Small business sentiment rises in second half of 2020
The SFA conducted a ‘Small Business Sentiment Survey’ between 1st and 18th December 2020. These weeks marked the ending of the second lockdown and the opening of the economy in preparation for Christmas. Over half of participants described their business in the professional services sectors, followed by wholesale, retail, distribution and manufacturing, Food and Drink, Construction, ICT and other. SFA acknowledges that this survey was taken before the Government announced tighter Covid measures and at a time when many small firms thought the worst of the pandemic was behind them.
Confidence among small business owners improved at the end of 2020, according to the latest ‘Small Business Sentiment Survey’. In December 2020, 41% of SFA members feel that the business environment is improving, compared with 35% in summer 2020.
Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director, said: “2020 has been a year like no other for Ireland’s small firms due to Covid restrictions, rolling Brexit uncertainty and rising business costs. Despite the current crisis small business owners are optimistic about the economy heading into 2021.
“This positive outlook is built on small firms believe in domestic economic growth as the primary driver of business opportunities in the year ahead. Nearly two thirds of the respondents (64%), plan to invest in their business in 2021 with staff training and brand development identified as areas of priority.
“A crucial element in delivering this investment will be access to finance. Half of respondents indicated their intention to apply for credit in the first half of 2021 but also reported fears around the availability of funding from pillar banks.
“It was a huge relief to the small business community to see the Brexit trade deal agreed on Christmas eve and small firms have been adjusting to the new arrangements in recent days. Even though issues have arisen, SFA is working with members and key stakeholders to ensure that supply chains adapt as quickly as possible and small firms can continue to serve their customers and support jobs in an already challenging trading environment” concluded Spollen-Behrens.