EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Ireland: ERM comparative analytical report on Public support instruments to support self-employment and job creation in one-person and micro enterprises

  • Observatory: EMCC
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  • Published on: 12 January 2012



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Disclaimer: This information is made available as a service to the public but has not been edited by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. The content is the responsibility of the authors.

The severity of the ongoing financial crisis and recession in Ireland has illustrated the importance of public support instruments to support self-employment and job creation in micro enterprises; especially given that the vast majority of enterprises in Ireland are small/micro entities. However, influenced by the scale of Ireland’s financial crisis and responses to this, insufficient policy attention has been paid to supporting job creation in micro enterprises.

QUESTIONNAIRE

Part 1: Overall policy context

This section aims at giving a brief overview of the general development and status quo of the policy discussion and thereof resulting instruments, measures or initiatives in the field of fostering self-employment and job creation in one-person and micro enterprises (less than 10 employees). Focus is mainly on the developments during the last decade, that is before the global recession. In addition we are asking for your indication of change of policy focus since the recession.

1. General policy approach in the area of self-employment, one-person and micro enterprises at the national level


1.1. Has there been a policy focus/debate on the specific challenges facing entrepreneurship as tool for job creation before the global recession? If so, since when and for how long?

Table 1: Presence of policy focus/debate on entrepreneurship as facilitation for job creation before the crisis
 

Yes, continuously since 2000

Yes, on and off in the last 10 years

(Please indicate ‘X’ where it applies)

Yes, has been in focus, but since xx it is no longer part of the policy focus (Please indicate year)

No, it has never had policy focus before the recession

(Please indicate ‘X’ where it applies)

Self-employment

X

     
Hiring the first employee

X

     
Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises

X

     

There is a long history and culture of entrepreneurship in Ireland, but the policy focus on entrepreneurship as a tool for job creation really took off alongside the rise of Ireland’s so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic boom from 2000 onwards. A report by Goodbody Economic Consultants entitled ‘Entrepreneurship in Ireland’ (2002) describes the nature of entrepreneurship in the country at that time:

http://www.donnerenviedentreprendre.com/documentation/IMG/pdf/_205_Entrepreneurship_in_Ireland.pdf


1.2. What is the main focus in policy documents or strategies in relation to public or social partnerbased support instruments for fostering self-employment or job creation in one-person and micro enterprises? (Please indicate ‘X’, multiple answers possible)

Table 2: Main focus in the policy documents or strategies
 

Entrepreneurship (Business development in general)

Job creation (Employment)

Growth (Competitiveness)

Others (please specify)

Self-employment        
Hiring the first employee        
Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises        

No area above can be said to have attracted the main focus since 2000 - all have been important at times. However, the gravity of Ireland’s recession since 2008 has meant that rescuing the broken financial system and cutting public spending have reduced the focus on job creation and employment (and there has been a surge in unemployment to 14%+ between 2008-2011). There are signs that the new Irish Fine Gael-Labour coalition government elected in March 2011 recognises the need to restore focus on job creation and employment (see below on the new ‘jobs initiative’).


1.3. Please elaborate on the answer given above (with a focus on those developments aimed at employment creation and growth) and indicate if the financial recession has caused a change of focus:

See above. In the aftermath of Ireland’s severe recession, the focus of the previous Fianna Fail-Green coalition government was on attempting to deal with the wreckage of the country’s broken financial system and, subsequently, cutting public spending through successive austerity budgets. This deflationary focus meant that there was little focus on stimulating job creation, employment and growth. The new Fine Gael-Labour coalition government announced a new jobs initiative in May 2011, but will be restricted in what it can do to resuscitate the economy because of the terms of the EU-IMF bailout and related factors. The new government jobs initiative is explicit in terms of dealing with SMEs in general (as well as other companies and individuals) as well as actions aimed specifically at micro enterprises.

Link to new Irish government jobs initiative May 2011: http://www.finfacts.ie/irishfinancenews/article_1022264.shtml

In addition, EnterpriseIreland, the state development agency, is responsible for the development and growth of indigenous Irish enterprises in world markets. It works with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales on global markets.If entrepreneurs have a new business idea, they may qualify for funding and supports from Enterprise Ireland or their local County Enterprise Board.There are 35 City and County Enterprise Boards located throughout the country that offer a first-stop shop for entrepreneurs. Supports available include:

• Start-your-own-business training courses.

