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Less than one in five Irish firms are in growth, new report reveals

Under 20% of Irish businesses say they are in growth according to a new report, with 40% saying they are in "survival mode".

However, InterTradeIreland's latest Business Monitor also reveals that a further 37% of firms are 'stabilising' after three years of serious downturn.

The data shows that 16% of companies describe themselves currently as being in growth or expansion mode.

While exporters are doing well, a massive 57% of companies which rely on their local marketplace stated that they have been severely impacted by the economic downturn.

Those firms doing best are diversifying, innovating and exporting, while companies with more than 50 employees (36%) are most likely to be growing

The sectors reported to be performing best are manufacturing and business services (both 23%).

The survey indicates that around 30% of companies which are exporting or involved in cross-border trade are reporting increased sales, compared with only 18% of those which are operating solely in local markets.

Main challenges include access to finance, cost control, the rising costs of all overheads - particularly energy, seen by two in five businesses as a 'very large issue'.

The InterTradeIreland Business Monitor monitors the performance and opinions of 1,000 firms north and south.

Aidan Gough, director of strategy and policy with InterTradeIreland, said: "Policies which encourage and support companies to innovate and export are those which will lead directly to growth.

"The lesson from the survey is that we need more of these companies driving the economy's recovery. Standing still is not an option. Continuous innovation is a core business process for successful firms."