SMEs Seek a New State Agency Similar to IDA and Enterprise Ireland
New Government must put SMEs front and centre of efforts to reboot economy
Government should set up a State agency with specific responsibility to grow and develop SMEs says a new Economic Report from the Local Jobs Alliance.
The Alliance is an umbrella group of seven leading trade organisations whose members make up 24,850 businesses who employ 448,000 people throughout Ireland. The organisations are representative of SME businesses operating in every town, village and community across a range of sectors
Prepared by economist Jim Power the report says that the new State body should be established now to drive and support SMEs to reboot the economy. Power recognises that SMEs will become an engine to drive urban and rural regeneration; build social capital; deliver a circular economy; and contribute to much of the social cohesion and community endeavour so evident since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Ireland.
The report points out that the IDA and Enterprise Ireland fulfil an important role in achieving their objectives for FDI companies and Irish companies offering services abroad, but there is no such agency for SMEs primarily servicing the Irish market.
Tara Buckley, Director General of RGDATA a member organisation of the Local Jobs Alliance said; “The one thing SMEs have in common is that they provide local employment in the cities, towns and villages throughout the country, they represent the lifeblood of regional economic activity. They receive no support from agencies of the State and get very little recognition in official policy making. This is in marked contrast to the FDI component of the economy.”
The Local Jobs Alliance report also states that a range of measures are now necessary to ensure that as many small businesses as possible survive the shock posed by COVID-19 as they will have to play an essential role in re-building the Irish economy as the virus passes and the economy is re-opened.
Businesses involved in the Local Jobs Alliance span retail, hospitality and many other areas of SME activity. Many of these businesses are now shut down as a result of COVID-19, while others are playing a vital role in supporting the economy and society during these difficult times.
“Specific COVID-19 measures need to be introduced to cover issues such as liquidity and solvency supports, fiscal grants, lower VAT rates, reduced Excise Duties, a commercial rates holiday for 12 months, a commercial rent scheme and insurance cost alleviation measures, “ said Jim Power.
He also said “The agenda of an incoming government must include measures to nurture, support and grow the SME sector, which makes such a strong regional and national economic contribution, and which will play an essential role in re-building the economy.
Power said that a specific action plan needs to be included in the Programme for Government that gives due recognition to the very significant role the sector plays in Irish economic life at both the national and the local level.”
See full report at: https://bit.ly/2WQe04f
For further information contact: Maeve Governey, Walsh:PR 086 805 7884
Notes for editors
The Local Jobs Alliance (LJA) was formed over a decade ago to bring together the representatives of local employers and family owned businesses throughout Ireland. It includes RGDATA, CSNA, ISME, VFI, LVA, IHF and RAI.
The Alliance was formed to highlight the vital importance and strong economic and social contribution of Irish family-owned and other small businesses to local economies and the national economy.
They have a very broad regional footprint and are major employers in the regional and rural economy, as well as the large urban areas.
Local Jobs Alliance members
RGDATA is the representative body for over 4,000 independent family-owned grocery shops, convenience stores, forecourt stores and supermarkets around Ireland.
The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association is the representative group for more than 1,500 retailers. It represents independents, franchisees of all symbol groups, owners and operators of service stations and independent confectionery, tobacconist and newsagents’ shops.
ISME is the independent representative association for Small and Medium Enterprises. It has in excess of 10,500 members spread across many diverse sectors.
The Licensed Vintners Association is the trade association and representative body for the publicans of Dublin. The LVA has 550 pub members,
The Vintners Federation of Ireland is the representative body for pubs outside of Dublin. It represents 3,800 members
The Irish Hotels Federation is the national organisation representing the hotel and guesthouse industry in Ireland. It represents almost 1,000 hotels and guesthouses nationwide
The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) is the representative body for restaurants in Ireland. represents over 3,500 members including full-service restaurants, hotel restaurants, gastro pubs, coffee shops and cafes, industry suppliers, golf clubs and cookery schools. It also has 100 trade partners, businesses that are its approved suppliers of products and services for restaurants