Recent press coverage
- National Economic Dialogue
- IPRA Quality Assurance Scheme
- Regulatory environment
National Economic Dialogue
The SFA issued a press release on 28 June on the National Economic Dialogue calling on Government to introduce measures in Budget 2018 to encourage entrepreneurship and business formation. This was covered in the Irish Times and on Businessworld.ie on 29 June.
IPRA Quality Assurance Scheme
The SFA was referenced in an article in Shelflife on 26 June in support of the Irish Petrol Retailer's Association (IPRA) Quality Assurance Scheme.
SFA Acting Director, Linda Barry commented in an article in The Sunday Business Post on 2 July on the regulatory environment for small business.
€160,000 award made to employee for penalisation
In An Employee v A Drugs Company, the highest ever award was granted for penalisation under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. In this case, a manager was dismissed for lodging a grievance regarding bullying and workplace safety against the principal employer...
In An Employee v A Drugs Company, the highest ever award was granted for penalisation under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. In this case, a manager was dismissed for lodging a grievance regarding bullying and workplace safety against the principal employer.
Two weeks after lodging the grievance, the complainant’s employment was terminated. In awarding the complainant €160,000 in compensation, the Adjudication Officer held that the employer’s version of events that the employee had turned into the “employee from hell” was not credible taking into account that the complainant had been with the company for 30 years.
This case serves as a warning to employers that they must not penalise or threaten to penalise an employee who is exercising rights or performing health and safety duties. Under the Act, it may be considered that an employer has penalised the employee if the employee suffers a detriment to his or her contract of employment as a direct result of:
- acting in compliance with the relevant statutory provisions (this only extends as far as the rights and provisions of safety, health and welfare at work legislation and does not extend to any other statutory or civil rights or provisions);
- performing any duty or exercising any right under the relevant statutory provisions;
- making a complaint or representation to his or her safety representative or employer or the Authority, as regards any matter relating to safety, health or welfare at work;
- giving evidence in proceedings in respect of the enforcement of the relevant statutory provisions;
- being a safety representative or an employee designated under Section 11 or appointed under Section 18 to perform functions under this Act; or
- in circumstances of danger, which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he or she could not reasonably have been expected to avert, leaving (or proposing to leave) or, while the danger persisted, refusing to return to his or her place of work or any dangerous part of his or her place of work, or taking (or proposing to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or herself or other persons from the danger.
Where an employee exercises one of the above rights under the 2005 Act, it is important that an employer responds in an appropriate manner. This would entail discussing any health and safety related concern and, where there is no risk or the risk is controlled, allowing employees to see risk assessments and other documentation that support this conclusion.
For further information on health and safety, you can consult the SFA guideline or contact Ciara McGuone on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01 605 1668.
Have you considered business angel funding for your business?
Spotlight on the Halo Business Angel Network, an all-island umbrella organisation responsible for the development of business angel investment in early-stage companies. This article provides information on business angel investment and how to apply for it...
There are over 80 different government supports available to small businesses but many of them are not well known or understood. Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different support that could improve your business, giving you information and advice.
Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN)
HBAN is an initiative that aims to increase the number of angel investors actively investing in early stage companies on the island of Ireland. HBAN supports the formation of new and existing business angel networks regionally, internationally and within industry sectors.
Business angel investors are high net worth individuals who provide finance to start-up and new companies, typically €50,000-€250,000. Much of the business angel community in Ireland is ad hoc, involving family, friends and private individuals who are not involved in any network. HBAN aims to develop the business angel model in Ireland in line with best practice and provide a forum for establishing syndicates.
Early stage businesses often struggle to find the money they need to get up and running. They don’t have reserves or retained profits as more established businesses might and they lack a track record to secure bank finance. Business angel investment is one way of closing the gap and in the US it is equal to the total level of venture capital investment.
In Ireland, business angel investment has increased in recent years, with HBAN investments totaling €13.6 million in 50 companies in 2016. This direct angel investment leveraged a further €20.5 million of public and private funds.
HBAN is a joint initiative of Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland and is managed by Dublin Business Innovation Centre (BIC).
