Irish housing innovator expands in UK with new Manchester office

6 Sep 2021

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD. Image: PRNewsfoto/Enterprise Ireland

Irish construction company ESS Modular announced 70 jobs at its new UK office on Enterprise Ireland’s first in-person trade mission since the pandemic began.

A roundtable event launched today (6 September) in London by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, brought leaders of UK local authorities together with innovative Irish businesses to discuss housing innovation.

Coinciding with the event, Irish construction specialist ESS Modular announced that it would expand its UK operations with the opening of a new office in Manchester.

ESS Modular uses off-site modular construction methods to speed up the completion of projects. This construction method also offers improvements on energy efficiency. The company has already delivered homes in the UK under the pan-London homelessness scheme, and the goal is to deliver 200 homes under this framework within the next two years.

Irish jobs in the UK

The housing roundtable forms part of Enterprise Ireland’s trade mission to the UK, France and Germany, which kicked off with events today in London.

Enterprise Ireland-backed ESS said it will create 70 new jobs in the UK with the opening of its Manchester office, adding to the 125,000 jobs created by Irish companies in the neighbouring country, according to data from the Central Statistics Office.

A separate announcement by Dublin company i3PT also adds to this figure. Another Irish business innovating in the construction sector, i3PT provides software to manage workflows in construction projects. The company is set to expand its presence in the UK with the opening of a second office there, based in Edinburgh. Supporting this growth, i3PT will create more than 40 new jobs in the UK over the coming two years.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said the deals and jobs announced on this trade mission will ensure closer links between the Irish and UK business communities.

“Our longstanding business relationship with the UK is built on the shared values that exists between both countries, as well as our pro-enterprise and pro-competition business environments,” said Clancy.

Deals done

The ESS and i3PT expansions were just two of a number of announcements to come out of the first day of the trade mission.

In continued support of the UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, ESB Energy will roll out a network of chargers across Birmingham in partnership with the local city council.

Another Irish company operating in this space is mobility start-up Zipp Mobility, which today committed to scaling its operation in the UK. Zipp has already secured a contract to run e-scooter trials in five UK locations, while it continues to expand across Europe.

As well as the housing roundtable, a healthcare event focused on health-tech innovation and transformation. One participant at this event was Limerick company Serosep, already a supplier to NHS hospital trusts in the UK. Serosep today announced a new five-year contract, valued at more than £1m, to supply Liverpool University Hospital with its molecular diagnostic system for gastroenteritis.

Aico, a supplier of connected home devices focused on safety sensors, also participated in the housing roundtable, announcing the launch of a new range of environmental sensors. Aico is a UK-based distribution arm of Irish company EI Electronics.

Collaborating for post-Covid recovery

The events in London marked the first stop on a three-country trade mission organised by Enterprise Ireland, with Paris and Berlin to follow.

This is the first in-person trade mission undertaken by Enterprise Ireland since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s also the first mission since the EU-UK Trade Agreement was reached.

A total of 35 Enterprise Ireland client companies are engaged on the trade mission, which today is focused on fostering greater collaboration with the UK to support post-Covid economic recovery.

“Ireland and Britain will always have a close relationship,” said Varadkar. “Our two countries are interlinked in myriad different ways and we will be looking to strengthen those ties as we emerge from the pandemic and face into future challenges, such as climate change and digitalisation.

“By working closely together, building on existing partnerships and building new ones, we hope to create more jobs and prosperity for both countries.”

Over the past 18 months, 67 companies supported by Enterprise Ireland have established a new presence in the UK market. This market represents 29pc of global exports for Enterprise Ireland client companies, with 80pc of Irish companies exporting to the UK.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.