Dáil Éireann - Volume 630 - 31 January, 2007
Written Answers. - Departmental Agencies.
Mr. Noonan Mr. Noonan
Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his view on the performance of Enterprise Ireland in 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2599/07]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin: At the end of 2006, Enterprise Ireland reported a second solid year of progress on the implementation of the organisation’s current three year strategy “Transforming Irish Industry 2005-2007”. The goal of the overall strategy is to maximise export sales through the utilisation of applied research, technology and innovation while ensuring economic development is achieved in a regionally balanced fashion. A number of key targets are used to monitor progress towards these objectives. Enterprise Ireland reported an excellent performance in 2006, with all strategic targets met or exceeded by EI client companies, for example:
€1 Billion in New Export Sales forecast
 550+ Companies Engaged in Meaningful (€100K+) and 40+ in Significant (€2M+) Research and Development in 2006
150 Productivity Improvement Fund Investments
Net gain in Employment of 1,200.
Preliminary indications are that Irish companies have gained strong positions in international markets that will result in the achievement of €1 Billion in new export sales by year-end, when final data for 2006 is confirmed. Total employment in Enterprise Ireland supported companies is 141,000 representing a net gain of 1,200 in 2006. EI continuously pursues new opportunities for client companies in international markets. As a result of deepening relationships with major global corporations, 5 such companies invested €9.5 Million in venture capital in Enterprise Ireland client companies in 2006.
75 companies with high export growth potential were established in the year. 89 key reference sales were secured for start-up clients and 79 of these were in first time export markets. In addition, significant new first time export sales contracts with a value of €125 Million were won by client companies with Enterprise Ireland assistance.
Client companies in the Scaling Portfolio are actively pursuing rapid global growth strategies to achieve agreed scale thresholds of €10 Million, €15 Million and €20 Million. In 2006 Enterprise Ireland supported 8 major investments by scaling companies.
There is sustained evidence that research and development and innovation are now firmly on the enterprise agenda. During 2006, 550+ companies invested €100,000 or more on R&D projects and a further 40+ in excess of €2 Million. During 2006 Enterprise Ireland initiated the R&D Advocates programme through which experienced senior business R&D practitioners encourage companies to engage in practical research and development for the first time.
EI will coordinate Ireland’s participation in the €50 Billion 7th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), launched in 2006. FP7 will provide opportunities for Irish researchers in industry, higher education, voluntary organisations and other areas to tap into European research networks and funding.
Total EI funding approvals to client companies for research and development, expansions, management development, training and productivity improvement projects in 2006 amounted to in excess of €120 Million. This represents an increase of almost €40 Million over last year and is a clear indication that EI clients have a real commitment to grow their international business. The investment pipeline for 2007 remains strong.
 150 companies are engaged in significant productivity improvement projects and are investing €80 Million with support from Enterprise Ireland. These projects represent a first step on the route to developing an innovation strategy and culture within the recipient companies with the ultimate goal of competing successfully in international markets.
Dáil Éireann 630 Written Answers. Departmental Agencies.