Building resilient and sustainable supply chains to future-proof Irish business

Having weathered the storms of Brexit, global trade divisions, the Covid-19 pandemic and energy inflation, the next challenge for Irish exporters is to future-proof their business by developing resilient and sustainable supply chains.

This will require rethinking supply chain strategy and adhering to new EU legislation on corporate sustainability reporting. The challenges and potential solutions involved were analysed at the ‘Building a Resilient and Sustainable Supply Chain’ webinar, the first webinar in the Client Solutions event series.


Pain-points and solutions

“The Covid-19 pandemic and other events have seen companies fundamentally re-examine their supply chains and certain themes have emerged including localisation, diversification, digitisation, sustainability and Just-in-Time versus Just-in-Case,” said Mike Hogan, Senior Executive Global Sourcing, Enterprise Ireland

Mike’s presentation focused on supply chain pain-points and solutions identified by Enterprise Ireland client companies.


Localisation and ‘Alt Asia’

“As companies begin to ‘nearshore’ more they’re beginning to look at what our local is and local for Ireland in many cases is two to three hours flying time or accessible points by sea from Ireland,” said Hogan.

Local also means looking to suppliers in the Balkans and the North African ‘Mediterranean Lake’ countries such as Morocco and Egypt. The new post-Brexit ferry and cargo routes into France, Holland and Spain “have opened up opportunities for a lot of our clients to examine new suppliers,” added Hogan.

And as labour costs rise in China, some businesses are reducing their dependence on China and looking to what are termed the ‘Alt Asia’ countries such as Vietnam (production) and the Philippines (back-end services) for suppliers.  “While they may not be able to supply all the aspects of China in terms of a one-stop-shop, suppliers in these countries can be combined to bring together the necessary inputs that people require for their businesses,” said Hogan.

“The key takeaway from our clients is that they are looking at combining longer and shorter supply chains and also that supply chain management is a continuous activity.  It’s not something you do because you lose a supplier – it’s something that should be going on in the background on a continuous basis.”

“The key takeaway from our clients is that they are looking at combining longer and shorter supply chains and also that supply chain management is a continuous activity.  It’s not something you do because you lose a supplier – it’s something that should be going on in the background on a continuous basis.


Diversification and ‘Just-in-time’ versus ‘Just-in-Case’

Some Ireland client companies are beginning to reduce their over-reliance on specific suppliers. “Here we’re seeing examples of companies engaging with additional suppliers at a lower level to keep them on standby,” said Hogan.

He also predicts a shift from the ‘Just-in-Time’ supply strategy that has held sway for decades towards a more ‘Just-in-Case’ approach.  Companies are holding additional inventories to reduce risk, but this also creates challenges around raising capital and inventory management, he cautioned.


Resources for sourcing new suppliers

The Enterprise Ireland Market Research Centre should be the first stop for companies looking to source new suppliers, said Hogan. He added that trade shows, the commercial sections of foreign embassies based in Dublin and London, Chamber of Commerce networks in Eastern Europe and North Africa, and specialist British trade bodies are also valuable sources of leads.

And he emphasised that given the multinational profile of the Irish workforce, companies should look at tapping into their own reservoir of talent to liaise with suppliers in their employees’ native countries.


Sustainable supply chains

The impact on supply chains from climate change was addressed by Ingrid de Doncker, Co-founder and Head of Innovation, Future Planet.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge for this generation of business leaders to solve. The future of our businesses and the planet is in our hands. It all comes down to responsible production and consumption and how we can source and buy products and services better.”

“By embracing sustainability in supply chains, we not only secure a better future for our planet and society, but also create more resilient, innovative, and profitable businesses.

De Doncker also outlined how new EU legislation on corporate sustainability reporting will impact how businesses operate.

“It’s going to be the most challenging business transformation we will ever see,” she said, adding that “an unstoppable legal train has left the EU station.”

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CRSD), which came into force in January 2023, will require EU-based companies to strengthen and standardise their sustainability reporting from 2025 onwards.

The directive aims to eliminate greenwashing, and companies that fall under the CRSD will need to prioritise their sustainability reporting strategy around five key areas, said de Doncker. These are:

  • Double materiality This involves looking inwards to assess sustainability risks to the business and its impact on environment & society.
  • Looking both ahead and back Companies must provide retrospective and forward-looking sustainability analysis in their financial and management statements.
  • Stricter rules around climate-related disclosures in particular disclosure of Scope 3 emissions.
  • Third-party assurance Sustainability information must pass through an external audit process before publication.
  • Digital data and tagging Companies must prepare financial and management statements in XHTML or electronic format in accordance with the EU taxonomy.

The CRSD will be introduced on a phased basis, beginning with companies and public interest entities already subject to the EU’s Non-financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). By 2027, all companies with 10 or more employees will need to be CRSD-compliant.

For now, said de Doncker, companies should consider two fundamental questions when planning their sustainable supply chain strategy:

  1. How will you adapt your business model and your supply chain to reduce the impact of climate change?

2. What measures will you take to mitigate the impact of your business on the environment and society?

To adapt or mitigate your business and your supply chain to climate change, your first port of call is assessing and improving these related material challenges:

  • Sustainable Procurement
  • Green Logistics
  • Human Rights and Stakeholder collaboration
  • GHG Scope 3 Management
  • Circular Economy and End of Life Waste
  • Sustainable Product & Packaging Design

Building a resilient and sustainable supply chain is not always easy, but always worthwhile. To ensure transparency, collaboration across the supply chain and compliance to reporting standards, ESG enabled software can guide the journey to sustainable growth to Live Better in your business, Buy Better from your supply chains and Design Better for your customers.


Building a Resilient and Sustainable Supply Chain

Building a resilient and sustainable supply chain was the first in a series of Client Solutions events and webinars being hosted by Enterprise Ireland. The webinars offer practical solutions to the acute challenges facing businesses.

To register for upcoming events and to watch the recordings, visit Client Solutions Events



EU helps to transform Travel & Tourism, offering opportunity to Irish businesses


  • NextGenerationEUrepresents an opportunity for Irish companies to break into new markets or scale their presence in existing markets
  • EU member states are striving to transform their travel and tourism sectors around the twin pillars of digitalisation and sustainability, with thousands of projects in train or set to be completed by 2026.
  • The Enterprise Ireland Eurozone teamcan help you find the right travel and tourism digitalisation projects to target

Tourism is on the way back. While the pandemic severely disrupted the travel and tourism sector, every region saw increases in travel in 2022, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In fact, more than 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022. While this was twice as many as in 2021, it was just 63% of pre-pandemic levels. Europe fared better than most other regions, however, with numbers returning to close to 80% of 2019 figures.

Hotels, hospitality providers, travel agencies, transport companies, tour operators and activity providers can be reasonably confident of seeing improved revenues again in 2023. This is despite and in ways subject to macroeconomic challenges such as inflation and the war in Ukraine.

Broadly speaking, the industry in Europe continues to offer substantial opportunity to Irish travel tech companies. And with substantial funding flowing across the region from the €806.9 billion NextGenerationEU recovery and resilience programme, there is unprecedented

How digital tools are transforming tourism

Across the travel and tourism industry in Europe, digital solutions are making the industry more efficient and more cost-effective, while also smoothing the journey for consumers.

In the accommodation sector, for example, accommodation providers across all price levels are increasingly using digital technologies to enrich and improve their offer. This includes innovations such as:

  • Mobile or remote payment
  • Online or mobile check-in
  • Virtual assistance using chatbots
  • Virtual tours
  • Virtual keys (on smartphones).

Likewise, the cultural sector is also taking more advantage of digital tools. In this space, these can include:

  • online ticketing
  • on-site QR codes, beacons and touch screens
  • attraction-specific apps
  • interactive and virtual reality installations.

Furthermore, the pandemic also led to an increase in offerings such as virtual visits to museums or other attractions, online lessons (such as cooking lessons) and experiences, or dedicated e-commerce platforms for food, wine and crafts.

Real potential across the value chain

Across every aspect of the travel and tourism experience, from research and booking, to how people get around to their stay and what they do on their trip, there are opportunities for specialist travel tech providers to improve the experience for both the traveller and the service provider.

The opportunity is broader than specific travel tech solutions, however. Fintech, cybersecurity, and data analytics and protection firms, for example, may find valuable opportunities in this sector.

Opportunity abounds around sustainability

Under pressure from government as well as from the consumers they service, travel and tourism companies are increasingly committed to sustainability. This can include:

  • reducing energy consumption
  • cutting carbon emissions
  • reducing waste
  • sourcing local providers of goods and services.

In terms of the offer to travellers, sustainability comes to the fore in the shape of eco-tourism, slow tourism, cultural exchange, community development and environmental protection.

Other avenues to sustainability include newer trends that help to reduce overtourism and increase bookings in the low season, such as appealing to digital nomads and promoting long stay holidays, both of which are significant factors in Italy and Spain.

Irish companies thriving in tourism

While Ireland has long excelled as a tourist destination, it’s also home to an increasingly vibrant travel tech sector.

