Small firms look to Europe but need more financial help
TWO-thirds of small- and medium-sized companies in Ireland want to expand their business in Europe but just one in 25 companies has sourced funding from Europe during the past three years, according to business group Network Ireland.
The survey found that 43pc of the companies currently did business in other European countries.
More than half of them said they supplied goods and services in Europe with the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and Belgium popular markets.
More than a third were interested in joint ventures with European companies, a fifth wanted to develop joint tendering opportunities with European companies and 18 in every 100 highlighted purchasing as important in the European market.
Despite this interest in doing business in Europe, just 3.4pc of businesses had received funding from overseas in the past three years.
"I believe that all member states and the European Union need to work with industry to promote doing business in Europe, by opening up new markets through better communications and increased access to EU research and development opportunities for these companies," said Network Ireland president Mary Kershaw.
The survey, which tries to establish how the EU can assist Irish companies to sustain and generate jobs, will be presented to European Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn.
Network Ireland reaches out to over 3,000 women in business, although the survey looked at businesses owned by both men and women.