Three Ireland survey reveals eveals over two-thirds of SMEs do not believe they are supported enough for further growth

New research from Three Ireland reveals that over two thirds (69%) of SMEs do not believe they are supported enough as a business to grow further. The sentiment survey of over 300 small and medium sized companies in Ireland was carried out to mark the launch of Three Ireland’s annual Grants for Small Businesses which comprises of a €100,000 bursary.

The grant programme, funded by Three Ireland and managed by the small business network and support provider, Enterprise Nation, seeks to fund 10 small businesses and award them a portion of a €100,000 bursary. The bursary will be made up of cash, plus advice, support and connectivity solutions from Three Ireland’s expert business advisers.

With the cost of living steadily rising, the support SMEs require for day-to-day costs is evident – with 29% of businesses surveyed stating that cost of living support would be the most beneficial business support for growth. The research also outlined that government grants or funding for business (24%) and tax incentives (24%) were the next most beneficial support for business growth. These findings further underscore the necessity of offerings such as Three Ireland’s Grants for Small Businesses and highlight how the challenges for small businesses vary significantly from larger corporations.

Padraig Sheerin, judge for Three Ireland’s Grants for Small Businesses and Head of SME, Three Ireland, said:At Three, we’ve seen first-hand what the grant programme can do and the feedback we’ve had from last year’s winners has been extremely positive. They have made incredible strides and I’m so happy Three has been there to support them in the next stages of their journey.

“The results we’ve seen from the research have further outlined the challenges we know SMEs face daily. With the rising cost of materials, equipment, and services being the top (15%) challenge for businesses, we know our grant will alleviate some of the pressure and allow our winners to focus on growing their businesses to the best of their ability.”

Sonya Lennon, judge for Three Ireland’s Grants for Small Businesses and Entrepreneur and Advocate for Workplace Equality, said: “I am delighted to come on board as a judge for Three’s Grants for Small Businesses programme, and to see the development of so many exciting companies who are thriving with the support of Three. Seeing how the small businesses from this programme have developed and grown their teams over the course of the past year is inspirational.

“It serves as a reminder of what we can achieve when we are given the proper fuel. I have been involved with various small businesses throughout my career, and know the hard work, dedication and perseverance it takes to build something from the ground up. 

“Last year’s winners, including ByoWave, AgriGuardian and HerSport, really inspire me – their extraordinary teams are shaping our future, enacting real change and altering the landscape of their respective fields. What Three Ireland has done with this programme is powering such positive change. These businesses won’t be small for long.”

The sentiment survey has also revealed a marked increase in support for mental health and wellbeing when compared to pre-pandemic levels – with 15% of companies offering mental health/counselling services compared to 11% pre-pandemic, and 18% of companies offering wellbeing support compared to 12% pre-pandemic.

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