• Market research information.

• Business planning advice and templates.

• Access to experienced business mentors.

• Feasibility grants and co-investment.

In addition, if the start-up business has the potential to develop an innovative product or service for sale on international markets and the potential to create 10 jobs and €1million in export sales within 3 to 4 years of starting up, then start-ups may qualify for assistance from Enterprise Ireland as a High Potential Start-up (HPSU).Enterprise Ireland has recently announced new HPSU start-up funding supports for indigenous entrepreneurs and micro enterprises operating in export markets:

Competitive Start Fund: Unveiled in 2010, the purpose of the Competitive Start Fund is to accelerate the growth of indigenousLifesciences, Cleantech and Industrial start-upcompanies that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies reach their key commercial and technical milestones, for example:

• Evaluate overseas market opportunities and reach firm conclusions regarding the viability of the proposed business

• Build a prototype

• Secure a reference site

• Develop a market entry plan for exploiting international opportunities.

• Secure partnership deal or strategic alliance

• Identify suitable channels to international markets.

• Secure third party investment e.g. business angel, Venture Capital

There have also been Competitive Start Funds to support software start-up companies in the Internet, Games, Telecoms, SaaS, Cloud Computing & Enterprise Software sectors to:

• Enable companies to achieve a Product Market Fit.

• Build a prototype, gain market traction and retain a significant number of users.

• Identify the business revenue model.

• Develop a market entry strategy/plan for exploiting international opportunities.

• Identify suitable channels to international markets.

• Evaluate and assess overseas market opportunities and reach firm conclusions regarding the viability of the proposed business.

• Assess the suitability of their current service/product offer for new markets.

See the following links for further details:

http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/Company/HPSU-Funding/Competitive-Start-Fund-CSF-.html#Closing

http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/Company/HPSU-Funding/CSF-Reference-Document.pdf

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/nov/25/enterprise-ireland-funding

http://www.fastcompany.com/1705967/irelands-life-raft-for-entrepreneurs-silicon-valley-international-branding-and-corporate-men

The factors listed above have become more important as policy goals in Ireland due to the recession. The policy debate on entrepreneurship in Ireland since the recession hit in 2008 has been motivated by economic necessity and wider market or system failures, and given the rapid deterioration in other forms of employment. In a deep recession, there is an increase in the numbers turning, or contemplating, to entrepreneurship as a means of creating employment for themselves and others - and this motivation is reflected in recent policy debate.But government now has much less scope to facilitate these policy goals given the context of severe public spending cuts and the EU-IMF bailout.


Table 3: The policy content and significance of the financial recession

Self-employment

Elaboration of content (please describe and also indicate whether it is treated explicitly/implicitly)

 

Change due to the financial recession

Please tick:

Yes: x

No: □

If ‘Yes’, please elaborate:

Hiring the first employee

Elaboration of content (please describe and also indicate whether it is treated explicitly/implicitly)

 

Change due to the financial recession

Please tick:

Yes: x

No: □

If ‘Yes’, please elaborate:

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises

Elaboration of content (please describe and also indicate whether it is treated explicitly/implicitly)

 

Change due to the financial recession

Please tick:

Yes: x

No: □

If ‘Yes’, please elaborate:

2. Disincentives for self-employment and job creation

The following two questions will investigate whether there has been a change in the political agenda which has forced new political initiatives that may result in disincentives for job creation and business development (e.g. considerations regarding public budget).


2.1 Have public measures (e.g. with the aim to increase public revenue or cut public spending) led to disincentives for self-employment or job creation in one-person or micro enterprisesbefore the financial recession?(Please briefly describe the major developments/initiatives (max. 300 words)

Before the financial recession took hold in Ireland in 2008, perhaps the main disincentive to job creation by the self-employed, entrepreneurs and micro enterprises was the rising cost of doing business in Ireland, rising cost of goods and services, rising energy costs, rising transport costs, rising cost of office/retail/property space. In short, Ireland had become one of the highest cost economies in the developed world, and this was a big disincentive to entrepreneurs/micro enterprises.


