Wexford businesses were the first to hear findings from the second Magnet Regional Business Barometer at a breakfast event with the Wexford Chamber of Commerce. The nationwide study of over 500 SMEs, conducted by Amárach Research revealed some interesting insights for businesses in the region and beyond. An increasing number were optimistic about the future with many planning to open new premises. However recruitment costs and available skills have become a serious pain point for many.
Growing Optimism for Small Businesses in Wexford
– 74% of small firms in Wexford and the South East are optimistic about the future, up from 62% from this time last year.
– 1 in 3 SMEs hope to open new premises in 2016, a big increase on last year when 1 in 13 talked of such plans.
– Recruitment costs and finding candidates with the right skills were cited as key issues for 31% of businesses – similar to what is being experienced elsewhere in the country.
To get a full copy of the 2016 findings click here.
Government Support Lacking
When questioned about the government’s support of SMEs there was a lot of dissatisfaction.
– 41% said that the government wasn’t doing enough for business owners in the SME sector- almost on a par with national results where the figure was 44%.
– Access to grants, funding or loans and reduced costs to the sector, in the form of lower taxes, rent, travel and childcare costs, were cited as the most popular options for ways the government could help SMEs.
However, when it comes to business or technology grants a massive 94% were unaware of what was available to them.
Pick Up in Working from Home for South East SMEs
When it comes to remote and mobile working:
- 57% of local businesses have employees regularly working from home, a marked increase from this time last year.
- 33% of companies have employees working on the road, far below the national average of 52% in 2016.
Madeleine Quirke, CEO of Wexford Chamber of Commerce said: “Magnet’s research is an excellent barometer for businesses here in the South East and nationwide. The economic recovery is gradually making an impact in the regions, and it’s great to see so much optimism about the future from our local business community. However, as the election nears it’s interesting to note the continued dissatisfaction with government support for the SME sector. Business costs and access to finance, in particular, are issues that need to be looked at more seriously by future policy makers if we are to continue on this current path to recovery.”
Speaking of the research Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet said: “Our survey aims to shine a light on what’s important to businesses all over Ireland and find out what has changed from year to year. We were particularly impressed with the amount of businesses that plan to open new premises this year compared to last year – a good indicator of a buoyant business environment. Often this is an ideal time to review existing service provider offerings and negotiate better deals to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. We at Magnet are acutely aware that business costs are top of the list of concerns for many, and continually strive to offer the most cost-competitive and best value business telecoms solutions on the market. ”
One such solution is Magnet’s Office-in-a Box. Aimed at small businesses of up to 5 people it delivers enterprise-level telecom services for a single fixed monthly charge of €165.99 without the heavy upfront costs.
As well as unlimited calls to Irish, UK & USA landlines and mobiles and up to 100Mb broadband, it includes a cloud PBX phone system, which delivers many benefits for today’s modern mobile workforce.