Ireland was named first for skills and innovation in the European Commission’s 2017 Small Business Act Fact Sheet. The latest ranking builds on Ireland’s international reputation for innovation. The European Commission’s Innovation Scorecard 2017 also ranked Irish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) top for innovation.
The European Commission publishes Small Business Act (SBA) Fact Sheets annually, with the objective of improving understanding of trends and policies affecting SMEs across the European Union. The SBA focuses on key performance indicators and policy measures organized around 10 principles, including entrepreneurship, internationalization, state aid and public procurement.
Ireland’s SBA profile remains highly competitive, with the European Commission’s Fact Sheet 2017 presenting a number of improvements on last year’s performance. Ireland is one of the top four EU performers in entrepreneurship and has the highest score in two separate entrepreneurship indicators. On the high status given to successful entrepreneurship, Ireland records the highest percentage in the EU (83.1 %) compared to the average (66.6 %). Ireland’s pro-business environment is also evident in the Fact Sheet’s finding that it has the least burdensome government regulations in Europe.
In eight of the SBA areas — entrepreneurship, ‘second chance’, ‘responsive administration’, state aid and public procurement, access to finance, single market, skills and innovation and internationalization — Ireland performs above or well above the European average.
Earlier this year, Eurostat research found that Ireland has the highest proportion of high-growth enterprises in the EU, ahead of the UK, Portugal, Hungary and Bulgaria. Customers and partners of Irish companies in the US and worldwide leverage this innovation to increase efficiency and productivity in ways that enhance their product portfolios.
The Irish government continues to put innovation at the top of its agenda with the implementation of its Innovation 2020 strategy.