it@Cork — the city’s cluster of more than 300 members in the tech sector and their 30,000 employees —signed a deal with other European clusters that will allow its members to share both the infrastructure of member companies and their expertise.
In addition to physically opening doors to the offices of the thousands of participating companies, the Business Roaming Agreement also provides huge potential for collaboration and future deals between Cork-based companies and almost 3,000 partner firms.
The landmark agreement, the first of its kind in Ireland, can act as a launchpad for local companies to strike deals beyond national borders and give a leg up to start-ups in particular, according to it@Cork chairman Ronan Murphy.
“Having the option to strategically use the knowledge, offices and connections for a time in a foreign market would allow for diversification, competitive intelligence and the opportunity for our members to investigate additional revenue opportunities from overseas.
“It would also expose them to the various management practices and methods of doing business which would be invaluable, especially if they are considering expanding internationally. Naturally, building connections and relationships with businesses abroad is the core benefit of this Business Roaming Agreement,” said Mr Murphy.
In practice, a foreign company which identifies a counterpart in Cork that they’re interested in partnering with could get in contact with it@Cork and work in collaboration with the Irish firm with a view to striking a deal, or vice-versa.
Among the partner clusters across Europe are:
- France (Paris): 900+ companies
- Germany: 900 + companies
- Northern Ireland: 35 companies
- Barcelona: 150 companies
- Slovenia: 50 companies
- Cyprus: 50 companies
- UK: 500 companies
- Netherlands: 250 companies
- Austria: 150 companies.
A visit to an overseas office through the agreement offers the host cluster an opportunity to introduce the two firms and potentially set them on the path to striking a deal.
This, according to Mr Murphy, who also heads up indigenous IT support company Smarttech, will be particularly beneficial to younger firms that don’t yet have the range of contacts and partners of more established firms.