SFA E-Zine – The Tuesday Edition

Dear Member,   

In this week's ezine we offer employers advice on hiring temporary staff for the festive season.


Each week in the SFA e-zine, we profile a different government support available to small businesses. In this edition, we focus on tax relief for new start-up companies, which offers up to €120,000 corporation tax relief to companies in their first three years.


We bring you a paper from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation on their response to Brexit. We update you on the SFA's participation in the EU SME Assembly, which took place in Talinn last week. Find out more about SFA, Director Sven Spollen-Behrens presenting on Brexit as part of the Meath Enterprise week.


We invite members to attend the SFA AGM on 29 November. Register to attend the SFA Members Christmas evening on 14 December for an evening of festive networking. Book a place on one of our training courses during December on project management and performance management. Save 1 February 2018 in your diary for our new event, Business Connect. We also provide a summary of recent press coverage.


As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business environment for us all. Please contact me on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: sven@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit: www.sfa.ie.

Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director

Recent press coverage

Recent press coverage

  • Business Support

  • SFA Awards


Small Enterprises


The SFA were mentioned in an article on 28 November in the Irish Independent indicating that they offer guidance to support enterprise startups.


SFA Awards


On 24 November, the Connacht Telegraph Sunday reported that Kelly’s Butchers were shortlisted in three categories last year. The finalists of the 2018 programme will be announced in early December.




The SFA AGM will be taking place tomorrow (29 November) in the Ibec offices on Lower Baggot Street, this was covered in in the Irish Times on 26 November



Temporary staff for the festive season

Christmas is coming, which could mean a sudden surge in demand for your business. If you need some extra help, temporary workers can be the ideal solution to save you stress without committing to taking on additional permanent staff...

Christmas is coming, which could mean a sudden surge in demand for your business. If you need some extra help, temporary workers can be the ideal solution to save you stress without committing to taking on additional permanent staff. Bearing this in mind, we have set out below some key considerations for your business when recruiting temporary workers.


Employers must be aware of the rights of temporary staff and be sure not to fall foul of the law when employing workers on a short-term basis. If the period that a temporary worker is employed extends to 12 months or longer, temporary staff will be given more employment rights. On the first anniversary of employment the employee obtains the right to claim unfair dismissal, even though their employment is still intended to be temporary in nature.


It is also crucial that employers understand that many employment rights that apply to permanent staff also apply to temporary employees. A good example is that they have the right to a written contract within two months of starting employment. Working conditions must be the same for temporary workers as they are for permanent employees, including:

  • Annual leave (though calculated on a pro-rata basis)
  • Rates of pay
  • Rest periods
  • Tax arrangements

In addition, temporary employees have the right to take a discrimination claim in relation to areas such as age and race. It is important for employers to treat temporary staff in the same way as they would do a permanent employee to avoid any issues arising.


Alternative arrangements


If you prefer to pass the paperwork and payment responsibilities onto a third party, then you have the option of hiring your temporary staff via an agency. In this event, their employment rights will be in line with Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012– The Act provides that all temporary agency workers must receive equal treatment in basic working and employment conditions as if they had been directed recruited by the hirer.


For further information in this area, you should refer to our guideline on seasonal workers or temporary agency workers. For specific queries regarding the above, you should contact Ciara McGuone, SFA Executive, on 01 605 1668.


Write off up to €120,000 of corporation tax in your first three years of trading

Spotlight on the tax relief for new start-up companies, which offers up to €120,000 corporation tax relief to companies in their first three years. This article provides information on the scheme and advice on how to avail of 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.


Tax relief for new start-up companies




Corporation tax relief for new companies in their first three years of trading, up to a maximum of €120,000.   


The relief is equivalent to the amount of Employer PRSI paid by the company, with maximum limits of €5,000 per employee and €40,000 in total per year. Marginal relief is also available on corporation tax liability between €40,000 and €60,000 on a tapering basis.


Unused relief in the first three years, due to losses or insufficient profits, can be carried forward for use in subsequent years.




The aims of the scheme are:

  • to encourage people to set up businesses
  • to make it more likely for early-stage businesses to survive
  • to reward job creation in start-up companies



The relief is claimed through your standard annual tax return (Form CT1) for the first three years of the business. 


More information is available on the Revenue website.




If you are interested in applying, don’t forget:

  • The relief is available to companies that pay corporation tax.
  • There is no relief for a company with corporation tax liability of €60,000 or greater in any 12 month accounting period.
  • The limits of €5,000, €40,000 and €60,000 are proportionately reduced for periods of less than 12 months.
  • The relief is not available for companies operating in the fishery and aquaculture sectors, the primary production of agricultural products or the coal sector. The maximum relief over three years is €100,000 for the transport sector.
  • The relief is currently due to apply to trades which commence on or before 31 December 2018, but this may be extended.
Building Stronger Business: Responding to Brexit by competing, innovating and trading

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) have released a paper, Building Stronger Business, which sets out the work underway and planned by the Department in response to Brexit...

