Senator Maura Hopkins with Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D. at Harmac Medical in Castlerea recently.
Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, and Enterprise Ireland, the Government agency responsible for developing Irish business globally has reported the creation of 18,846 new jobs by Enterprise Ireland supported companies in 2018.
215,207 people are now employed in companies supported by the agency, growing at 4.4% in 2018. This is the highest total employment in the 20-year history of the agency.
Almost two thirds (61%) of the new jobs created were outside of Dublin and Leitrim recorded a job growth increase of 6% bringing the total number of Enterprise Ireland supported jobs in the county over 600. 64% of total employment by Enterprise Ireland backed companies is now outside of Dublin.
Lifesciences (+8%), Construction (+8%), Electronics (+7%), Primary Meats (+5%) and Food (+3%) were the key performing sectors. The jobs growth translates into a net increase of 9,118 total jobs created in 2018.
Delighted to welcome @Entirl & members of the media to @EnterInnov to announce the highest level ever employed by EI-supported companies in 2018. Together with @IDAIRELAND’s record results for the year, it’s a positive start to 2019. pic.twitter.com/uro8uU3kip— Heather Humphreys (@HHumphreysFG) January 9, 2019
Welcoming the results, Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation Heather Humphreys said “These record results are a great achievement and a testament to the resilience of Irish companies in the context of Brexit. They are particularly welcome in the context of similarly strong results from IDA-supported companies in 2018.
I am especially pleased that 61% of the jobs created were from regionally-based companies and to see that there were increases in every region. In addition to providing employment, these State-backed companies make a significant economic contribution to the economy and spent €26.8bn in 2017.”
Jobs growth, international trade deals and the strengthening of Irish business in the face of a looming Brexit - here's how we did it in 2018 @Entirl @EnterInnov #GlobalAmbition pic.twitter.com/6kP4fRlR35— Brigid Burke (@EI_BBurke) January 9, 2019
The Minister added, “As we reach full employment, our focus must shift from getting people back to work to creating sustainable jobs that can deal with new challenges and embrace new technologies. The Government’s new Future Jobs plan, which I will launch next month, will guide the next phase of Ireland's economic development and embed the excellent progress we have made since the economic downturn.”
Aidan McKenna, Regional Director – Border Region, Enterprise Ireland said: “2018 was another strong year for job creation in Leitrim, with our client companies now employing 607 people across the county. Now at the half way mark into our four-year strategy to Build Scale and Expand Reach 2017-2020, we are on course to exceed the ambitious target of creating 60,000 new jobs across Ireland by the end of 2020.
Today’s results suggest that we have yet to see a significant impact of Brexit on Irish companies. However, as the March 29 deadline approaches, and uncertainty continues, we would anticipate that 2019 will be a challenging period for some Irish exporters. Ongoing doubt about the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, currency volatility, transition arrangements, customs/logistics and potential delays in investment activity are key concerns for exporters.
While 85% of our clients have taken Brexit actions, our continuous efforts to support our clients to innovate, diversify and compete will ramp up so that Irish businesses are equipped to mitigate against the fallout of Brexit and build on the strength of the 2018 results.”
Enterprise Ireland said that it is working intensively on a one-to-one basis with its exporting clients on Brexit contingency plans. In 2018, the agency approved funding of €74m for 535 of its most Brexit-exposed clients.
In 2018, Enterprise Ireland also recorded that:
•1,000+ Brexit-exposed companies had Brexit interventions including one-to-one consultancy engagements for Brexit contingency planning, training, innovation, competitiveness and diversification financial supports
•3,700 Brexit SME Scorecards completed
•600+ Brexit-exposed companies with exports to the UK of greater than 20%, have developed new growth plans to mitigate against Brexit
•400+ Brexit-exposed companies actively engaging with international Enterprise Ireland offices in key markets
•430+ companies participated in over 200 Enterprise Ireland trade events
•Launched new online Customs Insights training course
•Over 100,000 visits to Prepareforbrexit.ie
As part of Enterprise Ireland’s Brexit response, the organisation is announcing a major drive to support Irish exporter diversification including a significant expansion to its overseas offices network in 14 priority markets over the next 18 months to help companies expand beyond the UK including:
•New Enterprise Ireland offices in markets including Germany, France, USA, Denmark, Vietnam and Australia
•Increased staff resources in markets where Enterprise Ireland already has a presence including Italy, Hungary, Brazil and the USA
•Increased staff resources in new markets including China, Scotland and New Zealand
€74m in State funding was paid out to @Entirl clients in Brexit supports last year. Govt also provides supports & advice through my Dept @EnterInnov, @agriculture_ie, @IRLDeptFinance, @SBCIreland @Bordbia @Inter_Trade @Loc_Enterprise @TheHSA @NSAI_Standards & more #BrexitReady— Heather Humphreys (@HHumphreysFG) January 9, 2019
This increased presence abroad will build on Enterprise Ireland’s work in 2018 when it helped Irish companies win 1,504 new contracts, open 402 new offices overseas and it brought 1,023 international buyers to Ireland.
Minister Humphreys TD said, “As part of the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 strategy, I allocated an additional €3m to Enterprise Ireland in Budget 2019. This funding will be used to expand the Agency’s global footprint, allowing us to promote Irish capability to even more international buyers.”
Aidan McKenna, Regional Director – Border Region, Enterprise Ireland concluded, “With Brexit fast approaching, consolidating exports to the UK while expanding the Irish export footprint in global markets is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland. We are continuing our diversification strategy to reduce our dependency on the UK (exports to the UK have dropped from 44% in 2007 to 34% in 2017), while we plan to strengthen our overseas presence.
For 2019 our top five key strategic priorities are supporting clients to prepare for a hard Brexit, regional jobs development and driving innovation, competitiveness and diversification among Irish exporters.”