The Irish Technology Leadership Group, based in Silicon Valley, is leading the Irish recovery, said Prime Minster Brian Cowen in San Jose on Sunday.

The Prime Minster is on the annual St. Patrick's Day trip to the U.S., which began in Chicago when he marched in the parade there and culminates on Wednesday when he meets President Obama and spends the day with political leaders in Washington and at a White House reception for leading Irish Americans.

Cowen was in Silicon Valley to officially start the new innovation center there, which is aimed at helping Irish domestic companies access Silicon Valley firms to spend time in the incubation center developing their ideas.

Intel's Craig Barret is the chairman of the ITLG, which is also headed by Limerick native John Hartnett and Down native John Gilmore.

The ITLG and its strategy has consistently been to the forefront of Ireland’s economic recovery, said Brian Cowen said on his arrival in California.

“The positive example of their innovation partnership with UCD and TCD, which matches high-achieving Irish students with Silicon Valley executives shows just how they are meeting our challenges practically and head on,” said Cowen.

“With this program the ITLG is assisting Ireland in achieving our goal. Further, what the ITLG provide is what start-up companies and entrepreneurs most need, a network and introduction to enable them to pitch their product to the right people. An endorsement from key global players such as Craig Barrett is crucial to business success. There are thousands from all over the globe competing for these opportunities.

“However, with the Irish Technology Leadership Group and this Innovation Center, Ireland can and will remain ahead of this competition."

$300,000 has been awarded to the ITLG by the Irish Abroad Unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs.