SMEs in the transport sector in Ireland are positive about the future, if less than other sectors, according to the inaugural Magnet Regional Business Barometer (MRBB), a study of over 600 SMEs across the Republic of Ireland by Amarach Research on behalf of cloud telecoms provider Magnet.
55% of transport firms feel the year ahead will be positive, with 14% believing it will be negative. Firms in manufacturing and non-financial services were the most upbeat about the future, at 74% and 70% respectively. SMEs in hospitality (47%) and construction (50%) were less optimistic.
1 in 10 SMEs plan to open a new premises in the next 12 months, but companies of 5 staff and under are less confident, and all feel the Government is not doing enough for them. 30% of firms generally do not know who their local public representatives are, and only 1 in 9 is aware of the technology and business grants available worth up to €5,000.
Surprisingly, the survey revealed that businesses in the Mid-West – Limerick, Clare, North Tipperary – are most confident about the future, followed by those in Dublin, at 73% and 67% respectively. By contrast, only 57% of firms in the Cork, Kerry area and 60% in the Border counties said they were looking forward to 2015 with optimism.
SME decision makers 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 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,” says 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.”
Only 11% of SMEs are aware of Government technology and business grants, while only 3% have successfully accessed the Enterprise Ireland voucher and only 1% the online trading voucher. 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,” says Kellett. “The poor take-up of these schemes means more needs to be done by both Government and industry to educate the SME community of the supports available. An acceleration of the planned roll-out of the national broadband scheme is critical so that all Irish SME’s can avail of the supports such as the online trading voucher.”
“We’re making it our mission to take Irish Business to the Cloud, and investment in the creation of our new regional business barometer for Ireland, where previously information was lacking, is one of the many things Magnet is doing to support SME’s in 2015.” says Kellett. A second stage of the barometer research in the coming weeks will shed light on SME’s adoption of cloud technology in their businesses.
This research is publicly available on the Magnet website for SMEs to access. Magnet will be hosting regional breakfast briefings for SMEs based on the research from next month. For more details see magnet.ie