- 47% of entrepreneurs believe Brexit has already had an impact on their business
- 62% see opportunities around Brexit
- 73% said Ireland’s Eurozone membership is a strong enabler to business
Dublin, 29 March 2018: With one year to go until Brexit, 62% of Irish entrepreneurs see business opportunities among the risks, according to research published by EY today. The research was conducted amongst 130 top entrepreneurs across the island of Ireland who are previous finalists in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ programme. Collectively the Alumni community employ a total of over 240,000 and generated €18.8bn in revenues last year.
Ahead of the deadline for a British exit from the EU on 29 March 2019, Irish business remains optimistic. This is in spite of the fact that almost half (47%) of entrepreneurs say that Brexit has already impacted their business.
The entrepreneurs included in the research are accustomed to geopolitical and market disruption, with 78% of them being export driven. With a third of this group exporting to the UK, Brexit looks likely to be the biggest factor impacting Irish entrepreneurial businesses over the next 12 months. Almost a third (32%) have said they Brexit will force them to export elsewhere outside the UK. 20% of the entrepreneurs already export to Europe and 20% to the USA.
Commenting on the research findings, Kevin McLoughlin, Partner Lead, EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ Ireland said: “The results of our research reinforce something we have all heard anecdotally; entrepreneurs have a different mind-set. While many will see the risk associated with Brexit, 62% of entrepreneurs have said they see an opportunity. Their threshold for risk is much higher than average. As the uncertainty remains around Brexit business impacts across the island of Ireland, this mind-set will help entrepreneurs spot and maximise potential opportunities following a British exit from the EU.”
The Republic of Ireland’s Eurozone membership is seen as a strong enabler for business, with 73% saying it helps business growth. Almost half (47%) say that Brexit will open up more opportunities for Irish businesses in Europe, while 33% believe that Brexit will make business less competitive for British businesses.
“A year out from the Brexit deadline, Ireland needs to ensure that it remains as competitive a location for business as before, and address any areas of challenge as a matter of priority. Given the likelihood that cross-border business will become more difficult with the UK, factors such as Ireland’s Eurozone membership and close ties with the US will help to strengthen and build other trade links and replace opportunities that may be lost due to Brexit. With so many entrepreneurs already exporting to Europe, the US and beyond, we can expect these figures to grow, as more markets outside of the UK are explored and expanded.” Kevin McLoughlin added.
What is impacting business?
The research also investigated factors outside of Brexit currently impacting Irish entrepreneurs. Taxation, as expected, is high on the list of business priorities. More than half (56%) of entrepreneurs see Ireland’s corporate tax rate as an enabling factor for doing business here. With 58% of entrepreneurs seeing increased opportunities for businesses relocating to Ireland as a result of Brexit, it is likely the corporate tax rate will be a major attraction. Half (49%) said a reduction in Capital Gains Tax or other tax incentive would make an immediate and tangible difference to their business or to the island of Ireland’s economy. The research shows that of the 16% of the entrepreneurs who have exited their original business, 90% have reinvested in another business, showing there is an appetite to continue to create employment and drive the Irish economy forward.
On 25 May this year, a large proportion of Irish businesses will come under the scope of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). As has been reported over the last number of months, many organisations are still struggling to get to grips with GDPR; 52% of respondents said they don’t feel adequately prepared for its introduction.
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Ireland programme is supported by Premium Corporate Sponsor: Julius Baer International; Government sponsors: Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI; and Media Partners: Newstalk and The Irish Times.