Access to finance and skilled talent are the key challenges facing Irish entrepreneurs, according to the Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur Of The Year Entrepreneurship Barometer.
“The entrepreneurs who fed insights into our Entrepreneurship Barometer represent 28 of the island of Ireland’s 32 counties,” said Frank O’Keeffe, EY partner in charge of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Entrepreneurship Barometer.
“Together, they employ 152,250 individuals; generating revenues of €16.6 billion and creating 13,650 new jobs in just 2013 alone. This is a community who should be supported and celebrated as having the power to bring our country back to economic stability.”
Some 41pc cited access to talent as one of the key challenges facing their businesses.
A further 41pc highlighted access to finance as the foremost imperative for government action and an additional 59pc noted a lack of finance as the biggest barrier to starting new businesses in Ireland.
The majority of respondents (74pc) believed that there was little support given to struggling and failed entrepreneurs, particularly in relation to social welfare support and policy. A call was made for government to create an infrastructure that shared available resources, guidance and supports to get struggling entrepreneurial businesses back on track.
Fear of failure was named as a prominent barrier to entry for new businesses by 37pc of entrepreneurs surveyed, indicating a need to change perception around the concept of failure.
This includes government support in promoting entrepreneurs as crucial job creators, and educating people about entrepreneurship. Academia was also called on to offer support in highlighting local entrepreneurial success stories from school to university level in order to help students make informed career choices.
Delving deeper into the area of talent attraction, 38pc cited specific challenges associated with attracting experienced hire, while an additional 24.4pc noted difficulties in sourcing both experienced hire and skilled graduates.
While multinationals were seen as direct competitors in the race to hire the best talent, the Entrepreneurship Barometer findings also revealed a skills shortage, with a particular emphasis on the need to increase the pipeline of graduates with engineering, sales and programming skills.
Infographic – how entrepreneurial is your county?