As set out in Future Jobs Ireland, the development and transformation of our indigenous business base is at the heart of our national economic and enterprise policies. In this context, my Department commissioned the OECD to conduct a Country Review of SME and Entrepreneurship Policies in Ireland.
This 18-month project aims to provide tailored analysis and recommendations to my Department and wider Government how to improve the design and implementation of national SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes. The outcome of the Review will be founded on an assessment of the country’s current SME and entrepreneurship performance, framework conditions and policies based on international comparisons.
My Department has played a central role throughout the process organising stakeholder events enabling detailed engagement between DBEI, other Government Departments, agencies, academia, business representatives and the small business sector. Allowing the OECD to gain insightful knowledge of our small business ecosystem at the various critical stages of the Review.
In March 2019, my colleague Minister Breen chaired the inaugural meeting of the SME and Entrepreneurship Consultation Group. This group came about as a recommendation of the OECD and has now subsumed the previous Advisory Group on Small Business.
Engagement with the OECD Working Party on SME and Entrepreneurship has also taken place.
My Department will shortly receive a draft Strategy Roadmap. As part of my commitment to ongoing engagement with all stakeholders I and Minister Breen will host an SME and Entrepreneurship Strategy Conference to focus on the proposals of the draft Strategy Roadmap.
This conference is significant to the advancement and impetus of the Strategy Roadmap within the overarching Future Jobs Initiative Framework. The event will be fit directly into the Future Jobs initiative Pillar 2: Improving SME Productivity.
It is envisaged that this event will elicit the views of stakeholders on several thematic recommendations made by the OECD regarding future policy development for Ireland's SMEs and Entrepreneurship.
I am confident that the measures taken by my Department to incorporate significant stakeholder engagement will inform the final OECD report and provide us with the necessary recommendations to progress and develop future policies specific to the needs of our business ecosystem.
I look forward to receiving the final report and the accompanying Strategy Roadmap which are due for publication in Quarter 3 2019.