Export, scaling Irish technology companies in the UK market

Market of 60 million people

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), in partnership with PwC, will be hosting a morning seminar to explore the export opportunities for scaling Irish technology companies in the UK market.  Access to a market of 60 million people, a competitive entrepreneurial tax regime and the benefits of the wider ecosystem of supporting services for entrepreneurs on your doorstep creates a compelling offer for Irish companies.   

UK’s Trade & Investment Minister Lord Francis

The UK’s Trade & Investment Minister Lord Francis Maude will lead a discussion with entrepreneurs on the opportunities for Irish companies in the UK.

Panel Discussion

The panel discussion will be moderated by Anthony Sheehan, UKTI expert in tech finance, tax incentives for entrepreneurs and establishing global operations.

  • Joseph Thompson – Peace by Trade – successful Bitcoin company now established in UK
  • Sonya Lennon- Frockadvisor – unique cross platform digital service for independent fashion retailers
  • Shay Garvey – Frontline Ventures – vastly experienced early stage technology investor
  • Pat Flood – Chair of British Irish Chamber ICT Policy Committee – exploring potential for future partnerships and collaborations in the Ireland & UK Tech space

The session will conclude with continued networking allowing you the opportunity to share experiences and ideas with your peers as well as the speakers. PwC members as well as UK Trade & Investment staff will also be on hand for meetings, should you have specific questions related to your own business.


7.30am:   Registration, breakfast and networking

Opening Remarks by Lord Maude, UK’s Trade and Investment Minister

Presentation by Ronan Finn PwC

Panel discussion

Q and A

9.15am:   Event concludes


PwC Ireland,

One Spencer Dock,

North Wall Quay,

Dublin 1



If you would like to attend this event please reply to this email or email Darragh at darragh.otuathail@britishirishchamber.com by 25th January.

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If you are exporting to the UK ..

There is no rugby on the weekend of the 19th of February. That doesn’t mean we can’t go shoulder to shoulder with our exporting partners in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland.

One of the highlights of the conference season is the annual British Irish Chamber of Commerce dinner and conference.Exporting or thinking of exporting?
If you are exporting, or thinking of exporting, this is the event to go to. Particularly with the upcoming Brexit referendum, which will bring its own challenges and opportunities.

The Conference
The structure of the conference is a mix of politics and business, discussing not just Irish and UK politics, the elections, Brexit and the EU, but also leadership, strategy and export.

To give you a flavour of some of the contributors:

  • Tony Hanway of  Virgin Media
  • Ann Heraty of CPL
  • Sarah O’Connor of Cool Beans
  • Barry Andrews of Goal
  • Tim Arnold of Hailo
  • Niamh Townsend of Dell
  • Conor O’Leary of Greencore
  • Ambassador Dominick Chilcott
  • Paul Drechsler of the Confederation of British Industry
  • John Fitzgerald of Trinity College
  • Ellvena Graham of ESB

Meet your potential clients
During the annual British Irish Chamber of Commerce conference there is an opportunity to meet your counter parts from Ireland and the UK. To accommodate these meetings, there will a separate meeting room where you can meet your potential buyers, speakers, experts, customers and partners. We will endeavour to facilitate those meetings.

Panel discussions with your peers
If you are not interested in the politics and if you want to talk to other small businesses from Ireland and UK on a collective basis, you can participate in a number of open panel discussions, where business people from Ireland and the UK share their business lessons and experiences. Topics that will be covered are culture, selling, social media, lessons from failure and lessons from success.

Book now

Tickets for the dinner and conference are € 195. Places are limited and you need to book before 25 January in order for us to try to arrange the meetings you want. We cannot guarantee that all meetings will happen on the day, but we will do our best to facilitate the introductions during and after the conference. Contact alison.cotter@britishirishchamber.com

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Three Duty Relief Schemes You Should Be Claiming

There’s only so much room for a business to expand in the UK or Ireland – and so if you want your company to succeed, you’re going to have to look overseas. But doing business abroad isn’t always cheap.

According to the Confederation of British Industry, companies are 11% more likely to succeed if they choose to do business with other countries. Yet your products will be subject to huge import fees and domestic government duties in a vast majority of these new markets. Even if you’re importing, you’ll be subject to several different taxes. Those costs might not seem huge at first, but they all add up – and can ultimately prove a fatal blow if you’re only just beginning to expand overseas.

Luckily, both the European Union and the UK government provide multiple duty relief schemes to help small businesses succeed abroad.

To help you get started, here are three of the easiest relief schemes to take advantage of:

1. Trade preference agreements

Thanks to various pieces of EU legislature that have cropped up over the past few years, exporting to other European countries has become a fairly painless process. Yet there’s plenty of red tape and silly fees that hinder your success in non-EU countries. Luckily, the UK and Ireland have got access to various trade preference agreements with several key economies.

In essence, if the EU has got a Free Trade Agreement in place with another country, your company can claim duty relief through a “trade preference”. Consequently, you should be paying little to no duty on the products you export into those markets. Each discounted preference rate will depend on a number of criteria – such as the type of goods, country of origin and final destination.

