SMEs still not availing of technology and business grants

New survey shows most small firms only dimly aware of grants for their business

Just 11 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses know about the availability of technology and business grants

Just 11 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses know about the availability of technology and business grants

 

SMEs are still only dimly aware of Government technology and business grants that can help them grow their business, according to a new survey.

Research carried out on behalf of cloud telecoms provider Magnet shows just 11 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses know about the availability of such grants, the same percentage as last year.

According to the study of IT decision makers at 540 companies, just 6 per cent of Irish firms surveyed had successfully accessed the Enterprise Ireland innovation voucher (worth €5,000) which are available to assist a company to explore a business opportunity or problem with higher education institutes. This compares with 3 per cent a year earlier.

In addition, the number of companies availing of the online trading voucher (worth €2,500) rose from just 1 per cent to 4 per cent over the last year. The vouchers, which are available from local enterprise offices, assist small firms to develop their ecommerce capability.

The survey reveals that 52 per cent of SMEs intend to invest in IT infrstructure over the next 12 months, as against 30 per cent a year ago.

Companies reported feeling considerably more optimistic about business opportunities than they did this time last year with 74 per cent of those surveyed expressing a positive outlook, versus 61 per cent last year.

Nonetheless, 62 per cent of respondents said the Government still wasn’t doing enough for SMEs and 37 per cent reported difficulties finding employees with the right skills.