Fine Gael will hold its second Small Business and Enterprise Conference in South East Technological University in Waterford on September 30th.
The event, titled ‘Shaping our Future: Every Business Matters’, will feature prominent speakers in the areas of enterprise and business and political leaders including An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Ministers Simon Coveney, Paschal Donohoe and Neale Richmond.
Fine Gael established its Small Business and Enterprise Council in September 2022 and has been engaging with and listening to the views of business people in a series of roadshows that have taken place across the country over the past year.
The SME sector is the backbone of the Irish economy, employing over two-thirds of workers in the country. Fine Gael is determined to see this number grow further, ensuring that small and medium sized businesses will continue to be supported by the party and recognised for their immense contribution to Irish communities.
Fine Gael in Government has made great progress in helping SMEs succeed both domestically and internationally by providing billions of euro to support them through Brexit, Covid and the energy crisis. The party will continue to back them and help enterprises of all sizes to realise their ambition.
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney, said: “Fine Gael has always been the party of business. We recognise the significant challenges businesses have been through in recent years.
“That is why we have been fighting for Irish business through these crises and Fine Gael will continue to fight for business through policy and budgetary measures.
“This meeting in Waterford is the latest opportunity for businesses to engage directly with key Ministers and the Taoiseach ahead of this year’s Budget.”
Waterford Senator John Cummins said: “I am delighted that the Fine Gael Small Business and Enterprise Conference is being held in SETU Arena this year after being held in Thomond Park last year.
“The conference will give those involved in the SME sector an opportunity to engage with senior Government ministers on the issues they feel are of the utmost importance.
“Waterford has two very active chambers of commerce – Waterford City Chamber and Dungarvan & West Waterford Chamber who represent a thriving SME sector across the city and county. Over the last number of years, I have facilitated various engagements between businesses, the Taoiseach and Fine Gael ministers, all of which help to refine policy and direction in the enterprise space.
“There is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting and the SME conference will give businesses from Waterford, the wider region and nationally the opportunity raise the topics they feel are of the utmost importance ahead of Budget 2024, so it is a unique opportunity.”
Kathryn Lynch, Chair of the Fine Gael Small Business and Enterprise Council, said: “Irish businesses have experienced significant headwinds and volatility in the past few years.
“Ministers Coveney and Richmond, together with the Fine Gael Small Business & Enterprise Council, have been around the country throughout 2023, listening to business and engaging on what’s important to them.
“We know that the going, at times, has been very difficult and we are committed to supporting Irish business overcome those challenges and thrive.
“The Waterford event will offer businesses the opportunity to engage directly with senior Government Ministers, elected representatives and other SMEs to discuss the key issues and opportunities facing your business and hear more on how your voice influences policy change and future planning for enterprise in Ireland”, Ms Lynch said.