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

 

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

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

Topics discussed:

  • Environmental Protection

  • Carbon Reduction and Resilience

  • Digital Agenda

  • Customer Service

  • Collaboration and Innovation

  • Value for Money

  • The Future of the Sector and AMP 8

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

     

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

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

    Speakers Include:

    • Jamie Ritchie, Partner, LK Shields

    • Dominic Jones, Partner, Blake Morgan

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

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

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

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

       

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

       

      Enterprise Ireland’s aim to support start-ups

       

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

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

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

       

      125 start-ups attend Start-Up Showcase 2022

       

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

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

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

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

       

      Learning from other success stories

       

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

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

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

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

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

       

      Returning to an in-person Start-Up Showcase event

       

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

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

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

       

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

       

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

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

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

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

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

       

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

       

      GA Bringing Irish healthcare innovation to the world - Minister Stephen Donnelly attends Arab Health expo

      Bringing Irish healthcare innovation to the world

       

      There have been many headlines about the strength of the Irish medtech sector, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many of our indigenous life sciences companies are making waves in every corner of the world, and big economies such as the US are looking to Ireland for innovative solutions for every aspect of healthcare.

       

      The Arab Health exhibition

       

      This strength was demonstrated at this year’s Arab Health, the leading exhibition in the MENA region for the healthcare industry. The 2022 event took place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 24 – 27 January and was followed by an online event from 31 January – 10 February.

      Enterprise Ireland had a significant presence at the event, showcasing the work of 14 companies. An additional six client companies also attended the show.

      The influence of Arab Health cannot be underestimated. For many years, it has been a major event for connecting clinicians, procurement professionals, dealers and distributors from all over the world. This year, more than 3,500 exhibitors took part and over 56,000 healthcare professionals attended, all eager to see the latest innovations.

       

      The changing healthcare landscape

       

      The theme of this year’s event was ‘United by Business, Forging Ahead’, which reflected the importance that new technologies and innovation have in today’s rapidly changing global healthcare industry. According to Eamon Sikafi, Commercial Counsellor – Middle East & North Africa at Enterprise Ireland, this means plenty of opportunity for Irish companies.

      “The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a prosperous region with plenty of opportunities for Irish healthcare innovators,” Eamon explains.

      “For example, digitalisation is very much at a pilot stage in most GCC countries, offering significant opportunities for Irish companies working in this sector.”

      “Another trend is the move to domestic drug production. Currently, over 90% of the market is driven by imported drugs, but a rising number of collaborations between multinational companies and domestic manufacturing looks set to change this.”

      “A third area in which Irish companies are particularly strong is medical technologies. The GCC medical technologies market accounts for 2.7% of global revenues, but currently the sector is dominated by imports. Domestic manufacturing is still in its early stages and accounts for less than 20% of market revenues.”

       

      Opportunities for Irish companies in healthcare innovation

       

      Enterprise Ireland market advisors have identified areas in the region that are filled with opportunities for Irish companies between now and 2030.

      Electronic Health Records (EHR), artificial intelligence for radiology, robotic surgeries and patient engagement platforms for pharmaceutical companies are predicted to become a $2 billion market by 2030,” Eamon says.

      “The number of hospitals across the GCC is expected to triple by 2030. Primary care clinics, e-clinics and micro hospitals will represent new areas of investment focus over the next decade.”

      Public Private Partnership (PPP) opportunities will support growth across the region, with at least 40% of private sector healthcare growth driven by PPP. Investment in cancer treatment technologies will surge as early diagnosis of cancer is likely to increase by 10% by 2030.”

      “Collaboration between hospitals and companies to develop corporate wellness programs will become a $2 billion market by 2030. And, medical consumables manufacturing is likely to emerge as a $30 billion market by end of 2030, with Saudi Arabia poised to become a regional hub by 2023.”

       

      Irish success stories in healthcare innovation

       

      AceTech

      Irish company AceTech has built up business in the region worth €10 million, working in the areas of safety, patient care and AI software for several ambulance services in GCC countries and cities.

       

      Aerogen

      Galway-based Aerogen, a leader in aerosol medication delivery systems, opened an office in Dubai in 2018 and has grown significantly in the region since the start of the pandemic. Most recently, the company announced a major deal with Gulf Medical, a market leader in medical device distribution in Saudi Arabia.

       

      Fleming Medical

      Fleming Medical began operating in the region in 2014 and currently services several GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman. This year, the company plans to expand operations into Iraq and North Africa, growing business by 25% by the end of 2023.

       

      Contact Eamon Sikafi to find out how Enterprise Ireland can help you explore healthcare innovation opportunities in the Middle East.

