Exports by Irish companies increased 7.5pc last year to reach €10.7bn. Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan attributed the growth directly to advances in research and development (R&D), productivity and entrepreneurship.
Speaking at Enterprise Ireland’s annual results for 2005, Ryan revealed that Irish companies contribute €16bn annually to the Irish economy on payroll and Irish sourced goods and services.
Ryan said he believed Enterprise Ireland has met and in many cases exceeded ambitious targets it set for 2005.
Last year when he unveiled Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for up to 2007, Ryan targeted €3bn in new export sales by the year’s end 2007. In 2005 some €1.2bn was achieved.
At the time he also planned to increase to 596 the number of Irish firms engaged in meaningful R&D by 2007. So far some 515 companies are engaged in meaningful R&D.
Another aspect of the plan was to support the creation of 210 new high-potential start-up companies by the end of 2007. In 2005 there were 75 new start-ups.
During 2006 Enterprise Ireland supported 167 significant investment projects. Some 103 of these projects were outside Dublin, with 55 of them in the Border, Midlands and West region.
The strongest market for Irish exporters was northern Europe, with exports up 6.4pc to €6.2bn.
“Client companies continue to develop a deep understanding of the needs of overseas customers and of how best to exploit new market opportunities,” Ryan said. “Their exporting success is grounded in their ability to produce sophisticated, high-value products and services for their customers in global markets.
“This ability is directly linked to advancements in innovation, research, productivity, management and entrepreneurship. I am greatly encouraged by the fact that Enterprise Ireland supported companies continued to sustain high productivity growth at 7pc,” Ryan said.
By John Kennedy