Irish companies succeeding across Europe in the sector include Campsited, a booking platform for campsites and outdoor activities, car rental and mobility solutions provider CarTrawler and biometric travel security specialists Daon.

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 making local introductions and helping you to build your network.

Market snapshots


A tech savvy-market with substantial public funding for transformation, France offers opportunities to any company with a distinctive offering.

The travel and tourism landscape in France

One of the world’s largest tourism markets, France attracts over 80m tourists every year. Across accommodation, attractions, activities, transport and other services, the sector employs millions of people and accounts for about 7% of GDP.

The government has encouraged rapid digitisation and transformation with investment in digital infrastructure and initiatives such as the French Tech Visa program. Local start-ups are harnessing emerging tech such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and blockchain to improve consumer experience.

France has a well-developed and advanced travel IT sector, across online booking and reservation systems, mobile apps, travel management software, analytics, and more. The European Travel Commission valued this sector in France at €50 billion in 2019, making it the second largest in Europe after Germany.

Sustainability is key here as elsewhere. Many French travel tech companies are working to reduce the environmental impact of travel, through carbon offsetting programmes and sustainable travel planning tools.

Key stakeholders in France

Understand the travel and tourism opportunity in France

While the French typically tend to be early adopters, there is still plenty of room for growth in the market. Furthermore, the government is investing heavily to revive and reinforce the market in the post-pandemic era.

Of the €100 billion France Relance national recovery plan, France allocated €18 billion to investments in tourism infrastructure, support for green tourism initiatives and funding for vocational training.

Furthermore, the €1.9 billion 10-year Destination France plan addresses five key challenges:

  • Recruiting talent to work in the sector
  • Reinforce the sector’s resilience and help improve the tourism offering
  • Develop French tourism assets
  • Respond to the challenge of transformation, including around sustainability and digital tools
  • Promote France and consolidate its market share

The key opportunities for Irish companies in the market are around:

  • Online booking and reservation systems
  • Mobile apps and platforms
  • Harnessing artificial intelligence and big data
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Sustainable tourism.

Selling into France

When it comes to travel tech, the French market is well established and highly competitive, benefitting from a strong culture of innovation and mostly favourable regulatory conditions. It’s crucial to have a clearly defined and innovative value proposition to present to the market.

Before starting to sell into France, research the local travel tech market to identify the key players, industry trends, customer needs, and competition. You can use this information to develop a targeted approach.

It’s useful to remember the sales cycle can be as long as 18 months in France, due to extensive due diligence. The upside is that business relationships tend to be long and fruitful after this process has been completed successfully.

 Top tip

Localisation is vital in this highly competitive market. While initial networking may happen in English, the language of business is French. If you are not ready to hire a fluent French speaker, ensure you bring an interpreter or a local partner to meetings. This is to understand important cultural nuance as well as to cross the language barrier.

Likewise, ensure your products and services are tailored to the French market. This may include adapting marketing materials and your user interface to appeal to French customers.

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Developing a local approach is key to unlocking the digital transformation potential of this large but still fragmented market.

The travel and tourism landscape in Italy

With 64.5m international tourist arrivals each year, Italy ranks fifth in terms of global tourist destinations. The sector generates €90 billion annually, accounting directly for over 6% of Italian GDP and 7% of total employment. Tourist numbers have recovered since the pandemic, with 350 million visits in 2022.

Italy also has 58 UNESCO World Heritage sites, more than any other country, and 4,292 museums. While culture and tourism are cornerstone sectors of the Italian economy, they lag when it comes to digital transformation, however. Cash payments in physical ticketing offices still account for many sales.

The Italian tourist board (ENIT) is pushing to make tourism more sustainable – 82% of accommodation facilities now use sustainable products – and more evenly balanced throughout the country. It is encouraging tourists to visit villages and rural destinations as well as the tourist honeypots of Florence, Rome and Venice.

Key stakeholders in Italy

Understand the travel and tourism opportunity in Italy

Through its National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), Italy is channelling €2.4 billion of NextGeneration EU funding to boost digitalisation in the tourism sector. This is going to fund:

  • A €100m digital tourism hub to connect the Italian travel and tourism industry
  • €1.8 billion towards greater competitiveness in the industry
  • The €500m Caput Mundi project to redevelop and revitalise Rome.

While Italy has more hotels than any other European country, most are family-owned and large hotel chains don’t have a huge presence. That makes for a fragmented market.

The same is true for the tour and activity sector, which is not dominated by big players. The outdoor sector has grown significantly in recent years in Italy, and it has the most activities available of any European country.

Selling into Italy

Italy is an attractive market for new entrants with technology solutions. It is very open to working with international vendors if their innovation is more digitally advanced than the incumbent/competitors. Digital transformation is high in the companies and local government agenda. There is a proactive interest in new technologies to support the industry and to overcome some of the challenges.

Likewise, businesses in the sector are interested in providing a more sustainable product or service offering to the tourists who visit Italy, so enabling that also presents a clear opportunity.

Top tip

It’s important to target the market directly and have a local approach. Italian companies already have the advantage of speaking the language and having a presence in the market. They also have a network of contacts, which is vital in this relationship-based business environment.

Therefore, it’s important to invest time in building relationships and to be perceived as local, with an active Italian partner or a presence on the ground.



A world leader in tourism, Spain is pushing hard to see more innovation and digitalisation across all levels of this vital sector.

The travel and tourism landscape in Spain

As the recovery from international lockdowns continued, along with the related acceleration in digitalisation, Spain saw 58.5m tourist arrivals in 2022. It leads Europe (while being third in the world) on the World Economic Forum’s travel and tourism competitiveness rankings.

Given the importance of tourism to its economy, Spain has historically invested heavily into transport infrastructure and connectivity. In recent years, it has also pushed to invest in its historical heritage, the Pilgrims Road to Santiago de Compostela and innovation in tourism companies.

The country accounts for 9.1% of the European hotels industry, with large international players dominating the market, while numerous smaller companies also vie for bookings. The big companies typically operate multiple hotel brands to appeal to different segments. Hotels at every level compete with Airbnb and other short stay platforms.

The Spanish online travel sector is pioneered by Madrid-based tech and global distribution leader, Amadeus.

Only one Spanish company, Globalia, is among the big four travel intermediaries in the market. The other are, Expedia and TUI. All four are highly active in mergers and acquisitions, as they seek competitive advantage in Spain and globally.

Key stakeholders in Spain

Understand the travel and tourism opportunity in Spain

Spain’s national allocation for grants under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) amounts to €69.5 billion. It has allocated an unprecedented €1.5 billion in 2022 to actions in its plan to modernise the tourism sector and make it more competitive.

Through the state-owned SEGITTUR company, the Spanish Secretariat of State for Tourism is heading the Smart Destinations project. This is an international model aimed at harnessing innovation and knowledge transfer to improve the sector’s competitiveness and sustainability and develop better governance in tourism.

In particular, the tourism ministry is devoting €25m to develop and implement transformative technological projects. Particular areas of focus for digital transformation in the sector include:

  • The internet of things, machine learning and big data
  • Monitoring tourist flows
  • Personalising the offer to consumers
  • Cybersecurity

The local travel tech start-up ecosystem is buoyant, receiving more funding than any other sector in Spain in 2022, according to the Bankinter Foundation of Innovation.

An interesting opportunity is the new international Tourism Innovation Hub in Madrid. Sponsored by Mastercard and backed by the Spanish government, the hub aims to help foster global, sustainable and inclusive growth for tourism.

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

Start planning now for the FITUR International Tourism Trade Fair, which will be held in January 2024 (dates to be confirmed) at IFEMA in Madrid. This is the leading global trade fair with a focus on Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking markets.

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How EI supports SMEs to develop language capabilities

Speaking the language of your customer is critical to success. As the former West German chancellor Willy Brandt famously said, “If I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen (then you must speak German).”

European markets offer extraordinary opportunities for Irish businesses – Irish exports to EU countries were €8.4 billion in 2021 – but some companies can find it daunting to consider operating in a language other than English.

Fortunately, there are significant supports in place for Irish companies to tackle and improve their language capabilities so they can protect and grow their business through diversifying their export base.

With the right language skills in-house or coming from external sources, your company can conduct superior market research, understand local culture and connect with buyers and other local partners in a deeper and more valuable way.

There are three key areas businesses should address when they want to expand into non-English-speaking countries

  1. market research in the language of the market you’re considering, so you fully get at the specific nuances of that market as well as access to important information such as regulatory requirements or market-specific reports
  2. proper localisation of your product/service including search engine optimisation (SEO) and technical language
  3. communicating with local partners, such as buyers, customers and distributors.

Enterprise Ireland offers its client companies guidance, knowledge and expertise around all of these priority pillars to ensure language capability is part of your export strategy when entering new markets.

We also offer funding and other supports aimed at increasing a company’s in-house language capability and enabling companies to make the most of new translation and communication technology. Discover some of the key supports on offer below.

Initial support from Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland has offices in nine EU countries and, in each of them, our multilingual staff have strong relationships in the markets they cover. They can support with market intelligence and local introductions and advise on other available supports.

