Record high of 221,895 people now employed by Enterprise Ireland supported companies

221,895 people are now employed in companies supported by the agency. This is the highest total employment in the 20-year history of the agency. 65 percent of total employment by Enterprise Ireland backed companies is now outside of Dublin.

  • Two-thirds of new jobs created outside of Dublin
  • Brexit exposed companies received €125m in support over the last two years 
  • 16,971 new jobs created but growth is slowing, reflecting Brexit uncertainty and skills recruitment challenges 
  • 2020 Action Plan for Women in Business published 

7 January 2020 -- Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD and Enterprise Ireland, the Government agency responsible for developing Irish business globally has reported the creation of 16,971 new jobs by Enterprise Ireland supported companies in 2019.

221,895 people are now employed in companies supported by the agency. This is the highest total employment in the 20-year history of the agency. 65 percent of total employment by Enterprise Ireland backed companies is now outside of Dublin.

Cleantech jobs grew by nine percent, Lifesciences jobs by six percent, Fintech by six percent, Electronics by five percent, ICT and international services by four percent, while jobs in the food sector grew by one percent, reflecting the uncertainty created by Brexit in 2019. The jobs growth translates into a net increase of 4,706 jobs created in 2019.

Welcoming the results, Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation Heather Humphreys said:

These record results are a great achievement and a testament to the resilience of Irish companies in the context of Brexit.Nevertheless, we cannot become complacent about the hard-won gains of recent years. We have made huge progress but today we have new challenges and we need to constantly evolve to remain competitive. That’s why the Government launched Future Jobs Ireland to prepare our businesses and workers for the future by looking at areas like skills and talent, labour force participation, technological change, SME productivity and the transition to a low carbon economy. 

Turning to the regions, the Minister added: “Crucially, two-thirds of the new jobs are outside Dublin and 65% of total employment is now in the regions. The companies involved also make a significant contribution to the local economy by sourcing over two-thirds of their materials and services from other Irish firms.

This strong regional performance is important because we cannot reach our full potential as a country without successful regions. It is for this reason that I have prioritised supporting regional enterprise as Minister and will continue to do so in 2020. Initiatives like the Regional Enterprise Development Fund and the Regional Enterprise Plans are making a real difference on the ground and I would urge businesses to take full advantage of them.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said: 

2019 was another strong year for job creation with our client companies now employing 221,895 people across Ireland and creating 16,971 new jobs. As we enter the final year of our 2017-2020 strategy, we are ahead of our target to create 60,000 new jobs by the end of 2020, with 57,881 new jobs created over the past three years by Enterprise Ireland-backed companies.

We are, however, seeing a moderation in the pace of job growth reflecting the impact of Brexit uncertainty, as well as wider skills and talent recruitment and competitiveness challenges for SME’s. To ensure that our companies continue to grow and create jobs, we need to see an increase in investment in innovation. Our research shows that companies that invest in research and innovation generate 67 percent more in global sales than those that don’t. Sustaining businesses through innovation and competitiveness is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland in 2020 as a means of helping businesses maintain their competitive advantage and creating and sustaining jobs for the future.”


Enterprise Ireland said that it continues to work on a one-to-one basis with its exporting clients on Brexit planning. In 2018 and 2019, the agency approved funding of €125m to its most Brexit-exposed clients.

Minister Humphreys added:

With the UK set to leave the EU in a few weeks, we will soon be entering into complex trade negotiations between Brussels and London. Ireland is coming to these talks in a strong position but there is still a lot of uncertainty and it would be a mistake to underestimate how challenging the process will be.

Great progress has been made on Brexit preparedness by Enterprise Ireland clients so far - two-out-of-three have taken steps to reduce their dependency on the UK market, and €125m in funding and supports was approved for Enterprise Ireland’s most Brexit-exposed clients over the two year period between 2018 and 2019.

However, the hard work is only starting now, so I would strongly encourage businesses to stay vigilant and continue assessing their exposure in the coming period.

The Government is here to help and we provide a wide range of supports to help you prepare. Only last Friday, I launched a new €28m Economic Stimulus Package for businesses in the border region to mitigate against the impacts of Brexit.”

Julie Sinnamon said:

Preparing for Brexit has been a major part of our work in recent years and today’s results provide evidence that many companies are making the strategic decision to explore new markets, with success.  Our results show that two thirds of our Brexit-exposed companies have decreased their reliance on the UK, with 442 new overseas presences established by client companies with the support of Enterprise Ireland. This includes over 99 new market presences into the Eurozone in 2019, which is a key focus of our strategy.

With Brexit now becoming a reality from the end of January, the major issue that exporters will face in the future is how our trading relationship with the UK will change from 2021 onwards. Enterprise Ireland will continue to work with companies looking to step into new markets as part of their diversification strategies. In 2019, 1,554 new overseas contracts were secured by Enterprise Ireland client companies and we will look to build on this success in 2020.”

Action Plan for Women in Business

Today, Enterprise Ireland’s 2020 Action Plan for Women in Business was also published as part of Future Jobs Ireland, the whole-of-Government framework to prepare our businesses and workers for the future. The purpose of the plan is to increase levels of women-led businesses and women in strategic management positions to improve diversity.

The plan, which is one of several steps being taken in the area under Future Jobs Ireland, outlines four objectives with 24 key actions to support the development of women leaders and managers. Actions include:

  1. Offer increased one-to-one engagement to support women-led companies to effectively support growth ambitions and expansion into new global markets
  2. Introduce a new grant for Enterprise Ireland supported companies to facilitate the recruitment of part time senior managers
  3. Develop, support and promote a national network of role models to interact with and inspire future entrepreneurs
  4. Issue a series of funding calls targeting women entrepreneurs and women researchers from third level institutions.

Making the announcement today at the headquarters of Enterprise Ireland client technology company Nuritas founded by Dr Nora Khaldi, Minister Humphreys said:

Ireland will never reach its full potential without increasing the participation of women in entrepreneurship and business leadership.

Yes, increasing gender diversity is the right thing to do, but it also makes sense because the research tells us that it leads to better decision making, improved productivity and increased profitability.

This new plan aims to address a broad range of factors contributing to the under-representation of women in enterprise, and it forms part of a range of actions that the Government is taking in the area under Future Jobs Ireland.”

Julie Sinnamon said:

Ireland’s economic success will be driven by optimising all our skills and talent through increasing the participation of women in entrepreneurship and business leadership. This new plan aims to address a broad range of factors contributing to the under-representation of women in enterprise. We will achieve this by working in collaboration with others across the public and private sector to bring about lasting sustainable improvement that will narrow the participation gap between women and men and deliver increased economic growth.”



Enterprise Ireland End of Year Statement 2019

Enterprise Ireland 2020 Action Plan for Women in Business

Photographs will be issued by Maxwell Photography

For reference, please contact:

Nicola Corboy, Press & Media Relations, Enterprise Ireland

01 727 2149 / 086 0210114 nicola.corboy(@)



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