Connecting Business – Growing Opportunities

Meet the Committee: John McClarey, Scotland Regional Chair

As a not-for-profit organisation working towards building ties and enhancing business opportunities between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Causeway is run by an experienced committee in each region.


In January 2019, Causeway appointed John McClarey, MD of Business Fives, to head up the committee based in Scotland. An active member of Causeway since its inception in 2016, John is an experienced entrepreneur with a clear vision for the benefits of a working relationship across the Irish Sea.


As the newly appointed Regional Chair for Scotland, John will work closely with the Scottish committee, the Causeway board and his fellow regional committees in Dublin, including Chair Tom Byrne, and in Belfast to grow the organisation and deliver benefits to its members.


Read on to find out more about the man tasked with building the Scotland membership base, his business experience to date and what hopes he has for the future of Causeway.


What does your role at Causeway involve?

“As a committee member of Causeway my role was initially focussed on driving and expanding the calendar of events and seeing projects through from inception to event delivery.  I’ve always actively taken on a business development role and maximised opportunities to grow our membership, including actively promoting the business exchange to my own network and beyond.”


How did you become involved with Causeway?

“I’ve been an active committee member of Causeway since we launched at Edinburgh Castle in 2016.  It’s been an exciting journey to watch the organisation grow and gain recognition within the business community on both sides of the water.  Initially a contact of mine mentioned the organisation launch night and immediately I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with.”


What do you hope to achieve as regional chair at Causeway?

“As Regional Chair I hope to build upon the success of the organisation to date and continue to support the needs of our members and drive positive outcomes for their businesses.  Causeway has a lot of goodwill towards it and has seen some real business successes as a result of the community exchanging opportunities. I hope to foster the growth of this collaboration ethos that has been key in deriving value for our members to date. 


“I hope to work together with both the Irish and Scottish Governments to repay their support and belief in the organisation to help both the Irish diaspora in Scotland and to highlight the potential for businesses from both Scotland and Ireland to expand their presence in both countries.”


Tell us a little about your professional background.

“My career has been predominantly spent in Business Development roles latterly focussed on corporate sports events with a charitable impact. I’ve worked in various professional industries from publishing to oil and gas, and from housing to the business of events which has given me a broad contact base and great insight into how various sectors operate. My career highlight was setting up my own business in 2016 where we run corporate football and golf events throughout Scotland and the UK with plans to expand into Ireland and beyond.”


What are the current business challenges facing Scotland?

“At Causeway events we often finish with a discussion about the challenges we all face in our businesses, and the opportunities that arise. These have ranged from clarity on government funding and support for projects to outlining how best to expand into the markets on both sides of the Irish Sea. 


“The main challenge is commonly business growth: everyone wants to grow their business and our aim is to create a forum where business can connect and grow within our community.   Without stating the obvious, Brexit poses a huge immediate challenge to businesses that we deal with daily. The uncertainty is starting to delay many transactions and is postponing long term business planning.”  


What, in your opinion, are the strengths of the Scotland/Ireland/Northern Ireland relationship?

“Having grown up in the North of Ireland and lived in Scotland for almost 15 years now, there is a great affinity between all three nations. The welcome is warm, and conversation is easily struck up.  This makes connecting with new people and feeling welcome in a room possible, something which has become a trademark of Causeway.  The trading advantages between the nations in proximity are obvious and business has flowed across both sides of the Irish Sea for years.”


Why should a professional should join Causeway?

“Causeway provides a unique opportunity to meet with likeminded business people with whom a connection can easily be made.  Joining Causeway offers the opportunity to gain valuable insight from Ministers and high-level business leaders into what’s trending in the economy. It also offers the chance to create positive outcomes for your business.  We take the time to understand your needs and both the committee and membership are well placed to signpost and provide the introductions to match your objectives.”


What Causeway event of 2019 are you most looking forward to? And why?

“I have enjoyed every Causeway event I’ve been to but a calendar highlight for me is our annual awards night.  Now entering its third year the event is going from strength to strength thanks to the support of our partner organisations. It’s a really fun night and the format is brilliant to meet others in the room and build relationships.”


Where do you go for the latest news and stats on business in Scotland Ireland and Northern Ireland?

“For me I am a regular reader of and I follow BBC News to find out what’s happening in current affairs.  I also like to get news and business updates from local Chambers of Commerce for the markets in which our business is focussed on.”


What are your hopes for the future of Causeway?

“Causeway has a bright future ahead and I am looking forward to remaining part of a wide network of professionals who want to see the organisation flourish into an exchange that matches our ambitions.  I hope Causeway continues to drive positive outcomes for members and maintain our impressive membership retention rate which is a testament to the success of the business exchange.”


In a challenging time for businesses, Causeway continues to go from strength to strength as the membership organisation continues its work to enhance relationships across Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland for business gain. This new appointment is another step in the direction of more business opportunities for Causeway members.



Would you like to find out who else is on the Causeway committee? Take a look at our Directors and Committees. Or if you would like to become a member of Causeway, take a look at membership options or contact us

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