Minister John Perry’s address at SME Conferring Ceremony

Address by Minister for Small Business, John Perry T.D., at SME Conferring Ceremony

On October 18,2012 Minister for Small Business, John Perry T.D. attended Certification Europe’s first SME Conferring Ceremony in St. Stephen’s Green Hibernian Club, Dublin. The event which was attended by a host of our SME clients offered the Minister the opportunity to address the attendees on the current economic climate for SME’s and on the benefits of ISO and BS certification to companies in Ireland.

Attendees on the day included: Antaris Consulting (ISO 27001 Information Security), Aspen Grove Inc. (ISO 27001 Information Security and BS 25999 Business Continuity Management), Enovation Solutions (ISO 9001 Quality), McElvaney’s Waste and Recycling (ISO 9001 Quality and ISO 14001 Environmental Management), OpenHydro (ISO 9001 Quality), O’Reilly Concrete (ISO 14001 Environmental Management), Pageboy Contact Centre(ISO 9001 Quality), and Taoglas (ISO 9001 Quality),’ who all represented the varied spectra of SME business’s which we work with.

Below is the Ministers full speech which is also available on the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) website.

Minister John Perry’s Speech

Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am delighted to be able to join you this afternoon, for this inaugural Certification Europe Conferring Ceremony. This event is one of over 50 Irish events which have been registered by my Department, with the European Commission as part of the European SME Week 2012, which runs from 15th to 21st 0ctober.The European SME Week is taking place in 37 European countries and also coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the Single Market. As Ireland’s EU SME Envoy, I am particularly aware of how important Accredited Certification, through bodies such as Certification Europe is in giving Irish SMEs access to international markets, including the EU’s Internal – or Single – Market of some 450 million people.

Founded in 1999, Certification Europe is an accredited certification body which provides International Organisation for Standardisation management system certification and other management standards to organisations globally. It also provides a variety of inspection services to clients throughout Ireland.

No doubt, the majority of these clients are Small and Medium Enterprises.

We have some 200,000 SMEs in Ireland, employing over 650,000 people. SMEs contribute €10 Billion to the Exchequer each year. They are the backbone of our economy and our communities and are central to our economic recovery. With this in mind, a key objective of Government policy is to promote the use of Research and Innovation to build competitive advantage. Innovation is an integral part of overall economic policy and is central to this Government’s Reform Agenda. Therefore, I am very pleased to be associated with the awarding of Certificates that recognise the importance of Innovation. And, I want to extend my heartiest congratulations to all of the recipients here this afternoon.

Getting Ireland working again remains the top priority of the Government and in the Action Plan for Jobs we have an essential tool in building the new economy. Through the Action Plan we will add to the growing trend of private sector job creation which builds on the 17,000 private sector jobs created since March 2011. The Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2012 contains over 270 measures and includes a number of initiatives to improve supports for business. 218 of these Action Points have already been delivered in the first three Quarters of this year.

Access to credit remains a key issue for many businesses, and if we are to see the growth and jobs we need, Government must act to fill gaps where specific market failures exist. Through the Action Plan for Jobs, we are delivering in 2012 a number of measures to fill these gaps and ensure that businesses do not face unnecessary obstacles as they attempt to expand and create the jobs, we so badly needThese include:

  • the €90m Microfinance Scheme,
  • the €120m second call under Innovation Fund Ireland,
  • the €150m Development Capital Scheme and,
  • the €450m Credit Guarantee Scheme.

The Credit Guarantee Scheme, launched on October 16, 2012 will benefit innovative, job-creating businesses that face obstacles in accessing credit, because they do not have enough collateral, or because they operate in sectors which the banks are not familiar with. These are the businesses we need to stimulate our jobs recovery, and with new supports like the Credit Guarantee Scheme, I am determined to ensure that they can expand and create the employment we need.

We are also actively working to facilitate more SMEs to compete for public procurement opportunities. In addition, the Government has approved the restructuring of the Enterprise Support model for the micro and small business sectors.

This restructuring will include:

  • The dissolution of the County and City Enterprise Boards and the transfer of their functions, assets and liabilities to Enterprise Ireland – underpinned in primary legislation;
  • The development of a new Small and Micro Business Division within Enterprise Ireland as a centre of excellence in the provision of supports to the small and micro-enterprise sectors;
  • The establishment of Local Enterprise Offices to provide a “one-stop-shop” for small businesses within Local Authorities – underpinned by a robust Service Level Agreement between EI and the Local Authorities.

To complement further the work of the Action Plan for Jobs 2012, the Government is also delivering on the recommendations of the Advisory Group on Small Business, which I Chair. 34 of the Advisory Group’s recommendations, across 12 broad policy areas, are being progressed through the Action Plan for Jobs.

But we won’t stop there!

We are committed to redoubling our efforts in the coming year with the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, to ensure that we deliver all possible support to business and relieve as much pressure as possible from business, at this difficult time.

It is businesses, such as the eight SME recipients being recognised here today, which have displayed an innovative approach to the development of their products and services, with the assistance and guidance of the certification and other activities of Certification Europe, who will be able to gain access to markets and thereby create the jobs we need. At this point, I am sure you are all anxious to move on to the main business of this afternoon – the presentation of Certificates. So, I will conclude by thanking you for your kind invitation and I wish you all every success for the future.

Robert Lyons
Robert Lyons

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