It's long overdue, this post. Apols for that. Personal stuff getting in the way of blogging I'm afraid.
So! The funding situation in Ireland is getting beyond pants. For those trying to run and/or start up a new business, the avenues to take are closing up and becoming more congested.
What can we do to help?
The banks are very limited in what they can do. 2 contrasting voices from the same bank have told me recently that -
1) They are only taking applications from existing customers who have a kick-ass business plan
2) They are taking applications from just about anyone but they have to have a kick-ass business plan which is more financial projections than words.
So that's all very helpful isn't it?
Anyone talking to me lately has difficulty with just that - financial projections. They're all very pie-in-the-sky aren't they? They have their place but how accurate can they be in this day & age when each and every market is so volatile at the moment? It's just so hard for people to get funding from anywhere!
And then to take the County Enterprise Boards - who are advertising like Billio at the moment - and discover that yes, they have new grants which are all very exciting but lo - the budgets have been slashed for 2010 and they don't know if they're going to be around in 2011! What good is that to the small business community, who cannot get funding from banks or building societies, have been let go from their jobs and have no rich uncle to act as their angel?
More and more faces are recognisable on Dragon's Den. RTÉ was inundated with applications for this year's programme, why? Because nobody has a choice. The avenues have dried up; the obstacles in the way on the remaining avenues are next to impassable.
This post didn't start out with the futile tone that is has grown into. There have to be options out there for people. There has to be an answer for all of this, more than just hopping on a plane to Canada or Oz, if you are lucky enough to be an expert in a field that they need & want.
The funding pie in Ireland is getting smaller, and the number of slices required is getting higher by the day. Someone close to me said recently - the cream will float to the top and Ireland Inc will be left with some great companies in a few years time.
That's very true, and I look forward to that time, but between now and then - what happens to all the other people who are fire fighting to keep their businesses afloat and families warm and dry?