The 4th Annual ITLG Technology Awards will take place at Stanford University on April 5th and is being sponsored by the Irish Times and the Silicon Valley Bank.
The event will be hosted by Emily Chang, Bloomberg West Anchor and the keynote speaker will be Craig Barrett, ITLG Chairman and Retired CEO/Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation.
Of especial interest this year will be the compilation of the Silicon Valley 50 – a list that gives recognition to the top 50 Irish American technology executives doing business in Silicon Valley.
A random sample of names from this list gives an idea of the extent of influence and depth of involvement that Irish Americans have had in shaping Silicon Valley into what it is to today – the gathering of the most creative minds in technology, marketing and management.
- Chris Boody – Director, AT&T
- Caroline Donahoe – Senior Vice President, Sales and Channel Marketing, Intuit
- Fergus Hurley – CEO, Clixtr Inc.
- Rory McInerney – Vice President, Digital Enterprise Group, Intel Corporation (MPG)
- Patrick O’Malley – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Seagate
Many will have been aware of the massive changes that the economy of Ireland has undergone in recent years, from the heights of the Celtic Tiger to the depths of recession. These have been serious changes that have had and will continue to have an effect on economic growth for a little while more.
But all the gloomy news has hidden from sight one of the great success stories of the modern era – the incredible and remarkable story of the Irish tech sector.
According to ICT Ireland, (the voice of the Information and Communications Technology sector in Ireland), over 75,000 people are employed in the ICT area which is responsible for approximately 25% of Ireland’s total turnover and represents one third of Ireland’s exports by value.
Employment alone has grown by 6% in this area in 2010 and there is still the promise of more to come.
Any economy, anywhere in the world would crave for these sort of figures.
And the future looks better.
Three of the world’s leading research institutes are based in Ireland:
- Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) based at NUI Galway.
Specializing in the development of Linked Data. Building the Web as it will work in the future.
- Centre for Next Generation Location (CNGL), DCU/UL/Trinity College.
Adapting digital content to culture, locale and linguistic environments.
- Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG), Waterford IT.
Building the platform that will join our social networks to the sensors in our environment allowing us to operate in new and as yet unknown ways.
In a recent interview Barry O’Sullivan, Vice-President of Cisco’s global voice technology group, stated,
“Technology, by definition, is about the future – to the extent that you are in high tech then you are always in the next big thing.”
A major next step for many Irish companies is to take advantage of the world-renowned technological, marketing and management experience that resides in Silicon Valley.
He says there are three overwhelming reasons why Irish companies should establish a presence in Silicon Valley:
“One, you have access to the greatest collection of technology companies in the world. These companies are all over the world doing things with sales and operations. But you want to come to the heart of where they’re at, and that’s their headquarters.
“Number two, if you’re going to get investment, a smart investment from someone who is going to change your organization and make you a true winner, these VCs, these angel groups are sitting here, not in Ireland.
“The third piece is access to talent. You have the world’s talent sitting here – guys that invented Google, guys that are running companies like Facebook or Twitter – if you want to build your organization and build some key leadership where you might be weak.”
The ITLG have set up an innovation center right in the heart of Silicon Valley as a launch pad for Irish companies to set themselves up, and to make it easy for them to do the necessary networking and have the essential face-to-face meetings.
The ITLG is determined to create the most powerful Irish network in the world. The Irish Diaspora is estimated to consist of over 40 million people. If this huge and powerful potential resource could be harnessed, organized and focused, then the door opens for all sorts of great and marvelous possibilities to occur.
To help facilitate this the ITLG can draw upon its network of 1,500 Silicon Valley executives and industry leaders who are either Irish or of Irish descent. Many of these people have had great success in their professional lives and view their contributions to the ITLG as a means of payback for their own good fortune.
These contributions vary in nature but can consist of:
- Mentoring new Irish businesses coming to Silicon Valley.
- Providing vital contacts for business development through their personal networks that would be very difficult to obtain by any other means.
- Providing facilities such as the Irish Innovation Center to provide Irish businesses with a solid base from which to work from.
The rapidly growing Irish tech sector can only continue to succeed if it can take its place in the global marketplace as quickly as possible. The center of the global market place for high tech is Silicon Valley and the ITLG is ideally placed to facilitate and further the growth of Irish technology businesses.