Recruiting in Germany

Finding the right person to represent your company internationally is one of the most important decisions you will make. Your company is judged not only by the products and services you offer but by the people who are offering them. Finding the right people to do this at an excellent level is a constant challenge at home and overseas.

Enterprise Ireland has developed this recruitment guide to provide Irish businesses with expert insights on executive search and selection from one the leading executive search companies in Germany and internationally, Signium.

Our team of Düsseldorf-based market advisors are available to help you grow your businesses within Germany, Austria and Switzerland and to advise on the vital process of international recruitment.

Download our guide to recruiting in Germany and find the right people to grow your business overseas.

graph with export data

Using market intelligence to inform your export plan

The saying that ‘knowledge is power’ is certainly true of successful exporting. Companies must understand their customers’ requirements, cultural considerations, market trends and what competitors in the market are doing, in order to succeed.

Insights gained from high-quality market research are essential for good business decisions for companies with the ambition to grow, export and, indeed, survive. While successful products and services are built on sound market research, a continual process of keeping up-to-date with business intelligence is required, which can be time-consuming and costly.


Market Research Centre

That is one reason Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre is such a valuable resource. It is the largest repository of business intelligence in Ireland and contains thousands of world-class market research insights, available to Enterprise Ireland supported companies.

Reports include company, sector, market and country information, which help businesses to explore opportunities and compete in international markets. We use databases from blue-chip information providers such as GartnerFrost & Sullivan, Mintel and others, which provide authoritative, verified information that is independent and reliable. Some of these reports cost tens of thousands of euro individually, so the value of accessing the service is immense.


Using market intelligence to assess new markets

The Market Research Centre is staffed by eight information specialists who help clients locate the most appropriate sources of knowledge for their requirements. The specialists can track down niche market intelligence that is not available through internet research and can also facilitate access to industry analysts to provide bespoke briefings that deep-dive into subject areas.

While the UK and European markets remain vitally important for exporters, increasingly diversification into more distant markets is a strategic option. Critical to all such business decisions is access to authoritative market research.


Using insights to make an impact

An example of how the centre helps companies to explore opportunities in overseas markets is workforce travel company Roomex. Over the last two years, the company has targeted the UK and Germany and is now looking at the huge potential of the US market. Information specialists helped the company gain valuable insights by providing access to global company, country, market and sector data which helped the Roomex to analyse their target customer and competitor base.

Enterprise Ireland’s research hub offers access to extensive predictive research on future trends, which is invaluable for companies interested in innovation. Knowledge of what might impact a market next provides an opportunity to develop new products or solutions. There are huge opportunities arising from disruptive technologies, such as driver-less cars, but also risks to companies which are not looking ahead

Growing your business

Companies which are serious about exporting, growing and future-proofing their business should put continuous research at the heart of their strategy. If your company is considering expanding into new markets the Market Research Centre’s extensive resources and expertise should be your first port of call.

Contact the Market Research Centre today.

Celebrating half a century in Belgium

Established in 1971 as the Irish Trade and Technology Board Belgian department, the Enterprise Ireland office in Brussels is celebrating its fiftieth birthday. And while there have been many changes in the five decades since its opening, one thing has remained constant and that is the level of support and assistance Irish companies continue to receive as they enter and scale the Belgian markets.

There has long been a strong relationship between the two countries and Richard Engelkes, Interim Manager of Enterprise Ireland Benelux Region, says for Irish companies wanting to expand their portfolio into Europe, Belgium, with its large ports at Antwerp and Zeebrugge, is the gateway.

“Belgium is Ireland’s second largest trading partner globally (the first being the US), with a total of €17.8 billion in 2020,” says Engelkes.

“In fact, it goes both ways as imports of Belgian goods to Ireland was €2.4bn in 2020 – so there is a very good bilateral trade agreement between Ireland and Belgium.

“Equally important for Irish exporters, Belgium is the 4th largest export market in the Eurozone and the 8th largest globally. The EU, in particular the Eurozone, is of great importance to Irish exporters as its proximity, the single market and single currency, a large customer base, supply chain patterns and our longstanding relationship are just some of the reasons why the region is crucial.”


Location is key

And, according to Engelkes, thanks to its location at the heart of Europe, Belgium, is key.

“It boasts four ports, three airports, very good rail and road links and water connections, making it a gateway for markets all across the zone – it is also the headquarters of the European Union and NATO,” he says. “So continuing a strong business relationship with Brussels is very important for Irish companies.

