SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland

image of SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland

This publication presents the findings of an OECD review of SME and entrepreneurship policy in Ireland. It assesses the challenges for SME and entrepreneurship development and offers recommendations for future policy.

SMEs and entrepreneurs play a crucial role in the Irish economy, with SMEs accounting for more than 70% of employment. Attitudes to entrepreneurship are positive and SME innovation rates are high. However, SME productivity has not been increasing in recent years, business entry and exit rates are low and few Irish SMEs are directly engaged in exports. There is also untapped potential for entrepreneurship among women, youth and migrants, and variations across the country in SME and entrepreneurship performance.

Ireland has a strong set of policies and programmes to address these challenges. The business environment is generally favourable, there are many best practice programmes for supporting high potential SMEs and entrepreneurs, and strong co-ordination of policies across government. At the same time, policies could be strengthened in areas such as growing productivity in medium-sized businesses, increasing the start-up rate, increasing exports, fostering enterprise networks and clusters, drafting a unified SME and entrepreneurship policy strategy document and strengthening the role of Local Enterprise Offices.



Business advisory and support services in Ireland – approach and programmes

This chapter describes the current institutions providing business advisory services and support services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs in Ireland, such as enterprise centres and business incubators and accelerators, the support services and programmes offered, and the targeted approaches to attracting and serving specific types of enterprises and their needs. The business support services covered include information, advice, consultancy, and mentoring. It also highlights issues of demand and supply for business advisory and consultancy services and potential gaps in service provision and the methods of ensuring quality in their delivery. The Chapter concludes with recommendations for improving the business advisory and consultancy support system and offered services, including building capacity, and addressing gaps in service to particular types of SMEs.


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