       

      Irish companies are rocketing into the space industry - Image of space and galaxies

      How Irish companies are rocketing into the space industry

       

      Ireland may not be the first country to spring to mind when you talk about space travel or exploration, but recently this industry has proved itself to have plenty of opportunities for Irish innovation, both from companies and research bodies.

       

      The James Webb Space Telescope

       

      Many businesses based in Ireland are already working in the area, thanks to our involvement with the European Space Agency (ESA). What’s more, several Irish companies are now playing a pivotal role in some of the most thrilling and high-profile space missions.

      One such mission was the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST, or simply Webb), the next great space science observatory following the famous Hubble Telescope.

      The Webb was launched from ESA’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on Christmas Day 2021. It now resides one-and-a-half million kilometres from Earth, hovering in line with our planet as it orbits the sun.

      Over 25 years in development, the Webb telescope has the ability to look back 13.5 billion years in time to observe the birth of the first galaxies and the lifecycle of stars and exoplanets.

      Webb follows the Hubble Telescope in the line of great space observatories. Both have different scientific capabilities and will operate together, complementing each other, for several years.

      In fact, according to Bryan Rodgers, Senior Development Executive at Enterprise Ireland and a member of the Irish delegation to the ESA, Webb has the capacity to do far more than the Hubble.

      “The Webb has over six times the light-gathering capacity and is a hundred times more sensitive, with the ability to peer through clouds of dust by capturing light in the infrared part of the spectrum.”

      “By looking back to the early universe using infrared detectors, Webb hopes to answer some vital questions about the formation of our universe, the make-up of so-called dark matter, and what the development of galaxies can tell us about the future of the universe.”

       

      How Irish companies contributed to the development and launch of the JWST

       

      Webb is the result of an international project led by NASA with the ESA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Within the ESA’s contribution, two Irish companies and an Irish research institute played significant roles in the development of the Webb’s scientific instruments and in its launch into space.

      “Firstly, there was significant Irish input into the development of the infrared detector technology,” comments Bryan. “Professor Tom Ray of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) was Co-Principal Investigator for the Mid-InfraRed Instrument (MIRI) on Webb, which will produce images and spectra with unprecedented sharpness and sensitivity.”

      “Professor Tom Ray and his team from DIAS also provided MIRI’s infrared filters, which breaks up the light into its various components, and imaging software that will analyse the instrument data sent back to Earth and produce scientific images.”

      An Irish company also played an important role in Webb’s launch into space via an Ariane 5 launcher.

      Réaltra Space Systems Engineering designed and manufactured the video imaging system onboard the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, which gave us impressive high-definition video images of the separation of the launcher’s fairing and separation of the telescope itself,” says Bryan.

      “The final images of Webb moving into space on Christmas Day in 2021 came from Réaltra’s technology.”

      Interestingly, Réaltra’s system was originally designed for the Ariane 6 launch vehicle, which is due its first flight in the second half of 2022.

      “In addition, a second Irish company, Nammo Ireland, provided structural supports for the Vulcain engine that powers Ariane 5 – and will be involved in producing components for both the Vulcain and Vinci engines on the new Ariane 6 launch vehicle.”

       

      Opportunities for Irish businesses in the space industry

       

      The involvement of these Irish entities came about as a result of Ireland’s membership of the ESA, which is managed through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

      Enterprise Ireland plays a huge role in enabling this work, by supporting and guiding Irish companies and research institutes in developing technologies through ESA programmes, and in commercialising these technologies in the worldwide space market, with over 100 companies supported to date.

      “The success of the Irish entities involved in the ground-breaking JWST project underlines the growth in opportunities in the commercial space market for innovative Irish companies with exciting technologies that can be used in many different sectors, such as automotive and medical,” notes Bryan.

      “These opportunities will only become more plentiful as our understanding of space grows and develops. We are confident that more Irish companies will be involved in such thrilling projects in the future.”

       

      Contact Bryan Rodgers to find out how Enterprise Ireland can help you successfully bid for European Space Agency contracts or explore other opportunities in the space industry.

       

      The Level Project: Promoting gender balance in leadership teams

      The Level Project: Promoting gender balance in leadership roles

       

      Gender balance, diversity and inclusion is something we strive to promote as much as possible as a society, but in the world of business, having gender balance in a leadership team has been proved to have a very real and positive impact on a company.

      As a result, gender balance in management is something that Enterprise Ireland is widely advocating and supporting through a major new initiative, The Level Project.

       

      What is The Level Project?

      Sheelagh Daly, Enterprise IrelandThe Level Project has its origins in Enterprise Ireland’s Action Plan for Women in Business, which recognised that increasing the number of women in middle and senior management, as well as on boards, leads to more successful, sustainable and profitable businesses. “The Plan saw that there are considerable economic benefits that lie, untapped, in women in their roles both as customers and as talent,” says Sheelagh Daly, Entrepreneurship Manager at Enterprise Ireland. “In essence, by achieving gender balance, a company is tapping into 100% of the talent pool and 100% of the market.”

