SAVANNAH, Ga. – On March 16, the Savannah Economic Development Authority, World Trade Center Savannah, the Wexford, Ireland County Council, the Wexford, Ireland Enterprise Centre and the Wexford, Ireland Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of TradeBridge, a joint international pilot program designed to drive international trade and investment between the Savannah region and Wexford County, Ireland.
In Savannah, the announcement included special guests, Michael D’Arcy, T.D., Irish Minister of Financial Services and Shane Stephens, Consul General of Ireland in Atlanta.
The TradeBridge initiative is designed to foster an effective and proactive economic network and bring long-term economic value to both regions. Savannah and Wexford will serve as starting points for business growth throughout both regions, countries and continents.
“The utilization of this strategic partnership will deliver growth opportunities for our small-medium sized companies and organizations in both regions, and the growth of these companies will, in turn, deliver sustainable job creation in Savannah, Georgia and County Wexford, Ireland,” said Brendan Ennis, Wexford Enterprise Centre Chairman.
For the next eight months, dedicated trade representatives will work on the ground in each location; one in Savannah and one in Wexford. Business development professionals from both regions will identify and facilitate trade opportunities for businesses from Wexford into the Savannah region, Georgia and possibly throughout the United States as well as from the Savannah region into Wexford, Ireland, and possibly throughout Europe for increased sales and overall business growth.
Over the past three years, a series of international visits to Savannah and Wexford by key representatives from both areas have successfully occurred. These visits were organized to gain a better understanding of the substantial historical links between the regions and to explore potential joint venture prospects.
“These visits have illuminated a mutually beneficial opportunity in the form of a joint partnership between Savannah and Wexford,” said Kevin Jackson, SEDA chairman. “There have been many players bringing this to fruition, from Howard Keeley with Georgia Southern University’s Center for Irish Studies and the Savannah-Wexford Axis Project to Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach and Savannah’s ever faithful Irish community. The real work starts now and I am confident that working together, we will see meaningful results.”
Representatives from Wexford most recently visited the Savannah region in Summer 2017 with an overall goal of determining the feasibility of developing a trade corridor between the two regions and exploring potential connections and partnerships for international trade.
“TradeBridge is the culmination of years of research and collaboration,” said Brynn Grant, WTCSav Vice President. “Although Savannah and Wexford are each the tip of the spear in our respective areas, we hope to grow trade throughout our regions, across our nations and continents. Our goal is to help the businesses we serve to generate revenue and create more jobs while cultivating long-term investment opportunities for our communities. We are truly building a bridge for international trade and investment.”
A unique relationship exists between both regions, historically and economically. At least 56 percent of Savannah’s Irish can trace their origins back to Wexford, Ireland. The St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Savannah is known worldwide for its connection and celebration of its Irish heritage. Additionally, Ireland remains a strong trading partner for Georgia. Ireland is ranked 30th for exports and 13th for imports for the district of Savannah.
D’Arcy is the Minister of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for financial services and insurance in Wexford, Ireland.
Companies interested in doing business in Ireland are encouraged to contact WTCSavannah at 912.447.9707.
For additional information, please contact LeAndrea Mikell, Programs and Marketing Coordinator at WTCSav, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above (from left to right): John Coleman, Vice Chairman, SEDA, Mr. Michael D’Arcy, T.D., Irish Minister of Financial Services