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) have released a paper, Building Stronger Business, which sets out the work underway and planned by the Department in response to Brexit. The strategy is to minimise the risks and maximise the opportunities by ensuring the growth and resilience of Irish enterprise post-Brexit. The paper focuses on four key pillars which DBEI are working across:

  • Helping firms to compete;
  • Enabling firms to innovate;
  • Supporting firms to trade;
  • Negotiating for the best possible outcome

In terms of the policy response, the focus by the DBEI is to assess the possible implications and impacts of Brexit across policy areas of the Department and to review, renew and recast key policy approaches and interventions in the economy as appropriate. The DBEI are also committed to enhancing the capacity of the enterprise agencies to ensure that they are in the best possible position to address the needs of their clients in relation to competitiveness, innovation and trade diversification. This is being achieved through the provision of information, advice, training and other supports. In addition, the Department is also examining possible State supports to help vulnerable firms to adapt, to reinforce enterprise and employment across all sectors and regions.


For further information, the full paper can be accessed here.

EU SME Assembly: Ireland commended in some areas but much to learn from other member states

At the SME Assembly in Tallinn, Estonia, there was good news for Ireland as the we emerged as the top performer on skills and innovation in the Small Business Act Fact Sheets. The Irish entry also qualified for the finals of the ‘Ideas from Europe’ pitch competition. In other areas, such as digitisation and e-government, there were lessons for Ireland to learn from other nations.

Last week was the EU’s annual SME Week and the SFA participated in the SME Assembly in Tallinn, Estonia. The Assembly brings together hundreds of business people, entrepreneurs, representative bodies and policy-makers from across the European Union. It focuses on how to make SME policy work on the ground so that Europe's businesses really thrive.


The theme for this year’s Assembly was ‘Start. Scale. Spread your wings’. There were plenary session, workshops, masterclasses and panel debates on a range of topics from economic trends to the future of work to the impact of climate change on business (“there are no jobs on a dead planet”).


There was a particular focus this year on digitisation, including e-commerce, e-government, data protection and cyber security. This was no surprise given Estonia’s role in the digital vanguard of Europe. For the Irish delegates and others, hearing about the ubiquity of digital signatures and the ‘digital nation’ that Estonia is building through e-residency was a highlight of the conference.


The Assembly was also the scene for the launch of the latest suite of Small Business Act Fact Sheets. These fact sheets, with one per member state, compare performance across a range of policy areas. Ireland was found to be the top performer in skills and innovation in the EU. In eight of the nine areas — entrepreneurship, second chance, responsive administration, state aid & public procurement, access to finance, single market, skills & innovation and internationalisation — Ireland performs above or well above the EU average. On the environment, Ireland was found to perform in line with the EU average.


The other Irish success story at the Assembly was the qualification of the Irish entry in the Ideas from Europe’ pitch competition. Fiona Edwards, founder of ApisProtect, will go through to the final of the competition in April, where she will again present her business which combines sensor technology and bee keeping as a solution to the global bee crisis.

Meath Enterprise Week- A business breakfast on Brexit

Meath Chambers hosted a business breakfast event on 24 November in the Ardboyne Hotel relating to the impacts of Brexit on small business.

Local entrepreneurs and business owners attended this event to help celebrate and promote enterprise development in Meath...


A weeklong series of enterprise events, workshops and seminars took place across the country to celebrate and promote enterprise development. Meath Chambers hosted a business breakfast event on 24 November in the Ardboyne Hotel relating to the impacts of Brexit on small business. Local entrepreneurs and business owners attended this event to help celebrate and promote enterprise development in Meath.


The speakers at this event were:


Minister Damien English TD
Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with special responsibility for Housing and Urban Development


Gerard Corcoran
Head of AIB Meath Westmeath Longford


Sven Spollen-Behrens
Director of the Small Firms Association


Pascal Comerford
Tax Director Grant Thornton


SFA Director Sven Spollen-Behrens highlighted in his speech that, according to the recent SFA survey, a large number of businesses are currently being adversely affected by Brexit due to currency volatility and a decrease in demand from UK customers for Irish products and services.


If you would like a copy of Sven’s presentation from the event, please contact him at Sven@sfa.ie.

SFA Annual General Meeting
  • 29 November

The SFA AGM will take place on 29 November 2017 at 4:30pm in the SFA offices, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.


