Pictured L-R: Terence O’Rourke, Chairman of Enterprise Ireland, Tom O’Leary, CIO of ICON plc, Rosy Temple, CEO of Magee, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Fidelma McGuirk, CEO of Payslip, and Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland
International Markets Week to see more than 700 companies meet 140 market advisors from 40 overseas offices in 1,600+ individual meetings
An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD, today launched Enterprise Ireland’s International Markets Week (IMW) under the theme Global Recovery – Irish Opportunity.
Ahead of the event, Enterprise Ireland surveyed the 700+ companies set to participate in IMW 2021. The results of the survey detailed the strong performance of Irish exporters thus far in 2021 despite the challenges of our new trading relationship with the UK and the Covid-19 pandemic. 56% of businesses indicated that they have seen an increase in exports in 2021 compared to 2020 with only 11% reporting a decrease. 91% of companies expect sales to increase again in 2022. The key growth markets identified by client companies are North America, Europe and the UK.
The survey results also revealed the priority that exporting businesses give to the important digitalisation and sustainability agendas. 80% of businesses reported that digitalisation was a priority over the next 12 months, with 63% saying that advancing their sustainability agenda and adapting to climate change was a priority.
Launching International Markets Week, the Tánaiste said: “The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for businesses and while we are not fully there yet, there are many reasons to be hopeful. Our priority throughout has been to save as many jobs as possible and to help struggling businesses stay afloat, so that when the recovery came, businesses could bounce back quickly.
“While Brexit and Covid have presented unimaginable challenges, they have also presented opportunities for Irish businesses, from the move to online, which took place over a matter of days due to the pandemic to diversification into new markets. These changes, although no one would have chosen the way in which they came about, have made Irish enterprises more resilient and ready for the future. International Markets Week is an excellent opportunity for Irish businesses as we look forward to brighter days ahead.”
Our budget this week will see modest increases in welfare, reductions in personal taxation, and we expect to see a lot of those business supports like the wage subsidy scheme continue
In conversation with broadcaster Richard Curran, the Tánaiste spoke briefly about tomorrow’s budget. He said: “Our budget this week will see modest increases in welfare, reductions in personal taxation, and we expect to see a lot of those business supports like the wage subsidy scheme continue […] And that is in recognition of the fact that there are some sectors, particularly […] tourism, hospitality, aviation, entertainment and the arts industry that are really only getting back into action at the moment, are not able to operate at full capacity, and we get that.
“We think they are going to need additional support, whether that is an aviation incentive to get routes restored, whether it is help with commercial rates, whether it is help with the wages, Government sees that that is something we’ll have to keep doing. It can’t go on forever, but it can go on into next year and that is what we intend to do.”
Mr Varadkar stated that the package will be worth €4.7 billion, comprised of a tax package of €500m and €4.2 billion in additional spending.
The Tánaiste stated that there are opportunities “all over” for growth for exporters around the world, noting that “we’ve seen a huge increase in exports from EI client companies to Germany, France, the Netherlands.”
He noted that the situation in the UK is ‘tricky’ given the ongoing effects of Brexit, which he likened to a political climate change: “Brexit is still unfolding […] It’s a permanent change in the environment, a permanent change in the relationship between Britain and Ireland, between Britain and the European Union […] There are still the issues around the Northern Ireland protocol as it is not being fully applied and Britain also has yet to impose its checks and controls. Then there is the impact of any trade deals it does with any third countries and how that might potentially displace us and our exports.”
Brexit is still unfolding […] It’s a permanent change in the environment, a permanent change in the relationship between Britain and Ireland, between Britain and the European Union
He continued: “Unfortunately, this is still unfolding and we’re going to continue to see the effect of Brexit for years and years to come. It is never going to be done, it is a permanent change for the worse unfortunately in that relationship. But there are also opportunities for us as well.”
On the topic of climate change and sustainability, Mr Varadkar said industry accounts for 13% of all Ireland’s emissions and that needs to reduce by half by 2030. “I would hope that more and more though people in business will see climate action and sustainability as an economic opportunity as well,” he added.
Speaking about the launch of International Markets Week 2021, Enterprise Ireland CEO, Leo Clancy, said: “Despite the virtual aspect of the event, I can feel the buzz around International Markets Week from speaking to both companies and our market advisors who will facilitate more than 1,600 meetings over the next couple of days. It is really encouraging to see our research pointing to business optimism and this is testament to the resilience and performance of Irish exporters despite Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“So far in 2021, we have seen these companies win a total of 965 new contracts and establish 375 new overseas presences against that backdrop of what are still difficult trading conditions. With global recovery, there are significant opportunities for Irish companies to accelerate their growth internationally and International Markets Week will play a critical role in driving this agenda.”
So far in 2021, we have seen these companies win a total of 965 new contracts and establish 375 new overseas presences against that backdrop of what are still difficult trading conditions.
The International Markets Week launch event also heard from Rosy Temple, CEO, Magee Clothing, Tom O’Leary, CIO, ICON plc and Fidelma McGuirk, CEO, Payslip, on each of their businesses’ plans for growth in overseas markets and advancing the important digitalisation and sustainability agendas. Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy also contributed to this panel discussion.
Megan Greene, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, also participated in the event, addressing themes such as future prospects for the global economy and emerging supply chain constraints. “I think there are two major opportunities for Irish exporting firms,” she said. “One would be the US – the US has had a tonne of stimulus already come through the system, and Congress is meeting right now to negotiate even more stimulus. All of the stimulus should keep the recovery fairly robust.”
She continued: “I also think the Eurozone could offer some opportunities […] because of this money that’s coming from Brussels because of the recovery fund.”
International Markets Week takes place virtually from 11-15 October 2021. The five-day event provides Irish exporters with the opportunity to virtually meet with the Agency’s international market advisors to accelerate their internationalisation strategies in global markets, critical for an export-led recovery. This year, International Markets Week will see more than 700 companies meet with 140 market advisors from 40 overseas offices in more than 1,600 individual meetings.
To view the IMW opening conference, please see click here, or watch below.