Irish companies can unlock opportunities in the eurozone

There are no customs, borders or trade barriers to entry and there's no exchange rate risk in the eurozone. Photo: Niall Carson PA© Niall Carson

Anne Lanigan

The eurozone is one of the world’s largest economic regions and offers extraordinary opportunities for Irish enterprise and Irish business owners. It is a journey you don’t have to make alone.

Enterprise Ireland recently published new export results which showed that exports by companies it supports increased by 19pc in 2022 to a record €32.1bn, the highest ever level of growth in terms of export value.

Exports to the eurozone were particularly positive as they increased by an unprecedented 28pc, reaching €7.9bn, and the eurozone now accounts for one quarter of all exports from Irish companies supported by our organisation.

These figures, building on strong growth over the last 5 years, are evidence of the real opportunities Irish businesses are unlocking.

Food and high-tech construction exports are particularly strong for Irish companies at the moment. However, all sectors are delivering double digit growth and we are only starting to unlock the potential, so if you are a new exporter or have never exported to the eurozone, now might be the right time to consider your first step into Europe.

The eurozone hasn’t typically been the first port of call for Irish companies on their exporting journey. The different languages, cultures and market characteristics across the 19 other markets can be perceived as barriers. However, these are all very addressable.

Our membership of the EU means that there are no customs, borders or trade barriers to entry, and our adoption of the euro eliminates all costs associated with foreign exchange. This means the eurozone is essentially an extension of our own domestic market.

We advise companies interested in exploring these opportunities to first do some research to identify their best first market in Europe, based on attractiveness and accessibility for their particular product or service, and this will help uncover any complexities which may need to be addressed.

Irish people, products, services and companies have a very strong reputation across Europe, and Irish entrepreneurs are known for being reliable, innovative and flexible, often winning against local providers who are not always willing to adapt and customise products and services in the same way Irish companies are.

In Enterprise Ireland’s 8 offices across the eurozone, our market advisers are working one to one with hundreds of clients, helping them to finetune their value proposition in order to scale within markets and across the region.

We invite Enterprise Ireland clients who have not yet entered the eurozone to consult with their development advisor who will make the necessary introductions to these market advisers and advise you of other available supports. You might consider Enterprise Ireland’s four-month Enter the Eurozone programme, which helps new exporters prepare a comprehensive market entry plan for Europe. With that in hand, one of our market advisors will support you implement your plan.

Ambition, knowledge and support are key to unlocking potentialin this enormous market, and Enterprise Ireland’s team are ready to support Irish companies on this stage of their exporting journey.

Anne Lanigan is regional director for Europe at Enterprise Ireland

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