Ibec Founders Report

By Steven Galvin - Last update


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The latest Ibec Founders Report shines a light on the struggles facing many businesses in the current climate, including the barriers to growth being faced by entrepreneurs and founder-led enterprises in Ireland.

The biggest problems were identified as access to funding, the need for digital skills and support necessary to compete in the market, and the struggle finding the right talent. Funding obstacles and the lack of a supportive ecosystem the report concludes “can constrain the founder who started a business with high confidence and strong intentions.”

Ibec is an Irish business representative group and lobbying organisation.

Following a survey of Ibec members in August 38% of respondents said that the current business environment has disimproved over the past three months.

Funding Obstacles

57% said that the ‘red tape/bureaucracy’ associated with applications for funding/grants has put them off applying for funding.

Funding Availability

60%  said that the availability and access to tax incentives such as Capital Gains Tax Relief, Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme, R&D Tax Credit is poor or very poor.

Lack of talent

24% said access to talent is poor or very poor. The labour market needs to re Many businesses feel that there is a disconnect between what we need and what the education system is offering, which is having a negative effect on the pool of talent

Lack of digital skills

47% said that their enterprise currently does not have the digital skills necessary to meet their business ambitions. Many believe that there is not enough investment in digital readiness capacities across our private sector, government and public services, infrastructure, and skills.

Ibec Executive Director of Membership and Sectors, Sharon Higgins said:, “The current downturn will no doubt cause concerns amongst many founders, however the right policies could provide a backdrop against which innovative founder-led businesses can thrive.

Right Policies

The report lays out a range of policy recommendations that it believes will establish an eco-system in which Irish entrepreneurial endeavours can thrive and prosper, for the benefit of business and wider society.

Accessible funding supports

Advocate for fit-for-purpose funding supports in light of changing market dynamics. Imperative that such supports are simple, accessible and granted in a timely fashion and produce an SME tax roadmap.   In particular, improve tax incentives such as Capital Gains Tax Relief, R&D Tax Credit and Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme.

Review labour market

Ensure that the talent, skills and labour market is constantly reviewed to be agile, informed and interconnected to respond appropriately and in a timely fashion to the fast-paced changing business model.

Deliver Digital Transformation

Establish a plan to deliver sustainable digital transformation to ensure continued competitiveness.

Ibec Executive Director of Membership and Sectors, Sharon Higgins said: “Founder-led enterprises are the nuclei of innovation and progress, and play a pivotal role in economic prosperity.  As the economic headwinds continue to change however, 2022 has ushered in a new phase of uncertainty for entrepreneurs. Our survey findings show that challenges such as increased asset and labour prices, and difficulty in accessing capital and attracting talent are all beginning to stifle innovation and growth of the domestic founder-led ecosystem.

“As we plan for the future in this changing economic environment, we need the right incentives and supportive ecosystem to ensure founders can flourish. Their contribution to economic prosperity and a thriving ecosystem needs further recognition.”

You can read the full Ibec Founders report here.


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Steven Galvin

Skills Gap & Financial Support Problems for SMEs


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