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OECD urges for more government support for SMEs

The report, commissioned by Ireland’s Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, delves deep into the government’s existing strategy for entrepreneurship and SMEs and recommendations to improve it are set to be published by the end of 2019.

Although the full contents of the report are not yet available, parts of it have already been leaked to the press, with improved collaboration between government departments and enhanced powers for Local Enterprise Offices said to be some of the key talking points.

It is thought that the OECD’s report calls on SMEs to be coaxed and encouraged to adhere to best practice measures when it comes to digital working and automation, whilst realising the benefits of the financial markets and international standards.

Any new government-led SME strategy should be overseen by an inter-departmental committee of officials, according to the OECD. One of the biggest targets for the committee should be 50% growth in the number of SMEs exporting goods and services overseas.

Sven Pollen-Behrens, director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), is one of several key figures in the small business community to welcome the OECD’s report, along with the government’s pledge to publish the report by the end of the year.

“It is gratifying that the government has listened to what the SFA and OECD have been saying about the need to improve SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes in order to boost the number and performance of small businesses,” said Pollen-Behrens.

“The SFA has been calling for the introduction of a national Small Business Strategy that places a clear focus on the 98% of businesses employing half the private sector workforce for a few years now.”

Ian Talbot, chief executive, Chambers Ireland, also welcomes the “roadmap recommendations” teased in the initial Review released.

“The OECD’s Review into Ireland’s SME policy and entrepreneurship policies is an ambitious step in building a comprehensive strategy for our SMEs to develop and prosper in the long term,” said Talbot.
“In developing the Future Jobs Strategy based on today’s Review, we call on Government to develop our

Budget 2020 proposal of an Action Plan for Trade, where indigenous businesses are supported to reap the benefits of EU Free Trade Agreements, as well as increased investment for the Enterprise Europe Network and increased collaboration with our Chamber network to promote these supports nationwide.”

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