Skills Gap & Financial Support Problems for SMEs

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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A new report has identified Skills Gap & Financial Support Problems for SMEs finding that many small and medium sized enterprises are facing certain struggles when it comes to boosting productivity and business development due to emerging skill gaps in financial analysis and risk assessment.

Skills Gap & Financial Support Problems for SMEs

The report, Finance and Growth Skills of Small and Medium Enterprise in Ireland, was compiled by MentorsWork, a collaborative venture of Skillnet Ireland and the Small Firms Association.

As well as identifying an emerging skills gap, Finance and Growth Skills of Small and Medium Enterprise in Ireland also reports that many SMEs are struggling to access finance and financial supports. An inability to access Government-subsidised training supports means that many SME owners and managers cannot properly upskill which consequently can have a negative effect on productivity.

Financial literacy skills & strategic planning

The report finds that the larger (10+ employees) and older (10+years) companies have stronger financial literacy skills and a higher capacity to execute effective strategic planning than smaller and younger businesses.

Skill gaps

According to the report, younger SME businesses struggle to match their innovation and technological skills with the necessary financial literacy, financial analysis and understanding risk skills required to execute effective strategic planning and boost productivity to progress in a fast moving business world.

Accessing finance

Younger businesses have more difficulty with routes to accessing financing and financial supports, as do smailler businesses.

According to the report, Information and communications technology (ICT) and services are the sectors most challenged by financing needs. The services industry demonstrated lower levels of financial literacy. The motivation for growth is lower than average younger and smaller businesses, particulatly in the retail and hospitality industry

Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), said that while innovation and technological advances are critical in delivering increased productivity, SMEs crucially must have robust financial planning.

“It is critical that owner-managers of small businesses have up-to-date organisational and financial skills, including financial literacy, financial analysis skills and understanding risk, in order to implement the necessary changes to adapt to an ever-evolving business landscape,” he stated.

Download the report here


MentorsWork is designed for business owners and managers throughout Ireland and aims to boost SME productivity by providing mentoring and business development tools.

The MentorsWork programme includes an in-depth competency assessment on SMEs’ main productivity drivers, one of which is finance and growth skills

Launched in 2020, MentorsWork has helped over 1,000 businesses around Ireland.  The next round of 1,000 programme places is now open to SME owners and leadership teams across all industry.  

SME owners and managers can apply now to participate at is the largest database of professional development and corporate training courses in Ireland. We list thousands of training courses from trainers and training providers nationwide.

Steven Galvin

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