India offers huge export potential to Irish firms

India offers huge export potential to Irish firms

Whether they’re in aviation or agritech, education or healthcare, or indeed innovating in any sector, export-focussed Irish firms should take the time to examine the vast opportunities offered by India.

 

“Irish companies can’t really afford to ignore a tech-savvy, increasingly English-speaking market of this size,” says Ross Curran, Director, India and South Asia at Enterprise Ireland. “India should be on the agenda of any Irish firm keen to expand internationally.”

 

This is indeed a huge market, with a population of more than 1.4 billion, meaning it will soon be the most populous in the world. It also has a rapidly growing middle class of 300m people, meaning it’s well on the way to becoming the third largest consumer market in the world by 2025, as forecast by Boston Consulting Group.

 

It has also been among the fastest growing economies in the world in recent years, with a growth rate of over 7% forecast this year. “It’s also a young country,” says Curran. “More than half the population is under 30 and this has led to a ‘demographic dividend’, which happens when economic growth follows an increase in the size of the working population.”

Understanding the opportunity for Irish firms

Exports to India by Enterprise Ireland client companies topped €145m in 2021. While exports from Ireland to India have been growing in recent years, that figure still represents a fraction of the true opportunity for Irish firms.

 

This was clearly evident at the recent India Ireland Business Seminar in Dublin, when Indian business leaders, corporate executives and academics joined Enterprise Ireland client companies and universities to discuss potential collaboration and partnership opportunities.

 

“India is a dynamic and technologically advanced market,” says Curran. “It has the world’s most affordable data, for example, and this has underpinned a huge digital transformation in recent years.”

 

Aviation, agritech, construction, education, edtech, healthcare, ICT, and pharmaceuticals offer particular potential for Irish companies, he adds, pointing out that Indian clients in any sector will welcome any innovative digital solutions.

Government pushes for digital transformation

Indian government investment programmes such as the US$18 billion (€17.7 billion) Digital India initiative, for example, are also driving digital transformation and economic growth.

 

This is creating clear opportunities for Irish firms in IT services (hardware and software), fintech, shared service centres, knowledge services, data analytics, mobile and wireless services, business process management and IT consulting.

 

The Indian government is also investing US$7.5 billion in smart cities initiatives across 100 cities over five years. This points to further tangible opportunities for Irish firms with expertise in Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and cleantech, as well as energy infrastructure and management.

Shared language and cultural connections

Ireland and India are quite similar culturally, and there is already a 50,000-strong community of Indian-born people in Ireland, many of whom have come here to work for Irish companies.

 

“At Enterprise Ireland, we have seen many Indian graduates begin their career working here in Ireland before returning to India to open the Irish company’s India office,” says Curran.

 

While Hindi is the official language of India and there are 22 other regional languages, English is the predominant language of business, making India more accessible for Irish firms than any other markets.

 

“While people in business tend to speak English, localisation is key,” adds Curran. “Even the biggest brands in the world must do things differently when they go to India. They have to adapt to local cultural norms, traditions and preferences. McDonalds, for example, had to devise alternatives to standard menu items it sells in other countries.”

Tailoring your offer to the market

Pricing in this value-focused market deserves special consideration, which means sales prices typically need to be significantly lower than in more familiar markets. The sheer scale of India, however, means that developing a bespoke market entry strategy is worth the effort.

 

Furthermore, this is a diverse and complex market. It’s a democracy, but the process of liberalising the economy only began gaining momentum in the 1990s. Those business reforms are still ongoing and some sectors remain protected. There can also be challenges in the form of red tape and administrative burden in some sectors.

 

The complexity and scale of the Indian marketplace means it is vital for Irish companies considering India as an export market to work with Enterprise Ireland from the earliest stages.

 

“Our market advisors can be the gateway to local knowledge and expert advice, which can help your company to determine if your offering would be suited to the Indian market,” explains Curran. “We can also help to identify local partners and distributors, a key success factor in India.”

 

From our Enterprise Ireland office in Mumbai, our team is always available to support Irish companies interested in building their presence in India with local market knowledge and expertise. Learn more about the opportunities for Irish firms in India. 

Data Centres

Data Centres in Southern Europe: significant growth means great opportunities for Irish construction companies

 

Ireland has been a major destination for data centre development since the 90s, when US tech giants all started to base their data centres on the island, attracted by skilled workforce, climate, advanced infrastructure, and a low tax rate. This also created a platform for Irish construction companies to work on major data centre projects both domestically and abroad.

 

All European markets have experienced a boom in data centre ventures. Today this is particularly apparent in Spain and Italy, with both Madrid and Milan fast becoming major destinations in Europe for the development of data centres.

 

“Milan and Madrid have been considered part of the so-called European data centre secondary market, but nowadays this definition should be considered somehow dated, due to the faster growth in terms of capacity of these two markets compared the FLAP-D (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, and Dublin)”, says Roberto Bettuzzi, Senior Market Advisor, Italy, at Enterprise Ireland. “It’s also worth noting that the two markets are complementing each other rather than competing”.

 

Growth in Spain

Currently, there are 80 active data centres in Spain, with a total of 113MW. The largest area of capacity is in Madrid and its surrounds; and current pipeline predicts capacity to increase fivefold across 14 projects. Barcelona is also experiencing growth in the sector, with projects totalling 110MW capacity in the pipeline.

 

According to Spanish business newspaper Cinco Días, the expected investment in the data centre sector in Spain is $6.837 billion until 2026. Reflecting the growing relevance of the local market, the Spanish Data Centre Association (SPAINDC) was set up in October 2021.

 

Several hyperscale and co-location operators are developing centre centres in Spain – or planning to. The list includes Amazon, Microsoft, Meta & IBM, Digital Realty and Equinix. Google has launched a cloud region in Spain with Telefonica. This led several Irish general contractors and subcontractors to bid and win contracts to work in many of these projects.

 

Growth in Italy

Italy is also enjoying strong growth. Lombardy is the most developed Italian region in the data centre sector, sustained by the strong financial sector located in Milan and high demand for cloud services from business and consumer sectors.

 

Currently, there are approximately 120 data centres in Italy, with a capacity of 151MW, and an additional 33MW under construction that should cover the growing demand. New developments are set to boost the capacity by more than 60%.

 

The area around Milan sees a higher concentration. Microsoft, AWS, Data4, Equinix and Vantage all have data centre projects either announced or under completion. The latest to join was Google, who recently announced the launch of Milano Cloud Region, in partnership with national telco operator TIM. Among local players, the company Aruba is expanding its 200,000sqm campus near Bergamo, while RaiWay announced their plan to build a network of 20 edge data centres across the country.

 

Many large Irish companies are already operating in Italy, including General Contractors like Mercury and Kirby Engineering, and suppliers like Brodeen Fabrication. “Irish companies have long-term experience in working with tech giants in the design, build, and fit out of data centres,” says Roberto, “and therefore when those clients enter into a new market like Italy, they tend to bring that cluster of successful Irish companies in too.”

 

A prosperous future

With such growth forecasted over the next few years in both countries, there’s plenty of room for more ambitious Irish businesses to enter the sector.

 

“For over two decades, thanks to their expertise, Irish construction companies continuously won significant contracts outside Ireland. Now, with the adoption of cloud services booming in both Italy and Spain and operators investing to meet the increasing demand, Irish companies are here to seize the opportunities,” explains Roberto.”


“2020 saw a boom in projects and 2021 confirmed the trend. 2022 sees a consolidation of the ecosystem, with the creation of local data centre associations and the hosting of prominent events related to the sector.

 

Enterprise Ireland’s active role

In May 2022, Enterprise Ireland led a trade mission to Madrid, bringing 13 companies in the high-tech construction sector to participate in the Madrid Platform, where the client had one-to-one meetings with Spanish and Latin American buyers in the construction sector. Besides, on the same days, EI Madrid co-hosted a networking event together with SPAINDC Association.

 

“The event was extremely successful,” says María Jiménez, Market Advisor for Spain and Portugal at Enterprise Ireland. “During the week the Irish client companies had the opportunity to network with all major players in the sector. We are already seeing real results from the event.”

 

Similar events are coming to Italy too. In May 2022, Milan hosted DCN – Data Centre Nation, the first business-oriented data centre event of its kind in the country. The huge success of the event proved how needed was such a platform where the players can meet, network, and build relationships. “In 2023 the event is set to get be even bigger” commented Roberto “and EI Milan is in a dialogue with the DCN organizers to get a more active role in this valuable networking event”.

 

Southern Europe is a location that Irish tech-construction companies should keep on their radar.

 

If you are interested in finding out more about the data centre opportunities in Italy and Spain, please contact Roberto Bettuzzi, Senior Market Advisor in Italy roberto.bettuzzi@enterprise-ireland.com, or María Jiménez, Market Advisor in Spain and Portugal Maria.Jimenez@enterprise-ireland.com

Construction

EU initiatives helps Europe’s construction sector build a sustainable future

Summary

  • NextGenerationEUrepresents an opportunity for Irish companies to break into new markets or scale their presence in existing markets.
  • EU member states are united in the push for a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050, which requires huge investment in sustainable construction and retrofitting.
  • Click or scroll down for more information about the sustainable construction market in:

Sustainability is the future of construction. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement (or COP 21), countries around the world have been striving to change how they operate with a view to keeping global warming at 2C or lower. In many countries, the decarbonisation of construction comes second only to renewable energy as the sector where most impact can be had.

