Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (44)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

40 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the actions that he is taking to promote new business starts-ups for the long-term unemployed. [4123/12]

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

This Government is fully committed to its role of facilitating employment creation. Since coming into office, we have been working hard to create the improved economic conditions which will support the maintenance of existing jobs and the creation of new ones. Our objective is to put the country back on the road to economic recovery and full employment.

Both the Jobs Initiative, announced last May and Budget 2012 set out in December each set out measures that aim to return this country to growth, pay down our debt and focus our efforts on policies that facilitate job retention and expansion, as well as addressing unemployment.

Currently, work on the Government's Action Plan for Jobs is nearing completion. This Plan, which I am taking the lead on, will set out a series of clear, actionable measures to support the creation and retention of jobs.

Enterprise Ireland and the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) have in place a number of supports to assist entrepreneurs, new start-ups, small businesses and microenterprises.

Enterprise Ireland assistance to entrepreneurs and businesses encompass supports to develop and test business propositions which are at an early stage, ensuring there is a supportive environment for start-up companies and the provision of direct financial assistance for High Potential Start-Ups. Anyone interested in these supports should consult the agency's website atwww.enterprise-ireland.com.

The CEBs provide both financial and non-financial assistance to business start-ups in the micro-enterprise sector. Subject to eligibility criteria such assistance is available to any person interested in starting their own business whether they are currently unemployed or not. Anyone interested in setting up their own business should seek advice from their local CEB and in this regard should consult the websitewww.enterpriseboards.ie where they will be directed to their most appropriate Enterprise Board.

In addition, for more general information on developing a business in Ireland you may wish to contact the BASIS (Business Access to State Information and Services) Initiative, which is administered by my Department. The aim of the BASIS website, atwww.basis.ie, is to deliver Government information and services to business.

Labour activation measures specifically targeted at the long term unemployed are a matter for the Minister for Social Protection. That Department operates a number of schemes which are aimed increasing the rate of business start-up and entrepreneurship among the long-term unemployed.