Six small companies from Co Leitrim are planning to make a big impact on international buyers within the ‘Enterprise Zone’ at this month’s Showcase event in the RDS in Dublin.
In all, 75 small businesses, more than double the number of companies in 2010, are being supported by their local County and City Enterprise Board at Showcase, to help them break into new Irish and export markets during 2013.
Exhibiting under the ‘Enterprise Zone’ brand name along the balcony area of the RDS, the local businesses, all supported by the Leitrim County Enterprise Board and the Leitrim Design House, are hoping to impress thousands of retail buyers, who are expected to attend Showcase from over seventeen countries.
This year, the Leitrim County Enterprise Board is supporting: Iris Hippelle from Art Studio Iris.H in Kinlough, Joel Smith from Celtic Flame Candles in Rossinver, Jo Gray from Jo Gray Collections in Drumshanbo, Jonathan Ball from Jonathan Ball Glass & Metal Artist in Kinlough, Louise Rice from Rice Glass in Manorhamilton and Roy Humphreys Woodturner in Mohill.
The Creative Expo, which is organised by the Crafts Council of Ireland every year, is seen by industry experts as one of the most important trade events for Ireland’s craft sector and runs from Sunday, January 20th to Wednesday, January 23rd.
The County and City Enterprise Boards are committed to the craft sector nationally, providing supports such as training, business advice, mentoring, networking initiatives, export initiatives and financial intervention, where applicable.
Michael Hanley from the County and City Enterprise Boards said: “There has been an unprecedented level of demand for places at this year’s Enterprise Zone in Showcase, reaching record numbers this year. With the support of the County and City Enterprise Boards, this new generation of craft and design companies can potentially break into new markets, secure valuable export orders and create additional jobs locally.”
According to Brian McGee, who directs the show for the Crafts Council of Ireland, international sales at Showcase are critical. “At last year’s fair, overseas buyers continued to show more optimism with a significant increase in the level of orders compared to domestic buyers versus 2011 levels,” said McGee. “The largest markets for export are USA, UK, Italy and Japan. Country of origin is becoming more and more important. In 2012 93% of international buyers said that a product’s country of origin is important, an increase of 7% on the previous year.”
Showcase is promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland and further details are available by visiting www.showcaseireland.com.