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Bank of Ireland says new Irish business start-ups were robust in 2007

  • 18,740 new limited companies formed in 2007

  • Growth in new business remains strong

  • Strongest growth recorded in Restaurant sector with a 30% increase in the number of start-ups

  • Dublin remains the top location (6,996) but increased evidence that start-ups are beginning to expand into satellite towns

  • Small businesses must remain adaptable and innovative to overcome the challenges ahead

Bank of Ireland Business Banking today issued its latest Business Start-up Barometer that tracks the number of business start-ups in Ireland. The Barometer shows that, despite a turbulent economic year, 2007 was a strong year for new businesses with 18,740 new limited companies formed. However, the Barometer does show a slight decline of just over 2% when compared with the number of start-ups in 2006 (19,221).

The data does not provide an absolute measure of entrepreneurial activity as the total includes new companies established by existing businesses including for example new operations at Dublin's International Financial Services Centre.

On a sectoral basis, Construction and Real Estate still remain the most popular start-up business sectors, with 1,714 and 1,804 new businesses respectively. However, the recent economic climate has undoubtedly affected entrepreneurial activity in these sectors, with new business registrations in Construction and Real Estate declining by 26% and 25% based on 2006 figures. The barometer indicates the continued trend for diversification in the small business marketplace, with growth in consumer–based businesses outstripping the traditional sectors. For example, the restaurant sector expanded significantly last year with 528 new restaurants setting up – this represents a 30% increase on 2006. This expansion has been driven by changes in Irish consumption patterns, increased expenditure on food and the growth in food retailers throughout the country.

Consistent with previous year’s results, Dublin remains the prime location for Irish entrepreneurs with 6,996 (7,006 in 2006) businesses establishing in the capital. Interestingly, 2007 also saw growth in new businesses setting up in Dublin’s satellite towns, where start-up activity increased by an impressive 37% in Louth while Kildare experienced over 10% growth. Cork’s popularity increased slightly in 2007 (1.2%) as 1,545 new limited companies set up in the county. And while Galway (731) and Limerick (603) continue to hold the third and fourth position, both counties experienced a decline in entrepreneurial activity of 15% and 11% respectively.

Commenting on the figures released today, Dr Dan McLaughlin, Group Chief Economist, Bank of Ireland said:
“The number of start-ups has held up well despite the reported falls in industry and consumer confidence, showing that new businesses are prepared to look through any near-term cyclical slowdown and to focus on the medium-term outlook.”

Damian Young, Head of Small Business, Bank of Ireland Business Banking said:
Encouragingly, the findings of the barometer indicate that at an overall level the business environment for starting a new business remained relatively stable in 2007. However, while some sectors continue to perform well, it is clear that the current market presents many challenges for new businesses in Ireland. Increased energy costs, more stringent legislation and the decline of Ireland’s competitiveness in the global marketplace will continue to test start-ups in the coming year.

2007 was certainly a year of two halves but remained a strong year overall for business start-ups. Undoubtedly, 2008 will present new challenges for both new and existing companies but the key to success for Irish businesses in 2008 will be their ability to focus on their business goals and to be adaptable to environmental changes. The barometer indicates that, more than ever, people are looking to new businesses as a choice of employment and I believe that opportunities will continue in 2008 for innovative and focussed businesses,” added Damien Young.

Top Locations for Business Start-Ups in Ireland



Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2008: Exports key role for entrepreneurs in High-Income Countries; Ireland fourth in group for Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity among 18-34 olds but lower for older workers

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