Of the 450 medtech companies in Ireland, four out of five are SMEs or startups with 60% of these companies being homegrown. Nurturing entrepreneurship is one of the strategic pillars of the Irish Medtech Association’s 2020 strategy ‘The Global Medtech Hub: How Ireland is innovating for future healthcare and economic growth’.

Under this pillar, the Irish Medtech Association is working with key stakeholders and members to develop policies and conditions to ensure entrepreneurship can thrive, such as facilitating new funding opportunities, sharing best practice and networking.

Ireland is a good place to start a business, but many small companies struggle to make it big. More needs be done to foster entrepreneurship in education, and through business supports to make Ireland not only an attractive place to start a business, but also to grow a business.

Reform of key taxes and schemes would make it easier for medical technology entrepreneurs to secure investment. A fairer capital gains tax (CGT) for productive enterprise activity would encourage sustainable investment, supporting Ireland’s ambition to be a location of choice for medical technology entrepreneurs.

Start-ups and SMEs are a vital part of the medtech ecosystem, they help to drive innovation and develop new, novel life changing technologies. Innovation often emerges from intimate collaborations between health professionals, academia and manufacturers - an approach to which small businesses are particularly suited to.

But more needs to be done to help them engage with research institutions and to capitalise on their research outputs. These enterprises will require additional state support to build the absorptive capacity and to participate in any research collaboration.

The OECD have highlighted that the productivity gap between indigenous SMEs and larger multinational organisation is widening. Too many SMEs miss opportunities to fully realise the potential of research activity in higher education institutions. More needs to be done to help these few develop the value and exploit the situation.

Recommendations for stakeholders and policymakers to support start-ups and scaling 2018/2019 cover three broad categories:
  • Tax environment and schemes
  • Funding and investment
  • Research and talent

We will be publishing our position paper shortly.

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