South East Companies invited to Explore Export Opportunities


South East Companies invited to explore export opportunities.

The South East Local Enterprise Offices have today (11th March 2020) announced details of a new Micro Export Development Programme focused on the Netherlands which will be rolled out during 2020 focusing on a trade mission to be hosted from 22nd-24th September 2020.

The purpose of the programme is to provide SME’s with the skills and the confidence to identify, target and exploit new business opportunities in the Dutch market and to then put them in front of potential customers in The Netherlands during the course of the Programme. Each company will be provided with pre-trip support , a dedicated export mentor , facilitated meetings and on the ground support for the journey.
Companies have until 8th April 2020 to complete the expression of interest stage from which 7 companies will be selected to participate in this highly subsidized programme.

What makes The Netherlands an attractive market for Irish exporters?

Because of the ongoing uncertainties relating to Brexit and the potential implications for Irish exporters, it is essential that Irish SMEs and micro enterprises explore new export opportunities.

According to CSO statistics, the Netherlands has consistently been one of the popular export markets for Irish SMEs over the last 10 years.

There are a number of reasons for this:

  • English is widely spoken in business circles, making this an ideal launch-pad in mainland Europe for relatively inexperienced exporters to dip their toes into.
  • Accessibility. With dozens of flights from Dublin, Cork and Belfast every week, Irish exporters can service the needs of Dutch customers quickly, easily and cost-effectively.
  • The size of the market. The Dutch population is now 17.1 million, all contained within 33,880 square kilometres. To put this into perspective, the population of Ireland is 4.7 million people in 70,280 square kilometres.
  • Netherlands has historically been a trading nation – Dutch business people are immersed in the practice of buying from and selling to businesses in other parts of EU and further afield.

As a result, many early stage exporters from Ireland see the Dutch market as an excellent place to start to explore business opportunities in mainland Europe.

So, what is the Micro Enterprise Export Development Programme – Netherlands about ?

The Programme is funded by the Local Enterprise Offices of Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford & Tipperary and is delivered by Full Circle Management Solutions.

The purpose of the programme is to provide you with the skills and the confidence to identify, target and exploit new business opportunities in the Dutch market ….and to then put you in front of potential customers in The Netherlands during the course of the Programme.

This is therefore a highly practical programme where the emphasis is on finding and converting REAL sales opportunities in The Netherlands …. during the Programme and beyond.

Who should apply for a place on the Programme?

  • You should apply for a place on the Programme if you:
  • Own and / or manage a business that is based in Carlow , Kilkenny , Tipperary or Waterford
  • Employ less than 25 people (not a client of Enterprise Ireland)
  •  Are involved in manufacturing or tradable services.
  • Have a product or service that is considered to be exportable.
  •  Currently are doing no more than 30% of your turnover outside Ireland
  • Are serious about exploring business opportunities in mainland Europe

What will people get from the Programme?

 During the Programme, participants will:

  • Develop your skills and confidence in the field of exporting by attending 2 very practical half day skills development workshops.
  • Be allocated your own export development mentor who will gear you up to move from talking about exploring business opportunities in mainland Europe to actually doing it.
  •  Meet with a minimum of 5 potential customers. in The Netherlands who have expressed a [provisional] interest in doing business with you.
  • Spend 3 days on the ground in The Netherlands as part of a group trade mission there in late September 2020 – participation includes return flights, 2 nights’ hotel accommodation in The Netherlands and 1 group dinner in The Netherlands for 1 person per business.

The Commitment from the company:

 The Export to Netherlands Programme is very heavily subsidised by the 4 Local Enterprise Offices, highlighting their commitment to support early-stage exporters across the 4 regions.

The total cost to companies is therefore only €350 per participant.

How do you apply?

Expression of Interest is available here: and open until 8th April 2020 or contact your Local Enterprise Office contact

Carlow – Pauline Hoctor – Senior Enterprise Development Office –

Kilkenny – Aileen Mc Grath – Senior Enterprise Development Officer –

Tipperary – Ita Horan – Senior Enterprise Development Officer -

Waterford – Jacqui Gaule -Senior Enterprise Development Officer -

What are the stages in the programme ?

Expression of Interest Stage (Closing Date)

8th April 2020

Initial Screening (includes one to one meeting in your Local Enterprise Office)

9th April 2020-18th April 2020

Training Day 1

28th April 2020

Mentoring & Match Making

May-August 2020

Training Day 2

10th September 2020

Trade Mission

22nd-24th September 2020