Leadership for Growth: Enterprise Ireland


As the residential construction boom in Ireland began to tail in 2006-7, the government recognized the nation had a surplus of building skills and know-how that could generate export revenues. However, many construction executives lacked the skills or experience to internationalize key elements of their business. With more than 20 percent of GDP originating from construction, the nation feared a major decline in the capability base, with associated implications for regional and national prosperity. Enterprise Ireland, the government agency responsible for the development and promotion of the indigenous business sector, was asked to intervene, building the skill of construction executives from major Irish companies to achieve strong positions in global markets.


Leadership 4 Growth was a 12-month program for 30 CEOs (or equivalent) across the Irish construction sector. This includes architects, engineers, contractors and materials supply companies. All are established companies (turnover up to €1.5Bn) with potential to scale internationally. The program comprises:


While conceiving the program, we could not have anticipated the harsh economic climate of the past 18 months and its associated impact on the construction industry and the wider Irish economy. Recent conditions refocused executives on international possibilities which greatly aided our efforts, though the challenges of managing a fast-shrinking domestic business while expanding overseas brought many new leadership demands.

Key achievements from the program include: