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Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet, (right) and Patrick Kennedy of Amarach Research discussing the report. Photograph by Finbarr O'Rourke

Lack of knowledge among small firms

Over 20% of small firms in the Clare area do not know who their local public representatives are, and only 18% are aware of the technology and business grants available worth up to €5,000.

This was revealed in the inaugural Magnet Regional Business Barometer (MRBB), a study of over 600 SMEs across the Republic of Ireland by Amarach Research on behalf of cloud telecoms provider, Magnet,.

The study revealed that companies of five staff and under are least confident, and all feel the Government is not doing enough for them.
Nevertheless, more than 70% small firms in Clare and the Mid-West are optimistic about the year ahead, making them among the most positive in the country.
SME decision makers are much more positive than the general public, with 75% of SMEs saying the economy is improving, while just 55% of the general public feel this is the case.The manufacturing sector is most positive in its outlook for the year ahead, with SMEs in hotels, restaurants and bars the most negative.

“The first year of Magnet’s barometer shows SMEs across Ireland are far more positive about the future than consumers. Businesses are proving very resilient in the face of the high operating costs and financing issues they are facing,”said Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet.

“While the upswing is seeping through to all businesses, it’s clear that the smaller ones are most vulnerable and in need of support,” he added.

Just 11% of small businesses in the Mid-West feel the Government is doing enough to help them. There was little consensus among the small business community as to the impact of Budget 2015, with equal numbers favourable (46%) and critical (46%).

According to the Magnet Regional Business Barometer, only 11% of SMEs overall are aware of Government technology and business grants, and the smaller the firm the less likely that they are to be aware of the supports available.

“The low awareness of supports available to small firms is striking,” said Mr Kellett. “The poor take-up of these schemes means more needs to be done by both Government and industry to educate the SME community of the supports available.”

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