Enterprise Ireland client companies created 19,705 new jobs in 2014, a new record. The agency revealed in its end-of-year statement that firms reported the lowest level of job losses since 2000.
Total direct employment (full and part-time) in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 180,072 at the end of 2014, out of which 156,202 are full-time and 23,870 are part-time.
The agency said that this full-time employment level is the highest total employment level recorded in the history of Enterprise Ireland.
It said that client companies recorded the lowest level of job losses since 2000.
For the second year in a row the Internationally Traded Services & Software Sector recorded the strongest net jobs growth of some 2,092 jobs.
Notable job creation projects by indigenous firms included 400 new jobs at CarTrawler in Dublin and 350 new jobs at Voxpro in Cork.
Capital investment of €620m in Ireland’s agri and food industry led to 50 new project approvals and 1,720 job commitments.
More jobs on the way
“We are very proud of the record performance of our clients right across the country,” CEO Julie Sinnamon said.
“The level of increased employment achieved is remarkable and endorses the strategy we have embarked on to 2016. We continue to relentlessly focus on ensuring the right supports are available for clients at every stage of growth.
This focus, coupled with our priority to support entrepreneurship across the regions, and develop strong, export focussed, ambitious Irish companies that can win new business, will mean even more jobs for Ireland over the next 12 months.”
The key word here is ‘innovation’
2014 saw the implementation of a new strategy that resulted in 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) going operational in April.
Equipped with regional Competitive Feasibility and Start Funds the aim of the LEOs is to ensure a consistent level of support for start-ups and small businesses.
Firms that qualified for Competitive Start Funds spanned a range of areas including financial services, ICT, games, software, cloud technologies, agri tech, travel, e-commerce, healthcare and wellness, food, med tech and pharma.
A key aspect of this development was the number of graduate entrepreneurs applying for funds.
Eight high potential start-ups (HPSUs) were supported in 2014 and the Food Works 3 start-up programme attracted over 125 applications from start-ups.
Some 10pc of HPSUs invested in 2014 originated from State-funded research.
The rise and rise of female entrepreneurs
Enterprise Ireland revealed that 43 of the 183 start-ups supported in 2014 were led by female entrepreneurs.
Enterprise Ireland’s two biggest export markets continue to be the US and the UK and it expects growth to continue.
However, it warned that a weaker Euro area is a threat to global growth.
The agency said that it is targeting exports of €3bn in 2015 and is growing its staff by an additional 20 people.
Enterprise Ireland client companies secured more than 1,300 new customers around the world, 40pc from high growth markets. Firms established 455 new presences in these markets.
HPSU companies scored 131 new international reference customers last year.
Enterprise Ireland’s Research and Innovation division established its New Frontiers programme in the various Institutes of Technology and last year worked with 137 entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
A considerable coup for med tech companies was a US$16m partnership that Enterprise Ireland brokered with the prestigious Mayo Clinic.
Two new Technology Centres – focused on Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Financial Services – were established, bringing to 15 the number of Technology Centres across Ireland.
Leadership development programmes like Access Silicon Valley, Leadership 4 Growth and the International Selling Programme benefited some 645 companies and 1,170 individuals.
The strong performance was welcomed by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, who said: “Today’s announcement that companies supported by Enterprise Ireland created a record 8,476 extra jobs in 2014 is a huge boost.
“This is the best performance in the history of the Agency, and great credit is owed to Julie and her staff for this excellent performance. Every job created in an Enterprise Ireland company supports an additional job elsewhere in the economy, through supply and service businesses, so the impact of this on communities across the country is massive.”