The HBAN website, www.hban.org, has information for potential investors and businesses seeking investment. Companies looking for funding should contact HBAN if they meet the following criteria:
- A product that is ready for commercialisation
- Pre-revenue is considered, however some early market traction is preferred
- A management team with relevant experience
- An identifiable market opportunity
- An internationally scalable business model
Applications can be made online and HBAN staff can work with you in advance of submitting your application. If there is sufficient interest, you will be invited to pitch at an investor syndicate meeting.
If you are interested in availing of this service, don’t forget:
- Raising finance takes time and a lot of negotiation. You should allow a year from planning to completion, although the typical time frame is three to six months.
- HBAN is primarily seeking companies in the technology, medtech, agritech or food sectors
- Investors are likely to want to join the board of directors and take an active part in the development of the business
- Investors will undertake due diligence on your company before deciding to invest
- More information is available here.
SFA Webinar - Government Supports
SFA Acting Director, Linda Barry will deliver a webinar on 26 July from 2:15pm - 2:45pm on 'The what, where and how of grants, loans, tax savings and other government supports.' Register online now for the webinar.
Brexit: challenges with solutions
Ibec has launched a 'Brexit: challenges with solutions' report which contains a comprehensive set of proposals to progress EU-UK negotiations and limit the negative impact of Brexit on business and the wider economy...
On 19 June, Ibec launched its report titled 'Brexit: challenges with solutions'. The report contains a comprehensive set of proposals to progress EU-UK negotiations and limit the negative impact of Brexit on business and the wider economy.
Pfizer Health Index
The report sets out five principles which should inform the approach to negotiations: (1) A smooth exit, (2) Comprehensive transitional arrangements, (3) The closest possible future trading relationship, (4) Unique Irish challenges addressed, and (5) A prosperous and competitive future EU. While the report sets out how to progress EU-UK negotiations and move towards a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) in goods and services, it does not cover the wide range of actions that will be needed at a domestic level that are also needed to prepare Ireland for Brexit.
Download the full report or browse the card stack for an overview of Ibec's priorities for Irish business here.
Pfizer’s 12th annual Health Index provides some very interesting insights with regard to health and wellbeing in the workplace...
Companies Registration Office Annual Report 2016
Pfizer’s 12th annual Health Index provides some very interesting insights with regard to health and wellbeing in the workplace.
There is some positive feedback for employers from the report i.e. 73% of respondents feel that their employer is committed to health and well being in the workplace. However, it is important that employers continue to monitor this area and look to improve current working conditions for employees. Stress and long hours are one of the biggest health concerns for respondents at work. In this regard, employers should look at some initiatives that they could introduce into the workplace to improve wellbeing e.g. encouraging physical activity, financial management courses, mindfulness courses etc.
Download a copy of the report.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and InnovationFrances Fitzgerald T.D published the Companies Registration Office (CRO) Annual Report for 2016 on 29 June...
The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and InnovationFrances Fitzgerald T.D published the Companies Registration Office (CRO) Annual Report for 2016 on 29 June.
The report shows that 20,951 new companies were incorporated in 2016, the highest number of company incorporations in any one year since 1998.
Also included in the CRO’s annual report:
- There were 207,677 companies on the Register at the end of 2016 up from 201,901 in 2015
- There were 197,000 Annual Returns filed
- The downward trend in the number of liquidations initiated continued with 1,754 notices registered as compared to 1,850 notices in 2015. Of these 1,754 liquidations, only 642 related to insolvent companies compared to 816 insolvent company liquidations in 2015
- 20 companies went into examinership in 2016. 14 of these companies returned to trading whereas 6 entered liquidation
- 340 receiverships were initiated in 2016. This was a small increase from 327 in 2015 but is in line with a general reduction since 2012, when 654 receiverships were initiated
- The number of new business names registered by the CRO in 2016 was 24,848
- 90% of companies were up-to-date in filing their annual returns at the end of 2016
- 8,302 companies were struck off the register during the year due to their failure to file annual returns
- The income of CRO for 2016 was just over €20 million which included €10,088,000 in penalties paid by companies who were late in filing their annual returns.
View a copy of the report.