Concrete and cement alone account for as much as 8 percent of global CO2 emissions, while the construction industry is also a heavy consumer of energy and other resources and generates huge levels of waste. Furthermore, existing building stocks across the region emit carbon and need to be retrofitted to operate sustainably.

The push for a carbon neutral 2050

Through the €806.9 billion Recovery and Resiliency Facility (RRF), which aims to help Europe recover from the pandemic and future-proof its economy and society, the European Union also hopes to achieve its Green Deal target of climate neutrality by 2050.

“We are all on the same page in Europe,” says Alix Derigny, Market Advisor Construction & Sustainable Build at Enterprise Ireland in France, “because every state has set greenhouse gas emission-reduction targets. The EU and national governments are putting in place grants to raise ambitions, and consumers are expecting day-to-day life to be greener.”

“Similarly, the real estate and retail sectors are putting pressure on the construction sector to accelerate the ecological transition. This issue is driving all businesses in the sector, from sub-contractors to suppliers and materials manufacturers.”

In fact, at least 37% of spending in the national plans funded by the RRF must relate to climate goals. Much of that, in turn, is going to construction and infrastructure projects.

In the effort to build a truly climate-friendly, circular economy, where waste and carbon emissions are minimised or eliminated, building and renovation methods are crucial. Prefabrication, for example, can enhance efficiency and build speed, while minimising waste.

Across the board in Europe, governments are making use of this funding to enable the Green transition. From a construction perspective, this includes work around:

  • energy retrofitting of public and private buildings, including homes and business premises
  • enabling the circular economy, through the modernisation of recycling centres and other projects
  • building green infrastructure, such as rail and other transport infrastructure.

Where the opportunity lies for Irish construction firms

As the whole industry evolves to embrace innovation, be more flexible, efficient and sustainable, many opportunities are opening up for contractors, engineering and advisory companies. It’s worth bearing in mind that large contractors are now seeking to reduce emissions across their entire value chain and will seek vendors who can meet those standards.

Irish firms are already delivering demanding construction and related projects in more than 100 countries. Ireland has particular strength in sought-after capabilities such as:

  • designing and delivering advanced infrastructure across the data, pharma and energy sectors
  • developing and implementing innovative digital and data-driven solutions, such as digital twins
  • improving resource efficiencies

There are a number of key areas in which the construction sector across Europe, and indeed globally, will welcome the solutions Irish firms can provide. “Markets like France and Germany are mature markets with an engineering culture,” says Derigny.

“You need to be innovative or have something to reduce the customer’s carbon footprint, if you want to compete with domestic suppliers,” she adds. “If you can bring those solutions, you’ll find customers with a huge appetite for them.”

Specific areas of interest to European construction customers include:

  • energy efficiency
  • sustainable heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • LEED certification
  • smart building solutions, including sensors, security and maintenance
  • 5G Technology (for IoT solutions)
  • technologies and material to reduce CO2 emissions
  • solar panels
  • AI-powered solutions
  • any other product or service that can help lead to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings

Partners and planning vital to success

Typically, says Derigny, it makes sense for Irish firms to find partners in export markets, because it increases speed to market and reduces risk, but Enterprise Ireland can advise on a case-by-case basis.

Across Europe, as for any market at present, this sector is grappling with commodity price inflation, supply chain disruption and labour shortages. None of the markets below varies from that perspective, so it’s best to be prepared and consider how you can surmount these challenges so your market entry is not derailed by external factors.

Understand the 5G market opportunity for Irish firms

The strong Irish cluster of cybersecurity firms, for example, has clear opportunities across key European markets as do Irish firms specialising in Open RAN, a technology that facilitates the deployment of 5G. Other thriving areas where Enterprise Ireland has identified significant opportunities for Irish firms include IoT and smart cities.

Among the Irish firms specialising in 5G and connectivity products and services, and thriving in EU markets, are Open RAN radio infrastructure specialists Benetel or Aspire and core cellular network software company Druid Software.

Expert advisors in Enterprise Ireland’s network of offices across Europe, together with its Market Research Centre in Dublin, can support your business as it investigates market opportunities, including by making local introductions and helping you to build your network.

If you are not sure where to start your export journey, get in touch.

Market snapshots

France

The renovation sector is thriving in France as established building and energy firms seek innovative solutions to incorporate into their offerings.

The sustainable construction landscape in France

France aims to reduce energy consumption in the building sector by 28% by 2030 and to achieve a carbon-neutral building stock by 2050.

The building sector is a priority target for France’s Energy Transition Law, which came into force in 2015, and legislation also mandates high energy performance from any renovation works. Furthermore, any new building has had to be energy-efficient since 2012, with construction of ‘energy-plus’ homes expected to become the norm.

Major players such as GA Smart Building, Bouygues and Vinci have a strong culture of innovation. They are eager to scout and integrate innovative solutions into their products, so they can offer smart building solutions to their customers.

 Energy providers such as EDF, Engie and Total Direct Energie are always looking for innovative start-ups to develop partnerships.

Understand the construction opportunityin France

Overall, the booming housing renovation market is worth €40 billion in France or about a third of the overall construction sector.

France Relance, the national recovery and resilience plan provides substantial additional public funding for energy-saving works, with €5.8 billion allocated to energy retrofitting works. A further €7.0 billion is earmarked for green infrastructure and mobility, which will require significant building work.

President Macron has set the goal of renovating at least 700,000 homes a year for five years, relying on his flagship MaPrimeRénov’ grant. This covers works related to insulation, ventilation, heating and heating control systems.

The construction activity is now in total evolution towards energy renovation and the construction of more efficient buildings – BIM, sensors, maintenance, energy efficiency, safety & security.

Selling into France

Time and patience are needed to manage lengthy sales cycles and due diligence processes. If it is approached correctly, however, France can be a significant and lucrative market for innovative, leading-edge Irish companies.

Irish companies thriving in France include:

  • Kingspan, which anticipates turning over half a billion euro in France in 2022
  • Ecocem France, a concrete products joint venture with a French firm
  • Tricel, a wastewater treatment manufacturer
  • LED Group, which makes lighting fittings
  • Robeau, which makes water-saving systems

Key players in the market include:

  • material manufacturers
  • general contractors
  • wholesalers and DIY stores
  • Specialised distributors

Top tip

Being part of a local, on-the-ground network is important in the French market. Recruiting an in-market business developer or partnering with a local company will improve chances of success.

Back to top

Germany

Huge drive for energy-efficient building and renovation represents a significant opportunity for Irish firms prepared to commit to the German market.

The sustainable construction landscape in Germany

Germany is aiming to have a completely climate-neutral building stock by 2050, but as it stands, buildings there still account for a significant proportion of its total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

In total, there are nearly 22 million buildings in Germany, and three quarters of them were built before the first energy efficiency standards were introduced in 1978. That means despite Germany’s long-standing commitment to energy efficiency, there is still ample opportunity for companies who can support with retrofitting and refurbishment, or the construction of new low- or zero-carbon developments

Understand the sustainable construction opportunity in Germany

Of Germany’s total €28 billion national Recovery and Resilience Plan or Deutscher Aufbau- und Resilienzplan (DARP), 42% has been allocated to support climate objectives

It includes €2.5 billion for a large-scale renovation programme to radically improve the energy efficiency in residential buildings, while the government is making a further €6 billion available for the Federal Funding for Efficient Buildings Program.

Irish firms will find particular opportunity in the German market around:

  • energy management
  • HVAC systems
  • insulation
  • timber construction.

Customers for Irish firms would most typically be large companies in the residential construction sector, such as Vonovia SE, Strabag AG, Ed. Zublin AG and Bauer AG.

Selling into Germany

While the main opportunities and funding lie in the residential construction sector, this is a competitive market with numerous well-established domestic competitors. At a minimum, you’ll find a strong local partner to help you with language skills and making the most of their existing relationships on the ground.

Irish companies have not had notable success in residential construction, but have gained far more ground in the specialist high-tech construction market, where their expertise in building data centres and pharmaceutical facility is valued.

 

German business culture is usually risk-averse and new entrants need to show a strong commitment to the market.

Top tip

Be as prepared and committed as you can. Germany isn’t a market for opportunistic sales. If possible, a physical presence there and regular visits to the market will mean you can take advantage of the long-lasting opportunity the German market offers.

Back to top

Italy

Opportunities abound for construction firms in Italy, where the government is committed to upgrading its building stock and overhauling its infrastructure.

The sustainable construction landscape in Italy

As Italy seeks to become carbon neutral by 2050, it is undertaking a huge public-private regeneration effort, largely driven by EU funding. With 30% of buildings in the country having historic or cultural value, there is extensive funding for sustainable restorations.

Urban regeneration projects alone are valued at €3.4bn, with €300m already spent in 2022.

Milan is a front runner, with 320 green buildings already certified and 4 ongoing major large-scale urban regeneration projects (Porta Nuova, Citylife, Uptown and MIND, the zero-carbon Milan Innovation District), where sustainability is a key driver of the projects.

 

Legislative changes and ongoing reform of the public administration will also help the country achieve its sustainability goals, especially as they should enable the construction industry to operate more efficiently.

Understand the sustainable construction opportunity in Italy

Within Italy’s €191 billion National Resilience and Recovery Plan or Piano Nazionale di Represa e Resilienza (PNRR), which is funded by the EU, €59.46 billion is devoted to the circular economy and introducing green initiatives. The government is adding a further €30 billion in grants.

Together, this spend will include:

  • €5bn on social housing, including the refurbishment of a fifth of public apartment buildings
  • €412m to refurbish judicial buildings
  • €800m to make 40,000 schools more energy efficient.

