Small businesses ‘content with size’

Three in five small businesses are failing to implement digital technology such as cloud computing, a UCC study has found.

The report on businesses that have up to nine employees found a quarter had ambitions to grow into a national or international business, but that almost three-quarters were content to stay at their current scale.

While adding digital technology was on par with UK small firms and considerably higher than those in the US, just 40% were using the likes of cloud computing and accountancy-based software to enhance their business, the report said.

Just over a third of small firms did business online, it found, while a quarter had not adopted any digital technology.

More than three-quarters of small businesses are family-owned, and the ratio of male to female owners is 2:1, the report said.

Co-author and economist at Cork University Business School in UCC, Jane Bourke said: “These business play an important role in the fabric of Ireland’s national and local economy.

“This study lifts the lid on their ambitions, innovation and growth aspirations and presents an in-depth economic picture of where Irish microbusiness are, versus their international competitors.

Government policy is to grow small business but this may not be what small business want.

Dean of Cork University Business School, Thia Hennessy said the report “emphasises the importance that micro-businesses, due to their scale and access to technology, should not be left behind larger businesses in the global digital revolution”.

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