectors that have a presence in Ireland include Crompton Greaves, Wockhardt, Ranbaxy and GTL, among others.
Q:Has the Europe crisis affected FDI inflows to the country in any manner?
A: The recent economic downturn had caused a fall in the overall liquidity on the investment front. In spite of this, FDI into Ireland has continued at the same levels as before throughout 2008 and 2009. To add, the first quarter of 2010 saw a 50% increase as compared to 1stQ in 2009, in the number of companies visiting Ireland with a serious intent of investing. This includes the establishment of MNCs in the financial services.
The recent economic crisis also bought the onslaught of negative news for the Irish economy, as GDP and other macro-economic indicators had taken a strong hit. That said, Ireland made quick amends, and the results have already started showing. GDP, for instance, has improved to -0.25% (Q1 2010) from the -7.25% (CY 2009). Exports have also shown considerable improvement, with Q1 2020 seeing a 1.5% increase, as compared to the -2.75% decrease in CY 2009. All these factors indicate a positive trend in the growth of the economy.
In a nutshell, the FDI into Ireland has remained consistent through the economic crises. For instance, in 2009, Ireland received investment of USD 14 Bn, becoming one of the only 6 countries in the world to have seen an inflow of investment.