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Innovation Continues to Play a Crucial Role in Irish Companies’ Ability to Compete Internationally

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Innovation Continues to Play a Crucial Role in Irish Companies’ Ability to Compete Internationally

Innovation Continues to Play a Crucial Role in Irish Companies’ Ability to Compete Internationally
January 13
15:56 2014

Enterprise Ireland supported companies created 18,033 new jobs in 2013. This resulted in a net increase of 5,442 in the number of people employed by Enterprise Ireland supported companies, the highest net gain for Irish companies in the last decade and indicators suggest that this was primarily due to the strong export performance of Enterprise Ireland client companies.

This continuation of employment growth demonstrates clearly the direct impact that increasing exports has on jobs in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland supported companies now, directly and indirectly, account for more than 300,000 jobs in the Irish economy (16% of total workforce).

Total direct employment (full and part time) in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 175,750 in 2013. Of these, 149,718 are full-time jobs, while 26,032 are part-time. These full-time employment levels are the highest since 2007 and total employment is the highest recorded in the last decade.

In addition, new job commitments made by Enterprise Ireland clients in 2013 were over 7,100 exceeding the target of 6,250 for the year.

strong>Action Plan for Jobs
Under the Government’s ‘Action Plan for Jobs 2013’ Enterprise Ireland was directly responsible for delivering 77 of a total of 333 actions. Throughout the year Enterprise Ireland delivered in areas such as regional entrepreneurship through a number of Competitive Feasibility Funds, capability enhancement within its client base via a number of management capability programmes and the establishment of a central technology transfer office within Enterprise Ireland clients, linking college expertise with EI client companies.

Global growth is expected to strengthen moderately (3.6%) in 2014 (Source: IMF 2013). However, advanced economies, which account for the lion’s share of client exports, are expected to be the main source of world growth. This is important because it offers opportunities for Irish companies to continue to grow their exports, which in turn creates additional employment in Ireland.
Throughout the year, Irish exporting companies demonstrated perseverance, patience and determination when facing severe global economic conditions.

The highlights of the year in terms of Enterprise Ireland’s work with the indigenous sector and the strong performance by Irish companies were many and varied.

Major investments announced by Glanbia during the year will deliver significant jobs and economic benefit. Glanbia Ingredients Ireland Ltd (GIIL) is creating over 1600 direct and indirect jobs and contributing an estimated €400 million pa to the economy with the development of a world-class dairy facility in Belview, on the Kilkenny/Waterford border. This will be of particular benefit to farm families and rural communities. And Glanbia plc announced two new investments which will create 90 jobs in Monaghan and Dublin.
In the South East, Eishtec, the customer contact solution provider, continues its remarkable growth story with the creation of a further 250 jobs for its sites in Waterford and Wexford by mid-2014. The company has won another contract to provide smartphone technical support in the UK which will allow for the creation of the jobs. Eishtec started trading in May 2011 with just nine employees, but the awarding of this contract will see their headcount grow from 700 to 950 people.

Start Ups
In 2013, Enterprise Ireland invested in 97 new High Potential Start Up companies which together aim to employ over 1,600 new staff and to generate over €300m in annual sales. These companies come from a wide range of sectors including key areas that the Government has targeted for growth, including financial services, ICT, games, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Enterprise Ireland also provided critical funding to 60 early stage entrepreneurs under its Competitive Start Funds.

Key growth markets are particular targets for Enterprise Ireland in supporting client companies to increase their export business. Over the past year Enterprise Ireland has intensified its programme of Ministerial-led trade missions, helping to build the networks and business alliances that are so critical to enabling Irish companies increase their presence in emerging markets. The number of Ministerial-led trade missions in 2012 and 2013 was double the average during the period 2007-2011. In addition, Enterprise Ireland announced the opening of two new overseas offices in Istanbul, Turkey and Austin, Texas.

As part of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Enterprise Ireland organised four prestigious conferences drawing audiences from across the EU – Driving Competitiveness Workshop, Week of Innovative Regions in Europe, EURO SME 2013 and EuroNanoForum 2013.

