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Bruton says Irish firms have risen to international challenge

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton has said that Irish entrepreneurs have risen to the challenge, and taken up the message that they need to internationalise.

Minister Bruton was speaking at the Deloitte Enterprise Ireland CEO Forum in Dublin Castle today.

350 chief executives are hearing about education and training, the opportunities in exporting to customers in emerging markets, and trends and innovation in technology at the forum.

Minister Bruton said Irish companies can “meet or beat the competition as far away as the Far East and Australia.”

The Minister said that exporting firms, including services firms like IDA Ireland-supported companies and tourism, created nearly 40,000 jobs, half of the overall 80,000, in the last few years.

Minister Bruton said that some things that are happening in the public service are exciting, in the move to make Ireland “the best small country in the world in which to do business”.

“We have been willing to put up in lights who is performing and how’re are doing, and show that we are willing to be publicly accountable,” he added.

Meanwhile, a new survey shows that business sentiment is rising, with 69% of the country’s chief executives believing that GDP will match or exceed recent predictions.

A large majority of CEOs are also confident that Ireland will exceed the average euro zone GDP rates over the next two to three years.

This is according to a survey undertaken by Enterprise Ireland and Deloitte in advance of today’s CEO Forum.

They survey revealed that CEOs believe the main challenges facing their businesses is access to working capital and staff issues. 35% of CEOs surveyed said working capital access was their biggest worry, while 53% cited people issues as their main concern.

12% of CEOs said staff mobility was a key issue, while 20% cited the availability of graduates and 21% said they were finding it difficult to source suitable qualified and skilled local employees. 20% felt this was especially true in the areas of IT, science, engineering and maths.

The survey also found that Irish companies are still relatively dependent on the UK, EU and US markets. Only 4% named BRIC countries (Brazil, India, Russia and China) as being most important for their business, while just 1% named Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa (CIVITS) as being important.

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