*Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Clare and Liam Conneally, Director of Economic Development, Clare County Council in the centre, pictured with Pat Breen T.D. on the left, Minister Heather Humphreys T.D. and Mark Christal of Enterprise Ireland in Russborough House, Wicklow, to celebrate 5 Years of the Local Enterprise Offices.
In the first five years of its existence, Local Enterprise Office Clare has created 752 net jobs locally, had €3.4m in funds approved and trained over 4,000 people.
Since the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) were established in 2014 they have supported the creation of over 18,600 jobs nationwide with 144,830 entrepreneurs and business people trained in a range of skills over the five years. They also have distributed €81.5million worth of direct financial assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs, stimulating job creation in communities across the country. They are operated in partnership between Enterprise Ireland and local authorities.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD said acknowledged the “significant role” played by LEOs “in generating indigenous employment across the country. There are now over 36,000 people employed by LEO-supported companies, small Irish businesses that are creating jobs in their own towns and villages. Supporting regional enterprise is a big priority of mine as Minister and it’s for this reason that I allocated an additional €5 million to the LEOs in Budget 2019.”
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of the Irish economy and they make a huge impact to local economies across the country. The Local Enterprise Offices have become the most important resource for any entrepreneur or small business looking for support or training. With over 144,000 trained and 40,000 receiving specialist mentoring, the LEOs are providing these businesses with the skills and knowledge to start and grow, to create jobs and generate significant revenue for the Irish economy,” Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen commented.
According to Padraic McElwee, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Clare, “The figures really do speak for themselves when you look across the 5 years of the Local Enterprise Offices. Clare County Council, through Local Enterprise Office Clare, has played a key role in fostering entrepreneurship in the area and is very much at the fulcrum of the local business community. That positioning has come through trust, expertise and the ability to help businesses over the toughest of hurdles because we have the resources to do so. Looking to the future, we are at the forefront of microenterprise and we have an opportunity to help shape policy and supports that we believe will only increase these impressive figures in the next 5 years and give our entrepreneurs and small businesses an even greater advantage in the market.”
Mark Christal, Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland maintained, The Local Enterprise Offices have been a significant success story for Irish small businesses. The LEO’s have played a critical role for regional development, making a significant contribution to ensuring that small businesses receive the very best advice and support to assist in overcoming the challenges they may encounter. This is reflected in the growing number of LEO client companies that are now transferring to Enterprise Ireland who have the global ambition to scale and expand the reach of their businesses overseas”.
LEOs offer a comprehensive range of supports from mentoring and training to financial assistance and Brexit planning, to entrepreneurs and small businesses alike to help them to plan, start and grow. The Local Enterprise Offices also run some significant programmes to increase engagement and draw entrepreneurs and small businesses into the business support eco-system. These include Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE), the National Enterprise Awards, Food Academy, the Student Enterprise Programme and Local Enterprise Week