Australia is the second largest export market for Enterprise Ireland firms in AsiaPac

A worker assembles part of a forklift truck at the Combilift factory in Co Monaghan which exports to Australia. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Bloomberg

David Eccles

This past week has been an important time to celebrate Irish businesses that are making their mark in Australia and New Zealand, as Enterprise Ireland hosted 14 events across seven cities there for St Patrick’s Day.

There is a strong affinity between Ireland and Australia based on culture and values, and Australia continues to have the largest percentage of the Irish diaspora in the world.

This connection that our countries share ultimately provides a strong foundation for Irish businesses that are seeking to establish or expand their presence there, and St Patrick’s Day provided an important opportunity to champion the achievements of innovative Irish businesses that are exporting to and scaling in this region.

Australia was the second largest export market in AsiaPac for companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2021.

Exports by Enterprise Ireland client companies in the Australian market grew by 28pc in 2021 to over €300m, and total exports to the Australian and New Zealand markets from Ireland were worth almost €350m in 2021.

Supporting companies we work with to explore new potential opportunities is a huge focus for our team in this market. And over the last two years, despite the prevailing economic headwinds, 63 companies supported by Enterprise Ireland have established a new presence in Australia.

There are a number of sectors which present potential opportunities for Irish businesses in this region.

Fenergo, a fintech company which helps banks automate their platforms, has continually scaled in the Australian market, partnering with four of the top five banks in Australia.

Dublin-based FINEOS, a software company which provides software for insurance companies, is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and has seen consistent growth across Australia for nearly 20 years.

And Co Monaghan’s Combilift, a manufacturer of multi-directional forklifts, has signed several significant contracts with companies in Australia. After a successful collaboration with Metroll in Australia, Combilift now supplies its trucks to the company’s Californian-based operations too.

There are some considerations that businesses should be conscious of when exploring these potential opportunities, such as the considerable distance. However, Enterprise Ireland’s team in Australia and New Zealand, and our Market Research Centre, can support companies as they work to strategically identify the right buyers and partnerships for you.

As part of the global St Patrick’s Day programme, Enterprise Ireland developed a programme of events to further strengthen the presence of Irish enterprises in the market.

Simon Coveney, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, has been visiting Australia and attended a series of events in a number of cities, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth. While Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, visited New Zealand, to celebrate strong agribusiness relationships.

These trade missions and events are crucially important for establishing and strengthening collaborative relationships and partnerships, and to put a spotlight on Irish enterprise.​

David Eccles is Director for Australia and New Zealand in Enterprise Ireland