Enterprise Ireland’s End of Year Statement 2014

12th January 2015

Enterprise Ireland supported companies create 19,705 new jobs in 2014 

Enterprise Ireland 2014-2016 strategy – Driving Enterprise and Delivering Jobs 

Innovation continues to play a crucial role in companies’ ability to compete internationally

In its End of Year Statement published today (Monday 12th January 2015), Enterprise Ireland reported that client companies created 19,705 new jobs in 2014.

Pictured at the announcement are Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD and Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland.
Pictured at the announcement are Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD and Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland.

This resulted in a net increase of 8,476 in the number of people employed by Enterprise Ireland supported companies, the highest net gain in the history of the agency*. This increase in employment reinforces Enterprise Ireland’s strategy of driving innovation, scale and leadership positions in international markets and new sectors.

This continuation of employment growth demonstrates clearly the direct impact that increasing exports has on jobs in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland supported companies now, directly and indirectly, account for more than 300,000 jobs in the Irish economy - 16% of total workforce.

Total direct employment (full and part time) in Enterprise Ireland client companies stood at 180,072 in 2014.  Of these, 156,202 are full-time jobs, while 23,870 are part-time**.

These full-time employment and total employment levels are the highest recorded in the history of the agency.

Significantly, Enterprise Ireland clients recorded the lowest level of job losses since 2000.

*Jobs gains of 19,705 (fulltime 14,873) less Job losses 11,229 (fulltime 7,659) resulting in a net Jobs increase of 8,476 (7,214 full time). The gain/loss is calculated by adding total full time gains/losses and total part-time gains/losses.

**Source: The Annual Employment Survey carried out by Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation.  The final 2014 report will be published in early 2015. Note: The survey was adjusted in 2014 to remove self-employed contractors working in our client companies resulting in an adjustment to the 2013 base of 3,500 “other” jobs.

Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland said: “We are very proud of the record performance of our clients right across the country.  The level of increased employment achieved is remarkable and endorses the strategy we have embarked on to 2016. We continue to relentlessly focus on ensuring the right supports are available for clients at every stage of growth. This focus, coupled with our priority to support entrepreneurship across the regions, and develop strong, export focussed, ambitious Irish companies that can win new business, will mean even more jobs for Ireland over the next 12 months”.

Commenting on the outturn for the year, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton T.D. said: “At the heart of our Action Plan for Jobs is creating a powerful engine of Irish enterprise, alongside the strong multinational sector we have built in recent years. We have put in place a raft of measures to deliver on this, including doubling the number of trade missions, recruiting extra staff in overseas markets, and delivering new funding supports for Irish exporting companies.

“Today’s announcement that companies supported by Enterprise Ireland created a record 8,476 extra jobs in 2014 is a huge boost. This is the best performance in the history of the Agency, and great credit is owed to Julie and her staff for this excellent performance. Every job created in an Enterprise Ireland company supports an additional job elsewhere in the economy, through supply and service businesses, so the impact of this on communities across the country is massive.

“Through our plan to grow jobs in Irish companies, we can help drive economic growth and ultimately allow Government to put money in people’s pockets and improve services”.

Enterprise Ireland continued to deliver on the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2014. Regional entrepreneurship and enterprise development was a key area of focus and initiatives included regional Competitive Feasibility and Start Funds, working with the local third level colleges to optimise their connectivity with local enterprise and encouraging companies to export through 15 exporter awareness events and workshops.

The official launch of the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in April 2014 represented a major commitment by Government to support micro enterprise and small business throughout the country. Enterprise Ireland, through its Centre of Excellence in Shannon, provides backup support, training and guidance to the 31 LEOs to ensure a professional and consistent level of support is provided to all start-ups and small businesses. A major initiative undertaken this year by the LEOs with Enterprise Ireland support was Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition (IBYE) which attracted over 1,000 entries.

Starting and growing world-class businesses is at the core of our strategy and a significant amount of our supports are geared towards preparing and helping entrepreneurs all over the country set up global start-ups.

Enterprise Ireland committed to investment in 102 new High Potential Start Up companies with associated job commitments of 1,548.

Our Competitive Start Funds which provide critical very early stage funding were awarded to a further 81 companies.

The start-ups we invested in came from a wide range of sectors including key areas that the Government has targeted for growth: Financial Services, ICT, Games, Software, Cloud-based Technologies, Agritech, Travel, e-tailing, Healthcare and Wellness, Food, Medtech and Pharma. Of particular note were the number of graduate entrepreneurs applying for competitive funds and graduate entrepreneur competitions.

