Entrepreneurs could generate sales of €615m over next three years

9 Mar 2009

Some 71 new high-potential start-up companies are on track to create 950 jobs and generate sales of €615m in global markets, Enterprise Ireland said today.

Launching Enterprise Ireland’s annual High-Potential Start-up Showcase event that will take place in Dublin today, the Minister for Trade and Commerce, John McGuinness TD, said the state agency supported the establishment of 71 new high-potential start-up companies (HPSUs) in 2008.

In an environment where business is facing very considerable challenges, these young companies are successfully setting up innovative, export-oriented businesses that will create close to 1000 jobs over the next three years, bringing their total employment to over 1370.

Total sales over the same period are expected to reach €615m, with exports accounting for almost 75pc of this figure.

“This is a very strong performance and demonstrates once again that entrepreneurs across the country are resilient, innovative and keen to do business,” Minister McGuinness said.

“They are ready and prepared to take the risk creating high-value projects and jobs with significant export potential. Over the past four years, the Government, through Enterprise Ireland, has supported almost 300 new HPSU companies, and across all sectors, these companies show that they can pursue growth opportunities from anywhere in the world, and compete and win in global markets.

“These new companies represent a significant investment,” the Minister added. “The Government, through Enterprise Ireland, is investing €21.5m in developing the businesses, which in turn will leverage a total investment of over €169m.

“The investment is towards expenditures such as R&D, production and operations, key skilled employees and management development, all part of the essential mix to drive sustained growth and development in competitive international markets.”

Given the impact of the current market conditions on Ireland, ‘growing our own’ enterprises has never been more important, said the chairman of Enterprise Ireland, Hugh Cooney.

“These new companies play a really significant part in stimulating local economies and employment, fostering the climate of innovation in Ireland and translating Irish entrepreneurial ambition and potential into commercial reality. The regional spread shows that almost 60pc, or 42 of the total 71 companies, are located outside of Dublin.

“These are an example of the entrepreneurs and companies that Enterprise Ireland is keen to support – businesses with a solid focus on knowledge, innovation and R&D and the capability to establish strong positions in international markets, sustain international competitiveness and achieve export growth,” he added.

Ireland’s HPSUs are operating in a broad spectrum of knowledge-intensive sectors and are indicative of the areas of opportunity – life sciences, biotech and medical technology, food, telecommunications, and niche areas including compliance and risk management and areas that contribute to productivity improvement.

“These are sectors in which Irish firms can create a sustainable competitive advantage with significant market knowledge and by continually anticipating and satisfying complex customer needs,” said the head of High-Potential Start-Ups at Enterprise Ireland, Tom Hayes.

By John Kennedy