“And despite the difficulties faced by every sector during the pandemic, the world is slowly rebuilding and there are many opportunities for Irish SMEs wanting to enter the market or scale their business in the Benelux countries and beyond. There is already an advantage for Irish companies as their reputation is good, with many firms well established in the pharma and life sciences sectors. There is also a lot of opportunity in the construction sector as well as engineering, precision engineering and packaging. Hydrogen is also a growing opportunity and there is a strong interest in building smart cities with an emphasis on sustainability, so innovative solutions will do well in the region.”

A reputation for innovation

The acting regional manager says innovation is something which Irish companies are known for, so this reputation is advantageous to firms who are looking to enter the market. They are also known for being flexible, reliable, and adaptable, qualities respected by Belgian companies.

“Irish firms have also shown a strong commitment to EU standards and regulations as well as being adept at solving complex technical challenges.” says Engelkes.

“But I would say that while for the most part, doing business in Belgium is similar to Ireland, the main difference is the language (with French, Dutch and German spoken). So Irish firms doing business here, should be aware that although most Belgians are highly proficient in English, it is advisable not to assume so and to at least attempt to learn a word or two – this will serve as an icebreaker and can be very helpful in building a relationship.”


Enterprise Ireland support

Irish companies which are already established in Belgium include RKD Architects, PM Group, Combilift, CXV Global PPI Adhesive, and DPS Engineering, to name a few – and the role of the Enterprise Ireland Office in Brussels is to assist companies like this in scaling their business but also to help others enter the market. This could involve market research, consultancy, getting involved with events (live or virtual), introductions and promotions or publicity – so if they have an idea, Richard and his colleagues can help with getting it into newspapers and online.

“We also work in conjunction with our Enterprise Ireland colleagues in Amsterdam and have strong relationships with the Embassy of Ireland in Belgium, the Embassy of Belgium in Ireland and the trade agency, Flanders Investment and Trade, as well as close cooperation with Belgian ports, such as the Port of Antwerp and Zeebrugge,” he says.  “In addition to this, Enterprise Ireland also supports expansion into the Eurozone with award-winning training courses, which are available to clients.

“Robert Troy, Minister for Trade Promotion, opened an Enterprise Ireland webinar in March, entitled ‘Belgian/Irish trade:  Maximising Trade Flows in a new European Union’. He also visited Antwerp in May which shows the Irish government’s dedication to fostering strong bilateral trade relations with Belgium.

“So, after 50 years in Brussels, the future for Irish businesses continues to look bright and we at the Enterprise Ireland office, are looking forward to continuing success for the next 50 years and beyond.”

Click here to learn more about trading in Belgium or download our Going Global guide.

Title - market research the key to Roomex's international success

Market Research: The key to Roomex’s international success

TItle; Market Resarch the key to ROmmex's international success. Photo of CEO Gary Moroney

Knowing your customer is the first rule of success in business, but when you’re entering a new market or exploring a new sector, often the important data that you need is hard or expensive to obtain. Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre helps to solve this problem for its clients, by providing access to a wide range of reports containing company, sector, market and country data – basically the information you need when exploring opportunities in international markets.

This type of information is vital for every business, but especially for a growing company like Roomex, which specialises in workforce travel across the world. “Market research is really important for us,” says Roomex CEO Garry Moroney. “We use it in three ways – to understand the travel industry, the competitors, potential partners etc; then we use it to analyse our target customer base, companies within the different verticals, the size of the companies within the sector in a country, who the top companies are; then the third area is customer needs analysis. We have found Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre very useful for the first two areas.”

“We have over a thousand customers and it’s paramount for our sales process to know those customers. We have a lot of big customers but we also have a long tail of smaller customers; getting that data and lists of potential customers is so important to us.

“The Market Research Centre was invaluable in getting us that data, and the fact that they have the data for so many countries is also great.” Garry Moroney, Roomex CEO.


Working through emergency situations

Roomex is described as a business travel company, but it is actually quite different to the traditional corporate travel business as it specialises in the workforce travel market. Garry explains further: “We work mainly with industries like construction, engineering, and manufacturing with our customers ranging from some of the largest construction companies in the world with revenues in the billions, right down to smaller SMEs. Our top market is the UK. We’ve had a sales team operating in the UK for a few years now; we also established a sales presence in Germany in 2019, another very important market for us. We also have partners across the world, including South Africa, and we have users in about 20 countries.”

