Export Strategy Programme for LEO Kilkenny.

Export Strategy | Programme Development

The Client

Local Enterprise Office, Kilkenny


Four clients in varied industries (Retail, Agri, Conferencing and Media Production)

Export Strategy Design

IMS worked closely with the Kilkenny Local Enterprise Office to design an export programme which would help small businesses in the locality to grow their international sales. LEO wanted to offer local SME’s a mentorship programme which would provide strategic direction and guidance on a market entry plan for a market of their choosing.

Pilot Programme

IMS designed Begin2Export as an interactive programme to help LEO Kilkenny clients maximise export success. Targeted towards owner managers, the programme was structured to give participants the necessary skills to begin exporting for the first time or maximise existing export opportunities.

The goal for participants was the development of a Strategic Export Plan for their business. This plan contained all of the necessary steps a company should undertake, to ensure successful market entry for a new export market of their choice. The initial pilot programme offered participants one to one mentoring and expert consulting to guide them on their Export Plan journey.

In October 2021, we launched the first 12-week pilot programme with four local businesses operating in a variety of sectors  including craft design/retail, agri, audio visual conferencing, and media production. The companies were a mix of B2B and B2C and chose markets including the USA, Europe and UK. 

What Was Involved?

From design right though to delivery, IMS worked hand-in-hand with both LEO Kilkenny and the participating clients.

Under the mentorship of an IMS Export Consultant, client companies conducted critical market research including, market analysis, customer persona development, customer identification, competitor analysis and market sizing analysis.

We then focused on the development of each company’s Value Proposition. Through a structured online workshop we worked with each participant to develop critical messaging suitable for their new export market.

Following this, the clients were tasked with the development of a route-to-market strategy, again led though a structured online workshop and supported by one to one consulting. It was critical the market entry route considered the various channels available to each company and systematically assessed the pros and cons of each potential route. For example, direct to consumer, via distributor network, via sales partners, or a combination of all three. 

Market Entry

All of the learnings and insights gathered over the course of the 12 weeks were then fed into each company’s bespoke Market Entry Plan. This plan outlined the VP & messaging, route-to-market, key information on competitors, important details around entering their chosen market such as legal and regulatory information, as well as a timeline for implementation.

The programme was deemed a huge success, with each of the participants taking something a little different away from it, and each one now geared for a ramp up in export sales.

In 2022, IMS won a competitive tender to officially launch the Begin2Export programme following such a successful pilot. We are currently in the midst of our second programme delivery with five more locally-based Kilkenny businesses.

What Was Said?

“B2E was a fantastic introduction to considering a holistic approach to foreign market entry. The course facilitators really work to understand your business and the multiple factors unique to your market entry plan. I would highly recommend for any business seriously considering customer expansion. B2E was a massive education in target markets and the blueprint can easily be applied to further expansion plans”.

Kay Lyng, Kkajoux.

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