Business News

Minister Bruton publishes Entrepreneurship Forum Report

By Business & Finance
23 January 2014

The Report of the Entrepreneurship Forum was launched today by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD and Chair of the Forum, entrepreneur and investor Sean O’ Sullivan together with Minister of State for Small Business, John Perry TD.

The Forum was established as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013. Given that two thirds of all new jobs across the economy are created by businesses in the first five years of existence, the Government is determined to look at new ways of providing supports for entrepreneurs and start-ups.

69 recommendations have been put forward by the forum in their report. Many of the recommendations require Government action, but there are also recommendations aimed at businesses, entrepreneurs and industry representative bodies to engage them in building a stronger entrepreneurial culture in Ireland.

Included in the report’s recommendations are:

  • Use of unoccupied and NAMA buildings for a total of 50,000 square feet of co-working space
  • Mandatory training in commercialisation of business ideas for all third-level science, technology, engineering and maths students
  • Changes to law to support employee stock option programmes
  • A national education strategy for entrepreneurship at all levels of the education system
  • A mentoring network driven by entrepreneurs
  • Tax incentives for investment in enterprise
  • In the long-term – a flat tax of 15-20% on all types of income

Many of the recommendations contained in the report will be implemented as part of the Action Plan for Jobs process, and Minister Bruton in consultation with colleagues will prepare the first ever Government Entrepreneurship Policy Statement for agreement by Government and publication shortly.

Launching the report, Minister Bruton said: “Two thirds of all new jobs come from start-up businesses in the first five years of their existence. Entrepreneurs are the heroes of the economy, creating businesses, jobs and growth from which the rest of us benefit, and Ireland has some amazing entrepreneurs, but not nearly enough. That is why, as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, we are determined to look at new ways of supporting and facilitating entrepreneurs so we can have more start-ups and ultimately more jobs. And that is why we have asked entrepreneurs themselves, people who have actually done it, to tell us what they think we need to do to achieve this goal.

“What they are telling us is that Government cannot create entrepreneurs and start-ups, but what we can do is remove barriers and support an environment where more businesses can start. What we are publishing today is an excellent evidence-based document with 69 concrete recommendations for what Government can do to achieve this. Implementing all recommendations may not be possible – but if the past decade has shown us anything it is that advice from experts should be listened to and debated.

“I wish to thank all the members of the Forum and in particular Sean O’ Sullivan for the leadership, expertise and time-commitment they have voluntarily contributed to this project”.

Chair of the forum Sean O’ Sullivan said: “We believe that Ireland has the opportunity to become the most competitive country in Europe if it adopts – and embraces – some key structural changes.  The Forum’s recommendations in immigration, finance, and public policy reform are ambitious but concrete, and we call on Government to make tough political decisions. But more importantly, the foundation of a strong startup community is a culture of citizenship where individuals embrace success, give back, and take responsibility to build a better society. This report is a call to action.”

The forum’s report was launched at the startup hub Dogpatch Labs in Dublin’s Barrow Street which provides technology entrepreneurs with access to experienced mentors, free space, connectivity, and a community of peers that encourage a constant atmosphere of innovation.

One of the major themes of the report is the need for entrepreneurs in all parts of the country to become more engaged with other entrepreneurs and to look more towards their own peers and less to Government supports to achieve their goals. Volunteerism and organising activities such as events for networking, peer mentoring and knowledge sharing are highlighted by the Forum as being essential. The Report emphasises that these engaged entrepreneurs, their companies and their staff are the heart of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The forum says Ireland already has that heart.

The full report can be found here.