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Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD encourages SMEs to consider new export markets

“Beyond Local” event hosted by Local Enterprise Offices highlights opportunities in key overseas markets

SMEs in the Mid West region have been told that enterprises in Ireland should consider the opportunities of internationalising their business as a means of overcoming the challenges of Brexit and other market developments.

Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, made the comment while speaking today at an export event in Limerick where business owners received advice and information on the key opportunities, pitfalls and challenges of internationalizing.

In light of Brexit and the potential impact to Irish SMEs, Local Enterprise Offices Clare, Limerick and Tipperary hosted the ‘Beyond Local’ event which focused on export opportunities in other key markets, namely Germany, France and the Nordics.

Guest speakers from the emerging European markets as well as exporting companies Design Pro Ltd., VigiTrust and Ei Electronics were in attendance. Various SME support agencies including LEOs, Enterprise Ireland, Enterprise Europe Network, German Irish Chamber of Commerce and Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland also attended.

Speaking at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Limerick, Minister Breen told attendees that companies with diversified export markets tend to be more resistant to local and national crises.

“In a time of major political and market change, with Brexit looming, our businesses, irrespective of stage of development or size, need to consider the opportunities and benefits of expanding their international reach and to be open to entering export markets that they may not have considered before.  

The “Beyond Local” event hosted by the Local Enterprise Offices in the region is very timely and important in in providing practical advice and information on the key opportunities, pitfalls and challenges of internationalising.”

Minister Breen added that Government and the various enterprise development agencies are committed to providing supports to help make Irish SMEs more resilient in the face of Brexit and other global challenges.

“The onus is on all of us in central Government, in local Government and in agencies, to encourage companies to think about the risks they face and to take whatever corrective action is necessary.

Key to this is providing advice and practical support to firms to engage in trade, grow their exports in pre-existing markets, and to diversify into new markets and regions around the world. The Government is also continuing to work to expand the portfolio of free trade agreements within the EU, so this too will increase export opportunities for Irish companies.”

Minister Breen also acknowledged the Local Enterprise Offices in Clare, Limerick and Tipperary for their work to support the domestic SME sector.

“As Minister with responsibility for Ireland’s network of Local Enterprise Offices, I want to congratulate them for playing a key role in helping our young entrepreneurs and small business owners to get that all important start in their entrepreneurial journey,”

In the Midwest last year, 541 new jobs were created by LEO supported companies. 2.5 million euro in grants funds were approved, 530 people received one-to-one mentoring, and more than 3000 business men and women attended training programmes ranging from Patents, Cashflow Management, Media Skills, GDPR and Cyber Security.

Commenting on the Export event, Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Clare, stated, “This ‘Beyond Local’ event offered businesses the unique opportunity to learn about other European markets from a Macro-Economic, Cultural and Trading perspective, hear first-hand from existing business about the experiences of exporting to these markets and what it is like doing business in these countries, as well as meet with various support agencies who can help SMEs on their export journey.”


About DBEI

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, or (01) 631-2200