Action plan for jobs – what’s in it for start-ups?

A lack of detail for starters!

Let’s take the main points. The Action Plan for Jobs (APJ) has 15 action points for 2012 relating to indigenous start-up businesses. None of these has a time scale (other than “2012”).

These pronouncements by Government are obviously given an overly positive slant, a little spin, and an inevitable amount of recycling. I’ve been deliberately negative in my commentary to try and give some balance and realness to the proposals.

    1. Corporation tax “holiday”

      The APJ says the Government will enact legislation to extend the corporation tax holiday as outlined in the Budget. Firstly, it’s not really a holiday is it? It’s a (very) limited relief aimed at new businesses, operating as a limited companies that create employment (and profits).

      Secondly, it’s already in the recently published, soon to be enacted, Finance Bill, 2012. (It’s always good to have a few quick wins in these plans – well done Minister Bruton, you can tick that one off).

      Where’s the corresponding relief for sole-traders – business people that don’t want to be burdened with the added expense of compliance that comes with a limited company (not to mention the onerous legal responsibilities of company directors)?

    2. Abolish the County Enterprise Boards

      I think it is a good idea to bring the CEB’s under the umbrella of Enterprise Ireland. It makes much more sense to have one organisation that start-up businesses can go to for help and advice instead of being passed from Billy to Jack. I also think that the very loose structure of CEB’s has resulted in inconsistent operation of the CEBs from county to county. Having EI look after all of this could reduce that – SO WHY SUBSUME THE CEBs INTO THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES!!! This smacks of a cost cutting exercise more than anything else.

      I also believe by renaming them as Local Enterprise Offices could subconsciously stifle the potential of new business. New businesses must think beyond the “local”. We need to have the right mindset. Why must they be called anything other than Enterprise Ireland. It could also reduce rebranding costs.

    3. Micro finance funds

      Great idea – but we need more detail. It’s also good to see that it will apply to all business sectors. But we need to know the qualifying criteria. Eg the “matching funds” requirements for a lot of these supports is barrier for many new businesses.

    4. Promote Seed Capital Relief Scheme for new start-ups

      I’m glad to this relief has been broadened to other sectors. BUT – it applies only to investments in limited companies. There’s no corresponding relief for investment in a sole-trade business (see point 1)

    5. Community Enterprise Development Programme

      The use of the phrase “maintenance of …a strong business development function” implies there’s nothing new here. Again, as this comes under Enterprise Ireland is there more confusion as to who does what?

    6. Deliver 95 new High Potential Start-ups (HPSUs)

      “Using the International Startups fund as key tool”.  International? This section is for “indigenous” start-ups. The International Start-up Fund  is a fund established to try and get overseas entrepreneurs to relocate to Ireland and start a business. Who in their right mind…???

      The wording here suggests to me that this fund isn’t doing what they thought it would so they’re trying to give it a bit of a boost.

      But I think there’s more of a fundamental policy problem here. Surely, this fund could be better utilised supporting potential entrepreneurs, already in Ireland, and preventing them from leaving?

    7. 7 & 8 Are the same thing, in my opinion (Entrepreneurial and innovation development in conjunction with colleges etc)
    8. See 7
    9. Four calls for the competitive start-up fund in 2012 targeting 60 projects

All good if it’s an increase. However the Plan doesn’t say anything about funding. I would imagine if it was being increased they’d be shouting it from the roof-tops.

    1. Accelerated growth programme for HPSUs

Should this not be part of the HPSU programme, anyway?

    1. Women in business startup drive

If this is to encourage women into business I think it may be misguided. In my experience there are more and more women establishing their own businesses. Some other form of support may be more appropriate.

    1. Global Irish Economic Forum

“Building on the work” is the operative phrase here. No details as to how this will be done.

    1. Improve the legal environment

Enact the Consolidated Companies Bill. The plan says that this bill will be published in 2012. The first part of the Bill was published last year and appears to be have been left on a shelf somewhere. This is the bit that applies to small business. (another quick win).

Ironically, the enactment of this bill might make incorporation more attractive for small businesses.  Pity it won’t happen in the life time of this plan as some small businesses may not get to avail of the provisions where operating as a limited company is a prerequisite.

    1. Benefit cover for self-employed

A long time coming. Although they’re only “examining options” so don’t get too excited. The stumbling block here will be funding. I propose a reduction in the PAYE tax credit.

    1. Should really be 2 separate points:

Review the Digital Hub Development Agency and National Digital Research Centre (sounds like something that could’ve been in the McCarthy report).

Promote an increase in online trading by small business.

Again, no detail. The inclusion of 2 unrelated points under 1 heading suggests to me that not much will be done about help small businesses get online.

Comments are closed.