Entrepreneurs here are struggling to access funding and tax incentive schemes for their fledgling businesses, according to a new report by Ibec.

The majority (57%) of respondents to Ibec's Founders report said red tape had put them off applying for some funding and grants.

Meanwhile 60% described the availability and access to tax incentives as 'poor' or 'very poor'.

"We have a strong, successful track record in Ireland for founding these type of high-growth and innovative companies across many sectors," said Sharon Higgins, Ibec's executive director of membership and sector.

"But we also know that we want to constantly review the type of environment that we have to make it sure that it can be better. It is about lots done, but more can be done and we can really benefit from that in Ireland," she added.

The Founders report identifies the main issues facing the country's entrepreneurs, and proposes a number of changes to help improve competitiveness.

It found that the vast majority of founders - 88% - identified digital skills as 'important' or 'very important' to the future of their businesses.

However 47% of firms said their businesses lacked the skills they needed to meet their goals.

"There was a strong level of awareness that digital skills are so important to businesses," said Ms Higgins.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

"The good news is that they're looking forward and knowing that they need to do more, probably most companies need to do more," she said.

"Clearly founder-led businesses are very much driven by an idea and it's really important that they get all of the supports required to commercialise that idea and put it onto the marketplace," she added.

"The founders are the people with the ideas and they will need a lot of supports - including digitalisation support, regulatory and sustainability support in order to commercialise those products and ultimately to be successful."

Meanwhile almost a quarter of firms said they were finding access to talent was 'poor' or 'very poor'.

Skills shortages have been identified as an issue by many firms, as low levels of unemployment and competition from larger firms make recruitment an issue.

"One in four companies not being able to access talent that they need at that fledgling stage, when they're trying to grow their business, is an issue," said Ms Higgins. "But clearly most companies are doing a good job in attracting talent to join them.