Covid-19 and the Irish SME Sector: Supporting Recovery and Growth
Vodafone’s new small business report is based on a nationwide survey of 500 SMEs operating in rural and urban areas in Ireland and across a wide range of sectors. In addition, a European economic benchmark analysis was carried out by economist Stephen Kinsella to assess the opportunities and challenges for SMEs in Ireland vis-à-vis other European markets.
Key Findings from Irish SMEs:
Business Impact of Covid-19 & Future Outlook
- 70% suffered full or partial closures during lockdowns
- 75% experienced some reduction in financial performance – (an average of 34%)
- 67% are confident in the future of their own business
- 50% anticipate growth in their business in the next 2 years
The Role of Technology
- 43% claim they could not have functioned productively without investment in technology
- 50% of SMEs invested in technology such as communications or digital channels
- Only 19% of smaller Irish firms are ‘highly digitalised’
- 75% of SMEs have been unable to facilitate remote working
- 50% said scaling IT and phone systems was the biggest issue when trying to facilitate remote working
Investment in technology
- 25% aren’t confident their staff have the necessary digital skills
- 50% plan to invest specifically in digital skills training
- 60% plan to invest in people training in the next two years
The findings in this report point clearly to a need for greater structural supports to help Irish SMEs recover from a period of significant uncertainty and instability, increase productivity levels, access new markets and generate new entrepreneurs and start-up enterprises. At the heart of the findings, digitalisation is identified as a key driver for recovery, with significant growth potential for Irish SMEs who engage in digital transformation.
The full report can be downloaded here.