That’s according to a new survey carried out by Close Brothers Invoice Finance, who surveyed almost 50 Irish firms as part of a larger study conducted on the Irish and UK markets.
Managing director of Close Brothers Ireland, Harry Parkinson said that a lack of confidence in the recovery of the economy is hampering firms’ growth.
“SMEs are clearly still worried about the state of the economic recovery, resulting in a lack of confidence about growth.
“Now that the economy is starting to recover, the finance industry needs to inspire businesses about the possibilities and opportunities in this improving environment,” said Mr Parkinson.
Irish respondents to the survey had a less optimistic view however, with 44% saying that they didn’t believe any true recovery was taking place.
A third of Irish SMEs said that the prevailing business environment is tougher than ever.
Among the problems faced by Irish firms is restricted cash flows, with more than 40% highlighting this as their greatest problem.
The results are largely in line with those of UK-based firms; 21% of which expressed confidence in the recovery of the British economy while the same number felt business is tougher than ever.
Meanwhile, Irish SMEs may be in line to benefit from an EU funding agreement which expects to leverage up to €25bn of additional finance for such firms.
The EU project is expected to help 330,000 SMEs across Europe over the next seven years by funding guarantees for banks to encourage greater lending to the SME sector. A total value of lending of €21bn, to be invested largely in firms of 10 or fewer employees and with an average loan of €65,000, is expected as a result of the fund.
The agreement was yesterday signed by the European Commission and the European Investment Fund.