Helping people starting out on the journey of building a business
Some notable successes aside, there is a strong argument that we have not done enough over the past 60 years to fulfil the promise of the First Programme for Economic Expansion to 'foster in every way' the development of Irish indigenous business.
While Ireland does not produce enough start-ups, equally worryingly is not enough small companies make it big. Finance, access to export markets and the ease and cost of doing business all remain significant hurdles. We need a business environment that supports entrepreneurship and rewards innovation and risk taking. Enterprise policy must focus on helping companies scale up.
We must go further, however. All available evidence shows that Irish indigenous firms are well below ‘best in class’ when it comes to management, innovation and exporting — three of the main drivers of business growth and productivity. Improving management practices, helping firms innovate or export earlier will increase the productivity and growth of Irish indigenous firms. We also have low start-up rates compared to the majority of our European neighbours – the second lowest in the EU15 and one-quarter that of the UK.
To change this, we need to address what is within our control. Irish firms face a number of ongoing challenges to their growth. These include high legacy debts and costs, a small domestic market, a lack of diversified funding options, barriers to innovation and challenges accessing and competing for the right skills to help them grow. Below we set out some of the key policy levers which we believe can help Irish business to grow.
Read our submission to the Seanad Public Consultation Committee on Small and Medium Sized Business in Ireland