Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Questions (100)

Dara Calleary

Question:

100. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of local enterprise office chief executives there will be; the way this contrasts with the number of outgoing county enterprise board chief executives; if his Department has considered issues of displacement of already existing private sector service provision in its focus on LEOs as the single point of contact for local businesses; his views on whether the Enterprise Europe Network will remain as it is currently established or whether it will become an exclusively publicly delivered service via the LEOs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14295/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

When the 35 County and City Enterprise Boards are dissolved in mid- April, their existing functions will transfer to Enterprise Ireland (EI) and will be delivered on EI's behalf by the Local Authorities in 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). A Service Level Agreement (SLA) between Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities provides that the incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the CEB will be the designated Head of LEO and will have a direct reporting relationship with the County Manager. In organisational terms, the LEO will be a dedicated Unit within the Local Authority by virtue of having its own specific funding stream, branding, website and metrics and by conducting its work on the basis of the SLA. Therefore, as there will be no Board going forward to the new LEO structure, the position of CEO will not arise. It is not intended, or envisaged, that the LEO service to local business will cause displacement of already existing private sector service provision. In fact, I would actively encourage private sector providers to work closely with their local LEO in the provision of these services in order to enhance and maximise the opportunities for micro and small businesses at local level.

The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is a "one-stop shop" for the business needs of SMEs in the EU and beyond. It provides enterprises with information and a range of quality and free-of-charge business support services to make them more competitive. The Enterprise Europe Network in Ireland is coordinated by Enterprise Ireland and can be contacted via the Cork, Galway, Dublin, Sligo and Waterford Chambers of Commerce.

As regards the EEN Call 2015-2020, the EU Commission has recently confirmed that the deadline for submission for the above call is 15 May 2014, with the communication of results in September 2014.