It has been quite a while since I wrote my last blog piece, with everything that has been going on in the world and the challenges that people have faced would people have the time or desire to read a blog?
Like every Irish business we have had a very tough 12 months, we will get through this and we are optimistic about the future and particularly about the changes in how people work. It is thanks to the Local Enterprise Office, Enterprise Ireland and the supports from the government that we have managed to work through the last 12 months. Culture is a start-up in its third year in business and I understand very well the challenges people face in building their business or even keeping going at times like this. I have always admired businesses that have lasted and are able to employ people, even one person. The only way they have done this is by sheer hard work and skill. That is why it is so hard to see and hear the stories from successful businesses that are struggling and unfortunately have closed due to this pandemic.
According to ISME in 2018 there were 248,344 small and medium businesses in Ireland and 968,881 people in Ireland employed by them but that does not tell the whole story. Of that nearly 1 million people how many of them are providing for their families, saving for their children and a key part of the local community. If these businesses fold local villages and areas are devastated. SMEs in most cases do not export so they are heavily reliant on domestic demand for sales. The money spent in SMEs flows back into the economy and local communities.
In this pandemic the government have acted quickly and the range of supports they put in place have saved so many businesses from going under. We do not know what is going to happen in the next 6 months hopefully we will have a vaccinated population and begin the return to normality. Even if we do so I hope the government keep these supports in place until the end of the year. By doing so it gives SMEs a chance to recover, most companies reserves will have been depleted and they may have a few months where they can replenish them. With borrowing costs so low, the money put into SMEs will offer a great return on investment and help to stimulate the economy. An economy doing well will pay back the money spent by generating more tax and reducing the level of unemployment. Now is the time to plan for after the pandemic.