Lessons for the household from a small business
Recently I was asked to Chair a Government taskforce on SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). Running a household can sometimes feel like running a small business and some of the conclusions and actions items coming from the taskforce are very relevant to householders. Plus, many One Big Switch members are sole traders or small business owners so the Report published here might be of relevance to many.
Here is a list of areas I thought are particularly relevant to consumers and householders:
- The Report recommends “Further examination of options to increase credit options for SMEs …e.g. attract foreign banks to set up in Ireland” This might improve banking options for Irish households and consumer. A few weeks ago I spoke about the great job N26.com were doing in Ireland. Fact is we need more competition in banking in Ireland, ideally from European banks who will find this market attractive.
- Regarding insurance for SMEs the Report recommends that Government “Encourage greater competition by seeking out additional multinational underwriters to supply the Irish market.” More competition in insurance from European companies will benefit the Irish consumer.
- The Report also refers to areas in which there is insufficient competition in general and recommends that Government “Address areas of market failure for competitiveness for products and services which are essential to SMEs… for attracting EU operators to the Irish market in areas of identified deficit, and/or encourage Irish players to provide services in the identified sectors”.
Ireland’s economy is small on a global stage, we are an island and are now further separated from our normal suppliers by Brexit and by Covid. Even though we have one of the most open economies in the world, free markets alone will not ensure that the Irish consumer is always an attractive prospect for European suppliers who can increase competition and choices while reducing prices. Government policy and action of the type in the SME Report is welcome and important for the Irish consumer and their household.