THE latest quarterly findings of InterTrade Ireland – the North-South trade and business development body – show that the recession has hit firms harder than initially envisaged; with 28% of companies saying they failed to remain profitable.
InterTrade’s latest quarterly business monitor – covering the second quarter of 2010 – surveyed 1,000 companies over a range of sectors and was weighted equally on both sides of the border, with 500 questioned in the North and the same amount surveyed in the Republic. The survey found that 61% of companies here have been negatively impacted by the financial downturn; while “only” 30% of their Northern counterparts suggested the same effect on their business. It also showed that twice as many companies in the south are now unprofitable than is the case north of the border (of that 28% total, 33% are based in the Republic, with 16% in the North).
However, two positives from the latest report are that the majority of companies – 71% of respondents to the latest survey – are planning to undertake “innovative activity” (the use of social media to promote and market their products, for instance) over the next 12 months to grow their business and that nearly half of firms are anticipating sales growth over the next year.
“It is encouraging that firms are embracing innovation as a means of recovery and growth. The results demonstrate that despite the challenging backdrop companies recognise that changing their business models, embracing technology and introducing new product... lines can drive business performance,” said InterTrade’s director of strategy and policy Aidan Gough.
“There is still work to be done in developing an island that is renowned and recognised as a centre of innovative excellence. I’d urge companies to take advantage of the range of supports available for innovation – a key focus of our remit, where over 70% of our budget is spent on helping to build innovative capability and capacity in SMEs.”
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