Enterprise Ireland says exports growing for more than half of firms

Businesses are prioritising digitalisation and sustainability agendas, survey suggests

More than half of businesses have seen an increase in exports this year compared to 2020, with only 11 per cent reporting a decrease, according to a survey by Enterprise Ireland.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar launched Enterprise Ireland's International Markets Week (IMW) under the theme Global Recovery – Irish Opportunity on Monday.

The five-day event provides Irish exporters with the opportunity to virtually meet with the agency’s international market advisers to accelerate their internationalisation strategies in global markets, critical for an export-led recovery.

This year International Markets Week will see more than 700 companies meet with 140 market advisers from 40 overseas offices in more than 1,600 individual meetings.


Ahead of the event, Enterprise Ireland surveyed the 700-plus companies set to participate in IMW 2021. The results of the survey detailed the performance of Irish exporters thus far in 2021 despite the challenges of the State’s new trading relationship with the UK and the pandemic.

On top of increased exports this year, more than nine out of 10 companies said they expect sales to increase again in 2022. The key growth markets identified by companies were North America, Europe and the UK.

The survey results also showed that exporting businesses are prioritising digitalisation and sustainability agendas. Some 80 per cent of businesses reported that digitalisation would be a priority over the next 12 months, while 63 per cent said that advancing their sustainability agenda and adapting to climate change would be a priority.


Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said: "Despite the virtual aspect of the event I can feel the buzz around International Markets Week from speaking to both companies and our market advisers, who will facilitate more than 1,600 meetings over the next couple of days.

“It is really encouraging to see our research pointing to business optimism, and this is testament to the resilience and performance of Irish exporters despite Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“So far in 2021 we have seen these companies win a total of 965 new contracts and establish 375 new overseas presences against that backdrop of what are still difficult trading conditions.

“With global recovery there are significant opportunities for Irish companies to accelerate their growth internationally, and International Markets Week will play a critical role in driving this agenda.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter