Is Ireland a role model for SME development in the new EU Member States?

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Series Details Vol.28, No.3, July 2006, p277-303
Publication Date July 2006
ISSN 0703-6337
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Beyond their many differences, the similarity of economic situations between Ireland in the early 1970s and the small new member states today invites research as to whether Ireland is a useful case study with regard to small and medium-size enterprise development. Positioned in the wider current debate on the factors that cause growth, as epitomised for example by the Sapir Report, this work is timely given that in less than three decades, the Irish economic outlook has improved from that of one of the four cohesion countries of the EU to earning the accolade of ‘celtic tiger’ during the 1990s. This article explores the following questions: are all the ingredients of the Irish experience for SME development present in the NMS? What lessons can be learned? What are the similarities and contrasts between SMEs in Ireland and in the NMS? As well as highlighting the existence of similarities, it is argued that advantages exist in the NMS which were absent when Ireland joined the then Common Market in 1973.

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