SME’s


22
Feb 14

Small is Beautiful for the IDA as Focus Shifts to Growing Start-ups

From left: The IDA’s Barry O’Leary; Patrick Moran from New Relic; and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Maxwell PhotographyTHE Government is branching out from targeting massive multinationals in its bid for investment into Ireland – its plan of attack now targets young, small foreign businesses too.

DA Ireland is increasingly working with foreign start-ups who are considering opening their first overseas offices, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said yesterday.

“It’s been a very successful add-on to what IDA traditionally built its strong reputation on, which was winning big iconic names,” he said. “Now we’re seeing new companies picking Ireland to use as a base for internationalising their business.”

Mr Bruton was speaking at the announcement of 132 jobs by five different IDA-supported companies. All five are relatively small and young in comparison to traditional IDA targets, which include global giants like Facebook and Pfizer.

“The thinking behind the drive is that these companies will establish deep roots here from early in their growth, and make a substantial impact on the economy,” he said.

Mr Bruton denied that their decision had been motivated by Ireland’s low corporation tax base. “They are here for the talent,” he said.

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11
Jun 13

Loan approval rate for small businesses at highest level in four years

ISME boss Mark FieldingMORE small firms are being approved for credit than rejected for the first time in four years, according to a new report. 

The latest ‘bank watch’ survey from trade group ISME found that 52pc of applications were approved by the banks in the last three months, compared to 44pc at the start of the year.

That is the first time since 2009 that the survey has shown more approvals than refusals, while the wait time for applications to be processed fell from five weeks to four.

Not surprisingly demand for credit is rising, say ISME.

The report claims more than 40pc of respondents had requested additional or new bank facilities in the last three months, an increase on the 35pc in the previous quarter.

Commenting on the survey results, ISME boss Mark Fielding said the results were “positive”.

“Hopefully they are the start of a trend back to ‘normal’ banking.

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18
Oct 12

Small firms get access to €450m credit line

Taoiseach Enda Kenny at yesterday's press conference for the action plan for jobs at Government Buildings.Taoiseach Enda Kenny at yesterday’s press conference for the action plan for jobs at Government Buildings.Photograph: Eric Luke

THE GOVERNMENT has announced that the €450 million credit guarantee scheme for small businesses will begin operating from next Wednesday.

The scheme, aimed at ensuring some 5,600 businesses can avail of credit lines, is one of the main initiatives in the Coalition’s action plan for jobs.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the credit guarantee scheme would be essential as part of the Government’s “mission of getting Ireland working again”.

The action plan for jobs has promised to implement 270 specific measures in 2012 to promote job creation in the Irish economy. The Government also undertook to publish quarterly reports on what has been achieved.

A press conference yesterday, also attended by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, heard that all but nine of the 67 actions for the third quarter of 2012 had been achieved. It also heard that the small number of targets missed in previous quarters had been met.

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18
Oct 12

New guarantee scheme for SMEs

Credit Guarantee Scheme expected to provide an additional EUR150 million in lending for small businesses per year.The Credit Guarantee Scheme will go live next week, and is expected to provide an additional €150 million in lending for small businesses per year, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said today.

The scheme which goes live next Wednesday, will be open to companies employing fewer than 250 staff and with an annual turnover of less than €50 million. It will offer loans of up to €1 million.

“The Credit Guarantee Scheme will benefit innovative, job-creating businesses that face obstacles accessing credit because they do not have enough collateral, or because they operate in sectors which the banks are not familiar with. These are the businesses we need to stimulate our jobs recovery,” Mr Bruton said.

The scheme is expected to benefit 5,600 businesses and support the creation of 4,000 jobs over three years.

Under the scheme, a 75 per cent State guarantee is to be provided to banks against losses on qualifying loans to firms with growth and job creation potential who currently have difficulty getting finance from the banks.

Initially the scheme will facilitate up to €150 million of additional lending per annum to SMEs for three years. The scheme will be demand-led, and take-up and performance will be closely monitored, the department said.

The recent EU Commission Overview of Competitiveness across 27 member states shows that lending to small and medium enterprises is Ireland’s weakest area, Labour Party TD Kevin Humphreys said.

“SME access to bank lending is critical to enterprise, innovation, and job creation and we are currently the second poorest performer on this measure in the EU, above only Greece,” he added.

The Credit Guarantee Bill, which underpins the scheme, passed through all stages in the Oireachtas before the summer recess. The scheme will be operated by Capita Services.

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22
May 12

Springboard offers 6,000 new education opportunities

Springboard offers 6,000 new education opportunitiesSpringboard offers 6,000 new education opportunities.

The Irish Government has announced 6,000 new part-time higher education places for job seekers via the Springboard programme, focused on areas with skills shortages.

The Springboard courses will focus on developing expertise in sectors that have been identified by Forfás as having the greatest future skills needs and job opportunities, such as ICT, medical devices, the green economy, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and international financial services.

“Our indigenous technology start-ups and SMEs need people with high-level ICT, business and international sales and marketing skills,” said Frank Ryan, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland. “The Springboard students who graduate over the coming years will have the skills to allow them to take up the opportunities that indigenous companies can offer and they will provide those companies with the types of skills that can drive new business and export growth.”

For the first time, these higher education places include opportunities for people who were formerly self-employed, giving them the option to upskill or reskill and then, perhaps, create new start-ups.

Tailoring education to fulfil business needs

Barry O’Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland, has welcomed the development, saying, “It is vital that job seekers focus on areas where there are current and future job opportunities. Programmes like Springboard and the ICT Conversion Programme have provided companies with the opportunity to engage with higher education providers to tailor programmes specifically to the needs of their businesses.”

The first 3,500 graduates from Springboard 2011 will be available for employment at the end of this month and O’Leary is confident they will be in significant demand.

