Aiken PR

The Briefing

Irish start–ups key to economic recovery

by Aiken PR


sdfsWith innovation and R&D a key factor in Ireland’s long term economic recovery and private sector investment falling, international trade and investment firm OCO Global has said that the government should follow France, Germany and the UK’s commitment to ensure Ireland’s most innovative and promising start–ups can access its significant financial rescue package.

2019 was a record year for Irish start–ups with 22,774 new businesses formed, having grown by over 60% since 2013.  That growth in innovation, particularly within tech, has seen start–ups mature to create more than *11,000 Irish jobs.  Last week Cork based Workvivo secured €14.7m in funding led by Tiger Global, Frontline Ventures and Enterprise Ireland which will see the business roll out its remote working technology across global markets and accelerate product development.

Workvivo’s high–profile success is an example of how Ireland’s start–ups have bucked the international trend with a five–year survival rate of 66%, well above the OECD average of 50%.  However OCO Global has said that with investment significantly falling due to the current crisis and with France, Germany and the UK investing a combined €7.4billion in start–ups post COVID 19, the government should establish a bespoke ‘Start Up Taskforce’ to ensure the sector can access the support it needs, helping it maintain its competitive advantage. The company which has 11 international offices including Dublin and Belfast, has said the taskforce could provide vital support and direction to start–ups in the critical months ahead by helping businesses address the challenges they face accessing the government’s support measures and protecting an important driver of Irish economic growth in the process. 

Commenting Killian Cawley, Director, OCO Global, said, “Ireland has an enviable reputation in fostering and investing in start–ups, success that has been borne out through job creation both direct and indirect, a network of micro supply chain industries, urban and rural economic contribution with burgeoning global exports.  Enterprise Ireland’s focused and long–standing strategy of working in collaboration with the private sector, venture capitalists and leading academic institutions has been a key catalyst for driving innovative technologies and economic resilience. Investing in innovation and skilled talent and equipping them with the support they need to prosper, through a range of targeted commitments including the Competitive Start Fund, complemented by policies that have nurtured FDI, has seen our technology and life sciences start–ups thrive.

“However, as we collectively face the challenges of the new COVID 19 environment and with the IMF’s current expectation that the decline in global GDP will be at least 3%, many governments are investing in sectors that will support economic recovery in the medium to long term, making their regions attractive FDI prospects with a view to boosting their international exports both in products and services in the years ahead.

“That intervention is crucial, with a recent survey by Genome outlining the perilous state of global start–ups, with many having under three months cash to sustain their businesses.  Despite the economic fallout of 2008 only 15% of Ireland’s small businesses failed during the financial crisis, with those that survived playing a key role in our economic recovery.  Through skilled industry expertise, Ireland can once again cultivate innovation to support economic recovery, but targeted access to funding will be key. 

“The Government’s business support package has been swift and comprehensive, seeking to address the challenges of businesses of all sizes.  However, many of Ireland’s start–ups are at risk of closure with an over reliance on bank loans, private and venture capitalist funding falling significantly and due to the embryonic nature of their development, having no access to income.  It is for this reason that the government supported by Enterprise Ireland should build on the work that it has done to date by establishing a ‘COVID 19 Start Up Taskforce’ reviewing areas of support and where appropriate expediting financial investment to enable innovative companies to ride out this unprecedented storm and provide a sound base for growth, and competitive advantage for Irish industry, FDI and exports in the next five years.”