Enterprise Ireland wants Irish exports to grow to €30bn value by 2024 – and has the supports available to make that happen, says Ann Marie Russell-Walsh, the Regional Development Advisor for Cork.
At our virtual conference earlier this year, Ann Marie spoke on available supports for businesses, including soft supports like webinars and market research, and financial supports including the digitalisation voucher and LEAN business offers.
Ann Marie is the Regional Development Advisor Cork at Enterprise Ireland (EI). She specialises in working with businesses focusing on growing exports and she has extensive experience in business strategy, operations and international scaling.
Enterprise Ireland offer a wide range of supports for Irish companies who are either currently exporting or considering exporting. The companies must be involved in a manufacturing, technology or internationally traded services and be capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland.
In addition to providing expert advice on export growth, EI have offer webinars and soft supports including:
- Export Compass webinar series – walking you through the key essentials in an export plan
- Market Research Centre – access to world class market research reports, which you can search from your desk
- eiLEARN development programs – some are short such, as digital sales and talent retention, and others are longer, involving the CEO & senior team, to bring a ‘step change’ to your business. eiLearn | …your digital learning platform
On the recruitment front, EI supports include:
- GradStart – support to hire graduates for up to 2 years with a grant of 50% to a max of €15k
- Key Manager Grant – support for a ‘step change’ roles that brings strategic expertise inhouse, such as a CFO or Head of Production.
For companies considering introducing Lean business principles, the Lean Business Offer supports the improvement across the business, from the manufacturing floor to sales, and support are available for all business stages. Lean tools and techniques help companies to address by building the capability of their people to identify problems, improve operations and create a more innovative organisation.
For companies taking their first steps a Digitalisation Voucher is ideal, say Ann Marie, as it provides an overview of the business from a digital perspective.
Other Lean supports include:
- LEANSTART: The introduction of Lean principles to a company and the development of an action plan.
- LEANPLUS: The completion of a specific improvement project
- LEANTRANSFORM: this project is about investing in people and should lead to higher quality jobs as well as productivity improvements
For exploring new opportunities, Ann Marie recommends looking the Strategic Marketing Review, a transformative programme for the senior management team, focusing on a market driven business strategy which will significantly impact your rate of scaling and international growth.
It focuses on changing the way businesses think about their customers and markets, differentiating them in a competitive market landscape though:
- Aligning market opportunities with strategic business objectives to drive revenue
- Building high performance sales and marketing teams
- Positioning the value of service or solution to prioritised market segments
- Addressing sales challenges and maximizing market opportunities.
She also noted the Market Discovery Fund, used to support the costs of undertaking market research with up to 50% of the costs associated with researching and exploring international business opportunities.
The conference theme was planning for success in a time of change. Ann Marie gave updates on Enterprise Ireland’s supports for businesses looking to adapt generally as well as focusing on exports, including information on the Climate Enterprise Action Fund and Innovation and Third Level Collaboration options.
To get started with Enterprise Ireland, Ann Marie recommends contacting your Regional Development Advisor through your local office. Ann Marie is the Regional Development Adviser for Cork and can be emailed at Ann.Russell-walsh@enterprise-Ireland.com.
You can watch the whole conference, including Ann Marie’s presentation, here on our blog. Ann Marie’s presentation is twenty-five minutes from the 00:51:50 to 01:16:30 mark.