Ireland can do more for Smart Job Creation in local SMEs – Prendergast

Labour MEP for Ireland South, Phil Prendergast, urged the government to redouble its efforts to support the job creation potential of small and medium companies whose business models rely on innovation and research.


Further to the publication of the European Commission’s 2014 innovation scoreboard, Ms. Prendergast said Ireland’s pool of talent and know-how can be used to catch up with EU levels of growth in knowledge-intensive investment and job-creation.


Ms. Prendergast said:


“It came as no surprise that Ireland is performing well in third-level education and research. We also stand out in intellectual property revenues and exports of services, thanks to the foreign investment we have attracted into the country.


“But there are lessons we can learn from the EU leaders in innovation, in Scandinavia and Germany, so that we can try and reach their levels of growth in innovative sectors.


“The top EU performers have balanced innovation systems with strengths across all the right indicators. Rather than excelling in just one or two dimensions, these countries make sure to keep their focus from research, through business innovation, to the products that reach the economy.


“We are lagging way behind the EU average on finance and support measures. This means that we need more government support for research and development through universities and other agencies, as well as more venture capital.


”We have relatively weak SME innovation capabilities that can be improved with support for collaboration with other companies and the public research sector.


“Turning our focus to supporting SMEs, including innovative manufacturing industries, is the best way of developing native know-how and anchoring jobs that bring a maximum benefit to our communities.


“In terms of regional performance, the South and East of Ireland stand out as innovation leaders, which we owe in no small part to the openness our higher education institutions have shown towards the areas they serve.”

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