Start-ups to export €183m

2 Feb 2006

Some 75 start-up Irish companies straddling the worlds of software, telecoms, electronics, biotechnology, medical technology and food are predicted to create 1,460 new jobs and generate exports worth €183m over the next two years, Enterprise Ireland (EI) said this morning.

EI said it invested €17m out of the total €83m investment in the 75 companies that was raised during the course of 2005.

The state agency defines a high-potential start-up as having products based on technological innovation, is likely to achieve significant growth in three years in terms of sales in excess of €1m and employing more than 10 people, is export oriented and is led by an experienced team with a mixture of technical and commercial competencies.

Out of the 75 companies, some 33 of the companies were spawned from existing indigenous businesses and 19 were spawned out of existing multinationals. Fourteen of the companies were established by serial entrepreneurs and nine of the companies were campus companies.

At least six of the companies have a female promoter involved and eight of the companies were created by ex-pats returning to Ireland.

Kevin Sherry, manager of EI’s High Potential Start-up Unit, said: “Increasing the number of new high-growth export-focused businesses is a key objective for EI and we are delighted that 2005 has been a record year for the number of these new businesses established with EI assistance.

“The high quality of the new business ideas and the experience of the management teams in the start up class of 2005 was particularly notable and I am pleased to say that the pipeline of new start up businesses for 2006 also continues to be strong.”

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin TD emphasised the importance of start-up companies. “Start-up companies make a vital contribution to the Irish economy and I would like to acknowledge the determination, ambition and leadership of the entrepreneurs behind these firms who have taken on the challenge of establishing and growing an internationally competitive new business. I would also like to acknowledge the considerable work undertaken by EI in supporting these start-ups.”

The Minister added: “The start-up companies here today represent knowledge-intensive sectors such as biotechnology, medical technology, food, telecommunications, electronics and software development. These are sectors in which companies with significant market knowledge compete by continually anticipating and satisfying complex customer needs through the development of new and innovative products and services.

“Irish firms can create a sustainable competitive advantage in these sectors and hence the 75 firms here today have the potential to grow very rapidly,” Minister Martin said.

By John Kennedy