SMEs and HPSUs with at least five employees can make use of the Market Discovery Fund. It’s designed to help cover internal and external costs associated with researching new markets and developing viable and sustainable market entry strategies. A company can apply to the fund more than once as long as each application relates to a different market.

While sales and marketing costs are not covered by this funding, it can be used for a multitude of other costs including consultancy costs, overseas travel and subsistence costs, or the translation of collateral for attending a trade show in the new market, for example.

Another invaluable support for companies seeking to expand into European markets is the programme. This programme offers ambitious companies €30,000 in salary support or 50% of annual salary (whichever is lower) for each 24-month graduate placement. A company can hire three graduates at any one time under the programme.

When a company can show a clear requirement for a graduate with language proficiency, however, the available support rises to €42,000 or 70% of the salary (whichever is lower) for each graduate. Again, a maximum of three graduates can be hired through the programme at any one time.

While those hired under GradStart cannot work in a direct sales or marketing role, they can work in any other area of the business. Enterprise Ireland clients have found this support invaluable when it comes to market research, for example.


Rapid need for content localisation

Succeeding in any new market relies in part on making strong use of digital channels. In non-English speaking markets, for example, it’s vital to have expertly localised SEO to ensure traffic is organically directed to your website and other online channels.

The Digital Marketing Capability support offered by Enterprise Ireland typically helps to fund 8-12 month strategic projects aimed at enhancing a company’s use of digital channels for business development.

The work can include:

  • Carrying out a strategic review of existing channels and the development of your digital marketing strategy
  • Understanding international best practices, along with effective digital marketing tools and strategies
  • Embedding digital marketing practices and skills in your company by developing the capabilities of senior management.


The funding covers 50% of the cost of an external consultant and 50% of the salary cost for an internal digital champion, although funding caps apply.

Any SMEs that could benefit at this point of their market expansion from retaining an external consultant with language and market expertise should consider applying for the Strategic Consultancy Grant. This funding offers 80% funding for short projects involving three to 10 days’ of an external consultant’s time or 50% funding for longer projects.

SMEs and HPSUs with more than five employees may also find they can avail of the Evolve Strategic Planning grant, especially when it comes to costs such as researching market opportunities or localising packaging and sales or marketing collateral.

Designed to support businesses who need to develop a strategic response to address business disruption, the Evolve grant offers up to €5,000 to help cover the costs associated of a short project, such as scenario planning for markets over the next 2-3 years with a consultant.

Following best practices for localisation

While it’s always possible to hire consultants and interpreters when operating in a non-English speaking country, fully committing to a market usually involves hiring staff who are native speakers or at least fluent in the market language.

Again, the GradStart funding is useful here, as is the Key Manager funding. The latter offers SMEs with more than 10 employees (and, in some cases, HPSUs) partial funding towards the cost of recruiting a senior manager with skills vital to their future growth, which can include a language capability.

The person who is hired must contribute to “significant and measurable improvements in company productivity” for the company to qualify for funding.

The roles for which this funding is available include positions such as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Chief Technical Officer (CTO).

Talk to your Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser to understand more about the supports in place to help you improve language capabilities in your business.


Export success

The First Steps to Export Success webinar


If you are considering expanding into international markets, or if you are an early stage exporter, the First Steps to Export Success webinar is for you.


This webinar organised by the Local Enterprise Offices, in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia, will heighten your awareness of market opportunities and supports available. It will examine challenges to internationalisation and feature case studies drawn from both Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland clients.


The event aims to support companies with potential for export or who are at the early stage of exporting and provide information and encouragement to guide your company into market diversification opportunities.


Designed to outline the steps to export success, this session is packed with practical advice, supports and case studies of businesses who are already on the export journey.


The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney TD will give an opening address at the event, signalling the importance of such an event for early-stage exporters and companies considering exporting.


Participants will gain expert advice on market opportunities and insights from Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Director UK, Nordics, and Global Procurement, Deirdre McPartlin and Anne Lanigan, Regional Director of the Eurozone for Enterprise Ireland.


Bord Bia’s Claudia Saumell, Client Engagement Manager, will speak about how Bord Bia engages with potential food exporters.


While Tracey Tallon of the Local Enterprise Office plus Bernadette Mooney and Naghmeh Reilly of Enterprise Ireland will outline supports available.


Hosted by Richard Curran, presenter of RTÉ’s “The Business”, this is a must attend webinar for anyone planning on developing export markets.




Localised websites win European business for Softworks

Having invested in an extensive localisation project as part of scaling its business to Germany and Italy, Softworks now sees almost all its Italian market leads and half of its German market leads come through its localised websites for those markets.

The European single market meant expanding to some Eurozone countries made absolute sense for the Irish workforce management solutions company Softworks.


“From a business strategy perspective, we knew that if we wanted to successfully grow the business, we needed to explore new markets,” says Mairead Walsh, Chief Marketing Officer at Softworks. “Doing business is easy in Europe for Irish companies as there are no barriers, one currency and we have lots in common with our European friends.”


In business since 1990, Softworks caters to clients across multiple industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, retail and the public sector. Having won a large contract in Germany and with a talented Italian employee who wanted to move home, the company narrowed its expansion focus to Germany and Italy.

Initial support from Enterprise Ireland

To put structure on its plans, the company applied for Enterprise Ireland’s Market Discovery Fund, which supports companies to undertake market research and develop viable, sustainable market entry strategies.


With this funding, it was able to conduct market research, understand customer needs, review competitors, examine routes to market and identify stakeholders. Local Enterprise Ireland advisors in Germany and Italy also provided support and insights and made valuable local introductions.

Rapid need for content localisation

Having hired in-market sales people in those markets, Softworks quickly realised its marketing team would need to develop localised websites to feed leads to the sales team. “There were no in-market events as it was during the pandemic,” recalls Walsh. “Digital was the only way and therefore the most important thing we could do was localise our website.”


Even though Softworks prioritised some content and left other parts to be localised later, it still needed about 20,000 words localised.


“The first challenge is finding someone who can cater to your needs, budget, and timelines,” says Walsh. “Localisation goes beyond simply translating text. You need to adapt your website in a way that takes into account cultural differences as well as language. It also has to be properly set up and optimised for search engine optimisation (SEO) so people can find you.”


Having secured quotes from six companies, Softworks chose Cork-based TWI to handle the localisation project.

Following best practices for localisation

Before any localisation project starts, explains Sinead Healy, Director of Language Services at TWI, she and her team take time to understand the customer’s technical web infrastructure and needs. This includes what platform it’s built on, any technical or security restrictions that apply and whether or not the customer wants a whole new website for each country or some localised material on an existing site.


With that stage complete, TWI started the project at Softworks by building a glossary of key industry terminology translating about 20,000 words of Softworks web copy.


At the same time, it worked on localising SEO for Softworks. “You can have a lovely website, but if no one sees it, it’s not serving you,” says Healy. “SEO is crucial to get your site under the noses of the people you want to see it. We take the customer’s initial seed list of keywords for the English market and adapt them for the target market.

“We’re not just translating them. We really try to speak the language of potential customers in the market. The translation of an English keyword by a free online tool may have no relation to the actual term people are using to search in Germany or Italy.”

Native speaker review crucial to success

Once the content was translated and the SEO work complete, TWI supported Softworks with implementing the localised content in its content management system. Before the German and Italian sites went live, they needed to go through a final stage – an in-context review.


“For in-context review, we ask native-speaking translators to go through the website with the eyes of the customer to make sure everything makes sense and is displaying correctly,” explains Healy.


“Typically, we use in-country linguists because language evolves. A translator who is no longer living in the country may not keep up with contemporary usage and the latest industry buzzwords.”


As Softworks already employed native speakers, it opted to call on them to help with the in-context review to help keep costs down. “We were lucky to have local people from Germany and Italy already working for us,” says Walsh. “While TWI did the heavy lifting, our own team ensured that the website made sense from a local perspective.


The TWI project also included training Softworks’ web lead on the basics of maintaining the different language versions of the website, so the German and Italian sites would remain updated.

A huge volume of leads through localised sites

Softworks now generates 95% of Italian market leads and 50% of German market leads through its localised websites. “If we hadn’t done this project,” said Walsh, “we would have been sitting there with nothing to offer our sales team.


“We got great advice from Enterprise Ireland on trade shows and publications to target, so now that everything is open again, at least half our leads can be through our website, with the rest coming through other marketing programmes we do.”


“We are also currently localising our website for the Spanish market, so our market expansion journey continues!” she adds.

Top localisation tips from TWI

  • Know your target audience: Before starting, consider the needs, interests, and values of the target audience. This will help you make informed decisions about the tone, style, and terminology you use.


  • Consider cultural differences: Website translation goes beyond language translation. Take into account cultural differences, such as local customs, traditions, and laws, as well as currency display, date formats and payment preferences.


  • Maintain consistency: Make sure the terminology, tone, and style used in your translated content reflect+ the language of your target customers. This helps to build a strong brand identity and enhance the user experience.


  • Make sure your website is seen: To gain traction on the global stage, your translated website must perform well in local language searches. Choosing the right domain and SEO keywords maximises the visibility of your translated website and boosts your ranking in local search engine results.


