• ISME chairman calls for cultural change towards Entrepreneurship.
• Address by ISME chairman, Eamonn Kielty, at the Association's Annual Conference 2014.
ISME, Friday 24th October 2014.
Addressing the 480 delegates at ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association’s Annual Conference, held in the RDS, today (Friday 24th October), Chairman Eamonn Kielty, called for a “cultural change” towards entrepreneurship, as the current culture often fails to recognise and reward entrepreneurial endeavours.
“The efforts of entrepreneurs must be recognised and rewarded, and this is true both for policymakers at all levels and for society at large. Too often entrepreneurs are perceived as greedy free riders who are responsible for all the world’s problems. This must change.
How often have we heard our political leaders extol the virtues of SME businesses in speeches but continue to insult our sector through ill-thought policies and half-baked initiatives, so wrapped up in red tape and bureaucracy to make them useless before they start? The downright hypocrisy of the utterances is clearly shown in the fact that, despite all the hyperbole, self-employed entrepreneurs have a marginal tax rate 3% more than anyone else when they are successful. Should their business not succeed they are unlikely to get any help from the State unless they are completely ‘bust’, no income, no assets and no job. So we are discriminated against both when successful and, despite the fact that entrepreneurs are the catalysts for wealth and job creation, when failed.
With the recent launch of the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship, we now have the potential to put entrepreneurship back at the top of the agenda. It puts great emphasis on Start-ups and survival rates and rightly so. However Government must put its money where its mouth is and stop, once and for all, the discriminatory tax system in relation to the self-employed. Otherwise it will be seen as just another empty statement by an election focussed government and not the game changer required.
The Entrepreneurship Policy recommendations must be implemented as soon as possible. Faced with the economic crisis, policymakers have realised the importance of a thriving private sector and of removing unnecessary burdens. Ireland will not recover without more entrepreneurs. We must start treating our entrepreneurs, first as equal citizens, with the massive potential to drive the economy forward. Then, maybe self-employed entrepreneurs will be seen as local heroes.”