Irish innovation continues to thrive in huge US market

As well as being a day when the world celebrates Ireland and honours our history and cultural traditions, St Patrick’s Day also offers our country an opportunity to showcase pioneering and innovative Irish businesses that are having an impact globally.

he United States is synonymous with celebrating St Patrick’s Day. It is the world’s largest consumer market, with a $23trn (€21.7trn)  economy. And Irish businesses are increasingly playing a pivotal role, with 650 Irish companies having a base in the US, employing more than 100,000 people at 2500 locations across all 50 states.

Exports from Enterprise Ireland-supported companies to the US were €4.4bn in 2021. Our transatlantic partners now account for 18pc of total exports from Enterprise Ireland-supported companies, our third largest international market.

The value of Irish-origin, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US last year was $269bn, an increase of 14pc since 2019, making Ireland the ninth-largest source of FDI. ​

Trade events in our international markets are crucially important for establishing and strengthening collaborative relationships and partnerships.

In honour of St Patrick’s week, Enterprise Ireland has developed a strategic programme of trade events, working alongside our Team Ireland colleagues, to optimise the potential each St Patrick’s Day brings and to help create new opportunities for Irish businesses.

This programme of trade events is being led by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with a number of Government ministers.

This programme includes events and meetings throughout the country to emphasise the importance of collaboration and to put a spotlight on the innovative Irish enterprise sector.

There are many areas of growth and opportunity for Irish innovators in the US.

As Ireland has a long history and culture of artisans, food production and exports, Enterprise Ireland is hosting a Food Evolution event in Washington DC, which will showcase food production and R&D.
There are many potential areas of growth for Irish companies in the US.

There are significant opportunities for Irish companies who are interested in exporting to the US

For example, Kerry Group has its North American R&D headquarters in Beloit, Wisconsin, where it employs over 1,000 people. It  employs approximately 6,000 people overall in the US and is a market leader in taste and nutrition.

The medical device and healthcare industry is also a major contributor to Irish expansion in the US. Irish company ICON, a global leader in consulting, clinical development and commercialisation services, is now the third-largest contract research organisation in the world.

In July 2021, it announced it had acquired PRA Health Sciences for $12bn.

There are significant opportunities for Irish companies who are interested in exporting to the US.

For Enterprise Ireland client companies that are interested in exploring export opportunities, a practical and effective step is to utilise our Market Research Centre which has invaluable data and market insights to help businesses. 


Sean Davis is Regional Director for the Americas in Enterprise Ireland

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