WHILE small firms in Cork and Kerry are less positive about the year ahead than companies elsewhere in Ireland, 57% are confident about the future and one in 13 plans to open a new premises this year.
The inaugural Magnet Regional Business Barometer (MRBB), a study of over 600 SMEs across the Republic of Ireland by Amárach Research, on behalf of cloud telecoms provider Magnet, revealed that companies of five staff and under are less confident than larger companies, and all feel the Government is not doing enough for them.
One-third of firms in the Cork-Kerry area do not know who their local public representatives are, and only 11% are aware of the technology and business grants available worth up to €5,000.
SME decision makers generally are much more positive than the general public, with 75% of SME’s saying the economy is improving, while just 55% of the general public feel this is the case.
The manufacturing sector is most positive in its outlook for the year ahead, with SMEs in hotels, restaurants and bars the most negative.
‘The first year of Magnet’s barometer shows SMEs across Ireland are far more positive about the future than consumers.
‘Businesses are proving very resilient in the face of the high operating costs and financing issues they are facing,’ said Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet.
‘While the upswing is seeping through to all businesses, it’s clear that the smaller ones are most vulnerable and in need of support.’
Just 9% of small businesses in Cork and Kerry feel the Government is doing enough to help them. However, firms were generally positive about Budget 2015 (53%).
According to the Magnet Regional Business Barometer, only 11% of SMEs overall are aware of Government technology and business grants, and the smaller the firm the less likely that they are aware of the supports available.
‘The low awareness of supports available to small firms is striking,’ said Kellett.
Over the coming weeks, Magnet will be hosting regional breakfast briefings for SMEs based on the research. For more details see magnet.ie/briefings