US CEOs visit Belfast to forge new business links

Members of the Kansas Pipeline Entreprenuers due in Belfast this month
Members of the Kansas Pipeline Entreprenuers due in Belfast this month

A two-day visit to Belfast by the chief executives of 50 US firms is aimed at introducing then to potential business partners across the province.

The delegation is being hosted by Catalyst Inc CONNECT working with partner organisation Pipeline Entrepreneurs based in Kansas City.

Over September 19-20, the US entrepreneurs will meet some of Northern Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs at speed dating events, master sessions, closed workshops and a reception at technology pub, BrewBot.

The CEOs from both sides of the pond range from new entrepreneurs to leaders of established multi-national companies.

They lead high-growth companies in biosciences, cyber security, web services, mobile and enterprise software, based all over the US and Ireland.

After Belfast, the group will go to Dublin and Meath for similar sessions across three days.

“Business is all about who you know,” said Steve Orr, director of CONNECT.

“We can learn a lot from Pipeline’s commitment to maintaining a strong alumni network.

“I can’t wait for this event to showcase what a hotbed of great business minds we have here. Our ability to forge entrepreneurial connections from Northern Ireland to the rest of the world is second-to-none.”

One of the visiting CEOs is Jeff Hargroves, founding president of the ProPharma Group, a company posting $59m in annual revenue and on the Inc. 5000 list.

“Ireland is known for its strength in pharmaceuticals and biotech, and is an ideal location for my company to expand our European operation,” he said.

“These business interactions could not be more timely for me and other Pipeline members contemplating European and global expansion.”

Alongside the mid-Wewst leaders, Pipeline CEO Joni Cobb is bringing national entrepreneurial experts from MIT, Silicon Valley andAustin, Texas.

“We couldn’t think of a better highlight to our 10th year anniversary than taking our amazing entrepreneurial family to Belfast and Dublin to meet like-minded folks. Ireland is particularly attractive to us with our Midwest culture and work ethic being a tremendous hit with tenacious Irish entrepreneurs who know how to rely on themselves to build strong companies.”