In his end of year statement, Graham Byrne, Chair of the Small Firms Association (SFA), said,
“2019 has been a challenging but successful year for small businesses. Brexit, difficulties in attracting talent and a slowing economy are the main obstacles for small businesses in Ireland.
“However, as the decade draws to a close, feedback from members shows our still healthy economy continues to fuel ambition for the year ahead.
“Domestic economic growth in 2019 is likely to be close to 5.9% and our members see this as the biggest opportunity for their business in the coming year, despite the external backdrop.
“In the past five years small businesses have created 75,000 jobs and two thirds of SFA member companies plan to take on additional staff next year in a wide variety of sectors, in villages, towns and cities across the country.
“For this job growth to be realised, concrete steps must be taken in 2020.
“The SFA is calling for the immediate launch of the agreed new national SME and Entrepreneurship Strategy, which was promised by government before the end of 2019.
“We expect this strategy to focus on driving productivity and innovation, introducing a comprehensive tax policy that is conducive to small firms, achieving a step-up in financial skills, whilst also supporting the often forgotten group of established businesses of between 10 and 50 employees that are the back-bone of our economy.
In conclusion Byrne stated,
“With a General Election on the horizon, the SFA will be calling on the new Government – whatever its composition – to embrace the SFA vision of Ireland as the most vibrant small business community in the world, supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small business and rewarding risk takers”.