Because of its concentration on workforce travel, Roomex also escaped the worst of the effects of Covid-19 on its business. “Our travellers could be described more as blue collar workers, perhaps in the construction industry, who may be travelling as part of a project and perhaps to more rural areas. Our workers travel to build, to install, to inspect, to maintain – all those jobs that can’t be done without travelling. A lot of our travel is also domestic, so wouldn’t be as affected by travel restrictions. So we are lucky to be coming out of the pandemic in a relatively strong position and are back to about 100% operation.”


Big ambitions

Garry joined Roomex as CEO in September 2019; prior to this, he was founder and CEO of two successful start-ups, Similarity Systems and Clavis Insight, both of which were acquired after much success. Garry’s goal with Roomex was to take an already successful company to the next level. Having avoided the worst of the business downturn during the pandemic, Roomex is now in a position where Garry can start putting his ambitious plans into action – with the help of Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre.

“When the first lockdown happened, we went into emergency mode, then we were in recovery mode. Now we’re out of that so we’re back to invest and expand stage. We’re hiring new people, and hoping to develop our product according to our product roadmap and looking to expand into more markets.

“We started expanding in Germany in 2019 and continued at a reduced level during the pandemic, but now we want to invest more time, resources and people in the German market.” confirms Moroney

Similarly we want to expand into the US market, as it’s a really important market for us. In both of my previous companies, our success has been heavily built on what we achieved in the US – it’s a great market for Irish companies. Our goal is to become a global leader in workforce travel management.”

Having the support of Enterprise Ireland has been hugely important for every one of Garry’s businesses, especially as they expand into new markets. “Enterprise Ireland supported both Similarity Systems and Clavis Insight, and Roomex as well over the years in areas such as employment and R&D, and we’ve also found their overseas offices really useful when exploring new markets. Having the support of these country experts and access to the Market Research Centre is invaluable when looking at such huge potential markets as the US.”

Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre is an important resource for its clients with ambitions to expand into international markets. Learn more here.

ASINA: enabling safe-and sustainable-by-design nanotechnologies

Picture of male interviewee, Dt Ehtsham U.Haq

“One of the advantages of being involved in Horizon projects is the breadth of experience one gets by sharing expertise and access to new networks in partner countries.”

Dr Ehtsham U. Haq, University of Limerick, ASINA Horizon 2020 project

Key Takeouts:

  • The University of Limerick is taking part in a major project that is developing scientifically sound safe-by-design nanotechnologies.
  • The 42-month ASINA project has received €5.99m from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.
  • The ASINA project will support the fast industrial uptake of nanotechnology by providing safe-by-design solutions and supporting tools.

H2020 Case Study: ASINA

    Nanotechnology impacts nearly every sector of the global economy from electronics to cosmetics, and from defence to the automotive sector and agriculture. It plays a part in everyday items such as antibacterial hand creams and coated textiles and it is anticipated that the market worth will exceed $120 billion by 2024.

    However, safety issues in relation to producing and disposing of nano-enabled products remain a concern.

    “Although previous EU-funded projects have defined tools and concepts to ensure the safety of nano-enabled products through design, the current state of the art indicates that industrial production is struggling to activate the safe-and sustainable-by-design (SSbD) approach and the fast industrial uptake of engineered nanomaterials (NMs) is missing or unsafely implemented,” explains Dr Ehtsham U Haq, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Limerick, one of the ASINA (Anticipating Safety Issues at the Design Stage of NAno Product Development) project partners.

    “The ASINA project aims to promote consistent, applicable and scientifically sound SSbD nanotechnologies by collecting information across all the design dimensions: functionality, production technologies, safety, environmental sustainability, cost effectiveness and regulatory requirements.”

    Led by the National Research Council of Italy, the Horizon 2020-funded ASINA project will use an approach modelled on six-sigma practices, that  focus on process improvement.

    One of the challenge that ASINA will address is how to distil existing methods into simple, robust, cost-effective methods for monitoring of physio-chemical properties and biological effect assessment of nanomaterials and address properties of concern like technical performance, hazard and exposure related issues in product-relevant matrices. ASINA will develop pilot facilities with a combination of digital technologies and artificial intelligence technologies (Digital Twins) under a SSbD framework,” adds Haq.

    In turn, this should help to accelerate the uptake of nanotechnology by industry and reassure end users of its safety, matching existing challenges summarised by the European Green Deal.” 

    Real-world applications

    One of 21 partners in the ASINA consortium, the six-strong University of Limerick team is tasked primarily with physical-chemical characterisation of the nanoparticles and developing information about their properties. Two spin-out companies from the university are also partners on the project.

