Launch of i-Cham Central Europe

3 April 2014

The Minister for Small Business, John Perry TD, will today (Thursday 3rd April, 2014) launch the new Irish Chamber of Commerce in Central Europe, i-Cham CE, at an event at Enterprise Ireland’s offices in East Point Business Park, Dublin 3. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, i-Cham CE has the backing of the associated Embassies and its office will be based out of the Irish Exporters Association.

i-Cham CE is a new initiative which aims to bring the Irish business diasporas in Central Europe together through an integrated bi-lateral Chamber umbrella. The organisation aims to provide practical and on-the ground support to Irish SMEs who are entering or exploring these markets with the aim of increasing Irish exports and raising the profile of Irish products and services in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Welcoming the launch Minister Perry said: “The launch of i-Cham CE is very timely as in May this year we will mark the 10th anniversary of EU Accession for 10 countries - 8 of them from Central Europe. As Minister for Small Business, I am keenly aware that initiatives such as this new Chamber of Commerce for Central Europe are vitally important in providing a platform for business people to network and develop contacts in international markets.

“The platform created by i-Cham will increase in importance, as the point of European manufacturing continues to move to the centre of Europe, and as the countries of Central Europe move rapidly to the EU average in terms of consumption and investment. This will generate wide-ranging opportunities for Irish companies in terms of increased exports and jobs growth, while simultaneously providing a conduit for companies from Central Europe to expand their business in Ireland”.

David Pierce, Chairman of i-Cham CE commented: “The International Chamber movement's main aims are to influence Governments and Business while assisting the greater business community to network, with the aim of increasing business. i-Cham is opening up business opportunities to the many new European countries with a view of achieving the goals of the Chamber movement”.

i-Cham CE is supported by Enterprise Ireland as the intended scope of the organisation will complement the work of Enterprise Ireland’s offices in Warsaw and Prague, which cover the EU countries within i-Cham CE’s geographic footprint.

Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Director Conor Fahy said: “Enterprise Ireland strongly supports the establishment of i-Cham CE which will provide an additional conduit for Irish companies expanding their export footprint into Central Europe, the EU’s fastest growing region. It the past 10 years Irish exports to Central Europe have grown over 300%, and thanks to the continued “catch-up” dynamic, well-trained work force, healthy banking sector, and a combination of low public and private debt, Central European economies are expected to continue growing faster than Western Europe, generating wide ranging export opportunities for Irish companies”.

Simon McKeever, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association concluded: “The Irish Exporters Association is delighted to be the Dublin Hub of i-Cham CE, which will provide support to Irish SMEs and indigenous exporting firms looking to compete in the CE Region and assist Irish companies to develop in a competitive global market. This initiative will not only give confidence to Irish exporters at each stage of their exporting journey but will educate and inform companies around best practice in the region. The launch of i-Cham CE will build on the success of €2,185m in exports in 2013 from Ireland to 11 countries in Central Europe”.

Reflecting the importance of Central Europe as a potential export destination for Irish companies, and to mark the 10th anniversary of the EU’s 2004 Central European enlargement, Enterprise Ireland will also hold a special event entitled “Expanding Your EU Exports - Winning New Business in Central Europe” at East Point on Thursday morning. The objective is to highlight the export opportunities for Irish companies in Central Europe, and to equip Irish companies with information and contacts to start and/or develop new business in Europe’s fastest growing region. Highlights of the day will include a seminar with expert speakers from the region, one-to-one meetings with buyers from the CE region and four sector specific breakout sessions with market experts and buyers from Central Europe, the Baltics and the Balkans focusing on Software Sales and Development; Services and Sub-Supply to the Manufacturing Sector; Opportunities in Food and Beverages; Infrastructure Build-Out (including Water, Waste, Renewables and Transport).

For further information contact:

Jen Condon
i-Cham CE
Mobile: 087 2179559