Enterprise Ireland expects continued growth from its client companies this year despite growing concerns about economic headwinds such as rampant inflation and skills shortages.
eo Clancy, the Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Ireland, spoke to the Sunday independent after the release of its annual export results for 2021. The state agency for the development and growth of Irish businesses in world markets reported that exports from the companies it supports rose 12 per cent last year to a record €27.29 billion .
Clancy said last year’s positive result was due to a resurgence in “post-pandemic confidence”.
Though economic headwinds — including inflation, supply chain shortages and skills shortages — will intensify this year, Clancy expects continued growth. He cited an Enterprise Ireland customer survey earlier this year that showed “vigor” and “optimism for reasonable levels of growth”.
“I think that’s still true,” he said. “People have dealt with the headwind operationally in the companies. Supply chain problems never went away, material inflation was going on anyway, and energy costs were rising—the war made all three worse. There is still very strong demand out there.”
Clancy said 2021 has set the Irish economy well for the year ahead.
“There’s a lot of things to be positive about,” he said. “We are now diversified across so many sectors. Every sector and every region has grown – that’s a really good base to jump into everything.”
Clancy also said that many of the problems facing the Irish economy are externalities.
“These aren’t things we do,” he said. “Skills are scarce everywhere; Inflation and energy affect everyone. So I think the factors that cause us problems are factors everywhere and they are beyond our control. We do the factors that we have control over really well.”
Clancy said there was a mix of near- and long-term challenges that companies would be focusing on for the year ahead.
The Enterprise Ireland boss said inflation, energy costs and supply chain issues for manufacturing companies were the top concerns. Clancy added that the key concerns for service and high-tech companies are skills shortages and volatility in financial markets.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/enterprise-ireland-boss-aims-for-growth-despite-economic-headwinds-41844834.html The head of Enterprise Ireland is aiming for growth despite economic headwinds