Monday 18 November 2019

At the heart of success: Small business plays an integral role in the recovery

Ireland's small businesses are playing an integral role in the economy's recovery and need to be promoted and supported, writes SFA director Patricia Callan

SFA SHOWCASE 2015 . Picture Conor McCabe Photography.
SFA SHOWCASE 2015 . Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

THE finalists in this year's SFA National Small Business Awards come from a wide variety of backgrounds, sectors, and parts of the country and they all clearly demonstrate that with a clear business vision, a sense of optimism, passion, drive and perseverance, success is possible, despite the challenges that may be faced.

One key factor all these businesses share is that the owner manager demonstrates all of these business skills. Most importantly, they are confidentially leading their teams from the front.

At the Small Firms Association we aim to work with business owners to make them better in their business. Through the provision of direct advice, training seminars and networking we offer to members the opportunity to make sure their business gets the support they need. We continue to voice the needs of our members at the highest levels of government to ensure that the environment in which they operate is as conducive to small business as possible.

The small business sector, given the right economic conditions will generate the growth needed to create jobs, overcome our debt burden and deliver the prosperity, and quality of life that this country can legitimately aspire to. Small business can lead the way in helping Ireland to recover faster and stronger.

Ireland's small business sector is deeply embedded in the Irish economy and it is now time to place small business at the centre of everything. What we need to do is to put in place clear policies to promote and support even more small firms, because without employers, there simply will be no employees, and no-one generating the income and the wealth which the Government needs to redistribute to achieve its aims.

The SFA Awards ensure that the contribution of our sector is at the forefront of recognition. All of the companies on the shortlist are winners, regardless of the outcome tonight. All their stories are inspiring and epitomise what it means to be a true entrepreneur. The judges were impressed by both the quality and standard of the numerous entrants and the diversity of businesses represented.

Our top-class judging panel this year included: AJ Noonan, chair of the awards judging panel; Brian O'Kane, managing director of Oak Tree Press and author of numerous business books; Frank Roche, professor of Entrepreneurship at Smurfit School of Business; Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting; Donal O'Donovan, business editor of the Irish Independent; Dr Barry McCleary, CEO and co-founder of Megazyme International Ireland, and Mairead Cirillo, consultant and founder of Environmental Business Advice. We extend our deepest thanks to them for their time and dedication to the awards.

Highlights from the awards gala event will be available for viewing at www.sfa.ie/awards.

Irish Independent

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