The OECD review of SME and entrepreneurship policies in Ireland

The OECD review of SME and entrepreneurship policies in Ireland

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation invited the OECD to undertake a review of entrepreneurship and SME growth and development in 2018.

The objectives of the Review are to:

  • Provide an assessment of current SME and entrepreneurship policies and programmes;
  • Provide international comparison of successful SME and entrepreneurship policies;
  • Develop options for the strengthening of entrepreneurship and SME performance, policy design and implementation.

In line with the practice for OECD country reviews, a number of good-practice SME and entrepreneurship policy approaches from other countries facing similar challenges are being identified.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) has worked with the OECD over the last year in facilitating an open and inclusive engagement between the OECD and its international experts and the Department, other Government Departments, agencies, academia, business representatives and the small business sector in Ireland.

This engagement has enabled the OECD to gain insightful knowledge of our SME and entrepreneurship ecosystem at the various critical stages of building this report. An associated SME and Entrepreneurship Roadmap will highlight the top recommendations by the OECD. Some of the emerging OECD recommendations include:

  • Draft an SME and entrepreneurship strategy document, including entrepreneurships, start-ups and SMEs;
  • Scale up current initiatives to support SME exports, such as Trading Online Vouchers, Enterprise Ireland’s Exporter Development Department and InterTrade Ireland’s grants and funding Advisory Service.
  • Scale up the policy focus of Local Enterprise Offices to include SMEs and incentivise them to reach out to local SMEs in their activities;
  • Establish an interdepartmental committee on SMEs and entrepreneurship;
  • Simplify the process for applying for Research and Development tax credits, to reduce the uncertainty and encourage more take-up by SMEs;
  • Encourage a wider take-up of Skillnet Ireland programmes to develop management capabilities in Irish SMEs, with a particular focus on technology skills;
  • Implement a simple online diagnostic assessment tool for micro and small enterprises by the LEOs to better match the enterprise with advisory and mentoring services;
  • The role of standards should be promoted to drive enterprise competitiveness. Standards development and use can enhance productivity in SMEs, facilitate supply chain linkages and international collaborations, and enhance spill-overs from multinationals to SMEs.

This review will be published in October of this year. This will assist DBEI to develop an SME Strategy as part of the Future Jobs Framework. While the review will be a comprehensive and detailed Report, the Roadmap will be a shorter document, which identifies the key priority recommendations that should receive the most immediate focus for implementation.

Assistant Principal Officer Department of Business, Employment and Innovation

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