The leading representative bodies for banks and SMEs recently joined forces behind the promotion of a free online learning tool, www.dolearnfinance.com to help the owners/managers of start-up, micro and small businesses to improve their financial management skills.
BPFI, Chambers Ireland, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Irish Small & Medium Sized Enterprises Association (ISME), Microfinance Ireland and the Small Firms Association (SFA) are at one in recognising the importance and value of promoting higher standards of financial literacy across the SME sector. They share a common position: building and minding the business on a day-to-day basis is crucial and understandably time-consuming for entrepreneurs; but this must also include understanding the overall financial performance of the business and the levers that affect its performance.
Using various resources and practical business examples, the www.dolearnfinance.com tool enables SME owners/managers to gain a greater understanding of the most common financial terms and concepts and simple financial techniques in a user-friendly way, thus helping them to better manage their businesses.
Each of the supporting organisations are committed to promoting awareness and usage of the online tool through their online and offline communications, training and information programmes.
Launching the joint initiative, the Minister for Enterprise, Business and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, stated: “In the coming weeks, I will be launching a new SME and Entrepreneurship strategy for Ireland under Future Jobs Ireland. One of the key focuses of the strategy will be stepping up financial skills and knowledge among SMEs, as well as increasing the take-up of guarantee schemes. I welcome the launch of DoLearnFinance as a step in the right direction and would like to commend the partners involved.”
Brian Hayes, Chief Executive, BPFI:
“SMEs are central to the welfare of the national economy and local communities, which is why a productive bank-SME relationship is so very important. Higher standards of financial literacy will enable SMEs to get the most out of that relationship. This collective support for DoLearnFinance is firmly in line with the recommendation of the recent OECD report, ‘SME and Entrepreneurship Policy in Ireland’ which calls for more financial education to strengthen the financial skills and financial management of small business owners and managers.”
Ian Talbot, Chief Executive, Chambers Ireland:
“Tools such as this are essential in supporting SMEs to improve their financial literacy. Improving the competitiveness and productivity of SMEs is crucial, especially in light of the increasingly difficult trading conditions that Brexit is likely to bring. Better financial literacy will go a long way in achieving this aim,”
Mary Rose Burke, Chief Executive, Dublin Chamber of Commerce:
“Good financial skills for business leaders, particularly those with non-financial backgrounds, are a prerequisite for enhancing the resilience of SMEs. A solid grounding in finance is hugely important when it comes to making the right investment and management decisions, helping small firms to grow, innovate and improve productivity”.
Garrett Stokes, Chief Executive, Microfinance Ireland:
“Weak financial literacy is a problem Microfinance Ireland experiences on a daily basis with many microenterprises across Ireland. Assisting them to improve their financial skills will enable these important indigenous businesses: internally with the management of all aspects of their business, improving their viability and growth; and externally when seeking investor or loan finance.”
Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director SFA:
“With the financial world becoming increasingly complex, there is a compelling need for small business owners to improve their financial knowledge and skills. The SFA and its partners are committed to addressing this issue and will continue to work towards raising financial literacy amongst small businesses.”
Jack Foley, Chief Executive of DoLearnFinance
“Our vision is to help create an environment where no small business fails, or fails to reach its potential, because of a gap in financial skills that can be remedied with minimal time and effort.”