Mr Harte explained that the foundation of UBER’s business is based on travel for everyone, the advancement of smart cities and alleviating congestion, a significant problem in all major cities worldwide with serious environmental consequences.
Mr Harte, who oversees a workforce of 250 in UBER’s Limerick base, said that despite the overwhelming number of cars on the road causing problems to businesses and commuters, 96% of cars remain stationary for most of the day.
Commenting at the forum he said, 'Think about city centre car parks; think about on-street parking in city centres; think about park and rides; travel centre car parks such as airports and train stations. What do they all have in common? They are all almost at full capacity on a nearly permanent basis. UBER offers a simple solution to this that has proven effective in other major European and international cities.'
During his presentation, Mr Harte outlined UBER’s plans for Ireland and praised the business community in Limerick for its forward thinking and innovation in terms of its plans and objectives for a smarter and more sustainable city.
'There is a real appetite in Ireland to develop and evolve the cities, which are the beating hearts of the county, to smarter, innovative and sustainable business and lifestyle hubs. To enable this development and growth we need sustainable transport solutions that are affordable and convenient for business users. Here in Limerick, the business community has been incredibly welcoming and supportive of our business and the assets we can bring forward for its development,' he commented.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) members and their guests also heard how UBER is continuing to work with the Irish government to change regulations to enable UBER to operate nationwide.
Mr Harte concluded, 'Ireland is a frontrunner in the tech industry and is home to many of the leading global innovators. It is a matter of accepting this type of growing economy that we are currently investing heavily in.'
Commenting on the event and its importance to ACCA members, Liz Hughes, Head of ACCA Ireland and Mainland Europe, welcomed the insights that Kieran Harte gave the Business Leaders’ Forum into the work and challenges of UBER, and how members can leverage these insights for their own business growth:
'While UBER certainly experiences continued success in certain jurisdictions, it is hugely interesting and important to hear from Mr Harte the strategy the company employs here to remain successful and overcome the challenges it faces in terms of regulation, and the habitual nature of Irish consumers.'
Commenting further on the importance of leadership and professional development in the current environment Ms Hughes said, 'Today marks the first forum to take place in Limerick this year, and we are delighted to be joined by Kieran Harte, representing UBER, who has invested heavily in this area. As the largest global accountancy body, ACCA and our members have a responsibility as business leaders and decision makers to actively embrace innovation and thought leadership, and to support Ireland economically in the midst of challenging times,' she concluded.
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