Small firms cautious as they enter 2019

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Domestic economic growth offers biggest opportunity while attracting talent and Brexit are the most serious risks
  • Nearly two-thirds of small firms will recruit in 2019

The mood amongst the small business community at the start of 2019 is cautious, according to the latest ‘Small Business Sentiment Survey’ report from the Small Firms Association (SFA), published today. 59% of SFA members feel that the business environment is improving, down from 62% one year ago.

Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director, said: “2018 has been a challenging year for small business. The confident mood of a year ago has eased a little on account of Brexit and the tightening labour market. Nevertheless, the Irish economy remains in a strong position and this is confirmed in our members’ feedback that domestic economic growth offers the biggest opportunity in 2019.

“Two-thirds of survey respondents indicated their intention to recruit and invest in their businesses over the coming year. This shows that 2019 has the potential to be a strong year, despite the external backdrop.”

The survey results, however, highlight several areas of concern for small firms. Spollen-Behrens continued: “A number of risk factors for 2019 have been highlighted, such as Brexit, the ability to attract talent and increasing business costs all of which have the potential to slow the growth of the economy this year. Many of these require decisive measures at Government level.

“The SFA is calling for a national Small Business Strategy, that places a clear focus on the 98% of businesses employing half the private sector workforce, which are the lifeblood of towns and villages around the country. It is time for a plan to boost the number and performance of small businesses.

“The fundamentals of the Irish economy are strong and economic growth and job creation are forecast to continue in 2019. However, Brexit poses one of the biggest challenges faced by small businesses in years and the SFA will remain focused on preparing members for the opportunities and risks to their businesses.”


ENDS

For further comment or interview, contact Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director, on tel: 01 6051602 or 087 1609403 or email: sven@sfa.ie.
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