The Ambassador will see you now…

Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council 22nd May 2017

Money to grow

Regular readers of the blog know that, as part of our #MakeItMeath campaign, we spend a lot of time in Meath County Council tracking down individuals who run companies to see if they’d like to set up here. Expanding companies normally raise money to fund that expansion so part of my regular reading diet are various newsletters that detail the latest funding rounds.

I’m a convert

This morning I read with interest and a US luggage company, Away, has just raised $20m to allow the company to grow. No surprise there. But what did surprise me was the fact that there was room for yet another new luggage company in the market. I’ve never noticed any shortage of luggage in shops that I go into. However, the more I looked at the (relatively expensive) Away product and when I dug into their story, I had a bit of a conversion.

Tell me what you want

One of Away’s big claims is that they continually ask their customers what they want from a bag. Naturally, strength was a core request. People wanted it to be light. They wanted internal compartments and – as a sign of the times – they wanted to be able to run a USB power cable from the bag to a phone or iPad.

What does your business need?

And even though my first thought was that the world was awash with every style and size of luggage I was then taught that lesson. Ask the customer. And it seems to work. Away has sold 100,000 of their suitcases in the fifteen months since they set up. It’s these little lessons that inform our campaign to have more businesses set up in Meath. We are constantly asking both those who contact us directly or the State agencies like the IDA what do these businesses want in a location.

Sometimes the answer is obvious

Ironically the answer is ‘location’. Businesses with world markets in mind must be near a well-served international airport. If you’re shipping large manufactured items you must have fast and easy access to a container port. And no matter what you are making or selling you need the people.

Diplomats required

For all of these reasons Meath ticks each and every box. We call Meath Europe’s most business friendly region – because we believe that it is. And that’s also why I’m asking everybody in Meath, or those with a Meath connection no matter where in the world you are, to become a Meath Ambassador. Tell them what a fabulous location Meath is. Tell them there’s a dedicated Economic Development Team waiting to make the set-up journey beyond simple. Tell them to #MakeItMeath.