      The findings of the report is reflected in numerous studies that show that gender-balanced leadership teams can help businesses grow on a global scale. But despite all these studies and their clear conclusions, Irish companies are a long way from achieving gender balance in senior teams.

      There are numerous reasons why, but in the interests of helping companies progress and work towards their own individual gender-balance goals, The Level Project is a practical initiative that includes an online Action Planning Toolkit. Free to all companies, this toolkit helps companies assess their current situation and put in place real actions to enhance gender balance in senior teams.

      “Achieving gender balance is certainly harder in some industries than others, but simply taking some steps to enhance the gender balance of your leadership team can have tangible benefits for your business,” explains Sheelagh.

      “For example, visibly championing gender balance can have a positive effect on attracting and retaining talent. Gender balance in leadership also leads to increased creativity and innovation, thanks to diversity in thought and mindset, as well as a greater understanding of your customer base.”

       

      Striving for better

      These advantages are already being experienced by four early champions of The Level Project.

      VRAI is a fast-growing tech firm in the field of data-driven VR simulation training, and believes that a diversity of mindset is essential to help mitigate the complexity of what they are trying to achieve.

      Similarly, Spearline, a leader in telecommunication technology, credits a better understanding of their diverse customer base to diversity within their senior teams.

      For CLS, Ireland’s largest contract laboratory, having gender balance throughout the company, especially in leadership teams, creates harmony in the workplace, which can only lead to success.

      Vivian Farrell, CEO Modular AutomationHowever, achieving gender balance is very much a long-term plan for a lot of companies, especially those in industries that are traditionally male dominated. For example, Shannon-based Modular Automation has recognised that gender balance is hard to reach if girls are not seeing engineering as a viable career choice in school – a key part of their strategy is therefore demonstrating the advantages of studying engineering to girls at Junior Cert stage and lower.

      “All four of these companies have implemented very real strategies to enhance gender balance in senior leadership,” says Sheelagh. “While they recognise that this is a long-term project, the advantages of such strategies are already being experienced.”

       

      Introducing the Toolkit

      A key part of The Level Project is the Action Planning Toolkit, which is suitable for all companies, big and small, whether they are just starting out on their gender balance journey or want to improve and target their efforts even further. The Toolkit consists of six themes (Strategy, Attract, Retain, Develop, Engage, Measure), each of which is divided into two levels according to how advanced a company is. “We recommend that every company should start with the Strategy theme,” explains Sheelagh.

      A series of questions is included within each theme; answering ‘No’ to a question presents the user with suggested actions to include in their plan. Each theme also includes links to helpful resources such as guides, templates and expert insights. Once finished, an editable Action Plan for the company can be downloaded, which includes all the actions chosen  as well as space for notes.

      The online toolkit can be used free of charge by ALL companies.

      Enterprise Ireland client companies can also apply for several supports to help develop and implement their gender balance plan. Details of these supports can be found here or by talking to your Development Advisor.

       

      More information on The Level Project, including access to the Action Planning Toolkit and details of financial aids available, can be found here

      Three EU flags in front of a Eurozone recovery banner on the Berlaymont building of the European Commission

      Eurozone Recovery, Irish Opportunity: How Irish companies can benefit from the EU’s recovery plan

       

      Key takeouts

      • NextGenerationEU funding represents an opportunity for Irish companies to break into new markets or scale their presence in existing markets
      • From digital health care and green technology to smart cities and cybersecurity, there are hundreds of Eurozone recovery projects that will be fully funded by the EU
      • The Enterprise Ireland Eurozone team can help you find the right markets and projects to target

       


       

      What is NextGenerationEU?

      We are living in extraordinary times, but it’s not all bad news for Irish business. Over the next couple of years, those who can or who are keen to export can take advantage of a significant opportunity, fuelled by the NextGenerationEU funding package put in place by the European Commission. At €750 billion*, it’s the largest ever stimulus package in Europe and some is directly aimed at SMEs.

      “The objective is twofold,” explains Marco Lopriore, at the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA). “It is recovery, to help the European economy recover from the past year, but it is also resilience.

      “This is a push for a radical transformation of consumption and production to prepare European economies to withstand future crises in a better way. We’re speaking in Brussels about a paradigm shift. This is basically changing the way we function completely.”

      Within the overall project, the EU level of investment is supplemented by the agendas and priorities of each national government.

      *The current value of the funding is €806.9 billion. It was €750 billion when agreed in 2018.