    Focusing on two real-world product lines–antimicrobialcoatings for clean technology applications (textile and air filtration sector), and nanostructured capsules for applications in the cosmetic sector, ASINA has also had a part to play in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

    “The methodologies of physio-chemical characterization developed by us can be applied to other nano-enabled products as well. We are developing coatings for variously functionalized textiles for face masks, air filters for example in collaboration with other partners,” says Haq.

    “We’re enthusiastic about ASINA because what we’re doing will be used in real-life industrial applications,” explains Haq.

    “We’re using machine learning tools to generate response functions and obtain the full set of design solutions performance attributes. An expert system (ASINA- ES), easily adoptable by industries, will be developed for supporting the industrial product designers in identifying the suitable SSbD solutions better complying with the design constraints….There will be huge learning from this project.”


    The Horizon advantage

    Like all Horizon projects, ASINA is a multi-disciplinary, international project involving a range of players from large research institutes to small and medium-sized enterprises. The project is also collaborating with other Horizon 2020 funded projects focusing on safe-by design production of nano-enabled products. While ASINA is still very much in its infancy, having been held up by laboratory closures due to Covid-19, Haq has recently been involved in two other Horizon projects – OYSTER and M3DLOC.

    “One of the advantages of being involved in Horizon projects is the breadth of experience you get and the profile of your research in an international audience. The projects I’ve been involved with have all been very different. OYSTER  aims to develop standardized measurement protocol for surface free energy for quality control in nano-enabled and bioinspired products, while M3DLOC involved 3D printing for the fabrication of microfluidic MEMS for lab-on-a-chip and sensing applications.  ASINA is on the other hand is dealing with nanoparticles and nano-enabled products. That makes the work very interesting, challenging and in return it also extends your technical expertise,” says Haq.

    “Overall, the Horizon experience is beneficial for both your research and personal development. Because you are dealing with people from other professions who have a completely different perspective and experience, you become more multi-disciplinary and broaden your collaborations and skill level.” says Haq.

    For those considering getting involved in a Horizon proposal, perhaps for the first time, Haq highlights two issues.

    “In Horizon projects a great deal of time is spent on consortium building. You’re bringing together not only researchers but managers, Intellectual Property experts, SMEs and others, so that side of things is as important along the original idea, and it’s important to get it right.

    “Also, take advantage of any support that’s available if you are involved in producing the proposal. Enterprise Ireland has a range of supports and my experience of dealing with them has been very positive.”

    For advice or further information about applying for Horizon 2020 support please contact or consult

    H2020 success stories banner link

    Webinar title: Climate Action Funding & Supports - Manufacturing sector

    Climate Enterprise Action Fund Webinar Series – Manufacturing Sector

    The transition to a low carbon world has become a defining force for business. For Irish companies, this means opportunities to compete and grow as global investments in a sustainable future accelerates.

    The manufacturing sector has the capability to address many of the problems in our society, including the threat from climate change. However, as the world aims for net zero emissions by 2050, the sector faces significant challenges in reducing its own energy consumption.

    This webinar includes the following guest speakers who will share their sustainability journey, as well as provide helpful advice to companies of all sizes:

    • Nick Reynolds – CSR Advisor, Business in the Community

    • Patrick Beausang – CEO, Passive Sills

    • Andrea Cawley – Commercial Director, Automatic Plastics

    • Patrick Buckley – Managing Director, EPS

    Watch the Climate Enterprise Action Fund webinar series here.

    CEAF ICT & Services

    Climate Enterprise Action Fund Webinar Series – ICT & Services

    The transition to a low carbon world has become a defining force for business. For Irish companies, this means opportunities to compete and grow as global investments in a sustainable future accelerates.

    ICT has the capability to address many of the problems in our society, including the threat from climate change. However, as the world aims for net zero emissions by 2050, the sector faces significant challenges in reducing its own energy consumption and environmental impacts.

    Similarly, there are many ways in which services can be part of the green economy and drive sustainable development. Business services can contribute to increasing sustainability for processes and products across industries, and speed up the transition towards a green economy.

    Within both sectors, sustainability is now recognised as a priority issue.

    This webinar includes the following guest speakers who will share their sustainability journey and provide helpful advice to companies of all sizes:

    • Yvonne Holmes – Chief Sustainability Officer, AIB

    • Andrea Carroll – Sr. Susutainability Programme Manager EMEA, Amazon Web Services

    • Laura Costello – Strategy Director – Purpose & Planet, Thinkhouse

    • Eanna Glynn – Head of Sustainability, BidX1

    • Brian Minehane – Account Director & Sustainability Programme Lead, Ergo


    Watch the Climate Enterprise Action Fund webinar series here.

