Michael Donohoe, Director, Corporate Solutions and Roger Hobkinson, Director, Destination Consulting attended the Global Cork Economic Forum on the 17th and 18th of October. The centerpiece of the Cork Rebel Week, the Cork Gathering event, some 250 invitees gathered in Cork City Hall to debate strategies and actions to position Cork and Ireland for future success. Michael and Roger were invited to the Wednesday evening Cocktail reception held in the Port of Cork’s ornate boardroom. At one time this was the hub of one of the most important ports in the British Empire. Reflective of Cork’s global links, that continues to this day, with the likes of Apple, Starwood, McAfee, EMC and VM Ware some of the major global corporate businesses in the Cork City Region.

Thursday saw a highly impressive panel discussion with the Irish CEO’s (all from Cork) of Vodafone, Tesco, Independent News and Media, Dublin Airport Authority, Greencore and Glen Dimplex on the strengths of Cork and what this means in terms of its market positioning and actions required. Further presentations by business and academic leaders followed until the keynote address was delivered by film producer and educationalist Lord (David) Puttnam a long term resident of Cork.  Lord Puttnam emphasised the need for education, digital skills, greater unity and a compelling vision to help Cork and Ireland meet future challenges and opportunities. The afternoon saw workshops led by four business leaders in ICT, Agribusiness, Energy and Biopharma sectors.

An evening reception with a keynote speech by Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, Simon Coveney and a panel discussion kept the energy flowing. Two of the dragons from the Irish version of the Dragon’s Den plus sports and business links by Frankie Sheenhan (ex Munster and Ireland rugby player) and Tomás Mulcahy (former Cork Gaelic sportsman and now TV presenter) rounded off a very impressive event. 

Roger Hobkinson, Director, of Destination Consulting and Michael Donohoe, Director of Corporate Solutions for Colliers International in Ireland said: “Colliers International was delighted to be invited to this high quality event.  Colliers enjoyed excellent profile and we made some excellent connections as we aim to continue our work in the Cork Region with clients in the public and private sectors. 

Roger outlined “To accommodate the future growth that the Global Cork Economic Forum articulated and that Ireland and Cork will attract in the coming years there must be a rebalance of economic activity towards Cork City Centre. Significant dispersed development has contributed to a challenged City Centre. Priority projects to start in 2014 include the Event Centre, large floor plate office space in the City Centre and its fringes, Technology and Food business hubs, urban residential, improved retail and a clear compelling place brand and marketing strategy for the Cork Region. For delivery of these critical projects this will need a refreshing of the structures and approaches in the Cork Region. This will help ensure Cork continues to attract and retain businesses and to continue to be seen as an increasingly strong and successful European City Region and a great place to live, visit and invest”.

*Colliers International Destination Consulting has led property, development and destination strategies for: A reappraisal of Cork Docklands (“Cork City Harbour”), Cork City Centre Strategy, Land & Property Delivery Issues in Cork, A Concept and Business Plan Review for the World Centre of Irish Heritage, Options Appraisal for the former Butter Exchange and Cork Region Marketing Messages (“Place Branding”).