In December 2016, PAUL Partnership surveyed former clients of our Enterprise Support Service.  The Enterprise Support Service supports unemployed individuals to become self-employed.

Our latest survey of 100 previous clients has found that two-thirds of those who had become self-employed 2 to 3+ years ago are still trading, and almost half of those described their business as performing either reasonably or extremely well. Furthermore, 81% of those surveyed (and still trading) described their business sector as ‘growing’.

This positive business sentiment is further highlighted by the feedback from respondents about their future business plans. Only 2% of respondents were considering closing their business – the remainder were planning to continue or even expand their business.

The importance and need for networking opportunities, and the vital role of the Department of Social Protection’s Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) in the early stages of trading were also emphasised by participants in this survey.

One third of respondents to the survey were no longer trading. This was due to a variety of different reasons, including a lack of earnings and business viability, personal issues such as illness or because the survey respondents had been offered full-time employment.  In fact, a quarter of those no longer trading had closed their business to take up offers of full-time employment.

Of the 100 people interviewed as part of this survey, and who had set up small businesses 2 to 3+ years previously, only 6 were job seeking at the time of the survey. As stated above, the majority are continuing to run their own business, while others have since returned to employment or education.

Overall, the findings from this telephone survey of previous clients of the Enterprise Support Service bring a positive message to recent, current and future clients of the service.  The overall sentiment is one of positivity with many people reporting their sector and business to be growing.  Supports, including the BTWEA, play an important role in assisting people into self-employment and through the initial stages of the business.  Challenges will always be present but PAUL Partnership will continue to provide one-to-one advice, group training, networking and other supports to potential and new small business start ups to enhance their long-term sustainability.

The Enterprise Support Service is delivered as part of our Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP).  The service provides one-to-one support and guidance to unemployed individuals who are exploring the option of self-employment. Support is provided in relation to developing business ideas and business plans, applying for the BTWEA, and accessing enterprise training.  Enterprise training is provided in collaboration with the Limerick Enterprise Office.  For further details about the service, go to:

PAUL Partnership and Limerick Enterprise Office staff present the research findings

during Limerick Business Week.

To download a copy of the research report, click on the following link:

Follow Up Survey of Small Business Start Ups in Limerick City 2016 – Final