New Enterprise Ireland team to aid potential exporters

Sat, Mar 10, 2012, 00:00

COMPANIES THAT do not yet export but have the potential to do so will be targeted by a new division established yesterday within Enterprise Ireland.

The division will be staffed by a team of 10, with two London-based staff also working on the project. The aim will be to attract and support Irish companies who want to begin exporting.

It is expected that 1,800 new Irish companies with ambitions to export will be supported this year, 250 of which will be targeted for intensive work on export initiatives.

A series of workshops will take place across the State, the first in Athlone next Wednesday. About 70 individuals and 40 companies have already signed up for the session.

The programme of supports also offers a help desk, access to advice from successful export companies, and mentoring and advocate support.

Enterprise Ireland expects a 60 per cent increase in the number of companies receiving Enterprise Ireland’s Going Global grants this year as a result of the new programme. The feasibility grant, currently awarded to around 80 businesses each year, gives eligible companies up to €25,000 to help them assess overseas market opportunities, identify suitable channels to international markets and develop plans to reorientate their product for export markets.

Pointing out that it takes between nine and 18 months for a company to position itself in an export market, Enterprise Ireland chief executive Frank Ryan said the new division would help companies considering exporting for the first time. It would also focus on businesses which may have stopped exporting during Ireland’s economic boom and want to re-enter international markets.

Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton said the new division was part of the Government’s effort to improve the way Government supports exporting companies.

While declining to give an exact estimate of the number of jobs that might be created, Mr Bruton said 17,000 new jobs were created by exporting companies in the last quarter of 2011. “The potential for job creation is huge,” he said.

The new potential exporters’ division will operate separately to Enterprise Ireland’s start-up division. The restructuring of Enterprise Ireland to include a focus on potential exporters was one of the initiatives announced in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs launched last month.

Interested applicants are encouraged to visit the website www.enterprise-Ireland.com/getexportready