MORE than 19,000 jobs were lost in 2009 in Enterprise Ireland-backed firms while exports fell 10% to €13 billion.
However, the state agency’s annual report for last year predicts the companies it serves will generate 60,000 jobs by the end of 2015.
New jobs created this year should also beat the 2009 figure of 7,443 as trading conditions show some improvement.
The agency, which is responsible for developing Irish firms, said this figure included new export sales of almost €700m last year.
Business sectors, including software, life sciences and internationally traded services, all achieved export sales growth, it said.
Last year the agency backed 73 high potential start-up companies which it expects to generate more than 900 jobs and sales of €600m-plus with three years.
EI has invested in more than 800 start-up companies in the 20-year period to 2009 that has delivered €1bn-plus in export sales and more than 14,000 jobs.
The report also shows that over 120 client companies were approved financial support in excess of €100,000 for significant R&D projects, a major improvement on the 89 sanctioned in 2008.
Also 35 spin-out companies emerged from Higher Education Institutes with Enterprise Ireland support, three times the numbers achieved in 2008.
EI boss Frank Ryan said firms had overcome difficult challenges in the past 18 months and had shown “exceptional resilience” under very difficult conditions.
Enterprise Ireland client companies are responsible for over 250,000 jobs (134,000 directly employed) and spend an estimated €19bn per annum in the Irish economy, “delivering huge economic impact to communities across almost every town in Ireland”, he said.
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe, welcoming the report, said “last year was very challenging for the international and domestic economies, but the results outlined in Enterprise Ireland’s Annual Report and Accounts 2009 show a resilient performance by Ireland’s indigenous exporting firms”.
The Government will continue to strongly support the development of the smart economy and to implement the recommendations of the Innovation Task Force.
“We will support the continued growth of entrepreneurial-led firms that will underpin Ireland’s global reputation as a centre for innovation providing high-value, sustainable jobs,” he said.
Hugh Cooney, chairman of EI, said: “We should take great encouragement from what client companies achieved against the odds in 2009 and from the innovative and determined measures they took to secure their business and position themselves for their next cycle of growth,” he said.
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