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National Export Hub announces new initiative to educate SME’s in export

22 Jan 2016
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD launched the exciting new initiative with Simon McKeever, CEO of the Irish Exporters Association and Thomas Hunter McGowan, CEO of InterTradeIreland at an event at the Irish Office of the European Commission.

The Export Knowledge Programme aims to take selected participants through an educational and support led journey to improve their capability to export into existing and new markets on the Island of Ireland and internationally. Applicants are initially assessed to ensure that their business has the structure and resources to support growth and entry into new export markets. A total of twenty businesses will be selected in early 2016 to embark on a seven month educational workshop programme covering every aspect of the export journey.

Companies from many different sectors such as Food & Drink, Manufacturing and Pharma (for example: 250Kal, Clarkes of Dublin and Episcan) have been selected to participate in the first phase of the Export Knowledge Programme and if successful will proceed to the second phase. Unsuccessful applicants will also benefit as they will receive advice on how to improve their ability to enter export markets in the future. The first workshop commences on February 9th 2016.

The National Export Hub is a public-private partnership designed to increase the number of Irish businesses exporting for the first time, assist Irish businesses to enter new export markets and support Irish exporters to grow their exports in existing markets. The key partners are AIB, Euler Hermes, DHL, ABP Food Group, PwC, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD today commented: “At the heart of the Action Plan for Jobs has been the basic aim of trying to build a new economy based on exports and innovation to replace the failed model based on property and debt which collapsed. As part of this we have put in place a range of new supports to help companies sell more goods and services abroad. This initiative, supported by InterTradeIreland as well as the Irish Exporters Association, will make a real difference to SMEs’ abilities to grow their markets overseas”.

Speaking at the launch today, Simon McKeever, CEO, Irish Exporters Association said: “The first year of the National Export Hub has been a major success, in 2015 over 2,300 people attended HUB related events all over the country, significantly increasing the practical help and support available to all Irish based SME’s nationally. The launch of the Export Knowledge Programme is a landmark achievement, this will be the first of its kind and aims to enable and empower small and first time exporters to grow their business by improving their exporting capabilities. Companies that increase their exports add to the Irish economy through direct and indirect job creation, influence the supply chain positively and drive increased spending both locally and nationally. Exporting is a critical sector in the Irish economy with headline figures dominated by the multinationals. This exciting and unique initiative brings together the best support from the public and private sectors to significantly enhance the range of supports available to grow the existing SME export base significantly.”

Thomas Hunter McGowan, CEO, InterTradeIreland stated: "InterTradeIreland is delighted to collaborate with the Irish Exporters Association on this brand new initiative. For a first-time exporter, trading in Northern Ireland is the perfect place to begin. It is geographically closer and there are no language barriers. Cross-border trade is currently valued at around €3bn - so substantial opportunities in the opposite jurisdiction still exist. Helping small companies to identify new cross-border export markets is a core part of our remit and this programme complements our existing sales and marketing programmes- Elevate and Acumen. We look forward to working closely with the IEA to help these small companies export cross-border, create growth and jobs and ultimately contribute to economic prosperity."

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