A record number of food HPSUs (eight) were supported in 2014 and, in addition, the Food Works 3 (start-up) programme was launched with the highest number of applicants at 125.

10% of high potential start-ups which Enterprise Ireland invested in during 2014 originated from State-funded research carried out in Higher Education Institutes.

43 of the 183 start-ups supported were led by female entrepreneurs.

Major initiatives during the year included:

Four regional Competitive Feasibility Funds to help entrepreneurs in Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny and Carlow, and the Agri-Business sector to explore the feasibility of their innovative start-up ideas. To date we have received in excess of 100 applications.

Two new Competitive Start Funds targeted at stimulating new start-up business activity for graduate entrepreneurs and the Aviation and Manufacturing sectors.

Hoxton Ventures, the leading European micro-cap venture capital firm, launched a €5.875million Irish early-stage venture capital fund in partnership with Enterprise Ireland.

A new competition to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur was launched in association with the LEOs, with a total fund of €2million available to invest in winning businesses and entrepreneurs across every county in the country.

Launch of Enterprise Ireland’s first peer-to-peer online networking platform for female-led companies.  The new online initiative will facilitate greater communication and connectivity between the growing number of female entrepreneurs, helping them exploit opportunities to grow their businesses in Ireland and in international markets. 

Scaling companies through exports is a key pillar of Enterprise Irelands 2014-2016 Strategy. Following a weaker global environment than expected in 2014, global growth is expected to strengthen moderately (3.8%) in 2015 (Source: IMF).  Enterprise Ireland clients’ two biggest markets, the UK and US, are expected to continue to grow strongly. However, increasing downside risks, including the ongoing weakness in the Euro area, could impact on global growth.

Increasing exports means more jobs and in 2014 our focus was on helping clients build their positions in markets where they are strong and adding to the infrastructure and supports to maximise opportunities for Irish companies in key High Growth Markets (HGMs).

Special efforts were targeted at developing client exports in High Growth Markets and in 2014 Enterprise Ireland received sanction for 20 additional staff in these markets to help us grow exports to €3bn by 2016.

Enterprise Ireland assisted clients secured more than 1,300 new customers and significant contracts (40% of new customers in HGMs), and our clients established 455 new presences in international markets (45% in HGMs).

In addition we worked with early stage HPSU companies to help them secure 131 new international reference customers.

We brought 907 international buyers into Ireland to encourage them to source from Irish companies.

Enterprise Ireland opened new overseas offices in Abu Dhabi (UAE) and in Perth (Australia).

A new key financial support was launched (Market Access Grant) to assist companies research and plan their access into a new overseas market.

Lightstone Ventures partnered with Enterprise Ireland and the NPRF/ISIF (Ireland Strategic Investment Fund) to establish a $172million venture capital fund with offices in Ireland to invest in innovative Irish companies.

Launch of a €75million BDO Development Capital Scheme, to support established Irish companies targeting significant revenue and jobs growth through export markets. 

Enterprise Ireland’s Research and Innovation division works closely with the sectors and start-up teams to deliver training, supports and establish the building blocks for sectors and technologies of the future.

Enterprise Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme, New Frontiers, located in the Institutes of Technology, worked with 137 entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas from potential to real companies.

A further validation of the capabilities of Ireland’s research commercialisation system was the $16million partnership brokered by Enterprise Ireland between Irish researchers and the Mayo Clinic. This deal will deliver a pipeline of new medical technology start-up companies over the next five years.

The BioInnovate Ireland programme supports the creation of medical technology spin-outs. At end of 2014, 26 potential medical entrepreneurs had been supported, with a milestone first investment in these graduates - €3million invested in EMBO Medical. Approval for an additional 20 entrepreneurs was given in 2014.

A record number of 878 collaborative projects between companies and Irish HEIs were supported by Enterprise Ireland. A notable example is the Innovation Partnership project between Boston Scientific and two Irish companies Schivo and Lisnabrin Engineering.

The quality of collaborations between industry and HEIs will be greatly enhanced by the launch of Knowledge Transfer Ireland in 2014. This service gives companies a clear route to access research skills and knowledge in Irish Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), increasing their innovation capabilities.

Over 1,700 people attended the first national Innovation Showcase coordinated by Enterprise Ireland, which provided a major boost to the national effort to enable commercial collaborations between industry and research teams in HEIs.

On an international scale, the European Union’s Horizon 2020, launched in 2014, is a valuable asset to Ireland’s innovation growth.  Enterprise Ireland leads our national participation in Horizon 2020. One of the initial achievements was that Ireland had the highest success rate in Europe in the first results under the SME funding instrument.

Two new Technology Centres were launched in 2014 for the benefit of Irish industry. Built jointly with 40 companies based in Ireland, these Centres will support the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Financial Services sectors.

This brings to 15 the number of Technology Centres across all major industry sectors supported by Enterprise Ireland, delivering a market-led response to the research commercialisation needs of 339 companies. An example of impact was the creation of 20 jobs by SQS using technology from the IVI Technology Centre in 2014.

Through Enterprise Ireland’s membership of ESA, 25 Irish companies secured €8.5million in contracts to work with the European Space Agency to deliver sophisticated technologies and products.

Irish exporting companies continued to win business and increase their global footprint against the biggest companies in the world by improving competitiveness and continuous capability building.

In 2014, through Lean initiatives and innovative management development programmes, Enterprise Ireland supported more than 1,000 companies with a wide range of management leadership training and support.

645 companies (1,170 individuals) participated on Leadership Development Programmes specially designed by Enterprise Ireland to develop the management skills required to scale and internationalise their business.

Key programmes include Leadership 4 Growth, International Selling Programme, Access Silicon Valley and Strategic Leadership for CFOs.

The Excel at Export Selling series of short programmes was attended by over 500 individuals representing 240 companies.

Two significant new programs were introduced in 2014 offering new opportunities to develop management skills.

Innovation 4 Growth in partnership with the Irish Management Institute was launched to meet the needs of ambitious and entrepreneurial Irish companies seeking to use innovation as a way to unlock opportunities in the marketplace.

We also started a pilot, Platform 4 Growth, which is specifically designed to challenge SMEs to scale. The platform uses an innovative blended delivery model combining online and face-to-face delivery.

Enterprise Ireland’s mentor panel facilitated 406 assignments for clients at key stages of development to learn from the experience of business people with relevant industry experience.


Sectoral Highlights

Across all sectors, Enterprise Ireland clients continued to invest in expansion and job creation projects.


Driving scale was a key focus for the Food industry in 2014. Last year Enterprise Ireland clients had the highest number of Food Significant Client Investments (50) and Food job commitments linked to Enterprise Ireland approvals (1,720) on record.

Capital investment in the industry (€620million in 2013-2014) was driven primarily by the Dairy sector in preparation for the anticipated 50% increase in milk output following the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.

This major investment in the Dairy processors has been toward capacity and capability development to cater for the increased volumes and critically to move dairy exports up the product value chain. It is a major boost for rural communities with the projected growth supporting new jobs in the processing sector, at farm level but also in thousands of new downstream jobs in the wider agri-business economy.

The investments include:

  • Dairygold - €117million investment – 115 new jobs in Mallow and Mitchelstown in Cork.
  • North Cork Co-operative Creameries - new €5million processing plant.
  • As part of our responsibility for Food Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Enterprise Ireland supported a number of key mobile investments in 2014.
  • Green Isle Foods - €30million investment - 115 jobs in Longford and Portumna, Galway.
  • Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, Wexford – €26million investment - 50 new jobs bringing total employment to 400.
  • William Grant (Tullamore Dew) - €38million - 106 jobs.
  • C&D Foods - €15million investment - 70 new jobs in Edgeworthstown.


Software and Services

In 2014 the Internationally Traded Services & Software Sector recorded another year of very strong net jobs growth (+2,092 jobs).

The Business Process Outsourcing/Financial Services sector, which has a strong regional presence particularly in the South/South East of the country, accounted for the majority (58%) of the growth in the sector, with five of the top 10 companies in terms of job creation.

Access to public procurement opportunities is another key area of focus for Enterprise Ireland.  In partnership with the NDFA (National Development Finance Agency), five ‘meet the buyer’ events for 800 companies were organised, providing access for SMEs to contracting authorities and short listed bidders, with the objective of assisting SMEs win government contracts.

Enterprise Ireland continued its work in support of Education in Ireland working with the Department Education & Science and the Higher Education Sector promoting Ireland as a destination for International Education. Activity was focussed on the priority markets USA, China, India, Malaysia, Middle East and Brazil. The Irish Higher Education sector is now host to over 35,000 international students from 161 countries – a year on year increase of 9%.

CarTrawler, the world's leading car rental marketplace, announced the creation of 400 new jobs over the next three years at its Dundrum Headquarters bringing back key roles from overseas. 

Voxpro, Ireland’s largest exporter of multilingual business process outsourcing, announced 350 new jobs in Cork.


Manufacturing and Supplier Development

Manufacturing is vitally important and makes a significant contribution to the Irish economy. Manufacturing firms across all sectors continued to contribute to increased employment and exports throughout 2014. The sustained commitment to in-company R&D, increasing collaboration with the Higher Education Research Community and the emphasis on adoption of Lean Business practices have underpinned much of the success of these firms. 

Confidence in the further growth of manufacturing is evident in the 60 significant investments made by firms in the Lifesciences, Engineering, Cleantech and Electronics sectors.

The Global Sourcing initiative increased levels of interactions and sales between Enterprise Ireland client companies and locally based Multi-National Corporations (MNCs). In 2014, Global sourcing conducted the first ever Trade Mission in Ireland. Over 150 client companies participated on the two-day mission which had more than 300 one-on-one meetings with locally based MNCs. This is a key initiative under the Government’s APJ driving closer interaction between Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland clients.

125 new jobs were created at VistaMed in Carrick-on-Shannon and Rooskey, Co. Leitrim. The announcement is part of a new investment programme of more than €7million.


Construction and Consumer

Enterprise Ireland worked closely with the Construction Industry to support the internationalisation of the sector. A major factor contributing to the successful outcomes for construction firms seeking to win business overseas has been the experience gained in the delivery of world class building infrastructure in Ireland, particularly in the FDI sector.

Enterprise Ireland targeted the Consumer sector to support clients invest in design and product development in 2014. There were a number of very successful outcomes including a new range of easy-to-transport flat-pack garden furniture, a new range of sports therapy products to increase the rate of recovery from injury/surgery in the equine sector, a new type of lightweight counter top for use in touring caravans, a range of high-tech mattresses and a suite of shower and bath screens. These, and other Enterprise Ireland supported investments in design and product development, will enable clients to win, sustain and grow sales in international markets.

Client companies took part in the annual Enterprise Ireland–QVC (US TV shopping channel) Showcase Sale of Irish Products. QVC allocated 17 hours of live TV time to the showcase with all companies performing ahead of expectations. Sales on the day were 18% ahead of forecast. This was the 25th year in which QVC has worked with Enterprise Ireland and its clients and in that time sales in excess of $500 million have been achieved. 


Transfers to IDA Ireland

In 2014 we transferred a total of 29 clients employing over 700 people to IDA Ireland as a result of mergers and acquisitions that resulted in the Irish entity becoming majority foreign owned. These leading Irish technology players are expected to continue to grow substantially in the future and help embed MNCs even deeper in Ireland. It is a testament to the quality of their products and services that they have attracted the interest of the world’s best companies.


For further information contact:

Alan Hobbs, Head of Communications, Enterprise Ireland, Tel: +353 86 8699703

Marie McMahon, Press Officer, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Tel: + 353 1 6312200 or +353 87 125 5572

Additional Notes on Funds mentioned

€175 million Seed and Venture Capital Scheme aimed at leveraging private sector funds to create a total of €700 million for investment 2013-2018. The objective is to provide additional funding for high-growth Irish companies with the potential to generate large amounts of additional export sales and grow jobs. Fountain Healthcare II (€85m) the first fund established under the Scheme in 2014 was launched on Friday, January 9, 2015.

Hoxton Ventures, the leading European micro-cap venture capital firm, announced the launch of a €5.875 million Irish early stage venture capital fund, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland. This is the final fund to be announced under the Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2007-2012.

€20 million Innovation Fund Ireland investment with leading international Venture Capital Fund. Enterprise Ireland’s third investment under the Innovation Fund Ireland programme with Lightstone Venture’s Fund I meant new funding was made available for innovative Irish companies in the life sciences sector, to help them grow and create jobs in Ireland.   

€75M Development Capital Ireland Fund to focus on Irish SMEs - a new fund of €75million managed by BDO which will focus on investing in Irish SMEs, under the Government’s Development Capital Scheme.