Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (54)

Tom Neville

Question:

54. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the development of a new SME and entrepreneurship strategy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50117/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

I commissioned the OECD to undertake the Review of SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland and I met with the OECD Secretary General Gurria in March 2018 on my key priorities for the review. This Review which I published last month provides seminal new research examining the policy environment for SMEs and entrepreneurship in Ireland, the scale of which has not been delivered before. I commissioned the OECD Review as I wanted an external view of how our SME sector is performing. I wanted to be clear on where the strengths and weaknesses of our indigenous businesses are, where the relevant programmes are working and where we may need to consider policy changes. 

As part of the Review, the OECD met over 100 stakeholders including representative bodies, businesses and officials across government as part of their two study missions in 2018. To consider the emerging recommendations from the OECD,  I hosted a major SME and Entrepreneurship Strategy Conference in July of this year, with the Taoiseach as the Keynote speaker. The final report was considered by Government in October prior to its publication.

I am working with my Department officials on how best to progress implementation of the key recommendations in the OECD report and I intend to bring forward a national strategic document for SME and entrepreneurship policy outlining planned policy interventions in the near future. This strategy will set out the policy vision, objectives, targets, lines of action and performance indicators specific to SMEs and entrepreneurship. It will cover all areas of policy intervention and all SME and entrepreneurship populations. The new SME and Entrepreneurship Strategy will be a living document which will continuously evolve in line with enterprise needs.

The implementation of the OECD Review will be a key part of Future Jobs 2020, which I will publish early in the new year. Future Jobs 2020 will outline the planned policy interventions to support the SME sector and entrepreneurship next year together with targets, lines of action and performance indicators specific to SMEs and entrepreneurship.

To ensure we sustain the excellent stakeholder engagement we have had on SME and Entrepreneurship Policy as part of the OECD Review, I have established a new SME and Entrepreneurship Consultative Group, chaired by my colleague Pat Breen TD, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection. This new Consultative Group provides a platform for high-level structured engagement between Government, agencies, representative bodies and small businesses.

Over 40 stakeholders attended the inaugural meeting of this new Consultative Group in March of this year and together with my Department, they will provide the essential oversight needed to progress the conclusions and recommendations from the OECD Review. The Group has met twice over recent months and will continue to meet quarterly. My Department provides Secretariat to the Group.