In the year leading up to Clyde Hutchinson’s 40th birthday, he decided to take a few minutes out of each day to spread some positivity about Ireland.

His “Year of Positive Ireland” began with a Forbes article that declared Ireland the best place in the world to do business. Every day since then, he’s found one decidedly positive, usually business-related, story and shared it online with his over 4,000 LinkedIn followers.

The focus on business was not new to Hutchinson. With his company NASC Connect, he works with venture capital/investors, early stage entrepreneurs, incubation centers and universities providing mentorship, organizational development and business development services. He is also involved with connecting the Global Irish with early stage companies and with other Diaspora groups. He is also keen on developing strong links between Ireland and Israel through the leadership of the Ireland Israel Business Network.

But the emphasis on positive, compelling stories provided him with a new perspective from which to view the Irish business community, as well as Ireland's larger accomplishments and how they are viewed around the world. 

IrishCentral caught up with Clyde to take a look back at his year. To see the full Year of Positive Ireland, click here

First off, Happy Birthday! How does it feel to have reached the conclusion of your Year of Positive Ireland?

Thanks so much! I feel like a just ran a marathon, but I have to admit that I am going to miss now it is done.

What made you want to start this in the first place?

A lot of people see their 40th birthday as a negative event and I wanted turn to it into a positive event. We Irish have a tendency to be quite negative and not celebrate our many achievements and successes. Being immensely proud of being Irish, I felt the need to marry these two as a personal challenge.

How do you feel you’ve changed between starting the Year of Positive Ireland and today?

I am certainly more positive. Having to get up every morning a look for something positive for YOPI actually puts you in a more positive form for the rest of the day, which is great as I am really not a morning person!! Through the posting I was also able to put a little of positivity in other people’s lives.

Did the experience give you any new perspective about Ireland?

The year really re-enforced for me that Ireland is truly an amazing place, full of great stories, fantastic people, companies, food and culture. It really was a demonstration that modern Ireland is becoming an exciting, diverse and leading force for entrepreneurship. It was also surprising to see how many times Ireland features in Global Top 10’s from sexiest accent to connectedness.

How about the way Ireland is portrayed in the media?

Sure, there is a tendency for negativity in the media, but as the recovery strengthens in Ireland I believe that the media is getting better at promoting positive stories about Irish business, especially the emerging start up ecosystem, Irish food and tourism.

Did you have any favorite days of news?

I tend to like the more quirky days like fact such as the economics of St. Patrick’s Day or that Santa Claus and St. Valentine are supposed to be buried in Ireland. In terms of readers' favorites the top 5 views have been:

Top 5

1. Day 286 UCD Michael Smurfit Business School soars in Global MBA rankings

2. Day 73 NDRC, leading business incubator on a global scale

3 Day 277 Veryan secures €23.5M investment for self expanding stent tech

4. Day 139 Digifeye, using digital fingerprints to a create a shopping revolution

5. Day 239 Nuritas discovers new MRSA killing peptide

Were there any days when it was hard to find a story to zero in on?

Of course – loads!! Weekends tended to be difficult to find a story. I have to spend time searching through the internet, reading regional newspapers and asking friends for stories.

What kind of feedback did you get from people?

Overwhelmingly positive, and I have had many people come up to me to say how much they enjoyed their daily dose of positivity. Although I did have some detractors and a couple of people saying I should keep my positivity to myself, which made me laugh!

What’s next for you? Will you continue to build upon YOPI?

I am going off for a short break for my birthday. Post YOPI, I will continue to be a cheerleader for being positive about Ireland, its entrepreneurs, industry and culture.

For the next year, I’m going be working on projects to connect the Global Irish Diaspora with other Diasporas for business. I am also going to be involved in a campaign to get people to think more about diversity when it comes to the culture of their companies, with the #DiversityStarts project to be launched before the summer.