Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marching to our own Beat

It has been such a month.

The raw anger from January and February seems to have dissipated into a whole new attitude around here. Into something like -

- Well there's not a shagging lot of good any of us can do about it what with nobody bloody listening to us anyway so we may as well just get on with it.

And I like it. I have been droning on amongst friends and family (with whom I have spend most of March...yes, I've been MIA from here for a while...) about how marvellous 2 particular days were for Ireland Inc.

Tuesday 17th March. Cue the sunshine. Beered up growd-ups and sugared-up kiddleywinks. Green body paint, glitter, feathers and fluff. Flags. Smiles. Laughter. The most cheerful buzz that I have noticed in Dublin City for many, many months.

Saturday 21st March. Cue the anguish, the nerves, the anticipation, the prayers and the urgency of hope that spread throughout every pub in the country. I haven't prayed that hard in a long, long time.

- pleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod let this happen for Ireland we really need it everyone's so glum this would be just magic pleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod -

Cue history, tears, shock, amazement, joy and one of the best days for being Irish which I will cherish always. Mostly because I luckily got to share it with lots of people who I love to pieces and haven't seen enough of lately. I'd been missing them, and now it's all good.

I nearly welled up with hope on Paddy's Day when I saw crowds of smiling faces flooding through the city's streets after the big parade was over. Happy people, full of joy and excitement. A little bit of sunshine mixed in with remembering the good parts of being Irish, all rolled up into one. Magic.

Followed by the day that brought tears to George Hook's eyes and mine, and made him wear a silly hat and not care a jot.

Such pride. Such pride.

And now? Time for what? Determination. We've all had enough of the negativity. Reaction to picturegate is enough to remind us that the backbone of our little isle lies firmly within ourselves. Nobody else. Feck the government, let's just do it. Get ourselves out of the mess, drive forward and get back to what we do best. Most things, as it happens.

March is a good month.

Monday, March 2, 2009

EU Funding

It appears that news stories featuring small businesses & the help available from Europe are like the 46A...none for ages and then 2 come along at once.

Not long after I had the pleasure of posting this about the European Commission, I find something else to be cheerful about.

I have just started following Eoin Ryan on Twitter (I posted about that last week too) and found this interesting tit bit - the European Investment Fund's new programme, called Jeremie.

Think not that I am nailing political support to any flagpoles - this I will never do. I'm too flaky. I am, however, delighted that anyone at all is starting the odd initiative that actually might bring some good to the small and micro enterprise sector. Hoo-bleedin-rah I say. It's not like we don't need it!

So - Jeremie - stands for the Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises. No wonder they abbreviated it. I won't ramble about which EU Fund it's coming from (Structural) but the basic gist is that rather than getting a once-off grant, money will be invested, and then can be reinvested in the same business at a later date. The money is not then linked to a specific project, just the financial health of an enterprise.

This makes a lot of sense, since at the moment you have to be incurring a specific cost in your near future when you apply to EI or a CEB. They always ask "well, what do you need the money for?" when truthfully you just need to be keeping your cashflow healthy and could do with a boost.

Now just to clarify - none of the details have been churned out yet. I'm trying very hard to gag the cynic in me that thinks this in reality this will take so long to put in place that the recession will be over by then, or that the hoops and loops people will have to jump through to get the finance in the first place will still be a pain in the -

But! I am tentatively thrilled that something is happening on the funding front. Hopefully it will come to something - at the moment they are only talking about "a range of financial instruments" so when I hear more I will elaborate!

Oh goodie for more good news... On a Monday too! The shock.


Footnote of Great Import:

JEREMIE funds are not issued directly to small businesses (SMEs).SMEs should therefore not apply to EIF or the EC for financial support.In due course, SMEs interested in obtaining finance will be able to identify and contact financial intermediaries in their countries based on information provided in this website, which will be provided as and when the JEREMIE initiative becomes active in Member States and Regions.

Last Wednesday's Irish Times

A bit behind - as always - I am surprised and shocked at the Irish Times publishing such an article. Interesting way to work at increasing circulation!

Apparently it's all our fault, ladies! We work, therefore we earn. With 2 incomes, the family's standard of living gets nice 'n' high - too high. We're the ones who love shopping & spending, right? So the glass ceiling which has just shattered is all our fault. Don't believe me? I wouldn't either.

Have a read, here. The article comes with a health warning - have a cuppa beside you and a smile on your face before reading! Newton Emerson (author) is a satirist from Northern Ireland. So I'm going to assume that this article appears tongue in cheek.