Business Small Business

Thursday 2 October 2014

Irish businesses must face up to 'digital reality', top civil servant John Moran warns

Published 30/05/2014 | 16:37

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NOT enough small businesses in Ireland are trading online and innovation and creativity are undervalued, the top civil servant in the Department of Finance has said.

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John Moran said Ireland lags behind world and European leaders in innovation and that it was too concentrated in multinationals.

And he claimed just 23pc of home-grown firms are engaging in e-commerce, a problem which urgently needed to be addressed, he said.

“For businesses employing less than ten people this percentage could be even lower. It is now believed that of online purchases made in Ireland 70pc of these are done in overseas markets,” Mr Moran told the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises’ Association (ISME) annual lunch.

“There is now an urgency to ensure that businesses recognise that this is happening and that they are encouraged and supported to correctly respond to this digital reality.”

It was one of Mr Moran’s final speeches to the small businesses community after he announced his resignation earlier this month. He is due to formally step down from his position once his successor is appointed.

Mr Moran said businesses could be “lulled into a sense of comfort” about the scale of innovation in Ireland because of the level that is taking place in multinationals, rather than domestic firms.

“We identified this as the number one structural issue that we have to deal with for this new economy that we want to create,” he said.

“Because we lag behind the world leaders, we lag behind the European leaders.”

He claimed innovation wasn’t about big changes but small incremental steps, and that employers need to think about how they can do business differently.

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