That is the verdict of the Small Firms Association (SFA), which believes the government must put smaller enterprises at the forefront of economic policy in 2013.
If successful, ministers can help these businesses contribute to the economic recovery through job growth and prosperity, the organisation concluded.
Chairman of SFA, AJ Noonan, said in his end-of-year statement: "We would all acknowledge that this has been a very difficult time for small business, with entrepreneurship undergoing reassessment.
"However, 2013 must place small businesses at the heart of economic policy. Small businesses are the drivers of innovation and a permanent source of prosperity, employment and economic progress."
One firm creating jobs is Mandiant, the IT security enterprise, which will be adding 100 new positions at an operations centre in Dublin over the coming months.
Posted by Thomas Fletcher