Furthermore, the PNRR also includes significant commitments around the refurbishment of infrastructure with:

  • €87bn going to construction (of which 30% will go to Lombardy, Sicily and Campania)
  • €31bn allocated to upgrade railways and ports

To encourage 50,000 or more building owners to refurbish and retrofit existing properties, the Italian government has also introduced the EcoBonus scheme. This is a €14 billion fiscal incentive aimed at improving the energy rating and efficiency of existing buildings. The scheme covers the full cost of green renovations and also incentivises homeowners by offering an extra 10% (through a tax deduction of up to €100,000 per home).

Selling into Italy

Take your time and be prepared. Invest in validating the market opportunity and building the right market entry strategy. Italian customers value strong relationships so it is worth spending time investing in building your network.

Typical customers include private construction consortiums, local contractor companies, local councils and suppliers.

Competition from local companies can be a challenge, especially if you are a first time exporter in the market. Irish firms typically find it useful to have a strong local partner in this competitive market, as this can help shorten the sales cycle, deal with the language barrier and navigate local bureaucracy.

Top tip

Direct relationships matter. Invest time in coming to the market and meeting your counterparts in person.

Back to top

Back to top

EU initiatives enable Europe to get connected and harness the power of 5G

Summary

  • NextGenerationEU represents an opportunity for Irish companies to break into new markets or scale their presence in existing markets
  • EU member states as part of their national priorities are supporting the rollout of high-speed 5G networks, which in turn is enabling extraordinary growth in cloud computing and other innovative products and services
  • Click or scroll down for more information about the 5G market in:

As digitalisation and technological innovation rapidly become both more complex and more widespread, it’s increasingly critical for Europe to have reliable, superfast connectivity. The 5G mobile telecommunications standard not only enables real-time data transmission at scale, but also intelligent real-time networking of products, processes and industrial value creation chains

And that is where opportunity lies, both around products and services that facilitate the rollout of 5G, but also in the more or less endless universe of products and services made possible by these hyperfast mobile networks.

“In the end, 5G is only the connection,” says Raul Marigorta, a Senior Market Advisor for Enterprise Ireland in Spain, who specialises in telecoms and digital technologies. “It’s what we do with 5G that will prove most interesting, whether that is eHealth and remote healthcare, VR and AR in education, smart cities, private network, Internet of Things (IoT) or many other innovations.”

The rapid rollout of 5G across European markets

Following the auction of relevant spectrum, the rollout of 5G has kicked off in most EU markets. While there are more distinct differences between markets when it comes to other aspects of technological innovation, Marigorta explains that 5G is somewhat different.

“Europe in general is quite homogeneous in the development of 5G. We don’t see many differences in the 5G rollout across countries like Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. That is because most telecom operators in Europe are mature providers such as Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Orange and/ or Telecom Italia, who are well in sync when it comes to 5G.”

How the EU is facilitating digital transformation

Through the Next Generation funds administered through the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the European Commission is actively enabling EU member states to accelerate their digital transitions, including the rollout of 5G, which is a key area for investment.

Of the €723.8 billion in loans and grants it is giving, at least 20% must be spent by member states on digitalisation, although in reality the Commission reports that at least 26% of this funding is going to digital transformation projects.

Much of that funding, in turn, is going to 5G. In April 2022, for example, the European Commission approved €2 billion in funding for Italy’s 5G rollout.

Driving SME digitalisation through cloud services

In 2022, the growth of cloud services will outpace the growth of traditional IT solutions, says Gartner. This makes cloud computing one of the most influential changes in the IT market since the early days of digitisation.

Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or cloud infrastructure services will grow tremendously in the coming years, as will platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud computing services. It’s the ongoing rollout of high speed 5G networks that makes this skyrocketing growth possible.

“Enabling SMEs to benefit from cloud technology is a key focus of the Next Generation funding, and it’s an area where Irish firms have strong capabilities,” says Marigorta.

“While Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud dominate the cloud market, there is ample opportunity for Irish firms that can offer products and services to customise and facilitate access to the cloud for SMEs who may have thought they couldn’t use cloud technology,” he explains.

SMEs are not interested in 5G as such, Marigorta points out, but in what this high speed connectivity can enable them to do. “5G is the highway that we need to facilitate cloud adoption by SMEs. If I am an SME owner, I don’t care what the underlying technology is as long as it works. I need to manage my accounting and my clients. I need to develop my operation quickly but in a quality way, and I need to do proper customer service.

“Technology is a key enabler for these classic SME needs, so there is huge space for agile new start-ups that can come up with smart ideas that make the most of fast connectivity and new technology. Irish companies are fantastic at doing this.”

Understand the 5G market opportunity for Irish firms

The strong Irish cluster of cybersecurity firms, for example, has clear opportunities across key European markets as do Irish firms specialising in Open RAN, a technology that facilitates the deployment of 5G. Other thriving areas where Enterprise Ireland has identified significant opportunities for Irish firms include IoT and smart cities.

Among the Irish firms specialising in 5G and connectivity products and services, and thriving in EU markets, are Open RAN radio infrastructure specialists Benetel or Aspire and core cellular network software company Druid Software.

Expert advisors in Enterprise Ireland’s network of offices across Europe, together with its Market Research Centre in Dublin, can support your business as it investigates market opportunities, including by making local introductions and helping you to build your network.

If you are not sure where to start your export journey, get in touch.

Market snapshots

Belgium

While Belgium has lagged in 5G connectivity, that is set to change completely by 2025. Meanwhile, uptake of private cloud and data services is strong.

The 5G and connectivity landscape in Belgium

Proximus, Orange Belgium and Telenet are the main mobile network operators (MNOs), with local private network provider CityMesh expected to become the fourth, following a recent auction of 5G spectrum band. There is limited 5G availability currently, with Proximus offering some pockets of coverage, but that is set to transform following the auction.

The Belgian national strategy for broadband kicked off in April 2021 with full coverage planned for 2025. At present, 65% of the market has access to fibre broadband, with Proximus aiming to cover 70% of premises by 2028.

Private cloud and data services are readily available in Belgium from providers such as Combell, with the country’s wide broadband coverage, fast download speeds and reliable networks making them possible.

According to Statista, 64% of Belgian organisations used cloud solutions in 2018, while 43% of the Belgian population used cloud services in 2019. Both figures have likely grown since.

Key stakeholders in Belgium

  • The Federal Public Service (FPS) Economy, particularly the new Broadband Unit in the Telecom department, which will implement the national broadband plan
  • The Broadband Competence Office, which oversees all competences in this area and supervises the implementation of the EU Connectivity Toolbox
  • Mobile network operators Proximus, Orange Belgium and Telenet (and CityMesh once it becomes one)

Understand the 5G and connectivity opportunity in Belgium

The EU is providing Belgium with €5.9 billion in recovery and resilience funding, and €480m of that is going towards supporting the digital transition. Quality goes a long way in Belgium and Irish companies have a solid reputation in the telecoms space.

Both factors contribute to this market offering solid opportunities around 5G and connectivity for Irish firms with innovative or best-in-class solutions, especially around:

  • Open RAN
  • private networks
  • Internet of Things (IoT) services.

Partnership with local firms or providing infrastructure, network or IoT services to incumbents may prove the best routes forward for many Irish firms. Cloud or data services providers should look to sell to systems integrators, solutions providers or value-added resellers in particular.

Selling into Belgium

Broadly speaking, Belgium ranks highly in innovation and is a good test market for companies looking to grow into the broader European markets by establishing a local presence or through trade.

With high levels of English fluency, language is not necessarily a barrier to entry here, although it can be useful to have a local partner who speaks French and Flemish. Belgium is an open economy, but business relationships are based on trust, meaning sales cycles take longer than in the UK or the US.

Committing to the market and finding the right market entry strategy can be the biggest challenge for Irish firms. Druid Software, for example, has found success in the market through partnering with Belgian MNO Proximus and others on a number of collaborative initiatives, including an AI-powered safety app for motorcyclists.

Top tip

Come to the market, attend the relevant trade shows, meet the right partners and establish strong relationships. Belgian partners are willing to engage, but in person works best!

Back to top

France

As France demands a cloud-first approach, 5G sites and antennas are multiplying rapidly there. That represents real opportunity for Irish firms.

The 5G and connectivity landscape in France

France Relance, the French government’s economic recovery plan, emphasises a cloud-first strategy for the public sector, while the government also announced a €1.8 billion support plan for cloud computing firms in 2021. Many French companies are also embracing the public cloud, despite lingering concerns over data privacy and sovereignty.

Most people in France support the implementation of 5G, with around half of the population expecting to get a subscription, especially to download and swap large files or to use telehealth devices.

Since the deployment of 5G in November 2020, sites and antennas have multiplied, and telcos have initiated the transition to the new generation of mobile phone standards. Marseille and Paris lead in terms of antennas, while 5G coverage remains unevenly distributed nationally.

In March 2022, the French government announced new measures aimed at promoting access to 5G for manufacturers and vertical sectors. The government also wants to simplify access to the 2.6GHz spectrum to stimulate industrial 5G projects, while exploring potential access to the 3.8GHz and 4GHz bands.

Understand the 5G and connectivity opportunity in France

Having already funded 31 research and development (R&D) projects to the tune of €478m under the national 5G acceleration plan (launched in July 2021), the government is set to provide a further €47m to seven new projects under the plan.