  • Partner with professional translators: It’s always best to use professional translators who are native speakers. They understand cultural nuances and can accurately convey the meaning and tone of the original content.
UK Health Care

Support for Health Care Innovation in the UK

This document is a simple comprehensive reference guide to the complex world of Government and Institutional support for health care innovation in the UK. It is not an analytical document but rather a descriptive one describing the role and support available from each institution and programme. It also provides extensive links to these organisations’  websites which give further detail on how to apply for support, as well as case studies on companies they have supported. In each section, the programme’s relevance to innovators has been highlighted. The healthcare innovation support environment is dynamic, with Government prone to introducing new initiatives every eighteen months or so, whilst rarely curtailing existing schemes. Consequently, over time a wide range of institutions and programs evolve.

The document can be read in conjunction with a workshop, which was delivered in November 2022, which took a more analytical view on the issues confronting the NHS, the structural changes currently occurring in health care provision and the engagement and procurement challenges for innovators in winning adoption and diffusion in the UK’s National Health Service. The documentation from this workshop can be requested by getting in touch with our UK team here.


Read the report here.

EU cyber

EU funding helps Europe’s cybersecurity sector build a sustainable future


  • NextGenerationEU represents an opportunity for Irish companies to break into new markets or scale their presence in existing markets.
  • EU member states heavily committed to upgrading the security of the public sector, while also funding improvements for private companies
  • Click or scroll down for more information about the cybersecurity market in:

In the digital age, cybersecurity is crucial. Without strong protection, both public sector bodies and private companies are vulnerable to attack and being disabled by bad actors, whether those are criminal gangs or rogue states.  


“It’s a relatively new sector, but the threat is global. Every sector and subsector is vulnerable to attack, although the public sector, banking and consumer goods companies tend to get more attacked than others,” says Raul Marigorta, Senior Market Adviser, Digital Technologies at Enterprise Ireland.  


It’s no surprise that the EU is deeply committed to cybersecurity. Its Cybersecurity Strategy is a key component of the €2 trillion Recovery Plan for Europe and every government in the region is committing huge budgets to shoring up cybersecurity.  


As Marigorta points out, this doesn’t just involve larger companies and public sector bodies, but also small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which can be especially vulnerable to attack. 


The rise of hybrid working and teleworking has compounded the risk. ‘In the past everyone was working from one physical location with one firewall,” says Marigorta, “but now maybe 50% of employees are spread in different locations. Normally people have simple wi-fi access points and non-protected routers at home, and that gives bad actors a way in. Cybersecurity today must be multi-device and multi-location.” 

Need to protect against a variety of attacks

As Marigorta points out, high level catch-all protection may have been sufficient for organisations in the past, but as threats get deeper and more varied, more complex solutions are needed.  


“The sector is not mature and threats are changing continuously,” he says. “You can control the threat today, but a new one is coming tomorrow that needs a new solution. Multiple risks need multiple solutions.” 


That means plenty of opportunity for innovative cybersecurity firms, who can find a specific niche in the market and excel there. Ireland already has a strong cybersecurity cluster offering solutions across the range of needs from SMEs, large companies to public bodies, he adds.  

Addressing the opportunity

Irish tech firms may not find it a complex challenge to pivot to cybersecurity as such, says Marigorta, but they should bear in mind there is a talent shortage when it comes to relevant programmers and software engineers. This is especially the case given that every sector needs to tackle cybersecurity.  

He adds that companies entering this market also need to be mindful that offering support and maintenance is crucial. “You can’t just install software and forget it,” he says. “It needs to be updated regularly against new threats and attacks, it’s never static.” 

On the upside, he points out that the need in different countries doesn’t differ much.   

“This is a pan-European multinational issue,” says Marigorta. “The attacks are the same, whether you’re in London, Paris, Dublin or Madrid. That means once you are solving the problem in one place, you can solve it in different markets.” 

He adds, however, that national regulations may differ, although there is broad collaboration across the EU on cybersecurity.  

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. 

Market snapshots


One size doesn’t fit all across Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where local practice and expectations can differ when it comes to buying cybersecurity solutions. 

The cybersecurity landscape in Benelux

The cybersecurity ecosystem across the Benelux region is quite advanced. Each country has a myriad of organizations, associations and professional experts dedicated purely to increasing cyber resilience. 

The internet economy makes up 6% of GDP in the Netherlands, one of the world’s most digitally connected countries, and cybercrime is a considerable concern. It’s also home to the EU’s largest cyber cluster – The Hague Security Delta (HSD). There, the Dutch Government, knowledge institutes and private organisations collaborate on cyber resilience.  

Zero-day attacks, ransomware and digital espionage are key concerns for the Netherlands. Its Cyber Security Strategy 2022–2028 sets out planned government actions and flags the upcoming merger of three national centres into one national cybersecurity authority.  

Meanwhile in Belgium, the national Cyber Strategy 2.0 aims to make Belgium one of the least vulnerable countries in Europe, from being the fourth globally for cybercrime density in March 2022.  

The Centre for Cyber Security Belgium is the relevant national authority. It prepares, disseminates and supervises the implementation of standards, guidelines, and security standards for the public sector. 

Lastly, Luxembourg’s National Cyber Security Strategy 2021 – 2025 sets out how Government intends to secure cyberspace at all levels. 

Understanding the cybersecurity opportunity in Benelux

The EU is support cybersecurity objectives through substantial funding across various funding programmes, such as Digital Europe, Connecting Europe Facility second generation (CEF2) and Horizon Europe.   

Also worth being aware of is TIIN Capital, a Dutch-based venture capital fund focused on early stage companies and scale ups active in Cybersecurity and IoT Security solutions. It’s a unique cybersecurity fund for start-ups and scale ups.  

Among the Irish companies active in the Benelux region are mobile and cloud security experts CWSI, which has pursued an acquisition strategy, buying Blaud in the Netherlands and Mobco in Belgium. 

Other Irish firms will find opportunity abounds in the region. Customers could include resellers, end users, government Departments and local Authorities. EU institutions and Third level colleges.  

Trade shows are an excellent opportunity to meet potential clients, managed service providers (MSPs), channel partners, resellers and solution houses. Good examples include the Cybersec show in Brussels, the Cyber, Cloud and IoT show in Amsterdam and ICT Spring in Luxembourg.   

Selling into Benelux

The main barriers can simply be a misunderstanding of local business cultures. The Netherlands has a high English proficiency and like direct business dealings, for example.  

 In Belgium by contrast, language is important, and having a local hire with language skills will greatly help your chances of success. There is also a longer sales cycle in Belgium, and a stronger focus on commitment and relationship-building. Belgian communication style can be less direct and can differ in Wallonia or Flanders.  

 Innovation and dedication are essential across the Benelux region. The most interesting technologies will get attention – coming to the market with a similar offering to a national competitor will be harder than arriving with something new and novel.  

 That said, solution houses want to add new technologies to their arsenals. Having a local presence will also show a stronger dedication to the market and help with local buy in. 

 Top tip 

Get into the market as often as possible. It’s difficult to build your network and get traction from Ireland. It’s important to be face-to- face, go to events and meet contacts to gain the market knowledge that will win you business. 

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The offshore wind market in France

Having caught up in recent years (with 10% annual growth between 2015 and 2020), the French cybersecurity market is now dynamic and high value. Cloud computing, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things are expected to be the main drivers of future growth.  

Given growth in cyberattacks of 155% in 2020, according to the government, there is keen interest in addressing the issue. It has been acting to: 

  • regulate the digital sector and protect data 
  • secure digital and telecommunication businesses and infrastructures 
  • develop the industrial, research and innovation ecosystem.  

France has a strong public framework to help and stimulate the French cybersecurity market, with ANSSI (the National Cybersecurity Agency) as a cornerstone.  

Showcasing French know-how in cybersecurity, the Cyber Campus at Paris-La Défense was inaugurated in February 2022. It aims to bring together cybersecurity talents and create public/private sector synergies. Further Cyber Campuses around France offer training courses and skills development.  

Understand the cybersecurity opportunity in France

In November 2022, France announced €35m in funding for SME cybersecurity. This is in addition to its cybersecurity strategy, launched in early 2021, under which it will invest €1 billion, including €720 million in public and EU funding in the sector. It aims to: 

  • triple the industry’s turnover from €7.3 billion to €25 billion 
  • double the number of jobs in the sector from 37,000 to 75,000, including recruiting 200 more staff to ANSSI  
  • create three French cybersecurity unicorns 
  • improving state and regional cybersecurity 
  • tackle attacks on hospitals, ports and maritime facilities, which have been faced with intense attacks. 

Budget 2023: France increases its investment in cyber security 

The government intends to modernise the means of fighting cybercrime with the recruitment of 1,500 “cyber-patrolmen”, the launch of a training school dedicated to cybersecurity and an emergency number set up specifically to fight cybercrime. Indeed, the government intends to modernise the means of fighting cybercrime. With this new budget, France is also acquiring new digital tools for law enforcement and even plans to create a cyber security agency dedicated to investigating cyber attacks. 

