Innovative Irish firms are seeing record international exports

Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland

Kevin Sherry

Sustainable economic growth of Irish owned businesses is vital for Ireland’s future, and this week Enterprise Ireland published new figures which reported that exports from client companies we support grew by 19pc to reach an all-time high of €32.1bn in 2022.

This hugely positive result represents the highest ever year-on-year growth in exports from Irish-owned companies, with growth across every overseas region and individual industry sector.

Despite the ongoing global challenges and impact of inflation, energy costs and supply chain disruption, these extraordinary figures are testament to the determination, resilience, agility and innovative spirit of Irish entrepreneurs, business leaders and their teams, who are behind these companies that are economic cornerstones in communities throughout the length and breadth of Ireland.

Exports to the eurozone by companies supported by Enterprise Ireland increased by 28pc to €7.9bn in 2022, with the region now accounting for a quarter of all client exports, and this exceptional growth clearly demonstrates the opportunity that this region on our doorstep represents for Irish companies.

Despite the changed trading relationship, exports to the UK rose by an impressive 13pc, confirming that it continues to be a very important market- and often first port of call- for many new Irish exporters. The UK now accounts for 29pc of exports by Enterprise Ireland-backed companies.

Underlining our country’s continued strengthening relationship with North America, many of our client companies continued to grow strongly in the region last year, with a 13pc increase in exports and North America now accounting for 17pc, €5.5bn, of clients’ overall exports.

There was also impressive and notable growth across other regions and sectors. Exports to Asia Pacific, which due to Covid restrictions were relatively flat in 2021, increased by an impressive 11pc in 2022 to €2.36bn, and exports to the Middle East, Africa and India also increasing by 13pc to €1.59bn. These increases were recorded across all sectors, with food and sustainability increasing by 23pc, technology and services by 18pc and Industrial and Life Sciences by 14pc.

It is important to reflect on the real and tangible impact that these impressive export figures have on our national and local economies within Ireland. Enterprise Ireland clients now employ more than 218,178 people directly in Ireland, and spent €37.8bn locally during 2022.

In recent days we hosted the Enterprise Ireland Summit in the RDS, which brought together representatives from over 900 companies we support, the Enterprise Ireland team, along with key industry stakeholders within the Irish enterprise ecosystem. The focus was driving the growth and scaling ambitions of business, as set out in Enterprise Ireland’s strategy Leading in a Changing World. The summit also marked the 25th anniversary of the agency.

Irish businesses are successfully competing and winning in greater numbers. Notwithstanding the many global challenges, the future for Irish industry is bright and Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting the journey to realising ambitions and full growth potential.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Kevin Sherry is executive director at Enterprise Ireland