News & Events

Ireland’s SMEs are top performers in EU in two categories according to European Commission’s Small Business Act Profile – Minister Nash

The Minister for Business and Employment, Gerald Nash TD, has today (Thursday) welcomed the publication of Ireland’s Small Business Act (SBA) Factsheet for 2015 by the European Commission.

This 2015 report shows that Ireland has one of the most SME friendly environments in the EU. Of the 10 principles contained in this policy initiative aimed at supporting small and medium sized enterprises ranging from entrepreneurship to public procurement, Ireland performs above the EU average in 6 and is top of the class in two, “second chance” and “internationalisation”. Second chance refers to ensuring that honest entrepreneurs who have gone bankrupt get a second chance quickly; while, internationalisation refers to SMEs who are exporting to and importing from overseas markets.

SMEs account for 99.7% of all enterprises in Ireland and employ more than 70% of people working in the private sector. The SBA Fact Sheet acknowledges the substantial efforts and tangible improvements since 2008 in the area of access to finance. However, it concludes access to finance remains a challenge for many Irish SMEs. There is also a recommendation to introduce a systematic “think small first” policy.

Commenting on the publication today, Minister Nash said, “The publication of this positive SBA Report for Ireland proves that the hard work of the Government and most importantly our SME sector itself is paying off. We are one of the top performers in Europe.”

“But, we won’t be resting on our laurels and as the Minister with responsibility for SMEs I want to ensure that we remain at the top. We are already examining the areas where the Commission have suggested we need to do more work, such as access to finance and prompt payment and procurement. In order to maintain this leading position our SMEs must continue to be paramount in our minds in everything that we do.”

“Today’s report is further good news for SMEs following on from last week’s Global Entrepreneurship Development Index which saw Ireland’s Global Entrepreneurship ranking rise from 17th to 12th and our overall ranking in the EU now standing at 7th. Ireland is recognised by the GEDI Report as being the most globalised nation in Europe and we have the most educated entrepreneurs.”

The publication of the SBA Fact Sheet comes as Europe marks SME Week and the European SME Assembly takes place in Luxembourg.

An ‘Ideas from Europe’ competition is being run in partnership with TedX Binnenhof as part of the week. Minister Nash has nominated Dr Nora Khaldi, a mathematician with a PhD in molecular evolution and bioinformatics from Trinity College Dublin as Ireland’s nominee for the competition.

Dr Khaldi is the founder and CSO of Nuritas, a biotechnology company involved in food bioinformatics at a molecular level. This involves looking at the breakdown of food and how food components interact with the body.

Minister Nash said “I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr Khaldi ahead of her trip to Luxembourg to represent Ireland in the “Ideas for Europe” competition. I was very impressed with the truly innovative nature of her work, which has the potential to change the world for the better. I want to wish her every success and hope that her important work in the health field will get her, and Ireland, to the final in The Hague in March 2016.”


For further information contact Press Office ,D/Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or

Editors’ Notes:

The 2015 SBA Fact Sheet for Ireland is available at 2015 SBA Fact Sheet Ireland

The European Commission publishes the SBA Fact Sheets on an annual basis with the aim of improving and understanding trends and national policies that have been introduced which affect SMEs across the Union. The Fact Sheets form part of the European Commission’s 2015 Annual Report on the economic performance of European SMEs.

The areas covered by the SBA fact sheet include: “think small first”, entrepreneurship, “second chance”, “responsive administration”, state aid and public procurement, access to finance, single market, skills & innovation, environment and internationalisation.

“Ideas for Europe” competition

The aim of this competition is to find the best and most inspiring ideas with the potential to change the world for the better. Each Member State can nominate a candidate for the competition and they will present their ideas in a short “TedEx Talk”.

An international jury and delegates will select the top 9 candidates and the 10th candidate will be selected by public voting. The Top 10 candidates will present their ideas in The Hague, The Netherlands in March 2016.

Ireland’s candidate is Dr Nora Khaldi, founder and CSO of Nuritas. The first round of the competition is currently underway in Luxembourg.