TK Whitaker was 100 years old last week. I wouldn’t have known this had I not read the fitting tribute Anne Chambers wrote in The Irish Times.
I had often heard about this great and generous Civil Servant from my Father over the years, but never really studied him. As we all know, working from behind the scenes, where the lions share of the work is done, you rarely make it into the History books. My Father respected him and believed he was a great man of the people- who understood Irelands financial needs but also understood our emotional needs and how far we could be stretched- a skill set not many can boast.
As I read the article, it struck me that in the context of his time, how visionary he was. In 1957, I wasn’t even born, but he was already encouraging our little country to ‘face outwards’ in his famous document, “Economic Development”. The simply written document for all to understand, offered the introduction of free trade and an end to protectionism. As Chambers put it,
“ It was tough medicine , but essential if the patent -Ireland Inc.- was to have any hope of survival”.
And his message still remains unchanged today- we need to open our markets, our minds and our attitudes to how we do our business if Ireland is to survive and thrive through recessions, Brexit and changes in US Corporate Tax laws.
In the wake of a tumultuous year for international relations and recent political developments in our closest neighbouring countries, it’s now more important than ever before to support businesses that are truly contributing to Ireland’s economic development. As the new CEO of Guaranteed Irish, which ironically was conceptualised in the 70’s, to “protect” jobs for Ireland..
“My ambitions are to help Ireland position itself as a country to do ‘Better Business’- setting itself apart, making it competitive”
How can we achieve this?
By offering companies and organisations based in Ireland an opportunity to promote themselves “as a Guaranteed Irish” business, they differentiate themselves from those who don’t care and that is the difference. We have always been a nation of carers, its in our DNA from the monks to the missionaries and this “decency” should transcend into how we do our business. If we can articulate this message, along with our other assets (competitive corporation tax, Quality of life, english speaking, educated workforce and good broadband) that makes Ireland a strong competitive force in the global market place. If we can find a way to articulate that we welcome business that offer quality jobs, that are long-term, sustainable, equal opportunity jobs, this will attract the talent, the investors and the confidence to go toe to toe with other countries. These ‘quality’ jobs and community engagement is what ‘better business’ means. That is what the Guaranteed Irish symbol stands for. It sets us apart, it makes us competitive.
And as we all know , its all about being competitive.
Guaranteed Irish welcomes businesses who are committed to creating a better Ireland. When assessing an applicant for membership of guaranteed Irish, we look at three core criteria- jobs, provenance and community.
Guaranteed Irish members deserve to be championed. We promote them at home and abroad so that consumers, government bodies and communities appreciate just how much of a difference they make.
Our members play a vital role in their communities, providing jobs, creating connections and nurturing relationships and ideas. They make Ireland a great place to do business, and we celebrate their efforts with national and global awards.
We build awareness of the benefits of buying goods and services produced in Ireland by our members. Through our school programmes, we reach a whole new generation of consumers who are proud to buy Irish.
Rebrand and Revamp
To reflect how Ireland has changed since its inception in 1984, Guaranteed Irish has recently undergone a rebrand and repositioning. The organisation accepts members that conduct a significant proportion of their business in Ireland, as well as indigenous firms. Brass Plates need not apply.
Based on recent research from Amarach (Dec,2016), 8 in 10 would like to see more companies display the new GI symbol and a staggering 96% feel it is as important as 5 years ago that people buy from companies with a vested interest in Ireland.
Guaranteed Irish, identifies and celebrates enterprises who make a positive difference to our lives and our communities. Our member organisations are companies that are proud of their Irish base and committed to creating a better Ireland.
We undertook this repositioning and rebranding project to reflect our evolution to a more modern, open, inclusive and diverse organisation, representing a new Ireland. We remain non-profit and are membership driven. We are seeking to promote ‘Better Business in Ireland’, using our new slogan ‘All Together Better’.
Sustaining Irish jobs
The key aim of Guaranteed Irish is to foster job creation in the Irish economy.
At Guaranteed Irish, we educate both consumers and businesses to show that even the smallest purchase decision can make the biggest difference by giving or keeping employment. We also undertake research to remain relevant and allow us to react to changing markets.
Companies already sporting the well-known Guaranteed Irish symbol span all sectors of the economy from food to pharma and from finance to tech. Guaranteed Irish has always worked with International companies that provided “Good quality jobs” in Ireland, to give them their dues. Now, we are putting a way to measure what a “Good quality job” actually is, to allow business do better, thus making them more attractive, acquire talent more easily and fly the flag for Ireland as a great place to work and do Business. Guaranteed Irish is the National symbol for ‘Better Business’.
Our member companies wear their Irishness and Irish links as a badge of honour at global level. Being based in Ireland gives them a competitive edge. To ensure the best companies continue to operate here, we need to maintain and grow awareness of the benefits of doing business in Ireland. That’s what Guaranteed Irish is all about. So we’re back, bigger and better than ever. We are ambitious for our organisation, for our members and for the communities in which they create employment. There are large shoes to fill and large steps to follow- thanks for the inspiration for the trailblazers who lead the way. Happy 100th Birthday Mr. Whitaker.