Case Study | Global Diagnostics

Doctor gives Ireland clean bill of health

Global DiagnosticsGlobal Diagnostics is an international telemedicine enterprise, specialising in diagnostic imaging. Founder and chairman Dr Johnny Walker started the company in western Australia in 1995 and moved to Ireland in 2007 as its base for international growth.

Dr Johnny Walker, Global Diagnostics
Dr Johnny Walker, Founder & Chairman, Global Diagnostics

The pitch

Global Diagnostics provides a service whereby patient scans can be sent digitally from anywhere around the world for expert medical assessment by trained radiologists, with the aim of greatly speeding up the time to diagnose and treat potential problems. Since relocating to Ireland the company has grown substantially and now operates across Australia, the UK and Ireland.


Why Ireland

Walker originally brought the business to Ireland through a joint venture with Centric Health, so he was spared some of the administration a start-up would typically encounter. As the business was already profitable, Ireland’s generous 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate was attractive, and Walker says it was a significant incentive. He adds that despite the tough market conditions, sources of investment funds for growth are also available in Ireland.

As an Australian, Walker’s challenge was to plug in to the indigenous business community. A combination of his own medical contacts and meetings with Enterprise Ireland helped to put him in touch with the right people, and he says the cultural fit was key to making the venture work. “As an Aussie coming to Ireland, from a social point of view it was fantastic. The craic that you talk about is very real … you immediately embody this atmosphere of trust, the fun, the laughter, the frivolity – but also the preparedness to knuckle down and work hard.”

Through Enterprise Ireland, which became an investor in the business, Walker was invited to attend the class of 2009 Leadership4Growth mentoring programme at Stanford University in the US, which put him amongst a group of like-minded entrepreneurial CEOs who remain in contact to this day. “That’s where I’ve been blessed. The Stanford programme put me amongst my own, and we all rally to support each other,” he says. “They talk about six degrees of separation but in Ireland that’s more like half a degree; you all know each other. There’s huge upside from a business perspective in terms of the network that you can build very rapidly.”

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