Irish Business Owners – How would you help businesses in Ireland?

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Television and Twitter define modern political life and those who shout the loudest or create the most effective meme often get the most airtime and traction. Business people don’t normally fall within this category but they have a really important contribution to make. Successful businesses provide solutions that solve real world problems for their customers. Since customers are people too, business owners are both problem solvers and people pleasers. That is why it is really important to include them in political life. After all, if there were no problems to solve there would be no need for politics.

In advance of the Irish general election we asked business people in the west of Ireland – attending the DMIM Digital Marketing Trends 2016 event – one simple question. If you were in power what would you do to help businesses?

One simple question what would you do for businesses in Ireland, many interesting answers Click To Tweet

Our first respondent was Ineke Oates from Wow Social Media. Things got a little right wing straight away as Ineke wanted to tackle social welfare and told us that “People are disinclined get off their backsides to work. They’ve no reason to.” Next we met Thomas Horkan who runs Horkans / Pet World, one of Ireland’s largest gardening and outdoor DIY chains. Thomas wanted to make it more economical for businesses to employ people by reducing burdens including PRSI.

Colin Ruane runs a company called Facebug Campers. They do wired-up camper vans. Each VW camper has a webcam on the front so passengers can livestream their holiday to their co-workers in the ultimate expression of social media bragging. Colin brought up the long running issue of business people being unable to access social welfare benefits if their companies fold while their employees can.

Sylvester Jennings is MD of Arcon Recruitment, one of the west of Ireland’s leading recruitment companies. He wanted grants or initiatives to encourage people to relocate back to Ireland. He said that people are reluctant to take salaried jobs in Ireland because they fear being hammered by USC and PRSI. Sylvester said it has to make financial sense before people return – which makes sense to us.

Jason Nolan, a wedding photographer, wanted to incentivise people to do business, rather than penalise them with taxes. Aisling Roche asked for rural broadband while Yvonne Murphy, really just wanted a phone line. Aisling runs Arms Marketing and Training. Yvonne is the owner of the yummy Devour Bakery in Ballinrobe, which spoils people across south Mayo with cakes, pastries, cupcakes and gourmet lunches.

We also spoke to Mick Crean of Mick’s Garage. Mick started out 10 years ago selling car parts online from County Mayo. His company now turns over 15 million, employs 60 people and has depots in Poland and the UK. Mick wanted to see a specific tax rate for businesses that relocate staff west of the Shannon. This would ease pressure on the rental and housing markets in Dublin and take some of the burden off the M50. It would also bring some growth to the west or Ireland, which really hasn’t felt the full effect of the recovery just yet.

Leon Tunny-Ware runs the hugely successful Westport War Games tourist attraction. He wanted to see better communication between people and government. Essentially better channels for influencers and a more receptive ear at the government end; for what we thought were all modest, reasonable and genuine suggestions!

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Martin Groarke
Martin is a researcher at Inc60. He is kept busy researching potential future topics, sourcing speakers for live casts, and proposal writing for upcoming projects. He studied international relations at DCU and strategy at NTU in Singapore. Past employers include the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, Dublin Airport Authority, Mayo County Council, Revenue Commissioners, Nanyang Technological University, VERTIC, Supreme Court of NSW, GrainCorp Australia and the NSW Barristers Association. He has pulled pints in Germany and studied French at the Sorbonne.