      Webinar title: Climate Action Funding & Supports - food and Beverage sector

      Climate Enterprise Action Fund Webinar Series – Food and Beverage Sector

      The transition to a low carbon world has become a defining force for business. For Irish companies, this means opportunities to compete and grow as global investments in a sustainable future accelerates.

      The food & beverage sector has the capability to address many of the problems in our society, including the threat from climate change. However, as the world aims for net zero emissions by 2050, the sector faces significant challenges in reducing its own energy consumption.

      This webinar includes the following guest speakers who will share their sustainability journey and provide helpful advice to companies of all sizes:

      • Deirdre Ryan – Director of Origin Green, Bord Bia

      • Owen Keogh – Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Lidl Ireland

      • Louise Brennan – Head of Technical, O’Brien Fine Foods

      • Rosaleen Hyde – Operations Manager, Ballymaloe Foods

      • Padraig Mallon – Sustainability Director, Kerry Group

      Watch the Climate Enterprise Action Fund webinar series here.

        UK packaging webinar title

        The UK Packaging Sector Webinar – Opportunities and Challenges

        Few sectors have been affected greater by the COVID-19 pandemic than the packaging sector. The increased demand on food packaging with the upsurge of people eating at home and companies forced to rethink their packaging as minimalism made way for health and safety, the packaging sector was forced to change quickly to the ‘new normal’.

        Now as a post-pandemic world looks somewhat in sight, it’s time to reassess the UK market and re-evaluate how Irish packaging suppliers can take advantage of the £11 billion UK packaging sector.

        In this webinar, Andrew Finch, UK Packaging Consultant examines the UK packaging sector and discusses:

        • State of the UK market post-COVID-19 and post-Brexit

        • Opportunities for Irish packaging providers in the market

        • Latest demands from UK multiples and key industry stakeholders

        • Sustainability outlook in the UK

        • How to best engage UK packaging buyers

        Gain key business insights with our on-demand UK webinar series.

          Net Zero UK – UK Local Authorities & the Net Zero Challenge – Webinar


          The UK’s 408 local authorities will play a crucial and defining role in the UK’s net zero challenge with responsibility for:

          • overseeing the adoption of innovative zero carbon technologies

          • investing in climate-resilient urban infrastructure

          • driving energy efficiency through building retrofitting

          • placing a greater emphasis on environmental criteria in procurement policy

          This Enterprise Ireland UK webinar discusses how this evolution is reflected in procurement practices, with local authorities giving increasing consideration to social value and carbon emissions and what this means for Irish SMEs in the sector.

          Speakers include:

          • Todd Holden, Energy Policy & Programme Lead, Greater Manchester Combined Authority

          • Steve Turner, Business Director, Connected Places Catapult

          • Bret Willers, Head of Climate Change and Sustainability, Coventry City Council

          • Christopher Hammond, Network Membership Director, UK100

            Gain key business insights with our on-demand UK webinar series


            Net Zero UK – UK Agriculture & the Net Zero Challenge – Webinar


            Enterprise Ireland UK hosted a webinar examining the net zero ambition of the UK agricultural sector and the implications for Irish SMEs working in the industry. Michael Haverty, Partner with The Andersons Centre, delivered a comprehensive briefing and Q&A session, which included:

            An overview of the UK’s policy drivers for net zero in agriculture, including, the Agriculture Bill, Environment Bill and the role of the devolved administrations

            • Carbon markets; The scope for direct payments to farmers for sequestration

            • Food industry initiatives; Consumer pressure, Retailer commitments to achieving net zero e.g. Co-op, Tesco, Sainsbury’s

            • Food processors and net zero commitments e.g., Arla, ABP

            • Farm level net zero implications; net zero agritech trends, implications for inputs usage

            • How Irish SMEs can maximise on the opportunites in this space

            Gain key business insights with our on-demand UK webinar series


            Net Zero UK – The UK Energy Market & the Net Zero Challenge – Webinar



            This webinar explores the major changes both underway and planned as the UK seeks to transition to a fully decarbonised energy system.

            From the increasing role of renewable energy, to the decarbonisation of the heating and transport sectors, this Enterprise Ireland UK webinar invites experts and industry leaders to understand the timelines, technologies and innovation required for the UK energy system to achieve net zero.


            • Andrew Lever, Director of Programmes & Innovation, The Carbon Trust

            • Cian McLeavey Reville, Market Strategy Manager, National Grid ESO

            • Jon Slowe, Founding Director, Delta EE

              Gain key business insights with our on-demand UK webinar series