SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland

This publication presents the findings of an OECD review of SME and entrepreneurship policy in Ireland. It assesses the challenges for SME and entrepreneurship development and offers recommendations for future policy. SMEs and entrepreneurs play a crucial role in the Irish economy, with SMEs accounting for more than 70% of employment. Attitudes to entrepreneurship are positive and SME innovation rates are high. However, SME productivity has not been increasing in recent years, business entry and exit rates are low and few Irish SMEs are directly engaged in exports. There is also untapped potential for entrepreneurship among women, youth and migrants, and variations across the country in SME and entrepreneurship performance. Ireland has a strong set of policies and programmes to address these challenges. The business environment is generally favourable, there are many best practice programmes for supporting high potential SMEs and entrepreneurs, and strong co-ordination of policies across government. At the same time, policies could be strengthened in areas such as growing productivity in medium-sized businesses, increasing the start-up rate, increasing exports, fostering enterprise networks and clusters, drafting a unified SME and entrepreneurship policy strategy document and strengthening the role of Local Enterprise Offices.

Published on October 31, 2019

In series:OECD Studies on SMEs and Entrepreneurshipview more titles


Abbreviations and acronyms
Basic statistics of Ireland
Executive summary
Overall assessment and recommendations
SME and entrepreneurship characteristics and performance in Ireland
The business environment for SMEs and entrepreneurship in Ireland
The strategic framework and delivery system for SME and entrepreneurship policy in Ireland
SME and entrepreneurship programmes in Ireland
The local dimension of SME and entrepreneurship policy in Ireland
SME productivity in Ireland
Business advisory and support services in Ireland – approach and programmes
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