Irish firms can find particular opportunity in France around:

  • Private networks
  • Open RAN
  • IoT
  • Smart cities
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • eHealth

Likewise, it’s worth targeting businesses engaged in:

  • Industry 4.0 or 5.0
  • 5G use cases
  • Health
  • Data centres.

Selling into France

There are opportunities for innovative products and services. Irish firm Benetel, for example, is providing French telco Orange with radio units for Open RAN development and testing.

Flexibility in product development and collaboration is a real advantage for Irish firms, but be aware of the challenge around access to the 2.6GHz spectrum and enabling 5G private networks.

The French market can be a long sales cycle and requires trust and reliability. It usually helps to have a base in-market, visit regularly, or work with a local partner. No matter what, patience and persistence is key.

Top tip

Work with French experts to overcome complexity around tech harmonisation and spectrum access in France. Alternatively, look to work with systems integrators and operators at the forefront of 5G private network deployment.

Back to top

Germany

Leading the way in spectrum allocation, Germany is focusing on the connectivity needs of industry, while also seeking to make 5G available to everyone.

The 5G and connectivity landscape in Germany

Germany leads Europe when it comes to 5G readiness, or the proportion of relevant spectrum already allocated. Industry needs are the priority, as Germany seeks to modernise production processes through broadband, wireless real-time communications.

The Federal Republic has taken on a pioneering role in networks for local 5G applications (or campus networks), representing an important milestone for German industry

Germany has also pushed to make sure the general population has access to 5G. Telekom says 40m people have been able to benefit from the 5G network since July 2020 and providers are aiming to offer 99% of the population a connection to 5G by 2025.

Providers such as Telekom and Vodafone have already set up many 5G mobile base stations, meaning 5G is already available in some large German cities.

To achieve high coverage with 5G, Telekom and Vodafone are also using Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), which makes use of existing 4G infrastructure for 5G, depending on demand and particularly outside of cities, where the 3.6GHz frequencies used exclusively for 5G are being used first.

Understand the 5G and connectivity opportunity in Germany

Any innovative or value-adding product or service that helps to enable industrial applications, products and services that harness 5G is likely to be of interest to German customers.

Particular opportunities for Irish companies include:

Selling into Germany

German business culture is usually risk-averse and new entrants need to show strong commitment to the market. As the market is still fragmented, any company seeking to sell in Germany needs to build a clear go-to-market plan and to identify in-market partners.

This is a competitive market, so it’s vital to articulate a strong USP and be able to show how your offer brings significant commercial benefit.

Bray-based Druid Software, for example, has brought its 5G Raemis platform to Germany where it is partnering with others on cutting-edge 5G projects, including one relating to smart factory research at the University of Kaiserslautern.

Top tip

Be as prepared and committed as you can. Germany isn’t a market for opportunistic sales. If possible, a physical presence there and constant visits to the market for trade shows and direct prospect visits are key for success. This ensures you can take advantage of the long-lasting opportunity the German market offers.

Back to top

Italy

Italy is vigorously pursuing digitalisation and cloud adoption, with significant funding for extensive infrastructure and service development.

The 5G and connectivity landscape in Italy

Italy was a front runner in the EU for the commercial launch of 5G services. All four MNOs (TIM, Vodafone Italia, Wind3 and Iliad) launched 5G networks between June 2019 and December 2020 and have since expanded their 5G services, offering aggressive pricing to capture share in this competitive market.

This high-speed connectivity is vital to Italy’s efforts to accelerate:

  • digital skill-building across its population and workforce
  • the digitalisation of businesses
  • the offering of digital public services
  • the implementation of key e-government processes.

In fact, migrating public administration to the cloud is one of the key drivers of the Italian recovery and resilience plan. Italy is now fourth in Europe in cloud adoption after the Nordics (Eurostat), with the market there worth €3.84 billion market in 2021, €2.89 billion of which related to public and hybrid cloud and €891m to virtual and hosted private cloud.

Understand the 5G and connectivity opportunity in Italy

Italy’s national recovery plan supports the digital transition with a €6.7 billion investment for the deployment of a 5G/fibre high capacity network. That should bring 5G to populated areas, schools and healthcare facilities, with widespread 1 Gbps connectivity by 2026.

The EU Commission has also approved a €2 billion in Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funding for Italy to roll out a high-performing 5G mobile network.

To gain a foothold in the market, Irish companies with relevant offers should look to target:

  • Local telecom operators
  • Large system integrators
  • Local distributors or value-added resellers (VARs) for partnerships in the market.

It’s also worth noting that growth in cloud adoption is being particularly driven by skyrocketing use of platform-as-a-service (PaaS), which was up 31% in 2021. Meanwhile, data centre automation is also a fast-growing area.

Selling into Italy

Take your time and be prepared. Invest in validating the market opportunity and building the right market entry strategy. Italian customers value strong relationships so it is worth spending time investing in building your network.

Irish firms typically find it useful to have a strong local partner in this competitive market, as this can help shorten the sales cycle, deal with the language barrier and navigate local bureaucracy.

Top tip

Direct relationships matter. Invest time in coming to the market and meeting your counterparts in person.

Back to top

Netherlands

While opportunity abounds in this tech-savvy market, regulatory processes may slow down the growth of 5G.

The 5G and connectivity landscape in the Netherlands

The Dutch rank second in the world for online connectivity, with 98% of households having broadband connection and the country enjoying 95% 4G coverage. About 60% of the country is expected to have 5G services by 2030, with leading MNOs KPN and T-Mobile having launched commercial 5G services in July 2020.

The regulator, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has been reluctant to set out a comprehensive 5G roadmap while the shape of the future consumer and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions landscape, including security and value chain implications,  is still only sketchily defined. Progress will therefore be slow.

ACM is also studying how well the cloud market is working for people and businesses in the Netherlands, where Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud all operate, with Azure having 73% of the cloud computing marketing in 2020.

The Netherlands is also home to the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), one of the world’s leading digital data distributors.

Understand the 5G and connectivity opportunity in the Netherlands

While the Netherlands did not submit a recovery and resilience plan to the EU and, therefore, is not accessing any related funding, there are still plenty of opportunities in this vibrant, tech-savvy market. There is a keen appetite for cloud services, for example – the  Netherlands ranks fourth globally when it comes to public cloud expenditure.

Opportunities for Irish companies include:

  • Selling into MNOs, such as T-mobile, Vodafone Ziggo and KPN, which are all open to putting in place contracts relating to innovation, Internet of Things and partnerships
  • Finding opportunities around Open RAN, which is being trialled by network operators since October 2020 and will be key in future
  • Providing cloud and data services through a system integrator/VAR.

Selling into the Netherlands

It’s vital to show commitment to the market and boots on the ground give a strong advantage. Take the time to develop a tailored market entry strategy, bearing in mind the market is competitive and being the cheapest won’t guarantee success. A quality service and the right network connections should do the trick.

Top tip

Come to the market, attend the relevant trade shows, meet the right partners and establish strong relationships. Dutch partners are willing to engage, but in person works best!

Back to top

Spain

As Spain seeks to bring ultrafast connectivity to everyone in the country, there is keen take-up of cloud services in business and industry.

The 5G and connectivity landscape in Spain

The Spain Digital 2025 Agenda supports EU connectivity objectives. It aims to extend ultrafast network coverage to the entire population (under the Plan for Connectivity and Digital Infrastructures) and prepare 100% of the radio spectrum for 5G by 2025 (following the Strategy to Promote 5G Technology).

Spain is improving on digitalisation, but there is room to improve the uptake and use of  digital technologies, and information and communication (ICT) skills.

The adoption rate of digital technologies by firms is close to the OECD average, but is below the best performing countries in Europe. There is keen and growing interest in cloud services, where Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud are the main actors in the market.

The private cloud remains the preferred option for security services (41%), communications (41%) and storage (40%). For its part, the public cloud is consolidated in areas such as the implementation and deployment of workstation services (52%).

Understand the 5G and connectivity opportunity in Spain

Under the EU Next Generation funding programme, Spain is receiving €4 billion to support fixed and 5G connectivity, data infrastructure and the related ecosystem. It is also getting €4.6 billion for the digitalisation of industry, SMEs and tourism and culture systems, along with investments in AI.

Particular growth areas worth addressing include:

  • 5G
  • cybersecurity
  • AI
  • big data
  • open RAN
  • cloud security.

While public sector bodies such as the central government, the regional governments and local councils are potential customers, the private sector (MNOs, system integrators and so on) are more dynamic and more accessible customers. Companies to target include Telefónica, Vodafone Spain, Orange, Más Móvil and Cellnex.

Selling into Spain

The most important factor when it comes to the market around 5G and connectivity in Spain is being committed to it, which includes dedicating people to this opportunity. Furthermore, the sales cycle tends to be long so you need adequate financing in place.

Local competition is the main barrier to entry here, but there are openings for innovative offerings. Make sure you have local support in the market, so you overcome any language barrier and be mindful of cultural considerations. Bear in mind too that sales are heavily based on reputation and relationships.

Top tip

To succeed in Spain, you need to pursue a strategy of continuous and thorough follow up.

Back to top

UK Water Sector: Trends and Opportunities 2022-2025 – Webinar

 

In 2020 the UK water sector embarked on AMP 7, its five-year infrastructural spending cycle worth £51 billion. This sum covers a wide array of areas, from decarbonisation to digital, with plenty of opportunities for businesses across the supply chain to get involved in the sector.

This webinar discusses the trends and opportunities in the sector across the regulator’s five key themes, as well as AMP 8.

