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With COVID-19 and Brexit challenges bearing down, now is a great time for Irish companies to explore growth opportunities in the Nordics.
The Nordic countries, consisting of Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Norway are well known for being open, dynamic parts of the world. The business culture here is progressive and companies tend to embrace innovation readily. The region is also notoriously popular with Irish exporters, presenting an outstanding opportunity for any company looking to expand and grow internationally. This is certainly the case against the backdrop of Brexit and COVID-19.
The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc across the globe, with lockdowns and restrictions taking their toll. Each Nordic country’s government has approached the crisis differently (indeed we often hear about Sweden’s lack of a lockdown in our own media). But the virus is still having a massive effect on each region’s economy.
Sweden stands out in that it relied on its citizens voluntarily adhering to social distancing regulations without introducing any of the harsh lockdowns seen in Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway. It was believed by the Swedish government that their way would be more sustainable, and with all industries remaining open their economy has not suffered in the same way.
Like the Nordic countries, Ireland too has a strong reputation for being open to innovation and international partnerships.
Culturally Ireland and the Nordic countries are very similar. Although business negotiations can take a little longer, once a Nordic customer is on board they tend to be a committed, valuable fit who’s willing to pay a good price for top quality solutions. Unlike in other European markets, language barriers are less of an issue too, with Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the top five countries for the highest numbers of non-native English speakers.
The limited ability to travel has presented its own challenges recently, hindering Irish companies' ability to meet potential new clients in person. It’s not just lockdowns that can prohibit travel, but testing and quarantine requirements in each country and other restrictions too. This is set to continue into 2021.
But where there’s a will there’s a way, and Irish businesses have been quick to embrace online communications technologies and digital marketing solutions to bridge the gap. Furthermore, supply chains across the Nordics have remained robust, and major construction sites, where many Irish companies are working, have continued to be operational throughout.
The Nordic region is an area of huge diversity, but sectors in each one vary on how they operate. Even during the pandemic, there continues to be plenty of opportunity for Irish engineering and high-tech construction companies to thrive. This is particularly the case regarding the building of hyperscale data centres that are being created across each of the countries.
Emerging sectors like life sciences, telecommunications and fintech are also capitalising on the chance to expand into the Nordic market. Companies engaged in renewable energy and sustainability are also welcomed, as this is a major theme amongst Nordic governments and populations alike. Indeed, this part of the world has been at the cutting edge of climate change mitigation plans for years, giving Irish companies the chance to collaborate and learn best practice.
Companies operating in Nordic countries are required to focus on integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into their business models. This is regardless of their size and sector. With Irish companies sharing a similar ethos, investing heavily in environmentally friendly practices and efficiencies, there are already a number of Irish companies that have successfully secured contracts across the Nordic region. These include CXIndex, Mainline Power, XOcean and Cambrist to name just a few.
R&D Tax Credits mean that companies based in the Republic of Ireland can claim back a proportion of their research and development spend as tax credits. These credits then work to either reduce their Corporation Tax liability or increase their taxable losses.
Although R&D typically conjures up images of large pharmaceutical brands and cutting edge tech conglomerates, actually the scheme is open to all Irish businesses of any size and in any sector. It’s also available to those who wish to set up new operations elsewhere in the EEA.
As long as your company is based in the Irish Republic, has spent money on research and development, and has a liability for Corporation Tax, then R&D Tax Credits are likely to follow. The resulting funding can then be used on further R&D work, such as product development, system improvements and bespoke solutions.
With average Irish SME R&D claims sitting at around €55,000, R&D Tax Credits can be a substantial help in covering the costs of essential innovative work. And with COVID-19 set to rumble on, savvy companies are using the money to boost their cashflow, cultivate a competitive edge, and build a safety net for further uncertainty over the coming months.
If your business is based in Ireland and has recently undergone any innovative projects then R&D Tax Credits can fund up to €37.50 in every €100 of expenditure.
Although the R&D Tax Credits scheme is extremely generous and well received, putting a high quality, successful application together is notoriously difficult. The onus is on the claimant to prove their project’s eligibility, but there are many grey areas and pitfalls along the way.
At Myriad Associates, our team of top R&D tax advisors and specialists will work alongside you in creating an accurate, highly tuned claim that will stand up to Revenue interrogation. We will also maximise it for you, so you know you’re getting every euro your company deserves.
Simply send us a message or call +353 1 566 2001 to speak to our team and kick off your claim today. It could well bring in some serious extra funding to cushion your business through the bumpy ride ahead.