Thought Leadership

Creativebrief and Invest NI support IIBN NI prelaunch at the Embassy of Ireland

Creativebrief and Invest NI support IIBN NI prelaunch at the Embassy of Ireland

Tom Holmes

Founder & Chairman


On Wednesday, 26th October, with the generous support of the Ambassador of Ireland, Mr Bobby McDonagh, IIBN prelaunched its Northern Ireland chapter at the Embassy of Ireland.

Over 80 invited delegates attended the breakfast reception and attendees ranged leading business professionals and entrepreneurs who had travelled from Northern Ireland and Dublin.

Examples of the companies present included First Derivatives, Institute of Directors – Northern Ireland, Advantage NI, Arthur Cox, Turner News, RTE Belfast, Invest Northern Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Digital Derry and Deutsche Bank.

The purpose of the reception was to highlight and notify attendees of IIBN’s plans to launch IIBN Northern Ireland in Belfast in Spring 2012 and to take the opportunity to introduce new friends and members to each other and, where appropriate, to encourage and exploit potential business opportunities.

Speakers included:

The Ambassador of Ireland H.E. Mr Bobby McDonagh

Conor Foley, Global Chairman, IIBN

Karena Vaughan, Regional Director of Europe at Invest Northern Ireland

Tom Holmes, Founder & Chairman, Creativebrief

Conor Foley explained that IIBN, which is a not-for-profit, global organisation, operates very much for the whole of Ireland and is rooted in business advancement and connectivity regardless of location.  With over 1000 members globally IIBN, with the support of its members in Northern Ireland and beyond, will be launching IIBN Northern Ireland in spring next year as the timing is right and IIBN has received a groundswell of support from government agencies including Invest NI, Derry County Council and numerous entrepreneurs and business professionals across all sectors within Northern Ireland.

Conor highlighted that Tom Holmes has been instrumental in helping IIBN develop its business links within Northern Ireland particularly in Belfast and Derry and looks forward to working with Tom and his team going forward.

Tom explained to the audience why he thought the time was right to be launching the IIBN in Northern Ireland and quoted Declan Kelly, former US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland.

NI faces an unchartered future, we are all too well aware of the challenging economic conditions that persist in both the North and South and around the world. Northern Ireland's economy finds itself at a tipping point, it needs momentum and I hope the IIBN will help add to this. Whilst there is all this doom and gloom and many nations are struggling to compete, that means we have to be sharper go shoulder to shoulder to help one another...

Tom Holmes, Founder and Chairman, Creativebrief

And Tom stressed that Northern Ireland offers some great advantages…

  • There is a natural cultural bias in Northern Ireland towards entrepreneurialism
  • One of the lowest operating costs in Europe
  • A young, talented workforce
  • Skills in sectors that will drive future economic growth including financial services, technology, creative media and business services.
  • Two world-class universities which produce over 2,000 business graduates each year and over 1,000 ICT graduates.
  • Project Kelvin – the underground broadband cable, which offers Northern Ireland the fastest connection to the United States from anywhere in Europe.

Also, in terms of North / South cooperation, Tom stressed that the time for insular thinking is over….

  • In 2010, we witnessed a major political achievement with the devolution of policing and justice powers, which sent a clear message to the rest of the world about the stability of Northern Ireland, and signalled that the region is open for business
  • 2010 brought the UK City of Culture 2013 award to Derry/Londonderry; a title that can bring huge economic benefits to the entire region
  • The magnificent reception  the Queen got visiting in the Republic Ireland further fuelled our desire to make connections to benefit entrepreneurs across Ireland and the UK