Europe wants to strengthen and to invest in our SME sector.
Ireland’s success in attracting large multinationals to our shores has been spectacular. These companies remained sound during the financial crash and continued to provide good quality employment. This sector will always be a critical part of our economy.
We must now match our success in supporting the multi-national sector with measures to strengthen small and medium sized businesses. SMEs employ close to 1 million people in Ireland. They are the lynchpin of our economy but they need investment for their future development. Recent research by the ESRI found that only 7 per cent of indigenous enterprises say they have invested in research and development.
Fianna Fáil has called for more supports to help our SMEs to develop their technical capacity and their online presence. As Ireland is home to many global tech giants, we need to use that concentration to build innovation in our home grown SME sector.
The focus of the European Commission’s funding programme for 2021 to 2027 will be to develop research and innovation in our SMEs. The aim of this investment is to enable enterprises to work with researchers at universities to foster an innovative home-grown SME sector that will broaden the industrial base and increase economic output.
I believe a Dublin Office in Brussels to seek out funding opportunities for urban projects and to monitor the impact of EU initiatives would be beneficial to the competitiveness of Dublin as a leading centre for innovation.
My plans for investment
– Work to set up a Dublin Office in Brussels dedicated to attracting investment and mapping the impact of EU initiatives on enterprise and urban development. This Office would bring together the four local authorities, universities, research institutes and tech companies to collaborate on projects that advance sustainable development for a smarter Dublin.
– Support start-ups collaborating with our educational institutions to access funding for product innovation.
– Promote Dublin as a hub for green technologies that will help us meet our environmental targets.