AS some of the world’s leading technology executives prepare to come to Limerick, top businessman John Hartnett has vowed to do everything he can to bring investment here.
Corbally businessman Mr Hartnett is, alongside ex-Intel boss Craig Barrett, founder of the Irish Technology Leadership Group (ITLG).
This is a non-profit organisation made up of global technology leaders who are Irish or Irish American.
On Monday and Tuesday, Mr Hartnett will bring executives from Dell, Disney, Intel and Google among others to UL, LIT and Shannon Airport for a series of events.
One of the main ones will see 50 businesses pitch for investment from some of the top executives - who have money to spend.
Speaking to the Leader from San Francisco, Mr Hartnett said the pitches - which will be held in the Enterprise Acceleration Centre bearing his name - would be similar to what is seen on Dragon’s Den.
The 50 companies have been selected through a competitive process to bid for investment, he said.
“The technology companies have already supplied us with an overview of their company: the revenue, the technology they have etc. We will have three or four investors in the room,” he explained.
The 50 companies will then be reduced to 20, with those fighting it out for investment from the high-tech companies.
“Obviously, it can be a bit intimidating for these companies, but at the end of the day, if you are going to create a company, and you want it to be successful on the world stage, you are going to have to take on board these pitches,” he said.
The opening event is one which Mr Hartnett - who has worked with Apple, AT&T and Wang among others - is looking forward to most.
More than 600 students from across Ireland will descend on Shannon Airport to take part in a newly set-up Young Innovator contest.
Secondary pupils will put together presentations on how we will live, learn, shop, play, and work 50 years from now: “I am really excited about this, because getting young kids involved in technology as soon as possible, and opening their creative minds at an early stage is crucial,” he said.
Other highlights of the event - to be formally opened by President Michael D Higgins - include a civic reception at City Hall, an investor breakfast sponsored by the IDA, and a University Challenge style quiz, with investors from Dragon’s Den.
Over the two days, Mr Hartnett hopes to share his feeling that Limerick is one of the best places to do business in the world.
“Talent is the number one thing for any technology company to locate. I think Limerick has the best out of any city in terms of talent. And obviously we have an international airport on our doorstep, which is something not every other city has,” he said. More information at www.itlg.org.