Watch IRL’s Conference ‘MICRO – Enhancing Competitiveness of Micro Enterprises in Rural Areas’

Irish Rural Link Launched new Online Educational Resource for Rural Micro Enterprises at their Annual Conference 2018

Irish Rural Link (IRL) – the national network representing the interest of rural communities are held its Annual Conference on Friday 11th May in Cavan Crystal Hotel.

The focus of this year’s conference was Micro Enterprise – Key to Rural Job Creation. IRL also  launched a video of our online educational resource (OER) for rural micro enterprises at the conference. This is part of MICRO, a project co-funded by the European Programme Erasmus Plus in which IRL are lead partner with Maynooth University and partners from 5 other EU Countries (Belgium, Greece, Italy, Macedonia and Spain). 

The idea behind MICRO is to develop and deploy Open Educational Resources (open and widely available training content and modules) targeted at micro and craft type enterprises in rural areas to foster their chances of growth and access to the EU single market and EU opportunities to ultimately enhance their competitiveness.

IRL believe that Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises are the backbone to rural economies and are key to creating jobs in rural areas. While there continues to be a push for foreign multinationals to locate to Ireland, the reality is that they are attracted to the cities and larger towns. In 2016, almost half of the IDA jobs created were located in the Dublin and Eastern region, with just over 10,000 and 4,000 jobs created in the Border and Midlands regions[1]. More focus must be placed on micro and SME’s and how they are and can contribute to rural development and be supported more to create employment in these areas.

Micro enterprises accounted for 92.2% of all enterprises in 2015 (CSO, 2017) and this figure is reflected across the 28 EU countries. Research for MICRO project found that under 23 million SME’s generated €3.9 trillion in value added and employed 90 million people across the EU in 2015. This accounted for 67% of EU28 employment[2].

The conference was opened by Minister of State Sean Kyne with guest speaker from the Northern and Western Assembly. A panel discussion took place with the Chair of the LEO’s and local entrepreneurs to discuss the supports available from local enterprise offices to start ups and hear about people’s experience of starting their own business. Workshops on the MICRO tools, micro finance and business management and planning also took place followed by a pleanery. 

Watch the video here:

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