Ireland Needs a Small Business Strategy
Ireland urgently needs a coherent strategy to support Irish small business, according to Sue O’Neill, Chair of the Small Firms Association (SFA), which represents over 8,500 small businesses (less than 50 employees) in Ireland. “In 1958 Government focused its efforts on a strategy to bring foreign direct investment to Ireland. Clearly, this proved very successful and is still evolving. Similarly now we need a long-term strategic vision for small business that all of us, including the whole of government, businesses and communities, can get behind,” she says.
A recent survey by the SFA, conducted between 22 October and 5 November, found that six out of ten member companies are growing, three quarters will invest in their businesses in the coming year and 71% will take on additional staff. “Small businesses are employment creators and drivers of economic success; but efforts are still needed to develop a culture that recognises and supports all small business in Ireland,” Sue O’Neill points out.
She adds: “In the latest SFA Small Business Survey, 62% told us that they feel the business environment is improving. Our survey respondents ranked domestic economic growth as the biggest opportunity for their business in the coming year. This economic growth doesn’t, however, mean that we can become complacent. We face major challenges, including a loss of competitiveness, rapid growth in wage expectations and skills shortages.”