French cybersecurity firms see 75% of revenue coming from a handful of companies. Overall, the market comprises:  

  • Public authorities and operators of vital services subject to regulatory constraint  
  • A small number of mature organisations with specific and advanced needs – these include Société Générale, LVMH, Enedis, Airbus, Total and Renault  
  • Maturing customers with growing cybersecurity needs, mostly medium and large SMEs    

A handful of big local players dominate the market, integrating specific solutions from SMEs into their end-to-end offerings. Irish firms will find opportunity where they can offer innovative solutions, possible based on AI or machine learning, to tackle some of the most common issues in the market, which include: 

  • ransomware, which is the leading threat 
  • payment fraud 
  • botnets 
  • fake money transfer scams 
  • phishing 
  • device or software vulnerabilities 

Selling into France

Given local competition and to reduce time to market, it can make sense to pursue a partnership approach when going into the French market.  

Irish companies may also face challenges because of long sales cycles and due diligence processes. That said, France can be a significant and lucrative market for innovative, leading-edge Irish companies. 

Irish companies thriving in France include VigiTrust, which works with hotel chain ACCOR to ensure its payments are secure and it complies with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). 

Top tip 

Identify the right partner with existing relationships in private and/or public sector where your product or expertise complements the partner’s offering. Secure appropriate staff numbers, marketing and sales budget to develop the relationship with the partner.

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With attacks on the increase, both the government and the private sector in Italy are boosting budgets to grow cybersecurity protections. 

The cybersecurity landscape in Italy

In 2021 the cybersecurity market in Italy reached its highest ever value of €1.5 billion, up 13% on the previous year. It’s expected to be worth over €2 billion in 2024. 

As cyber threats have grown consistently, cybersecurity has become a priority for all businesses. The government has introduced related tax breaks for companies, and is creating a National Cybersecurity Park and a number of hubs across Italy. 

The government plans to devote 1.2% of the national budget to cybersecurity and set up the new National Cybersecurity Agency (ACN) in 2021. This aims to: 

  • protect the country and its infrastructure from cyber threats. 
  • guarantee the coordination of all public stakeholders as a single cybersecurity interface 
  • develop a national cybersecurity workforce through education 
  • run awareness campaigns  
  • develop a strong cybersecurity culture. 

Understand the cybersecurity opportunity in Italy

Italy’s strategic maritime location and long coastline offers strong potential for offshore wind. This is especially true in the south, and around Sicily and Sardinia, where wind speeds are higher,

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.

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

  • A commitment to reform and simplify the planning process for both onshore and offshore sites
  • €31bn allocated to upgrade railways and ports

The lack of developed supply chain in Italy offers significant opportunity for Irish companies, but they will have to contend with challenges in the market. These include complex RFPs, bureaucracy and planning processes, along with local competition and local objections.

Key stakeholders include:

  • Terna (TSO)
  • Elettricità Futura (National Association for organizations in the energy sector)
  • ANEV (Italian National Wind Energy Association)
  • ERG (Italy’s leading wind energy producer)
  • WEMES (R&D Association for OSW)
  • Eni (Italian energy multinational)
  • Renexia (renewable energy firm)

Irish firms will find opportunity in Italy around:

  • Surveying for the feasability and development stages
  • Supporting the upgrade of ports and other infrastructure
  • Digitalisation and smart energy solutions

Operations and maintenance.

Selling into Italy

Local competition can present a challenge to those considering the market. Large system integrators and international cybersecurity players dominate the market.  

Companies also often find they need to educate the market. Potential customers are often still at an early stage of adoption and are keen to find the best solutions for their needs. Consider finding a local partner to help cut your time to market.   

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. 

Top tip 

Italian companies are looking for new solutions and are open to foreign technology vendors. They prefer, however, to work with vendors with strong references, which should be local if possible.  

Italian business culture is relationship-oriented in general. Companies must develop  personal relationships to establish lasting, successful business relationships. This demands time, dedication and commitment. 


While it has lagged in Europe, Poland is set to soar when it comes to cybersecurity, with extensive public sector initiatives and funding, and substantial private sector interest.  


The cybersecurity landscape in Poland

Large Polish companies, especially in the telecoms and financial sectors, are well advanced in implementing cybersecurity measures. SMEs and the public sector lag behind, however,  due to underfunding. As a result, Poland ranks 24th in the EU when it comes to business preparedness for cyberattacks.  

Rapid growth is now likely, however, with the Polish cybersecurity market forecast to grow by 11% annually to reach US$2 billion by 2025.  

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and increased state-driven cyberattacks have put additional pressure on Polish public sector agencies.  

To address this and the overall cybersecurity threat, the government is seeking to centralise its IT resources by creating a national cloud operator to develop and maintain key IT infrastructure initiatives. This includes creating a marketplace for applications and solutions that are prequalified and pre-screened from a cybersecurity point of view. 

Key stakeholders in the market include: 

  • The influential Association of Business Service Leaders, which could offer a good door to the market for Irish companies.   
  • CyberMadeInPoland, which has 80 members and partnerships with the Polish ICT Chamber, government agencies, academic institutions, VC funds and international bodies such as the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO). It focuses on: 
  • educating the market 
  • certifications 
  • supporting international expansion of local providers  
  • creating partnerships with other similar organizations. 

Understand the cybersecurity opportunity in Poland

Through its National Resilience and Recovery Plan, Poland is dedicating €35.4 billion of EU grants and loans to reforms and investments. Of this, 21.4% is going to digital initiatives and €443m to cybersecurity in particular.   

Targeting public sector clients require significant effort and local presence. It is easier to target the private sector and more mature organisations, such as those in global business services.  

With more than 1,500 shared service and BPO centres employing over 400,000 people, it is one of the most advanced business segments in Poland and has significant appetite and budgets for digital transformation initiatives.  

Irish firms already thriving in the sector and with significant resources on the ground include Stryve (which has won a substantial public sector tender), Smarttech247, VikingCloud, and TitanHQ, which partners with Bakotech, one of the most active cybersecurity distributors in the Polish market. 

Other Irish firms will find opportunities across the whole spectrum of cybersecurity in Poland,  including: 

  • education 
  • securing remote/hybrid work environments through VPN 
  • identity access management tools 
  • detecting phishing/ransomware attempts 
  • securing existing applications and environment. 

Selling into Poland

Local presence, either direct or through a partner, is a must. Selling to the public sector requires existing relationships and a long-term strategy, however, so it’s vital to have a partner in the market.  

Furthermore, larger businesses, such as banks and telecoms companies, won’t deal with small providers out of fear they won’t to deliver to the required standard.

 Top tip 

Identify the right partner with existing relationships in private and/or public sector where your product or expertise complements the partner’s offering. Ensure you put in place enough staff and a sufficient marketing and sales budget to develop the relationship with the partner. 


Spain is a sectoral leader, but specialist Irish firms and those that can help counter the cybersecurity skills shortage can certainly find opportunity there.  

The cybersecurity landscape in Spain

Spain is taking a leading role in cybersecurity. It’s ranked fifth in Europe and seventh in the world by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s Global Cybersecurity Index.  

The government initiated the National Cybersecurity Strategy in 2013, while the Digital Spain 2025 Agenda sets a national goal of having 20,000 new specialists in cybersecurity, AI and data by 2025. Moreover, its 2022 5G Cybersecurity Law set specific cybersecurity requirements for 5G networks, while the 2021 National Digital Skills Plan addresses the digitisation of both SMEs and the public sector.  

One problem unique to Spain is that the many international technology businesses that have set up operations in the country tend to be heavy recruiters of cyber security talent, which deprives other organisations of these skills.  

The key stakeholder in the market is INCIBE, the Spanish National Cybersecurity Institute, which is responsible for the development and application of cybersecurity policies  

Understand the cybersecurity opportunity in Spain

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

    There’s high demand for cybersecurity products and services in Spain, with 94% of companies having already experienced at least one serious incident. According to the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2020, Spanish companies dedicate 15% of their total IT budget to cybersecurity. This is independent of company size: large firms spend 16.9%, SMEs 15.22% and micro-SMEs 12.34%. 

    Irish cybersecurity firms are already active in Spain. Daon, for example, supplies multi-factor authentical (MFA) technology to Telefónica Tech, which offers cybersecurity and related cloud-based technologies to Spanish and international clients. Other Irish companies will find opportunity in Spain around: 

    • Critical infrastructure security. 
    • Application security. 
    • Network security. 
    • Cloud security. 
    • Internet of Things (IoT) security. 

    Selling into Spain

    Local competition can present a challenge to those considering the market. Large system integrators and international cybersecurity players dominate the market.  

    Companies also often find they need to educate the market. Potential customers are often still at an early stage of adoption and are keen to find the best solutions for their needs. Consider finding a local partner to help cut your time to market.   

    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. 

    Top tip 

    The most important factor when it comes to the cybersecurity market 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.  

    Clearly define your route to market before jumping head-first into selling in Spain. And beat in mind that to succeed in Spain, you need to pursue a strategy of continuous and thorough follow up.  

    Women in Business

    Women Entrepreneurs Raising Venture Capital

    The evidence is in, and it’s quite clear – gender-balanced teams and businesses perform better. That’s a key reason why, under its ‘Women in Business’ strategy, Enterprise Ireland has over the past decade focused on diversity and increasing the number of women-led companies in Ireland.

