Enterprise Ireland has this week reported the creation of 19,332 new jobs by Enterprise Ireland backed companies in 2017. It is estimated that 209,338 people are now employed in companies supported by the agency. This is the highest total employment achieved in the history of the agency.
The figures represent a net increase of 10,309 jobs for 2017, taking account of job losses. In line with total employment levels, the net increase in jobs, is the highest on record with Enterprise Ireland. The job creation figures are up on 2016, despite the uncertainty that Irish businesses faced in 2017 in the context of Brexit.
Furthermore, job creation was evenly spread across the country, with every county and region seeing increased employment. Two thirds (64%) of the new jobs created were outside of Dublin. The West, Mid-West and North West saw the largest level of increases at 7% in 2017.
Enterprise Ireland attributes this strong performance by Irish businesses to the continuing growth of an entrepreneurial climate for start-ups, allied to strong jobs growth in the Construction (8% increase), Engineering (8% increase), Lifesciences (8% increase), Digital Technology (6% increase), Electronics (6% increase), Food (4% increase) and ICT sectors (5% increase).
This week, Enterprise Ireland also announced the launch of a new Market Discovery Fund to support Enterprise Ireland backed companies to diversify into new markets and promote new products to existing markets. The new fund, which is another Brexit response measure, will support companies to appoint in-market accelerators, set up an in-market office, attend and exhibit at trade shows, develop market research and collateral. There are three levels of funding available to companies: up to €35,000, up to €75,000 and up to €150,000.
Speaking this week, Enterprise Ireland Chief Executive, Julie Sinnamon said, "In the context of Brexit, consolidating exports to the UK, while also expanding the Irish export footprint in markets beyond the UK, is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland. The new Market Discovery Fund, along with our intensive international programme of export focused trade missions, and our recently introduced Agile Innovation Fund, are key supports which will be instrumental to helping even more companies grow and reach new export markets. The new Fund further underpins our goal of increasing exports by €5bn by 2020."