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More positive international rankings for SMEs and Entrepreneurship in Ireland – Minister Breen

The Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen TD, has today (Friday 25th November) welcomed the publication of Ireland’s 2016 Small Business Act (SBA) Factsheet by the European Commission.

This 2016 report shows once again that Ireland has one of the most SME friendly environments in the EU.

The Small Business Act for Europe (SBA) is the EU’s flagship policy initiative to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It comprises a set of policy measures organised around 10 principles.

Ireland features among the top three performers in the EU in two of those ten principles - Skills & innovation of SMEs and Single market. (Single market refers to the integration and interaction of a countries administration and SME’s to the Single Market).

In three other SBA areas — Entrepreneurship, Second chance and Responsive administration, Ireland performs well above the EU average.

Commenting on the publication today, Minister Breen said: “SMEs account for 99.8% of all enterprises in Ireland and employ more than 70% of people working in the private sector. Positive international rankings such as these show that Ireland has been successful in creating an environment where small business owners can thrive and the entrepreneurial spirit is rewarded.

Today’s report follows last weeks publication of the Global Entrepreneurship Development Index which saw Ireland achieve a top 10 ranking among the 137 countries that were assessed. Our Global Entrepreneurship ranking rose once again from 12th last year to 9th this year. Of the 41 countries ranked in the Europe Region, Ireland is ranked 6th.

Minister Breen continued: “Our rankings have been on a positive trajectory since the Government published Ireland’s first ever National Entrepreneurship Policy Statement in 2014. The Statement is our cross-Government comprehensive plan for entrepreneurship”. 

The SBA Fact Sheet was published during EU SME Week and the European SME Assembly which is taking place this week in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Minister Breen chairs the Advisory Group of Small Business (AGSB) which provides a platform for structured engagement between small business owners, their representative bodies, and the Minister for Employment and Small Business, with a view to influencing policy. 


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Editors’ Notes:

The 2016 SBA Fact Sheet for Ireland is available at 2016 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 2016 Annual Report on the economic performance of European SMEs.

The SBA is an overarching framework for the EU policy on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It aims to improve the approach to entrepreneurship in Europe, simplify the regulatory and policy environment for SMEs, and remove the remaining barriers to their development.

The country fact-sheets assess progress in implementation of the Small Business Act at national level, based on a set of indicators and national policy developments grouped according to the SBA's ten policy dimensions.

10 Small Business Act (SBA) principles: 

The SBA is driven by the "Think Small First principle" - SMEs' interests are taken into account at a very early stage of policy making. This helps the EU develop SMEs-friendly legislation. 

The SBA is structured around ten principles that constitute policy dimensions under this assessment. Those dimensions are: 

  1. Education and training for entrepreneurship, including women’s entrepreneurship
  2. Efficient bankruptcy procedures and “second chance” for entrepreneurs.
  3. Institutional and regulatory framework for SME policy making.
  4. Operational environment for business creation
  5. Support services for SMEs and public procurement
  6. Access to finance for SMEs
  7. Supporting SMEs to benefit from Euro-MED networks and partnerships
  8. Enterprise skills and innovation
  9. SMEs in a green economy
  10. Internationalisation of SMEs 

These principles are measured for the purpose of Member State comparison. 

The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index 

The GEDI methodology collects data on the entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities and aspirations of the local population and then weights these against the prevailing social and economic ‘infrastructure’