    The strategy has yielded results, says Eimear Ní Nualláin, senior investment adviser in growth capital at Enterprise Ireland. “In 2011, just 7pc of Enterprise Ireland’s high-potential start-ups were led by women. By 2021, that figure had risen to 29pc. So while we may not be at parity yet, the progress is clear,” she says.

    Positive momentum is clear

    Positive momentum is also evident from the Female Founders & Funders 2022 report from Tech Ireland, which states that women-founded tech firms in Ireland raised €230m in 2021. While that’s an increase of 120pc on 2020, it still only represents just 13pc of all funding in this space.

    Across Europe more broadly, only 1.8pc of capital raised by tech companies in 2021 went to all-women founding teams, according to European Women in Venture Capital (VC).

    As a result, Enterprise Ireland continues to focus on this area to bring about positive, sustainable and long-lasting change in the entrepreneurship ecosystem and to harness the full talent and expertise of a diverse population.

    “This is vital,” explains Ní Nualláin, “as we position Ireland as a leading location for entrepreneurs to start and scale businesses, and to be ambitious about the growth they can achieve.”

    While Enterprise Ireland invests directly into companies, it also invests indirectly through seed and venture capital funds.


    “For example, under our most recent seed and venture capital scheme, Enterprise Ireland sought commercial fund proposals that help progress key EI strategic priorities, including our ‘Women in Business’ strategy,” says Ní Nualláin.  “Indeed, 70pc of the fund managers supported under such schemes have women at the partner/investment manager level.”

    Ireland leads on gender diversity

    As a result of programmes such as these, Ireland is already at the vanguard when it comes to nurturing gender diversity in private equity.


    According to Level 20, a not-for-profit organisation founded to improve gender diversity in private equity, Ireland is top of the leaderboard regarding women being senior investment professionals. In fact, women make up 28pc of the people at this level in Ireland’s private equity and venture capital industry, compared with 10pc across Europe.


    “The reasons why women have been under-represented in this space are multifaceted and complex,” explains Ní Nualláin. “One is that, the under-representation is particularly pronounced in certain industry sectors – such as deep tech, manufacturing, engineering and construction


    Under its ‘Women in Business’ strategy, Enterprise Ireland is focused on increasing the participation of women across the enterprise eco-system.”


    Enterprise Ireland is also seeking to double the number of women leading companies that grow internationally and the number who participate in our management development programmes. Through “The Level Project” we are working with Irish companies to improve gender balance in their leadership teams.


    At the same time, we’re striving to increase the number of female-founded high potential start-ups by 30%.


    “All of this is key ,” says Ní Nualláin, “not least because  harnessing the full talent and expertise of our diverse population will result in better businesses and an opportunity for faster economic growth.”

    Collaboration with the IVCA

    Recognising that raising equity finance is tough and time-consuming, Enterprise Ireland is collaborating with the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) on a pilot programme of events focused on women entrepreneurs.

    Webinar, Equity Masterclass, mentors and networking

    This programme kicked off in July with a webinar which included panel discussions from experienced women funders and a successful founder, to identify and provide examples of fundraising strategies.


    According to the Tech Ireland Female Founders and Funders 2022 report, companies with women founders raise investment amounts that are, on average, 20pc lower than the average amounts raised by all companies.


    Therefore, in recent weeks, together with the IVCA, we ran an in-person equity masterclass for women entrepreneurs, to develop a roadmap for those currently raising funds who wish to develop their investment skills and network with other women founders.


    In addition, the IVCA has provided women VCs as mentors to the entrepreneurs who attended the masterclass.


    Women VCs are also participating in Enterprise Ireland investor-ready panels, where women entrepreneurs on the programme can present an investment proposition and receive feedback from an independent panel of mentors with experience in fundraising, start-ups, and business leadership.


    In November 2022, the IVCA hosted a joint networking event aimed at bringing funders and founders together.


    With this pilot series of events, we are aiming to support innovative women-led companies with high growth potential seeking venture capital finance.


    Watch a recording of the webinar for women entrepreneurs raising VC funding.


    Discover Enterprise Ireland’s action plan for women in business.



    Practical new guide simplifies hiring and retention for SMEs


    By Mariam Dadabhay, People & Management Specialist, Enterprise Ireland


    Ask any employer what their biggest challenge is today, and most will point to the skills shortage. The Great Resignation has been in full swing and two thirds of Enterprise Ireland’s clients say they are short-staffed this year.

    That’s why figuring out how best to attract, recruit and retain key talent is top of mind for business and HR leaders, especially as we continue to adjust to hybrid working in many sectors.

    While the pandemic caused huge upheaval, employers must also ensure they meet new standards of diversity, equality and inclusion, such as by having a gender balanced workforce, for example. Likewise, they need to understand the needs of different demographics within the workforce.

    While the world of work has changed irrevocably in the past few years, there are emerging best practice approaches to identify, recruit and keep the talent you need to build your business.

    To support business owners and leaders in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland has published a detailed new guide in partnership with recruitment technology specialists Occupop – Attracting and retaining talent: How to identify, source and recruit staff for your business.

    The advice it contains draws on Enterprise Ireland’s deep expertise and knowledge of recruitment and resourcing best practices as well as the latest trends and business theories.

    This is a practical guide, with simple, straightforward guidance on every step of the recruitment and retention process, from defining a role to deciding on recognition and rewards systems. It sets out a streamline and efficient way to recruit, onboard and retain people, with step-by-step instructions to guide employers and offers plenty of tips for getting it right.

    While the guide will be useful for any business, it has been specifically written for an SME audience, taking into account the challenges they face and how they recruit new staff.

    The first step is creating a recruitment strategy, which is vital to make sure that investment in this area pays off. According to the Harvard Business Review, 80% of employee turnover can be attributed to poor hiring decisions. A sound recruitment strategy will reflect and map to the overall business strategy.

    The guide not only covers how to define a role, how to advertise it to attract candidates (including specifications for different channels) and how to create a candidate shortlist, but it also explains to employers how they can develop their Employee Value Proposition, which is a core pillar of any recruitment strategy.

    Another area that can prove challenging for SMEs is managing the candidate assessment process. The new guide offers useful how-to sections around interviews, psychometric testing and more.         It also outlines how best to onboard new employees with both short-term and long-term induction plans.

    Once you’ve successfully hired new talent, it’s important to remember that is only the beginning. The guide also offers tips how to retain your best people. This includes guidance on building and evolving your company culture, supporting diversity and inclusion, offering training and mentoring, investing in employee wellness and planning for the future.

    While workplaces and work patterns are changing, with recruitment changing too, Attracting and retaining talent: How to identify, source and recruit staff for your business gives SME owners and HR leaders invaluable tactics, techniques and processes for facilitating and evolving their HR practices, and thriving in a turbulent time for recruitment and retention.

    Enterprise Ireland also offers one-to-one guidance from our people and management specialists, access to external HR consultants, eLearning solutions and Leadership and Management Development Programmes. To find out more, please speak with your Enterprise Ireland Development Advisor.


    Offshore Wind

    Offshore wind offers fertile market for Irish firms in Germany, France and Italy


    • EU member states are united in the push for a carbon-neutral Europe by 2050, which requires huge investment in clean energy such as offshore wind.
    • Click or scroll down for more information about the offshore wind market in:

    Renewable energy is the single most critical factor for Europe when it comes to achieving its Green Deal zero carbon target by 2050. While climate change has provided huge impetus for the sector, the war in Ukraine has underscored the

    importance of independent, safe, reliable, affordable sources of energy.

    Offshore wind is a key and growing element in the drive for carbon neutrality and energy security. Wind already meets 15% of Europe’s electricity demand, according to Wind Europe, and that figure should  top 50% by 2050. It’s already as high as 31% in Ireland and 44% in Denmark.

    Most existing wind capacity is onshore, but governments and industry across Europe are now investing billions to develop and expedite scores of offshore wind projects, which are seen as key to large-scale renewable electricity  generation in future.

    Furthermore, the European Union is pushing for smart, green innovation and development across Europe through the €806.9 billion Recovery and Resiliency Facility (RRF). Distributed through national plans, this funding aims to help Europe recover from the pandemic and future-proof its economy and society, with sustainable, clean energy a key goal.

    An unmissable opportunity for Irish companies

    The huge surge in planning and construction in the industry is causing massive demand, serious supply chain bottlenecks and skills shortages. Furthermore, port infrastructure across the region needs upgrading to facilitate the transport, storage and preassembly of the huge components needed to build offshore wind farms.

    While challenging for the sector, these issues mean there are significant opportunities for Irish firms with digital, engineering and marine expertise.

    “The large developers, Tier 1 contractors and OEMs in offshore wind are looking for innovation, sustainable solutions, flexibility and a strong safety culture,” says Liam Curran, Senior Technologist with Enterprise Ireland. “Irish companies can find opportunities across the windfarm lifecycle, from initial feasibility studies and planning applications right through to construction/installation and subsequent operation and maintenance over decades.

