An Taoiseach Enda Kenny delivered the keynote address at the first Irish-Polish Innovation Forum hosted by Enterprise Ireland at the Warsaw Google Campus today (9th February 2017). The event was the first engagement during the Taoiseach’s official visit to Poland to meet Prime Minister Beata Szyd?o.
Highlighting the importance of increasing Irish-Polish trade in light of the challenges posed by BREXIT the Taoiseach said;
“Innovation, knowledge, and Research and Development are at the heart of the Irish economy. Ireland’s business environment and certain access to the EU market equips us to further expand our exports to the rest of the EU, while continuing to support, maintain and grow our trade with the United Kingdom. Trade initiatives, such as this Irish-Polish Innovation Forum, are part of the efforts to open doors for Irish companies and win more business for Ireland”.
Enterprise Ireland is the Irish Government’s trade and technology agency and has set a target to increase exports to Poland by its clients from €280M in 2015 to €420M in 2020. Total trade between Ireland and Poland in 2016 is estimated to be around €3.4 billion, with the balance about 2:1 in Ireland’s favour. This trade visit is one of 40 international events to help Irish companies identify new markets for their products and services as they tackle the challenges posed by the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the EU.
“Helping Irish companies identify new markets for their products and services is part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy to enable our clients to build scale and expand global reach as part of our response to the UK’s decision to leave the EU,” said Bartosz Siepracki, Director of the Enterprise Ireland office in Warsaw.
Using innovation to maintain competitiveness and win new business is something Ireland has excelled at to date, as high tech exports currently make up for 40% of total Irish exports.
According to Mr. Siepracki, “More than fifty Irish companies now have factories or development facilities in Poland in sectors such as ICT, print and packaging, construction and client services and this trend is continuing.”
A number of Irish companies – 3D4Medical, Cylon, MagGrow – which are participating in today’s Irish-Polish Innovation Forum offer advanced tech products and services have established presences in Poland which helps to build strong trade links between Ireland and Poland.
“Ireland also has the highest success rate in Europe for the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument and has won over €336M in R&D funding from Horizon 2020 to date, something Poland would be keen to emulate,” said Mr. Siepracki.
The close economic links between Poland and Ireland can be attributed to a number of factors according to Mr. Siepracki including the fact that there are up to 150,000 Polish people living in Ireland and that Irish companies are eager to employ Polish people and often use this as an opportunity to start exporting their services and products to Poland.