       


       

      What does the Eurozone recovery plan mean for Irish SMEs?

      This Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) means a wave of funding unrolling across all 27 EU member states to support investment in public services and infrastructure, to make Europe greener, more digital and more resilient.

      As Ireland seeks to build a deeper trade relationship with Europe, that funding represents an excellent opportunity for Irish companies to break into new markets or to deepen and scale their presence in existing markets.

      Across everything from digital health care and green technology to smart cities and cybersecurity, there are hundreds of Eurozone recovery projects to complete across the EU over the next few years. All of them will be fully funded.

      “SMEs are not always directly affected by macroeconomics,” says Anne Lanigan, regional director, Eurozone at Enterprise Ireland, “but when that volume of money is going into it, especially to drive the green and digital agenda, it has to have an impact on what is happening at a business level.”

       


       

      Core focus on green and digital

      European Commission bannerThe overall fund is focused on six pillars, with the green transition and digital transformation being top of the list. The European Commission has specified that each country must assign at least 37% and 20% of their spending to those pillars, respectively.

      “Several member states have gone beyond those minimum thresholds,” says Lopriore. “Luxembourg, for example, is putting 60% to green, while Germany is putting 50% to digital.

      The green transition covers everything from clean tech, renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable transport, improving water quality to creating greener cities and making farming more eco-friendly.

      Digital projects to get funding span 5G, digitalisation of public service, cloud computing, smart cities, artificial intelligence, blockchain and more, including projects focused on reskilling and upskilling to improve digital literacy.

       


       

      Leaning into Irish tech expertise

      Areas in which many Irish firms specialise, such as cybersecurity and the digitalisation of health are a significant focus in many plans, says Lopriore, who wrote extensively on national areas of focus for NextGenerationEU funding in a recent paper.

      “In Belgium, for example, the plan is to spend €585m on digitalisation, of which almost €80m is allocated to cybersecurity. Spain wants to reinforce cybersecurity on its rail network, its air traffic control, its central public administration and in the tourism sector.”

      When it comes to providing health and medical services online, France will invest €2 billion in the digitalisation of health, while Germany will invest €3.8 billion.

       


       

      Breaking into a new European market

      The funding offers new momentum to Irish exporters targeting Europe, a trend that was already soaring, says Lanigan.

      Anne Lanigan, Patrick Torrekins, Leo Varadkar, Leo Clancy“Since we implemented our Eurozone strategy in 2017, we’ve seen a 33% jump in exports from Ireland to the Eurozone,” she says. “Even in 2020, when some sectors were hit very hard, we still saw a 1.6% growth in exports, which is significant considering economies across Europe shrunk.

      For companies that want to export for the first time or to diversify their export markets, Enterprise Ireland can offer support and advice. This includes everything from market research and helping a company to get export-ready to tapping into a wide network of contacts and making the right introductions.

      “The easiest model is where a client is looking for a customer and we can introduce them,” says Lanigan. “Exporting often involves a local partner and we introduce companies to the right people– the local influencers, the potential partners and those they could collaborate with, including other Irish companies.

      “We work to build clusters that bring companies in the same space together,” she explains. “If there is an opportunity around smart mobility, for example, we can bring companies working in that area together and introduce them to the right people.”

       


       

      Finding the right market to target

      The markets of interest to individual companies will depend on the nature of the products and services they offer. Those selling into the tourism and hospitality sector, for example, will find more extensive opportunities in Southern Europe, where governments are placing more emphasis on this sector.

      Many countries mention renovating buildings to be more energy-efficient and installing more electric vehicle charging situations, but Germany is putting particular emphasis on hydrogen production and AI, for example.

      Detailed country-by-country information in English on the plans and priorities of each Member State can be found here.

       


       

      How will the Eurozone recovery funding work in practice?

      • While SMEs may believe trying to tender for public contracts is too complex and likely to be choked by red tape, 15% of the NextGenerationEU funding will benefit SMEs – more than half of that in direct business.
      • Furthermore, Enterprise Ireland can advise on the tendering process.
      • In practice, each EU state has its own national Resilience and Recovery Plan (RRP), with all projects in it open to public tender on an online portal.
      • Some of these portals, such as those of France, Italy and Portugal, are already up and running.
      • Every project linked to this Eurozone recovery funding must be completed by 2026.

       


       

      Rising to the export challenge

      While deciding to expand export operations can seem daunting to some, Lanigan encourages Irish business owners and managers to examine the RRP options open to them. That includes going beyond the UK, even as a first export market.

      “Diversifying our export markets has become even more important since Brexit,” she says. “Now, 29% of our clients’ exports go to the UK, but that is down from 45% a decade ago.

