16 May 2019 | 11.39 am
Senators Want Clampdown On Personal Guarantees
Banks should not be permitted to insist on PGs
16 May 2019 | 11.39 am
A Seanad committee on small and medium enterprises says the sector needs a junior minister to support it, and has called on the government to create such a role.
Among other measures, the committee report recommends making illegal the banks’ practice of requiring personal guarantees as loan collateral.
The Seanad Public Consultation Committee also wants entrepreneurial education in primary schools and specific supports for female entrepreneurs, and a task force to create a “detailed, coordinated strategy for the creation and growth, through innovation, of SMEs in more traditional sectors”.
Committee chair Paul Coghlan said: “SMEs are the main source of jobs in the Irish economy and it is important that our government and parliament do everything possible to support a sector which is such a key source of employment.
“The report achieved the committee’s objectives of identifying and evaluating the key challenges for SMEs, reviewing the existing business environment in Ireland and highlighting relevant successful SME national policies in other countries.”
Rapporteur senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh (pictured) added: “The overall aim of this process was to create the basis for an integrated national strategy proposal document, supporting the fostering, growth and sustainability of indigenous Irish SMEs in becoming a solid foundation for the long-term success of the Irish economy and our people.”
Difficulties in recruiting staff, the low take-up of apprenticeships, a tax system skewed against small business, continually rising costs such as rents, insurance and rates, and the risk-averse approach of most banks were all identified as obstacles to SME growth.
The other main recommendations in the report are:
- Introduce a dedicated junior ministerial role to develop SME policy
- Embed entrepreneurial education into the education system from primary school
- Establish a specific task force to create a detailed coordinated strategy for the creation and growth, through innovation, of SMEs in more traditional sectors
- Develop a national tool that captures comprehensive and reliable existing talent data, as well as skills needs across the country
- Develop an online portal of information on professional/vocational training abroad that equates to the Irish education system, to assist in hiring skilled foreign workers
- Allow for different types of enterprises to co-exist for the benefit of local communities
- Develop a national strategy on female entrepreneurship and aim to be a leader among EU countries in female entrepreneurship
- Identify regions for technology clusters of activity in particular hubs in rural areas, where there should be a coordination of efforts among locally based agencies and community groups
- Promote and encourage collaboration, cohesion and communication among the various organisations and bodies delivering supports and initiatives to SMEs.
The full report is available from the committee website.