International forum for Wexford craft and design companies
THREE Wexford companies represented the county at the recent 'Enterprise Zone' area of 'Showcase' at the RDS in Dublin.
Paula Quigley, Designed For You (home and gifts), Kymaia (fashion) and Liwu Jewellery (fashion and jewellery) met international buyers during their participation, thanks to the help of Local Enterprise Office in Wexford.
The network of Local Enterprise Offices also welcomed the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton to the 'Enterprise Zone', where the Minister met nearly 100 small design and craft businesses, all ready to break into new markets.
Showcase was the first major trade event of the year and was organised by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland.
Co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices in the Local Authorities Network, the dedicated Enterprise Zone on the balcony area is the home for emerging designers and craftspeople, with 59 small companies exhibiting for the first time at the trade event.
The craft and design businesses are from 22 counties, including Wexford, and have all been supported by their Local Enterprise Office, making it possible for them to meet international buyers and secure orders in countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK and Italy.
Minister Bruton said: 'Since their establishment in April 2014, the LEOs have been a great addition to the suite of supports for start-ups and small businesses in Ireland.
Helping micro and small craft and design companies take part in major trade events like Showcase, is just one of the supports available to the sector through the Local Enterprise Offices.'
Fashion, knitwear, toys, jewellery, interiors and food are just some of the sectors represented within the Enterprise Zone.
Tom Banville, Head of Enterprise of the Local Enterprise Office, said that helping small businesses and start-ups reach international markets was crucial to further growth and job creation locally.
'Showcase is an ideal marketplace where buyers of Irish-made design and craft from around the world can meet local creators and designers in person. For smaller craft companies and new start-ups in the Enterprise Zone, which is co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices, they can secure orders that will help them make that important break-through into new markets,' said Mr Banville.
'From my meetings with buyers here at Showcase, it is clear that there is a strong appetite internationally for the work of Irish designers and makers, especially following the year-long Irish Design 2015 initiative,' said Mr Bruton, 'our design and craft sector is innovative and creative and its contribution to jobs, exports and tourism is very significant.'