Times of crisis bring new opportunities, and the present global pandemic is no exception. Ireland is once again proving itself as a paragon of innovation, with many businesses adapting to what has become known as the "new normal" through creative solutions to problems that would have been unthinkable a year ago.
Turning Negatives into Positives
One might expect that the entertainment industry would have been stopped in its tracks in a world in lockdown, with groups of friends forced to stop meeting, and pubs and restaurants shutting their doors for months.
Not so for PartyWizz, an entertainment business based in Dublin, which now provides "socially distanced children's parties" as an "antidote to boredom" during COVID-19.
PartyWizz began as a startup grant-funded by Dublin's LEO (Local Enterprise Office). LEO's were set up by Ireland's Department of Business, Enterprise, and Innovation in 2014 and continue to support new small businesses in Ireland in 2020.
Irish fashion startup Skmmp (pronounced "skimp") has experienced a surge in demand for its virtual showroom in 2020. High-end fashion designers that previously relied on private appointments to do business with retailers are now unable to meet with many buyers, and Skmmp's virtual showroom overcomes this problem with ease, making it more efficient than ever before for luxury clothing brands to get their products into shops, ready for when the customers are allowed back in after lockdown.
New Needs, New Opportunities
Doing great business is simply about meeting people's needs, and numerous Irish businesses are now adapting their products and services to meet the requirements of a world in crisis.
patientMpower, another business supported by Dublin's LEO, has developed an app to help healthcare professionals monitor the oxygen saturation levels of COVID-19 patients, thus ensuring that hospital resources are used much more efficiently.
Calt Dynamics, a 3D printing company based in Co. Wicklow, responded to the pandemic by designing a printable visor to protect staff in Ireland's hospitals.
Another example is Combilift, a forklift truck manufacturer based in Monaghan, which has invented a new device it calls the "Combi-Ventilate", to allow a single ventilator to be used for several hospital patients with breathing difficulties at any one time.
Endeavours of this kind can benefit from Ireland's many Research and Development (R&D) funding supports, including the R&D Tax Credit, Enterprise Ireland's Agile Innovation Fund, and the Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy, which helps companies in Ireland manage the IP aspects of their R&D projects.
Whatever the circumstances, Ireland is the perfect environment for innovative, forward-looking businesses to locate themselves. Companies reinventing themselves at the present time can be sure to thrive in the future, and with the Irish economy now beginning to open itself up again — phase 4 of lockdown-easing commences on 29 June, with even theatres, cinemas, and hairdressers coming back to life — bright times are on the way for businesses choosing to base their operations in Ireland.
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