Dublin Chamber Welcomes OECD Call to Support Irish SMEs

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By Chamber Press Office, 31 October 2019

Dublin Chamber has welcomed the findings of a new OECD report, launched today, which calls for a range of supports for Irish SMEs. The Chamber is calling for a clear timeline for implementation by the Irish government of the reports’ key recommendations.

The Chamber, which represents 1,300 businesses in the Greater Dublin Area, said the findings confirm its long-standing call for a more ambitious policy to encourage indigenous business growth. The report follows a year-long survey by the OECD of SME and entrepreneurship policy in Ireland, and recommends a number of actions to boost investment, innovation, and internationalisation in the sector.
 
The OECD report backs several recommendations put forward by Dublin Chamber in submissions to Government earlier this year, including improvements to the R&D tax credit and a levelling of the playing field for foreign hires.
 
The report highlights that take-up of the R&D tax credit is heavily skewed to large enterprises and recommends improving access to the scheme for SMEs. It also reports that SMEs face skills shortages as they struggle to compete with multinationals for staff: ‘The ability to attract and retain talented individuals represents a key challenge for SMEs’.
 
According to Aebhric Mc Gibney, Director of Public & International Affairs at Dublin Chamber: “Dublin Chamber has been making the argument for an increased focus on helping SMEs for some time, and we are heartened to have the backing of the OECD. The Government needs to back our indigenous businesses – such firms are critical to the success of the all-island economy. Adopting an ambitious FDI policy took vision. As we face a changing international environment, strong tax competition, and an uncertain future in the British-Irish trade relationship, we need to show similar vision today for SMEs.”
 
Mr Mc Gibney said: “Improvements to the R&D Tax Credit for micro and small enterprises in Budget 2020 were more limited than businesses had hoped for, but represent a welcome development and will help fund innovation. We hope to see these improvements extended to medium-sized enterprises very soon. Similarly, Government must recognise the challenges SMEs face in attracting and retaining talent.”
“This is a welcome report, but entrepreneurs and SMEs want and need to see action soon. The ESRI has identified a yearly investment gap of €1 billion in the Irish SME sector. This urgently needs to be addressed. We now need a clear implementation plan to make entrepreneurship pay, to boost investment in the SME sector, encourage more innovation, and help Irish startups to compete for the talent they need to grow their businesses and create jobs,” said Mr Mc Gibney.