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Collaboration between FDI and SMEs will help economy bounce back

MNCs provide domestic businesses with exposure to knowledge, tech and know-how

Gareth Lambe, AmCham president

Gareth Lambe, AmCham president


Ireland continues to be a trusted transatlantic bridge to European and global markets for corporate America – which explains why a third of US companies have been present in Ireland for more than 20 years and why 94 per cent of our members say their corporate headquarters have a positive view of Ireland as a place for future investment. As 2021 president in the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland’s (AmCham) 60th-anniversary year, I have seen first-hand how the Irish operations of US multinationals continue to be the shining lights of their global operations. US firms now employ 180,000 people and contributed about €22 billion to the Irish economy last year through payroll, capital expenditure and spend with local suppliers. The success of American companies in Ireland is due to many factors, but a key and often understated one is the supporting domestic economy.

From the strong partnerships developed at a local supplier level right through to key strategic services, for more than six decades, the domestic economy has supported the growth of global companies doing business from Ireland. The interdependency and economic spillover is evident in the fact that for every 10 jobs created by a multinational company in Ireland, a further eight jobs are created in the wider economy. Perhaps less tangible, but just as important, is the way in which these linkages have enriched and accelerated Ireland’s knowledge-based economy through the experience and expertise developed by having a strong FDI base here.


Through these relationships, multinational firms provide domestic businesses with exposure to knowledge, technology, and global value chains know-how. Ireland has developed expertise and skills through the attraction of highly skilled workers from abroad who work for MNCs, while Irish people working for American companies have been provided opportunities to work in global locations. These high-value transfers of people and knowledge strengthen the skills and capabilities of the Irish workforce. An OECD study, FDI Qualities Assessment of Ireland, found that one out of every four employees in multinational companies either moved to a domestic firm or became self-employed, further strengthening the flow of knowledge and skills back into the domestic economy.

Through our #SupportYourLocalBusiness campaign, AmCham has championed the importance of avoiding a two-pace economic recovery and urged our members and stakeholders to get behind domestic businesses, particularly those most affected by the pandemic.

The potential of shared learning was the impetus behind AmCham’s Multinational and SME Productivity Masterclass Programme, which is designed in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. This programme provides expert insights and advice from the multinational sector to Irish SMEs that will help them enhance their teams’ productivity, financial and procurement strategies throughout the rest of 2021 and beyond. I am confident that through stronger collaboration between the inward investment sector and the domestic economy, Ireland is primed to bounce back and build on our strong economic fundamentals.