In a new Enterprise Ireland survey, 74pc of businesses said having a strong sustainability agenda is key to winning business overseas.
More than 80pc of Irish exporters are aiming to enter new international markets over the next 12 months.
That’s according to a survey of Enterprise Ireland client companies as the State agency kicks off its International Markets Week today (12 October).
More than 130 advisers from 40 Enterprise Ireland overseas offices are attending the annual export-focused event, which returns in person for the first time since 2019.
Of those planning companies to enter new international markets next year, one-third said North America is the priority for them in 2023, with 27pc prioritising Europe and 19pc looking at the UK.
More than 90pc of companies surveyed expect their exports to increase in the next year, with almost 60pc saying their exports have already increased this year.
Tech companies that have already announced expansion plans this year include Carlow-based cloud start-up Stryve and Irish pathology and AI start-up Deciphex, both of which have received support from Enterprise Ireland.
However, 35pc of businesses surveyed cited global market and economic uncertainty as the primary challenge they’re facing in the next six months.
This was followed by concerns about supply chain, price inflation and energy costs (32pc), and skills and talent shortages (26pc).
As well as these challenges, 74pc of companies surveyed said that having green credentials with a sustainability policy in place is an important factor when competing to win new business overseas.
Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said Irish exporters are optimistic despite the “challenging global economic environment”.
“So far in 2022, we have seen our clients win a total of 882 new contracts and establish 325 overseas presences during challenging economic conditions, with support from Enterprise Ireland,” he said.
“The business optimism is a credit to the innovation and flexibility of Irish exporters who have overcome a range of obstacles in recent times, including Brexit and Covid-19, and are now facing a range of trading challenges in response to the uncertainty surrounding the war in Ukraine.”
While the US, UK and Europe were cited as the top targets, Irish companies have also been looking to other international markets as they eye expansion.
Offr, an Irish start-up that is bringing digital transformation to the way properties are bought and sold, struck a deal with South African real estate group Pam Golding Properties in June. Launched in 2019, Enterprise Ireland-supported Offr has developed transparent bidding and transaction technology for residential and commercial properties.
Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English, TD, said he is “very encouraged” despite the challenges faced by businesses.
“I am pleased that the number of Enterprise Ireland companies entering new markets has increased and that companies remain positive and export-focused in a fast-changing world for the year ahead.”
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