Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure IE-1995-1/2602 – measures in Ireland
|Country||Ireland , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 01 January 1995|
|Context||Restructuring Support Instruments|
|Type||Other initiatives or policies|
Supporting businesses to stay afloat
|Author||Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||23 June 2022 (updated 18 November 2022)|
Plato Ireland is governed by the employer organisation Ibec, a leading provider of employment law and industrial relations expertise, and the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland. It was established in 1995 to provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with a unique business support forum for exploring business growth and expansion where business owners and managers can tackle the challenges and issues of today's business world.
It is supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment via Local Enterprise Offices, Ibec and Chambers Ireland. It receives some funding from the European Union's INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme.
Plato is open to all commercial activities that employ between three and 50 people and that are not start-ups (i.e. it must be an existing enterprise, not a new entrepreneurial venture). It is a confidential network based on group learning, facilitation and networking.
It is designed to address the needs of businesses by providing owner-managers with support, advice, training and a range of opportunities to develop their personal skills and management capability.
It operates as a not for profit business development programme, supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, LEOs, Ibec and Chambers Ireland.
The Plato network is composed of four groups of 12-15 micro and/or small businesses interested in growing their businesses and learning from larger companies in the region, and funded through Local Enterprise Offices and county councils. The Plato network is largely a facilitator that aims to create a confidential and safe environment where SMEs can benefit from facilitated group learning, training activities, business linkages and networking events. Plato Ireland encourages participants to share experiences and resources, to stimulate new ideas, and to support each other as they make the strategic decisions that determine how their businesses will grow.
Since 1995, over 15,000 business owners have participated in the Plato network
User testimonials reflect the impact Plato has had on small businesses.
Carole McCaughey of Kyles Events and Catering said the mentorship programme has helped her business "grow by 63% in revenue". In addition, the company has recruited 3 new full time managers and implemented systems for success through the mentioned business functions, in particular in sales, marketing and team management.
Shirley O'Rourke, owner of The Delicious Food company, said: "I found the programme to be excellent. We had terrific team leaders who supported us throughout the programme. A few people left the group early on & the core group formed a really good network of support for each other. We had access to speakers who brought great knowledge & practical advice in the form of Marketing/HR/Business planning etc
Lawrence Parnis, Managing Director from Absolute Event Catering Ltd, said: 'My experience from this programme has been positive, it has helped me implement different strategies and techniques into the daily running of my business. It’s a great opportunity to meet and talk to a variety of business owners about the different hurdles we all come across in the day to day running of our businesses.'
Service users get to avail of management expertise from a wide network of local, regional, national and international experts. Major employers who have participated in Plato Dublin include ESB, Microsoft, Ulster Bank, Pfizer and Ericsson, which would suggest the Plato support network is held in high esteem.
|Does not apply to workers||
||Does not apply to citizens|
Local / regional government
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Not applicable||Direct consultation outside a formal body|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Employer representative organisations, Ibec and Chambers Ireland, support Plato Ireland and are involved in facilitating the networking opportunities
There are no expressed views of the social partners on this instrument, but the ongoing support from Ibec would indicate a positive interaction.
Eurofound (2022), Plato Ireland, measure IE-1995-1/2602 (measures in Ireland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/IE-1995-1_2602.html
30 January 2023
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12 September 2022
Although the worldwide pandemic situation had already disrupted supply chains and triggered increases in energy and food prices in 2021, the situation deteriorated in 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.Article
12 September 2022
This article summarises the first policy responses that governments across the EU have started to implement to support companies affected by the rising prices, and those with commercial ties to Ukraine, Russia or Belarus.Article
Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.