Global Window of Opportunity for Irish SMEs

4th March 2019

Posted In: So In Demand

eBay, one of the world’s largest online marketplaces has joined forces with Enterprise Ireland and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCOI) for an initiative that is set to benefit up to 50 small to medium-sized Irish companies.

eBay’s Retail Expansion Programme, which was launched in Dublin, has been designed to support local Irish businesses in reaching new domestic and global audiences, opening up opportunities with 179 million buyers across the 190 markets in which eBay operates. In 2018, there were 3.7 million listings from Irish professional sellers on eBay, 68% of whom used the marketplace to export.

eBay has partnered with Enterprise Ireland and DCCOI to invite up to 50 businesses from all over Ireland to take part in eBay’s first-ever countrywide retail pilot scheme. The new project invites selected small Irish businesses to use as a platform to extend their customer reach and compete on a global scale. The top counties to which Irish professional sellers on eBay currently export are the UK, Germany, the US, Australia and France but on average, Ireland’s professional sellers export to 12 different markets around the world.

Over the coming 12 months, teams at eBay will provide exclusive support to a select number of Irish SME’s who want to start up or expand their online presence. The scheme is also being supported by We Are Dublin Town, which recognises the importance of ecommerce to help grow its members’ businesses, particularly ‘after hours’ business when they are not trading on the high street.

£1m and 41% sales increase

The new programme in Ireland follows the success of similar eBay initiatives in cities and towns across The US, Canada and the UK. In Wolverhampton (UK), where the eBay programme was piloted last year, participating small businesses saw their sales reach £1 million after just three months. On average, businesses saw their sales increase by 41% as a direct result of the eBay programme.

Connemara’s Rí Na Mara joins pilot programme

Rí Na Mara is a family business based in Connemara that uses locally-harvested seaweed for its range of natural and organic beauty products. Founded by Deirdre Ui Chathmhaoil in 2004, Deirdre says that the Retail Expansion Programme is an incredible opportunity for her company, which has been looking for new ways to grow for a number of years.

“To have been selected by eBay and Enterprise Ireland means that we now have an opportunity to build our brand globally, which will help us to grow our business, drive sales and potentially, generate new jobs in the Connemara area,” Said Deirdre.

“Rí Na Mara now has an anchor store through and I am already seeing increased interest in the brand simply from our new listing. eBay is supporting me in areas where I don’t have the experience, resources or capabilities and that’s invaluable. For example, I now have access to language translation tools to publish our online content in multiple languages such as French, Spanish and German. This means that we will be portrayed to these markets in the way in which we want our brand to be showcased. This is really important to brands with provenance and authenticity. When we are trading online, how we are portrayed and displayed is crucial to the brand’s image and ultimately, its sales.”

Deirdre joined other businesses for their first formal training and networking session at eBay covering eBay selling basics, marketing, online customer experience, the benefits of cross border trade as well as Search Engine Optimisation training and promotional support.

The partnership will see eBay provide a number of supports to Irish SME’s taking part in the Retail Expansion Programme across onboarding, training, store subscription, promotional support and dedicated customer services support.


Pictured at the launch at eBay’s offices (l-r): Hazel Mitchell, eBay and Deirdre Ui Chathmhaoil, founder of Rí Na Mara