The long-term response to ensuring exporters have access to alternative markets is for companies across all sectors to become more competitive, more innovative and to diversify their export footprint into more international markets. The agencies under my Department have a wide range of supports available to enable companies to consolidate their existing market share and also to become more resilient by broadening their sales to other international markets.
Enterprise Ireland’s focus is to assist client companies to build on the strength of their current performance by supporting them to start, innovate, be competitive and to diversify their global footprint. In delivering on this, new supports have been introduced, others streamlined, a Global Ambition campaign launched and an intensive programme initiated to support companies to take action and plan ahead so that they have the resilience necessary to navigate the challenges and opportunities posed by any kind of regional or global policy changes.
A key strategic priority of Enterprise Ireland has been to increase the diversification of client companies exports into new markets, with two-thirds of exports to go beyond the UK by 2020. The proportion of exports to the UK has reduced by 10% over the last ten years, reflecting the success Irish companies are having in substantially increasing and broadening their exports to other international markets which has resulted in strong export and employment growth. Exports by EI supported companies have doubled to markets outside the UK since 2008.
Enterprise Ireland has assisted client companies to increase their exports to a record €23.8 billion in 2018, a growth of 6% compared to 2017’s exporting results.
In 2018, Enterprise Ireland assisted Irish companies to win 1,604 new overseas contracts, to establish 417 new overseas presences and helped 93 companies to export outside the UK for the first time.
My Department continues to promote high level international events including trade missions which support the goal of securing high level market access for Irish companies.