Is Help At Hand for Irish SMEs?

Recent DJEI announcements likely to solve issues of availability and applicability of supports for many micro-enterprises and SMEs.
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Feb. 14, 2012 - PRLog -- Monday’s DJEI announcement may well provide much-needed supports for SMEs and small businesses through new measures for enterprise development, support and funding.  The measures which focus on areas such as micro-finance, unified business supports and remodelled support access for businesses caught between the remits of CEB / EI, were announced as part of the broader “Action Plan on Jobs” by the DJEI.

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? In essence, the key improvements centred on accessibility and suitability, if implemented, will certainly assist and support micro-enterprises starting up or developing their business.  Based on research conducted within the SME community in January 2011, it would appear, prima facie, that the issues raised at this point are being addressed.

“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) – individual comments also indicated the need for tools and ‘DIY’ supports to allow entrepreneurs to manage leaner businesses.  In addition to this, those surveyed clearly stated their concerns regarding access to supports – an underlying theme of ‘nothing is available for my kind of business’ was resonant – however, this was tempered by a high 71% claiming that they saw their business developing in 2011” states Olwen Dawe [Irish Business Intelligence].

“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; she mentors start-up businesses, provides strategic consulting to SMEs and consulting support to the enterprise support agencies in the Western Region. / 087 7997772
Source:Olwen Dawe, IBI
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