      A marked improvement in marine links is helping, she adds, as more routes with more capacity mean it is much easier to trade directly with EU customers.

      “We have a huge market on our doorstep. After all, we have the biggest free trade agreement in the world, with no customs, no tariffs and no regulatory challenges. And, of course, for 19 countries in the Eurozone, there are no currency costs.”

      “Irish companies have a great reputation across Europe, with customers having a really positive view of them. And when you see the Irish products and services selling into Europe – they are top notch and born of incredible innovation – it’s evident why they are well regarded.”

       

      If you’re interested in starting to export to the Eurozone or in growing your exports to the Eurozone, get in touch.

      Med in Ireland 2021

      Med in Ireland: Showcasing Ireland’s strength in the global medtech industry

      Med in Ireland 2021

      Ireland has long been known as one of the epicentres of the medtech world. Not only has our country been chosen as a base for many of the biggest medtech companies in the world, thanks to our excellent talent base and reputation for timely research and development, but we have also been responsible for producing our own ground-breaking companies, some of which have made a real impact on a global scale.

      In fact, Ireland is now one of the top five global medtech hubs and home to up to 350 companies in the sector, including 14 of the world’s top 15 medtech companies. We are also the largest medtech employer per capita in Europe, with 45,000 people employed in the sector. Our medtech industry exports over €13 billion to over 100 countries every year, positioning Ireland as the second-largest exporter of medtech products in Europe.

      Over 200 of those medtech companies are Irish, and one in five of those working in the sector are employed directly by Irish-owned medtech companies. The impact of these companies on the economy is significant – in 2020, Enterprise Ireland life sciences clients achieved exports of €1.9 billion.

      “Ireland has long been a leader in the medtech world,” says Deirdre Glenn, Director, Life Sciences Sector at Enterprise Ireland.

      “Our success is down to a combination of track record and forward thinking and a deep pool of experience and highly trained talent. This is boosted by a fertile ecosystem that integrates industry, research and the clinical community to promote high-quality innovation.”

      Never has our strength in medtech been so needed than over the last 18 months, when the world found itself in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic. Numerous Irish companies reacted quickly to the crisis, pivoting their offerings to create valuable solutions to aspects of the pandemic or ramping up production to supply essential devices to hospitals around the world. In fact, Ireland is currently ranked fifth in the world for Covid-19 related goods, with companies such as, Aerogen, patientMPower and PMD Solutions leading the way in medtech innovation.

       

      Med in Ireland

      Now, however, we are moving into a post-pandemic world, a world where healthcare needs have changed significantly and medtech innovations are needed more than ever before. And once again, Irish innovators are responding quickly with some great innovations.

      “Irish medtech companies proved how agile and flexible they were during the pandemic,” says Deirdre. “Our focus has now turned to the post-Covid world, and how the pandemic has changed healthcare, both in terms of how we access it and in terms of how it is delivered. A lot of eyes are on Irish innovators, some of whom have already come up with exciting solutions.”

      Many of these were showcased in Med in Ireland, which took place virtually on 3-4 November 2021. A biennial event, Med in Ireland is a high-profile national showcase for the entire spectrum of the Irish medtech sector, encompassing medical devices, medical sub-supply,  diagnostics, digital health, healthcare providers, clinicians and research professionals. This year, 81 Irish manufacturing and healthcare solution providers took part in the event, meeting with international healthcare buyers in a series of virtual one-to-one meetings arranged by Enterprise Ireland. Ireland’s collaborative supports that drive company innovation were also a key focus of the event, while the Innovation Zone showcased some truly exciting start-ups of the future.

      “The focus at this year’s Med in Ireland is very much on the themes shaping the post-pandemic healthcare world,” says Deirdre. “These include industry changes such as the move to preventative care, the role of digitalisation in the shift to healthcare outside of hospital settings, the emergence of technologies that reduce environmental impact and improve competitiveness, and the development of new distribution and inventory management models to supply chain weaknesses.”

      These themes were at the forefront of the event from the very start, with a special conference featuring a keynote speech from Lorna Ross, Chief Innovation Officer at VHI Health & Wellbeing, and a panel discussion on the future of global healthcare.

      Participants could then enjoy example after example of how Irish innovators are responding the needs of healthcare in the post-Covid world. “We have a number of really impressive client companies producing solutions that are required on a global scale,” says Deirdre. “These include LetsGetChecked, a virtual care company that offers over 30 different at-home tests that act as an alternative to traditional in-person medical visits; Swiftqueue, a company offering a self-service portal that allows patients to manage medical appointments across multiple clinic settings; and Vitalograph, a global leader in respiratory diagnostics and clinical trials that offers remote monitoring of lung function and disorders.”

