Entrepreneurial culture must be strengthened and promoted.
Improved access to credit and reduction of local authority influenced costs crucial to future growth and development.
Wednesday 7th May
ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, at the launch of its Pre-Election Demands: European and Local Elections 2014 paper, called on candidates to prioritise the improvement of the Irish entrepreneurial eco-system and to adhere to the ‘think small first’ philosophy when forming policies. The Association highlighted the need to promote and assist local entrepreneurs and local businesses to ensure that we have a strong indigenous sector and an economy that is not over-reliant on foreign direct investment.
Mark Fielding, ISME CEO, commented, “The incoming councillors and MEPs must recognise the importance of SMEs to the Irish economy. Irish SMEs provide the bulk of Irish employment and continued economic stability and growth is dependent on their ability to thrive. All Government decisions, at local, national and European level, must be enterprise-focused and must always ‘think small first’.”
“Local representatives and MEPs have a vital role to play in encouraging and promoting small business. Councillors, in particular, will have an important part to play in ensuring that the ongoing transition of CEBs into Local Enterprise Offices (LEO), runs smoothly and does not have a negative impact on SMEs.”
The key demands of the Association are:
Encourage the creation of an entrepreneurial culture and promote the status of Entrepreneurs as ‘local heroes’.
Ensure that the transition of CEBs into LEOs does not adversely affect the quality of support available.
Reduce local authority influenced business costs and ensure that they are competitive.
Improve SME access to public procurement contracts.
Set up a State Strategic Investment Bank to allow SMEs greater access to finance. Non-bank lending and access to finance such as through Peer-to-Peer lending must be promoted.
Align the marginal tax rates for self-employed and employed to ensure equality. Increase the higher tax rate entry threshold.
Fielding concluded, “SMEs are essential for economic and social stability at local and regional level, where SMEs form the “basic fibre” of daily life by providing goods and services. In general, SMEs are also more responsible towards their employees and more integrated into local society. The protection of Irish SMEs must be the central focus of all candidates.”