Opportunity knocks in eurozone markets
For Irish businesses seeking to grow exports, the eurozone has never looked so appealing. If it's a market you have yet to explore, Enterprise Ireland's new and practical skills-building programme, Enter the Eurozone, is the quickest way there.
Indeed, many businesses are already succeeding there, which is why it is now the second- largest market for Irish exporters.
Exports to France, the Netherlands and Germany are each worth more than €1bn annually.
The eurozone is a key part of Enterprise Ireland's strategy to grow Irish exports. It has committed to helping client companies grow their eurozone exports by 50pc, from €4.1bn in 2015 to €6.2bn next year.
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While the UK will always be a very important market for Irish businesses, there are compelling reasons to ensure your global ambition doesn't begin and end there.
Enter the Eurozone is designed to ensure that it doesn't.
Upskilling your teams is acknowledged as one of the best ways to future-proof any business, helping it to sustain and succeed in the face of a range of challenges. It's also something Enterprise Ireland excels at.
Last year, our client learning and development division delivered 22 bespoke client management programmes, providing more than 400 CEOs and senior executives across a range of sectors with the tools, techniques and confidence to grow their businesses, through our year-long transformational programmes.
We also supported more than 1,000 senior managers with a full range of high-impact, shorter courses, designed to effect specific changes.
Because executives are busy people, Enterprise Ireland has honed its development programmes so that they are as efficient as they are effective. With Enter the Eurozone, two participants from each company - the chief executive and one member of their senior management team - are accommodated.
The programme involves two short overseas modules, in Berlin and Paris, partnering with first-class educators such as ESMT School of Management and Technology in Berlin, a highly practical third-level provider created for business, by business.
The learning gained there is then blended with one-to-one sessions from industry experts back home, delivered by IMS Marketing in Galway. This ensures each business can translate what they have learned about effective market entry into the correct actions for their firm.
Key time is dedicated to peer-to-peer learning, to allow participants to share their experiences and insights.
Group numbers are deliberately kept small, to around 20 businesses in the case of Enter the Eurozone, to facilitate this invaluable information exchange.
Throughout this journey, participants learn how to carry out proper market intelligence, identify their value proposition, the sales channels to look at, and the cultural nuances they need to know.
Remember, language is no reason to avoid the eurozone; it is simply something to prepare for. Here, too, Enterprise Ireland has supports that can help, such as our GradStart initiative, designed to financially support companies to hire top graduate talent.
At the end of Enter the Eurozone, each business will come away with a smart, robust market-entry plan for a particular eurozone market.
Another key output of the programme is that it connects participants to Enterprise Ireland's offices right across the eurozone.
The advisers in each market work one-to-one with companies who are ready to enter that market, helping them to identify opportunities, and providing practical, on-the-ground assistance, including access to buyers.
The programme is open to companies across the country, and across a range of sectors. This is because market diversification is a strategy for the many, not the few.
Enter the Eurozone follows a proven model. It is an intensive, highly practical, four-month journey that will help companies that are not currently exporting into the eurozone to do so. Moreover, it will help them do so successfully, and to do it again and again.
The eurozone is on your doorstep. Enter the Eurozone will get you there.
- Keelin Fagan is head of client learning and development at Enterprise Ireland
Sunday Indo Business