In its End of Year Statement published Enterprise Ireland reported that Irish exporting companies increased employment by 3,804 in 2012. This is the highest net gain for Irish companies since 2006 and was due primarily to the strong export performance of Enterprise Ireland client companies.
Despite a continued challenging economic environment in 2012 Enterprise Ireland supported companies crucially added to their employment base and now support more than 300,000 jobs in the Irish economy (15% of total workforce).
Total direct employment (full and part time) in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 172,473 in 2012. Of these, 146,908 are full-time jobs, while 25,565 are part-time jobs. In addition, new job commitments made by Enterprise Ireland clients in 2012 were over 7,000 exceeding the target of 6,250 for the year.
Under the Government’s ‘Action Plan for Jobs 2012’ Enterprise Ireland was directly involved in 105 of a total of 270 actions. Throughout the year we delivered on these targets in areas such as Potential Exporters, Global Sourcing, Micro Enterprise, Diaspora Initiatives, International Entrepreneurs and Female Entrepreneurship.
The World economy is predicted to grow moderately in 2013 (Source: World Bank 2012). This is important because it provides a context and 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 persevered and faced severe global economic conditions with determination. They are now, more than ever before, leaner, stronger and continue to increase their appetite for international growth.
Enterprise Ireland supported the largest ever investment in Research and Development from an Irish company in October of this year. The Kerry Group announced plans to establish a Global Food Innovation Centre of Excellence in Naas, Co Kildare with 900 jobs. The initial investment here is worth over €100 million and will be game-changing for global food innovation. Already the Kerry Group has started recruitment and they are on target for 200 employees by April 2013 (including 50 graduate positions). Enterprise Ireland worked intensively with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Department of the Taoiseach in a whole of Government approach to securing this investment.
It’s also worth noting that in 2012 a number of Irish companies were acquired by multinational companies (MNCs), such as Curam (acquired by IBM), Polarlake (acquired by Bloomberg), OmniPay (acquired by First Data Corporation) and Magnetic Solutions (acquired by Tokyo Electron Ltd). Importantly the technological and skills background of these Irish companies will result in helping embed MNCs even deeper in Ireland.
During 2012 Enterprise Ireland continued to seek best value for money and concentrated resources towards driving exports, innovation and improving competitiveness. As with previous years, a number of new initiatives were introduced in direct response to the demands of entrepreneurs and client companies including;
- Competitive Start Funds (CSF) for specific groups of very early stage entrepreneurs (investing €50k per start-up) – more than 150 High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs) and CSF start-ups supported in 2012
- New Potential Exporters Division engagement with 520 companies looking to export for the first time
- Working closely with Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade we initiated engagement with 118 members of the Global Irish Networks in relation to developing an International Mentor programme. In addition, 16 Ministerial trade missions focused on sectors and High Growth economies, the largest of which was to China led by the Taoiseach in March
- Working 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
- Record numbers of applications from female entrepreneurs for Feasibility and Start-Up funds.
Continuous innovation within Irish companies was a major focus of Enterprise Ireland in 2012. We work closely with Science Foundation Ireland to drive spin-out companies from higher education institutes. The Technology Centres programme, which Enterprise Ireland runs jointly with IDA Ireland, continues to expand with centres launched in the areas of Cloud Computing, Financial Services and Learning Technologies.
Existing centres are already creating spin- out jobs (30 recently created from three spin-out companies of the Manufacturing research and energy efficiency centre ICMR) and delivering next generation technologies to key industry sectors such as bio-energy, nanotechnology, microelectronics and food.
Enterprise Ireland continued to introduce Irish companies to ‘big ideas’ from 3rdlevel research in 2012. More than 80 technologies were licensed to companies during the year through Enterprise Ireland’s support of the technology transfer offices in higher education institutions. A further 13 spin-out High Potential Start-Ups were approved funding.
More than 500 companies received Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 which allowed them to work with researchers in local third level institutes and colleges and access knowledge and specialist equipment.
Enterprise Ireland continued to help companies to win funding from Europe for innovative research. Irish SMEs ranked number 1 (per capita) in the EU for FP7 funding and since 2007 Enterprise Ireland has helped Irish organisations secure €485 million from the Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7) and the European Space Agency (ESA). In 2012 alone Irish based companies secured over €37 million from FP7 and ESA, both important sources of non-exchequer funding.
Frank Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland said:
“We are extremely proud of the companies we work with and their contribution to the Irish State. They have proved to be resilient and relentless in their pursuit of new market opportunities and they are to be commended on their success. Enterprise Ireland is determined to continue to support their job creation initiatives and identify and help secure overseas business in established and high growth markets. This will not only assist growth in exporting businesses, but local economies in every county in Ireland”.
“However we are never complacent, our companies are competing against the biggest and best in the world and while they are increasingly winning, we know that 2013 will be a year of continuing challenges. In preparation for this, Enterprise Ireland will focus more resources on the strategies that deliver jobs through exports, competitiveness and innovation. We will continue to increase the number of High Potential Start-Ups from within Ireland and overseas and realign where necessary, our overseas network to meet the needs of our clients”.
Noting the outturn for the year, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton T.D. said:
‘Enterprise Ireland clients are to be commended on a fantastic result for 2012. I am determined through my Department to continue to drive the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs and support an indigenous engine of economic growth. This is central to my plan for revitalising the economy. Enterprise Ireland, and the various supports it provides to domestic businesses, particularly in the exporting sector, will be a key part to this.
“Despite these very difficult times, to have highest net gains in employment in the companies it supports, is a commendable performance. I congratulate Frank, his team, and above all the businesses on this record. Although 2013 will be another difficult year, this Government is determined to continually improve our supports to domestic job-creating businesses through improvements in access to finance and reductions in costs. With the right supports I am confident that these businesses can build on this year’s performance and get more people back to work”.