At the Enterprise Ireland stand during the trade mission to the Middle East were, from left, from the Mullingar firm Watt Footprint, engineers Paul Mahon and Paul Reilly; Deputy Robert Troy, Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation; and Kevin Sherry, executive director, Enterprise Ireland.

Mullingar firm likely to expand after visit to UAE

A Mullingar firm that participated in the Irish trade mission to the United Arab Emirates last week says that on foot of the level of interest in the service it is offering, it is considering expanding into the Middle East and establishing a subsidiary office there.

Watt Footprint – a firm specialising in helping enterprises reduce their carbon footprint – was one of eight Irish companies that participated in the WETEX trade fair, one of the largest energy events globally. The mission was led by Deputy Robert Troy, Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation.

“We looked at it before but we saw at the fair the area of business energy savings is just primed to take off there because of all the refrigeration and air conditioning,” says engineer Paul O’Reilly, who set up Watt Footprint a year ago.

“There’s loads of opportunities there in that they have a big need to make savings. And they are the sort of people who when they decide they are going to do something, they do it.

“We met with some of the senior Emirati politicians and administrators and they have large funds that they will deploy to undertake energy efficiency.

“We’ve got the meters and monitors and the wherewithal to provide the service, and they are very keen to ensure we go out there and set up an office and undertake it.”

The enthusiasm and interest came as something of a surprise, admits Paul, who worked in that region of the world for a spell in the early days of his career.

“I hadn’t quite anticipated the demand there was there,” he says, explaining that the solution Watt Footprint would offer would involve organising everything needed by a firm or organisation to reduce its carbon footprint – from assessment to implementation.

While there has been a big mindset switch in the Middle East, there aren’t yet many firms there offering the type of service they can get from this Mullingar operation.

“The words ‘energy efficiency’ are not very popular in Ireland, but the phrase has become popular out there and they cannot find energy efficiency companies.

“At the same time, they have incentives to encourage businesses with those credentials to go out: that’s both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“They all have the same mission: to encourage energy efficiency companies because they have no energy efficiency engineers out there and they don’t have the products and they don’t have the history, because they’re coming from a time when oil was king, and energy efficiency was not on their agenda so they are effectively starting from scratch. That is why they’re encouraging the likes of us out who have a few years’ experience in that area.”

In Paul’s own case it can be said quite literally that when it comes to energy efficiency he wrote the book: he is the author of ‘The smart citizen’s guide to saving energy in buildings’. See:

Troy concludes first trade visit to the UAE and Qatar

Robert Troy TD, Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, concluded his three-day trade visit to the Middle East region covering the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on Thursday.

The visit, organised by Enterprise Ireland, focused on high-profile engagements to boost trade collaboration with the region and to support a export-led recovery of Irish businesses in international markets. The minister also met Irish people who have been instrumental in supporting businesses looking to grow in the region.