Thursday, 31 January 2019

Questions (127)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

127. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to assist small and medium enterprises; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4929/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

My Department and I are fully committed to the continued growth and development of our small and medium indigenous enterprises. The Department is engaging and listening to the needs of small business, which account for 99.8% of all enterprises in the State.

My Department through its Agencies, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, provides a range of tailored supports to small and medium enterprises. Supports include access to finance, management development, mentoring supports, business development programmes, market supports and trade promotion.

In 2019 I am allocating an additional €3m to Enterprise Ireland and €5m to the Local Enterprise Offices.  This extra funding will assist our Agencies to reach more of our SMEs to help grow and scale their businesses which are at the heart of our economic growth.

Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) team provides support and advice to entrepreneurs and early stage companies that have an innovative product, service or technology, and the potential to export.

The 31 Local Enterprises Offices (LEOs) are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other non-financial supports for anyone intending to start or grow their own business. 

The LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service in relation to all relevant State supports available through agencies such as Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland. The LEOs can also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.

In addition to the financial and soft supports provided by the Agencies, the Department has responsibility for the Supportingsmes.ie online tool. This is a cross government initiative to assist Irish start-ups and small businesses to navigate the range of Government supports. By answering 8 simple questions, the tool will then assist in directing you to your most relevant resource out of a total 170 Government supports listed.

The Department also provides a Mapping of Supports compilation containing over 850 public and private sector supports for small businesses and start-ups and this can be obtained on the Department’s website.

The National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship launched in 2014, is a five-year plan developed to foster and promote an entrepreneurial spirit in the SME and Entrepreneurship ecosystem. The 96 actions laid out within, are currently being reviewed for progress by my Department and a final report will be compiled in 2020.

To further my commitment to the future growth of our small and medium enterprises, my Department, in conjunction with the OECD Review of SME and Entrepreneurship issues and policies in Ireland in March 2018.

The aim of the review is to provide tailored analysis and recommendations to DBEI and the Irish government on how to improve the design and implementation of national SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes, based on an assessment of the country’s current SME and entrepreneurship performance, framework conditions and policies based on international comparisons.

This is a collaborative body of work and involves considerable input from wider Government and stakeholders.

This review will be completed this summer and published in quarter 3 of this year. DBEI will also receive a SME Roadmap in tandem. This will assist my Department in developing a SME Strategy which will be part of the Future Jobs Framework. It will inform the whole of Government how best to address the needs of our SMEs and entrepreneurs through policy intervention going forward.

I and my Department will continue to hold structured dialogue with key stakeholders and advocate across Government to ensure the needs of SMEs are considered in the execution of national policy.