While many businesses have plans in place to mitigate the impacts of Brexit, I am conscious that some have delayed their Brexit planning owing to the degree of uncertainty in the United Kingdom surrounding Brexit. I urge all businesses to prepare, make all necessary decisions and complete all required administrative actions. My Department and its agencies have consistently advised businesses that it is crucial they check their supply chains for vulnerabilities to Brexit impacts. They should also contact their UK suppliers, service providers, logistics companies, wholesalers or distributors to seek assurances about the continuity of goods and services on which they rely to do business and assess whether it would make business sense to find an alternative supplier in the European Union.
It is important that businesses understand supports and advice are available to help them to prepare for Brexit. Companies in all sectors need to become more competitive, more innovative and diversify their export footprint into more international markets in response to Brexit. Enterprise Ireland and the 31 LEOs throughout the country have a wide range of supports available to enable companies to consolidate market share within the United Kingdom and also to become more resilient by broadening their sales to other international markets. The LEOs are the first stop shop for advice on starting and growing a business locally. Enterprise Ireland has a broad range of supports to help companies to prepare for Brexit, including the Brexit scorecard, the Be Prepared grant, advisory clinics, the agile innovation fund, the operational excellence offer, the market discovery fund, online customs training and the Act On Initiative consultancy. In addition, the LEOs recently launched their customs training offering, which is available to all companies.
In my engagements with businesses throughout the country, I have consistently emphasised the importance of firms putting all elements of their supply chains under the microscope, in particular, to assess the vulnerabilities of important goods and services inputs in the event that there is a hard Brexit. This is good business planning and it is only through working with suppliers and getting the necessary assurances as to continuity of supply in all potential Brexit scenarios that businesses can ensure their own resilience to shocks. Enterprise Ireland, the LEOs and InterTradeIreland, ITI, have a range of supports to help businesses through this assessment and planning process. My Department and the agencies are continuing to roll out regional advisory clinics throughout the country.