Feargal Quinn tops poll for business acumen

Irish SMEs have voted Feargal Quinn as the most admired entrepreneur, according to a survey which also found the sector was struggling with a lack of demand and direction.

The survey by Viking Direct found that depressed customer demand is the primary reason for small businesses failing in Ireland, ahead of a lack of finance. That is according to a survey of over 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the UK and Ireland.

Viking Ireland director Michael Walby said the findings should serve as a warning to entrepreneurs about how tough the business world can be.

When Irish businesses were asked what entrepreneur they looked up to for their business acumen, a third cited Feargal Quinn, followed by Pádraic Ó Céidigh, Bobby Kerr and Norah Casey. In the UK, it was the Virgin founder Richard Branson.

Among other insights found by the survey, 94% of people in small firms believe they work harder than the average worker. As a result of working longer hours, 40% of respondents felt that running one’s own business had a negative impact on family life. Nearly a third had personal debt as a result, while 16% had remortgaged their homes to start up their enterprise.

Most Irish firms conceded that they were uncertain of what the future holds, but only a tiny minority, 5%, said they expected to have to cut staff numbers.

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