2.2 Have public measures (e.g. with the aim to increase public revenue or cut public spending) led to disincentives for self-employment or job creation in one-person or micro enterprisesas a result of the financial recession?(Please describe – max. 300 words)

The main job creation disincentives for the self-employed and micro enterprises resulting from the financial and economic recession in Ireland relates to the general deflationary policy pursued by the Irish government with the aim to substantially cut public spending. The impact has been to severely reduce consumer demand and increase uncertainty in the wider economy – and the private sector has been unable to fill the gap left by such severe public spending cuts. Furthermore, Ireland’s overall cost base remains comparatively high despite the recession.

3. Representation of/lobbying for self-employed and micro enterprises


Are self-employed and micro enterprises in your national context explicitly or implicitly (e.g. entrepreneurs or SMEs in general) represented by the following types of organisations (e.g. for lobbying, defending their interest etc.)?

Table 4: Representation of self-employed and micro enterprises
 

Self-employed

Micro enterprises

Employers’ organisations

Implicitly. Various employer groups like ISME and IBEC would lobby for competitive business environment for entrepreneurs.

Yes explicitly: the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME), and the Small Firms Association (SFA)

Employees’ organisation

Explicitly by SIPTU, Building and Allied Trades Union (BATU), National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Very few micro-enterprises are unionised in Ireland. Some unions like SIPTU represent employees in some micro-enterprises.

Not-for-profit organisations

   

Others

   

Part 2: Identification and description of relevant recent support instruments

The following section asks for the identification of public or social partner based support instruments initiated during or after the recent economiccrisis (that is, 2008 onwards). These measures might have, but must not necessarily have been triggered by the recession. Measures may also have been initiated earlier, but changed in order to adapt to the recession or other recent developments. Rather than a comprehensive list of all instruments available at national, regional or local level, the most important, most innovative, most interesting and most effective tools are to be described. Thereof, a selection of up to three ‘Good Practices’ to be described in more detail is to be made.

1. Selection of region(s) when total coverage of the entire regional and local level is too comprehensive

When providing the brief overview and the three ‘Good Practices’ in this section of the questionnaire, measures and instruments at national level have to be included. We would in addition ask you to include regional and local level initiatives where relevant. Nonetheless, a complete coverage of regional and local levels may not be possible for all countries (e.g. because of a high degree of decentralisation resulting in a wide range of respective measures characterised by considerably heterogeneity). At the same time, it can be assumed that for instruments targeting at supporting self-employment and the creation of employment in one-person and micro enterprises the local administrative level is of considerable importance. If so, such measures will be designed to fit to the local characteristics and needs, resulting in a wide variety of different approaches. In this case, one or few local areas or regions may be selected to be covered in this report. Details on the selection are given in table 5.

Table 5: Administrative level/region(s) covered for the following research (max. 50 words per region)

Administrative level relevant for the rest of the questionnaire

National level

If a specific regional/local are is selected, please provide the following information

Name of region

 
Motivation for selecting this region

Facts about the region e.g.

- Geographic location

- No. of inhabitants

- Business structure (sector, size)

- Labour market

- Specific characteristics if applicable

 

2. Brief overview of recent instruments to foster self-employment or job creation in one-person and micro enterprises


2.1. Please provide a brief description (max. 800 words) of public or social partner based instruments recently initiated (2008 onwards) to support self-employment and job creation in one-person or micro enterprises.

Measures covered by the European Employment Observatory Review on self-employment 2010, European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities are to be omitted to avoid duplication (see Part 3 of this questionnaire).

Ireland’s tripartite social partnership model broke down in 2009/2010, so there is now much less social partner-related activity in this area. In terms of government policy, it is important to distinguish here between policy instruments proposed by the previous Fianna Fail led Irish government and the new Fine Gael-Labour government (only elected in February 2011).

