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Small and Medium Enterprises

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This chapter outlines some of the main CSO statistics available on 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 3.1 and 3.2 in this chapter for more detail on the data used in graphs.

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SMEs (<250)Large (250+)
Active enterprises99.80.2
Persons engaged68.431.6
Turnover50.249.8
GVA41.458.6
  • Large enterprises (250+ employees) employed almost 32% of all persons engaged in 2016 and accounted for 0.2% of total number of enterprises. See tables 3.1 and 3.2
  • SMEs accounted for 99.8% of total number of enterprises in 2016 and over 68% of all persons engaged
  • SMEs generated 50.2% of total Turnover in the business economy and over 41% of Gross Value Added was attributed to these enterprises
  • Micro enterprises (<10 employees) accounted for 91.8% of all enterprises in 2016
  • Small (10-49 employees) and Medium (50-249 employees) enterprises accounted for 8.0% of the total number of enterprises, while Large enterprises accounted for the remaining 0.2%
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Active enterprises
Micro (<10)91.8
Small (10-49)6.8
Medium (50-249)1.2
Large (250+)0.2
  • Large enterprises accounted for the greatest percentage of persons engaged in 2016 at almost 32% despite having the lowest number of enterprises (0.2%)
  • Micro enterprises accounted for nearly 27% of persons engaged and had the highest number of enterprises (91.8%)
  • Small and Medium enterprises combined accounted for almost 42% of total persons engaged in 2016 and 8% of the total number of enterprises
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Persons engaged
Micro (<10)26.6
Small (10-49)22.2
Medium (50-249)19.7
Large (250+)31.6
  • Large enterprises accounted for 58.6% of Gross Value Added in the Business Economy in 2016
  • SMEs accounted for 41.4% of all GVA
  • Small and Medium enterprises generated 22.8% of GVA
  • Micro enterprises contributed 18.6% of total Gross Value Added while representing almost 92% of all enterprises
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GVA
Micro (<10)18.6
Small (10-49)12.2
Medium (50-249)10.6
Large (250+)58.6
SMEs (<250)Large (250+)
Construction94.45.6
Services72.627.4
Distribution72.427.6
Industry51.848.2
Financial and Insurance33.866.2
  • Construction had the largest share of its persons engaged in SMEs in 2016, at 94.4%
  • Both the Services and Distribution sectors reported over 70% of all persons engaged to be in SMEs
  • Unlike other sectors, the majority of employment in the Financial and Insurance sector came from Large enterprises, at 66.2%
SMEs (<250)Large (250+)
Construction90.49.6
Distribution76.123.9
Services60.539.5
Industry15.184.9
  • In the Construction sector, over 90% of all Gross Value Added was in SMEs in 2016
  • SMEs in the Distribution sector recorded a figure of over 76% for GVA, compared to the Services sector at almost 61% 
  • Industry SMEs accounted for just over 15% of GVA
IndustryConstruction DistributionServicesFinancial and Insurance
percentage of active enterprises720.718.651.12.6
  • SMEs in the Services sector made up over 51% of the number of enterprises in 2016, with Construction having the second highest percentage of SMEs at 20.7%
  • The Financial and Insurance sector accounted for just 2.6% of all SMEs. 
IndustryConstruction DistributionServicesFinancial and Insurance
percentage of persons engaged12.111.225.547.93.3
  • The Services sector accounted for the largest proportion of persons engaged in SMEs in 2016 (47.9%). The lowest proportion was in the Financial and Insurance sector with just 3.3% of persons engaged
  • Having accounted for almost 21% of all active SMEs, Construction accounted for just 11.2% of persons engaged in SMEs
  • The Distribution sector accounted for 25.5% of all persons engaged in 2016 even though it had only 18.6% of all active SMEs
  • The Industry sector reported 12.1% of all persons engaged and 7% of all SMEs
IndustryConstruction DistributionServices
GVA17.6821.652.8
  • Enterprises in the Services sector accounted for almost 53% of all SMEs Gross Value Added
  • The Distribution and Industry sectors accounted for almost 22% and 18% of GVA respectively
  • SMEs in the Construction sector recorded the lowest rate of Gross Value Added at 8%
IndustryConstructionDistributionServicesFinancial and InsuranceTotal business economy
2011100100100100100100
201297.394.499.1102.399.699.8
201396.495.399.4104.8101101.1
2014100.8101.6100.9109.7102.4105
2015104.1113.1104.1116.1107.9110.6
2016107.2125.1106.8121.1110.7115.4
  • All sectors experienced an overall increase in persons engaged in SMEs between the base year 2011 and 2016
  • The Construction sector reported the largest increase in the period 2011 to 2016 at 25.1%, with Services next at 21.1%
  • The total business economy showed an overall increase of 15.4% for the same period
IndustryConstructionDistributionServicesFinancial and InsuranceTotal business economy
2011100100100100100100
2012100.795.8102.1102.5101.9101.8
2013103.8120.3107.1106.699.3105
2014109.1196.8107.6109.798.8108.1
2015117.6156.7109.111998.3113.2
2016129176.3113.113299.5121.9
  • All sectors apart from the Financial and Insurance sector experienced an overall increase in persons engaged in Large enterprises between the base year 2011 and 2016
  • Construction showed the largest overall increase in persons engaged in Large enterprises in the period 2011 to 2016 with an increase of 76.3%, followed by the Services sector at 32.0%
  • The Financial and Insurance sector experienced a decrease of 0.5% between 2011 and 2016
  • With respect to Large enterprises, the total business economy employment showed an overall increase of 21.9% between 2011 and 2016
Show Table: 3.1 Number of active enterprises and persons engaged by sector and size class, 2016

Show Table: 3.2 Turnover and gross value added by sector and size class, 2016

Go to next chapter >>> Business Performance in Ireland