Minister Richard Bruton T.D., Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at “Innovation Matters” event
Speaking at today’s “Innovation Matters” roundtable hosted by KPMG and The Irish Exporters Association, the Minister said,
“Innovation is at the core of this Government’s plans for jobs and growth. Since taking office we have put in place a range of measures to bolster supports in this area, including:
- enhanced R&D tax credits for SMEs as well as larger companies,
- a range of improved supports through Enterprise Ireland,
- better supports for industry-led scientific research through a new system of technology centres and
- improved systems for commercialising research out of the State’s third-level institutions.
“However it is crucial to make more businesses – small businesses in particular – aware of the supports that exist, and today’s event is a great initiative aimed at achieving that. I commend all involved and wish them every success with this initiative”.
A survey conducted by KPMG late last year found that not enough small firms avail of the various incentives available. While most small firms recognised the need to innovate, 82% of those surveyed were still only either at the “thinking about or planning” to do so stage of the process. The major factors in this lack of progress was a belief among small firms that the Government was not committed to supporting innovation, there was not enough financial support available and there was little information available on the subject.
Ken Hardy, KPMG’s representative at the roundtable said, ‘Five years ago the Government recognised the importance of, and pledged its commitment to, developing the “smart economy” as a vital driver of job growth and retention. Minister Bruton has today reaffirmed that support.
Ken Hardy, Partner KPMG, R&D Incentives practice, Minister Richard Bruton T.D., Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, John Whelan, CEO , Irish Exporters Association
But it is clear we need to raise awareness, particularly among small firms, of the financial incentives available via tax benefits and grants for R & D to help sustain and grow businesses through innovation. It is up to those of us who can provide the information, nurturing, mentoring and access to funding needed to do what we can to ensure that small firms adopt and follow through on innovation plans. Getting people back to work in jobs generated indigenously is essential to our economic recovery.’
John Whelan, Chief Executive, Irish Exporters Association said, ‘Over 85% of exporters invested in new product development over the last 2 years. This is a phenomenal commitment by export industry to getting out of the recession the smart way. But it is a heavy cash investment and will need more support from Government if it is to continue. A streamlining of the R&D tax credit system would be a very useful move in the right direction’
Barry McLeay, CEO of Megazyme (winner of the 2012 Irish Exporters Innovation award) said, ‘Assistance in the form of research grants and R&D credits was invaluable in helping us establish ourselves and flourish – even in these challenging times. Ireland is still the best place in Europe from which to run a business. So those who can need to “bite the bullet” and invest in innovation to create the jobs which will help rebuild our economy.’
The R&D tax credit regime has significant potential in helping drive innovation in Ireland. KPMG plans to repeat its Innovation Monitor survey this autumn to track both the attitudes and progress of Irish companies in this highly competitive area.