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Enterprise Support Schemes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 18 April 2018

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Questions (123)

Bernard Durkan


123. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the degree to which she continues to encourage start-up enterprises in all regions throughout the country; the issues to date identified as being likely to impede progress; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17061/18]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

My priority as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation is to drive the creation of high-quality and sustainable jobs around all the regions and counties of Ireland.

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) play a critical role in supporting microenterprises in the start-up and expansion phases in all regions throughout the country.

The LEOs can offer direct grant aid to micro-enterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities.  The LEOs also offer ‘soft’ supports in the form of training and mentoring for anyone interested in starting or growing a business. In addition, the LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service for the micro-enterprise and SME sector in relation to other relevant State supports, for example: Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Microfinance Ireland, Trading Online Vouchers, LEADER and Education & Training Boards (ETBs). 

As you may be aware Capital allocation made available and maintained in 2018 to the 31 LEOs is €22.5m. This is an increase from €18.5 in 2016 and is being used to fund LEO clients by way of financial assistance and a range of soft supports such as training and mentoring and initiatives such as Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Competition.

I am delighted that Government funding is being put to such an excellent cause through Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. The facts speak for themselves: including this year’s applicants, over 5,500 18-35 year old’s have applied for funding to develop their business ideas. New research now shows that the €5m we invested in IBYE has supported over 2,200 jobs and €124m in sales.

In addition, the LEOs have also delivered specific Brexit initiatives for micro-enterprises, including:

- LEO Competitive Fund for Innovative Micro Enterprises: - this new competitive initiative incentivised LEO clients to engage in innovation to develop New Product, Process or Markets.

- Technical Assistance Grants for Micro Export:  Financial assistance to support market diversification in qualifying businesses to develop new market opportunities.

- The LEO’s developed a Lean4Micro offer for micro enterprise clients: Helping business clients adopt LEAN business practices to increase competitiveness.

 A net total of 3,760 new jobs were delivered in 2017 by start-ups and small businesses from across the country that have been supported by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).

This brings the total number of new jobs created by LEO-backed companies nationwide to 15,000 since the LEOs were set up in 2014.

That is an increase of 10% on 2016 - and the fourth straight year of employment growth.

Growth was evident in each area showing that each county has the potential to grow its own jobs if the right promotion, encouragement and supports are put in place.

 A new client portfolio management model will be rolled out nationally this year by Enterprise Ireland to the LEOs, which will support portfolio performance and potential.

 The Regional Action Plans for Jobs are also designed to encourage all the players in each region to actively support enterprise creation. There are 8 Regional Action Plans and they are underpinned by the €60m Regional Enterprise Development Fund which supports the establishment of enterprise creation initiatives such as incubators, co-working space, clustering etc. I launched the second call under the Fund on Monday 16 April 2018.