Topics discussed:

  • Environmental Protection

  • Carbon Reduction and Resilience

  • Digital Agenda

  • Customer Service

  • Collaboration and Innovation

  • Value for Money

  • The Future of the Sector and AMP 8

    Landing Page 2020

    a:7:{s:8:”location”;a:1:{i:0;a:1:{i:0;a:3:{s:5:”param”;s:13:”post_template”;s:8:”operator”;s:2:”==”;s:5:”value”;s:30:”template-landing-page-2022.php”;}}}s:8:”position”;s:6:”normal”;s:5:”style”;s:7:”default”;s:15:”label_placement”;s:3:”top”;s:21:”instruction_placement”;s:5:”label”;s:14:”hide_on_screen”;s:0:””;s:11:”description”;s:0:””;}

    Construction in the UK: A Guide to Legal Challenges and the UKCA Mark – Webinar

     

    In this webinar the speakers discuss some of the main legal and regulatory issues currently facing contractors, employers and suppliers in the construction sector across the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

    This webinar also discusses the UKCA mark, the new UK product marking that will replace the CE mark on 1 January 2023 in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UKCA mark will be required for construction products being placed in the market. We will also discuss the process of how to certify your products with the UKCA marking.

    Speakers Include:

    • Jamie Ritchie, Partner, LK Shields

    • Dominic Jones, Partner, Blake Morgan

    • Lisa Boyd, Construction and Procurement Lawyer, Gateley Tweed LLP and Gateley Legal

    • Robin Byrne, Head of UK Office, NSAI Certification UK

      The Future of Mobility

      EU helps to supercharge mobility, offering opportunity to Irish businesses

      Summary

      • NextGenerationEU represents an opportunity for Irish companies to break into new markets or scale their presence in existing markets
      • EU member states are seeking to digitalise their transport infrastructure and introduce or improve smart, sustainable mobility options as rapidly as possible, with hundreds of projects set to kick off over the next couple of years
      • The Enterprise Ireland Eurozone team can help you find the right mobility projects to target
      • Click or scroll down for more information about the mobility market in:

      Mobility is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Europe. That’s no surprise, given the urgency of the fight to reduce emissions and combat climate change, the surge in digital technologies enabling smart cities and towns, and the reasonable desire of urban dwellers in particular to get around quickly and easily.

      Mobility covers public transport such as buses, trams and trains, along with active modes such as cycling, shared mobility solutions such as scooters and bicycles, and electric vehicles, along with data-driven solutions for traffic management and other challenges.

      The multi-billion euro flood of NextGenerationEU funding, distributed through national recovery and resilience plans, is amping up the speed of growth in this already soaring sector. The influx of funding amplifies what is already a significant opportunity for Irish companies to enter new markets or scale their operations in other markets.

      Mobility cuts across three of the six pillars of the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility: the green transition, digital transformation and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

      Irish firms thriving in Europe

      A significant cluster of Irish companies is already winning business across the mobility space in Europe.

      Taoglas, for example, provides antennae for micromobility products to significant players such as fifteen (previously Zoov), while CitySwift is pushing to digitialise the management of bus routes and Civic offers cities the ability to better manage traffic through sensors and data.

      Zeus, an Irish company that operates three-wheeled electric scooter hire services, is already offering services in more than 20 German cities, as well as in Croatia, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Malaysia. Anadue, with which Zeus partners, is another Irish firm active in the space – it offers analytics for micromobility.

      “Clusters like this offer a competitive advantage,” explains Jens Altmann, Enterprise Ireland’s sector lead for future mobility, “because the Irish are very good at collaborating and forming a joint offer, which can be a stronger proposition. And of course you can leverage networks through the other companies in the cluster.”

      He adds that, regardless of the market, any potential entrant needs to consider how they will add value to the local mobility ecosystem.

      “People will choose the local offer if it is the same. You need a strong selling point, which you get through collaborating or having a stronger technology than others.

      “Irish companies tend to be deeper in the value chain. They’re good at niche enabling technologies and world leaders in some fields. Therefore, it’s crucial to build up networks and to have local partners. That’s key for most mobility companies, especially for new market entrants.”

      Understand the opportunity

      Significant current opportunities in most if not all European markets include charging infrastructure and other ways of optimising electric, connected or automated vehicles. Mobility as a service, where a user can plan, book and pay for a trip across multiple modes of transport in one app, is also of widespread interest.

      Shared mobility remains an opportunity, but especially in smaller Tier 2 markets as capitals and other large cities are typically saturated. It’s worth checking dive.fluctuo.com for an overview.

      Data management, data privacy, cybersecurity and systems integrity are also key opportunities, as true smart mobility hinges on both public and private sectors aligning on how to protect the oceans of data produced and used in this context.

      Take time to access the market context

      Across the EU, developments in mobility involves an interplay between the public and private sectors, and it’s vital to understand the balance before entering any new market.

      “All these kind of transport systems or mobility systems need to be integrated, centralised and consolidated,” explains Altmann.

      “That is all steered by the governments and the cities that regulate the market. Therefore, they’re the decision makers in the end. Either you tender to sell to the city or you get them to allow you to position your scooters for the consumer business.”

      As in any sector, it’s important to gather market intelligence, appreciate the need for localisation and work to build local networks if you want to break into the mobility space in any EU market.

      Expert advisors in Enterprise Ireland’s network of office across Europe, together with its Market Research Centre in Dublin can support your business as it investigates market opportunities, including by making local introductions and helping you to build your network.

      If you are not sure where to start your export journey, get in touch.

      Market snapshots

      Belgium

      Belgium remains car-dependent, with more than 30% of 1-2km journeys still made by car, but the entire mobility ecosystem is changing.  

      The mobility landscape in Belgium

      Powered by a steady influx of investment capital, the private sector has led the way in Belgium, driven by:

      • Rapid technological innovation (such as electric powertrains and automated driving systems)
      • New business models, including transport network companies
      • Increased use of drones, electric scooters and bikes

      The public sector has also ramped up activity, with the federal government raising taxes to fund charging stations, for example, while Flanders plans to build 30,000 of them.

      Congestion charges are also coming. The SmartMove initiative aims to reduce traffic emissions by 5% and time lost to traffic jams by 32% in the Brussels-Capital Region (one of the top 10 most congested cities in Europe), by levying a per-kilometre charge on all passenger and delivery vehicles.

      Key stakeholders in Belgium

      • Federal and regional government departments, including FPS Mobility & Transport and the Departement MobiliteitOpenbare Werken & De Lijn
      • Public sector mobility providers such as SNCB
      • Mobility-focused organisations like ITS.be, Brussels Mobility and Mobilité Wallonie
      • International mobility networks such as POLIS and AVERE

      Understand the mobility opportunity in Belgium

      With €1.3 billion in EU funding allocated to transforming mobility in Belgium, rail is the main national priority, with funding of €675m. Over €400m is going to finance cycling infrastructure across the country, with a strong emphasis on enabling commuters to travel by electric bikes).

      The greening of transport (€210m) is also a key focus, with Flanders and Brussels having requested €93m and €55m in European funds to green their bus networks.

      In particular, Irish companies seeking to break into the Belgian market will find opportunities in cities such as Ghent, Liege and Leuven, and in areas such as:

      • Digitalisation of mobility
      • Road safety

      Electric transport, including vehicles, bikes and scooters

      Selling into Belgium

      Broadly speaking, Belgium ranks highly in innovation and is a good “test market” for companies looking to grow into the broader European markets by establishing a local presence or through trade.

      With high levels of English fluency, language is not necessarily a barrier to entry here and Belgium is a very open economy, due to its compact size. There are also challenges, as Belgium has a complicated government structure – highly relevant when it comes to mobility – with one federal government, three regional governments, 10 provinces and 581 municipalities!

      Top tip

      Do your research before entering the market and make most of the knowledge and networks of local contacts and associations.

      Back to top

      France

      Having tended to lag in digitalisation, France is investing heavily in mobility and plans to be a leader in the mobility of tomorrow.

      The mobility landscape in France

      France is a highly industrial and engineering-focused country. Its digitalisation adoption is a step behind, but it expects to close the gap rapidly.

      Under the France Relance plan, France plans to install seven million vehicle charging points for by 2030. It also wants to see 5.3 million EVs on the road by 2028, with €1.3 billion earmarked to incentivise people to buy them.

      Other key priorities include:

      • Connected mobility
      • Modernising rail networks for both freight and passengers (train, metro, tramway and bus)
      • Rail network security
      • Cycling infrastructure
      • 5G and quantum technologies to develop future mobility, such as connected and autonomous vehicles.

      Furthermore, France is looking to mobility 3.0 and the need for sensor technology, wireless communications, computing, real-time and localisation technologies, electronic payment, traffic management, flow and security, and fleet and freight management.

      Key stakeholders in France

      • Local, regional and national government
      • Enedis for charging infrastructure
      • Public sector mobility service providers such as SNCF-Thalys-RATP
      • Private sector mobility providers such as Blablacar and Keolis

      Understand the mobility opportunity in France

      While smart transport and shared mobility are strong in Paris and the other main cities in France, there is a significant opportunity around micromobility in smaller cities, such as Toulouse or Montpellier. It’s worth noting, however, that local authorities won’t be rushed in making decisions.

      Overall, the French government is investing €570 million in an acceleration strategy to digitalise and decarbonise mobility, and the call for projects is open.

