19 Feb 2018 | 09.36 am
Survey Finds Most Irish SMEs Stable Or Growing
But almost no firms formally preparing for Brexit, says InterTradeIreland
19 Feb 2018 | 09.36 am
The vast majority of businesses nationwide are either stable or growing, according to a survey carried out by InterTradeIreland in Q4 2017.
However, the agency found that firms in the Republic are expanding at a faster rate than those in Northern Ireland. InterTradeIreland compiled feedback from more than 750 business managers north and south of the border.
During the period October-December 2017, 40% of businesses said that they were in growth mode, 54% reporting stability. Significantly more firms in ROI are enjoying growth (45%) compared with companies in Northern Ireland (28%).
Despite the high levels of growth, and the fact that 85% of businesses are reporting to be working at or close to full capacity, only a small number of firms reported an increase in employment, InterTradeIreland noted. It suggested that this might be due to the large number of firms operating on relatively low margins.
Aidan Gough (pictured), InterTradeIreland’s strategy and policy director, stressed that the overall picture was one of a healthy business environment in Ireland. “An impressive 94% of companies are in a position of either stability or growth, and 84% indicate they are working close to or at full capacity.
“While this may be a harbinger of inflationary pressures to come, it could also signal an unwillingness to invest, perhaps, until the uncertainty around the future trading relationship between Britain and the EU becomes clearer.”
InterTradeIreland also found that virtually all business managers surveyed (98%) said that they are still not formally planning for Brexit. “However, we are encouraged by the fact that an increasing number of firms with cross-border sales are revealed as having started informal preparations,” Gough added.
“Over 40% have discussed Brexit impacts with other businesses and 34% have held internal meetings. With the economy in a healthy space, now is the best time to start looking at how Brexit could impact your business. InterTradeIreland is encouraging SMEs to plan, act and engage in preparation for Brexit.”
InterTradeIreland is currently operating a Brexit advisory service, offering assistance to SMEs. That extends to a €2,000 voucher, allowing businesses to work with an approved panel of experts to devise a tailored plan.