Nearly 60% of small and medium business owners expect the business environment in Ireland to improve over the next 12 to 18 months, according to a new survey.
The research, carried out by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Microsoft Ireland, has found that 59% of small and medium business owners expect the business environment in Ireland to improve over the next year to year and a half.
The optimism comes despite fears in some quarters that Ireland could slip back into a recession following negative growth figures, which were published last week.
According to the research, around a third (32%) of small and medium businesses expect to be more successful in 2012 than they were in 2011. Around 29% say they expect to hire new staff compared to just 7%, who think they will have to make existing staff redundant.
Cloud computing and IT are considered key innovations to help achieve growth and further job creation, with up to 9,000 jobs anticipated in that sector.
Almost half of those surveyed (49%) said the use of computer technology will be the deciding factor in whether or not their business does well.
“The level of optimism that exists and the positive forecasts for growth and job creation are very encouraging,” Microsoft Ireland’s managing director Paul Rellis told The Journal.
“Irish small and medium business owners fully recognise the importance of their roles in helping Ireland return to growth and their confidence in the role that they can play is to be welcomed.”