Speaking after today’s Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment discussion on the White Paper on Enterprise, Sinn Féin spokesperson, Louise O’Reilly TD, said that greater government policy and funding support is needed to help grow the number of small and medium enterprises who export.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“A central plank of the government’s White Paper on Enterprise is diluting the concentration risks in the multinational sector by growing our domestic small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
“Growing the State’s indigenous SME sector will help with economic diversification and protect our economy from external macroeconomic shocks.
“Central to this is strengthening the Irish-owned exporting sector, particularly from the existing large cohort of non-exporting SMEs.
“The Irish economy is an open one, with a significant trade surplus relative to our size, but this is not necessarily replicated at SME level.
“Ireland’s direct SME export levels are very low by international standards, with only about 6% of Irish SMEs directly trading across borders and the share of SMEs in total domestic value added in exports is also relatively low.
“With most SMEs not exporting and a significant percentage of existing SME exporters only trading with the British market, there is huge opportunity for growth and jobs in this area.
“However, given the unique challenges faced by Irish SMEs, such as current low levels of cross-border trading, and the fact Irish SMEs have to export at an earlier stage in their lifecycle than those in other European countries, it is essential that government policy and funding is tailored to suit their needs.
“If the government is serious about increasing the number of indigenous SMEs who export in order to help grow and diversify our economy, then bespoke policy planning and strategic funding streams are needed.”