Alliance Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn has highlighted the importance of small businesses to the Northern Ireland economy.
Mr Lunn was speaking during an Assembly debate. He said “As the owner of a small business for over 25 years I know the importance this sector makes to our economy. Northern Ireland has a great entrepreneurial spirit, but we need government support to help it grow, not hinder growth through unnecessary bureaucracy or regulation.
“Our small and medium size enterprises cover many sectors, and very many which started as one person operations have grown into substantial companies such as Almac, Norbrook and Wrightbus. SMEs can grow in a number of ways, from finding good products to prospering through being part of the supply chain for bigger companies. The more major contracts that come out from government departments or elsewhere, then the better for our small businesses. However, Executive delays in approving capital projects can have detrimental effects. In addition, planning delays can cause lengthy holdups to business proposals.
“In any economic strategy we need to change the focus slightly to supporting smaller companies, especially those with less than 10 employees. The Federation of Small Businesses estimates that 80% of our SMEs want to grow. We in government must support that growth.”