The short answer to the question of whether we are close to arriving at destination Brexit is no. If Brexit was a race, it’d be a marathon. Getting to the end of Brexit is not for the faint hearted and is going to take a degree of commitment and endurance that any marathon runner would be proud of.
The good news is that the InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service provides practical help and support to any business making plans to navigate their way through Brexit and our message remains that now is the time to Plan, Act and Engage.
The successful outcome for a marathon runner follows on from a significant investment by key stakeholders in the planning and preparation phases, be it the long training hours pounding the roads or the ‘support team’ holding the fort at home. The InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service can be your Brexit ‘support team’ by providing funding and signposting to up to date information on topics that are likely to impact SMEs trading across the island of Ireland, such as Customs paperwork or when a Rules of Origin certificate may be required. It also provides SMEs with a glossary of commonly used Brexit terminology.
A key practical element of the Brexit Advisory Service is the Start to Plan voucher support which provides SMEs with 100% funding up to £/€2,000 to work on a 1-1 basis with an approved panel of service providers. Businesses find this invaluable as it provides them with a Brexit business plan that is bespoke to their specific circumstances be it from the agri food, services, retail or manufacturing sector. Mark Sterritt, Manager of the Brexit Advisory Service, comments, "The Start to Plan application process is very straight forward and crucially InterTradeIreland pays the invoice of the approved provider directly, up to £/€2,000".
The marathon runner does not wait until the night before the race to check what diet to follow during training and the same principle applies for a business in preparing for Brexit. It is essential that companies planning for Brexit engage with peer groups, sectoral bodies, SME membership organisations and government agencies to remain fully informed. InterTradeIreland hosted many events in 2017 that were attended by thousands of businesses as they could engage with each other, hear from keynote speakers and attend workshops sessions to learn practical information to help them take action (https://youtu.be/eYWjoYSJqVc). There will be more events in 2018 with Sligo and Cork in April and May respectively and furthermore across the country so we encourage businesses to register for these via our website.