An American billionaire who has already made a fortune on Irish bank shares is backing Ireland to become the new Silicon Valley.
Philanthropist Wilbur Ross has told a gathering of Irish business and cultural leaders in New York that the country can lead Europe’s tech industry.
Ross has already cashed in part of his recession investment in Bank of Ireland at a healthy profit.
And the investor backed Ireland’s recovery at the fourth annual Ireland Day at the New York Stock Exchange.
He told influential business leaders at the technology dominated summit that Ireland is ideally positioned to adopt the ‘Silicon Valley’ model.
Ross said: “Ireland is the poster challenge for reform. I award the State 10 out of 10 when asked to grade it as a place to do business.
“The Irish have come through economic adversity with grit, determination and sacrifice. Bank of Ireland is being supportive of business.
“It isn’t the case of the mean old bank not lending. We’re not in the business of charitable donations.”
Ireland’s ability to lead the online tech revolution post recession was highlighted by a number of speakers, according to a report in the Irish Independent.
Online ad agency Viddyad founder Grainne Barron told the Wall Street audience that the business landscape and demands for graduates were changing.
She said: “If you use a phone, you use tech. It used to be learn a language, now it’s a different type of language - code.”
The report adds that Founders organizer Paddy Cosgrave said he has watched his friends and peers leave Ireland in huge numbers since 2007 but said the new wave of young Irish dispersed throughout the world posed a business opportunity.
Cosgrave said: “It’s now about how are we going to harness all those incredibly educated people.‘
The summit organizer, Cosgrave spoke of a ‘profound revolution’ in the Irish education system but warned that cutbacks to spending in the sector would be felt in ‘five to 10 years’.
Tech entrepreneur Cosgrave also told executives that there was a personal responsibility when it came to job creation.
He said: “It’s up to me and entrepreneurs like me.”