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InterTradeIreland  Brexit

ISLAND SUPPORT INTERTRADEIRELAND’S BREXIT ADVISORY SERVICE PROVIDES FREE BREXIT-RELATED INFORMATION TO BUSINESSES ACROSS THE ISLAND OF IRELAND, EXPLAINS BREXIT ADVISORY SERVICE MANAGER, GRANT GILMORE. The Brexit Advisory Service was set up by InterTradeIreland in May 2017 to provide free, independent and upto-date Brexit-related information to businesses across the island of Ireland. The service equips businesses to manage the potential impact of Brexit through a range of services, such as a free online WTO tariff checker, research papers, networking events, real-life video case studies, and an online planning tool. “We also provide a €2,000 voucher, which is 100 per cent funded, so requires no cash contribution from the business,” says Grant Gilmore, Manager, Brexit Advisory Service, InterTradeIreland. “This funding facilitates a business to either attend a training course to fill a skills gap – such as how to complete basic customs paperwork – or to work on a one-to-one basis with an expert on a Brexit-related issue, like supply chains or trade agreements.”

Grant Gilmore, Manager, Brexit Advisory Service, InterTradeIreland

As Brexit approaches, a lack of clarity continues to prevail around the subject. As Gilmore puts it, “It can feel like being asked to play a game, but no one has explained the rules.” This, he says, is frustrating for businesses and can lead to inertia. “The obvious potential concerns are, what would be the impact if tariffs were introduced?” he says. “Will my competitor be able to gain an advantage by virtue of their location and not by quality of product or service?” InterTradeIreland's services enable SMEs to identify the biggest challenges and potential opportunities that Brexit may bring. Gilmore points out that it is often the businesses that tackle issues head-on and use them as a chance to review how they are currently doing things that are quickest to identify opportunities. “We supported a business in the food and drink sector that, by identifying the potential worst-case tariff for their existing product range, found a product innovation opportunity to reduce the sugar and fat content,” he says. “This vastly reduced the worst-case tariff in a WTO scenario. The outcome was a new product line, generating additional revenue streams and a contingency to protect the business, should tariffs be introduced that would harm existing product lines.”

“IT CAN FEEL LIKE BEING ASKED TO PLAY A GAME, BUT NO ONE HAS EXPLAINED THE RULES.” It is rare to have a two-year preparation period for what will potentially be a major disruption to the operating environment, but this is exactly what Brexit has offered. Businesses should therefore take advantage of this time by availing of the support offered by InterTradeIreland, as well as that of other Government agencies under the ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ campaign (www.dfa.ie/Brexit). InterTradeIreland continuously works to assist its clients, and it does this by developing upon its existing services. “Our sales and marketing programme, Acumen, is entering a new phase,” explains Gilmore. “Now all applicants to the programme will benefit from an export diagnostic, which will assess current export capabilities and identify areas for development and potential cross-border sales opportunities. Those who are successful will also benefit from up to €18,750 in funding towards the salary of a salesperson to achieve new cross-border sales. We’ve listened to businesses and as a result, we will support SMEs to find the right sales person. “InterTradeIreland really understands that a lot of SMEs need extra sales support and, in addition, we will also be running training workshops to build sales skills into more businesses across the island.” SFA | BETTER BUSINESS 47

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Profile for Ashville Media Group

Better Business Q3 2018  

Official magazine of Small Firms Association

Better Business Q3 2018  

Official magazine of Small Firms Association