Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (101)

Bernard Durkan


101. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to assist small businesses affected by competition from outside the EU; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27401/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) network and Enterprise Ireland have played a significant role in our economic success and in driving competitiveness and productivity. Enterprise supports are central to our entrepreneurial ecosystem and the continued growth of small business and the success of the cohesiveness of future SMEs and entrepreneurs.

Under the Local Enterprise Offices Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters (TAME) Grant, clients are supported to explore and develop new export market opportunities, such as participation in international trade fairs and development of export-related marketing materials and websites which can help companies to diversify.

The LEAN for Micro grant is adapted by Enterprise Ireland for LEO clients to help small businesses boost competitiveness, increase performance and profitability as well as building resilience within their companies. Under this programme, clients can avail of five days of consultancy with a qualified, Lean practitioner whom will work with the company to introduce lean principles, undertake a specific cost reduction project and assist the company in benchmarking its performance.

Enterprise Ireland provides supports to established SMEs in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors and to High Potential Start Ups (HPSUs). Funding and other supports are provided by Enterprise Ireland with the objective of increasing the potential employment and sales growth of the businesses, supporting regional development, increasing the productivity and innovation in indigenous businesses, and increasing exports. Categories of support provided by Enterprise Ireland to client companies include:

- Strategic Marketing Review Grant: This support is targeted at established companies that have experience in selling internationally and who are interested in reviewing and developing their market development strategy.

- Excel at Export Selling: A series of workshops aimed at rapidly embedding the proven tools of good international selling practice into the sales teams of Irish companies across all industry sectors.

In addition, from a broader EU perspective, EU policy on state aid recognises the specific difficulties that SMEs face due to their size. SMEs can receive a larger proportion of state aid than larger firms in many areas. They may benefit from certain types of support aimed at addressing their specific needs. Also, Member States may grant aid for SMEs, without the need for specific notification to the European Commission. Many of our grant aids and enterprise supports provided by our Agencies are regulated on this basis.

COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, running from 2014 to 2020, with a budget of €2.3 billion. To facilitate access to finance, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) have signed a COSME agreement in Ireland. It is a key instrument in the EU's strategy to boost growth and jobs. COSME assists small companies in seizing the business opportunities in both EU Single Market and global markets.