    How to support the offshore wind sector

    Curran says companies should seek to offer services or solutions that maximise efficiency and safety or cut costs or risk. Being open to collaboration is critical, as these  complex projects involve multiple stakeholders.

    Enterprise Ireland sees particular opportunity for Ireland and Irish firms to lead when it comes to digital and data services. “The further projects go offshore, the more vital high-tech solutions become,” he explains.

    “We want everyone involved in offshore wind in Europe to know the Irish are the people to go to when IoT, connectivity, communication systems or cyber security is needed,” he said, “and we want Irish firms with expertise in these areas to consider developing an offering for offshore wind if they haven’t already.”

    In particular, the industry has significant need for support in the following areas:

    • data collection and analysis
    • cybersecurity
    • remote condition monitoring
    • telecoms and connectivity
    • artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT (internet of things)
    • automation and robotics.

    He adds that offshore wind also offers clear opportunities for:

    • engineering companies
    • contractors experienced in oil, gas, electricity and civil projects.
    • specialists in energy infrastructure, power generation and grid management
    • marine and ports services companies.

    Irish firms already leading the way

    Many Irish companies already service the offshore wind market. These include Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions, for example, a specialist offshore and marine engineering firm operating in 15 international markets, high tech surveying companies such as XOCEAN and Green Rebel Marine, and marine services specialists such as Alpha Marine and Fastnet Marine.

    Digital and connectivity specialists meeting the needs of offshore wind clients in Ireland and overseas include Vilicom, Druid Software, TechWorks Marine, BrightWind Analysis, Exceedence and EMR Integrated Solutions.

    Other firms such as Combilift and Qubus Systems are also catering to the offshore wind sector in Europe.

    Take the first steps

    Companies keen to join the offshore wind supply chain should first work to get up (and stay up) to speed on market intelligence. Attend industry events to build both knowledge and networks, and consider joining clusters such as the Gael Offshore Network. This is a cluster of more than 85  Irish companies with relevant digital, engineering and other expertise.

    Expert advisors in Enterprise Ireland’s network of offices across Europe, together with its Market Research Centre in Dublin can support you as you examine the offshore wind opportunity. This can include help with market research, market visits, making local introductions and tendering.

    Market snapshots


    Having been slow to start, France is strongly committed to offshore wind and offers a welcoming market for Irish specialist firms.

    The offshore wind market in France

    France has huge potential for offshore wind, given it has a maritime zone of 11m km2 and the second largest wind resource in the Europe after the UK. Furthermore, the French government is strongly committed to this form of energy, given the war in Ukraine and its national goal for carbon neutrality by 2050.

    France is planning to operate 40GW of offshore wind turbines by 2050, with 18GW slated to be in operation by 2035 and 2GW of offshore attributed per year, from 2025 onwards. Most of this will be concentrated on the Atlantic coast.

    Four wind farms are under currently under construction, with three other contracts awarded and five projects beginning or undergoing a tender process, including 750 MW of floating windfarms. While development has been slow in the past, all projects in that pipeline are expected to be completed within 10-12 years.

    Three pilot floating windfarms in French waters are among the first seven floating windfarms in the world.

    France’s multi-annual energy plan (2019-2028) includes its energy policy priorities, and another plan is in the works that will cover the period up to 2033. It is also updating its planning processes and marine and coastal strategy to reflect its ambitious offshore wind plans.

    Understand the offshore wind opportunity in France

    As Ireland’s nearest EU neighbour, France is an obvious and welcoming option for companies looking to diversify into Europe. Ireland is seen there as a strong player in the marine sector.

    France and Ireland are already co-operating on the energy front with advanced plans for the Celtic Interconnector, a submarine power cable between Cork and Roscoff. Ireland’s first interconnector with mainland Europe, it will connect the electricity grids of both countries.

    Enterprise Ireland has also been running market economic visits to French ports such as Brest, St Malo and Roscoff, for Irish firms to meet potential local partners and understand the local landscape.

    Across the offshore value chain, from site assessment through to operations and maintenance, Irish firms will find opportunity in France. This is especially true for areas such as:

    • Marine services
    • Geotechnical and geophysical monitoring
    • Environmental monitoring
    • Consultation, planning and advisory, including financial consulting
    • Developing ports and other infrastructure
    • Digitalisation of ports and other services
    • Addressing the significant dearth of data around some maritime areas and the impact of windfarms on local ecosystems, tourism, shipping, fishing and aquaculture
    • Installation security, especially given France’s large maritime zone and current geopolitical risks

    Selling into France

    Irish companies need time and patience to engage with the long tendering cycle, but this also means there are strong opportunities now to discover the market and tender successfully for upcoming projects. Approached correctly, France can be a significant and lucrative market for innovative, leading-edge Irish companies.

    Key players in the market include:

    • RTE [transmission system operator (TSO)]
    • France Énergie Éolienne (industry association)
    • Ministère de la Transition Écologique and Ministère de la Mare (government departments)
    • EDF Renewables (Global leader in renewable energy)
    • Main Developer firms ENGIE, Iberdrola, WPD Energy, EOLFI, Total and QAIR
    • Blade and Cable Manufacturers such as Siemens and Prysmian
    • Construction contractors, including Eiffage and Bouygues, Navantia.
    • Technology developers such as SBM Offshore, BW Ideol, and Principal Power.

    Top tip

    Being part of a local, on-the-ground network is important in the French market. It’s vital to have a sense of local adoption and to have a local partner to support with tendering and market integration. Bear in mind that Tier 1 and OEMs typically require suppliers to be pre-approved.

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    Within eight years, Germany has become a global leader in offshore wind and welcomes collaboration and partnership with innovative suppliers.

    The offshore wind market in Germany

    While Germany is now the second largest market for offshore wind in Europe after the UK, this is a recent development as it had no commercial-scale projects until 2014.

    It now has 27 operational offshore wind energy projects and installed offshore capacity of almost 8GW in the German Baltic and North Seas, and has ambitious growth targets of 30GW by 2030, 40GW by 2035 and 70GW by 2045.

    The government is accelerating the expansion of its renewable energy production to achieve climate goals and to reduce dependence on Russian energy. There are six more offshore wind projects either in construction or due to start between 2022 and 2024.

    Many in the industry have criticised Germany’s recent amendment of the Wind Energy at Sea Act, however, as they are concerned the revised tender process could ultimately lead to higher energy costs for consumers and businesses.

    Understand the offshore wind 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.

    Germany sees green hydrogen, which is produced from wind energy, as a key route to decarbonisation. This recently led to the establishment of the German-Irish Hydrogen Council, which is expected to open up a new era of energy co-operation between the two countries.

    Among the key market stakeholders in Germany are:

    • Deutsche WindGuard (service provider which publishes development statistics)
    • Industry associations such as Bundesverband WindEnergie (BWE), Bundesverband der Windparkbetreiber Offshore (BWO), WAB and OWIA (Offshore-Wind-Industrie-Allianz)
    • Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDENERGIE (non-partisan industry foundation)
    • VDMA Power Systems (trade association)

    Selling into Germany

    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.

    German business culture is usually risk-averse and new entrants need to show strong commitment to the market. Networking and getting involved with local trade associations is also vital, as these are strong in Germany and influential in this sector.

    It’s also crucial to be fully aware of and compliant with Germany legislation and any processes and regulations relating to state bodies operating in the sector.

    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.

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    Italy has been relatively slow to develop offshore wind, but interest is growing rapidly in the market, with urgent geopolitical and climate reasons to drive action.

    The offshore wind market in Italy

    Italy not only wants to become carbon neutral by 2050, but is also keen to accelerate this work to address energy sovereignty issues. Up to now, Russia has supplied 40% of Italy’s gas, representing 16% of its total energy needs, with Algeria supplying 29% of its gas.

    Change is afoot. The government is prioritising the integration and management of renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid digitalisation and storage systems. Moreover, the national renewable energy development plan (PNIEC) aims to power 55% of national electricity consumption from renewable sources in 2030, up from 39% in 2022.

    Onshore wind produces 5% of Italy’s energy, but a lack of space on land and the absence of sites suitable for fixed-bottom wind mean there’s an increasing focus on floating offshore wind. Italy aims to increase wind power from the current 10.5 GW to 18.4 GW by 2030, with 900MW slated to come from offshore.

    Despite this relatively low target for offshore wind, there is strong developer interest in the market. At the moment, only the 30MW fixed-bottom site at Taranto is operating, but Terna (Italy’s TSO) saw 39 grid connection applications for offshore wind in 2021.

    Understand the offshore wind opportunity in Italy

    Italy’s strategic maritime location and long coastline offers strong potential for offshore wind. This is especially true in the south, and around Sicily and Sardinia, where wind speeds are higher,

    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.

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

    • A commitment to reform and simplify the planning process for both onshore and offshore sites
    • €31bn allocated to upgrade railways and ports

    The lack of developed supply chain in Italy offers significant opportunity for Irish companies, but they will have to contend with challenges in the market. These include complex RFPs, bureaucracy and planning processes, along with local competition and local objections.

