Ireland’s indigenous export sector has its sights firmly set on further strong growth both this year and next, according to a survey of 650 companies that took part in this year’s International Markets Week.
Ahead of the flagship event, which began on Monday 17th September, almost 90% of companies surveyed said they expect to increase their exports in 2012, while over 75% said they will also increase their employment levels. The survey also revealed that almost all of these companies are confident the export sales momentum will carry through into next year.
This optimism was reflected in the remarks of the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, when he opened the event. He pointed out that after three consecutive years of contraction, in 2011 employment levels in exporting companies had started to grow. “The Government is determined to build on this in 2012,” Mr Bruton said, “by improving supports like the establishment of a new Potential Exporters Division in Enterprise Ireland.”
The Minister also spoke enthusiastically about the role International Markets Week plays in the Government’s “Action Plan for Jobs” strategy. “My hope is that the companies attending this event will play a real part in Ireland’s economic recovery by succeeding in export markets, growing their companies and creating the jobs we need,” he said.
Over the course of four days over 700 Enterprise Ireland client companies engaged in over 2,300 individual meetings with Enterprise Ireland overseas Marketing Advisers. Between them these experts have specialist knowledge of 60 countries. Enterprise Ireland experts in public procurement and internet marketing were also available for advice on the day.
Speaking at the end of the week, Enterprise Ireland’s Head of International Sales and Partnering, Kevin Sherry, said he was impressed by the volume of activity and by the “optimism, enthusiasm and sheer energy” of the participants. “Their sense of purpose and direction was tangible,” he said.
“Some of the IMW participants are early stage exporters while others are already well-established in a number of markets and are now looking to expand further.
“This week allows these companies the opportunity to discuss their individual exporting ideas with any of our 70 or so market experts. On the back of the work done this week, these 700 companies will put new export plans into play which hopefully will lead to new export growth and new jobs to support that growth.”
As part of International Markets Week, Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre provided access to competitive intelligence on specific markets and industry sectors, and the Client Management Development Department gave advice on Enterprise Ireland programmes designed to develop sales and export marketing skills. Information was also available on the Internationalisation Funding supports available to help Enterprise Ireland clients identify and research market opportunities. Bord Bia experts also attended and held meetings with a number of participants, as did representatives of three banks: AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank.