Minister Humphreys leads Enterprise Ireland's trade mission to Manchester to support Irish companies to consolidate and sustain exports to the UK

18th April 2018


Reaffirming Ireland’s important trading relationship with the UK, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD is leading an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to Manchester, which commenced today. 

Engaging senior officials and decision makers in the region, including City Region Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, forty-five Enterprise Ireland clients are participating on the trade mission. The two-day trade mission will support clients to consolidate their position in the UK, support their diversification within the market and sustain existing exports to the UK. Twenty of the participating Irish companies would generate a significant amount of their turnover via sales to the UK.

The trade mission is focused on the greater Manchester region, a dynamic growth region in the UK, equivalent to the size of the Irish market. In the process of taking control of its budgets on a devolved basis, its healthcare budget alone will be £6 billion, Manchester is the largest city for the UK Government’s Northern Powerhouse economic initiative. The Northern Powerhouse aims to rebalance the UK’s national economy, by maximizing the combined potential of the north of England’s cities and city regions, including Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Sheffield and Tees Valley. If this region was a European country, it would be the 10th largest economy in Europe.

Emphasising the opportunity for increased collaboration between the North of England and Ireland, the trade mission will support Irish companies to better understand the Northern Powerhouse’s ambitions and explore how Irish capabilities in areas such as construction, healthcare, and talent management can assist in the realization of ambitions. Key ambitions for the Northern Powerhouse include; improving public sector transport and other infrastructure, healthcare ambitions for greater efficiency and better patient outcomes, as well as attracting and retaining the right talent pool to enable growth.

Leading Enterprise Ireland’s Northern Powerhouse Trade Mission, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said “As our long-standing trading partner, the UK is, and will remain, the largest export market for indigenous Irish companies. Clients of our State Agency Enterprise Ireland alone exported €7.5 billion in goods and services, representing 35% of total client exports, in 2016. As Brexit negotiations continue, the Irish Government, through Enterprise Ireland is committed to consolidating and growing Irish exports to the UK now and into the future. Engaging with senior business and political leaders of the Northern Powerhouse is critical to this effort: firstly, to realise the scale of this opportunity, and secondly, to see firsthand our shared ambitions with the Northern Powerhouse region.”

Marina Donohoe, Enterprise Ireland’s Director of the UK and Northern Europe said: “The Northern Powerhouse has proven its powerful growth potential, now growing faster than London. It’s a dynamic region that needs dynamic partners to achieve its ambitions and Irish companies, who already contribute significantly to the UK’s economic growth, employing over 100,000 in the UK, are positioned to leverage the extensive business and partnership opportunities that the Northern Powerhouse presents.”

“While the uncertainty which Brexit brings remains a challenge for companies, we continue to see growth opportunities within the market and we are expecting to see Irish exports to the UK grow in 2017. Aligned with our market diversification strategy, Enterprise Ireland is supporting Irish companies to diversify their customer range and geographic footprint in the UK, moving beyond the traditional ‘comfort zone’ of London – indeed some companies have found Manchester and other cities in the North of England to be their ideal launching pad into the UK market” added Marina Donohoe.

The trade mission follows the publication of Enterprise Ireland’s Northern Powerhouse Report, published in February 2018, which outlines the business opportunities in the region. To view the report, please see: https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Publications/Reports-Published-Strategies/

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Photographs will be distributed by Enterprise Ireland

Notes to Editor:

About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the government organisation responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. We work in partnership with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. In this way, we support sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment.

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For reference, please contact

Conor O'Donovan

Head of Communications

Enterprise Ireland

Conor O'Donovan

+353 1 7272912

Marika MacCarville

Press and PR

Enterprise Ireland

Marika MacCarville

+353 86 171 2568