The image I’m using above this post is a variant of a meme that’s been doing the rounds for the last year or so. The text reads:
When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy a 3rd holiday home.
You’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mum or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college
Ireland is a wonderful country and we’re happy and proud to be a 100% Irish owned business. But we know all too well that more often than not small businesses aren’t getting the spotlight and attention from either the government or any of its various agencies.
Small business just isn’t “sexy” enough for government.
That’s a sad reality.
Everyone forgets that small business drives the Irish economy. That corner shop? It employs 20 people. That butcher? It employs 8 people directly and buys all its meat from local farmers, who in turn put money back into the local economy.
But it’s not a Google, a Facebook, a Twitter or another one of the “hot” and “cool” big tech companies that IDA and others have attracted to Ireland.
And here’s the key thing – small businesses have roots.
They’re part of their local community.
Their staff live locally.
They aren’t going to move their operations overseas just because the tax rate fluctuated a couple of points. You can’t say the same for a lot of big multinationals.
Small businesses pay a LOT of tax.
Their owners and their staff put in long hours and they don’t get to avoid paying taxes, buy 2nd or 3rd houses or retire to a tropical island.
When Damien approached me about two and a half years ago with the concept of the SME Awards I loved it. Blacknight is a small business. We started with nothing and have grown our business organically over the past 10+ years. We know what it’s like to struggle. We know what it’s like to put in crazy long hours.
But like so many small Irish businesses, we are of our region. Most of our staff live within 30 minutes of our offices. They’re part of the local community.
We haven’t had huge investment from the Irish government or any of its agencies and that’s fine.
But what we wanted to do was to be able to showcase, highlight and celebrate those wonderful small businesses that keep the motor of the Irish economy going. We #LoveSMEs – we hope you do too!
(Disclosure: We did get some money from Enterprise Ireland in the last 2 years)