SFA Webinar - Government supports for small firms
SFA Acting Director, Linda Barry will deliver a webinar on 26 July from 2:15pm - 2:45pm on 'The what, where and how of grants, loans, tax savings and other government supports.'
Small businesses are missing opportunities to avail of government supports for their business due to lack of information and confusion. Understanding what supports your business qualifies for, where to apply for them and how to avoid some common pitfalls could be the key to sustaining your business or taking it to the next level.
The webinar will cover:
- the "Supporting SMEs online tool"
- the various agencies that assist small business and their criteria
- government policy incentives for starting and growing a business in Ireland
- funding opportunities for small business, including SBCI, Microfinance Ireland and the Credit Review Office
- enterprise space, training & mentoring, advice and promotional opportunities
There will also be a special focus on Brexit supports for small business to help you to assess the risks posed to your business by Brexit and navigate the challenges that have already arisen or may develop under different scenarios.
You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Register online now for the webinar.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. If you can't make this time, you can still register for the session and we'll send you a link to the recording afterwards so you can playback in your own time.
Register your interest for the SFA National Small Business Awards 2018
- Applications accepted September-October 2017
Be part of the SFA Village at Your Business Live
The SFA National Small Business Awards 2018 competition is open to all companies in Ireland with up to 50 employees and there is a wide range of categories to suit all sectors – including a category for companies with under five employees and newly formed businesses.
There are no entry fees to enter any categories in these awards and a generous prize package of €50,000 is awarded to all shortlisted finalists throughout the programme with additional prizes for the overall winner.
Official entries to the SFA National Small Business Awards 2018 programme will be accepted from early September 2018. You can register your interest online now and we will send you a reminder to enter on the launch date.
- Showcase your business at Ireland's largest SME event - 17- 18 October
As partner of Your Business Live – Ireland's largest SME event, brought to market by The Irish Independent, the SFA plan to create a village whereby our members can come together to showcase their products and services at a preferred rate.
Your Business Live is a two day event taking place in the RDS on 17 & 18 October 2017 where entrepreneurs, owners and managers will gather to network, learn and keep up to date with the latest trends and hottest new products and services for their business. The event will attract in excess of 20,000 executives and decision makers who are looking to meet suppliers, source products and learn from an inspirational line up of speakers across four key stages, (Tech, Grow your business, Finance, Talent & HR).
We are delighted to offer our members the below preferential rate for exhibition space:
Space only can also be arranged. Download a copy of the exhibitor brochure here and the floorplan here. To book your stand please contact Celene Duffy 0872858421 or email@example.com stating that you would like to be part of the SFA Village.
The Irish Business Monitor
Your Business Live is currently undertaking a survey, the Irish Business Monitor – an indicator for businesses in Ireland, in partnership with SFA, Ibec and Enterprise Ireland.
Please answer the survey to ensure that your business is part of this monitor across sectors, industries and regions. Survey respondents have the chance to win an ipad, one years’ subscription to the digital edition of The Irish Independent and a pair of tickets to the Your Business Live event. The survey closes on 17 July, click here to take part in the Irish Business Monitor.
Opportunities to upskill and boost staff retention
If a business has a culture of ongoing professional development and is willing to invest in their employees, it is more likely that staff will remain engaged and committed to the company. The SFA offers training courses tailored to small businesses. Check out the courses being offered by the SFA from September to December 2017 in the ‘Unlock your potential 2017’ brochure...
Invest in knowledge and interest will soon accrue in terms of chance of survival, business performance and, crucially, employee satisfaction. If a business has a culture of ongoing professional development and is willing to invest in their employees, it is more likely that staff will remain engaged and committed to the company for the long term.
In 2017, the SFA is focusing our course offering on the areas that will most benefit a small business. No matter what stage of development your business is at, these courses are designed to address your needs. Based on your feedback, the courses are short and are offered at very reasonable rates.
Avail of the training opportunities presented in the SFA ‘Unlock your potential 2017’ brochure to bolster your competitiveness and equip your business for the future.
Next available courses:
- Foundations in Management, two-day course, 7-8 September, Dublin, €370 for SFA members
- Project Management, one-day course, 15 September, Dublin, €190 for SFA members
To book your place, visit www.sfa.ie/events