News & Events

Taking Care of Business: Almost 30 state bodies, agencies and services come together to answer questions and provide advice to small-business owners, managers and entrepreneurs

Focus on Brexit and access to finance options for SME’s

Over 350 small-business owners, managers and those interested in starting their own business have registered for a one-stop-shop event for SMEs, ‘Taking Care of Business’, in Athlone today (Wednesday, 2nd October).

This event, organised by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, in conjunction with the Health and Safety Authority and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, provides people who are thinking of starting a business, and existing entrepreneurs, with the information they need from across the public sector.

Since 2013, approximately 2,700 people have attended events such as this to find out about key regulatory requirements and assistance available to help entrepreneurs to develop their businesses. 

Three local firms, Bevcraft, Scaled Rigs, and Ermen Systems will also talk about the supports they received from the public sector. 

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, who will give the keynote speech at the event said “Today’s event is a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to reach out to the business community, and to promote awareness of the range of supports available to the SME sector, start-ups and entrepreneurs. It is also a sign of our commitment to regional development.” 

Pointing out that Ireland is seen internationally as a great place to do business, the Minister said that Ireland is in the top 10 countries for ease of starting a business in the World Bank Group Doing Business report for 2019 and has climbed five places to seventh in the IMD [International Institute for Management Development] World Competitiveness Rankings. 

On Brexit, the Minister said, “The Government has intensified preparations for a no-deal Brexit over the past few months and is urging people to take action now to prepare for Brexit to protect their business. My Department and its agencies, as well as others across Government, have developed a suite of measures to advise and support businesses with such preparations, so they can mitigate the effects of the disruption. The Government recently launched its ‘Getting Your Business Brexit Ready – Practical Steps’ booklet which outlines the key steps businesses, large and small, should consider now to make sure they are prepared for Brexit.”

Dealing with the challenges and opportunities beyond Brexit, the Minister spoke of the need to be ready for technological advances such as Artificial Intelligence and automation adding: “We have to prepare for the economy of tomorrow. For this reason, the Government has launched an ambitious strategy, Future Jobs Ireland. The initiative focuses on five pillars including embracing technological change; improving SME productivity; skills and talent; labour force participation; and transitioning to the low-carbon economy.”

Minister Humphreys added: “Future Jobs Ireland, while a national framework, recognises that approximately 74 per cent of SMEs are located outside Dublin, and that improving productivity in firms across the country will improve regional economic performance. Of course, we also have the 9 Regional Enterprise Plans, which I launched earlier this year. These plans are based on collaboration between regional stakeholders, who work to agreed Strategic Objectives. They are geared towards strengthening the regions and addressing any vulnerabilities.”

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D., in advance of today’s event, emphasised the value and importance of Taking Care of Business: “Events such as this have been held up and down the country and there has been a very positive reaction from the business community to them. Taking Care of Business events play a vital role in providing the kind of informal face-to-face communication between business and government that benefits us all.”

A number of representative bodies from industry support the event and are available to talk to attendees on the day. The three sessions of presentations in ‘Taking Care of Business’ were chaired by Joanne Harmon, Business and Education Supports Manager with the Health and Safety Authority, Christine Charlton, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office, Westmeath, and John McGrath, President of Athlone Chamber.

For more details including the running order of presentations and the full list of State bodies attending, please visit


Notes for Editors 

The State bodies represented at Taking Care of Business deal with a wide range of areas, including:

  • Brexit;
  • Access to finance for SMEs;
  • Assistance and supports from enterprise agencies;
  • Tax, Employment and Health & Safety obligations;
  • Legal requirements for setting up and running a business;
  • Requirements in areas such as food and environmental safety;
  • Advice on government procurement and intellectual property; 

The State offices, agencies and services represented at this event are:

  • Local Enterprise Office
  • Revenue Commissioners
  • Enterprise Ireland
  • Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
  • Companies Registration Office
  • Data Protection Commission
  • Food Safety Authority of Ireland
  • Health and Safety Authority
  • Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement
  • Workplace Relations Commission
  • Office of Government Procurement
  • Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
  • Regional Skills, Midlands
  • National Standards Authority of Ireland
  • Microfinance Ireland
  • Credit Review Office
  • Solvit (informal problem-solving network for EU citizens and businesses)
  • Patents Office
  • InterTradeIreland
  • Trade Licensing and Control Unit, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation
  • Enterprise Europe Network
  • Supporting SMEs online tool (Access to Finance)
  • Skillnet Ireland
  • Health Products Regulatory Authority
  • Personal Injuries Assessment Board
  • Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland
  • Science Foundation Ireland
  • Prompt Payment Code
  • SEAI 

‘Taking Care of Business’ is supported by the Small Firms Association, Chambers Ireland, ISME, RGDATA, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, IBEC, IDA Ireland, ICT Skillnet, Construction Industry Federation, Athlone Chamber, the Hardware Association of Ireland and Westmeath County Council.

The twitter hashtags for the events are #supportforbusiness and #TCOB2019.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation, or (01) 631 2200

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