For the past few months, the term Brexit has acted as somewhat of a Bogeyman figure looming over many Irish business as the haze of uncertainty for what a British exit from the European Union would mean for Irish borders and trade with the UK, on which many companies rely. Perhaps the most concerning idea for Irish businesses would be what this would mean for Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). We have spoken at length in the past about how important the SME sector is in Irish business, forming the backbone of our economy, and how vital it is to protect these types of businesses in changing times. Many Irish SMEs rely on business with the United Kingdom and so a cloud of uncertainty and insecurity has plagued the sector in recent months.
Recently, we have spoken about new funding opportunities coming to light for SMEs and this week it appears that the future may be beginning to look even brighter for these vital enterprises. The Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen has urged SMEs and micro businesses to turn to their Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) for information about a range of supports now available to them. A newly announces suite of Brexit supports is now available to SMEs and microbusinesses through their Local Enterprise Offices which include
Access to the ‘Brexit SME Scorecard’ online tool where micro and smaller businesses can self-diagnose their readiness for Brexit – A vital planning tool which may assist many small businesses.
A ‘Technical Assistance for Micro-enterprises’ grant to help LEO clients to find new markets and exports.
Rollout of ‘Lean for Micro’ nationwide which will make small businesses more efficient and competitive.
A ‘LEO Innovation and Investment Fund’ pilot programme to support innovation in micro-enterprises and get them investor ready to scale their businesses.
Tailored mentoring to address Brexit related business challenges.
Training on specific Brexit challenges, including financial aspects.
As you can see from this list, these supports are specifically aimed at providing information and a framework of support and guidance for these businesses to utilise when navigating the uncertain times ahead. Minister Breen was quoted as saying of the support:
“I am delighted to announce this suite of important Brexit supports which will be available for small and medium enterprises. It is imperative that micro and small businesses have the tools and supports needed to navigate through what is uncharted territory. This is part of the Government’s Brexit planning and I am very pleased that my Department through Enterprise Ireland has been able to accelerate the rollout of these new LEO offerings worth up to €3.4 million, and I urge small and micro business owners to get in touch with their LEO to see how they can help.”
These supports focus heavily on planning ahead which will be vital in the coming months for all businesses. Should you require further information, guidance or assistance please give us a call.