To expand globally, companies need to keep evolving with rapidly changing consumer needs and expectations. In recent years, Irish start-ups and emerging businesses have succeeded through diversity by leveraging innovation, adaptability, and a deep understanding of local customer needs.
Through strategic partnerships, cultural adaptation, and localised marketing strategies, many companies have achieved growth and built enduring relationships with customers and stakeholders.
Brexit and Covid-19 have been catalysts for change in business across many sectors, and these drastic changes have highlighted the need for proactive rather than reactive strategies in business going forward.
Here we highlight some global success stories for Irish businesses post-Brexit and post-pandemic — and how it pays to look beyond the Irish Sea to untapped markets outside of the UK.
In March 2023, a number of emerging Irish cosmetic brands were curated together for a joint showcase at Cosmoprof in Bologna, Italy — the largest beauty trade event in Europe.
The brands were chosen for their reputation for high quality, natural, sustainable products, and were offered a platform to display alongside 220,000 visitors and 2,700 exhibitors from 70 countries worldwide.
The national pavilion at Cosmoprof featured Irish brand success stories including:
These companies have thrived by becoming more lean and optimising digital channels to stay competitive — often with the help of Enterprise Ireland support while developing their digital roadmap.
Webio is an Irish start-up specialising in conversational artificial intelligence (AI), and offering advanced chatbot and messaging solutions. The company has offices in Dublin, Birmingham and San Francisco, and has been expanding considerably.
Webio has helped businesses streamline customer interactions and improve engagement, adapting its technology to various languages and cultural nuances, and leading to success in Australia, China, Singapore and Japan.
Webio has established a reputation for delivering personalised and efficient customer experiences, by understanding local customer preferences and tailoring their solutions.
Glofox is an emerging Irish company in the fitness technology sector that has expanded its reach considerably in Australia and Asia.
Glofox offers a comprehensive management platform for boutique fitness studios and gyms, helping businesses streamline their operations and keep customers engaged through marketing and sales tools, member experiences and training applications.
The company has partnered with local fitness brands and pitched its messaging to people in different markets, carving out a niche and fuelling its growth and reputation as a leader in fitness technology.
Irish fintech company TransferMate specialises in global payments and currency exchange, and has made a huge dent in the South American market.
TransferMate has gained the trust of customers in the region by offering secure and cost-effective cross-border payment solutions, focusing on compliance, competitive exchange rates and localised customer support.
The company has further resonated with South American businesses by leveraging partnerships with local financial institutions and expanding its network.
Ireland has one of the world’s leading agriculture sectors, and Irish start-up Moocall has combined this reputation for quality with tech innovation in its flagship product.
The company manufactures a wearable device for cattle that detects calving patterns and provides quality real-time data to farmers.
The company has had considerable success in South America, with a trusted customer base of livestock farmers, and building strategic partnerships with local distributors and collaborations with agricultural organisations.
Through tech and business innovation, Moocall has established its presence and helped improve calving outcomes in South America.
More than 400 Enterprise Ireland are operating in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the figure keeps rising. Irish exports to the region have grown to €500 million, with growth in the key markets of Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya reaching 16%, 9% and 7%, respectively in recent years — way above a backdrop of global growth for Irish exports of 6%.
Not surprising, given Ireland’s international reputation, agritech has played a big part in Irish companies’ expansion in Africa. Irish companies have been instrumental in many countries’ drive towards food self-sufficiency — helping African farmers and food producers increase yields and move into new product areas.
The State body Enterprise Ireland partners with Irish businesses to help them develop and grow in global markets — supporting sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment.
The organisation has a vast range of supports open to companies in all sectors, and one of its latest innovations is the Post-Brexit Market Growth & Diversification Scheme, a new €2.5 million programme to help Irish SMEs overcome Brexit losses. Its aim is to reduce Irish companies’ reliance on the UK, and develop business in other markets, and emulate some of the Irish success stories highlighted above.
The fund is open to businesses that have suffered a 5% drop in sales to the UK in 2020, 2021 or 2022 compared with 2019, with a chance to secure up to 80% funding for a €45,000 go-to-market project with an EI-approved consultant or agency.
Matrix Internet is on Enterprise Ireland’s approved agency list, and we’d love to help you develop an effective international go-to-market strategy. Reach out and we’ll help you develop a plan before the June 30 deadline.
Want us to help with your application? Get in touch!
By Conor McCaffrey