Latest Bank of Ireland Business Banking Start-Up Barometer Indicates Fall in Entrepreneurial Activity

Bank of Ireland Business Banking today (15 April 2008) issued its latest Business Start-up Barometer that tracks the number of business start-ups in Ireland.



  • 20% decrease in new limited companies formed to date this year (4,109) based on the same period in 2007
  • Start-up activity has returned to normal levels following strong growth in 2007
  • Continued diversification away from traditional sectors of the economy towards service based businesses
  • Business sentiment among small businesses remains high despite turbulent environment

Bank of Ireland Business Banking today (15 April 2008) issued its latest Business Start-up Barometer that tracks the number of business start-ups in Ireland. The Barometer shows that, consistent with the recent slowdown in the economy, the number of new businesses established has fallen by 20% to 4,109. However, with approximately 4,500 businesses established in the same period in 2006, this year’s figures reflect a return to normal levels of activity following a particularly active first half of 2007.

Much of the decrease has been the result of the significant and expected downturn in the Real Estate and Construction sectors, which fell by 36% and 48% respectively. However, the Barometer also identifies the continued diversification of entrepreneurial activity away from traditional sectors towards service-based businesses. For example, the number of accounting, bookkeeping and auditing businesses has increased by 10% (56), while 47 new businesses relating to human health activities have been established. A recent Irish Export Association report also identified that Service sector exports grew by 18% in 2007 and now account for 42% of total exports demonstrating the sector’s importance to Ireland’s longer-term economic development.

Despite a slight decline of 6%, Dublin remains the prime location for Irish businesses with 1,690 new businesses established in the capital to date this year (1,805 in 2007). Consistent with 2007 figures, the Barometer indicates that the growth in Dublin’s satellite towns will continue in 2008. The number of business established in Louth has increased by 17% (70) compared with the first quarter of 2007, while Wicklow businesses have increased by 5% (67). County Clare is also attracting an increasing number of entrepreneurs with the number of new businesses in the county growing by 11% in 2008 (62). Cork (358), Galway (169) and Limerick (150) continue to make up the top four locations for start-ups.

The findings of the Barometer indicate that the recent economic climate has posed significant challenges to Irish start-up businesses in the first quarter of 2008. However, the continued diversification of start-ups into other sectors demonstrates the ability of Irish entrepreneurs to adapt to a changing economy and overcome current challenges in the small business environment.

Commenting on the figures released today, Dr Dan McLaughlin, Group Chief Economist, Bank of Ireland said: “The Barometer suggests that resources are beginning to shift from construction to other areas of economic activity.”

Damian Young, Head of Small Business, Bank of Ireland Business Banking said: “Today’s figures confirm the expectation of a slowdown in the number of new companies registered. However, business sentiment among existing businesses remains mostly positive even in the current turbulent environment. For example, a recent Small Firms Association survey identified that 72% of businesses expect to grow in 2008. Success for businesses will hinge on their ability to remain customer focused. Tougher economic conditions will focus new businesses on being innovative, competitive and more cost conscious.”

Top Locations for Business Start-Ups in Ireland

County No. of Start-Up Limited Companies
Dublin 1690
Cork 358
Galway 169
Limerick 114
Kildare 103
Meath 86
Donegal 71
Louth 70
Wicklow 67
Wexford 63
Tipperary 63
Clare 62
Kerry 61
Kilkenny 44
Mayo 41
Carlow 41
Waterford 37
Westmeath 35
Laois 32
Monaghan 30
Cavan 29
Offaly 27
Sligo 27
Leitrim 18
Roscommon 18
Longford 9


Anne Mathews, Media Relations Manager, Group Corporate Communications Ph. 01 – 604 3836 or 087 246 0358

About Bank of Ireland Business Banking
Bank of Ireland has the most comprehensive Business Start-Up package available to new businesses, featuring a business current account that has a range of banking services free of charge for two years, and a suite of internal and external offers specifically tailored for the new enterprise.

We provide over 100 loans daily to the SME sector and currently approve in excess of 87% of all small business lending applications, with half of all applications getting an immediate decision in the branch, and the other half within 24 hours. In addition, Bank of Ireland is the only financial institution that will lend up to €25,000 to these companies without security.

Our service is delivered through a network of over 600 business bankers, including a Business Advisor in every one of our 270 branches nationwide.