Exporting challenges for Irish SME’s

“SMEs face different challenges than big, well-resourced companies in tacking the export market. While it is relatively easy to establish personal networks in the domestic market, it may be expensive and difficult for an SME to establish suitable, trustworthy relationships in overseas markets.” Dermot Quirke – Internationalisation of small business.

Research carried out by Inter trade Ireland shows figures from their survey which state that 42% of the respondents are actively looking to develop into other markets. This is a higher figure than that of 35% which entered the new markets in the past 3 years.

  • 47% of experienced exporters are considering additional markets
  • 33% of non-experienced exporters are considering additional markets


Export barriers and supports

 • More than half of respondents identified a lack of internal financial resources, access to external finance and awareness of available supports and market knowledge as the main challenges to exporting.

 • Businesses repeatedly cite the lack of resources as a barrier to export growth, particularly a dedicated, on-the-ground resource in the target market. The resource issue is heightened by current pressures on cash flow and the need to see a commercial return from new markets within a short timeframe.

• Consequently, businesses state that the main form of support they require is the provision of resources, such as market knowledge, additional finance or networking assistance.


Total exports grew by 3.5% in 2014 and 4%in 2015. Food exports to Russia totalled €232m, a very small proportion of the €8.7bn worth of food exports. Around 38% of Irish trade is done with the US and UK, there is an increasing emphasis in Ireland on trading with partners from “stable currency areas” such as the Eurozone. Bord Bia confirms that €70m worth of exports could possibly be affected by this. The Eurozone market accounts for 35% of Irish goods exports.



Key Challenges for SMEs

To launch a new product or service to the overseas market an SME can face extreme challenges in relation to:

  • External finances
  • Internal finances
  • Ability to set competitive prices
  • Awareness of the support available
  • Language barrier
  • Market Intelligance
  • Marketing communication
  • Branding
  • Digital marketing
  • Localisation


Enterprise Ireland is the government agency that provides support to SMEs that are moving forward to exporting. One in ten European SMEs would not have internationalised without government support.

To find out more about the services The Post Coach can offer your business with exporting and importing contact us @ fiona.black@thepostcoach.com or call us on 0876781520