SMEs now happier with level official aid

by Gazette Reporter

IRISH small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have shown increased satisfaction in Government supports for the sector in the first quarter of 2015, a new survey has shown.
The latest Government Satisfaction Survey conducted by ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, shows all four indicators moving in a positive direction.
The survey was conducted in the last week of March and first week of April, with 932 SME respondents from nine main sectors.
Fifty-one per cent of the respondents employ fewer than 10 people, while a further 41% employ between 11 and 50 and the remaining 8% employ between 51 and 250.
Geographically, 37% are from Dublin with a 63% spread across the country, giving a good reflection of the country as a whole, by sector, by geographical area and by employee numbers.
This is the first positive overall rating for SMEs since the survey began. SMEs reported increased satisfaction in the area of jobs, while banking and costs show less dissatisfaction.
The association warned that improvements in the economy could soon be negated if Ireland’s competitiveness levels continued to decrease.
The satisfaction rating on the Government’s jobs initiatives has improved from +8 to +11, which reflects the decline in numbers on the Live Register.
The banking score has improved marginally from -44 to -43.
Delays in the opening of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) and the decision to channel lending through the banks have contributed to dissatisfaction in this area.
SME access to finance is improving but the delays in decision making by banks continues to be an issue for SMEs.
The business costs indicator has improved from -60 to -56 but still continues to be the highest-rated reason for dissatisfaction.
The issue of high business costs is a key concern for ISME members.
ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said the overall increase in government satisfaction among SMEs was likely to be welcomed by the current administration, but, he said, there was no room for complacency.
However, he went on to highlight the fact that many SME’s remain dissatisfied with business costs and banking.
He also said that improving the levels of competitiveness levels is pivotal as Ireland strives towards an export-led recovery.

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