State agency targets €4bn in exports

24 Oct 2007

Enterprise Ireland is targeting €4 billion in new export revenues amongst Irish companies by 2010, the agency revealed in its new strategy document.

The State agency’s Transforming Irish Industry 2008-2010 continues with Enterprise Ireland’s chief executive Frank Ryan’s drive to grow companies to scale.

These scaled companies — some 225 of them — are envisaged to achieve €20 million each in annual global sales by 2010 and a further 635 companies are expected to generate €5 million each in annual global sales by 2010.

Enterprise Ireland warned, however, that in order to achieve these sales targets Irish companies will need to develop robust growth strategies underpinned by strong leadership.

These strategies must also encompass an innovative culture and a drive for efficiency and productivity.

“Increasing exports continues to be the overarching objective of Enterprise Ireland’s activities and remains the primary indicator of Ireland’s international competitiveness and performance,” said Ryan.

“Our target of €4 billion in new export sales by 2010 is indicative of our confidence in the ability of Irish companies to grow during this period and to continue to win new business in highly competitive global markets.

“Nonetheless the challenges facing Irish companies are significant. We can do very little to influence external factors such as exchange rates, oil prices and growth rates in our trading partners.

“However we can greatly influence the ability of Irish firms to compete and grow in international markets by enhancing leadership and innovation capabilities — key sources of competitive advantage and growth.”

Increasing R&D appears to be a central tenet of Ryan’s strategy and it is planned to increase to 800 the number of companies engaging in meaningful R&D, that is spending in excess of €100,000 a year on R&D.

“Over the period 2008-2010, Enterprise Ireland will also seek to support 200 high-potential start-up companies, 50pc of which are to be located outside of Dublin, with an early focus on the ability of these companies to grow to scale. Enterprise Ireland will challenge and support Irish companies to reach their growth potential.

Transforming Irish Industry 2008-2010 recognises the increasing importance of internationally traded services through the creation of a specialised Internationally Traded Services division.

This division is aimed at enhancing our offer to service companies and to create targeted programmes and supports for the services sector,” Ryan said.

It appears that Enterprise Ireland is encouraging Irish companies to target new and emerging markets as well as traditionally strong markets like the UK, the US and mainland Europe.

Countries included in the wider strategies include South America, Russia, the Gulf States, China, India and Mexico.

By John Kennedy