    Key stakeholders include:

    • Terna (TSO)
    • Elettricità Futura (National Association for organizations in the energy sector)
    • ANEV (Italian National Wind Energy Association)
    • ERG (Italy’s leading wind energy producer)
    • WEMES (R&D Association for OSW)
    • Eni (Italian energy multinational)
    • Renexia (renewable energy firm)

    Irish firms will find opportunity in Italy around:

    • Surveying for the feasability and development stages
    • Supporting the upgrade of ports and other infrastructure
    • Digitalisation and smart energy solutions

    Operations and maintenance.

    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.

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    Irish beauty brands in the global spotlight at Cosmoprof

    Around the world, Ireland has a strong brand reputation for high quality, natural, sustainable products in multiple sectors. That is particularly true of beauty and cosmetics, a sector in which many Irish entrepreneurs are rising.


    For the first time, Irish beauty and cosmetics companies will be showcased at a national pavilion at Cosmoprof Worldwide in the Italian city of Bologna next March.


    This is the largest beauty trade event in Europe and one of the leading trade shows for the sector in the world, explains Rachael James, Senior Development Adviser, Retail, Consumer & Online, Enterprise Ireland.


    With 220,000 visitors and more than 2,700 exhibitors from 70 countries, Cosmoprof is considered to be the meeting ground for sourcing new buyers, scouting distributors, and gauging competitor activity.


    “For Irish brands with international ambition, it’s undoubtedly a valuable opportunity to position themselves in front of buyers and alongside best-in-class European counterparts,” says James.


    “While some Irish brands have exhibited individually at Cosmoprof in the past, this is the first time they will be curated together as part of a high-impact national pavilion, which will undoubtedly attract high footfall at the event.”

    Digital and in-store sales powering growth

    The Cosmoprof pavilion is another stepping stone in the stellar growth of the Irish beauty and cosmetic sector, which saw double-digit growth in both sales and exports in 2021.


    Much of this growth has been driven by digital tools powering online sales, but Irish brands are increasingly securing shelf space in international retail chains and opening their own stores.


    On the back of significant online sales, natural ingredient and science-driven skincare company Pestle & Mortar (founded by Sonia Deasy) has recently opened in Kildare Village.


    Similarly, Fragrances of Ireland, which continues to supply a growing digital audience and premium USA stores, has also opened a new sea-inspired flagship Inis store in the upscale resort of Huntingdon Beach, south of Los Angeles.


    Another young company, Sculpted by Aimee Connolly, has achieved significant success selling into Boots stores across the UK and has recently opened its own store in Dublin’s Grafton Street.


    Other vibrant younger Irish brands leading the way include Skingredients, founded by entrepreneur and skin guru Jennifer Rock, along with Nunaia, Ella & Jo Cosmetics, Nutramara and Frances Prescott.


    “Likewise, we’re seeing strong growth by companies such as The Kind Brand Company (TanOrganic and VeganTan), The Handmade Soap Company, The Burren Perfumery, VOYA and Green Angel,” adds James. “They’re all leading the way in the field with impressive growth and exports to multiple markets.”


    All these brands are characterised by a commitment to quality and excellence in terms of ingredients.

    Supporting growth in uncertain times

    At Enterprise Ireland, we are working to build a collaborative environment for these companies to scale further internationally, and their success is growing, despite ongoing market uncertainty and global issues. 


    “Health and beauty, like every other sector, faces unprecedented challenges, including difficulties around supply chain and logistics, inflation, higher ingredient costs and staffing challenges,” says James.


    “The client companies we work with in this sector strive to become lean, more digital and more sustainable so as to remain competitive.”

    Digital development is high priority

    Key priorities for many of these firms include developing and investing in digital delivery channels, which are vital to exporting and the need to offer sustainable products and packaging, with the company ethos informing that work.


    “Through Enterprise Ireland supports, our clients are developing their digitalisation roadmap,” says James. “They’re optimising their e-commerce platforms and using automation where appropriate to reduce operational costs and further enhance their client experience, whether they are selling to businesses or consumers.

    Enterprise Ireland gives global support

    Our network of 40 overseas offices actively supports clients as they embark on entering new markets, helping with market discovery and research, making introductions and bringing buyers to Ireland. We also always advise clients to make full use of Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre in Dublin too. 


    On the ground, the efforts to develop the national pavilion at Cosmoprof are being led by Enterprise Ireland’s Roberta Di Gesu’ in Milan, Jane Greene in Dusseldorf and our director in Italy, John Roche. The Enterprise Ireland global teams are also working to bring buyers to the event to meet our client companies.


    “Cosmoprof 2022, held earlier this year, was the first physical Cosmoprof since the pandemic, and it ultimately proved to be a fundamental step in restoring confidence in the entire beauty sector and confirmed the event’s importance globally,” said Di Gesu’ from Enterprise Ireland’s Milan office.


    “Cosmoprof is by far the most important sectoral trade show for beauty and cosmetic enterprises in Europe,” she added. “Companies attending will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from newcomers, established brands, retail chains, online marketplaces such as Amazon, and international agents and distributors,” she added.


    If you’re interested in exhibiting at the Ireland pavilion at Cosmoprof (March 16 to 18), please get in touch with


    UK and the Nordics

    Irish exporters can find ample opportunity in both the UK and the Nordics

    While our new trading relationship with our closest neighbours has caused some challenges for Irish companies, the UK undoubtedly remains a critically important market for Irish industry, and an important first export market.


    In fact, at the recent International Markets Week event run by Enterprise Ireland in the RDS, one of Ireland’s biggest annual business events, new exporters and start-ups comprised two thirds of the Irish companies meeting with the organisation’s team of UK market advisers. Despite evident challenges, this market is still hugely attractive to Irish exporters.


    It’s not surprising, when we consider that the UK and the Nordic markets collectively accounted for €9.6 billion of global exports from Enterprise Ireland-supported companies in 2021. That represented 35% of all exports from Enterprise Ireland-supported companies last year, and an increase of €1.38 billion on the previous year.


    Despite the additional complexities since Brexit, it’s clear that the UK remains the dominant market for many of the companies supported by Enterprise Ireland, says Marina Donohoe, Regional Director UK, Nordics & Global Procurement, Enterprise Ireland.


    “It remains a crucial market for companies to scale in and to use as a stepping-stone to further export markets. One key reason for that is the strong reputation of Irish companies in Britain, and the resilience and agility they’ve shown in the face of recent challenges,” she says. “One key reason for that is the strong reputation of Irish companies in Britain, and the resilience and agility they’ve shown in the face of recent challenges.”

    Irish exporters thriving across sectors

    As we build on the strong links that have been in place between our countries for centuries, we’re also seeing a new generation of exporters across sectors such as digital technologies, renewable energy and modular construction.


    Likewise, in London, which remains the financial services capital of Europe, Irish companies specialising in digital finance and payment technology have an impressive reputation in this highly regulated industry.


    “Consumer retail is another thriving sector for Irish companies exporting to the UK,” explains Marina.


    “In the past decade, we’ve seen brands such as Therapie, Max Benjamin, Pestle & Mortar and Gym+Coffee become really well established there. And recently, the hugely popular Irish beauty brand Sculpted by Aimee has also launched in Boots stores across the UK.  It’s also worth bearing in mind that the UK is the third largest e-commerce market in the world.”

    Scaling from across the UK

    We’re also seeing more and more Irish exporters who appreciate the value of starting their UK operations in cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, and scaling from there. In these locations in particular, they benefit from long-standing relationships between the cities and Ireland.


    Throughout the UK, Irish companies employ 117,000 people, making an important economic impact in their nearest market. Enterprise Ireland has expanded its team in the UK in recent years, opening a new office in Manchester in 2018 and planning to expand our footprint to Scotland in 2023.

    Nordics prove accessible for Irish firms

    Exports to the Nordics from Enterprise Ireland-supported companies are also growing rapidly, and have risen from €442m in 2011 to €1.24 billion in 2021.


    “While there is a preconception in Ireland that these markets (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland) are expensive and difficult to access, once companies start to do business in the region, they find it is much more accessible than they initially thought,” says Marina.


    In fact, English is widely spoken and customers in the Nordics are willing to pay for innovation, with particular opportunities for Irish firms across high tech construction, life sciences, digital technologies and consumer retail.


    “As these markets combined represent the 11th largest economy in the world, they’re a natural focus for consideration for any Irish business seeking to expand its internationalisation focus,” Marina adds.

    Expanding services across the Nordics

    Reflecting the strong demand for support and the clear market potential, Enterprise Ireland expanded the team, opened its office in Copenhagen in 2019 and established a wider network of pathfinders throughout the region. We also plan to extend our operations in the Nordics in 2023.


    Regardless of the preconceptions, Irish firms may have about doing business in the UK and the Nordics, the statistics clearly tell the story of Irish companies scaling well in these markets.


    For other Irish businesses keen to emulate this success, we recommend doing focused market research, understanding your value proposition and how to differentiate yourself in these crowded markets, and then committing to them by visiting often and having a presence on the ground.

    Enterprise Ireland teams across the region are keen to support clients to enter and scale in these critically important near and accessible export markets

    Learn more about the opportunities in these markets and get crucial market insights in our Global Ambition deep dives for the UK and the Nordics.