New Online Guide To SME Supports
The government has launched an online search tool for SME business supports.
The 'supporting SMEs online' tool can be accessed from LEO websites and other government sites, and it can also be embedded in a website. Users answer eight questions relating to their business and its location, sector, etc, to access details on the 80 or so government business supports on offer to SMEs.
The government commissioned a survey of over 2,000 SMEs to gauge the awareness of the supports available to them and found that 98% of respondents had a low awareness of the available public supports.
Other findings in the survey showed that 74% of SMEs identified grants as the biggest area of interest. Access to funds for business development investigated by 66% of respondents, while 56% also sought out mentoring and overall business development support. One third of respondents expressed interest in the area of financial skills development.
The SME online tool was developed by Irish firm pTools and it allows users to download their filtered support results as a document for future use. Based on their answers to the eight questions, users are given a breakdown of the suitable supports for their business, along with contact details for each support.
They are also provided with contact details of their nearest (LEO) to discuss the results of the guide, and some specific information about accessing the Government credit schemes and initiatives (such as the Credit Review Office, Microfinance Ireland and Credit Guarantee Scheme).
To access the online tool, visit www.localenterprise.ie/smeonlinetool/ . (May 2014)