Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, met with Enterprise Ireland supported companies in France and with his counterpart European Digital Ministers at events held today. The meetings coincided with his attendance at the VivaTech Trade Show taking place in Paris.

Minister Troy said, “I am pleased to be in Paris this week to discuss the opportunities and indeed promote the best of what Irish digital innovation has to offer. The importance of digital and technology sectors for the future of Europe, France and Ireland cannot be understated and are vital for the creation of prosperity and jobs.

“France is a key market for Irish businesses, representing the 5th largest export market for Enterprise Ireland client companies with exports totalling €1.091 billion in 2019. Trade in digital products and services represents approximately 15 per cent of this trade and has increased rapidly growing 75 per cent in the past 5 years. The Eurozone offers much untapped potential for Irish businesses post-Brexit, particularly in the technology sector.”

The Minister met with Enterprise Ireland supported companies in France to hear about their participation at VivaTech and how they view the French opportunity in the context of their market diversification strategy.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Troy said, “Irish and French businesses are teaming up to deliver highly sophisticated projects such as data centres, digital transformation projects, pharmaceutical laboratories, smart ports and transport infrastructure projects. I was delighted to hear of how Irish companies such as 8 West and AceTech are using technology to address some of the biggest challenges facing public services and enterprises across different sectors and continue to grow from strength to strength in their respective fields. I want to extend my thanks to the Enterprise Ireland team in France and the companies they support who are taking advantage of the opportunities in France to grow and scale their businesses.”

At the informal meeting of European Ministers for Digital Affairs, discussions focussed on the importance of SME digitalisation. Minister Troy welcomed the opportunity to share international experiences, stating, “Ireland is an island of innovation, where some of the world’s most advanced digital technology companies have grown up alongside global tech giants. Exceptional talent, vibrant investment activity and a renowned research base combine to create one of the world’s leading tech hubs, with over 1,000 companies generating €35 billion in exports annually.

“As Minister of State with responsibility for both Trade Promotion and Digital, I am acutely aware of the importance of fostering and facilitating SME participation in the digital economy in Ireland. As we look to emerge from the global health crisis, there is an increased importance for international knowledge exchange and policy dialogue on SME digitalisation.

“It is crucial that we empower SMEs to keep pace with the digital transformation of the global economy and avail of the opportunities that come with it. In Ireland, we have seen the benefit of continuous dialogue through our engagement with the business community and other stakeholders during the COVID crisis, and the role that this can play in shaping effective policy responses.

“Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet with members of the Scale-Up Europe initiative and France’s Secretary of State for Digital Economy, Cedric O, on how best to support and scale start-ups in Europe and fostering tech talent. Both Scale-Up Europe and the trade fair VivaTech are testimony to the importance of these sectors and the need for continued collaboration between a variety of sectors but most importantly businesses on the ground.”