Irish small and medium-sized businesses are more positive about the future of the economy than their peers in the UK and across Europe, a new survey shows.
The survey, conducted via Facebook in collaboration with the OECD and the World Bank among 140,000 small businesses (200 in Ireland) in 33 countries, finds that Irish SMEs are more upbeat than their European counterparts despite the particular risks posed to Irish businesses by Brexit and potential protectionist policies pursued by the US.
With regards to the current operating environment, the survey shows that just 44 per cent of European SMEs are positive, compared with 53 per cent of Irish businesses.
And Irish businesses are also more positive about the economic outlook, with 69 per cent saying they are positive compared with 58 per cent across Europe and 66 per cent in the UK.
“Spain and Italy show a less positive outlook, while Ireland shows a very positive outlook. These trends reflect in large part the state of each economy and, in particular, the divergent post euro-crisis recovery in Italy and Spain compared to Ireland,” the report says.
When it comes to job-creation, however, Irish growth expectations lag their European peers. While 17 per cent of Irish SMEs said they created jobs in the last six months, compared with 16 per cent in Europe, more European companies (26 per cent ) say they want to create jobs in the next six months than Irish companies (24 per cent).
Among Irish SMEs, the most common challenges identified were attracting customers (75 per cent); increasing revenue (55 per cent); and maintaining profitability (42 per cent).
The most common uses of online tools were advertising to potential new customers (75per cent); showing products/services (75per cent); and providing information (65 per cent).
Source Irish Times
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