Enterprise Ireland (EI) sees the returning ex-pat community as a potentially rich source of new jobs for the Irish economy.
Overall, 2004 witnessed the onset of 65 new start-up companies and the potential for 1,900 new jobs in indigenous, export-oriented Irish firms over the next three years.
Speaking at a Business Start-Up Showcase organised by EI, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin TD said that of the 470 companies started between 1989 and 2004, some 357 are still in business and generated between them sales of close to €1bn in 2003.
“These figures clearly demonstrate the significance of start-ups to the economy as a whole,” the minister said.
He continued: “The analysis also showed that almost 70 of the companies achieved sales of more than €5m in 2003. A key objective for EI is to accelerate and increase the number of start-ups that achieve this critical sales level.
“In order to do this, new start-ups will need to be ready to compete in international markets at an early stage of development. To do this, companies will need to establish an overseas market presence as early as possible. This global outlook will result in the emergence of a new wave of Irish multinational companies with functions dispersed throughout the world,” Minister Martin added.
According to Frank Ryan, chief executive of EI, there is a growing trend among businesspeople who have worked abroad bringing their valuable international experience and networks to bear in either starting new businesses on their return to Ireland or joining the management teams of early-stage start-ups and bringing with them their international expertise and contacts.
Ryan added: “This is something that EI is actively involved with and encouraging. It sees the returning ex-pat community as a potentially rich source of new start-ups. This year dedicated ex-pat events will be held in the US, London and in Dubai. Over the next number of years we expect to see more ex-pats starting and building internationally competitive businesses.”
By John Kennedy