      Once again, Med in Ireland attracted leading healthcare providers from all over the world, all of whom look to Ireland for solutions, with the hope of co-developing and commercialising new medical technologies with Irish innovation at its core. Ireland has clearly played a huge role in shaping global healthcare – and that role looks to be growing even further as we move through this period of recovery.

      Visit www.medinireland.ie or watch the conference below.

      SPEEDIER breaking down barriers to energy efficiency for SMEs

      “Horizon funding enables you to carry out high quality, robust research that can influence policy, and policy can change behaviour”

      Dr Pádraig Lyons, Head of Group, International Energy Research Centre, and coordinator of SPEEDIER

      Case Study: SPEEDIER

      The European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive has set an ambitious target of a 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. With small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) responsible for approximately 13% of Europe’s total energy demand, their contribution to achieving the target is vital.

      However, little of this potential has so far been realised with studies estimating that only 25% of SMEs in Europe have undertaken an energy audit. The reasons cited range from lack of time, resource, in-house expertise and finance, to the low priority given to energy efficiency compared to other business needs.

      To address these barriers the SPEEDIER (SME Program for Energy Efficiency Through Delivery and Implementation of EneRgy Audits) project was established. Funded by Horizon 2020 and led by the International Energy Research Centre (IERC) in Cork, the project developed an integrated approach to energy management for SMEs, providing information, capacity building, energy auditing, financing, implementation of energy efficiency solutions and monitoring of impacts.

      Dr Pádraig Lyons, Head of Group, IERC, and coordinator of SPEEDIER, explains how it differs from other energy efficiency supports.

      At IERC we’ve done a number of projects in this space and are learning about the challenges that SMEs are facing. One of these is the difficulty getting finance for decarbonization projects. So we came up with the SPEEDIER concept which is essentially a self-funding approach to becoming energy efficient.” says Lyons

      The model developed is a novel funding mechanism, which builds from no-cost energy conservation activities up to higher cost activities, using the savings from each to finance the next level of investment.

      “This approach creates a revolving energy efficiency fund for the business, removing any barriers relating to lack of finance, and providing an external source of expertise via the SPEEDIER consultants,” says Lyons.

       

      The advantages of collaboration

      SPEEDIER involved nine partners across four countries – Ireland, Spain, Italy and Romania – testing the concept in different contexts from hotels to office blocks and across a range of manufacturers.

      One of the benefits of this kind of European-wide collaboration is the information we could gather across a broad range of SME types and a wide geographical area.” 

      That has enabled us to draw conclusions about how we can move SPEEDIER forward post project and how it should be tailored to different sectors and countries”, says Lyons.

      Although the project was hampered by the Covid pandemic, which restricted the implementation of the SPEEDIER service across businesses and meant some targets set at the start of the project had to be revised, Lyons considers that it was a success.

      “It’s less about ticking boxes to say we involved this number of companies or trained that number of consultants and more about generating interest in the concept, validating and evaluating the concept and getting companies on a path. And we’re seeing a lot of interest in the SPEEDIER approach.”

       

      Focus on the learning

      As coordinator of SPEEDIER, Lyons, who took over the reins mid project, is realistic about the administration that comes with involvement in a Horizon project.

      “There is a lot of reporting required and as project coordinators that fell to us at IERC. It’s challenging but that’s the reality of being part of a project with this level of funding. And of course, as the coordinator you have ultimate responsibility for the project so that can be an added pressure.

      “Having said that, the substantial funding that’s available from Horizon projects enables you to carry out robust research where the findings are backed up with strong evidence. That kind of research can influence policy, and policy can change behaviour. That’s really important. I believe that there is no use completing a research project and then writing a report that just sits on a shelf. Turning results into information that somebody can actually use is the vital part of any research project.

      “Horizon 2020, and now Horizon Europe, offer great opportunities to carry out high quality research if you make the time and space to get involved. But you need to stay focused on the learning as well as the deliverables and objectives set out at the start of the project. It’s the learning that can be commercialized, drive policy change and create the changes that are needed.”

      Horizon Europe has a budget of over  €95 billion and one of its core aims is to tackle climate change in line with the European Green Deal and boost to the EU’s competitiveness and growth through excellent research, innovation and collaboration. Enterprise Ireland provides a number of supports for institutions and businesses who are interested in participating in a Horizon Europe project.

      Learn more about SPEEDIER, or for information on applying for support from Horizon Europe, the successor programme to Horizon 2020, please contact HorizonSupport@enterprise-ireland.com or consult www.horizoneurope.ie.

