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SME focus: How we fared in 2014... and the picture for the year ahead

For December’s in-depth coverage of SMEs, we looked back on the year that was and towards the one to come.

EVERY MONTH, TheJournal.ie takes a close look at a certain sector or aspect of life for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Making up over 99% of all Irish businesses and employing nearly 70% of private-sector workers, SMEs are vital to jobs and economic growth in the country.

For December and the close of the year, we looked back on 2014 and some key developments and achievements through the year, and looked forward to 2015.

#Business Poll looked at how sentiment among the SME sector had bobbed around during the year and how the Budget and a run of good economic news was impacting entrepreneurs. We asked readers: How are things looking for your business in 2015? And the results revealed some optimism out there, with 54% expecting a better outlook.

chart Source: TheJournal.ie

#The Big Idea was all about rethinking ice cream as a junk food, courtesy of the couple behind Irish food startup Nobó. The business had a big 2014 – going from selling their dairy-free ice cream in a few specialist stories to over 300 outlets and a national listing with SuperValu

Nobó_Brian&Rachel2

#Business Chart of the month looked at the issue of finance for SMEs, which we learned have been getting less loans rejected this year – but are still far too reliant on Ireland’s two pillar banks. However, what is really needed is for more investors to get some “skin in the game” and take a stake in businesses

red-c Source: Red C SME credit demand survey

#What I Learned featured the founder of Dublin’s Little Ass Burrito Bar chain, Philip Martin, who took us through plans for this latest venture, Blanco Niño, which is due to launch in 2015. He said the most important thing in any business was to find people who “basically, give a shit about what you are doing”

Martin Source: YouTube

#How to Guide explored some of the ideas budding entrepreneurs could try to kickstart their business in 2015, courtesy of UCD “entrepreneur-in-residence” Ron Immink. His top tip? Stop worrying so much about social media and try making a few phone calls

ron_immink_smallbusinesscan

#SME Book Club featured Zero to One, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s musings on startups and “how to build the future”. And one of his key messages was that building a monopoly was a good thing – for making money, that is

Web Summit 2014 - Dublin Source: Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

In January, TheJournal.ie’s SME focus shifts to how setting goals and getting staff behind your mission can make all the difference to a business. If you have a suggestion for a specific topic you would like to see covered or an Irish SME to feature, send the author an email below. To view other SME stories from this year’s collection, click here

READ: Everything you need to know about traditional stores and e-commerce >

READ: Everything you need to know about the Budget and essential money matters >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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