Saturday 24 February 2018

Ireland overtakes UK to make the top 10 in global innovation rankings

Kevin Doyle, tax partner with chartered accountants BDO
Kevin Doyle, tax partner with chartered accountants BDO

Sean Duffy

Ireland has jumped 10 places into the top ten countries in a global innovation ranking.

The BDO International Business Compass report examines the capacity for innovation by measuring labour market performance, infrastructure and foreign direct investment.

The study compared 74 countries across all continents.

"Ireland's ranking of 7th in the BDO International Business Compass is excellent news for our foreign direct investment offering," said Kevin Doyle, tax partner at BDO Ireland.

Mr Doyle said the ranking reflects "the strong proposition Ireland presents to international organisations and investors".

Ireland has overtaken the UK, which remains in eighth place.

Hong Kong, Singapore and The Netherlands were the three top-ranking countries, according to the report.

"The results of the 2016 BDO International Business Compass recognise the marked improvements in Ireland's economic outlook and capacity for innovation in recent years," he said.

"Ireland's economy continues to grow at the fastest pace in Europe, underpinned by a competitive tax base and a business friendly environment, which have helped attract some of the world's biggest and most innovative companies to Ireland."

BDO said a key factor in the rankings jump was the Government's introduction of a so-called patent box - a tax scheme that rewards companies which develop new intellectual property. The scheme was introduced by Finance Minister Michael Noonan in 2014. It's seen as a key tool in for the continued attraction of FDI. "In recent years we've seen improvements, and incentivisation, for those operating in the technology sector, particularly within the sphere of R&D, with various tax measures designed to encourage investment and innovation within this extremely important sector," Mr Doyle said.

Attracting top executive talent to Ireland has become a key issue in recent times, with Government critics citing an excessive direct taxation regime which may act as a disincentive to senior executives.

Those sentiments were borne out in the report which stated: "The search for appropriate personnel at higher levels may be a key constraint on companies' growth... in the labour market: it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill vacancies with suitable candidates."

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