Without doubt this is a challenging time for Irish businesses with exposure to the UK, with certain industries such as food, agri and tourism more exposed than others. With the many challenges surrounding Brexit, not least uncertainties in relation to our border, it is easy to forget that in dark times, there is always opportunity.
Joanne Howlin, VP of Growth at TransferMate Global Payments, addressed Dublin Chamber’s Leaders Series on 15th May, focusing on the opportunities which Brexit presents for Ireland Inc, how prepared we are to leverage these opportunities, and the gaps we need to address in response to Brexit.
On the plus side, Ireland is strongly positioned to become the entry point of choice for global firms seeking to access the single market, given our outward looking economy, language, skilled workforce and tax base. We have made significant strides of late in our FDI strategy, repositioning ourselves from its historical stance as the back office of Europe to a highly-skilled, innovation led economy, capable of attracting world class technology giants.
Our approach to fostering indigenous entrepreneurialism and innovation, spearheaded by Enterprise Ireland, continues to bear fruit, with Irish success stories taking their place on the global stage, in particular in the software, IoT and life sciences space. In addition, Enterprise Ireland, alongside the Strategic Banking Corporation, are offering Brexit preparation grants and loan schemes to companies exploring avenues of growth in new markets.
These Brexit specific incentives, in addition to a number of other government initiatives and private capital, have significantly improved the funding conditions and opportunities for Irish businesses, not least the establishment of the Irish Strategic Investment Fund. Furthermore, the greater supply of credit from alternative debt funds, FinTech SME offerings and incumbent banks post deleveraging, strongly positions Irish businesses to take advantage of global growth opportunities, reducing our traditional UK market reliance.
Notwithstanding these positive developments, some key challenges remain, including the seed capital gap, as VC funding continues to pivot away from seed in favour of growth capital. Moreover, Ireland’s EIS initiative appears limited in comparison to its UK EIS counterpart, which, with income tax relief up to £1 million, CGT relief and the ability to offset investment losses, provides the lifeblood of the UK’s innovation economy. In order to attract investment capital and “smart money” to bridge this gap, our EIS scheme requires some fresh thinking.
For our part, TransferMate provides Irish companies trading with the UK and internationally, an efficient, transparent and affordable solution for sending and receiving multicurrency payments. Furthermore, our Variable Flexible Spot contract enables Irish exporters to the UK to protect against a fall in the value of GBP, whilst retaining flexibility over when these payments are received. We have a number of exciting developments in our product pipeline which will further streamline international payments and collections for Irish companies. Watch this space!
Should you wish to understand more about how we can support you in trading internationally, please reach out to Joanne Howlin – VP of Growth (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tracy Moylan –Senior Business Development Manager (email@example.com).