      ADEME, the government’s ecological transition agency, is focusing on:

      • the development of less consuming and less polluting vehicles
      • sustainable organisation of transport systems
      • behaviour change, including the use of mobility services, active modes, public transport and clean vehicles

      Work to renew and modernise the French road network is being accelerated, which in turn opens up significant opportunities around :

      • Digital road monitoring and predictive maintenance of road infrastructure
      • Intelligent refuelling management systems for electric mobility

      Companies offering products and services designed to optimise the power supply in order to support charging systems, rail services and so on will also find significant opportunities in France.

      Selling into France

      The mobility scene is becoming busy and French companies strongly prefer French partners, but there are opportunities for innovative products and services. Flexibility in product development and collaboration is a real advantage for Irish firms.

      The French market can be a long sales cycle and requires trust and reliability. You need to get to know who you are dealing with before real business can be done.

      It usually helps to have a base in-market, visit regularly, or work with a local partner. If you are targeting local authorities and tenders, a French presence is a must. But patience and persistence is key.

      Top tip

      While English fluency can be high, depending on the sector, many businesses choose to operate in French, especially where the end customers are consumers. It’s wise to seek support from an interpreter, local expert or partner.

      Back to top

      Germany

      While engineering leader Germany is lagging when it comes to smart cities and sustainable mobility, the market is about to skyrocket.

      The mobility landscape in Germany

      Germany’s mobility market, which is state-owned in many areas, is not yet leading compared to other European countries, while its digital infrastructure also needs development.

      Mobility here is determined by the large German automotive industry, which employs over 800,000 people. That said, German consumers, especially younger generations, appreciate eco-friendly mobility solutions such as buses, bicycles and electric vehicles.

      These will come more to the fore in the coming years as the German government and companies in the market will focus increasingly on sustainable mobility. Its current focus is on connectivity such as 5G for public transport and on regulations around micro-mobility.

      The electric vehicle market is expected to grow by 25% a year by 2026, with shared mobility growing by almost 12% annually over the same period, bringing user penetration to 79.5% from 66.4% in 2022.

      Key stakeholders

      The integration and interdependence of private firms (typically operators and solutions providers) and public players, such as municipalities, regulators and also operators, in the ecosystem is a major topic at present.

      Understand the mobility opportunity in Germany

      As Germany is lagging somewhat in terms of digital infrastructure, Irish firms have an opportunity to enter this market, as it is not at all saturated or fully developed yet.

      Several Irish firms are already active here, including:

      • Zeus Scooters in over 20 cities
      • Cubic Telecom, which works with German carmaker Volkswagen on in-vehicle connectivity,
      • Luna Systems, which is collaborating with TIER Mobility GmbH, Europe’s largest micro-mobility provider, on a test for supplying security solutions for scooters.

      Furthermore, the German ecosystem is proactively seeking new technologies and spending significant sums on new partnerships and technologies.

      Across the board, Germany tends to appreciate quality and be willing to pay for it, so is not overly price-sensitive, and it can onboard innovative solutions quickly.

      The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is providing research and development funding for all aspects of electric mobility, including drive technology, battery research, standardisation, the value chain, grid integration, charging stations that use smart metering technology, and infrastructure.

      Selling into Germany

      While the standard of English is typically good, German is often spoken in a business context and companies entering the market need German language skills.

      In addition, the German market can have challenging barriers to entry, as potential entrants need to build trust and relationships first, which can involve upfront costs and a long sales cycle. However, when the trust relationship is established, you have the basis for a long and fruitful relationship.

      Germany is currently working on the development of a future-proof integrated mobility infrastructure, which still provides challenges for the country. While the mobility market is not hugely competitive yet, once a market opens up, Germans tend to be fast in adopting and creating their own solutions.

      Top tip

      Be as prepared and committed as you can. Germany isn’t a market for opportunistic sales. If possible, a physical presence there and constant visits to the market for trade shows and direct prospect visits are key for success. This ensures you can take advantage of the long lasting opportunity the German market offers.

      Back to top

      Italy

      Italy is shedding its reputation for slow digitalisation, with a boom in micromobility and extensive funding for smart and sustainable mobility.

      The mobility landscape in Italy

      Committed to the European Green Deal 2050 and with aggressive targets to reduce emissions, Italy is focusing on sustainable mobility and smart infrastructure. Smart mobility projects are already underway in Milan, Napoli, Sardegna and Veneto.

      One in three people in Italy have changed transport modes due to the pandemic, with a clear shift from public transport to driving, walking and shared mobility.

      While Italy has been slow to digitalise, it is one of the fastest growing markets for shared mobility, driven by concerns around climate change, fuel costs and inflation.

      Micromobility is booming, with eight in 10 Italians willing to leave their cars to use shared scooters and bikes. This is positive, as Italy trails only Luxembourg in the EU for car dependency.

      Key stakeholders in Italy

      • City councils
      • Italian firms such as Bitt, Helbiz and Leonardo, which have market intelligence, national operations and significant bargaining power
      • International entrants, including Bird, Lime and Tier

      Understand the mobility opportunity in Italy

      Through the NextGeneration EU fund, Italy is receiving €31.4 billion to develop infrastructure for sustainable mobility and €68.8 billion overall for greening its economy and infrastructure.

      There’s particular focus on:

      • Smart transport and logistics
      • Smart cities, with sustainable and smart mobility at their core

      While Italy is a highly competitive market, if not a saturated one, for shared mobility in Tier 1 cities, there is plenty of opportunity in smaller Tier 2 cities around shared mobility services, such as scooters. That is due in particular to the favourable climate, tourism, and the strong university culture in these cities.

      Selling into Italy

      Irish firms will need a partner in the market to help navigate the extremely competitive market and local government bureaucracy, and to be made aware of and compete for tenders.

      Although competitors may already have a strong market share, there are opportunities for Irish companies to partner with them with white-label software solutions for smart mobility.

      Top tip

      To navigate the bureaucratic nature of public tenders in Italy, engage with a local partner or hire locally. Italian competitors have invested heavily in recruiting city managers, operations teams, and public policy teams to help scale operations.

      Local laws and tender regulations differ in every municipality so liaise with a local legal or policy expert.

      Another potential route to market is developing a partnership with an established transport or mobility company in Italy that wants to expand its smart mobility portfolio on the back of national initiatives and a booming private sector.

      Back to top

      Netherlands

      Ranked first in Europe for green mobility, the Netherlands remains a good testing ground for smart mobility initiatives, with high levels of innovation and low language barriers.

      The mobility landscape in the Netherlands

      With excellent transport and logistics infrastructure, the Netherlands is a leader in this space. The Dutch are always on the move, and the government is looking at new technologies to solve challenges related to transport, the environment and safety.

      Famous for its love of cycling, the Netherlands had an estimated 22.9m bicycles in 2019 (more than one per person), including 2.4m electric bikes. That said, the rate of passenger car ownership is growing faster than the population.

      Powered by a steady influx of investment capital, the private sector has led the way in Belgium, driven by:

      • rapid technological innovation (electric powertrains and automated driving systems)
      • new business models, including transport network companies
      • increased use of drones, electric scooters and bikes

      The public sector has become markedly more active, as many cities and others have sought to proactively shape the future of mobility in the Netherlands.

      Key stakeholders in the Netherlands

      • Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
      • Smart Mobility & Internationalization at RAI Automotive Industry NL(Dutch cluster organization of the automotive industry)
      • Large private delivery companies such as Just Eat Takeaway.com

      Understand the mobility opportunities in the Netherlands

      The Netherlands aims to be carbon neutral by 2050 and has ambitious strategies in place to achieve this, such as planning for all public transport buses to be zero-emission by 2025. It’s also eager to lead internationally on:

      • The Internet of Things
      • Smart cities
      • Connectivity

      The Dutch government, together with provinces, metropolitan areas, public transport companies and the rail infrastructure management company ProRail, has drawn up the Vision on the Future of Public Transport for 2040.

      • Two large consortia of Dutch companies and knowledge institutes will receive  €47m in government funding to develop ground-breaking electrification and hydrogen applications in automotive, maritime and air transport.

      Other key trends in the market include:

      • Mobility as a service (MaaS)- emerging service where the traveller can plan, book and pay for the entire trip through a single app.
      • Electric bikes & Bikes as a Service – Irish company Moby are powering global delivery businesses with the best ebikes and service packages including fleet management and maintenance. Another example is Kuma Bikes, an Irish electric bike company based in Dublin.
      • Reduction of congestion and emissions, through developing self-driving vehicles and improving car traffic information for drivers
      • Improving data quality and transmission to enable new trends and reduce harmful emissions

      Selling into the Netherlands

      As the Netherlands is a mature market in terms of digitalisation, that presents a challenge of its own, as Irish firms need to have an exceptional niche product or service to catch the interest of potential customers in the market.

      The keen local interest in innovation and the high levels of English fluency compensate to a degree for those looking at the market.

      Top tip

      As the Netherlands did not submit a recovery plan to the EU, there is no recovery and resilience funding for projects there, unlike all other EU member states.

      Back to top

      Spain

      Spain excels in high-speed rail and efficient public transport, but a huge push is on to move to zero-emission transport and travel.

      The mobility landscape in Spain

      Given the importance of tourism to its economy, Spain has invested heavily in transport infrastructure and connectivity, including:

      • the second most extensive high-speed rail system after China
      • extensive modern public transport in urban areas, meaning fast journey times
      • advanced high speed networks

      While there is burgeoning innovation in smart mobility, digitalisation lags behind the main European economies. Shared mobility is increasingly popular, with thousands of shared cars, motorbikes, bikes and scooters available in Madrid and Barcelona.

