NI Connections Spanish Roadshow 2023/24
Since our last catch up in September 2023, the Invest Northern Ireland Madrid team has been busy catching up with people from Northern Ireland and those with a connection to Northern Ireland who are living in Spain, to find out what they are up to and explore how we can be of mutual support/benefit.
NI Connections is very successful in markets such as the US, UK and Asia, where people from Northern Ireland often get together. There are lots of people from Northern Ireland living in Spain too and we wanted to help make those connections and seek out our Northern Irish friends.
This year, to coincide with planned work trips around the country, we organised a few ‘meet and greets’ to see if we could identify people keen to get together and of course, have a bit of craic!
We reached out to people from Northern Ireland that are known to us, posted messaged on NI Connections and Invest NI’s social media channels, contacted GAA clubs around the country and the Spanish Irish Business Network. We also contacted Queens University Belfast and Ulster University to ask them to spread the word among students currently on placements in Spain or alumni living here.
Our first stop was Marbella, where our efforts were supported by Derry-born long-term resident Justin Parks. Justin is very involved with the GAA in Andalucia and told us that a high and increasing percentage of players now come from Northern Ireland. Newer residents Jonathan McCloskey, a business leader and coach, whose brother works for Invest NI in Belfast, and Anne McGuinness, a BACP accredited counsellor and psychotherapist, also connected with the GAA on arrival and enjoy the hybrid Spanish and ‘Norn Iron’ community based in the region. We also attended a business breakfast with the Andaluz chapter of the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain.
In Málaga, where we attended Green Cities, we met with Glenda Brady who co-founded the recently launched Padel 54 Degrees North Centre in Moira and Beth McFerran, who works for Allianz. We were also delighted to see Climate Essentials, who had earlier that day won the II Open Call for Startups at Green Cities.
In November, during a trip to Barcelona to attend the King’s Birthday Party, we were lucky to be able to link up with Wky Regal, a premium drinks importer who recently started representing Two Stacks and Killowen whiskey in Spain. Wky Regal hosted a professional whiskey weekender in the fabulous Whiskería and generously offered to provide a professional whiskey masterclass to our group. Those who attended included students on placements, such as Tamzin Johnston from Ballynahinch, on a placement in Barcelona as part of her studies in Amsterdam and residents John English, who works in the construction industry and Jonathan Duff, who helps senior managers with corporate communications campaigns and thought-leadership ghost writing. Andrew Dobbin also travelled into the city from Tarragona where he runs language schools and a restaurant. Some Barcelona Gaels GAA members also joined the group, including the Gaels’ chairperson, Eoin McCall.
As a result of this get-together, people expressed an interest in keeping in touch and a meet-up has been proposed for Monday 18th March at 19.00h in La Whiskería. Let us know if you are interested in coming along and we will put you in touch with the local group.
Next up in 2024, we hope to organise events in:
- Madrid 4 March
- Bilbao 18 March
- And, potentially Zaragoza mid February
So, let us know if you’d like to find out more and please help us to spread the word if you know people who live in these cities.
Do not hesitate to contact us to find out more: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
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