Coronavirus rules blamed as confidence dips among small firms

Other issues cited for decline in last quarter of 2021 include restricted supply chains

The “stop/start” nature of Covid-19 restrictions has been blamed partially for a further reduction in confidence among small business owners in the last quarter of 2021.

The Business Sentiment Survey, Winter 2021, carried out by the Small Firms Association (SFA), shows 41 per cent of small business owners were optimistic in winter 2021 compared to 55 per cent in the summer.

SFA director Sven Spollen-Behrens said: “Many small businesses find themselves back in a situation of Covid restrictions, which they did not expect in the earlier half of the year. This has affected their ability to trade optimally.

“They have been particularly affected by issues such as an increase in the costs of doing business, the cost of raw materials and restricted supply chains.


“Domestic economic growth continues to be the primary driver of business opportunities. Ireland’s entrepreneurs continue to seek out new opportunities in their digital transformation and investing in business expansion.”

When asked separately about the green economy, 61 per cent of small businesses owners said that they view the green economy as a priority for their business in 2022.

However, when asked about the challenges in a green transition, small businesses identified the high costs involved as the most significant barrier, followed by lack of clear access to information and a disjointed approach by State agencies.

Mr Spollen-Behrens added: “The final quarter of 2021 was a difficult one for the small business community with the stop/start nature of Covid restrictions causing a fall back in confidence levels.

“We must now need to find a way to live with Covid safely given the highly successful uptake of booster vaccinations. The SFA will remain focused on working and supporting members, as they navigate this uncertain period.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter