Enterprise Ireland (EI) is aiming to increase exports by its client companies by nearly 20pc to €30bn within the next three years, according to the latest strategy plan by the State agency.
EI, which supports indigenous manufacturing and services companies, also intends to add 15,000 net jobs per year in that time, as it steers through the twin challenges of Covid and Brexit.
Exports stayed level at €25.5bn in 2020 for EI-backed businesses as firms rotated away from Britain and towards European Union markets following the departure of the UK from the trade bloc.
Now chief executive Leo Clancy, who took over the top job last summer, is pushing to expand overseas markets in the post-crisis period, stating, “Enterprise Ireland has been working with businesses throughout the country to ensure they can quickly recover from the impact of Covid-19 and continue to adapt to the new trading relationship with the UK,” he said. Our core focus for the coming years will be on helping our clients realise further growth resulting from the significant opportunities that a recovering global economy presents for the benefit of every community in Ireland.”
EI is targeting growth in technology and science sectors, with climate change a key focus.
While the UK is still the largest market for EI-supported firms, its significance is diminishing in a post-Brexit world where Ireland’s trade relationship with eurozone countries is becoming much more important.
Within three years EI wants 70pc of overseas sales going to non-UK companies.
EI companies added a net 11,911 jobs in 2021, meaning employment growth will have to increase 20pc by 2024 for the agency to meet its objective.
The biggest sectors for job growth last year were life sciences, business services and digital technology.
Jobs outside of Dublin accounted for 68pc of the growth.