Economic research consistently shows companies that export to any country, in any financial climate, perform better than those who don’t. Research also highlights that exporting companies improve their productivity and achieve levels of growth and economies of scale not possible domestically.
Project Managers Melanie Fitzpatrick Toni Forrester Martina Crawford
It is against this backdrop that the ‘Gateways to Growth – Supply Buy Network’ project was created. Targeting local border companies who want to increase their sales, this programme of support will help businesses to improve their productivity and grow their sales to levels not possible when supplying locally only.
Growth of an economy is directly related to exports. If exports increase at a faster pace compared to imports, nothing can stop an economy from being a developed one. Patrick Matthews, President of the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce said, "Economic growth grew by an average of 6.5% per year between 1990 and 2007 and approximately 50,000 jobs were created annually throughout the 1990s. Export-driven manufacturing provided an economic dynamism that was reflected in high levels of productivity. Even now, due to the small domestic market in Ireland, almost all manufacturers are exporting."
Exporting manufactured products is not the only method of export considered by the Gateways to Growth project – tradable service organisations are also challenged to consider the export potential of their intellectual property. According to the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment in regions such as London exports of services appear to be increasingly replacing goods exports as the major source of external income.
“In recent decades, Ireland has been transformed from an economy based on agriculture and traditional manufacturing to an economy based on high technology and internationally traded service sectors” said Melanie Fitzpatrick, Project Manager for Dundalk Chamber of Commerce. “Micro businesses who feel they are not large enough to trade internationally or fear making costly mistakes, and are located close to the border with Northern Ireland, are missing out. The Gateways to Growth programme will help to break down the barriers to export, such as fear, and help local companies to safely test their export systems and procedures. Businesses not taking advantage of cross border trade are failing to access a lucrative export market”.
The Gateways to Growth project, which has been awarded funding from the European ’s Regional Development Fund through the INTERTEG IVA Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), will provide opportunities for 300 SMEs at all stages in the supply chain, to meet and sell to potential private buying organisations whilst developing the skills to assist in securing business in new markets.
Recruitment for the first series of skills development workshops and the initial Meet the Buyer event, scheduled for November, is now underway. This Meet the Buyer event will take place in Monaghan and will attract 150 participants from across N.I and the border regions. All participants will attend 2 workshops prior to participating at the Meet the Buyer event.
For more details on the programme: you can view www.gatewaystogrowth.ie, contact Melanie or Helen at Dundalk Chamber of Commerce on 042 9336343, or email