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Government must do more to help small firms - SFA

Small Firms Association chairman Ian Martin will today identify three areas that government must work on to assist businesses.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND HAS COME a long way since the arrival of the IMF, but still needs the government to intervene directly to ensure that small firms can continue to flourish, the chairman of an industry group will state today.

The Small Firms Association’s chairman Ian Martin will tell its annual conference that while Irish businesses were doing as much as they could to lead a recovery, the government could still do more to assist the sector.

Chief among these is the provision of credit, Martin will say, calling on the government to expedite the introduction of a credit guarantee scheme for small businesses that has already been promised.

“It is also clearly needed for the long-standing financing issues with novel markets, that is the difficulties banks have in assessing new innovative products, services and processes that they do not have the skills to understand fully,” Martin will say.

Martin will also call for the establishment of a ‘one-stop-shop’ for support services for small businesses, so that business owners and staff know what supports are available to them.

“There is a clear case of middle-child syndrome. Whilst start-ups and micro business with up to 10 employees have the Enterprise Boards to rely on, once you grow beyond that but aren’t exporting, you get nothing,” Martin will outline.

Martin is also expected to argue that the government’s policy of cutting back on procurement costs will actually have a negative impact on small and medium-sized Irish firms, who depend on its expenditure.

Martin’s remarks will be directed at jobs minister Richard Bruton, who is due to attend the conference at Dublin Castle today.

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Gavan Reilly

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