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Tag Archives: SFA

Two Clare firms short-listed in SFA business awards

TWO Clare companies have been named as finalists in the 2019 Small Firms Association (SFA) National Small Business Awards. Shannon based CalQRisk have been nominated in the Innovator of the Year category while, Get the Shifts, who are also based in Shannon, have received a nomination in the Emerging New Business category. Thirty eight companies have been selected as finalists, from 14 counties, across eight categories. The awards prize package for all finalists includes participation in the SFA Business Connect event in February, a strategic management masterclass weekend, as well as broad-ranging national and local media coverage, all valued at €50,000. Finalists also receive five complementary tickets to the gala prize giving ceremony which will take place in the RDS in February 2019 when the category winners and overall winner will be announced. The category winners will be presented with a trophy and free membership of the Small Firms Association for one year. The overall winner will also receive a bursary …

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SFA cautiously optimistic for 2018

THE mood amongst the small business community at the start of 2018 is cautiously optimistic, with nearly two-thirds of owner-managers believing that the business environment is improving. That’s according to the Small Firms’ Association (SFA), the Ibec group, in its Small Firms Outlook 2018 report, which was published this week. SFA director, Sven Spollen-Behrens did however add a caution. “2017 has been a challenging year for small business. Whilst cautious optimism seems to be returning amid emerging wage demands, the increasing cost of doing business and Brexit dampens the mood. “However, nearly 60% of SFA members say their businesses are growing, with only 4% declining. This shows that 2018 has the potential to be a strong year, if the risks are managed effectively at firm level and Government level.” Mr Spollen-Behrens noted 71% of survey respondents indicated their intention to recruit over the coming year, up substantially from the SFA survey in May of last year. “Small firms already employ …

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Small firms’ ‘Toolkit’ for Brexit

The Small Firms Association (SFA) has, following the triggering of Article 50 by the British Government, published a toolkit for small businesses to help them to practically prepare for Brexit. Sue O’Neill, SFA chair, commented, “Whilst many factors are outside our control, it is important for each small business to assign senior management responsibility to assessing the impact on their own business, and developing contingency plans for likely impacts. Companies should pay particular focus to assessing the potential impacts of currency movements, along with supply chain, commercial contracts, finance and funding and workforce considerations. They should also reassess the impact on technology, in particular issues around data sharing, likely changes to regulation and market access, and change their own operating structures accordingly.” Ms O’Neill emphasised the singular impacts of Brexit on Ireland, over and above other EU members states, and called on the EU Commission to prioritise these concerns in their negotiating strategy. “The UK is a key marketplace for …

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Shop local on Small Business Saturday

The Small Firms Association has called for December 3 to be ‘Small Business Saturday’, with shoppers across the country asked to support small businesses in their communities. SFA assistant director, Linda Barry, stated, “Retail sales are expected to exceed €4 billion in December, but much of this will be spent in large stores or online. The latest figures show that the value of online purchases increased by 20% in the last quarter to €1.2 billion. If each adult spent just €20 extra in small businesses this Christmas, this would amount to an injection of over €70 million for small Irish firms and would have a huge, positive impact on local jobs and the vibrancy of town and village centres.” “The first Saturday of December is traditionally a busy shopping day and consumers should use this weekend as an opportunity to focus on buying Irish and supporting their local businesses, as the Christmas celebrations can add a major economic impetus to …

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Small firms undervalued in Ireland

Small business often does not get the recognition it deserves because its contribution is based on thousands of smaller investments and jobs created every year rather than once-off ‘big bangs’. That’s according to AJ Noonan, chairman of the Small Firms Association (SFA). Much of Government policy is based on backing winners and attracting foreign multi-nationals, rather than creating an environment for more and more indigenous businesses to establish, create jobs, survive and succeed, he maintained at the launch of the “Vision for Small Business in Ireland” report. Mr Noonan challenged every citizen to do their part in making “Ireland – the most vibrant small business community in the world – supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small business and rewarding risk takers.” The SFA chairman released the findings of the SFA’s Summer Business Sentiment Survey, which shows that 60% of small businesses stated that their business is growing. Two-thirds deem the business environment to be improving generally, with 30% staying the same and …

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Business groups want stable government

Ireland’s leading business groups, which represent the vast majority of the country’s employers, have called for ongoing negotiations on the formation of the next government to deliver a clear, comprehensive agreement that will ensure the next administration is in a position to run its full term. The next government needs to have an unwavering focus on the significant challenges we face as a country, one with the mandate, authority and capacity to plan ambitiously and take difficult decisions if needed. The country would not be served well by a government preoccupied by the possibility of an imminent general election, according to the SFA, ISME, Ibec, Irish Exporters Association, Construction Industry Federation and Chambers Ireland. “Any political agreement must first and foremost serve the interests of the country as a whole. Over the coming days, all parties and TDs must play their part in supporting the creation of a stable environment for policy making and legislation that will last a full …

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Employee numbers grow in small firms

The Small Firms Association’s Jobs Sentiment Survey for the second half of 2014, indicates an increase in employee numbers within small firms, reflecting the recent upturn in labour market performance. However, for some firms retaining and creating employment remains a challenge, SFA director, Patricia Callan has cautioned. “Although the recovery path for the labour market won’t entirely be smooth, this survey shows that just over 30% of small firms plan to increase employee numbers in the second half of 2014 and 63% will retain their current employment levels. While the figures are positive, 7% of firms will reduce employee numbers, as business input costs and labour costs remain challenging.” Ms Callan said. “There are sectors such as traded services and hospitality that are showing strong job growth, for other sectors job creation will be fragile and every step must be taken to ensure no additional taxes are placed on labour to ensure job retention and growth,” she added. The SFA …

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Concern for small firm sector

On a day when it was announced that there is to be a 100-job expansion at WIPRO in Shannon, concern has been expressed for the small firms sector in general. In fact, a leading figure involved in supporting  small enterprises, has said radical changes in a number of key areas, such as finance, taxation and public procurement are needed too increase employment in the small business sector. Speaking at the Small Firms Association National Conference this Tuesday, the chairman, AJ Noonan said, “Despite the horrendous impact in the years since 2008, there are still 200,000 small firms in Ireland, employing 655,000 people. In 2000, the small business sector created 100,000 jobs. In fact, over a 10 year period we created 800,000 jobs. We have done it before and we can do it again. “Entrepreneurship is alive and well, but must be nurtured and developed with a renewed focus from both agencies and government.” Noonan highlighted that the SFA’s Spring Business …

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