New Program to Aid Irish-American Business Ties

(5-8-97) -- The International Fund for Ireland has selected the Center for Irish Management to develop and operate a new program aimed at facilitating business growth in the counties on the border of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

The Ron Brown Business Development Program - named for the late US commerce secretary who worked to build business relationships between American and Irish firms - is a collaboration between CIM and the International Fund for Ireland. The IFI chose Boston College for the initiative after considering several other major colleges and universities. Representatives from the University, CIM and IFI signed an agreement yesterday establishing the program.

"The University is fully committed to working with the International Fund for Ireland for economic development in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic," said CIM Director Sean Rowland, shortly before inking the agreement with IFI Chairman William T. McCarter. "The IFI is one of the driving forces behind Irish economic development today. This is the first executive program they have entered into with BC, and we're looking forward to this partnership."

"Boston College has a long track record in business management, especially small business," McCarter said. "It also has many Irish connections, both in the north and south. We felt strongly that BC would be a good match for this program."

Through the program, persons in small- and medium-sized businesses in the border counties will attend two weeks of lectures and seminars at the Carroll School of Management. These sessions will cover advanced American management, marketing and distribution techniques and business-related use of information technology.

In addition, participants will work with a corporate mentor at a Boston-area business setting which most closely resembles their respective operations. Program organizers said this will enable the executives to see principles they learn at CSOM put into action, and to make valuable contacts in the American marketplace.

"The idea of forming linkages with US businesses is a very appealing one," McCarter said. "The US economy is such a large, vibrant one, and observing it first-hand is a valuable experience. We feel a lot of mileage can come from these sorts of partnerships."

Organizers said the first 10 Brown Program participants will be chosen during the summer, and the program will likely begin in early October.

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