04/09/2019

Irish Exporters Financially Hit By Brexit - Enterprise Ireland

Brexit has cost Irish exporters more than €100,000 to date, a survey conducted by Enterprise Ireland has revealed.

Surveying client companies attending International Markets Week, Enterprise Ireland found that 53% of companies say Brexit has impacted their business, with one in ten companies citing that Brexit has cost their business over €100K. Close to five percent of companies say that Brexit has cost their business over a quarter of a million euro to date.

Enterprise Ireland's International Markets Week (IMW), which opened today at the RDS, will host 650 client companies over three days. More than 140 international Market Advisors from Enterprise Ireland's 34 overseas offices will participate in over 2,000 client company one-to-one meetings, advising Irish businesses on global export opportunities in new markets in direct response to Brexit.

One in three (33%) of the Enterprise Ireland client companies surveyed cited currency fluctuations as their primary Brexit concern. Other concerns listed include: Tariffs 22%; Supply chain disruption 16%; Uncertainty for Brexit outcome 15%.

To assist client companies to respond to Brexit, Enterprise Ireland has implemented a number of support programmes since 2016 for Irish exporting companies to build resilience and capacity to scale by focusing on enhancing their innovation, competitiveness and market diversification action plans. As the 31st of October deadline approaches, Enterprise Ireland is actively encouraging client companies to further their diversification plans and take action now.

Speaking at the International Markets Week Business Breakfast Conference New Markets: New Opportunities, Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said: "Our research shows that Irish exporters are already feeling the negative impacts of Brexit through their profit margins. We have consistently said that the wait and see approach is not an option and client companies are heeding this advice. In 2018, 945 new overseas customers were secured by clients with the support of Enterprise Ireland. This represented a 23% increase on the 770 new overseas customers recorded in 2017. Overall, Enterprise Ireland client companies have opened 275 new overseas presences in the first six months of 2019. This week's International Markets Week programme gives exporters an opportunity to meet with our experts from the markets and evaluate the opportunities to accelerate their market diversification."

According to the results of the Enterprise Ireland survey, more than four out of five businesses identified the Eurozone as the market they are planning to expand into in the next year with 83% citing its size and growth potential as a key factor, followed by a proven demand for a product or service (50%).

Attending International Markets Week today, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: "Work on Brexit preparations has the highest priority across Government, particularly as the likelihood of a no deal Brexit increases. Broadening our global footprint is crucial in this context, so we are committed to supporting businesses to win new contracts in existing markets and achieve first time sales in new markets, thereby safeguarding and growing good quality jobs. I am pleased to say that there has been a significant increase in the number of Enterprise Ireland client companies investing in a new market presence, particularly within the Eurozone. The Eurozone offers a potential customer base of over 340 million people, and has the advantage of having no currency volatility, no trade barriers and full regulatory alignment."

Julie Sinnamon continued: "As we draw ever closer to the potential of a hard Brexit, businesses must continue to find new markets and to innovate their products and services. In the first six months of 2019, over 200 client companies had significant Eurozone market engagement with 57 Irish companies establishing a new market presence in the Eurozone so far this year, almost double the amount compared to this time last year. Our continued priority is to ensure that Irish exporters prepare for a hard Brexit, and to take action now. This will be good for their businesses, irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations."

Programmes that Enterprise Ireland companies have taken part in to enhance their Eurozone market engagement include; the development of a Eurozone market strategy, participation in a Management Development Programme, inward buyer visits or take up of the Market Discovery Fund. In addition, Enterprise Ireland has approved over €9m in funding since 2018 to companies looking to enter new markets under its Market Discovery Fund, indicating that companies are taking action to mitigate against the impact of a no deal scenario.

(MH/JG)


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