Enterprise Ireland is to increase the number of trade events it undertakes this year by 50% to offset the threat of Brexit.
The State agency said it will take part in more than 200 international and domestic trade events in 2018 to help Enterprise Ireland clients diversify into markets beyond the UK.
They said that 70 of the export-focused trade events will be led by Government Ministers and most will take place in the Eurozone, North America and Asia Pacific regions, while 55 events will be hosted in Ireland.
The details of Enterprise Ireland’s 2018 international trade event programme were announced today at SXSW where 10 Irish start-ups are exhibiting.
Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland CEO, said: “The ongoing uncertainty over Brexit negotiations and the continued decline in the value of sterling has highlighted the need for Irish companies to look to alternative markets beyond the UK.
"While consolidating exports to the UK, we have set ambitious targets to increase exports to the Eurozone by 50% by 2020 and for exports to markets outside of the UK to account for two-thirds of total exports.
"Our network of 33 international offices are essential supports to prepare clients to enter and grow in new markets internationally. Additionally, the new Market Discovery Fund will support clients to research and validate opportunities for products and services in new markets.”
Enterprise Ireland introduced the new Market Discovery Fund to support Enterprise Ireland backed companies when researching new markets for products and services.
There are three levels of funding available to companies: up to €35,000, up to €75,000 and up to €150,000.
The State agency said that North America represents the fastest export market growth for Irish companies with Irish companies seeing a 19% year-on-year gain in their market share and exports growing to €3.74bn in 2016.
According to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2017 the value of Ireland’s foreign direct investment (FDI) was calculated at over $85bn, ranking Ireland the 9th largest source of FDI.
Leading Enterprise Ireland’s current trade mission to the USA, Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said: “In the context of Brexit it has never been more important to support Irish companies to achieve their global ambition.
"Enterprise Ireland has a clear mandate to achieve this and support Irish companies to reduce their Brexit exposure and expand into new international markets."