BIBA President AJ Gerritson featured in Boston Herald with Congressman Richard Neal

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"Irish eyes are smiling at biz conference in Seaport"

By: Brendan Lynch

Boston’s cultural ties to Ireland paraded up Broadway in Southie on St. Paddy’s Day weekend, but the business connections between the Hub and the Next Parish Over will be the focus today on nearby Seaport Boulevard.

Businesses from both sides of the Atlantic will gather at the Ireland Gateway to Europe Expo 2012 at the Seaport Hotel in South Boston. The event is aimed at encouraging U.S. investment in Ireland, which boasts a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate, and a highly educated workforce as enticements.

“Europe is getting better, but the recovery has been slow,” said U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, a speaker at the conference. “But there’s no question Irish austerity and the well-educated population makes them a good business partner going forward.”

Neal expects investment to flow in both directions — he said 80,000 Americans work for Irish-owned companies in the United States, while 100,000 Irish work for American-owned companies in Ireland.

“The days of rigid geographical borders for business are over, due to the Internet,” Neal said.

A.J. Gerritson, president of Boston Irish Business Association, agreed.

“These companies continue to grow in the U.S., but now they’ll grow into a market they wouldn’t have access to otherwise,” Gerritson said. “When the water rises, we all rise with it.”

Gerritson sees a wave of high-tech entrepreneurship pulling Ireland out of its slump.

“Everyone knows about the tax benefit and the educated workforce,” Gerritson said. “But there are other opportunities borne out of the tough economic times over there.”

Irish security technology company Netwatch opened its 10-employee U.S. office last month. The company expects to have 15 employees by the end of the year, and double that for three years. It’s in Medford now, but it’s looking for space in Boston, or somewhere near the Massachusetts Turnpike.

“We’re bursting at the seams and need to get into larger office space,” said Thomas Walsh, Netwatch’s business development manager.

Tradin’ of the green


  • In 2011, Massachusetts exported $517 million in goods to Ireland. That is up from $483 million in 2010 and $339 million in 2009. Ireland was Massachusetts’ 16th largest export partner in 2011.


  • For imports from Ireland, the number was $1.563 billion in 2011, down from $2.054 in 2010 and roughly similar to the $1.680 billion in 2009. Ireland was the commonwealth’s sixth largest import partner in 2011.

October Networking Event with a Special Guest!

BIBA's October networking event at the Back Bay Hotel was a large success with over 120 people signed up on the guest list. We are remaining committed to building connections and it is our hope that some new relationships were formed during this event.


The event also had the appearance of a special guest from Belfast, Mark Finlay. Mark was given a brief amount of time to explain Northern Irish Connections, a Global Diaspora Initiative, to our attendees. For more information on the Northern Irish Connections, check out the website here: