Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (36)

Dessie Ellis


33 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will detail the enterprise development support that he offers to young persons under the age of 25 years and to women. [4135/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

Support for micro-enterprises, small businesses and new start-ups is provided by my Department through the wide range of assistance offered by the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) and Enterprise Ireland. The role of the CEBs is to provide support for micro-enterprises in the start-up and expansion phases, to promote and develop indigenous micro-enterprise potential and to stimulate economic activity and entrepreneurship at local level.

Subject to certain eligibility criteria, CEBs can provide direct financial assistance to a project promoter in the form of Priming, Expansion/Development Grants and Feasibility/Innovation Grants. The CEBs also provide a range of indirect non-financial assistance such as business advice, mentoring, management capability training and development programmes. In addition, in order to promote increased levels of entrepreneurship activity amongst young people and females, the CEBs operate a Student Enterprise Award Scheme and numerous Women-in-Business Networks. Potential entrepreneurs of all age profiles are encouraged to contact their appropriate CEB through their national website address,, to discuss what options may be available to them and their potential business.

Beyond the microenterprise sector, Enterprise Ireland operates a range of measures that provide participants with the business skills, contacts, mentoring and support to potentially transform their innovative ideas or technologies into exporting businesses. Under the auspices of Enterprise Ireland, the Government has also invested significantly in the broader environment for business start-ups, including investment in incubators, seed and venture funds, angel networks and mentors.

Over 90% of EI's company clients are SMEs. EI works with companies to strengthen their business plans, build their leadership and management capability, connect them for opportunities with overseas buyers and researchers, and provide them with access to finance. In addition to the Agency supports outlined the Government is developing a temporary targeted partial credit guarantee scheme and a Microfinance fund, both of which will be designed to help viable businesses at start-up and expansion stages.