Businesses from County Clare and the Mid-West were presented with findings from a major study commissioned by telecoms and cloud services provider Magnet at a breakfast event on April 13th with the Ennis Chamber. This is the 2nd Magnet Regional Business Barometer.
The nationwide study of over 500 SMEs, conducted by Amárach Research revealed some interesting insights for businesses in the region and beyond. An increasing number were optimistic about the future with many planning to open new premises. However recruitment costs and available skills have become a serious pain point for many:
– Just under 1 in 3 SMEs hope to open new premises in 2016, a big increase on last year when 1 in 10 talked of such plans.
– Cutbacks in budget was the highest rated challenge for recruiting staff in the Mid-West with 42% reporting this. The trend was echoed throughout the country except for Cork and Kerry.
– 66% of small firms in Clare and the Mid-West are optimistic about the future in 2016 however this is below the national average of 74%. This sentiment was reflected in the Amárach’s Economic Recovery Index too where the Mid-West’s score of 43 was the lowest in the country.
Increased Mobility & Flexible Working
Working on the road or working from home is now a reality for over half of SMEs in the Mid-West:
However as the company sizes increased so too did the chance of businesses offering these flexible working options.
Government Support Lacking
When questioned about the government’s support of SMEs there was a lot of dissatisfaction.
– 72% said that the government wasn’t doing enough for business owners in the SME sector – the highest nationally. However this has improved on 2015 when 83% in Mid-West cited the same.
– Access to grants, funding or loans and reduced costs to the sector, in the form of lower taxes, rent, travel and childcare costs, were cited as the most popular options for ways the government could help SMEs.
However, when it comes to business or technology grants a massive 88% were unaware of what was available to them.
Rita Mc Inerney, CEO of Ennis Chamber said: “Magnet’s research is an excellent barometer for businesses here in the Mid-West and nationwide. The economic recovery is very gradually making an impact in the regions, and it’s great to see so much optimism about the future from our local business community. However, as there continues to be uncertainly in relation to government formation, it’s interesting to note the continued dissatisfaction with government support for the SME sector. Business costs and access to finance, in particular, are issues that need to be looked at more seriously by future policy makers if we are to continue on this current path to recovery.” Ms McInerney continued “Ennis Chamber will work with other partners in local government and agencies in the region to best utilise the findings from this report. We are delighted that Magnet have made the presentation and its detailed research available to us.” The presentation is available for download here: 2016 Magnet Mid-West Regional Business Barometer
Speaking of the research Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet said: “Our survey aims to shine a light on what’s important to businesses all over Ireland and find out what has changed from year to year. We were particularly impressed with the amount of businesses that plan to open new premises this year compared to last year – a good indicator of a buoyant business environment. Often this is an ideal time to review existing service provider offerings and negotiate better deals to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. We at Magnet are acutely aware that business costs are top of the list of concerns for many, and continually strive to offer the most cost-competitive and best value business telecoms solutions on the market. ” One such solution is Magnet’s Office-in-a Box. Aimed at small businesses of up to 5 people it delivers an enterprise-level telecom services for a single fixed monthly charge of €165.99 without the heavy upfront costs. As well as unlimited calls to Irish, UK & USA landlines and mobiles and up to 100Mb broadband, it includes a cloud PBX phone system, which delivers many benefits for today’s modern mobile workforce. More information can be found on www.magnet.ie/business