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Companies supported by Enterprise Ireland increased net employment by 11,911 in 2021 - highest jobs


  • 68% of new jobs were created outside of Dublin

  • Enterprise Ireland publishes new three-year strategy for Irish business with ambition to create 45,000 new jobs by 2024 and increase exports to €30bn www.strategy2022.enterprise-ireland.com

  • €61.6m funding approved for 341 COVID-19 impacted companies in 2021


Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, and Enterprise Ireland, today announced that net jobs created in companies supported by Enterprise Ireland increased by 11,911 in 2021.

This is the highest annual increase in net employment reported by Enterprise Ireland.

Employment increased across all economic sectors, with particularly strong jobs growth reported in Life Sciences (14%), Business Services (12%) and Digital Technology (10%).

The positive jobs figures saw increases in employment across all regions in Ireland, with, for example, employment increasing by 9% in the North West and by 7% in the South East. In total, 68% of new jobs created were outside of Dublin.

In total, 20,342 new jobs were created by companies supported by Enterprise Ireland, resulting in a net job increase of 11,911 when job losses are taken into account. Total employment by companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2021 was 207,894.

Speaking at the launch today, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar said:

"Over 200,000 people now work in Enterprise Ireland client companies. That’s almost as many people working for multi-nationals. It’s great to see Irish exporting companies performing so strongly last year notwithstanding the disruption to trade caused by Brexit and the pandemic. There was a net increase in employment of almost 12,000.

"I am particularly pleased that jobs growth occurred in all regions with almost 70% of new jobs growth occurring outside of Dublin and particularly strong growth in the north-west and south-east. This is an extraordinary performance and I want to thank the Enterprise Ireland team for their phenomenal work in the year gone by. We are well on our way to meeting our target of having 2.5m people at work in Ireland by 2024."

Commenting on the launch today Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English stated:

"The positive job creation results announced today are a testament to the talent, resilience and innovation of businesses operating in Ireland today. In conjunction with the dedicated and determined Enterprise Ireland team, they have tackled head on the impact of the pandemic to support and grow employment opportunities throughout the country. The strong regional performance evident in these results is very welcome news.

"I am encouraged by Enterprise Ireland’s new strategy which fits with the ambitions of our enterprise community to grow business, grow jobs, and grow into new markets. It supports Government’s National Economic Plan which has a strong focus on creating more and better jobs, and in ensuring that job creation occurs throughout the country. It also recognises the many lessons learned in dealing with the difficulties of the pandemic over the last two years. I particularly welcome the commitment that both Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs, working together, will ensure that companies of all sizes will be provided with a flexible service model in response to their growth and development needs."

In welcoming Enterprise Ireland’s end of year positive results, Minister of State for Trade Promotion Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy said:

"Enterprise Ireland has been a stalwart in sustaining enterprise throughout a very difficult year for business. Together we managed to overcome these barriers by commencing once again a number of important physical trade missions throughout 2021 to the Eurozone area, the Gulf region and the U.K. and reignited our transatlantic relationships with Canada and the U.S. Despite the great challenges I am delighted that nearly 1,400 new overseas contracts were completed in 2021 and 184 Enterprise Ireland assisted companies have entered new markets.

"In collaboration with the Local Enterprise Offices, great strides have also been made in accelerating the pace of innovation, digitalisation, and transition to a low carbon economy. I am happy that these core ambitions are also at the heart of Enterprise Ireland's new strategy launched today and that Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs will continue to be an integral part of balanced regional development in the future."

Commenting on the job results Enterprise Ireland CEO, Leo Clancy said:

"Enterprise Ireland has been working with businesses throughout the country to ensure they can quickly recover from the impact of COVID-19 and continue to adapt to the new trading relationship with the UK. It is very important and welcome to see job growth in every key economic sector and every region.

"Our core focus for the coming years will be on helping our clients realise further growth resulting from the significant opportunities that a recovering global economy presents for the benefit of every community in Ireland."

Other key achievements supporting jobs in 2021 highlighted in the End of Year Statement issued by Enterprise Ireland included:


  • 125 new start-up companies supported

  • 1,375 overseas contracts secured with Enterprise Ireland assistance and the resumption in September 2021 of physical trade missions

  • €61.6m in funding approved for 341 COVID-impacted companies in 2021

  • 218 companies received funding of more than €100,000 to support other projects in 2021

  • €14.6m was approved for 1,048 projects under the Ready for Customs Grant


Today also saw the launch of Enterprise Ireland’s new three-year strategy, entitled ‘Leading In A Changing World’.

The strategy sets out five key strategic ambitions for Irish enterprise and for Enterprise Ireland over the period 2022-2024 and beyond:


  • export-focused Irish enterprises delivering growth across all regions

  • Ireland as a world-leading location to start and scale a business

  • Irish enterprises achieving competitive advantage through customer-led innovation and digitalisation

  • Irish enterprises leading globally on sustainability and achieving climate action targets

  • Enterprise Ireland providing world-leading service to the companies it supports


The strategy sets an ambitious target of creating 45,000 jobs over the next three years, increasing exports by Enterprise Ireland client companies to €30bn.

Commenting on the strategy, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said:

"The government has an ambitious vision for the future of our economy. We want to bring job opportunities and growth to all parts of Ireland increasing total employment to a record high of 2.5 million by 2024. We want to restore and then go beyond pre-pandemic employment levels, creating secure, long-term jobs in new and exciting areas. To ensure our economy is diversified and future-proofed against shocks this means going for growth across a broad range of sectors including exports, construction, the public sector and the care economy, the new green economy, digital, tourism and services.

"This Strategy being published today fully aligns with that vision. I’m especially pleased to see the efforts being made to diversify our export markets, increase the number of start-ups by 20% and to improve our productivity. These will all add to the resilience of Irish businesses, preparing them to continue to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market."

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy said:

"Enterprise Ireland’s strategy 2022-2024, Leading in a Changing World, is set in a time of remarkable change for business. Business is being transformed by factors such as climate change, the accelerated adoption of technology, and changing trends in globalisation in a way that presents unprecedented market opportunities, notwithstanding ongoing challenges for companies.

"To succeed in changing times, Irish enterprises must invest to strengthen capability and competitiveness, respond quickly to changing consumer preferences, innovate ahead of competitors, and be flexible and open to changing business models.

"Resilient, internationally focused, and productive Irish enterprises are critical to the future growth of the Irish economy, supporting livelihoods and contributing to prosperity throughout Ireland. Enterprise Ireland’s strategy 2022-2024, Leading In A Changing World, sets out the key initiatives we will undertake to deliver on the ambitions for Irish enterprise.



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