       

      H2020 success stories banner link

       

      Creating innovative solutions to new and emerging threats

      Cybersecurity solutions that address new and emerging threats

      The Covid-19 pandemic saw a rapid shift for many to virtual ways of doing work – and the recognition – finally – that remote and hybrid working is a very viable possibility in many industries. And, that offering flexible ways of working can actually give companies an edge when it comes to attracting talent. Unfortunately, however, with more flexibility comes a very real problem – the increased risk of cybercrime and cyberattacks. And the need for effective cybersecurity solutions is becoming more urgent by the day.

      According to a study by McKinsey & Co, only 16% of executives felt that their organisations are well prepared to deal with cyber risk. Plus, the United Nations has warned that cybercrime increased by nearly 600% during the pandemic.

      “Globally, there has never been a more challenging time for organisations in relation to cybersecurity,” says Pat O’Grady, Senior Business Advisor and Global Lead for Cybersecurity at Enterprise Ireland. “A higher level of cyber threats and attacks, security challenges linked to remote working, and increasingly sophisticated attacks on personal accounts have all put systems under immense pressure.”

       

      Irish cybersecurity solutions

      Ireland has long been a leader in technology innovation, with our advances in medtech, agritech, fintech and more in high demand across the globe. So it comes as no surprise that an increasing number of ambitious Irish companies is coming up with some very clever solutions to cybercrime. As an example, Cork-based Velona Systems has developed a solution that protects large call centres in the US against brute force call spam attacks, ghost calling and robocalling, a growing challenge in this sector.

      Velona is just an example of our strength in the area, which is highlighted in the Enterprise Ireland Cybersecurity Innovation Series 2021, which this year is titled ‘Creating Innovative Solutions to New and Emerging Threats’. Taking place over six separate events in November and December, covering different world regions, the series features talks by leading cybersecurity experts, pitches by innovative Enterprise Ireland client companies, and opportunities for individual client-buyer meetings.

      “All the participating Irish companies have identified the most urgent areas within cybersecurity and come up with intelligent solutions that potentially have a worldwide customer base,” says Pat. “For instance, one of the biggest issues now is the sharp rise in phishing emails. Cyber Risk Aware is an Irish business offering learning platforms that can build training programmes within Microsoft Office 365 to raise staff awareness regarding phishing and teach them how to spot a dangerous email. The company also offers a phishing simulation platform, which can build email templates and schedule simulation campaigns to test the level of awareness within the organisation and to offer additional focused learning for staff when required.”

      Like all good responses to security threats, many solutions are based on prevention rather than cure – and with the cost of cyber crime rising sharply as the attacks get more sophisticated, this is sure to be a massive area of growth. “EdgeScan is leading the way in pen testing, or vulnerability scanning,” says Pat. “This includes scanning company IPs or carrying out pen tests on company websites or client portals to find any potential weaknesses – therefore stopping the threat before it happens.”

       

      Remote working challenges

      With remote and hybrid working looking likely to stay in the long term, many companies are looking for ways to boost their security with staff working on devices away from the office and even out on the road. “Remote working has brought with it many challenges; one issue is providing the same amount of security as in the office,” says Pat. “Web and email filtering identifies new malware sites and can block specific categories of websites, such as gambling sites. Galway-based TitanHQ offers advanced solutions for this issue, currently helping businesses in over 120 countries.”

      A big issue for companies is our increasing reliance on mobile phones for work purposes – now a company has to look into protecting these as well as laptops and computers. “Many companies have introduced a controlled ‘Bring Your Own Device’, or BYOD, policy in which company apps are locked down or secured on the device, while others have restricted access to only corporate devices to allow for full control. And yes, there’s an Irish company involved in this area too: CWSI are experts in the field of mobile device management and offer guidance on both policy and the technical aspects of managing devices.”

      It’s clear that Irish companies are leading the way in cybersecurity solutions. Many companies are finding it difficult to acquire and retain staff with skills in the areas of compliance, ISO certification, incident response, forensics and investigations – and, as Pat explains, there are several Irish companies in a great position to help. “Irish innovators such as Integrity360, SmartTech 24/7, Kontex and Evros are providing a solution to this issue by providing expert security consultant services. These companies’ Security Operations Centre (SOC service) offers uninterrupted monitoring of their clients‘ IT networks.”

       

      Details of the Enterprise Ireland Cybersecurity Innovation Series 2021 can be found here

      Global Recovery. Irish Opportunity

      International Markets Week 2021: Green agenda and digitalisation key areas for growth  

      Global Recovery - Irish Opportunity

      It’s been said many times that exports are crucial to Ireland’s recovery in the post-pandemic world – and Enterprise Ireland is committed to ensuring that Irish companies take advantage of the many opportunities around the world to increase their business and bolster our economy as a result.

      A crucial event in the Enterprise Ireland year is International Markets Week, and this year, for the second year running, it was held as a virtual event over five busy days in October 2021.

