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Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, today (Wednesday 30th November) launched Skills for Better Business, a management development initiative designed and developed for owner-managers of small to medium-sized businesses across Ireland.

Skills for Better Business comprises of two distinct features: firstly, a free, online assessment tool allowing SME owner-managers to identify their current management and business capabilities and uncover which critical areas to target. Secondly, a listing resource that helps SME owner-managers identify and engage with a wide range of management development and training supports available.

The initiative was developed following the findings and recommendations by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs in its 2020 management skills report, Leading the Way, with the goal to reinforce management development as a priority for SME owner-managers and support the uptake of training. Management development is a national strategic priority for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and research shows that managers that develop best practice management skills are better placed to formulate clear strategy, adopt modern methods, develop better teams, innovate and grow.

A consortium of 14 partners from the public and private sector worked together to develop Skills for Better Business, with Skillnet Ireland taking the lead role to design and develop the online assessment and build the learning pathway for users of the tool.

Commenting on the launch of Skills for Better Business, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD said: “This Online Assessment will make it easier for busy small business owners and managers to assess their own management and leadership skills. It can make a real difference to small businesses; top class management skills make for top class businesses. Research has shown that firms that invest in management development grow faster, survive longer and innovate more effectively. I would encourage any SME owner or manager to take the Online Assessment and then reach out to the contacts for specific advice and guidance.”

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD said: “The launch of this resource aligns with Ireland’s skills agenda – to build on the strengths we have; to ensure our continued competitiveness by ensuring our people continue to be our best asset; to leverage the opportunities of digital transformation and climate adaptation and mitigation; and to ensure that Ireland boldly and bravely embraces a fully transformed 21st century model of continuous learning. The Skills Strategy has renewed our focus on SMEs and on talent development in enterprises of all sizes, as a driver of workforce engagement, productivity and profit.”

Liz Thomas, Head of Strategic Projects, Skillnet Ireland said, “The extensive work that Skillnet Ireland conducts with small to medium-business owners and managers all around the country, through our various talent development initiatives, enables us to provide real insights into the challenges they are facing and the activities that will bring most value. We were pleased to support the design and development of this new online assessment tool which will help business owners identify management development areas and the resources available to support them. We champion small to medium-business owners to improve their management skills and competencies, and ultimately enable better business practices.”

If you are an owner-manager of a small to medium-sized business in Ireland, you can begin your Skills for Better Business journey today by visiting

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