Industry-led group MIDAS Ireland today hosted its annual conference in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The conference focused on the challenges faced by the start-up community, as well as the scaling potential and economic impact of companies in the microelectronics sector.

MIDAS, Microelectronics Industry Design Association, is an industry-led organisation, with members drawn from the indigenous and multinational communities across the economy and spread across the country. It proactively promotes the future of the microelectronics sector in Ireland. Total employment in the sector has now reached more than 8,000 and contributes some €12 billion annually to Irish exports.

The conference today heard that start-up companies in the microelectronics sector face challenges ranging from securing capital investment, to sales generation, to recruiting the technical talent needed to bring their ideas to market. While State agencies such as Enterprise Ireland provide valuable support to the start-up community, companies still face barriers when it comes to raising funding, creating networks, accessing supports, and growing commercially in the domestic and global markets. In addition to these challenges there is a growing international threat with other countries improving their innovation ecosystems quickly and prompting entrepreneurs to hub outside Ireland.

John Blake, Chairman of MIDAS Ireland and Director at ON Semiconductor, said: “The conference today is aimed at helping Ireland’s microelectronics sector to access networks and knowhow assets that will help them to scale and to overcome barriers that can hold back growth. We want to create a supportive ecosystem that acts as a catalyst for growth in our companies and deepens their economic impact for the wider community.”

“Expansion of the technology sector has been a great game changer for Ireland’s economy over the course of a number of difficult years for the country. Through these years the start-up community emerged strongly and Ireland’s true innovation culture has had a chance to shine. We need to build on this momentum and ensure the growth of these emerging start-up are supported so that they can grow to become the next big globally recognised company.”

“One key area MIDAS feels strongly about is ensuring we have a competitive tax environment for our start-up companies. While the R&D tax credits provided to this sector are competitive the process is long. In Great Britain R&D tax credits are refunded in 6 weeks or less, in Ireland it’s 3 years. Another area of focus which could be improved is capital gains tax. While this year’s budget has seen it reduced from 30pc to 20pc this is restricted to the first €1m, a once-in-a-lifetime benefit. These are two areas which we believe warrant further to enhance our competitiveness in this regard.”

More information is available at www.midasireland.ie. The conference was supported by IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

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