An investigation of the action taken by businesses in the Irish small and medium enterprise sector to ensure survival since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, with particular focus on wholesale companies
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MBA in Finance
Dublin Business School
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This research sets out to examine the evidence in regard to Irish Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) survival during the financial crisis, which emerged in Ireland in 2008. The research analyses the importance of SMEs to the Irish economy, how SMEs were affected by both the financial crisis and the subsequent austerity measures imposed by the Irish Government over several years and ultimately how individual companies took action to survive the difficult conditions which emerged during the financial crisis. The research was carried out through interviews with a qualitative approach in the Dublin area, with a particular focus on wholesale companies in the retail and convenience trade. The Irish wholesale trade totals 6.6% of the Irish SME sector and employs 7.34% of the total number of people employed in the sector (CSO, 2011, pp. 41 - 42). The data was collected from business owners and accounting departments (senior management who are directly involved in strategic decisions). The issues addressed by this research are recent and remain highly relevant. This research aimed to add to the existing research on the impact of the financial crisis on SMEs by identifying and analysing strategies used for survival. The research confirmed that Irish SMEs tackled enormous pressures to survive since the financial crisis commenced in 2008. SMEs faced a lack of support from the banking sector, perceived ineffective action by the Irish Government combined with severe austerity measures imposed on the economy from 2008. The conclusion to the research implies the degree to which individual SMEs were affected was determined by their size. The micro SMEs had less resilience that their larger counterparts. Ultimately, SMEs were challenged to innovate their business and by successfully meeting this challenge, they could ensure their survival. Author keywords: SMEs, financial crisis, strategy