Ireland can learn from Virginia’s business know-how – Calleary

Ireland should take the lead from the American state of Virginia in the cutting of red-tape surrounding business set-up.

That’s according to Dara Calleary TD, member of the Joint Oireachtas Enterprise Committee. He raised the issue with the Governor of Virginia, Tim Kane, when he came before the Committee to discuss economic links between Virginia and Ireland and how they can be enhanced.

Virginia was named ‘The Best State for Business’ by Forbes magazine two years in a row, and the financial news cable channel CNBC also designated it as its ‘Top State for Business’.

Reasons cited for its success are its low business costs and business-friendly legal and regulatory framework.

Deputy Calleary wants the Government to cut red-tape involved in the setting up of businesses. Unnecessary bureaucracy is making the process either impossible or off-putting for many people, he said.

He pointed to the European Commission’s Small Business Act, which is currently in draft format, as a progressive piece of legislation which would help simplify procedures for small and medium sized businesses in particular.

If the SBA legislation is approved by Europe’s finance ministers it will still be mid 2010 by the time the act will come into effect, so it is vital that the Government take action on the issue in whatever way it can before then, Dep Calleary said.

“Typical problems encountered by small and medium sized businesses starting up are complicated procedures, high costs, and administrative difficulties. Compared with other countries, it must be said Ireland is not doing too badly. In fact, in the World Bank Report ‘Doing Business 2008’, we are ranked eight out of 178 countries in terms of ease of setting up and running a business.

“The Government have made great strides in the area in recent years, but more needs to be done, particularly in our current economic climate, to encourage entrepreneurship and to adopt an approach that is more forgiving to business failure, such as the approach that is used in Silicon Valley.

“I will be continuing my work in this regard with the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD, to work for a further decrease in red-tape for SMEs in particular,” he concluded.

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