Growing your SME Business in an Evolving Landscape
Growing a technology or manufacturing business is challenging, especially if you are a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME). It takes passion, strong leadership, and total commitment, not only from you as the leader but also from your team. Success is greatly enhanced by having a clear customer-centric purpose that is well communicated throughout your whole organisation and a management process that encourages and rewards alignment with this purpose.
Irish SMEs are currently facing several challenges and Darwin has established that it is those that adapt best to their changing environment who survive and grow strong. Irish industry needs to reflect on developing other competitive themes since we no longer lead as a low-cost manufacturing region in the global context. Companies must find new and distinct ways to differentiate themselves and to ensure our manufacturing industry stays internationally competitive. This creates a co-dependency between our future business success as a nation and our need to embrace the fast-paced evolution of Industry 4.0 and Advanced Manufacturing Technology.
BREXIT, international trade wars and growing pressure on our favorable Irish corporate taxation policy are all causing concerns in the market that may influence how our goods and services are traded internationally. We have adapted well to these economic and market considerations to this point however our continued success in the coming years may be determined by our willingness to continuously evolve and seek out the latest and most advanced manufacturing techniques and deliver our products and services using the latest and most efficient business methodologies.
Demystify, Derisk, Deliver
The good news is that, as an SME, you are not alone in this challenge. Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) was formed to examine all the latest manufacturing technologies currently available in the world and then to use this accumulated knowledge and expertise to help Irish manufacturing companies to demystify and de-risk their engagement with these innovations. By adopting these latest technologies, leveraging the latest manufacturing methods and designing with state of the art product development techniques, Irish industry has the best probability of staying current and internationally competitive.
This also ensures our ability to export the types of modern products and services that are in demand globally. It is no surprise therefore that the progressive Irish companies that IMR work with are all exporting their products and services into the EU and USA markets or have ambitions to do so in the near future.
Bringing Irish SME’s to the US
During the last 7 years, IMR has invested heavily in building close working relationships with all our technology partners across Europe. We now sit on over a dozen of Europe’s leading research steering committees. We use these critical EU relationships to broadcast Ireland’s capability and to help our IMR industry clients to establish potential “go-to-market channels” and collaborations across all the European member states. This strategy has proven to be very successful and so we are delighted to announce that we are now setting out to establish similar working relationships with our technology research partners in the USA.
Over the last year IMR has reached out to a number of US states and we have decided to launch a pilot program with the two states of South Carolina and Pennsylvania. These states were chosen because of their extremely pro-business attitudes towards SME’s expanding into their geography from Ireland as well as the alignment between their indigenous industry segments and those of Ireland. South Carolina for example, is one of the leading states in America in the Aerospace and Automotive industry segments and Pennsylvania has huge Advanced manufacturing, Life Sciences, and Agri-Sciences industry. They both have substantial Software and IT industries as well.
The Power of the Irish Export
For generations, the biggest exports from Ireland were our people, our music, our literature, and a certain black stout. The Ireland of today, however, plays a very different role in the international markets. We are now the number one choice location in the EU for most of the world’s top Pharmaceutical, Lifesciences, Information Technology and Social Media/Software companies. We are the world’s second-largest exporter of software after the USA.
Exporting and finding new markets for our goods and services overseas has been part of our Irish DNA for many decades and forms a key part of our business success. This is equally true if you are an SME or an MNC. The supports needed to succeed however between SME and MNC are quite different. Larger companies enjoy bigger budgets and teams to tackle the many tasks needed to establish a Beach-Head for your product or service in the USA. SME’s might not have the same range of budgets or personnel needed to manage these large export projects. That is where the excellent support provided by Enterprise Ireland together with Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR) can make a huge difference and why we have tailored this program to offer substantial hands-on supports from our team in IMR.
US Mentorship Program for Irish SME’s
IMR, together with the states of South Carolina and Pennsylvania, have developed this program for SME companies that are ready and eager to expand into the USA or vice versa. This program aims to Demystify and De-Risk the journey for interested SME’s.
The program is broken down over two stages that start in Q4 this year. The first stage involves being part of a trade mission to South Carolina and Pennsylvania with a group of Irish SME’s. The focus of this trade mission is to provide orientation and a fast introduction to doing business in the USA.
Stage two of the program supports those SME companies that want to progress further and are seriously ready and interested to expand into the US. Stage 2 is a 12-month program starting in Spring 2020 with the Irish and USA companies working together in groups. It is a highly structured program that leverages the best-known practice with substantial 1 on 1 and group mentorship included with extensive engineering supports from IMR to help participants get their product or service ready for the USA market.
The video above presented by Mike Cunnigham will provide more information. If you are an SME and are planning on expanding your business into the USA we would really like to hear from you and explore how our team in IMR can help Demystify and De-risk your journey ahead.