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Tag Archives: SMEs

Clare firms benefit from Skillnets

More and more businesses in Clare are prioritising staff training and retention as they compete for the talent needed to expand their enterprise. That’s the message from Skillnets – the national agency responsible for funding and supporting training networks – as it launched its annual report for 2015 today (Wednesday). Figures from the report reveal that the number of businesses in Clare accessing Skillnets supported training grew by a massive 34% in 2015, with 398 businesses investing in their staff across a range of sectors. In Clare, 1,222 trainees availed of 9,556 training days delivered to businesses during 2015.Nationally, 85% of the businesses that benefited from investment in training through Skillnets in 2015 were SMEs, with 250 staff or under. According to Skillnets chairman, Brendan McGinty, businesses are battling for talent in a competitive marketplace, resulting in many looking inwards to develop existing resources to meet their growth objectives. “Behind the country’s pattern of economic growth during 2015, thousands of …

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EU boost for Shannon firm

A SHANNON firm is to benefit under an EU initiative which will deliver €3 billion to small to medium enterprises (SMEs). AltraTecch Ltd, based at Ballymurtagh business park, is one of 155 small companies from 21 countries, including 10 in Ireland, that will be first to receive €50,000 to finance feasibility studies for their projects. The projects can also benefit from up to three days of business coaching and after that, their projects may be considered for further financial support from the Commission worth up to €2.5 million. AltraTech is to receive funding for their innovative development of a 30-minute on-site DNA test kit for food-authenticity testing. Speaking about the project, AltraTech CEO, Tim Cummins said, “Food samples currently have to be sent to a lab for DNA species testing, and it takes 4-6 days to get results. Our on-site DNA test eliminates this delay, and helps food processors and retailers to test food authenticity quickly in their plants or …

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Rural Clare SMEs climb the IT ladder

SMALL and medium enterprises in County Clare are being invited to participate in an EU project aimed at improving the IT capabilities of rural businesses. The Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly Mid-West Office, formerly MWRA, is one of six lead agencies in CREATE, which aims to deliver a full package of advice and support to SMEs to enable them to fully exploit the potential of an improved online presence, faster broadband, and hardware and software investments. The project also aims to stimulate the virtual clustering of rural SMEs across partner regions of North West Europe, to help reduce expenses and the need for investment in expensive hardware technology for businesses through the shared use of hosted services. An expert workgroup of IT and online marketing professionals from across the CREATE partner regions are presently conducting a review of the Irish and European rural-based businesses before presenting them with individual actions plans aimed at introducing efficiencies. CREATE advisors were in Ennis …

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SFA sets out priorities to minister

A Small Firms Association (SFA) delegation has met with Minister for Business & Employment, Gerald Nash to set out their priorities. “The small business sector currently employs half the private sector workforce, some 700,000 people. Whilst an economic recovery is starting to take hold, many small businesses are just getting back on their feet, and their balance sheets remain challenged after after years of recession,” SFA chairman, AJ Noonan said. “In order to secure the recovery and set small businesses on a path to growth, it is essential that competitiveness issues are prioritised in Government,” he added. Irish labour costs are now 30.8% more than in the UK, 16% more than the EU average and 11th highest in Europe. “This is putting us at a distinct competitive disadvantage, and is a particular problem for SMEs in the services sector where the cost of employing an individual accounts for over 80% of location sensitive business costs ( costs which vary by …

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Minister launches LEO Clare

MINISTER of State for Small Business, John Perry TD,  officially launched the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Clare at Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis. Combining the resources of the Clare County Enterprise Board and Clare County Council’s business support unit, the Clare Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is one of 31 LEOs around Ireland that is tasked with delivering services and support to businesses within a framework set by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and overseen by Enterprise Ireland. Minister Perry was joined at today’s launch by the Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Councillor  John Crowe who described Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as  “the lifeblood of local communities” throughout County Clare. The Cathaoirleach explained: “Jobs created by the SME sector help to keep employment levels up and emigration levels down which is key to rural communities surviving the economic downturn. LEO Clare offers small business owners the opportunity to learn from the experiences and expertise of others in …

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Ennis Chamber’s fear for future of SMEs

CHAMBERS Ireland has called on the Government to make immediate changes to the public procurement process to facilitate SME involvement and benefit the economy as a whole. The call comes, supported by Ennis chamber, in advance of a meeting of stakeholders with the Office of Government Procurement. Chambers Ireland deputy chief executive, Seán Murphy said, “SMEs in Ireland are extremely frustrated over how they are effectively excluded from many public procurement processes. Businesses that pay rates and wages in Ireland are undercut by overseas competitors that are not bound by the same terms and conditions. Some of the requirements to just apply for a tender are highly onerous and often automatically exclude local businesses from participating in local tenders. These excessive pre qualification requirements must be addressed by Government immediately. Similarly, the lack of feedback for businesses when they fail to win a tender, combined with the absence of an appeal procedure, are issues which could be easily solved.” Continuing, …

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