The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe has announced a €1.4m pilot management training fund for small and medium-sized businesses.
The move comes on foot of Forfás research for the Management Development Council, published in March, which identified areas for improvement in management practice among SMEs.
Minister O’Keeffe said he was initially investing €1.4m to get the pilot fund up and running this year.
"The plan is to develop seven regional management development networks this year - two in Dublin, and one each in the west, south-west, midlands, north-west and south-east.
"The pilot initiative is an important test-bed for the impact of management training on the performance of firms.
"Research shows that improving management capability in SMEs through this type of training can lead to significant returns in terms of increased value added, employment, better business survival rates and a more skilled workforce.
"I will be insisting on clear outcome targets for the training and on regular evaluation of the networks’ effectiveness,’ said Minister O’Keeffe.
McKinsey and Company estimates that bringing the poorest performing firms in Ireland up to average levels of management skills could be worth between €500m and €2.5bn in terms of increased gross value added in the manufacturing sector alone.
Minister O’Keeffe plans to grant-aid firms that come together to provide training as part of the seven pilot management development regional networks.
SMEs can approach these networks directly to join and access training.