Enterprise Ireland: Jet Lag and Jargon.

The travel gods have smiled upon us and we finally arrived in Dublin! After a mostly sleepless overnight flight, a trip though customs, and an hour long bus trip in to the city, we finally were able to check in to our home for the next 10ish days. Needless to say we were all wiped out, but rest was not on the agenda today! Immediately after checking in we were on the grind, with 60 minutes to get in to our rooms, settled, showered, iron our wrinkled suit case clothes, and meet back in the lobby. The first thing on our agenda was a lunch/orientation meeting with our hosts from CAPA, outlining some important things we needed to know about Ireland and what to expect from the program. Next, up we piled onto a City Bus and trekked across town to our first sight visit in Ireland, with Enterprise Ireland. To say this was a challenging visit would be a gross understatement. For my post today I’m going try describing what this organization does, what I found interesting, and outline some of the challenges I had keeping up with our hosts at Enterprise Ireland.

Yesterday evening Liz provided us with some background on Enterprise Ireland, and reviewing that as well as sitting through their presentation today I still don’t feel as though I entirely understand how this organization works. I could fake it and do a few more hours of research and write a five paragraph essay explaining the workings and functions of the company, to make my self look good here, but the point of this post is to highlight just how difficult a day it has been.

Though the Irish economy is technically a free market economy, in comparison to the U.S., there is significantly more government planning involved with the development and cultivation of new and attracting existing multi-national companies. This is where Enterprise Ireland comes in, it is a government sponsored organization that provides support for Irish businesses. They provide a variety of service lines such as: providing seed money to start ups, helping existing companies develop to operate on an international level, and continuing education programs for executives that focuses more on impact opposed to certifications. The long and short of it, Enterprise Ireland is like a venture capitalist, a consulting firm, and a government planning agency all rolled in to one. As evident by the rapidly developing Irish economy it is also a highly effective one. During the presentation they threw a whole lot of data and information at us that supported this, but for the most part this was lost on me. Even the notes that I took during the presentation are nearly incomprehensible to me now.

Luckily, there was enough that I was able to grasp and hold on to that I still feel over all this was a very interesting place to start our visit with, and as we visit more companies more of the information we gained today will begin to have context. The men and women that work at Enterprise Ireland clearly know what they are talking about and were well prepared to put on their presentation for us. Unfortunately, from the beginning they used a lot of jargon and acronyms that were completely lost on me, letters like HPSU and SME’s were flying left and right. This caused me considerable difficulty following along because my sluggish mind was struggling to piece together the meaning of what I was hearing. I did learn a few interesting things from the first speaker (who’s name I can not for the life of me remember, and I failed to write down…) like; Enterprise Ireland invested over 23 million euro in 2018 in various start ups, they pride themselves in investing in innovative disruptive technologies. and 62% of the start ups they invested in last year are software related. One really cool company they are working with is Immersive VR which focuses on educational augmented reality/virtual learning programs. Shortly after talking about Immersive VR I was sent spiraling again when the acronym IoT was used, which means Internet of Things. This is, actually, an acronym I’m familiar with but being so out of touch with my mind I completely lost focus and wasn’t able to pick back up on what was being said until he highlighted some easily digestible metrics they used to determine what signifies a startup as a good investment. Domain expertise and experience, real world application, and whether or not a start up already has a funding strategy in place being high on the list.

In total we listened to 4 presenters and by the time the second presenter took the podium I was fighting a losing battle with my eye lids. I said “up and open” they said “but, why?”. Thank goodness I never actually feel asleep, that’s not how I want to start this leg of our journey off. The second presenter covered a lot of ground. He spoke very quickly and with technical expertise, nearly all of what he said went over my head. I took at least two pages of notes during his talk, none of which makes any sense to me at the moment. This trend continued on through the final two speakers and by the time we got to the last presentation I couldn’t even bring myself to continue taking notes. Helen (who’s name I only know because it’s on a hand out she gave us) was talking about internships and graduate programs they use to attract talent to the companies they are helping develop. It’s not that I wasn’t interested, in fact just the opposite. I was hoping that this was their recruiting pitch aimed at getting us to try appling for positions with them, and an overseas internship is high up on my “Awesome things that could happen in Ireland” list. Unfortunately, that wasn’t how the information was laid out, unless I missed something. Which is entirely possible. By the end of the presentation I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted and I simply couldn’t keep it together (my focus) any longer.

Author’s note: I know the tone of this blog post thus far is definitely trending towards the negative, if your still reading I promise if you stick with me a little longer there is a point!

This evening when we finally made it back to our apartments we briefly touched base with our advisors, Liz and Chris, laying out the plan for tomorrow and then dismissed to do our own things for the rest of the evening. For a brief moment I dared to hope that we weren’t going to have a blog assignment due tonight. My plans were dinner with the crew then bed. Towards the end of dinner we received our prompt for our blog posts. Needless to say I wasn’t pleased, more than a little irritated. Especially, because part of the requirement was to talk about “feelings”, gross. My initial thoughts being “I didn’t feel anything about today! Tired isn’t a feeling!” and the more I tried to gather my thoughts for this post the more irritated I became, and there it was, my feelings. Ha!

One might ask, “Why would you think that was a good thing to write about, why would you throw yourself under the bus like that?”. This post does not paint me in the most positive of lights, and that’s intentional. After a little group pow wow and brain storming, with some of my cohorts, I actually came to a realization and saw an amazing growth opportunity from this trying day: This is what it’s like to do business on an international level. Overnight flights, early meetings, unexpected deadlines, and I signed up for this. Despite it all I made it through today. Maybe not as well as I would have liked, but that’s ok. I’m ready to try again tomorrow, I’m ready to be better tomorrow, I will be better tomorrow! I knew this trip was going to be tough and I’d learn somethings about myself, I just didn’t realize it would be so sudden and strong. At the end of the day I wouldn’t change a thing, and I know I’m exactly right where I need to be.

Final thought: Tomorrow I walk with purpose.

Leave a Reply