The Future of Mobility

EU helps to supercharge mobility, offering opportunity to Irish businesses

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

Irish firms thriving in Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Understand the opportunity

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

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

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

Take time to access the market context

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

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

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

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

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

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

Market snapshots

Belgium

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

The mobility landscape in Belgium

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

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

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

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

Key stakeholders in Belgium

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

Understand the mobility opportunity in Belgium

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

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

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

  • Digitalisation of mobility
  • Road safety

Electric transport, including vehicles, bikes and scooters

Selling into Belgium

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

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

Top tip

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

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France

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

The mobility landscape in France

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

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

Other key priorities include:

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

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

Key stakeholders in France

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

Understand the mobility opportunity in France

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selling into France

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

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

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

Top tip

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

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Germany

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

The mobility landscape in Germany

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

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

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

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

Key stakeholders

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

Understand the mobility opportunity in Germany

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

Several Irish firms are already active here, including:

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

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

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

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

Selling into Germany

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

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

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

Top tip

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

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Italy

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

The mobility landscape in Italy

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

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

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

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

Key stakeholders in Italy

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

Understand the mobility opportunity in Italy

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

There’s particular focus on:

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

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

Selling into Italy

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

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

Top tip

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

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

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

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Netherlands

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

The mobility landscape in the Netherlands

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

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

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

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

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

Key stakeholders in the Netherlands

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

Understand the mobility opportunities in the Netherlands

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

  • The Internet of Things
  • Smart cities
  • Connectivity

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

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

Other key trends in the market include:

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

Selling into the Netherlands

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

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

Top tip

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

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Spain

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

The mobility landscape in Spain

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

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

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

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

Key stakeholders in Spain

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

Understanding the mobility opportunity in Spain

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

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

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

Other opportunities for Irish firms include:

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

Selling into Spain

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

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

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

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

Top tip

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

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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.

 

Leading the travel sector back to profitability

Irish TravelTech: Leading the travel sector back to profitability

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Facing the challenges of Covid-19

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


 

Success stories

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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.

 

Net Zero UK podcast – The UK ports sector

Net Zero UK podcast – The UK ports sector – Lewis McIntyre, Peel Ports

In Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Net Zero UK’ podcast series, we discuss how the UK plans to transition to a net zero economy and the impact this will have on SMEs.

In the second episode, Lewis McIntyre, Managing Director of Port Services at Peel Ports, speaks about Peel Ports’ journey to net zero, the UK ports sector’s net zero ambitions and the role that the supply chain has to play as the sector works to reduce its emissions.

 

Minister Robert Troy in the Nordics attending SLUSH

The Nordics: Opportunities abound for ambitious Irish exporters

 

As an island nation, the export economy is essential for the health and growth of Irish companies. Our reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship has served us well in that regard, with Irish companies finding huge success in every corner of the world. Key markets such as the UK, the US, France and Germany remain hugely important, but ambitious Irish exporters are exploring other countries that are actively looking for the products and solutions produced by Irish entrepreneurs – and finding a whole new world of opportunity. A region that is growing rapidly in importance for Irish business is the Nordics, an area made up of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland.

Currently, over 450 Enterprise Ireland supported companies export to the Nordics, with exports reaching a remarkable €1.16 billion in 2020. It’s easy to see why this region is so attractive, home to 26 million inhabitants, the Nordic region is the 11th largest economy in the world. 

 

The Nordic market

Irish companies have a strong track record and reputation here, says Eoghan O’Connor, Market Executive, ICT & Start Ups, Enterprise Ireland. “The Nordics are known for being progressive, stable, and open to new technology.”

“As a region that is culturally and geographically close to Ireland, Nordic countries should be considered our home markets and natural partners in terms of trade and business cooperation. English is widely spoken and like Ireland, a huge emphasis is placed on innovation.”

Eoghan O Connor Enterprise Ireland

This innovation can be seen in the number of household names from the Nordics. For instance, within the Nordic ecosystem are global companies like H&MNokiaVolvo, Maersk, and Ericsson. In addition, outside of Silicon Valley, the Nordics have generated the highest number of unicorns per capita globally, including companies like Spotify, Mojang (creators of Minecraft), Oatly, and Klarna

“The success of these companies is down to the ecosystem, which is a fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurship,” explains Eoghan. “Their comprehensive welfare state provides citizens with free education, healthcare, and social security and their public sector provides a strong framework for the ecosystem with opportunities for funding and other supports. There is also a dedicated focus on R&D and in general they are a population of early adopters of new technology.”

“This makes the Nordic region a great starting point for Irish companies looking to establish a foothold in the European markets and scale their businesses internationally from here.”

 

Success for Irish companies in the Nordics

Already there are several very successful Irish companies in the region, all of which offer clever solutions in several different areas. “These include WAZP, an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) that specialises in the production of 3D printing materials, which has forged a partnership with IKEA, one of the most globally recognised brands,” says Eoghan.

