Judith O’Doherty of OCO Global, will deliver a key presentation during Session 2 of Donegal Connect 2021 and here we profile her work to date and some of her thoughts on the future of investment in Donegal.
Judith is the founder of place consultancy, Eutopia. Judith’s career in economic development spanning 21 years in both the private and public sector has enabled her to travel extensively on an international basis and work on place promotion campaigns across Ireland, the UK, Europe and the US, with a focus on foreign investment attraction. She recently worked on development of the place brand for Donegal. She also works with SME clients to support enterprise development, exporting and innovation.
With a MSc in Place Management and Leadership from Manchester Metropolitan University, Judith is a Fellow of the Institute of Place Management and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She has also been appointed as an Expert on the High Streets Taskforce in England supporting town and city centre regeneration.
Judith founded Eutopia to help locations more effectively identify strengths and optimise their economic potential through investment, enterprise, tourism, talent and liveability programmes. She is a keen advocate for the use of a data driven approach in investment attraction and place marketing to ensure a higher return on investment and prioritisation of development opportunities.
Prior to establishing Eutopia, Judith held senior management roles in OCO Global, a leader in Trade and Investment and worked with Invest Northern Ireland as part of the International Marketing team. She also held several Marketing roles in the tech sector for major blue chip organisations.
Having gained valuable experience with start-ups, FDI, multiple sectors and regions over her career, Judith is extremely knowledgeable on these topics and the impact on a region such as Donegal “The pandemic has expedited many changes that were already happening in the foreign investment environment. Ireland has an exceptionally competitive offer in FDI with its attractive mix of a highly skilled talent pool, supportive business ecosystem, advanced clusters across a range of knowledge intensive sectors, strong R&D and commitment to innovation and corporate tax.”.
According to Judith, that FDI offer is consistent across the country although traditionally larger urban hubs had an advantage as they provided access to a greater volume of skills. “The pandemic has changed a key fundamental which will support Donegal to attract skills, especially in relation to the service sectors and further capitalise on existing FDI successes like Tata and Optum. The move to remote working now offers diaspora and others who have never lived in Donegal before the opportunity to avail of a fantastic quality of life whilst still pursuing a career with progressive organisations.”
But remote working is only part of the opportunity and changes in Donegal states Judith. There’s been a real strengthening of the economic ecosystem around Trade, Investment and Enterprise in Donegal. “From an FDI perspective, Donegal is working closely with Derry City and Strabane District Council as part of the North West City region to attract new investors to the region and continue to develop strengths in key sectors like Insuretech, Medtech and Personalised medicine.” A new joint FDI strategy is currently in development and will be launched at the start of 2022 by the respective local authorities.
In addition, there have been a number of developments in the Enterprise space with strengthening indigenous businesses further adding to the business credentials of the region. Companies like E&I Engineering, recently the target of an acquisition demonstrating world class enterprise assets. “The start up and scale up ecosystem is also supported through a range of incubation facilities available at LYIT, practical support programmes from the LEO and a raft of co-working and tech accelerator hubs across the County.”