Yesterday, we had the opportunity to visit a wonderful organization called Bord Bia. If you aren’t from Ireland, odds are you have never heard of this company. Let me give you a hint: the Gaelic to English translation is “The Irish Food Court”.
Bord Bia was founded in 1994. It is a semi-state organization with part government and part private funding. Bord Bia’s mission statement is “to drive, through market insight, and, in partnership with industry, the commercial success of a world-class food, drink and horticulture industry.” The way they do this? The company markets Irish food and drink on the mainland and internationally. Through various programs, they are able to help Irish food, drink, and horticulture businesses succeed. Oftentimes, these companies do not have a marketing department. Bord Bia’s purpose is to fulfill that department for these companies as consultants and promote Irish business’ success.
A part of the presentation that I found very interesting was the discussion on Brexit led by Shane Hamill. The impact of Brexit on companies like Google versus companies like Bord Bia is tremendously different. At Google, Brexit was looked at from a positive or indifferent perspective. Advertisement sales (a main source of revenue) would not be impacted and Ireland would become the only English-speaking company in the EU. Bord Bia on the other hand is bound to struggle: with their business depending on exports, new levies are bound to hurt. Also, their biggest customer is Britain. In order to combat the potential negative effects of Brexit on Irish food companies, Bord Bia ran various risk analyses. From there, they found the best way to mitigate risk is to diversify business. Now Irish products can be seen in markets such as China. The only logistical problem? Cost.
I really enjoyed that portion of the presentation because I am a supply chain and business information systems major. It spoke to the challenges I may face in the future as a logistician, and ways to deal with these issues. Speaking about the future, a goal of mine is to move abroad after graduation. Each day, I try to envision myself living in Ireland. Could I fit in with Ireland’s culture and brand? I am a redheaded Irish-American. When I walk on my own, people often think I am a native before they speak to me (my accent, unfortunately is a dead giveaway). I don’t know if I will ever blend in completely with Irish culture. But I love the way businesses conduct themselves here — becoming a sort of “Ireland, Inc” — supporting one another. Bord Bia emphasized this with the programs that they have for Irish farms and food businesses and the support that they give these companies. Pease-Lyons also demonstrated that sometimes, business is about preserving culture, not making money. I would love the opportunity to work in such a collaborative, helpful, and hands on business environment like Ireland. Fingers crossed that I get the chance.