Enterprise Ireland International Markets Week is taking place at the RDS in Dublin.
EI has brought back staff from international offices across the globe to meet Irish companies looking to expand overseas.
It also has a host of successful exporters standing by to share their experience and help bring on the next generation of indigenous firms.
Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland Julie Sinnamon said this week EI has 140 staff home from its 32 worldwide offices to meet with potential exporters from Ireland.
She said: “Over the period of the next three days we will have over 1,400 meetings. So anyone who is thinking of exporting, broadening their global reach, they’ll come here, they can meet with somebody from China, from India, from the Gulf, wherever we have a number of offices, discuss their proposition and then decide which markets are most appropriate for them.
On Brexit, Ms Sinnamon said: “Exports to the UK are something which have been hard-won, and we are proposing to continue to grow exports to the UK. However, our intent is to grow exports to the rest of the world at a faster rate.”
She added EI’s focus is on working with Irish companies on competitiveness and innovation because “that’s where you have better control over your pricing into the UK market.
“And we’ve seen some sectors in the UK where companies have been able to get price increases because of the level of innovation in their products,” she added.
Michael Carey, Co-founder of East Coast Bakehouse and formerly of Jacob Fruitfield, is taking part in the Enterprise Ireland International Markets Week.
East Coast employs 100 staff and exports locally produced biscuits.
He said the UK market is crucially important for the Irish food sector and the currency movement between euro and sterling is a big issue for Irish exporters.
Mr Carey said: “The range from 75p to 95p makes a huge impact on the margins of that product.
“For every £1 million worth of exports to the UK, that shift counts for about €280,000 in profit, and there isn’t €280,000 profit in €1 million worth of exports. It’s a huge impact and we’re very concerned.”
He added the speed of change in the exchange rate is a big concern.
However, Martin McVicar, the founder of Combilift in Monaghan – a manufacturer of advanced forklifts sold in 75 countries – said prior to talk of a ‘hard Brexit’ he wasn’t especially concerned about the currency fluctuations.
But a hard Brexit has “the potential to make it more difficult to move products into the UK, across the UK, to other mainland European markets.
“There needs to be serious negotiations to minimise any tariffs that will be possibly imposed on products or services going into the UK.”
Clodagh Cavanagh is CEO of Abbey Machinery, a third-generation family business that makes specialist agricultural equipment.
She said her company’s strategy is that “innovation will drive our global exports, and that’s key.
“That’s why we’re here today, to talk to new markets and focus on the exports side of the business.”
She added it can be a risk to rely on any one market, such as the UK.