Enterprise Ireland Annual Report and Accounts 2009

Chief Executive Officer's Report

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A return to export-led growth will lead Ireland's economic recovery. Exports equals jobs and high-quality, innovative and internationally competitive Irish companies are fundamental to Ireland's future prosperity.

Facing the toughest challenges in their history, Enterprise Ireland client companies showed great determination and resilience in seeking out new markets and customers in 2009. As a result, they recorded new export sales of €693 million. This demonstrates that Irish companies have the ambition and capability to identify opportunities in the most difficult economic conditions and build strong, export-focused businesses.

While total export sales fell by 10 per cent to €12.9 billion, a number of key growth sectors, including software, internationally traded services and life sciences increased exports.

During 2009, Enterprise Ireland approved funding for a total of 1,460 companies.

Notwithstanding the challenges, we maintained our focus on the innovation agenda as evidenced by the number of new high potential start-ups and investments in R&D which exceeded expectations, indicating improved confidence as companies position themselves to take advantage of recovering markets. In 2009 Enterprise Ireland supported 73 innovative start-up enterprises and 122 client companies were approved financial support in excess of €100,000 for significant R&D projects.

2009 - building business stability

2009 was a year of unprecedented challenges for Ireland's exporters as a result of the global recession and the sustained pressure of the euro to sterling and US dollar exchange rates.

During the year, Enterprise Ireland implemented a number of financial and non-financial initiatives, including the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund and the Employment Subsidy Scheme (Temporary), to help vulnerable but viable client companies through the economic recession, and to ensure that enterprises of strategic importance were sustained and positioned to take advantage of the emerging recovery in the global economy.

Tax Back Logo

Irish success story Taxback.com continued to expand its global business during 2009 announcing a major contract with Visa Europe and the expansion of its VAT recovery services into the United States.

"Our expansion into the US market is estimated to be worth more than €20 million. Taxback.com continues to succeed in these difficult economic times by tapping into global and emerging markets and diversifying to generate new business. This creates highly-skilled jobs in Ireland and we plan to more than double our workforce over the next two years."

Terry Clune,
Chief Executive Officer

Apex Fund Services Logo

Cork company, Apex Fund Services Ltd, launched a new fund administration operation in Shanghai during Enterprise Ireland's trade mission to China. Apex is the first privately-owned fund administration company to launch in China.

"Our launch in China represents a significant milestone in our ongoing expansion plans for a truly global fund services solution. The scale of opportunity in this region is immense and working with Enterprise Ireland has given us access to senior representatives in the banking and financial services industry."

John Bohan
Managing Director
Apex Fund Services Ltd