Expanding Into Foreign Markets
Stephen Hughes, Director of northern Europe, Enterprise Ireland, comments on the foreign markets that are most appealing to small and medium businesses (SMEs) in the current economic downturn.
The economic market, although currently in a downturn, can create new opportunities for businesses. Companies that are well positioned and understand what their unique selling point is, are the ones that can benefit the most. As one another’s biggest trading partner, the UK and Ireland have enjoyed a highly successful and mutually beneficial relationship for years. However, with increasingly tight profit margins, UK and Irish businesses must start looking at opportunities further afield.
...rapid change in the market has resulted in a number of challenges to which companies have had to respond. Businesses need to review their position and take corrective action, now or in the short term, to make sure they’re well positioned to move forward from whatever impacts come into their sector.
One option that should be seriously looked at is foreign markets. Despite the doom and gloom, a number of eurozone markets are still doing reasonably well. France, for example, has seen a relatively minimal increase in unemployment (only 0.7 per cent). There is economic stability in Belgium, while the Netherlands still looks very strong. Scandinavia, and in particular, Sweden, is also looking strong through the downturn. These markets are facing some challenges but not on the same scale as the UK or Ireland. Meanwhile, Germany, one of the biggest eurozone markets, is doing better than most during this period of change.
The Scandinavian markets are particularly good for high-potential start-ups looking to gain either first market preference or to stretch into new markets. Sweden is populated by quite large companies, but most Swedish companies are interested in hearing from niche players that have unique offerings, particularly around technology, whether it’s... continued on page two >