New Program To Aid Irish Businesses

BC chosen from among nation's top management schools

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

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 Northern Ireland and the six adjoining counties in 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, which chose Boston College for the initiative after considering several other major colleges and universities. Representatives from CIM, IFI and Boston College participated in the signing ceremony, which took place on May 7 in the Irish Room of the John J. Burns Library.

As Executive Vice President Frank B. Campanella looks on, International Fund for Ireland Chairman William T. McCarter (left) and Center for Irish Management Director Sean Rowland sign the agreement on May 7 establishing the Ron Brown Business Development Program. (Photo by Gary Gilbert)
Boston College was selected as the site of the program "from among the top management schools in the US," according to CIM Director Sean Rowland, on the strength of its executive programs provided through CIM.

"The University is fully committed to working with the International Fund for Ireland for economic development in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic," said Rowland, shortly before inking the agreement with IFI Chairman William T. McCarter. "The IFI, and William McCarter, is one of the driving forces behind Irish economic development today. Their focus on local and small business development, and community employment, is yielding great success. 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 and community enterprises in Northern Ireland and border counties in the Republic of Ireland 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."

"Ireland has a very bright and promising economic future," Rowland said. "At its core are the many small and medium-sized businesses which help to anchor their communities and offer jobs and hope. The CIM has been active in supporting the executives who run these businesses, and the Ron Brown Development Program will be a welcome addition to that support."

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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