“There are 80 Government supported programmes in place to support SMEs but most people don’t know about these schemes and there is a very low take-up rate. With SMEs and regional growth taking a central focus in this year’s Action Plan for Jobs, we need to ensure that all existing businesses and start-ups in Westmeath are aware of the support on offer”, says Gabrielle McFadden, Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath.
“Today the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton launched a major awareness campaign which will consist of national and local radio advertising, online ads and the launch of a new website.
“Evidence has shown that over 90% of Irish start-ups and SMEs have a very low awareness of the schemes that are available. This is why an awareness campaign of this kind is urgently needed.
“SMEs employ 650,000 people in Ireland, and start-ups account for two thirds of all new jobs created. SMEs are hugely important to local business life in Westmeath and I would urge anyone involved in business in the area to log on to Actionplanforjobs.ie and to use the “Supporting SMEs” online guide.
“By making more businesses aware of what the State can do for them we can support more of them to start-up, grow, and create the jobs we need. SMEs are the engine of our economy providing employment for people in every town and village in this country.
“We now have a huge range of supports aimed specifically at the SME sector. Through the actionplanforjobs.ie website, with the help of entrepreneurs and business people, we will be able to get the information directly to businesses so they can apply.
“We want to see SMEs in Westmeath and across the country, not only survive, but thrive, as we work towards our goal of returning the country to full employment by 2018.”