Previous government policy between 2008 and 2010

In September 2009, the then Fianna Fail led Irish government announced a range of new supports for small businesses/entrepreneurs. In an address to the annual conference of the Small Firms Association, the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, announced new initiatives aimed at supporting the development of new businesses and fostering an entrepreneurial culture in Ireland. The Tánaiste announced a broadening of the financial supports that the 35 County and City Enterprise Boards (CEB) can offer their client businesses. The intended effect of the move is to broaden the scope of the start-up and development costs that can be assisted. As a result of these changes, subsidies will now be available for all legitimate business costs directly attributable to starting a new business, or growing and developing a business, rather than being restricted to asset acquisition. The Tánaiste said that the changes would align CEB supports more closely with those of the other enterprise support agencies and ensure a consistency in approach. She said that, while the change would not affect the existing criteria governing client eligibility for grant support, the move would allow much greater flexibility in how the CEBs support start-up and small growing enterprises.

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA): Introduced as part of a larger scheme in 1999 (the Back to Work Allowance, BTWA), itwas reorganised in April 2009 to focus only on promoting enterprise. It is designed toencourage the long-term unemployed (i.e. those unemployed for at least one year) andother specified welfare beneficiaries (including those receiving One-parent Family Payment,Disability Allowance, Blind Person’s Pensions, Carer’s Allowance, Farm Assist, etc.) to take upself-employment opportunities by allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of theirsocial welfare payment (and secondary benefits) for a fixed period. The applicant’s businessplan must be approved by a departmental jobs facilitator. BTWEA beneficiaries can alsoobtain subsidies for the costs associated with starting a business, through the jobsfacilitator, from a Departmental Technical Assistance and Training Fund (TAT).

In December 2009, the previous government also announced the expansion of a fund to supply seed capital for new entrepreneurs. The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, launched a new €23 million expansion of the Allied Irish Banks (AIB) Seed Capital Fund. The €23 million expansion will bring the total fund size to €53 million and will target investments in start-up and early stage businesses with a particular focus on technology, financial services, clean and green sectors, and also businesses in the medical devices sectors. AIB and Enterprise Ireland are joint partners. The expansion of the AIB Seed Fund is part of the government’s bank recapitalisation initiative, and is intended to achieve a significant broadening of access to funding for indigenous start-up and early stage businesses.

In June 2010, a scheme aimed at assisting employers to create new jobs for those out of work for six months or more was launched by the government. Under the ‘Employer Job Incentive Scheme’, an approved employer who creates a full-time position will be exempt from paying employers' PRSI for 12 months from the date of approval. When launching the scheme, the then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen claimed the plan would save an employer in the region of €3,000 from the annual cost of employing an additional worker.

Many of these initiatives were retained by the new Fine Gail-Labour Government; although some have been amended.

New Government – from March 2011

The new government has only been in office since February 2011, but announced a new broad-based jobs initiative in May 2011 (which includes the instruments described below to support self-employment and job creation in one-person or micro enterprises). The government described the Jobs Initiative as a ‘first step’ towards improving competitiveness and job creation. Some media commentators suggested that it showed evidence of joined-up thinking.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/0511/1224296698836.html

In May 2011, along with fellow Ministers, the new Minister for Employment, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton unveiled plans for a partial loan guarantee scheme, a micro-finance fund, public procurement benefits for micro enterprises, proposed reform of sector wage regulations, reductions in employer PRSI contributions, targeted reductions in VAT, and other measures:

Firstly, the Minister announced that a partial loan guarantee scheme will be in operation by autumn 2011. He claims that this measure will be of particular help to the innovative companies the government is trying to encourage as part of its growth strategy. For every €400million that is guaranteed by the State an additional 4,500 companies can get further credit that will in turn create more than 8,000 jobs, the Minister suggested.Secondly, a new micro-finance fund will provide funding for small loans to start-ups, but this instrument will not be introduced until the December 2011 Budget. The Minister said that any recovery will be driven, in part, by businesses which start-up during the recession, but added that many start-ups lack the small amounts of finance that can be the difference between success and failure. This commitment on a micro-finance fund is the government’s contribution to filling this enterprise finance gap in the market.

