SMEs prepare for growth but access to finance still an issue

New survey reveals 96% of small and medium firms will expand in the coming year

Most Irish small and medium sized enterprises are preparing to grow in the coming year, a new survey has found, with 96 per cent saying they planned to expand.

According to research commissioned by the Independent Finance Providers of Ireland (IFP Ireland), companies will also be seeking finance to add to their workforce, with 37 per cent expected to tap into funding sources to expand.

However, almost half of the 590 companies surveyed for the study said they had difficulty getting finance, with banks cautious on lending. According to 14 per cent of those surveyed, banks are not lending at all.

The majority of those surveyed said they would turn to alternative providers of finance to get the capital they needed. However, if they were unable to access the money, the first casualty would be creditors, with half of companies saying they would consider not paying them if they couldn’t get working capital. Just over 10 per cent said the Revenue Commissioners would find payments were delayed.


IFP Ireland is a new group representing providers of alternative finance to Irish business. The group, which was officially launched today, will promote and represent finance providers who are already operating in Ireland but may not be part of the domestic banking industry.

"These results show that companies in Ireland need a more expansive choice of funding where there is less reliance on single source finance from a limited number of providers," said IFP Ireland chairman John Power.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist