CONNECTED, the magazine of Derry Chamber of Commerce, chats to Ryan Williams, CEO, Connected Talent UK and Director, Connected Health about how his businesses are preparing for Brexit.
It seemed apt that we should speak to Ryan Williams about Brexit, given his stance on the matter and the fact that his companies are also, like us, ‘Connected’, and that’s essentially what we’re discussing, connections. Our connection to the EU, more specifically to RoI and how the separation will affect companies moving forward.
Ryan is a Director and Shareholder of two companies, a healthcare company, Connected Health, which employs over 230 staff and a recruitment company, Connected Talent, which employs 17 people. Whilst Ryan doesn’t think Connected Health will be affected much by Brexit, the company has already made plans moving forward: “we have already set up a legal entity in the South of Ireland and we’re investigating what a market entry would look like.” Ryan assures me that this move was always on the cards, but Brexit has just spurred the action along.
“We rely on the free movement of people movement of labour, which is quite important when you’ve a small market like Northern Ireland where the talent is finite.”
Discussing Connected Talent, Ryan goes on to explain: “we already have a number of key contracts in the Republic of Ireland. We’ve set up a legal entity there and we’ve opened offices in Galway and we’re effectively trading in the South. We’ve done all this since Brexit was announced.
“The free movement of labour is critically important to us. If we wanted to bring talent from Germany to a company in Northern Ireland, Brexit could prove potentially problematic. We just don’t know. But with a base in the South, we should be able to over-come some of those issues.”
We ask Ryan if he knows of any positive implications of Brexit. Interestingly, he talks about how over 20,000 guaranteed businesses some estimate over 100,000) have registered in the Republic of Ireland from across the UK and Northern Ireland. He said: “as a recruitment and talent business, on an island with a fairly small population, the scarcity of re-sources and talent is going to be very interesting and there will be an immediate market requirement for people who are good at finding and recruiting talent.
“The Republic is seeing a massive uplift right now. If we (NI) managed to get a split dispensation in terms of movement of people and the free market on an all island basis, it could really revolutionise the economy here.”
Ryan goes on to talk about how he has taken control of what is in his grasp, the immediate concerns, as the future is not yet certain. “There’s a good chance the government could reduce us down to a 5% corporation tax rate, we just don’t know.”
To conclude, we ask Ryan if he has any advice for other companies moving forward. “My advice would be to stop sitting on your hands and going to Brexit events to talk about how terrible it all is, be proactive and do something about it, grasp whatever’s in your control.”