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Ireland is the top performer in skills and innovation in the EU

Positive results for small business in Ireland as the European Commission’s Small Business Act Fact sheet 2017 is published 

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen, TD has welcomed the publication of the 2017 Small Business Act Fact sheet for Ireland.

The Small Business Act is the EU’s flagship policy initiative to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It is made up of a set of policy measures organised around 10 principles including entrepreneurship, internationalisation, state aid and public procurement. The publication of the 2017 Fact sheet coincides with SME Assembly which takes place in Tallinn from 22 - 24 November 2017.

The SBA Fact Sheets are produced annually by the European Commission and aim to improve understanding of recent trends and national policies affecting SMEs across the European Union. Ireland’s SBA profile continues to be competitive and the Fact sheet shows improvements on last year’s performance.

Welcoming the publication of the SBA Fact Sheet, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen, TD said “I am pleased to see positive results for Ireland in the SBA Sheet again this year. Our rankings have been improving since the publication of Ireland’s first ever National Entrepreneurship Policy Statement in 2014. The Policy Statement sets out a plan until 2020 and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will shortly publish a mid-term review outlining what has been achieved to date”.

In the area of skills and innovation the Fact Sheet finds that Ireland is the top performer in the EU. Another measure where Ireland scores particularly well is the percentage of public contracts being secured abroad by SMEs. This is at 17.2% many multiples of the EU average of 2.6%

In eight of the nine SBA areas — entrepreneurship, ‘second chance’, ‘responsive administration’, state aid & public procurement, access to finance, single market, skills & innovation and internationalisation — Ireland performs above or well above the EU average. On the environment, Ireland performs in line with the EU average.

During 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, which is the reference period for policy measures in this year’s SBA fact sheet, Ireland implemented a substantial (17) number of relevant policy measures and announced a further three planned measures that will improve conditions for small businesses.

A total of 20 measures address 6 out of the 10 policy areas under the Small Business Act. Overall, the stakeholders acknowledge that the progress made in implementing the SBA has been substantial.


For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 01 6312200 or

Editors’ Notes:

The 2017 SBA Fact Sheet for Ireland is available at 2017-SBA-Fact-Sheet. 

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. 

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and