On 1 July 2015, the SFA National Council adopted a strategy for the association for the next five years. It sets out not only the objectives for the growth and development of the SFA but also a broader vision for the small business environment in Ireland over the coming years. The strategy was devised in the first half of 2015 with involvement from SFA members and external stakeholders, facilitated by Prof. Frank Roche, formerly of UCD Smurfit Business School.|
Vision, mission and objectives
The SFA Strategy 2015-2020 presents a vision of Ireland as the most vibrant small business community in the world: supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small business and rewarding risk takers. Detailed work will be undertaken by the SFA over the coming months to identify the priority measures that are needed to make this vision a reality.
The strategy also sets out a renewed focus for the SFA itself:
“The Small Firms Association is the trusted partner of small business in Ireland. Its mission is to deliver business-focused advice and insights to member companies, influence government policy to the benefit of small businesses and connect its members in a thriving community.”
To this end, the strategy puts in place six strategic objectives:
2. To be a credible and trusted adviser to members
3. To provide thought leadership at government policy level
4. To be the hub for sharing, collaboration and networking for small business
5. To be the centre of excellence for learning and innovation amongst small business
6. To promote recognition of achievement, excellence and innovation in small business
Activities and services
SFA members will continue to benefit from expert IR/HR advice, lobbying and networking opportunities, and additional services will be offered. A comprehensive Business Advice Centre will be developed, giving members instant access to expertise in a range of additional areas such as access to finance, business law, selling a business, family business and sales and marketing.
New channels of communication between the SFA and its members will be developed, such as a short weekly e-zine and a blog, allowing small businesses to keep up to date with all relevant developments as they happen. Different event formats will give members a wider range of opportunities to learn and to network, ensuring that the SFA community remains vibrant. Members outside of Dublin will benefit from a strengthened regional network.
Through the new strategy, it is intended to increase the access of SFA members to sector-specific information, insights and events through the Ibec sectoral trade associations. The SFA’s Ibec parentage will also be leveraged for the benefit of small companies by developing an Ibec market place where SFA and Ibec member companies will have privileged access to trading with one another. Other SFA activities will be broadened, for example the discount schemes and suite of training programmes available to members.
In all, SFA members can expect new service offerings and opportunities in the coming years. They will also benefit from being part of a highly-ambitious community with a clear vision of the small business environment of the future.