Brexit is already costing Irish exporters

Brexit has cost one in 10 Irish exporters over €100,000 to date, according to an Enterprise Ireland survey, with some firms saying it cost them €250,000.

One in three export firms have warned that currency fluctuations are their number one concern. They are also concerned about interference with tariffs (22pc), supply chain disruption (16pc) and uncertainty for Brexit’s outcome (15pc)

An enormous number – 83pc – say they plan to extend into international markets over the next 12 months in response to Brexit, with the Eurozone area cited as having the most potential.

“Irish exporters are already feeling the negative impacts of Brexit through their profit margins”

A survey of Enterprise Ireland client companies attending International Markets Week found that 53pc of companies say that Brexit has had an impact to their business with one in ten companies citing that Brexit has cost their business over €100K.

Close to 5pc of companies say that Brexit has cost their business 250,000.

Time to open up new markets, the time for action is now

Two women, one in red dress and the other in green dress, beside a man in a blue suit.

Pictured: Edel Treanor, Director, Mullan Lighting; Daíthí O’Connor, managing director and founder, Revive Active; and Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland. Image: SON Photographic

Enterprise Ireland’s International Markets Week (IMW), which opens today (4 September) at the RDS, will host 650 client companies over three days. More than 140 international Market Advisors from Enterprise Ireland’s 34 overseas offices will participate in over 2,000 client company one-to-one meetings, advising Irish businesses on global export opportunities in new markets in direct response to Brexit.

“Our research shows that Irish exporters are already feeling the negative impacts of Brexit through their profit margins,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon.

“We have consistently said that the wait and see approach is not an option and client companies are heeding this advice. In 2018, 945 new overseas customers were secured by clients with the support of Enterprise Ireland. This represented a 23pc increase on the 770 new overseas customers recorded in 2017.

“Overall, Enterprise Ireland client companies have opened 275 new overseas presences in the first six months of 2019. This week’s International Markets Week programme gives exporters an opportunity to meet with our experts from the markets and evaluate the opportunities to accelerate their market diversification.”

As the 31 October deadline edges closer, Enterprise Ireland said it is actively encouraging client companies to further their diversification plans and take action now.

Programmes that Enterprise Ireland companies have taken part in to enhance their Eurozone market engagement include: the development of a Eurozone market strategy, participation in a Management Development Programme, inward buyer visits or take up of the Market Discovery Fund.

In addition, Enterprise Ireland has approved over €9m in funding since 2018 to companies looking to enter new markets under its Market Discovery Fund, indicating that companies are taking action to mitigate against the impact of a no deal scenario

According to the results of the Enterprise Ireland survey, more than four out of five businesses identified the Eurozone as the market they are planning to expand into in the next year with 83pc citing its size and growth potential as a key factor, followed by a proven demand for a product or service (50pc).

“As we draw ever closer to the potential of a hard Brexit, businesses must continue to find new markets and to innovate their products and services,” Sinnamon said.

“In the first six months of 2019, over 200 client companies had significant Eurozone market engagement with 57 Irish companies establishing a new market presence in the Eurozone so far this year, almost double the amount compared to this time last year. Our continued priority is to ensure that Irish exporters prepare for a hard Brexit, and to take action now. This will be good for their businesses, irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations.”

Pictured (at top) at International Markets Week was Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon. Image: SON Photographic

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Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 4 September, 2019



How to deal with Brexit risks

Identifying and targeting new markets should also be given serious consideration. A good place to start is with your UK based competitors.