16/05/2006

Small Business Is Big Business

The Report of the Small Business Forum, Small Business is Big Business, was published and officially launched by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheal Martin at an event in Dublin Castle.

The Small Business Forum, chaired by Joe Macri, MD, Microsoft Ireland was established by Minister Martin in July of last year to consider the current environment in which small businesses operate and to advise on the appropriateness and adequacy of the public policy responses in place to support small business.

Speaking at the launch of the Forum’s Report, Minister Micheál Martin said: “The vibrancy of the small business sector is critical to Ireland’s future economic success. With 97% of all businesses in Ireland being classified as small, employing almost 800,000 people it is obviously important to the overall vibrancy of the economy that we ensure that we are doing as much as possible at all times to support their continued growth and development.

"The Forum has presented me with a comprehensive set of proposals designed to enable the small business sector to achieve its full potential and enhance the significant contribution the sector already makes to the economic well-being of this country. I am delighted to confirm that I am seeking to implement all the recommendations that fall within my Department’s remit, including: raising the standard of management capability through the establishment of a Management Development Council; providing Knowledge Acquisitions Grants; making Innovation Vouchers available to small business; providing funding to allow small businesses avail of an ICT audit; developing an National Entrepreneurship Policy; developing networks of Business Angels and compiling and publishing comprehensive data on the small business sector."

Commenting on the launch of the Report, Joe Macri, Forum Chair said: “Through the wide ranging consultation process conducted it was clear that there are a number of common issues and challenges which are common to all small businesses regardless of sector. The focus of the Forum members was to produce a series of recommendations that when implemented will address these issues and make a real difference to the future growth and health of the small business sector. The sector is the potential engine of growth for the future of the Irish economy and it is critical that plans are put in place now to create an environment that will allow the sector to grow and flourish."

(CD/SP)

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