AN Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD, launched Enterprise Ireland’s International Markets Week (IMW) under the theme Global Recovery – Irish Opportunity.
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.
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.”
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.”
The International Markets Week launch event will hear 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 will also contribute to this panel discussion.
Megan Greene, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, will also participate in the event, addressing themes such as future prospects for the global economy and emerging supply chain constraints.
International Markets Week takes place virtually until October 15.