The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), has called on the incoming Government to introduce a specific ministry for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), headed by a minister to ensure that the massive potential and contribution of the sector is harnessed and coordinated.
The association outlined that the sector contributes over €10bn to the exchequer on an annual basis and employs 900,000 people, more than the numbers employed in larger companies.
According to ISME chief Mark Fielding, “For too many years now the concerns of the SME sector have been relegated behind those of big business and the trade unions. This was evident by the efforts made by previous administrations to support and finance the failed Social Partnership process”.
“It is important therefore with an election on the horizon that there is a fundamental change in attitude towards smaller companies and that the sector is viewed in its totality for the significant contribution it makes to employment, revenue, economic growth, purchasing power and to society as a whole.
"This is crucial to developing and maintaining an entrepreneurial culture, a cornerstone for any successful economy”
“The timing of the election is particularly important as the next number of months is going to decide whether many small companies remain in business or not. It is vital in that context that our public representatives take cognisance of the issues of concern to the SME community,” continued Fielding.
“Many other countries, including Australia, the UK and France, have recognised the value of their small business sectors and the unique concerns of the sector over big business, by appointing a minister for small business.
"It should not go unnoticed that the agricultural sector, a key sector, has its own department to look after its concerns, the SME sector should be no different.”