Most business leaders are optimistic for year ahead
TWO-thirds of Ireland's business leaders are upbeat about the year ahead, according to research by Bank of Ireland published to mark the start of National Enterprise Week yesterday.
The results of Bank of Ireland's Business Momentum survey show that 66pc of leaders of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are optimistic about the year to come, and just over four out of 10 hired new staff in 2013.
SMEs have turnover of anything up to €1bn a year.
More than half of all businesses said they are growing or have stabilised, compared to 14pc who say they are contracting or are looking to downsize, according to the research.
Just under a third of companies have identified new technologies and online trading as key drivers of growth, compared to a quarter of firms that are relying on a wider economic recovery, and one in five that is targeting new markets.
Meanwhile, data from the Central Bank shows the total debt of companies here, excluding banks and other finance houses, fell by €10bn in the three months to the end of June.
The Quarterly Financial Accounts for the second quarter of 2013 shows lending for businesses continues to be constrained. And non-financial corporation debt as a percentage of the overall economy fell by 5.7pc to 219pc, the lowest since the end of 2010.