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3
May 12

Dublin craft companies sign multiple deals in US

Dublin craft companies sign multiple deals in US

Greg Whelan (Irish Linen House), Mary Whelan (Irish Linen House) and Oisin Geoghegan, CEO, Fingal County Enterprise Board.

Eight small craft companies from Fingal in Dublin have secured export orders of over $66,500 with $329,500 in combined export orders projected for the year ahead.

The group of craftspeople and designers signed the deals at ‘The Ireland Show’ in New Jersey last week under the ‘Fingal’s Finest’ banner.

Led by Fingal County Enterprise Board (CEB), the trade mission involved the group meeting hundreds of buyers from North American retailers and wholesalers at a four-day trade show in Secaucus.

This time last year, six craftspeople and designers from ‘Fingal’s Finest’ secured $200,000 in advance orders.

CEO of Fingal CEB Oisin Geoghegan said trade fairs have become increasingly important to small Irish businesses.

“The Ireland Show in New Jersey is one of the biggest and most commercially important trade shows in the US for companies involved in the craft and gift markets. The eight small businesses from Fingal made excellent retail and wholesale contacts during the show and we anticipate very substantial sales orders for them all, as a direct result of their involvement this year.”

Individual launches

Philip Gaffney from O’ Gowna launched a range of Titanic memorabilia and wall plaques at the show, marking the centenary of its maiden voyage.

Michael Fahy and Patrick McCartin from Privatmark re-launched the Mullins Map of Ireland which has sold over 100,000 copies since its original launch back in the 1960s and Greg and Mary Whelan from the Irish Linen House met with high-end retailers, securing orders for their embroidered tablerunners, placemats and napkins.

Making their ‘Ireland Show’ debut this year was Teresa Gaffney from Exclusively Irish, selling handmade cards and block mounted prints, and jewellery-designer, Sinead Cooke.

Meanwhile, Maura O’ Rourke secured commissions for her original art of Irish landscapes; Liam Caulfield from Crystal Eire secured substantial orders for his range of cut crystal and Killian O’ Driscoll from Heraldic Gifts signed up a number of new retail outlets for his commemorative gift plaques

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30
Apr 12

Taoiseach launches €3.8m European Project

Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, will be making an address at the upcoming energy Symposium in Drumshanbo this week.

The Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny T.D., launched TESLA a €3.8m European co-operation project at the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Assembly headquarters in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Rosommon on Monday April 16th.

Speaking at the launch, the Taoiseach stated that TESLA, which focuses on innovative supports to small and medium sized business represented a brilliant addition to the opportunities for dynamic small companies and he emphasised that these companies have a key role to play in our economic recovery.

Mr. Kenny stated that European Regional Development Funds have played an important role in the development of Ireland’s economy and the financial transfers from the EU Budget provide vital supports to regional development. The Taoiseach acknowledged the ongoing role of regional bodies in Ireland and stated that there was a wealth of regional proposals that could be developed into achievable projects. The Taoiseach also outlined a number of Government initiatives to help enterprises access finance and to reduce bureaucracy for SMEs.

Councillor Cyril Burke, Cathaoirleach of the BMW Regional Assembly outlined the role of the Regional Assembly in ensuring the successful delivery of European Regional Development Funds Programmes over the past 12 years. He stated that the BMW Regional Assembly had successfully demonstrated its capacity to effectively manage both the previous and current funding periods, with more than w700m invested in the region over the past 12 years. Councillor Burke emphasised the need to retain a focus on the development needs of all regions and to avoid unbalanced regional development.

Following the launch, Mr. Gerry Finn, Director of the BMW Regional Assembly, stated that ‘the launch by the Taoiseach provided a valuable opportunity to highlight the work of the Assembly in managing and delivering EU programmes and in successfully securing additional EU funds. He stated that the Regional Assembly looked forward to leading the TESLA project, which he said, would support a large number of technology-based start-up firms in the BMW Region.

Kieran Moylan, Assistant Director provided the assembled audience with a brief overview of TESLA which is led by the BMW Regional Assembly in partnership with 8 organisations from six EU Member States. The TESLA project which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the INTERREG North West Europe programme, aims to provide a range of supports to early stage, technology-based start-up firms, with export potential. Dr. Moylan set out the 10 project actions which will be delivered in partnership with the Higher Education Institutions. These will help the supported firms to access innovation and product development supports and internationalise more quickly. Overall, 612 firms will access supports and 45 new high potential start-ups are anticipated.

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12
Apr 12

AIB invests €1.3m in five technology firm start-ups

AIB has invested more than €1m in seed capital for technology start-ups, the bank said yesterday. The lender said it put €1.3m into five firms during the fist quarter of the year as part of the bank’s seed capital funds.

Limerick-based environmental software firm ManageCO2 Software Ltd, networking firm SkillPages, and Dublin businesses, Pilot Photonics, data mining firm Polecat, and Redeem & Get Ltd, all received payments under the scheme.

Two follow-on investments were also made with companies AIB had already invested in; Maravo Medical Devices, in Galway, and Movidius, a technology company with offices in Dublin, Hong Kong and Romania. AIB is the largest provider of seed capital funding in Ireland with funds worth €75m.

The AIB Seed Capital Fund has a total of €53m under management by Enterprise Equity Venture Capital and Dublin Business Innovation Centre.

Since it was launched in 2008, this fund has made some 75 venture capital investments in 48 early stage businesses, supporting an estimated 300 jobs, according to the bank.

Separately, the AIB Start-up Accelerator Fund has a total of €22m, of which Enterprise Ireland put in €2m.

That fund is managed by ACT Venture Capital. It has made a total of eight investments and supported approximately 108 jobs since its launch last year, AIB say.

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12
Apr 12

€90 million angel funds for start-ups