Towards a new enterprise policy for small business

January 11, 2016

This is a discussion paper circulated in response of the decision of the Small Firms Association (SFA) to initiate a series of focus groups and develop a policy strategy on developing the small business sector in Ireland over the next period of years.  The focus of the paper is on government enterprise policy and its role in developing Ireland’s enterprise sector moving forward.  The primary case being made is that although enterprise policy has been successful over the past thirty years that ‘what got us here will not get us there’.  It can be argued that many of the government’s interventions have achieved many of their primary goals and it is now time that government refocus its activities from micro-level support (picking winners and supporting specific companies through its government agencies) to a macro-level support (building up the infrastructure, institutions and ecosystem and creating the environment for all companies to succeed, grow and internationalise).  The argument can further be made that the government should capacity build private-sector institutions to deliver enterprise-support programmes and refocus the enterprise agencies to address gaps in the infrastructure and ecosystem.  Above all that policy should take a leap step forward in aiming to move the current enterprise environment from where it is to a new, more entrepreneurial and private-sector focused level.  This is not a case for less government involvement in enterprise policy but a refocus of interventions and the establishment of new goals to aim at.

The full discussion document can be downloaded from here.




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