Irish exports showed a strong rebound in 2010, with a recovery of 70pc of the exports that were lost in 2009, Enterprise Ireland said today. Irish companies achieved exports of €14bn, including a record €1.95bn in new export sales.
In its annual report, Enterprise Ireland said all of Ireland’s key industry sectors recorded growth in total export sales, including life sciences, clean tech, electronics, engineering, construction and timber, education services and software. Of particular note was the food sector, which is Ireland’s biggest indigenous industry, growing exports by 11pc.
In terms of entrepreneurship and high potential start-up, Enterprise Ireland said it made seed capital investments in 80 new innovative start-up enterprises with the potential to create more than 770 new jobs and achieve total sales of more than €528m within the next three years.
“Twelve months ago, we spoke about focusing on building for growth and global success and our companies have not let us down,” Enterprise Ireland CEO Frank Ryan said.
“We continue to have big ambitions for our client companies and we know that in 2011 they will exceed record levels of exports.
“We have worked tirelessly with them throughout 2010 to build on their core capabilities in key business areas – introducing lean initiatives to their companies, developing new export markets, financial support for R&D and driving the commercialisation of third-level research for the benefit of industry.”
Rich pipeline of innovation coming from third level
Enterprise Ireland said its higher education and commercialisation activities continue to yield a pipeline of new high-potential start-ups (HPSUs) – 10 of this year’s HPSUs were spin-outs from third-level institutions.
Since investment in the Technology Transfer system began in 2007, 86 spin-outs have been established; 316 licence, option or assignment (LOA) agreements for IP have been concluded with companies and 575 patent applications have been made.
Some 1,070 client companies were approved funding in 2010 with a total of 86 receiving commitments for financial support in excess of €100,000 for significant R&D projects. During the year, 31 spin-out companies emerged from higher-education institutes (HEIs) and 93 technologies were transferred to companies with Enterprise Ireland support.
A total of 8,193 new jobs were created by client companies. Full-time employment in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 137,241 in 2010, representing a net decline of 5,355.
In overall terms, the total number of people at work (full time and part time) in Enterprise Ireland client companies was 156,577. This represents an important stabilisation in the employment of Enterprise Ireland client companies.
“I have said repeatedly that government does not create jobs: businesses do, but the role of government is to create the environment in which businesses can grow and create those much-needed jobs,” the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, said.
“My ambitious plan to create this environment involves reducing business costs, improving access to finance and encouraging R&D and innovation. Crucially, we must not only support high-end multinationals but also the indigenous companies that will lead our recovery.
“Today’s results are very encouraging but it is clear that we must be highly ambitious about what our exporting companies can achieve. I am determined that government will do everything it can, through direct supports to high-potential companies and through implementing policies that create the environment in which they can thrive, to ensure that our businesses can lead recovery in jobs and the economy,” Bruton said.