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Small and Medium Enterprises

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This chapter outlines some of the main CSO statistics available for SMEs. Chapter 4, which deals with Business Performance in Ireland, also contains data on these enterprises.

SMEs are defined as enterprises with less than 250 persons engaged.  In this chapter, SMEs are further split into Micro enterprises with less than 10 persons engaged, other Small enterprises with between 10 and 49 persons engaged and Medium sized enterprises with between 50 and 249 persons engaged.  See Appendix 3.

See Tables 3.1and 3.2 in this chapter for more detail on the data used in graphs.

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SMEs (<250)Large (250+)
Active enterprises99.78425932532770.215740674672297
Persons engaged68.949277181664331.0507228183357
Turnover56.131623980356643.8685931489808
GVA49.602818664960950.3980125453564
  • Large enterprises employed over 31% of all persons engaged in 2014 and accounted for 0.2% of total number of enterprises. 
  • Small and Medium enterprises accounted for 99.8% of total number of enterprises in 2014 and nearly 69% of all persons engaged.
  • SMEs generated 56.1% of total Turnover in the business economy and just under 50% of Gross Value added was attributed to these enterprises. 
  • Micro enterprises accounted for 92.3% of all enterprises in 2014. 
  • Small and Medium enterprises accounted for 7.5% of the total number of enterprises, while Large enterprises accounted for the remaining 0.2%.
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GVA
Micro (<10)92.2933569500816
Small (10-49)6.38533634978531
Medium (50-249)1.10556602546076
Large (250+)0.215740674672297
  • Micro enterprises accounted for just 28% of persons engaged, despite the fact that they had the highest number of enterprises.
  • Small and Medium enterprises accounted for 41% of total persons engaged in 2014.
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% of total persons engaged
Micro (<10)28
Small (10-49)21.9
Medium (50-249)19.1
Large (250+)31.1
  • SMEs accounted for just under half of all Gross Value Added in the Business Economy in 2014.
  • Micro enterprises contributed 24.3% of total GVA.
  • Small and Medium enterprises combined, generated the remaining 25% of Gross Value Added. 
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GVA
Micro (<10)24.2802763302121
Small (10-49)13.0854579587395
Medium (50-249)12.2370843760093
Large (250+)50.3980125453564
SMEs (<250)Large (250+)
Construction92.4183857400367.58161425996395
Services74.279666756976425.7203332430236
Distribution72.225454631812127.7745453681879
Industry54.450117552067345.5498824479327
Financial and Insurance32.224756375699867.7752436243002
  • Construction had the largest share of its persons engaged in Small and Medium enterprises in 2014, at 92.4%. 
  • Both the Services and Distribution sectors reported over 70% of all persons engaged to be in SMEs. 
  • Unlike other sectors, the majority of employment for the Financial and Insurance sector, 68%, came from Large enterprises.
SMEs (<250)Large (250+)
Construction91.47834826005128.52165173994877
Distribution69.993961717195630.0060382828044
Services55.323850467017444.6761495329826
Industry27.381326626846972.6186733731531
  • In the Construction sector, 91.5% of all Gross Value Added was in Small and Medium enterprises in 2014.
  • SMEs in the Distribution and Services sectors recorded 70% and 55.3% of all GVA respectively.
IndustryConstruction DistributionServicesFinancial and Insurance
% of active enterprises6.8731991503144319.909983805497719.152417607840751.31848486760472.74591456874251
  • The Services sector accounted for over 51% of all Small and Medium enterprises in 2014, with Construction having the second highest percentage at 19.9%. 
  • The Financial and Insurance sector accounted for just 2.7% of all SMEs. This is largely reflective of the fact that the majority of enterprises in this sector were Large enterprises. 
IndustryConstruction DistributionServicesFinancial and Insurance
% of persons engaged12.461303674846510.031587505869726.446438198925247.68191620723843.37875441312023
  • The Services sector accounted for the largest proportion of persons engaged in Small and Medium enterprises in 2014 with over 47%. The lowest proportion was in the Financial and Insurance sector with just 3.4%. 
  • Having accounted for nearly 20% of all active Small and Medium enterpises, Construction accounted for just 10% of persons engaged in SMEs.
  • The Distribution sector accounted for 26.4% of all persons engaged in 2014 even though they had only 19.2% of all active SMEs. 
  • The Industry sector reported 12.5% of all persons engaged and 6.9% of all Small and Medium enterprises.
IndustryConstruction DistributionServices
GVA18.9743137122878.5835476571327821.170229059032251.271909571548
  • Enterprises in the Services sector reported over 51% of all SME Gross Value Added.
  • The Distribution and Industry sectors had 21% and 19% of GVA respectively.
  • Small and Medium Enterprises in the Construction sector recorded the lowest share of Gross Value Added at 8.6%.
IndustryConstructionDistributionServicesFinancial and InsuranceTotal business economy
2008100100100100100100
200989.271.491.990.492.487.5
201081.956.388.38892.982.2
20118151.287.988.59781.5
201278.848.38790.596.681.3
201378.148.887.392.897.982.4
201481.65288.697.199.385.6
  • All sectors experienced decreases in persons engaged in Small and Medium Enterprises between the base year 2008 and 2014. However, all sectors also showed an increase in persons engaged in SMEs in 2014 compared to 2013. 
  • Construction reported the largest decrease in the period 2008 - 2014, with 2014 figures almost half of the level in 2008. 
  • In relation to SMEs, employment across all sectors in 2014 was at 85.6% of the level that was recorded in 2008. 
IndustryConstructionDistributionServicesFinancial and InsuranceTotal business economy
2008100100100100100100
200992.660.193.593.994.492.6
201086.836.3879197.588.5
201187.530.286.989.895.787.8
201288.128.988.692.197.589.4
201390.836.39395.89592.1
201495.459.393.598.594.594.9
  • All sectors experienced decreases in persons engaged in Large enterprises between the base year 2008 and 2014. However, all sectors (except for the Financial and Insurance sector with a slight decrease of 0.5%) showed an increase in 2014 compared to 2013 levels. 
  • Construction showed the largest decrease in persons engaged in Large enterprises in the period 2008 - 2014, with 2014 figures just over 40% lower than 2008 levels. 
  • With respect to Large enterprises, the total business economy employment in 2014 was at 94.9% of the level that was recorded in 2008. 
Show Table: 3.1 Number of active enterprises and persons engaged by sector and size class, 2014

Show Table: 3.2 Turnover and gross value added by sector and size class, 2014

Go to next chapter >>>Business Performance in Ireland