Third, the Minister said it is clear that government can also play a key role in improving cash flow to businesses, and from 1st July 2011, all government bodies (excluding commercial semi states) will be required to pay suppliers within 15 days of receipt of a valid invoice. Given that the public sector enters contracts with suppliers worth €15 billion each year, the importance of such a policy for all the companies that do business with the State is clear. Further, the government announced a range of measures to improve access to public procurement by SMEs. Every 1% increase in public procurement contracts won by small and medium sized firms would deliver €150 million extra in business for this crucial sector, the Minister claimed.

In terms of reducing costs to business, the new government has also announced reductions in employers’ PRSI:employers’ PRSI for new low-paid workers will be halved. There will also be a targeted VAT reduction for the tourism sector - VAT will be reduced from 13.5 to 9 % on all tourist-related ventures.

In the area of employment regulation, the government recently received the Report of the Independent Review of Employment Regulation Orders and Registered Employment Agreements. The report says that the sector wage regulation system requires radical overhaul so as to make it fairer and more responsive to changing economic circumstances and labour market conditions. In particular, the report refers to issues relating to overtime and premium payments for Sunday working, the number of Joint Labour Committees, and the general functioning and supervision of the system.

The government will also be piloting a scheme to incentivise individuals, both in Ireland and abroad, to attract fast-growing emerging international companies which are currently not reached by the Industrial Development Agency (IDA).

Finally, the government has signalled its intent to restructure and rationalise Ireland’s banks, and says work will go ahead to ensure that restructured banks will lend €30 billion to business enterprises (including the self-employed and micro enterprises) during the next three years. Securing access to bank finance has been a major problem for micro businesses in Ireland during the recession.


2.2. In-depth description of ‘Good Practices’

Please choose up to three examples from the above list that can be considered as ‘Good Practice’ (e.g. because of their effectiveness, innovative character or beneficial cooperation among different stakeholders) and describe them in detail.

Table 7: Description of ‘Good Practice’ examples of recent support instruments

Name of the programme/instrument

Competitive Start Fund (Enterprise Ireland)

Is the instrument explicitly addressing any of the following:

Self-employment

Hiring the first employee

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

 

x

x

Operational level

Local

Regional

National

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

   

x

Rationale/motivation for the instrument

(please describe)

The purpose of the Competitive Start Fund is to accelerate the growth of Lifesciences, Cleantech and Industrial start-upcompanies that have the capability to succeed in global markets.

Purpose and aims for the instrument (please describe) Described above
Initiator
Please ‘X’      
Other stakeholders actively involved in implementation (please name them and describe their roles)  
Target groups        
Please describe the target groups (sector, age, level of education, gender)

The Competitive Start Fund is open to:

• Companies who are active in the  Lifesciences, Cleantech and Industrial sectors

• Individuals who, prior to Enterprise Ireland’s investment, will register a company which will be active in these sectors.

In addition, applicants must fulfil all of the following criteria:

• Must be manufacturing or internationally traded services business.

• Must not have received equity funding of €100,000 or more.

• Must be pre-trading or recently commenced trading, i.e. has revenues less than €60,000 in the last full financial year.

• Must be capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising sales of €1million within 3 to 4 years of start up.

Funding        
Please describe the funding of the instrument/programme (national and European sources, budget available)

• The maximum support available is €50,000 for a 10% ordinary equity stake in the start-up company. 

• The investment shall be released in two equal tranches.  

• The first tranche will be released when the company provides confirmation of an additional investment of €5,000 in the company and meets the general terms and conditions of the scheme.

Eligible costs

The overall equity investment will be towards the costs associated with developing the business plan and making progress on key technical and commercial milestones. The following activities are expected to form the basis of expenditure:

• Salaries

• Travel

• Consultancy Fees

• Other Expenditure

Activities    
Please describe the activities of the programme or institutional initiative as detailed as possible

Results (Effectiveness)      
Please describe the results e.g. number of beneficiaries, advised enterprises

Too early to assess. It has been chosen as a ‘good practice’ because it constitutes a policy measure designed to improve prospects for entrepreneurs-micro enterprises in indigenous export sectors.

