Tuesday 17 October 2017

SFA's O'Neill in call for more focused strategy to support small businesses

Sue O’Neill, who has highlighted the collective impact of small businesses, and chef John Grennan from Simpli Baked, at yesterday’s SFA awards at Dublin’s RDS. Photo: Gary O’Neilland
Sue O’Neill, who has highlighted the collective impact of small businesses, and chef John Grennan from Simpli Baked, at yesterday’s SFA awards at Dublin’s RDS. Photo: Gary O’Neilland

Sean Duffy

The Government needs a more focused strategy for small business, the head of the chairwoman of Small Firms Association (SFA) said at the group's annual awards.

Over 30 finalists from 13 counties were at the RDS in Dublin yesterday to showcase their business offerings for the SFA Small Business Awards.

"Small companies make up 98pc of all businesses and we are present in every city, town and village in the country. Together we employ half of the private sector workforce - some 800,000 people - highlighting our collective impact," said SFA chairwoman Sue O' Neill at the event.

"We are calling on government to engage now in delivering a more medium-to-long-term vision for the small business community, as outlined in our 'Next Generation Business' policy document. We want to make Ireland the most vibrant small business community in the world," she said.

Speaking at the RDS, Jobs and Enterprise Minister Mary Mitchell O' Connor, insisted her department's policy was to meet the needs of the small business community.

"We have placed the growth and support of SMEs and indigenous enterprises at the centre of our medium to long-term goals. I agree with the SFA on the importance of entrepreneurship as a career option. The Government's National Skills Strategy 2025 includes a commitment to develop an Entrepreneurship Education Policy Statement. This will help ensure that more young people can choose to become entrepreneurs, which are the lifeblood of our economy," she said.

The SFA awards are broken into seven categories, which recognise excellence in manufacturing, food and drink, innovator of the year, exporter of the year, and sustainable energy, together with outstanding business and emerging new business.

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