Ireland shares a warm and strong friendship with the USA, and Irish enterprises are deepening their presence in North America as the region continues to provide huge potential for companies to scale and find new opportunities.
And right now, many of these opportunities lie in Georgia and Mexico, where they are opening doors for Irish companies in two rapidly developing and dynamic markets.
Atlanta, the capital of the US state of Georgia, is both a manufacturing hub and a centre for financial services.
The metro area of Atlanta is now home to 29 of America’s largest corporations, including 16 ranked in the elite Fortune 500. It has one of the largest economies in the nation with a GDP of $422.2bn, and it is one of the top five best metros for business climate.
With a reputation for being one of the most welcoming and outward-looking cities, Enterprise Ireland has worked with technology associations and city authorities to create a real presence and supportive conditions for Irish companies to expand and grow in this vibrant market.
The fintech market is growing at pace globally, and it is estimated that 70pc of all electronic transactions in the US are processed through Atlanta, which means many payment providers and ancillary services are based there.
The city is also home to Microsoft’s second-biggest campus globally.
There is a young and diverse workforce, which makes it a prime location for these companies.
Many of the client companies we proudly work with have also recognised this draw and the opportunities that exist there and are currently active in Atlanta.
These include companies such as Wayflyer, provider of financing and analytics solutions to ecommerce businesses, which has an established presence in Atlanta and has exceeded its growth expectations.
Payment solutions provider Worldnet has also experienced significant growth in Atlanta and were acquired by global payments company Payroc WorldAccess.
And while these are established companies, Atlanta has also become a key market for businesses at an earlier stage in their scaling journey who are looking to establish and expand their global footprint.
Enterprise Ireland liaises directly with our client companies in order to strengthen relations in the region, while also giving ambitious Irish entrepreneurs unparalleled market access by introducing and immersing them in the thriving ecosystem.
With the exponential growth in the use of mobile tech and a large manufacturing sector, Mexico now offers an open door to Irish firms seeking new opportunities in this space.
Firms such as AWP Engineering and Fispak have enjoyed longstanding success in the Mexican industrial and engineering sectors.
When the pandemic arrived, it was crucial to rapidly adopt digital and mobile technologies, with start-ups focusing on flexible, low-cost, and accessible services. And this digital transformation has seen the fintech sector expand and it is now worth around €2.8bn.
Irish fintech firms already thriving in Mexico include Fenergo; which develops software for financial institutions, and biometric authentication and identity verification software firm, Daon. Both are focused on expanding significantly while trading in Mexico.
Mexico has now also become a global key player as a manufacturer of medical devices. As the largest exporter into the US market, and with tax advantages and the Free Trade Agreement with the US and Canada, there are a number of key factors which support this growth.
There are a number of companies that are coming into Mexico to help support that growth. Of note, companies such as Prodieco have found success in this growing sector.
While the market is strong, it has many regulations – and this is why companies turn to Enterprise Ireland, as we can support entrepreneurs in navigating through specific regulations and distributors.
We also offer guidance on how to register and enter the market. And we also work closely with our counterparts in the Irish Mexican Chamber, which can connect our clients to those they need to grow in the market.
Reflecting the importance of these growing regions, Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, is embarking on a trade mission to Georgia and Mexico, starting tomorrow, May 16.
This trade mission, led by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, will also include engagements in South Carolina.
For Irish firms seeking to expand overseas, Georgia and Mexico present a real opportunity to scale in a rapidly developing and dynamic market.
Sara Hill is senior vice-president, Southern US and Mexico, while Rory Power is senior vice-president, US East Coast at Enterprise Ireland