“In addition, iCabbi, a Dublin cloud-based taxi firm, have a contract with Finnish taxi company Meneva, which has grown its fleet from 100 cars to over 1,500 since joining iCabbi over two years ago.”

Minister Robert Troy in front of a Meneva taxi

A key term in today’s global business world is sustainability, a significant area of growth as we race towards ambitious goals of net zero emissions. The Nordic countries have been long considered leaders in this field, especially in the area of environmentally friendly transport options, such as public scooter schemes.

“Irish companies are playing their part here also,” says Eoghan. “For instance, Luna Technologies, which develops AI tech for the e-scooter market, has partnered with Swedish scooter giant Voi, while Zeus has rolled out scooters in Oslo, Halmstad, and Karlstad.”

 

Springboard to success

These Irish companies have found huge success in the region – but there’s plenty more opportunity for ambitious Irish exporters who will find an open and welcoming market for their innovative products and solutions. To demonstrate the Irish Advantage to the Nordics, Enterprise Ireland showcased Irish innovation at SLUSH, a global-leading event for start-ups and the largest of its kind in the Nordics, which took place in December 2021 in Helsinki.

The event is considered a hotbed of start-up talent; the sold-out 2021 event attracted 8,000 attendees, over 3,200 start-up founders, and 1,500 investors, all of whom travelled from every part of the world. Irish attendees included seven companies, some already successful in the region along with some newcomers that have compelling offerings for this market.

 

 

These included Boundless (B2B SaaS technology), MyPatientSpace (life sciences), Educatly (higher education), PlantQuest (oil & gas and data centres), Zeus (transport and mobility), Social Talent (learning and development), and Tito (events & ticketing).  

The event acted as a springboard for Irish companies looking to expand their offerings in this prosperous region, keen to avail of the positives of trading in an area that values innovation, flexible working relationships and timely solutions to the issues that really matter in today’s world – everything that Irish enterprise is revered for.

 

If you’re interested in exporting to the Nordics, contact the Enterprise Ireland Nordics team.

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.

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

A person gathering market intelligence by analysing graphs and statistics on a sheet of paper

Using market intelligence to inform your export plan

The saying that ‘knowledge is power’ is certainly true of successful exporting. Companies must use market intelligence to understand their customers’ requirements, cultural considerations, market trends and what competitors 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 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 using market intelligence

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.

Why Export title

Export Journey: Step 1 – Why Export?

Why Export title - image of woman packing a box

In a post-Covid world access to international markets, buyers, distributors and information is now at the fingertips of Irish SMEs thanks to increased digitalisation.

When looking towards new markets, it is important to consider the potential benefits of exporting for your company such as;

1. Diversification of market and reduced vunerability

A well considered diversification plan can minimise a dependency on the domestic market and the potential exposure to domestic downturn.

2. Increased revenue and scale

Exporting opens channels to exponentially expand the home market and identify new markets to take advantage of globally. A larger market base delivers economies of scale, enabling you to maximise your resources.

3. Improved profitability

Your ongoing domestic operation should cover business-as-usual fixed costs, either directly or via other types of business financing, which should, in turn, facilitate a faster growth in your export profits.

4. Best practice and knowledge

Accessing global markets will provide additional benefits to an exporter, aside from increased revenues such as new ways of doing business, increased awareness of global best practice, cultural and international competitiveness, that could also bring benefits to your market offering in Ireland.

5. Domestic competitiveness

Considering your company’s export potential will increase its resilience against potential competition within the domestic market.

 

 

Assess & validate title and two women at a computer screen

Export Journey: Step 2 – Assess & Validate

Assess & Validate title and business people

Before beginning your export journey you must clearly identify your target market.  You may have preferences based on previous experience, understanding of the language or culture or simply some connection with the market, though a good starting point it’s not enough of a reason to export to this market.

Market Research will form the backbone of your export strategy as you begin to validate your plans.

The key elements for consideration are:

  • What makes your product unique
  • Who are your competitors in your selected research market?
  • Who are the buyers in that market?
  • How does your product compare in terms of pricing?
  • How is the product sold in that market?
  • What are the local regulations, certification for selling your product and can you currently comply?
  • A clear understanding as to why you have selected this market as the potential first market.

What supports are available?

If your business is at an early development stage the Local Enterprise Office has the supports to help you plan, start and grow

If you are are already supported by Enterprise Ireland you can contact your Development Advisor here.

The Market Research Centre provides access to world class research databases to help client companies make better, more informed business decisions. Contact the Market Research Centre here

Enterprise Ireland hosts events to assist companies’ growth plans – See our events calendar for details.

Our Market pages and Going Global guides provide expert insights and contact details for our overseas offices.

Learn how our Exporter Development team can support your growth.