What We Do

Small Business

Indigenous Enterprise is crucial to the economy, with Irish-owned enterprises accounting for over 90% of businesses in Ireland.

Ireland’s active enterprise base is made up of: 

  • 250,033 companies and businesses;
  • SMEs (0 to 249 employees) account for 99.8% of that total enterprise population. They also account for 68.4% of total private sector employment and 39% of Gross Value added.
  • Within this cohort of small businesses, there are 229,470 micro-enterprises (less than 10 employees), which account for 92.2% of all active enterprises in the State. Such micro business employ 28% of private sector employees and almost a fifth of Gross Value Added of the Irish economy. 
  • All small businesses (i.e. 0 to 49 employees) account for 98.6 % of all enterprises, 50% of private sector employment and over a quarter of Gross Value Added of the Irish economy;

It is therefore vital that Government puts in place appropriate structures to ensure the voice of small business is heard in policy making. 


CSO Business Demography 2016

CSO Business in Ireland 2015 – SMEs

Advisory Group for Small Business

The purpose of the group is to provide a platform for structured engagement between small business owners, their representative bodies, and the Minister, with a view to influencing policy.

Thus, AGSB members use their experience and expertise in business to bring real issues to the table that require action from Government. They also advise on the impact of Government proposals on small business and assist government in identifying areas where further work may be required.

For the purposes of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015, the AGSB is obliged to comply with the Transparency Code as it is exempted from registering on the Lobbying Register.

The Terms of Reference outline how the group operates.

Minutes of meetings of the AGSB since Minister Breen took over as Chair in July 2016.

The AGSB is an ongoing rather than fixed term body.

Small Business Act for Europe

The Small Business Act (SBA) is an overarching framework for the EU policy on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). It aims to improve the approach to entrepreneurship in Europe, simplify the regulatory and policy environment for SMEs, and remove the remaining barriers to their development

Rather than being a legislative Act as such, the SBA contains a number of legislative proposals, 10 guiding principles and measures to be implemented at EU and Member State levels with the aim of helping SMEs. 

The SBA is driven by the 'Think Small First' Principle. As 99% of companies in the EU are SMEs the principle aims to ensure SMEs' interests are taken into account at a very early stage of policy making.

SME Envoys Network

The SME Envoys Network was established in 2011, whereby the Commission invited Member States to nominate a national SME Envoy to complement the role of the European Commission’s SME Envoy. Together with representatives of EU-level SME business organisations, the Network of SME Envoys make up the SBA advisory group.

Ireland’s national SME Envoy role is filled by Conor Verdon, Principal Officer of the SME and Entrepreneurship Policy Unit.

The objective of the SME Envoys, through the SME Envoy Network, is to provide an authoritative voice on SME issues across the EU. 

Back to Top