A new cooperative is creating innovative opportunities for small firms exporting from Ireland, by coming together to reduce prohibitive delivery costs. Up to now small firms in Ireland could not negotiate on the cost of exporting because they could not guarantee future large volumes of exported goods. Many smaller retailers and craftspeople were charged exorbitant quotes to ship their products internationally. This left many barriers for retailers who saw the cost of exporting in excess of the cost of the products themselves.
Now, Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Exporters in Ireland have the opportunity to join forces with other similar organisations to collectively reduce the costs of these exports and begin selling abroad at fixed fees at greatly reduced prices. The Co-Operative aims to achieve this by utilising the group purchasing model to create economies of scale thereby reducing cost of export for the individual member business. The Co-Operative will also bring in expertise in export markets, customs, finance, and insurance. The Co-Operative will be run by a committee of its members and managed by SME Capital Funds.
What started as a Twitter conversation has grown into a proactive initiative to help and support small, medium and micro sized enterprises to export their goods and enter new foreign markets. This initiative was sparked off by an order received from the USA by Chris Gordon, owner of an Irish firm called www.TrophiesAwardsandGifts.com. Chris needed to ship a small package and found that the cost was prohibitive. This got Chris thinking and sent him on to Twitter to see if other SMME business owner/managers found the same problem. From this Chris got linked onto the website of SME Capital Funds (www.smecapitalfunds.ie), a business consultancy firm based in Cork which specialises in providing consultancy services to SMME’s. Following a number of phone calls between Chris and SME Capital Funds the Irish Export Co-Operative was born.
Chris Gordon, Founder of the Co-Operative stated:
“This cooperative breaks down the barriers faced by too many SME’s on the island of Ireland. We have personally faced these problems and now we have a concrete solution. This opens up new markets for small firms and crafts makers on the island of Ireland. We are using time tested approaches of democratic cooperatives to create a real game changer in exports in Ireland. By creating a better platform to work together to create this initiative, we have gained the support of Enterprise Ireland, the Small Firms Association, ISME, County Enterprise Boards, InterTrade Ireland, Chambers Ireland and the Cooperative Development Society amongst others.”
David O’Brien, SME Capital Funds Added:
“This initiative is a proactive response to the current economic situation in Ireland. Government and politicians can only do so much, to get ourselves out of the current mire we are in, businesses must help themselves and each other. This Co-Operative is one manifestation of this ideal, it is a positive response and SME Capital Funds are delighted to be involved in such an initiative.”
Membership of the Co-Operative will be registered on an annual basis and an annual membership fee of €30 per member business to cover the costs of running the Co-Operative. To register your interest in becoming a member please log on to www.exportcoop.ie