Almost three quarters of Irish SMEs say that surviving the current period of economic uncertainty is a key priority over the next 12 months.
While 71 per cent are prioritising revenue and profit growth. This is according to a new survey carried out by Google Ireland and conducted by Amárach.
The survey found that the rising cost of doing business is a key concern for 63 per cent of SMEs in the year ahead.
The survey also found that 66 per cent of Irish SMEs believe that Ireland is a good place to own and operate a small business with 51 per cent of those citing access to government supports like training and funding as a reason for that.
Despite this economic uncertainty and concern around rising costs, businesses recognised the impact that investing in digitalisation can have on managing costs and supporting growth.
Almost half (48 per cent) of SMEs stated that digital skills and tools allow them to operate more cost effectively. While 60 per cent use them to connect with customers, and 46 per cent say it opens up new markets for their business.
Further demonstrating the value of digital, 61 per cent of those surveyed stated that digital skills are essential to future proofing their business.
When it comes to upskilling in digital, more than 40 per cent of SMEs surveyed had engaged in digital skills training over the past 12 months.
However, there are still 20 per cent of SMEs having not completed any digital skills training in the last two years and 19 per cent having never completed any digital skills training at all.
Alice Mansergh, Director of Small Businesses at Google, said: “It is really encouraging to see that Irish SMEs are embracing digital skills and tools to help them navigate this period of uncertainty and future-proof their business.
“Notably, half the businesses surveyed see digital skills as indispensable to their business at this time. Today there is a digital divide, whereby even though more than 90 per cent of Irish consumers are online, 45 per cent of Irish businesses do not have a website.
“Helping businesses gain digital know-how and confidence are key to bridging the divide, and strengthening Ireland’s SME sector. That’s why Google has come together with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices to offer free training support for all.
“Through our You’re the Business programme we’re providing free accessible training, in person or online, helping businesses get online, grow online and expand internationally.”