Challenges in order to reach the objectives e.g. for the organisation offering the instrument, the entrepreneurs (Please describe); and if available how these have been overcome

Assessments of the effectiveness e.g. investments made in order to reach the objectives of the programme (outcome vs. investment) (Please base this assessment on evaluations when possible)

Too early to assess

Outcomes (Efficiency)  
Increasing self-employment, growth and employment e.g. number of start-up and/or jobs created etc. (please describe, preferably based on evaluations, otherwise on experts’ assessment)

Too early to assess

Please provide link to evaluation documents if possible  
Example 2:

Name of the programme/instrument

In national language and English

Is the instrument explicitly addressing any of the following:

Self-employment

Hiring the first employee

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

     

Operational level

Local

Regional

National

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

     

Rationale/motivation for the instrument

(please describe)

Purpose and aims for the instrument (please describe)

Initiator
Please ‘X’        
Other stakeholders actively involved in implementation (please name them and describe their roles)  
Target groups        
Please describe the target groups (sector, age, level of education, gender)  
Funding        
Please describe the funding of the instrument/programme (national and European sources, budget available)  
Activities    
Please describe the activities of the programme or institutional initiative as detailed as possible

Results (Effectiveness)      
Please describe the results e.g. number of beneficiaries, advised enterprises

Challenges in order to reach the objectives e.g. for the organisation offering the instrument, the entrepreneurs (Please describe); and if available how these have been overcome

Assessments of the effectiveness e.g. investments made in order to reach the objectives of the programme (outcome vs. investment) (Please base this assessment on evaluations when possible)

Outcomes (Efficiency)  
Increasing self-employment, growth and employment e.g. number of start-up and/or jobs created etc. (please describe, preferably based on evaluations, otherwise on experts’ assessment)

Please provide link to evaluation documents if possible  

Example 3:

Name of the programme/instrument

In national language and English

Is the instrument explicitly addressing any of the following:

Self-employment

Hiring the first employee

Hiring additional employees/creating additional jobs in micro enterprises

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

     

Operational level

Local

Regional

National

Please ‘X’ and/or describe if relevant

     

Rationale/motivation for the instrument

(please describe)

Purpose and aims for the instrument (please describe)

Initiator
Please ‘X’        
Other stakeholders actively involved in implementation (please name them and describe their roles)  
Target groups        
Please describe the target groups (sector, age, level of education, gender)  
Funding        
Please describe the funding of the instrument/programme (national and European sources, budget available)  
Activities    
Please describe the activities of the programme or institutional initiative as detailed as possible

Results (Effectiveness)      
Please describe the results e.g. number of beneficiaries, advised enterprises

Challenges in order to reach the objectives e.g. for the organisation offering the instrument, the entrepreneurs (Please describe); and if available how these have been overcome

Assessments of the effectiveness e.g. investments made in order to reach the objectives of the programme (outcome vs. investment) (Please base this assessment on evaluations when possible)

Outcomes (Efficiency)  
Increasing self-employment, growth and employment e.g. number of start-up and/or jobs created etc. (please describe, preferably based on evaluations, otherwise on experts’ assessment)

Please provide link to evaluation documents if possible  

Part 3: Annex: Update on recent self-employment study

The recent European Employment Observatory Review on self-employment 2010, European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunitiesprovides insight into support instruments for self-employment. To avoid duplication of this information, we ask you as National Correspondent to omit these measures already covered in your research (Part 2 of this questionnaire), and only update or add any additional details or measures that exceed the information already provided in this report.

Table 8: Additional information on specific instruments to the EEO national report on self-employment:

Title of the instrument

 
Additional information

Table 9: Please add any other comments to the EEO national report on self-employment:

Table 10: Please indicate ‘X’ if you have no additional information to the EEO national report on self-employment:

Please indicate ‘X’ if you have no additional information to provide

X

Commentary

The depth of the financial crisis and recession in Ireland has illustrated the importance of public support instruments to support self-employment and job creation in micro-enterprises; especially given that the vast majority of enterprises in Ireland are small/micro entities. However, influenced by the scale of Ireland’s financial crisis and responses to this, insufficient policy attention has been paid to supporting job creation in micro enterprises. Furthermore, many initiatives have tended to be quite small-scale in nature, and there could be better linkage between the various components of start-up support for the self-employed and micro enterprises. This is because a targeted whole policy package would work better than if individual components are implemented in a reactive and ad hoc manner.

Tony Dobbins Bangor University



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