Enterprise Ireland is the Agency under my aegis which helps companies throughout Ireland to start and scale, to innovate and remain competitive on international markets. The manufacturing and internationally traded services companies that Enterprise Ireland (EI) works with are a vital source of employment in every county in Ireland and are spread across a wide range of sectors.
In January, EI reported that its client companies created 19,705 new jobs in 2014, and when job losses in these companies are taken into account, they created 8,476 net new jobs - the highest net gain in the history of the Agency. EI supported companies now directly provide employment for 180,072 people, comprising 156,202 full-time and 23,870 part-time workers.
EI uses a developmental approach across all aspects of clients’ needs, including business development, sales and marketing capabilities, innovation and R&D activity, technology development, continuous competitiveness and lean improvements, leadership and management development, and access to finance.
Recognising the diversity of the EI client base, its supports are tailored to reflect each company’s stage of development. This ensures that all of its new and existing clients, from Entrepreneurs and Start-Ups, to exporting SMEs and scaling companies, can access the appropriate supports to help them to create and sustain jobs.
EI works very closely with its client companies, seeking to proactively address development challenges or to engage before serious financial or other difficulties arise.
EI engages closely with those client companies reporting difficulties or potential job loses to determine the appropriate action and proactive measures that can be put in place.
Since the onset of the economic crisis, EI has invested in thousands of client companies with the objective of sustaining and growing their employment. In addition, EI works in close concert with partner development Agencies to respond to incidences with larger companies where a significant number of jobs are at risk. The objective in these circumstances is to identify all opportunities to maximise the number of jobs maintained, for example, through support for spin-out start-ups, Management Buy Outs, or commercial partnering. Taskforces comprising relevant personnel from the Development Agencies and other key stakeholders are used in these cases.
It is also important that in the event that a company in serious financial difficulty downsizes or closes, a range of interventions in other government policy areas can be brought to bear e.g. Redundancy Payments Scheme, Labour Activation/Training etc. which seek to ameliorate the impact of job losses.