This is the 5th year of employment growth for the Local Enterprise Offices, with 3,656 net jobs created nationwide in 2018. The Local Enterprise Offices now support over 36,000 jobs in 7,000 LEO client companies all over Ireland. Since the LEOs were established in 2014 their clients have created over 18,000 jobs in small businesses across the country. The Local Enterprise Offices also approved €18.2million worth of financial assistance to 1,259 projects.
In 2018 the Local Enterprise Offices worked successfully with 171 of their client companies to help them transfer to Enterprise Ireland along with 796 associated jobs. This was up from 60 companies making the transition in 2017.
Last year was a particularly strong year for Local Enterprise Office DLR where over €1 million was grant aided in local companies to help them start and grow. Of particular interest is the level of support for technology companies which accounted for nearly 70% of the total funds. We were especially delighted to have won the overall prize in the IBYE competition for a second year in a row and to have seen so many of our clients progress to becoming Enterprise Ireland clients indicating their readiness for attracting private investment and growing.
Minister Humphreys T.D. said; “The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are a hugely important part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in this country. They do Trojan work in every county right across the country and these 2018 jobs figures highlight the significant contribution they make to the economy as a whole. This is the 5th year in a row of employment growth for the LEOs, which support our indigenous businesses to create jobs locally. Not only are they helping small businesses to plan, start and grow, but they are also working closely with their 7,164 client companies to minimise their Brexit exposure. The LEOs will continue to play a key role in 2019 and beyond, ensuring that every small business has access to the support it needs. I was delighted to allocate them an additional €5m in Budget 2019 to further support their invaluable work on the ground.”
Minister Breen T.D., said; “Since its inception, the Local Enterprise Office network has been a key element of this Government’s commitment to enterprise development, across all regions in the country. It has been hugely successful. LEO-supported companies now account for over 36,000 jobs throughout the country, across such sectors as food, textiles, manufacturing and computing. It is particularly pleasing to see them grow in ambition and scale. Last year alone, 171 LEO companies transferred to Enterprise Ireland because they have the potential to scale to become internationally- trading companies”.
Mark Christal, Regions and Entrepreneurship Division, Enterprise Ireland, said; “The Local Enterprise Offices are a key component in local business across the country and have been the success story of the strategic partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities. The figures announced today show the impact that LEOs make in communities nationwide, enabling small businesses to get off the ground and to grow, helping to create, and support, local jobs. The role that LEOs play in this is getting more and more crucial as many of these companies with global ambition look to build scale and expand reach. The Local Enterprise Office is working with these companies to ensure they are in the best possible position to innovate, compete and diversify in the global market. The fact that the amount of companies transferring from LEOs to Enterprise Ireland has almost trebled in 2018 is a testament to the quality of company the Local Enterprise Offices are helping to create, and this will only continue to grow in the years ahead.
The 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, an initiative of the Government of Ireland, are operated in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities. They provide expert training, mentoring and financial assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses who may want to start, develop or grow their company.
The Local Enterprise Offices have played a key role in preparing small businesses in Ireland for Brexit. This includes Brexit Mentoring, Technical Assistance for Micro Exporting grants for small businesses looking to diversify into new markets, the Brexit SME Scorecard, the Trading Online Voucher Scheme for those selling online internationally and LEAN for Micro enabling small companies to trade more effectively and competitively.
The Local Enterprise Offices will also roll out the Brexit Customs Training across the country beginning in February which will enable any small business to learn about the customs import and export procedures that will be required post-Brexit to ensure they can continue to trade effectively with a country outside the single market.
The Local Enterprise Offices are the first touch point for entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country who require expert advice, mentoring, training or financial assistance in getting their start-up off the ground or growing their existing small business. This includes feasibility and expansion grants, trading online vouchers, LEAN consultancy to improve business efficiency, Brexit supports, export grants, innovation funding, one-to-one business specific mentoring and training for upskilling at all levels of business.
For more information on the Local Enterprise Offices and their supports go to www.LocalEnterprise.ie