Six out of ten Small Firms Association member companies are growing, while three quarters of small firms will invest in their business in the coming year.

Addressing the SFA's annual lunch in Dublin's Mansion House today, SFA Chair Sue O'Neill said that an "incredible 71%" of small firms will also take on additional staff over the coming year.

Ms O'Neill said that while small businesses are employment creators and drivers of economic success, efforts are still needed to develop a culture that recognises and supports all small business in Ireland.

She said the organisation's survey shows that domestic economic growth presented the biggest opportunity for small firms  in the coming year. 

But she added that small firms face major challenges, including a loss of competitiveness, rapid growth in wage expectations and skills shortages.

Sue O'Neill said the country urgently needs a coherent strategy to support Irish small business.

"In 1958 government focused its efforts on a strategy to bring foreign direct investment to Ireland. Clearly, this proved very successful and is still evolving. Similarly now we need a long-term strategic vision for small business that all of us, including the whole of government, businesses and communities, can get behind," she added.