Enterprise Ireland companies smash through €16bn export barrier for the first time

23 Jul 2013

Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan

Enterprise Ireland client companies achieved record levels of exports in 2012, breaking the €16bn point for the first time, according to the State agency’s annual report for last year.

Enterprise Ireland client companies created 12,861 new jobs in 2012, resulting in a net increase in full-time employment of 3,338 for the year.

The State agency currently supports more than 300,000 jobs in the Irish economy.

Total direct employment in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 169,451, out of which 145,460 are full-time jobs.

New job commitments by Enterprise Ireland supported companies in 2012 were more than 7,000.

The agency said that in 2013 it has been stepping up its activities to support local companies looking to break into foreign export markets and this year will see a record number of ministerial-led trade missions. Emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East will be given emphasis.

Client companies achieved record export sales of €16.2bn in 2012, with substantial growth coming from the US and Asia-Pacific markets.

The companies established 383 first-time overseas presences and won 777 significant new international customers.

High-potential start-ups secured 104 new international reference clients.

Almost 800 companies were engaged in significant R&D spend of more than €100,000 a year while 134 top tier companies spent more than €1m per annum on R&D.

The icing on the cake was Kerry Group’s commitment to establish a €100m Global Technology and Innovation Centre in Kildare, marketing the largest single investment in food innovation by a company in Irish history.

Enterprise Ireland also launched the Technology Gateway programme to support new growth industries, including the International Energy Research Centre, and in partnership with IDA Ireland, three new technology centres in the areas of financial services, e-learning and cloud computing.

From global to local

“Continuous investment in innovation and export development is crucial for the continued global success of Irish industry,” said Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan

“Irish exporters are to be commended on their outstanding achievements in 2012, particularly when you consider this against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown. 

“These companies spend almost €19bn annually on goods and services in the Irish economy which has an enormous impact in every town and village across the country.”

Ryan said the increased employment in Enterprise Ireland client companies after a number of difficult years is especially welcome. 

“Breaking the €1bn barrier in export growth in Asia and increased sales in targeted high-growth markets is really encouraging. The challenge now is to build on these achievements in 2013 and the years ahead and to contribute to jobs growth in Ireland,” Ryan said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years