Enterprise Ireland’s Strategy for
Internationally Traded Services
Enterprise Ireland’s Strategy for Internationally Traded Services
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The services sector in Ireland has grown rapidly over the past two decades and is now a
significant part of our economy. It currently accounts for over two-thirds of Ireland’s workforce and
60% of value added.
thMuch of the growth in services in recent years – and in particular Ireland’s position as the 9
highest exporter of services in the world – has been due to both an increasing number of expanding Irish services companies across a wide range of sectors and the intensifying activities
of foreign-owned companies operating in Ireland. This continued growth is clear evidence that a
wide range of services can successfully be exported, and that Ireland and Irish companies have both the capabilities and the experience needed to succeed in services exports.
Enterprise Ireland is charged with fostering the growth of Irish companies that are trading
internationally. With the globalisation of markets and the changing nature of both manufacturing
and services value chains, continued economic progress and growth in Ireland will be driven by
companies continually innovating to successfully add greater value at every point in their value
chain. The role, therefore, that can and must be played by the services sector itself and by
service-type activities within the manufacturing sector is central to sustaining Ireland’s continued
growth in services exports.
Enterprise Ireland’s strategy for the services sector, as set out in this document, focuses on
maximising the performance of companies that are already active on export markets, on
encouraging companies that are currently trading only locally to expand their markets abroad,
and on fostering a new breed of start-up service companies with exporting potential.
I welcome this strategy. It will bring energy, capability and resources to bear on the challenges
that must be faced in the years immediately ahead. The opportunities and the potential benefits
are significant – for Irish services companies, for the economy, and for Irish society as a whole.
Mary Coughlan, TD
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment
Enterprise Ireland’s mission, as set out in its Strategy for 2008-2010 Transforming Irish Industry,
published in October 2007, is to accelerate the development of world-class Irish companies to
achieve strong positions in global markets, leading to increased national and regional prosperity.
The strategy recognises that both the services sector itself and the growing services element
within manufacturing companies are vital to the next stage of Ireland’s economic performance.
Substantial work has already been undertaken in 2008 to identify and capitalise on international
opportunities in services, and over the next two years one of Enterprise Ireland’s core objectives
is to drive and support the growth in internationally traded services – in sectors that are already
exporting, in sectors that are currently trading only locally, and in emerging sectors.
This document sets out the rationale for focusing on services at this time, and outlines the
measures that Enterprise Ireland is already taking and the initiatives it intends to take to foster the
growth and development of services.
The opportunities are substantial and varied given that the services sector is extremely diverse,
with a wide range of needs, skills and resources across its component parts. To succeed in
export markets, service companies need specific management, marketing and sales expertise,
and in particular they need to build scale. Enterprise Ireland’s strategy recognises this, and is focused on assisting a significant number of existing and new Irish services companies to
become major players on export markets.
CEO, Enterprise Ireland
Services are important
Over the next ten years, services – and in particular internationally traded services –
will be the key driver of Ireland’s economic success and job creation.
Economies throughout the developed world are increasingly dominated by services. Almost 70%
of value added in OECD countries comes from services, and services account for 20% of world
thThe services sector in Ireland accounts for 43% of exports, making Ireland the 9 highest
exporter of services in the world.
The increasing shift towards services as the driver of economic growth and continued prosperity
is expected to continue.
Recognising the critical importance of services, Enterprise Ireland has
? Established a specialised unit dealing with Internationally Traded Services ? Allocated additional resources to the services sector and to service activities ? Conducted intensive research into the exporting opportunities for Irish services companies ? Developed comprehensive action plans to realise the potential of the sector Services are diverse
The services sector currently employs two-thirds of the workforce in Ireland, engaged in a very
wide range of activities, including, for example
? Personal services, such as healthcare services
? Professional services, such as design services
? Business to business services, such as financial services
? Business to consumer services, such as travel services
? Services that are necessarily provided face-to-face with the customer, such as catering ? Services that are provided at a distance from the consumer, such as television programme
Service activities within manufacturing companies have also risen in importance. In the
manufacturing sector, 35% of workers are estimated to be engaged in service-type activities,
such as order fulfilment, customer satisfaction surveying, help desk support, and logistics. These
services enable manufacturing companies to
? Deliver a complete customer solution
? Differentiate themselves from their competitors
? Add value to their offerings
? Lower their cost base
? Reach markets that previously would have been inaccessible to them This diversity of activities demands a flexible and adaptable range of measures that match the
needs of the sector with the tremendous opportunities available in the globalised market for
Recognising this diversity, Enterprise Ireland will
? Continue to up-skill staff dealing with service activities and build specialist expertise to assist
? Undertake prospecting work to identify specific areas of opportunity in targeted services
? Establish an internal panel with expertise in services to assist service companies with their
Vision for Irish Internationally Traded
A growing number of Irish companies have successfully established themselves as key global
players in the internationally traded services sector in recent years, and the total value of Irish
companies’ exports in the sector has also been increasing rapidly. Developing more Irish services companies of scale is of critical importance for Ireland to fully
capitalise on the growing international opportunities in services.