During 2013 a number of Irish companies were acquired by multinational companies (MNCs), including The Now Factory (acquired by IBM), Open Hydro Group Ltd (acquired by DCNS S.A.), Quintillion Holding Co. Ltd. (acquired by Bancorp Inc), Storyful Ltd (acquired by News Corporation Inc), Mapflow Ltd (acquired by Reed Elsevier Plc). These leading Irish technology players are expected to continue to grow substantially in the future and help embed MNCs even deeper in Ireland.

New Initiatives and Supports
The momentum of new initiatives and supports for entrepreneurship and business continued throughout the year.
€250,000 Competitive Feasibility Fund for Female Entrepreneurs aimed at continuing to significantly boost the number of high potential female-led business start-ups.
Access Silicon Valley – an initiative designed to fast-track early-stage Irish tech companies who are targeting Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
SPRINT – an initiative designed to help the founders of start-up companies in the digital content sector to shorten the timescale from product development to paying customers.
€375K Competitive Feasibility Fund aimed at stimulating new start-ups or expansion of existing business activity in the Aviation sector.
€21m Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund was made available to researchers in the third-level sector to support the commercialisation of research and inventions at all stages of development.
€175 million Seed and Venture Capital Scheme aimed at leveraging private sector funds to create a total of €700 million for investment 2013-2018.
€20 million Innovation Fund Ireland investment with leading international Venture Capital Fund Highland Capital Partners Europe.
€125M Growth Capital Ireland Fund to focus on Irish SMEs – a new fund which will focus on investing in Irish SMEs, under the Government’s Development Capital Scheme.
Continuing to work closely with the Department of Education and Skills on an ‘Education in Ireland’ strategy to attract 3rd and 4th level overseas students to Irish higher education institutes, a new International Scholarship Scheme was launched for students from target markets including India, China and Brazil. In addition, more than 500 international students from Brazil came to Ireland in 2013 as part of the Brazil Government Science without Borders Scholarship scheme. International students contribute over a billion euro each year to the Irish economy.
€1m research programme in Data Analytics. “Big Data” is a key sector growing at 40% per annum worldwide, and is targeted for jobs growth as part of the ‘Disruptive Reforms’ in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013.
27 spin-out companies were created from higher education research and our research commercialisation activities facilitated the transfer of 89 pieces of commercially valuable technology to companies in 2013.

Driving Innovation
Enterprise Ireland is also committed to driving increased levels of Innovation in client firms by leveraging the technology, skills and know-how in the higher level sector. Over 100 companies were created via Enterprise Ireland’s on-campus entrepreneurial training initiative, New Frontiers. These activities were supported by Enterprise Ireland’s extensive campus incubation facilities which housed 350 companies and over 1500 people in 2013. A central Technology Transfer Office was also established in Enterprise Ireland and it is expected this will play a key role in enhancing commercialisation activities in the third level sector.

A major pillar of our Innovation activities is to increase the levels of collaborations between companies and the higher education system. Over 780 such projects were supported in 2013. Additionally, over 300 companies were engaged in collaborative research in Enterprise Ireland/IDA Ireland Technology Centres. New Technology Centres were established in the economically important areas of Data Analytics and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.

Enterprise Ireland also plays a critical role in helping Irish companies and researchers to win international funding. By the end of 2013 over €600m of non-exchequer funding has been secured for Ireland from schemes such as Europe’s Framework Programme since 2007. In 2014 we look forward to driving a greater return for Ireland from Europe’s new, larger Horizon 2020 research scheme with a target of €1.25BN to be achieved over the next seven years.

Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland, says: “The performance of Enterprise Ireland client companies over the past year is very heartening. Once again, they have continued to increase employment, recording the highest net gain in the last decade. This is no mean achievement considering the highly challenging business environment they are competing in. Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for 2014-2016 is very clearly focussed on making sure that they are supported in every way possible to continue this upwards growth. Our priority is to support entrepreneurship across the regions, and develop strong, export focused, ambitious Irish companies that can win new business and jobs for Ireland.”

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