In order to claim a trade preference, you must get the correct commodity code for your goods, ensure you’re complying with all rules of origin and provide proof of origin for your products.

2. Temporary admission

If you’re simply looking to test the waters with a new foreign market, you might be able to claim duty relief through temporary admission. Temporary admission is useful if you’re looking to bring items into the UK for a short period of time, and ensures that you do not have to pay any duty or import VAT on the products you have brought in.

Most companies claim temporary admission for items such as samples or professional equipment. You can also claim temporary admission if you’re importing items for auction, exhibition or short demonstration. So long as you do not fundamentally alter the goods while they are in EU territory, the scheme is fairly easy to capitalise upon.

One crucial caveat is that you cannot claim temporary admission if you are importing items for repair. But as with trade preference agreements, eligibility for relief is based almost entirely upon the type of products that you are importing – along with how you are using them before they are re-exported.

3. Outward processing

If your company is looking to capitalise upon cheap, skilled labour abroad, you might be able to claim duty relief under the EU’s Outward Processing Relief scheme. Outward processing enables EU companies to a full or partial export fee when they temporarily send goods from the EU for processing or repair in a non-EU country.

The policy was essentially brought into place so that EU businesses could benefit from cheaper labour costs or technical skills that aren’t available within the EU. So long as the goods you export to these countries are brought back into the EU, you will then benefit from full or partial duty relief upon their re-entry. It’s worth pointing out that this relief scheme does not apply to many agricultural-based businesses.

Sometimes, it may seem like the government is trying to hinder international business with red tape. But the truth is, there are dozens upon dozens or relief schemes out there designed to foster small-scale trade – you just have to know where to look.

Bearing that in mind, if you are thinking of taking your company to the next level by launching a new export scheme, don’t let sky-high duties deter you. No matter what type of business you’re in, there should be a duty relief scheme that will help your business find international success.

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Calling all Innovators & Entrepreneurs, we need your help & your green VOTE !!

As with any Irish technology company, we all suffer unique challenges when growing business internationally. As a country we have a small population so we struggle when trying to make as much noise as our International competitors. Even places we assume are tiny states such as Haiti & Togo have twice and three times our population.

Hence we need your help…

One of our company’s, Surface Power HONE which has developed a revolutionary “daylight” powered Nano-heat engine technology is short-listed (final 18 was judged by experts) for the 2Degrees Champions Award –  “Innovation of the Year” which is the world’s leading collaboration platform and service for sustainable business with over 46,500 members from 177 countries. https://www.2degreesnetwork.com/

Surface Power HONE has nearly 7,000 installations of this patented technology over 8 countries to date and it has been kept fairly secretive until recently. The technology was field tested in the West of Ireland & New Zealand as the daylight levels are some of the lowest in the OECD. In short, it replaces the use of oil and gas for heating and cooling with free daylight. Have a look at LIVE customers on our website such as the UK National Health Service running their hospital’s central heating on free “daylight” (sounds mad but true !!)

The next phase of the 2Degrees “Innovation of the Year Awards” is a voting stage which will reduce the final 18 to 5 for the big awards ceremony and we need your help and your vote. 

Although already in the short-list of 18, we are the only Irish Technology company in this shortlist and are up against huge players such as Nestle, General Motors & B&Q.

You can vote for us by clicking the link below to get us into the final 5 and we thank you in advance for that vote. Be sure to tweet it afterwards using the link so we can personally send you a thank you tweet. Go raibh maith agat as do chabhair.

Best Regards, John Quinn, CEO. (Twitter – @johnquinn_irl )

Read our story and VOTE from below.


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How to Enter a Foreign Market

Entering a foreign market can be one of the most exciting stages in the development of your business. Selling your product to a foreign market will mean many fresh challenges as well the opportunity to significantly grow your business. Operating in a foreign country can also diversify your business so that you are no longer exposed to the risk of a single market.

Researching Potential Markets

Before you commit to a foreign market it is important that you research it carefully. It is critical that you look at how the legal system, culture and religious beliefs may impact your business. Many products that are successful in their domestic market struggle in foreign markets due to differences in taste and culture. For example, when KFC entered the Chinese market it had to radically change its menu to meet the local culinary tastes. The Chinese KFC menu includes items that few Americans would recognize including egg tarts, shrimp burgers and soy milk drinks. It has even changed its menu to meet certain regional tastes in the country. By adapting to local tastes KFC has grown the number of its restaurants in China to more than 3,000.

Creating A Plan

The next step should be to create an export plan. This plan will help you to identify the potential risks, barriers to entry as well as opportunities that exist in that market. This plan should include a list of your major competitors and potential partners in this market. You should also establish how you intend to market and distribute your products.

Selling Your Products

Identify how you are going to sell your product in the market that you are entering. One of the most common approaches is to use local sales representatives or distributors. Sales representative typically work on commission and use the sales literature and marketing materials that you provide. Foreign distributor purchase the goods directly from you at a significant discount and then resell them for a profit. Alternatively, you may want to sell directly to end users either through establishing your own retail locations or online.

