Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (431)

Robert Troy


431. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her views on a recommendation in a report (details supplied). [31128/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Minister for Education and Skills leads on skills development in the economy and works closely with a range of stakeholders across Government, industry and the education and training sector to ensure the availability of relevant talent and skills, which is a key enabler of enterprise, especially SMEs, productivity and innovation.

EI provides a range of supports tailored to meet the requirements of its client companies including the following programmes tailored for the sales and marketing area:

- The Go Global 4 Growth programme is targeted at ambitious top teams from all sectors, committed to adapting and evolving their business functions to prepare for global growth.

- The International Selling Programme is targeted exclusively at maximising export sales for ambitious Irish SMEs. The programme aims to deliver an international sales plan based on a combination of sales methodologies, skills-based learning, in-company assignments and access to a panel of experienced sales experts and business advisors.

- The Excel at Export Selling workshops are aimed at rapidly embedding the proven tools of best international selling practice into Irish companies across all industry sectors who are looking to upskill for export growth and want access to selling skills development.

- EI’s Strategic Marketing Review is designed to bring structure and focus to a company’s marketing operations through a diagnostic framework.  The programme assists the management of Irish exporting companies to develop a strategic planning framework to achieve sales growth.

The LEOs provide a wide range of high-quality soft supports tailored to meet specific business requirements such as:

- Sales & marketing for Business Growth

- Essential Steps to Achieving More Sales

- The Art of Successful Tendering

- Promoting Your Business Using Social Media

- Developing an Effective E-mail Marketing Campaign

- Digital Marketing

- Improving your digital strategy through social media management.

These courses give participants an insight into the various elements of sales and marketing including sales process management, prospecting and evaluating leads, essential sales skills, promoting a business, pricing from a marketing perspective, the integration of online and offline marketing, target marketing and customer segmentation, USP identification, customer identification, direct marketing, and essential skills of customer service.

The LEOs also deliver the Trading Online Voucher which offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help business trade online.  It is a prerequisite of the scheme that any business applying for a voucher completes an information session covering various topics, including developing a website, digital marketing, social media for business and search engine optimisation.

The overall management and leadership skills and practices in SMEs are also of some importance in this context.  Future Jobs Ireland 2019 sets the ambition to improve leadership and management skills in SMEs in Ireland.  A range of management development training is provided by Enterprise Ireland, Skillnet Ireland, and others, both public- and private-sector, and provision is to be increased under the Skillnet Ireland SME Management Development Programme and Springboard+ 2019.  World Management Survey data suggest that managerial practices are poor in SMEs in Ireland compared to other OECD countries.  It is essential that SME managers become more aware of their own development needs and seek out and participate in further training wherever possible.  Research is being initiated to quantify the comparative performance of managers in Irish SMEs, as well as the adequacy of training provision, which will allow the identification of any gaps or weaknesses that may exist.