The new plan will see the CEB structure dissolved and replaced by a centralised EI framework, which will establish Local Enterprise Offices in each Local Authority. In addition to this, access to development capital funding, a loan guarantee scheme and micro-finance loans are to be implemented. Other measures seek to support small businesses through public procurement opportunities, increased mentoring and management development funding, and enhanced focus on R&D and innovation.
So what does this mean for the average micro-enterprise?
“The survey in January 2011 pointed to a real lack of accessibility, visibility and suitability of supports for micro enterprises – at the time, the big demand was State funding (41%) followed by training and consulting (29% and 35% respectively)
“From first-hand experience in dealing with those starting up or growing enterprises, the actions highlighted are timely, particularly in reference to the supports available – many budding entrepreneurs simply don’t know where to start when it comes to seeking help. Bearing that initial ‘fear of failure’ many start-ups experience in mind, it is of huge importance that we help those taking the leap into self-employment. Simple steps can be taken to ensure information and access is available – and much relates to getting the message clear – help is available”.
Olwen Dawe is the owner of Irish Business Intelligence;
www.irishbusinessintelligence.com / 087 7997772