I-Cham CE to provide practical support to Irish SMEs in central Europe
A new initiative called I-Cham CE has been launched to provide practical on-the-ground support under an integrated chamber umbrella to Irish SMEs targeting exports in central Europe. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, I-Cham CE will be based at the Irish Exporters Association’s (IEA) offices on Merrion Square in Dublin. The organisation aims to provide support to Irish SMEs who are entering or exploring the markets of Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Minister for Small Business John Perry TD said the platform created by I-Cham would increase in importance, as the point of European manufacturing continues to move to the centre of Europe and as the countries there move rapidly to the EU average in terms of consumption and investment.
The intended scope of the organisation will complement the work of Enterprise Ireland’s offices in Warsaw and Prague, which cover the EU countries within i-Cham CE’s geographic footprint.
Enterprise Ireland’s regional director Conor Fahy said: “It the past 10 years Irish exports to Central Europe have grown over 300pc. Thanks to the continued ‘catch-up’ dynamic, well-trained work force, healthy banking sector, and a combination of low public and private debt, Central European economies are expected to continue growing faster than Western Europe.”
Simon McKeever, chief executive of the IEA, said the initiative would not only give confidence to Irish exporters at each stage of their exporting journey but would educate and inform companies around best practice in the region.
“The launch of i-Cham CE will build on the success of €2.18bn in exports in 2013 from Ireland to 11 countries in central Europe.”
Business and Leadership
i-Cham plans to boost profile
DESPITE its name, the new Irish Chamber of Commerce in Central Europe is anything but a sham.
The initiative, called i-Cham CE, aims to bring indigenous exporting firms and the Irish business diasporas together under one umbrella.
Offering practical and on-the ground support to Irish SMEs entering or exploring the market, its overall plan is to increase Irish exports and raise the profile of products and services across Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic,Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The Dublin hub of i-Cham CE, which is supported by Enterprise Ireland and backed by several embassies, will be based alongside the Irish Exporters’ Association.
John Perry, the minister for small business, has big ideas about the new scheme.
“The platform created by i-Cham will increase in importance, as the point of European manufacturing continues to move to the centre of Europe, and as the countries of Central Europe move rapidly to the EU average in terms of consumption and investment,” he said.
“This will generate wide-ranging opportunities for Irish companies in terms of increased exports and jobs growth.”
In the past 10 years Irish exports to Central Europe have grown by over 300pc.
Thanks to the continued “catch-up” dynamic, well-trained workforce, healthy banking sector, and low public and private debt – central European economies are expected to continue growing faster than western Europe, generating wide ranging export opportunities for Irish firms, says Enterprise Ireland’s Conor Fahy.