      “When Covid hit, we decided that the event was too important to miss, particularly in the context of a global pandemic,” explains Anne Lanigan, Regional Director, Eurozone, at Enterprise Ireland. “This is a time when it’s even more important for our clients to keep their exports going, so we decided to go onto a virtual platform, with our market advisors available for a full week.

      “The market advisors are the boots on the floor, the people who can introduce client companies to potential buyers, so it’s a very practical week for people who want to do business.”

      This year, the theme of the event was Global Recovery. Irish Opportunity, recognising that the global economy is experiencing significant disruption – but while this disruption brings challenges, there are also significant opportunities.

      “Enterprise Ireland client companies enjoyed excellent overall export growth in 2019 of 8%,  with particularly strong growth in the Eurozone and North America of 15% and 16% respectively,” says Anne

       “In 2020, these figures stabilised, which was a very good result in the context of a global pandemic, but now we need to get back to 2019 levels of growth.”

      Opportunities for Irish companies lie in many areas, including the green agenda and digitisation. Throughout the world, companies are investing in green and digital strategies and governments are putting stimulus packages in place to drive a recovery based on a green and digital future. This investment represents huge opportunity for innovative Irish companies.

      “The current disruption in global supply chains also poses significant opportunity,” says Anne. “The drive by manufacturers in developed economies, in particular, to strengthen the reliability of their supply chains so that they are more easily accessed from a geographic and an administrative perspective, creates the opportunity for Ireland to embed themselves in these new supply chains. Ireland’s location on the edge of Europe puts us in a key position to capitalise on this move towards regionalisation of supply chains.”

       

      Finding opportunities

      It’s clear from this year’s International Markets Week that Enterprise Ireland client companies have recognised the importance of building a robust strategy to take advantage of these growth opportunities. A total of 710 Enterprise Ireland client companies registered for the event, booking a total of 1,663 meetings with market advisors from across the world.

      To get an indication of how companies were faring as the world’s economy recovers from the challenges of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, Enterprise Ireland conducted a survey of the participants ahead of the event. The results were positive: 56% of businesses indicated that they have seen an increase in exports in 2021 compared to 2020, with only 11% reporting a decrease. And, 91% of companies expect sales to increase again in 2022. In terms of trends, the survey revealed that 80% of businesses viewed digitalisation as vital over the next 12 months, while 63% said that advancing their sustainability agenda was a priority.

      These results proved accurate throughout the event, which was officially launched by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, and Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy. Lydia Rogers, country manager for Enterprise Ireland in Canada, reported a real hunger in Irish companies to take advantage of the many opportunities out there. “I met many client companies at various stages of their export journey, from those accelerating their international growth and diversifying into new global markets to ambitious start-ups keen to explore the export opportunities in Canada. The week proved that Canada is a very attractive market for Irish companies in many sectors, including cleantech, consumer retail, engineering, life sciences, fintech and BPO, and a large proportion of digital technologies companies.

      “In addition, Canada was also identified by many client companies as an entry point and as a lower-cost gateway into the wider North America market.”

      And, as predicted, the green agenda and digitalisation opportunities were noted by Lydia as strong trends for Irish companies looking to Canada for growth. “Our team met many companies with innovative digitalisation solutions across travel tech, retail tech, ed tech, digital health, fintech, HR & talent tech, and IoT. There were also many SMEs with innovative solutions in areas including cleantech, mobility, smart energy and environment. Consumer retail was also a significant area of interest – a sector that experienced growth in 2020 despite the challenges of Covid-19. All in all, it was clear from this year’s International Markets Week that Irish companies have recognised Ireland and Canada make great business partners and are ready to reap the rewards from this vibrant and welcoming country.”

       

      View the virtual launch event from Enterprise Ireland’s International Markets Week 2021 below:

       

       

       

       

       

      A young man in a warehouse using his laptop to research his EORI number

      Customs – What is an EORI Number used for?

       

      The Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number allows businesses to import or export with countries outside the European Union. It is a unique reference number recognised by all EU member states and is a requirement on all customs declarations.

      First introduced in 2009, the EORI number is a common reference number for interactions with the customs authorities in any EU Member State. All Irish numbers are prefaced with the prefix IE and contain eight characters. It is closely aligned to your VAT number but requires a separate EORI registration with Revenue.

       

      Register for your EORI number

      To obtain your number, companies can register directly through Revenue. If you are already registered on Revenue Online Service (ROS), you can register within a matter of minutes. Once the registration is complete, the number is active immediately.

      If you believe that you already have one, this can be verified by simply checking the EORI number validation service. Insert your VAT number prefixed by “IE” and select validate.

      Revenue has support for companies that have questions about their process. Visit Revenue’s website for the relevant contact details.