Franchising And Joint Ventures

Franchising and joint ventures are common approaches to entering a foreign market. When you franchise, you provide local businesses with limited intellectual property rights to your products. You also provide processes that must be followed by your franchisees. Joint ventures involve teaming up with a local business. The two businesses share joint management and control of the new business. This enables to you to share costs as well as benefit from the local business knowledge of their market.

Determining Pricing

Pricing can vary significantly depending on the market you are operating in. One of the most straightforward pricing models is the cost-plus approach. This involves basing your pricing on the cost of goods plus the costs associated with importing the product into the foreign market. While this approach is relatively simple, it has the disadvantage of potentially setting prices which are uncompetitive in the local market. In markets where your product is unique and there is high demand you may be able to price higher than in your domestic market. Another option is to attempt to undercut the local pricing in order to gain market share as quickly as possible.

Foreign Language Website

When you enter a foreign market, you will need to develop a new website for that country. This is particularly important if the market that you are entering speaks a different language to your domestic market. Having a new website will allow you to target the marketing messaging, store locations, contact information and product details to that market. Having a foreign language website created is not complicated, compared to some of the other challenges of entering a new market. One good option is to use a global translation service, (for example, Simple Translation), which specializes in translating websites from one language to another.

Entering a foreign market will often involve a sharp learning curve. You may be required to adapt your current processes and systems for the new market. But the benefits of selling into a foreign market invariably justify these challenges. Businesses that enter foreign markets typically become better diversified and more robust organizations with greater potential for rapid growth.

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The 10 Basics of Export Marketing for Small Business

Expanding your company by targeting overseas sales is a fantastic way of developing a business. However, export success certainly won’t happen overnight and there are many potential hazards out there that need to be overcome before success is achieved.

Marketing your business, product or service is crucial to your success. Prior to launching anything internationally, you need to sit down and plan, plan and plan some more.

So here are 10 essential points to effective export marketing that should hopefully help you on your way.

1. Create an Export Marketing Plan

Remember those days when you were launching your company and you sat down and spent hours writing out a business plan? Well you need to do that again but this time to plan out just how you’re going to be successful at launching into export. You need to work out where you are going to aim your product, when this important development of your business is going to take place and how much you should budget for it.  Keep hold of this and continually refer back to it.

2. Do your export homework

You have an idea just where you are going to launch your product but you now need to find out as much as possible about that country or region. Learn about the population, their habits and what possible challenges lay ahead. There is a wealth of free information available online now that exporters can use to get quickly up to speed on all the key areas that might impact their export offering.

3. Competition analysis

It’s important that you find out who your likely competitors are going to be. Find out what they are currently doing, how they are doing it and how you can do it better (hopefully) and conduct a SWOT analysis. If you are going to be selling toothpaste into Indonesia, would you really do so without understanding who already does so and how much they actually sell? Scrutinise competitors’ approaches; take what is good and leave what is bad.

4. Make sure you overcome any cultural differences

The country you are going to be exporting to is likely to have cultural differences and you must find out about these. It’s so easy to make expensive blunders that could have been avoided if research had been carried out. This is particularly important with your advertising material with everything from your logo to the name of your product being potential hazards. A US toothpaste manufacturer once sold into an area of South East Asia where the locals saw black teeth as beautiful! Obviously they didn’t sell too many tubes.

5. The importance of language

From the emails you send to your foreign clients to the language used in your marketing material, there’s plenty you need to learn if you want to be a successful exporter. Don’t include words that may be innocent in your own country but have a totally different meaning in the country you want to trade with. Make sure you use a linguist or a professional from the target country who can advise you on your language as well as your website copy, brochures, manuals, etc.

6. Where is the best place to put your message across?

Once your marketing material has been created where should you place it to get the best results? It could be via a search engine, in the local press or on social media. Again you need to find out what works best in the country you are exporting to. Not every country will have the same channels for marketing and advertising. In some West African nations, the tribal chief might actually be your best marketing channel!

7. An online presence

If you haven’t already got a website then get one!  If you do have one then you need to make sure it can aid your export drive not hinder it.  Make sure your site is towards the top of search engines and get the site translated so your potential new customers can fully understand the message you’re trying to put across. As well as translating the contents, look at the usability of your website. For example in some languages they read right to left – how would this impact your site’s effectiveness?

8. How do you want them to contact you?

Those potential new customers have found your website and understand it too. So what do you want them to do next? Decide if you want them to email you or telephone you. If you do want them to call you make sure you have staff who can successfully take that call. There is no point marketing your service to Germany and then not being able to deal with a phone call or email in German. Think through how these foreign prospects can be dealt with.

9. Ensure you can receive payment

Your new customer wants to buy your product online but is that possible? Make sure that your site can take foreign payments. Ensure you closely look at the local payment methods people use. Online credit card payments are distrusted in Germany so what would the alternative be? Check competitors’ sites and see what they are using.

10. Don’t forget to test

As you’ll see there’s a lot to learn if this export drive you desire is going to work. Have a trial run, start off small and apply what you’ve learnt. Take a small dip in the export waters, learn from any mistakes you make and then start to grow the export side of your business. Test, test, test and improve…..continuously.

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