Brief for Minister for Enterprise and Innovation

Business priorities and solutions


1. Commit to increase investment in R&D

 

Why?

Ireland’s ambition to be a global leader in innovation can be delivered through research excellence and talent development.  Investing in research, technology and innovation is a key factor in driving sustainable economic growth. Investment is complementary and typically for every €1 Government invests in R&D, industry will invest €2. This must be underpinned by capital expenditure commitments and the implementation of national strategies to increase research intensity at business level. It is imperative that we remain an attractive place to conduct research and innovation as well as facilitating the emergence and scaling of our indigenous enterprise base.


How?
The Minister for Enterprise and Innovation should:

  • commit to increasing public investment in R&D as part of an overall strategy to bring national R&D intensity to at least 2.5% of GDP over the medium-term.

2. Better regulation


Why?

Poorly designed policy, legislation and regulation add to the cost of doing business in Ireland and are obstacles to growth and job creation. Ireland requires effective employment regulation, the need for a pro-innovation regulatory environment and an economic regulatory regime that enables, rather than restricts, Irish enterprise. In the context of Brexit, regulatory divergence in the UK could represent non-tariff barriers to trade. 


How?
The Minister for Enterprise and Innovation should:

  • create a systematic approach to mitigating the impact of laws and regulations through stakeholder engagement, regulatory impact assessments and ex-post evaluations
  • embrace the better regulation agenda at home and lead on it in Europe, benefitting Irish exports across the single market. 

3. Complete the Single Market


Why?

The EU must continue to add value to business. Irish business requires a renewed commitment to the Single Market, including prioritising the Digital Single Market. Effective completion of the Single Market and a globally competitive digital economy will deliver more jobs, growth and prosperity to Ireland.


How?
The Minister for Enterprise and Innovation should:

  • ensure both Ireland and its European partners complete the Single Market. The Article 50 negotiations provide an opportunity to identify and address lingering gaps in the market and take steps to better harness growth potential
  • work towards completing a Single Market that: boosts cross-border trade in goods and services across the EU; encourages a EU Digital Single Market that works; cuts red tape and does not rule business out; unlocks investment in infrastructure – energy, digital and transport - underpinning the Single Market; and encourages business services that meet the needs of the broader economy
  • intensify the work of the interdepartmental committee, established by the Department of An Taoiseach, to co-ordinate a whole-of-government response to delivering the Digital Single Market, and advancing Ireland as a leading global digital economy.


4. Enable Ireland’s enterprise base to optimise growth opportunities in the global economy

 

Why?

Brexit presents numerous challenges to the economy as a whole, and also to the individual businesses that will be affected. Through long-standing trade links, Ireland’s enterprise base is uniquely exposed to the disruption of Brexit.  A new approach is required to achieve economic resilience and maintain long-term growth. New policy thinking is needed to address the low management capacity of indigenous SMEs, in particular.


How?
The Minister for Enterprise and Innovation should:

  • secure a temporary EU framework for state aid to allow Government offset the worst impacts of Brexit on otherwise viable firms through enterprise stabilisation, restructuring, marketing and innovation supports
  • maintain a vibrant manufacturing sector through effective capital investment supports and targeted measures on innovation, research and skills
  • increase the grant aid for management courses for SMEs, expanding mentoring programmes and increasing the participation of SMEs in large-scale R&D centres.  

5. International trade and investment agreements

 

Why?

Ireland is the fastest growing economy in Europe thanks largely to robust trade in goods and services. During and following the financial crisis, the export sector continued to perform well; in 2016 exports of goods reached €117 billion while in 2015 exports of services were valued at €121.6 billion. For this reason, it is critically important that Government policy promotes and supports trade.


How?
The Minister for Enterprise and Innovation should:

  • ensure that Ireland plays a leading role in shaping, completing and adopting EU agreements with Asia, the US, and others to support trade and investment opportunities for business
  • continue with the implementation of commitments in the Ireland Connected trade strategy and sectoral enterprise strategies. The Export Trade Council must sustain its important role in monitoring Ireland’s trade strategy and in taking stock of progress and opportunities.


About Ibec

Ibec is Ireland's largest and most influential business representative. We proudly speak on behalf of 7,500 Irish businesses; home grown, multinational, big and small, spanning every sector of the economy and employing 70% of the private sector workforce in Ireland. Together with our 40+ trade associations, we lobby government and policy makers nationally and internationally to maintain a positive climate for business and drive economic growth. Our policy is shaped by our members through the work of our board, national council, policy committees and trade associations.  We regularly produce market leading industry and business events, positions on issues impacting business, economic research, forecasts and analysis. We also provide a wide range of professional services and management training to members on all aspects of human resource management, occupational health and safety, employee relations and employment law.  With 200 staff in 6 offices around Ireland as well as an office in Brussels and connections in the U.K. and Washington, Ibec communicates the Irish business voice to key stakeholders at home and abroad.

 

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