      Spain also lags in electric vehicle (EV) adoption, but plans to have 5m vehicles and 360,000 charging points by 2030 (up from 65,000 vehicles and 13,400 points in 2021), with significant EV battery production slated in the market. It is also testing autonomous vehicles, with a daily on-campus bus service already running at Madrid Autonoma University.

      Key stakeholders in Spain

      • Public sector (Renfe, Correos, Ports 4.0 fund)
      • Private companies (Alsa, Airbus, Ferrovial,Cabify, Acciona)
      • Smart Mobility association

      Understanding the mobility opportunity in Spain

      Spain has ambitious emission reduction goals set for 2030. To achieve them, it seeks to reduce private vehicle use by 35% in cities by 2030 and to ensure 55% of vehicles sold will be zero emissions by then, with no diesel or petrol vehicles sold by 2035. Hydrogen-powered vehicles and rail is also a priority.

      Spain is receiving €6.5 billion from NextGeneration EU in invest in sustainable, safe and connected mobility in cities and towns, including:

      • Traffic and emission reductions, through low-emission zones, high occupancy lanes, zero-emission buses, digital public transport and traffic management tools
      • Greener vehicles and charging points
      • Electric mobility
      • Improving suburban rail and digitalising rail security
      • Digitalisation of logistics networks.

      Other opportunities for Irish firms include:

      • Mobility related to ecommerce logistics and carbon emissions
      • Supporting Ferrovial’s expertise in zero carbon aviation.

      Selling into Spain

      Spain is a competitive market for mobility and typically has a relatively long sales cycle regardless of the sector, so a premium offer and patience are required.

      Make sure you have local support in the market, as you need to speak the language in this cost-driven market, and sales are heavily based on reputation and relationships.

      Spain is one of the most decentralised countries in the world, with 17 autonomous communities and five official languages, so a one-size-fits-all approach may not work.

      In fact, the Spanish state is managing 55% of the national recovery and resilience funding, with regional authorities administering the rest. Market entrants need to understand local, regional and national regulations and bureaucracy.

      Top tip

      Consider attending upcoming events such as Global Mobility Call 22 (Madrid, June 14-16 and Smart City Expo (Barcelona, November 15-17).

      Back to top

      Terence O'Rourke, Jennifer Melia and Leo Clancy at Enterprise Ireland Start-Up Showcase 2022

      Start-Up Showcase: Demonstrating Ireland’s strength in supporting entrepreneurs

       

      Events over the past few years have made the business environment challenging to navigate but have also presented some unprecedented opportunities for Ireland’s innovative and dynamic entrepreneurs.

       

      Enterprise Ireland’s aim to support start-ups

       

      In a rapidly changing world, innovation is vital, making it so important for Enterprise Ireland to nurture and support promising ideas and those who produce them.

       “We have a hotbed of talent and innovation in Ireland right now, so it’s more imperative than ever that our entrepreneurs are given the time, funding and advice to excel on a global scale,” says Jennifer Melia, Divisional Manager, Technology and Services Division at Enterprise Ireland.

      “At Enterprise Ireland, we aim to support and enable Irish businesses to lead in a changing world – and an integral part of this is those ambitious start-ups with innovative solutions to tackle global problems.”

       

      125 start-ups attend Start-Up Showcase 2022

       

      Our strength in innovation was recently demonstrated in Enterprise Ireland’s 2022 Start-Up Showcase, which was held in the Aviva Stadium on Thursday, 7 April.

      Making a welcome return in person – last year’s Start-Up Showcase was wholly virtual – the event was attended by the ‘Class of 2021’. This included 82 new High Potential Start-Ups (HPSUs), 43 approved Competitive Start Fund companies (CSFs) and representatives from each of the 32 New Frontiers programmes we supported during the year.

      This number was on a par with previous years; considering the difficult business environment in 2020 and 2021, this is testament to the resilience of Irish start-ups and entrepreneurs.

      Interestingly, and reflecting Enterprise Ireland’s commitment to supporting diversity in leadership teams, 24 of the 82 HPSUs and 16 of the 43 CSFs were led by female founders.

       

      Learning from other success stories

       

      “Investment and funding is only part of the recipe for success for a start-up,” explains Jennifer. “Learning from peers and those who have been on the starting and scaling journey already plays an important role in future success.

      As a result, this year’s conference element at Start-Up Showcase aimed to tackle two of the most important subjects for start-ups.

      The first panel focused on ‘Disruption and Customer-Led Innovation’. It featured Silvercloud Co-Founder and CEO Ken Cahill, Novus Diagnostics Founder and CEO Elaine Spain, and ACT VC General Partner John O’Sullivan.

      Centaur Fund Services Founding Partner and CEO Karen Malone, Kyte Powertech CEO Stephanie Leonard and Cubic Telecom CEO Barry Napier then shared their experiences on ‘Building a Strong Team and Funding for Scale’.

      The conference then ended with a keynote speech from LearnUpon Co-Founder and CEO Brendan Noud as his company, a HPSU from the Class of 2013, goes from strength to strength.

       

      Returning to an in-person Start-Up Showcase event

       

      Due to the public health measures, last year’s event was wholly virtual due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. But this year’s was both live streamed and in person.

      “As the start-ups would have begun their journey during lengthy lockdowns and travel restrictions, this event, in many cases, was one of the first opportunities to meet such an influential group of people – as well as their peers – in person,” says Jennifer. “There was a real buzz in the air.”

      “In total, there were 500 attendees including representatives from the Irish start-up ecosystem, including VCs and other funders, State support agencies, strategic company partners and professional and financial services, Government departments, academics, business mentors and Local Enterprise Offices.”

       

      Innovation and resilience among the Start-Up Showcase Class of 2021

       

      As companies that formed during the second year of the pandemic, the ‘Class of 2021’ have shown innovation and resilience like never before. Proving that Ireland is the “go to” country when it comes to finding global solutions, these companies produced a number of solutions in many sectors, including digital health, fintech, medtech, software, sustainability and more.

      “The ‘Class of 2021’ is really impressive,” says Jennifer. “Take a look at Amnexis Digital Solutions, based in the Guinness Enterprise Centre, a digital health company that records patient data efficiently, therefore reducing the administration workload on hospital, homecare and nursing home staff.”

      And there’s more to come. Although we are only a few months into 2022, already the easing of restrictions has resulted in a renewed energy in Ireland’s start-up community.

      “Next year’s Start-Up Showcase is looking promising even now, with a strong pipeline of promising entrepreneurs with intriguing prospects making waves across Ireland, both first-time and repeat entrepreneurs.”

      The future has never been more exciting for Irish entrepreneurs to Lead in a Changing World.

       

      Find out more about Enterprise Ireland’s supports for High Potential Start-Ups or watch the recording of the Start-Up Showcase 2022 conference.

       

      Showcase - Irish craft and design expo at RDS, Dublin

      Irish craft and design in the spotlight at Showcase 2022

       

      The return of Showcase to the RDS in Dublin was cause for celebration for Ireland’s craft and design sector.

      While 2021 saw a virtual-only trade event, which brought the country’s makers together with international buyers online, Showcase 2022 proved better than ever because it blended the benefits of a traditional in-person trade show with lessons learned about online B2B sales.

       

      How Showcase benefits the Irish craft and design sector

       

      The event is the most important date on the craft and design sector’s calendar.

      “If Showcase didn’t exist, it would have to be invented,” says Brian McGee, Market Development Director of Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI).

      “It was established by what was then the Crafts Council nearly 50 years ago on the basis that it is very difficult to bring the whole craft and design sector overseas, and much easier to bring buyers here.”

      The Local Enterprise Office Showcase features first-time exhibitors. “For any small producer starting out, who wants to sell outside of their studio, Showcase provides them with the ability to do that,” Brian explains.

      “All sorts of retailers, from pharmacies in Dublin to gift shops in Donegal, exhibit to overseas buyers who travel to find products they won’t see anywhere but at Showcase.”

       

      Unique craft and design

       

      The originality of the products is an important part of Showcase’s appeal.

      “Buyers from the likes of QVC, LL Bean and the Tate Gallery know they won’t find these goods in Frankfurt or Birmingham.”

      “Buyers come to Showcase because they get unique products of a very high quality with a story attached.”

      Its purpose is not to generate profit, but to strategically develop the craft and design sector. However, serious business is done. At Showcase 2020, €25 million worth of orders were made, up 6% on 2019.

      400 exhibitors took part in that show which was visited by 4,187 individuals, representing 2,600 businesses/shops.

      McGee correctly anticipated a strong showing at Showcase 2022. “We saw high levels of anticipation and excitement because buyers hadn’t been anywhere for two years,” he points out.

      While there were fewer buyers from long haul locations such as Asia and the Middle East, those present were very serious about buying.

       

       

      A digitally enhanced expo

       

      Because the future is likely to see an increase in online marketplaces, Showcase 2022 was digitally enhanced.

      The Showcase Connect digital platform opened to buyers two weeks before Showcase 2022 launched at the RDS, enabling exhibitors to organise meetings and pitch products.

      The platform remained open for two weeks after the show to allow exhibitors to answer queries.

       

      Craft and design innovation

       

      Another reason why international buyers visit Showcase each year is because Irish craft and design companies are consistently bringing forward new products, says Enterprise Ireland’s Ross O’Colmain.

      Examples include Allied Imports’ new collection from designer Orla Kiely and the sustainable range from Rathborne Candles.

