Enterprise NI gave small businesses the chance to have their voices heard through their new survey for small and micro business operators and the self-employed, about their business operation and performance, the present business environment and what support and guidance they need.
A report was then compiled on the survey responses and North City Business Centre attended the launch of the Barometer 2019 at an event on Tuesday 19th November in the Stormont Hotel.
The responses provided a rich insight and analysis of the performance, attitudes and ambition of Northern Ireland’s small, micro and sole proprietor businesses.
The aim is for this inaugural survey to become an annual barometer that will inform strategic policy and help shape practical interventions throughout the enterprise support ecosystem.
The survey was completed by 1,250 businesses and some of the key findings were:
- The majority of businesses had sought some form of support with 51% having received support form their Local Enterprise Agency
- Key areas for support going forward include support for digital marketing and social media with 61% of businesses looking for this type of support
- 51% of these businesses are growing with 1 in 10 growing strongly
- 23% currently have job vacancies
- Around 1 in 10 are contracting with 1 in 20 ‘in difficulty’
- 76% of the respondents want to attract more customers over the coming year.
- Perceived barriers to embracing technology include, costs, time to learn and implement and lack of knowledge.
Dave Murphy, CEO of NCBC, said, “This survey has provided very valuable data on the issues impacting upon the small business world and emphasises the need for a new enterprise strategy for NI. I would like to congratulate Enterprise NI on this important initiative which provides a critical evidence base for the enterprise sector moving forward and I would echo the call made at the event that we will achieve more for small businesses if we work in partnership together across the whole enterprise ecosystem.”