Enterprise Ireland is targeting a combined export value of €30bn for its client companies by the end of 2024.
If realised, that would represent growth of nearly 18% over four years, with the agency’s client firms generating combined export value of €25.5bn in 2020.
The export target forms part of a new three-year strategy, which also includes the creation of 45,000 new jobs. The State development agency in charge of boosting Irish firms in overseas markets said it saw the highest rise in jobs at client companies in a single year in 2021.
While Enterprise Ireland’s export figures won’t be published until June, its employment figures show a net increase in jobs across client companies of just under 12,000 for 2021.
Enterprise Ireland chief executive Leo Clancy flagged raw material price inflation, competitiveness, skills shortages and supply chain issues as the main challenges facing Irish exporters. However, he said the strong employment growth seen last year suggests the agency’s three-year targets are realistic as well as ambitious.
He said while some of last year’s strong performance was due to pent-up activity from the first year of Covid upheaval in 2020, if 2021 levels can be sustained this year it would be an indication of future growth.
Expectations for continued export growth are positive. The strong jobs growth last year points to a healthy export performance for 2021. Furthermore, as much as 90% of EI client companies said, in October, that they expect to increase exports further in 2022.
Mr Clancy said Enterprise Ireland’s new strategy is set against a backdrop of "remarkable change" for business.
“Resilient, internationally focused, and productive Irish enterprises are critical to the future growth of the Irish economy, supporting livelihoods and contributing to prosperity throughout Ireland," he said.