Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Ireland - New York Times
Then there are the government-sponsored studies proclaiming that Ireland ranks third in the European Union in early-stage entrepreneurial activity. And Enterprise Ireland, an agency of the Irish government that gives fledgling small companies a helping hand, has even leased space in an office building in Midtown Manhattan to serve as an incubator for businesses hoping to expand into the American market.

The relatively new emphasis on entrepreneurs in Ireland is the culmination of nearly four decades of government policies that have lifted the economy from centuries of poverty to modern prosperity.

The change began when Ireland entered the European Union in 1973. In subsequent years, the government rewrote its tax policies to attract foreign investment by American corporations, made all education free through the university level and changed tax rates and used direct equity investment to encourage Irish people to set up their own businesses.

“The change came in the 1990s,” said James Murphy, founder and managing director of Lifes2Good, a marketer of drugstore products for muscle aches, hair loss and other maladies. “Taxes and interest rates came down, and all of a sudden we believed in ourselves.”

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