Enterprise Ireland to take on 20 new staff
Personnel to be based overseas as State targets exports to high-growth markets
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton: “Boots on the ground in foreign markets are absolutely crucial to building our export base so I think we’ve to make good decisions in the make-up of our budget.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
The Government has moved to boost Irish exports into the high-growth “Brics” markets of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa with a big increase in public support for Enterprise Ireland, the State agency for the promotion of indigenous industry .
An additional 20 staff are to be recruited locally in these markets by Enterprise Ireland at a cost of €1.44 million to the exchequer. The money will be allocated in the first instance from the “own-resource” income of the agency itself.
“Boots on the ground in foreign markets are absolutely crucial to building our export base so I think we’ve to make good decisions in the make-up of our budget,” said Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton.
The Government believes there is potential with the initiative to generate an additional €250 million per year in exports, or up to 1,200 jobs on the basis that every €1 million in new exports creates at least four new jobs.
“We’re moving away from the traditional UK market, establishing stronger footholds in some crucial EU markets but also farther afield,” Mr Bruton said. “What we recognise is that penetrating new markets for Irish companies is challenging. We’re getting good results from our people on the ground and there’s a real opportunity to build our exporting infrastructure . . . It is good economics to allocate more resources behind sectors that are delivering high performance.”
Enterprise Ireland has a network of 28 offices overseas, with a presence in São Paulo, Moscow, Delhi and Johannesburg, as well as in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The Government has been told there is a clearly indentified market opportunity to increase Irish exports in these locations, matched by evidence of demand for export support services from Irish firms.
Boost for local staff
The increased allocation for Enterprise Ireland’s external activities will see its local staff in international markets increased to 112 from 92. The staff will be recruited on fixed-term contracts, the objective being to provide increased flexibility to support client companies.
The basic idea is to underpin local services for Irish exporters, building language, market and sectoral knowledge to help companies expand in the international market.
The expectation in Government circles is that this will result an an appreciable increase in exports from Ireland and, as a result, new Irish jobs.
The initiative is part of the Government’s action plan for jobs, which includes €2 billion in credit programmes for Irish companies and a “foreign earnings” tax deduction in 2012, 2013 and 2014 designed to encourage Irish companies to place staff in the Brics and other markets.