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[l to r] Patricia Callan, Director, SFA; Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI; John Perry, T.D., Minister for Small Business

More than 200,000 small and medium sized enterprises employ over 655,000 people, more than half the private sector workforce, and contribute €10 billion to the Exchequer each year.  To support the continuing contribution of SME’s to the Irish economy, NSAI has launched a new online resource called The SME Portal.  The Portal will enable SME’s to research current and relevant standards pertinent to their industry, provide information on the benefits of implementing standards for their businesses and allow SME’s to have a direct say on thousands of Irish, European and international standards being developed that shape the market in which they operate.

Speaking at the launch, John Perry, T.D., Minister for Small Business, said, “Many SME’s may mistakenly believe that Standards are for ‘big business’ only.  In fact, SME’s too can benefit from the use of Standards, which open the door to export markets, create growth and reduce business risks.  The NSAI SME Portal is a straightforward way for SME’s to take full advantage of standards, to source relevant Standard’s easily and to access all the information they need quickly and simply.”

Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI, said, “One of the most valuable aspects of the Portal is enabling SME’s to gain access to over a thousand international standards working groups, where they can influence key industry decisions about their industry and thereby give themselves a real competitive advantage.  Indeed Dr.Chris Horn, formerly of Iona Technologies, puts the success of this ‘90s start-up in large part to making the most of participation in an industry standardisation committee.  He advocates using standards as a business development strategy and points out that  working with standards organisations can give you very valuable market intelligence about the strategy and status of your competitors, and of your potential customers.”

According to NSAI there are ten benefits to SME’s in implementing standards:

  1. Help you compete on a level playing field with bigger enterprises.
  2. Open up export markets for your products and services.
  3. Help you discover best business practices.
  4. Drive efficiency in your business operations.
  5. Add credibility and confidence for your customers.
  6. Open new business opportunities and sales.
  7. Give you the competitive edge.
  8. Reduce business risks.
  9. Help your company grow.
  10. Enable a common “language” to be used across an industry sector.

Patricia Callan, Director, Small Firms Association (SFA), stated, “All initiatives that support the growth of Irish SME’s are welcomed.  Many SME’s are faced with insufficient resources within their business. Leaders may be pressed for time, and therefore looking at using standards may drop down the to-do list.  The SME Portal is another positive step from NSAI in its role of supporting trade and enterprise in Ireland.”

Maurice Buckley added, “NSAI understands that investing in standards can be a time consuming process, especially when companies are currently cutting back on costs and resources.  However standards are an investment that can reap rewards such as global recognition and credibility.  This can instil confidence in your existing customers resulting in retention as well as attracting new opportunities.”

For further information on press releases, please contact:
Peter O'Reilly, 01 8073804, NSAI Public Relations