In early December, our MD Malachy Ryan, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise’s International Development team undertook a two-day market visit to Ireland, Scotland’s 6th biggest export market, to build links with the business community there. Since that first visit to Dublin, Malachy has returned to Ireland several times to further explore the industries most closely connected with our business expertise of temporary works, access engineering and structural design. Malachy tells us about his experiences in his MD blog below:
''AWD have long identified Ireland as being a potentially great place to do business, with up and coming regeneration across the island being of particular interest to a consultancy like us who work largely in the construction and engineering industries. I learned of the Market Visits Programme at a Scottish Enterprise event and I felt it would be a great fit for a highly ambitious SME like us - having achieved significant growth over the past few years we are naturally looking for new markets to explore to expand our business. The programme itself, led by Scottish Enterprise and Scottish government representative John Webster, facilitates visits to export markets to allow businesses like ours to conduct market research and visit potential clients.
Source: Scottish Enterprise, Dublin skyline
The initial visit to Dublin lasted two days, much of which I had made an itinerary for in advance with assistance from Department for International Trade team, to ensure I could maximise the benefits of the visit. This involved trips to meet several different businesses within the industries we provide services to such as scaffolders, construction companies and events companies. We provide a very niche service within our industry, taking a holistic approach to temporary works and delivering buildable, fit for purpose solutions and so we operate within many different sectors. The key challenge for me was to highlight our strong industry reputation and show how our cross-sector expertise can benefit Irish businesses. Of course, leading a young, dynamic team, I am always prepared to meet these challenges and be an example to colleagues of how to achieve quality results.
Our visit began with a welcome from the Department for International Trade, where we met with local support services, local agencies and distributors which are key links to form when exploring new markets. The knowledge and expertise these local agencies have has been invaluable to our business and has been a contributing factor to our initial success in this venture.
Source: British Embassy, John Webster discussing Scottish & Irish business
There was plenty of time between meetings to network with other Scottish business from many different sectors, including candlemakers, distillers, and food manufacturers. Luckily, the trip coincided with St Andrews night and we had the opportunity to spin our hosts round the dancefloor during a ceilidh which was organised for our visit, not to mention the delicious Scotch and Irish whisky’s we had a chance to sample. The haggis pakora was a particular highlight of the night!
The second day of our trip was taken up mainly with one to one business meetings, where I had great success communicating our innovative approach and industry leading ideas to clients within our new market. Since we provide professional services, we can work very effectively with clients wherever they are based in the world, using our strong communication channels and our single point of contact approach. However, meeting clients face to face is one of the most enjoyable parts of my work and this approach allowed me to get a good understanding of the need and requirements of the growing Irish construction and engineering industries, as well as giving me an opportunity to show potential clients the high-quality products and services AWD offer.
As a result of the market visit, I have made several trips back to Ireland to work with new clients on projects which originated from those initial meetings. Our business continues to go from strength to strength and at AWD we are excited about working with our Irish clients on their future projects and bringing a fresh approach to engineering into the Irish market.
I would like to thank Scottish Enterprise, the Department for International Trade, John Webster, and Scottish Development International for organising a very successful event.''
You can find out more about the support available for Scottish businesses by clicking on the links below.