The president of business representative group Cork Chamber has said the region's destiny is in the hands of its people and he called for a renewed focus on innovation.
Speaking at the chamber's annual dinner, Ronan Murray said the challenges of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine had demonstrated the ability of the city and county to adapt and succeed.
However, he said, there was a need for constant innovation and for business and community leaders to continue to challenge themselves.
"While foreign direct investment is so important to our country, so too are the private indigenous small, medium, and large companies that are the lifeblood of our economy," Mr Murray said.
"We therefore need to ensure we always have the right structures in place to encourage and support these companies."
He referenced the 19th century University College Cork mathematician George Boole, who is credited with laying the foundations for the information age.
"The story of George Boole is more relevant today than ever before. Like the hundreds of new nationalities coming to Cork to work in our businesses and seeking to build a life here, Boole came from a modest background in England and went on to become Professor of Mathematics at UCC.
"We need to take inspiration from historic innovators like Boole and continue to welcome creative thinkers from wherever they hail. That diversity of people and of thought is critical to creating Cork's knowledge economy. Everyone in this room has a pivotal role to play in continuing that drive towards innovation and entrepreneurism. This will be key to our future success."