ConnectIreland joins forces with Business Oregon, the US state’s economic development agency, in order to grow a strong framework to build mutual business development opportunities.

Joanna Murphy, CEO of ConnectIreland, and Heather Stafford, Assistant Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship of Business Oregon, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today (Friday) establishing bilateral cooperation between both parties.

The three-year ‘Ireland-Oregon Start-up Exchange Partnership’ will focus on building innovative entrepreneurial links, with a particular focus on supporting start-ups. U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley attended the signing and welcomed the further strengthening of business relations between Ireland and the U.S.

“The U.S. and Ireland share an extraordinary and dynamic economic relationship,” said Ambassador O’Malley. “This Start-up Exchange Partnership is a shining example of how we can come together to strengthen our commercial ties through collaboration and innovation. I congratulate Business Oregon and ConnectIreland on the launch of this initiative and wish them every success.”

Start-ups in high-tech industries, including agriculture technology, marine technology, internet of things, and semiconductor technologies, will be targeted through the exchange. The goal is to increase co-acceleration and co-investment opportunities in both Ireland and Oregon.

“ConnectIreland has a proven track record in providing assistance for expanding international companies,” said Joanna Murphy, CEO of ConnectIreland. “Developing an ecosystem to support innovation and entrepreneurship between Oregon and Ireland makes perfect sense and we are delighted to enter into such a collaborative and positive partnership with our colleagues in Business Oregon.”

Companies from Oregon will be given assistance to interact with assets and explore markets in Ireland by ConnectIreland, while Irish start-ups looking to do the same in Oregon will be equally assisted by Business Oregon.

“Oregon and Ireland have a great deal of alignment in our strongest industries, start-up ecosystem, university research and development, and our like-minded cultures,” said Heather Stafford, Assistant Director of Business Oregon. “Business Oregon is excited to embark on what represents a new model for international relationships. One where we build very intentional support systems for our promising global companies whereby accessing the US or EU markets can be easier and entrepreneurs can instantly plug into a soft landing, taking full advantage of all the resources our economies have to offer.”

The partnership evolved following a hugely successful innovation and entrepreneurship trade mission to Ireland by 12 key Oregon leaders last November, coinciding with Web Summit 2015. This trip, and the many connections made there, sparked the possibility of building a stronger relationship around growing entrepreneurship in both Ireland and Oregon.

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