      “For any business that is developing new product lines, a physical trade show is the best way to keep existing buyers interested, to win new buyers, and to get feedback,” Ross says.

      The craft and design sector encompasses everything from jewellery and homewares to gifts. What most have in common is growing export orientation.

       

      Strength in stories

       

      Showcase 2022 exhibitor Copperfish uses timbers reclaimed from the decking planks at Belfast harbour, where ships like the Titanic were built. These are authentic, traceable timbers with a story attached, which is why luxury stores in the US want them.

      “Buyers are looking for things that aren’t available anywhere else,” explains McGee.

      The apparel and fashion side of the sector is performing well too, says O’Colmain, who points to a rise in interest in items such as Aran sweaters, driven by influencers such as singer Taylor Swift.

      “Many businesses in the sector have posted strong sales results throughout the pandemic, which in itself is encouraging. But for companies that are launching new products, doing so without meeting, engaging with, or presenting to buyers in person is very hard. That is what has been most difficult over the past two years,” says O’Colmain.

      “People wanted to get back to those kinds of interactions, and that’s why Showcase was so important.”

       

      Showcase 2022 took place from 27 February – 2 March in Dublin.

      To enquire about exhibiting during 2023, contact Showcase Ireland.

      Mobile World Congress

      Mobile innovators went worldwide at Mobile World Congress

      Six Irish technology innovators showcased their products and services at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (MWC22) earlier this year.

      All exhibited on the Ireland Pavilion, the prestigious country stand supported by Enterprise Ireland for the duration of the event, which ran from 28th February to 3rd of March.

      A further cohort of seven companies attended the event as visitors, also with the support of Enterprise Ireland.

      World’s largest

      All had good reason to be there.

      “Mobile World Congress is the largest mobile event in the world, bringing together the latest innovation and cutting-edge technology,” says Gillian Baker, Development Adviser Digital Technologies with Enterprise Ireland.

      “In 2020 it was one of the first major trade events to be shuttered as a result of the pandemic. Last year it held a scaled back version, which is why its return earlier this year, as one of the first major industry events to take place since the advent of Covid, created enormous excitement.”

      Global scale

      With industry leaders from around the world attending MWC22, it was only fitting that Ireland’s strength in this sector should be showcased too.

      “The six Enterprise Ireland-supported companies which exhibited on the Ireland Pavilion stand were already successful in the mobile communications space, highlighting Irish capability on a global scale,” she explains.

      “These Enterprise Ireland-backed companies provide products and services that cover a broad spectrum of the rapidly changing demands of mobile technology and the wider communications sectors. With over 1500 exhibitors at Mobile World Congress, it was an opportunity for them to get in front of their market and showcase their capability, raise brand awareness and gain exposure on a world stage.”

      Facetime

      After the challenges of the past two years, when business relationships had to be maintained or developed remotely, exhibitors were keener than ever to meet in person, says Baker.

      “They were excited to get back out there in front of their business partners, to resume face-to-face business, to network and to gain exposure to potential new partners,” she says.

      Enterprise Ireland supported attendees to ensure they made the most of the commercial potential such major in-person events offer.

      “All scheduled back-to-back meetings over the duration of the exhibition, to ensure they maximised every opportunity the show afforded them,” she explains.

      As well as providing access to its deep network of international contacts, Enterprise Ireland’s sectoral experts were on hand at to support client companies.

      Six of the best

      Among the companies featured at The Ireland Pavilion at MWC22 were established Enterprise Ireland client companies such as Benetel, a provider of leading-edge radio solutions for 5G disaggregated RAN and 4G/LTE Small Cells. It works with leading vendors, partners and open initiatives such as the O-RAN ALLICANCE.

      Cubic Telecom develops IoT connected software solutions to the automotive, agriculture and transport manufacturing industries. Its platform, PACE, is used by leading companies around the world including Audi, Microsoft and CNH Industrial.

      Druid Software, a core cellular network software company and a leader in 5G & 4G Cellular technology will be there too. Its RAEMIS platform is used by internet service providers and enterprises for mission critical environments all over the world.

      Also present was Endeavour Technology, the global leader in IoT and 5G service assurance whose nSpire product is a leading-edge state of the art SaaS platform that ensures continuously reliable connectivity for customers around the globe.

      Exhibiting alongside them were early-stage Enterprise Ireland clients in the mobile technology space, Ringotel and Software Radio Systems.

      Ringotel’s platform turns any VoIP phone system into a cutting-edge unified communication solution without changing existing infrastructure and setup, enabling its clients to add conference communications functionality to their phone system in less than 10 minutes.

      Software Radio Systems develops open software for mobile radio wireless networks. Its high-performance software radio solutions for 4G and 5G, with complete UE and RAN applications, support the creation of new mobile services. 

      Value added visits

      “In addition to the six Enterprise Ireland client companies taking space on the Ireland Pavilion, seven more attended Mobile World Congress as visitors,” says Baker.

      “For these client companies too it was an unrivalled opportunity to meet with both new and existing partners, to showcase their latest offerings and to benchmark against the best available in the global marketplace.”

      All in all, the event provided enormous value to exhibitors and visitors alike.

      “We live in a connected society. Mobile connectivity solutions are already across all industries and all verticals. The advancement and roll-out of 5G will be transformative because, from smart cities to industrial IoT, the possibilities are endless,” adds Baker.

      Leading the travel sector back to profitability

      Irish TravelTech: Leading the travel sector back to profitability

       

      The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on virtually every sector, but for those in the travel industry, the past two years have been particularly difficult. However, 2022 is proving much more positive, thanks to the success of the large-scale vaccination programme. As a result, people are once more venturing back into the world, booking holidays both home and abroad. And with many seeing a boost in savings during lockdown, there is a significant appetite to splash out on luxury holidays and accommodation.

       

      In fact, we are already seeing an upturn in the travel industry, with airlines, hospitality and travel companies reporting strong demand as restrictions lift. And with travel operators looking to return to profitability as quickly as possible, this means plenty of opportunity for Irish companies working in the TravelTech space.

       

      “While travel trends in 2021 were mainly restricted to domestic and short-haul, in 2022, we are seeing the return of more long-haul travel, and a renewed focus on multi-generational travel as families reunite,” says Karole Egan, Senior Development Adviser for TravelTech at Enterprise Ireland

       

      “We are also seeing a transition towards experiential travel and epic destinations, with people who accumulated savings over the lockdowns using these resources to create unforgettable memories. In addition, we are seeing a growing link between business and leisure travel, with people increasingly adding vacation days to business trips.”

       

      As the world races towards Net Zero, a key challenge for travel operators is sustainability, especially for airlines. “Consumers are more likely to consider the green credentials of their service providers,” Karole explains. “In response, airlines including Ryanair and Aer Lingus have launched programmes to allow passengers partially or fully offset their carbon footprint. Another Irish company leading the way is fintech and business solutions provider Fexco, whose PACE platform analyses actual and predicted CO2 emissions in aircraft.”

       

      Facing the challenges of Covid-19

      To help answer some of these challenges, Enterprise Ireland has supported many Irish TravelTech companies during the pandemic as they worked to future proof their platforms with an enhanced focus on customer experience. 

       

      “Many even came up with solutions to help travel companies navigate through restrictions during the pandemic itself,” says Karole. “For example, Irish company Daon pioneered the world’s first widely adopted digital wallet for Covid-19 credentials with its VeriFLY product. And, American Airlines turned to Dublin company LetsGetChecked to develop its new pre-flight Covid-19 testing programme in an attempt to restart international travel.

       

      “However, as we now move into the recovery phase, hotel operators are facing a number of challenges as they attempt to return to profitability. For example, many are facing a significant talent challenge, as many employees chose the lengthy lockdowns as an opportunity to retrain. Automation is a key trend in improving efficiency without affecting the quality of service. Direct booking using automation gives guests a personalised service and reduces costs for the business. Irish innovators working in this space include Arvoia, Revenista and P3 Hotels.”

       

      In addition, several Irish companies are offering solutions to help airlines around the world return to profitability. “Analytics, optimisation and ancillary revenue are key,” says Karole. “Irish companies leading the way with these solutions include Datalex, CarTrawler, Inflight Audio and Planitas.”


       

      Success stories

       

      Despite the fact that the travel industry is only in the early stages of recovery, already many Irish TravelTech companies have brokered deals with some of the biggest names in the sector – proving once again Ireland’s great reputation for providing innovative and exciting solutions.

       

      “There have been several big announcements recently,” says Karole. “For example, in August 2021, Ryanair signed a license agreement with Optifly, a supplier of next generation schedule optimisation software. The airline recognised how Optifly’s scheduling software could support the company’s ambitious plans to grow traffic to 200 million passengers per annum over the next five years.

       

      “Having successfully driven ancillary revenue across the global airline industry for over a decade, Irish TravelTech leader CarTrawler recently announced a key partnership with Uber. This will allow Uber users across the US to browse and select rentals using the Uber app.

       

      “Finally, in December 2021, Datalex, a market leader in airline digital retail technology, announced a deal to support Virgin Australia deliver on its transformation strategy. Virgin will use Datalex’s software to help grow their revenue and enhance customer experience.”

       

      These are just a few of the leading Irish TravelTech companies currently making waves in the global sector. Ireland’s excellent reputation as a hub of technology innovation will mean that there will be plenty more exciting announcements as the industry continues to recover.

      Karole Egan is a Senior Development Adviser for TravelTech at Enterprise Ireland. For further information contact her at karole.egan@enterprise-ireland.com