Enterprise Ireland’s End of Year Statement for 2013 reported that client companies created 18,033 new jobs in 2013. This resulted in a net increase of 5,442 in the number of people employed by Enterprise Ireland supported companies, the highest net gain for Irish companies in the last decade and indicators suggest that this was primarily due to the strong export performance of Enterprise Ireland client companies.
This continuation of employment growth demonstrates clearly the direct impact that increasing exports has on jobs in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland supported companies now, directly and indirectly, account for more than 300,000 jobs in the Irish economy (16% of total workforce).
Global growth is expected to strengthen moderately (3.6%) in 2014 (Source: IMF 2013). However, advanced economies, which account for the lion’s share of client exports, are expected to be the main source of world growth. This is important because it offers opportunities for Irish companies to continue to grow their exports, which in turn creates additional employment in Ireland.
Throughout the year, Irish exporting companies demonstrated perseverance, patience and determination when facing severe global economic conditions. We are now in a position where we have a client base leaner, stronger and more capable than ever before to compete on the global stage.
In 2013, Enterprise Ireland invested in 103 new High Potential Start Up companies and also provided critical funding to 85 early stage entrepreneurs under its Competitive Start Funds. These companies come from a wide range of sectors including financial services, ICT, games, pharmaceuticals and medical devices
As part of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Enterprise Ireland organised four prestigious conferences drawing audiences from across the EU - Driving Competitiveness Workshop, Week of Innovative Regions in Europe, EURO SME 2013 and EuroNanoForum 2013.
Continuing to work closely with the Department of Education and Skills on an ‘Education in Ireland’ strategy to attract 3rd and 4th level overseas students to Irish higher education institutes, a new International Scholarship Scheme was launched for students from target markets including India, China and Brazil. In addition, more than 500 international students from Brazil came to Ireland in 2013 as part of the Brazil Government Science without Borders Scholarship scheme. International students contribute over a billion euro each year to the Irish economy.
27 spin-out companies were created from higher education research and our research commercialisation activities facilitated the transfer of 89 pieces of commercially valuable technology to companies in 2013.
Enterprise Ireland is also committed to driving increased levels of Innovation in client firms by leveraging the technology, skills and know-how in the higher level sector. Over 100 companies were created via our on-campus entrepreneurial training initiative, New Frontiers. These activities were supported by our extensive campus incubation facilities which housed 350 companies and over 1500 people in 2013. A central Technology Transfer Office was also established in Enterprise Ireland and it is expected this will play a key role in enhancing commercialisation activities in the third level sector.
A major pillar of our Innovation activities is to increase the levels of collaborations between companies and the higher education system. Over 780 such projects were supported in 2013. Additionally, over 300 companies were engaged in collaborative research in Enterprise Ireland/IDA Ireland Technology Centres. New Technology Centres were established in the economically important areas of Data Analytics and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.
Enterprise Ireland also plays a critical role in helping Irish companies and researchers to win international funding. By the end of 2013 over €600m of non-exchequer funding has been secured for Ireland from schemes such as Europe’s Framework Programme since 2007. In 2014 we look forward to driving a greater return for Ireland from Europe’s new, larger Horizon 2020 research scheme with a target of €1.25BN to be achieved over the next seven years.
Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland said: “The performance of Enterprise Ireland client companies over the past year is very heartening. Once again, they have continued to increase employment, recording the highest net gain in the last decade. This is no mean achievement considering the highly challenging business environment they are competing in. Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for 2014-2016 is very clearly focussed on making sure that they are supported in every way possible to continue this upwards growth. Our priority is to support entrepreneurship across the regions, and develop strong, export focussed, ambitious Irish companies that can win new business and jobs for Ireland”.