Wednesday, October 31 11:58:30
A new networking Website has been set up to tap in to the "Irish SME revolution" and help small and medium sized business owners and managers overcome the credit famine.
A group of Irish entrepreneurs have decided that it is time to change the way small to medium sized Irish businesses do business by setting up "smeople.ie".
It provides Irish SMEs with a platform encouraging them to network with each other, buy from one another, sell to one another, barter with one another and pitch for a joint fund to help with the financing of their individual businesses.
The site provides end users with a focussed, safe community where companies can address a number of their business requirements in one environment, saving them time, expanding their horizons and increasing their productivity.
Co-founders, Rob Marr and Gareth Duffy said that the market is under-serviced from a financing and support perspective, pointing to recent studies showing that although applications for business financing was on par with European Union averages, Irish banks/financiers were found to be the second most stringent in the EU.
Rejection rates for financing businesses in Ireland sits at 24pc which is the second highest in the continent and way above the European average of 12pc, they note.
"As Irish business owners, we were frustrated with the lack of resources out there for Irish entrepreneurs and SME owners. There are a number of physical networking groups, but no Irish focussed online networks that are there for the end user 24hours a day, 7 days a week. Working in the SME world can at times be a very lonely place, especially in start-up phase. There are questions that are difficult to find answers to and significant financial constraints and concerns. smeople.ie provides SMEs with a community, a place where Irish companies can come together and offer one another the support, both financially and advisory, that is currently lacking in the industry," said Mr Marr.
In Ireland, the small and medium enterprise (SME) market makes up 98pc of Irish businesses, with 90pc of Irish businesses employing less than 10 people and 8pc of Irish businesses employing between 10 and 49 people. This means that nearly 99pc of the Irish economy is made up by SMEs. The industry employs over 50pc of the Irish work force and provides 30pc of the nation's turn over at over E350 billion and 30pc of the nation's gross value added at over E95 billion.
"Smeople.ie really is a one-stop-shop for small and medium businesses in Ireland. Using the site, companies can market their services and products, search for other Irish SMEs' products/services and network with others in similar situations. The key to the site however, is the funding element. The fund pot allows companies to pitch for much needed funding that is currently unavailable from banks and other financial services, with no obligations, no interest and most importantly - no paying it back. Members pitch, members vote and members win."
Membership to smeople.ie costs E1 per day.