The Director and Chair/National Council will present their reports and three members will be elected to serve on the SFA National Council. Attending the AGM is an opportunity to keep up to date with the activities of the SFA and to elect fellow members to represent you on the Council. More information about the role of the Council is available in the SFA Constitution


Each member company has one vote at the AGM. Register online now to confirm your attendance.


The candidates for election to the National Council are:


Carol Ann Casey, CA Compliance

Carol Ann Casey is a Chartered Director of the Institute of Directors, a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and Managing Director of CA Compliance Limited. Her firm specialises in independent investigations, governance and HR compliance services.  She holds Independent Non-Executive Director roles and is the Independent Adjudicator of the Law Society.  Carol Ann joined the National Council of the Small Firms Associations in 2007 and would like to fulfil a further term championing governance and compliance.


Rebecca Harrison, Fishers

Rebecca Harrison is Managing Director of Fishers of Newtownmountkennedy Ltd, a department store in Co. Wicklow founded in 1979 and employing a team of 18. She is also founder of Food at Fishers Café, employing a team of 12. Rebecca is currently President of Network Ireland, Ireland’s leading organisation for women in business with over 1,000 members and branches in 15 counties, and she has been part of their voluntary leadership team for 6 years.


Geraldine Lavin 3rd i IT and Business Services Ltd

Geraldine Lavin is a founding director of 3rd i IT and Business Services Ltd, which helps its clients to develop and grow their businesses through providing them with business development, innovation, strategy and evaluation programmes. Through combining a career in third level and working with business support organisations she merges research-led critical thinking and academic rigor with a solid focus on practical application.  Geraldine was co-opted as a member of the Small Firms Association’s National Council in March 2009.


Fredericka Sheppard, Voltedge Management

FrederickaSheppard is Joint Managing Director of Voltedge Management. She is a Chartered Member of CIPD and an IMCA Certified Management Consultant (CMC) as well as being a Board Member of the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisors, she joined the National Council of the SFA in 2014. Fredericka has been working in the field of Human Resource Management since the mid 1990s during which time she held a number of Senior International HR Management roles with a range of organisations.


SFA Members Christmas Evening 2017
  • 14 December

The SFA Members Christmas evening will take place on Thursday, 14 December 2017 from 6.00pm-8.30pm at the SFA offices, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.

The purpose of the evening is to give members an opportunity to network and develop business contacts in an informal setting. 

Festive food and refreshments will be served. The evening is free of charge and feel free to bring along a friend or colleague but please pre-register online.  

Save the date - SFA Business Connect
  • 1 February 2018

Note 1 February 2018 in your diary for SFA's brand new event, Business Connect 2018. 


Get your new year off to a positive start. Use Business Connect to build your network with many of Ireland’s leading larger companies.


Hear from a range of large companies on how they do business and how they connect with smaller organisations. Hear also from smaller companies who are successfully providing innovative and agile solutions to larger organisations. 


At this marketplace event, indigenous and multinational companies of all sizes will share a platform to discuss how best we can do business together. The event will take place in Aviva Stadium, Landsdowne Road, Dublin 4. Stay tuned for further details and how to book. 

December training courses with SFA: Project Management and Performance Management

Book now for our one-day training courses in December – Project Management on 7 December or Performance Management and Appraisal Skills on 14 December. These short programmes are tailored to small businesses and offered at special rates to make them affordable for SFA members...

Now is the time to invest in yourself and your employees. We encourage you to avail of the programmes being offered through the SFA to unlock your potential and that of your business.


There are two courses coming up in December 2017:

  • Project Management: 7 December (see here)
  • Performance Management and Appraisal Skills: 14 December (see here)

Project Management


Do you or your managers need to develop your project management skills?


The SFA’s Project Management course has been described by a 2016 delegate as: “Excellently delivered course with real life scenarios that I can bring into my role.”


Topics covered include:

  • Identifying the life cycle and phases of a project
  • Key communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ensuring deadlines are agreed and met
  • Delivering results every time


  • When: 7 December
  • Where: Ibec, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
  • Cost: €190 per delegate
  • Book now by clicking here

Performance Management and Appraisal Skills


It is important that appraisals, as well as other aspects of performance management, are handled well in order to address poor performance and ensure that high performers remain engaged with their work.


Topics covered include:

  • The employee lifecycle
  • Managing the appraisal meeting: preparation, structure, style
  • Managing poor and high performers
  • Delivering feedback and dealing with challenging people


  • When: 14 December 2017
  • Where: Ibec, 84-86 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2
  • Cost: €190 per delegate 
  • Book now by clicking here

For all queries, please call the organiser Quelba Lima, on 01 605 1619.