Enterprise Ireland has recognised the important role that services play in the economy, and
outlined its approach to services in its strategy for 2008-2010 Transforming Irish Industry. That
strategy states: ‘The development and growth of services will be vital to the next stage of
Ireland’s economic performance. … A core objective for Enterprise Ireland … will be to drive and
support internationally traded services growth, both in emerging and existing sectors and through
the internationalisation of locally traded services.’ Enterprise Ireland’s is now setting out a vision for the Irish Internationally Traded Services sector:
By 2015, Ireland will be recognised globally as a home of high growth, innovative,
internationally trading services businesses of scale.
Realising the vision
Enterprise Ireland aims to make the vision a reality by
? Working with existing Enterprise Ireland Internationally Traded Services clients and sectors to
achieve scale and realise their potential for internationalisation ? Identifying locally trading services companies with the potential to internationalise, and
encouraging them to start exporting
? Fostering new High-Potential Start-Ups in targeted services areas with strong potential for
? Identifying and engaging with new and emerging sectors
Enterprise Ireland has analysed the particular needs of service companies and is responding by
aligning its resources with these needs, in order to foster the development of world-class Irish
internationally traded services companies of scale.
In developing its response, Enterprise Ireland has drawn on its own and others’ inter-national
experience within the services sector, on research into the potential for export growth in a wide
range of sub-sectors, and on the individual needs of services companies and sectors.
A comprehensive review of a wide range of sectors identified clear areas of opportunity in areas
as diverse as construction, insurance, payments, travel, education, business process services,
telecommunications, Internet, media and entertainment. Enterprise Ireland has developed an
action plan for these sub-sectors in consultation with clients and industry players. These plans
include specific actions aimed at maximising the number of companies that achieve scale and
establish significant penetration into international markets.
Enterprise Ireland will
? Focus its activities and resources on identified priority sub-sectors that have the greatest
value-add potential for the investment of State resources
? Accelerate the growth of internationally traded services by implementing individual sub-sector
In the short term, the largest growth in exports will come primarily from service companies that
are already successfully trading internationally, and from sectors where Ireland already has
clearly demonstrated capability, capacity, and an internationally competitive offer.
Enterprise Ireland will work with existing clients and sectors to
? Stimulate research, development and innovation activity and develop innovation
? Develop appropriate business models with the help of a services business model diagnostic ? Access new international markets through partnering, acquisition and overseas placement ? Manage rapid growth
? Become more IT-enabled and adopt and embed new technologies as a means of capturing
Enterprise Ireland is also continuing to research a number of sectors in which indigenous
companies have to date had relatively limited international activity, including healthcare services,
environmental services, property services, and professional services.
Enterprise Ireland will
? Undertake targeted marketing campaigns to substantially grow the base of internationally
trading services companies
? Foster new start-ups in areas with potential for internationalisation In the longer term, a number of newer emerging sectors – such as web 2.0, digital media, and
mobile content – are also forecast to deliver growth. Because these newer areas (and their
markets) are changing very rapidly, their growth potential is constantly being reviewed and
Enterprise Ireland will also
? Undertake targeted prospecting work aimed at identifying other new potential growth areas in
Enterprise Ireland: working with Irish services companies to realise
their export potential
Over the coming years, Enterprise Ireland’s aim is to help its client companies achieve
international competitive advantage by developing innovative business models, leveraging the
power of ICT, and building strong service brands.
Enterprise Ireland will ensure that its financial support mechanisms enable it to respond
effectively and appropriately to the needs of services companies.
? The new ‘Going Global’ Fund is available to help locally trading companies explore
? The eligibility criteria for Feasibility Study funding have been expanded to cover the
development of new business models, which is of particular relevance to services companies ? The positioning and focus of the R&D Fund, the Growth Fund and the Innovative High
Potential Start Ups offer have been revised, with the aim of stimulating more research,
development and innovation in services activities (in both service companies and
Enterprise Ireland is also working with its clients through the provision of a wide range of soft
support mechanisms, to help them realise their export potential.
In order to succeed on export markets, companies need to achieve a certain scale – this
demands management skills and selling skills. In response, Enterprise Ireland will
? Establish a panel of mentors with specific experience and skills in services to work with client
companies as they develop their business models and their expertise ? Add a services module to the International Selling Programme, so that the exporting sales
team is trained to ‘best in class’ standards
? Introduce a new ‘First Flight’ support programme targeted at assisting locally trading
companies planning to internationalise their business
? Commit its network of overseas offices to work with client companies to help them identify
and work effectively with the best partners in their target markets ? Introduce a number of short programmes to assist companies in specific identified areas
critical to success in internationally traded services sectors
Enterprise Ireland’s strategy recognises that Irish economic success in the coming years will
depend heavily on services. The strategy and plans are challenging, both for the agency and for
the companies involved. Enterprise Ireland believes that, over the coming decade, Irish services
companies can develop and grow into world players and is confident that the vision it has set for
the services sector will be realised.
Enterprise Ireland is determined to provide ambitious service companies with the resources and
assistance they need to scale up, develop the necessary competences, and approach export
markets with confidence. The international opportunities in services are large and Enterprise
Ireland is focused on working with Irish companies to capture these opportunities through the full
implementation of this strategy.