Thursday, 11 July 2019

Questions (429)

Robert Troy


429. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the national Brexit mentorship and training programmes open to SMEs and which are in operation. [31124/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and Enterprise Ireland provide a range of supports to help companies plan for both the opportunities and challenges that Brexit poses. While the outcome of the Brexit negotiations remains uncertain, the LEOs and Enterprise Ireland are actively supporting Irish companies to prepare and take action.

The LEOs and Enterprise Ireland are providing companies with mentorship and training programmes to prepare for any kind of Brexit. These include:

- The Brexit SME Scorecard online tool is an important first step in helping small businesses think about how their businesses may be impacted by Brexit. Developed by Enterprise Ireland, questions in the scorecard are built around six key business pillars to help SMEs self-diagnose how prepared they are. A comprehensive report is automatically generated to assist with planning and to highlight what further supports are available.

- The Brexit Act On Programme has been developed to focus on three main areas of capability: (1) Financial and Currency Management; (2) Strategic Sourcing; and, (3) Customs and Logistics.  Delivered over the course of two half day sessions with an independent consultant, the initiative assists companies decide on specific actions over a short period to address some of the risks and opportunities from Brexit.

- The Brexit Mentor Programme was developed for businesses to work with an experienced mentor on a one-to-one basis to identify key areas of exposure within their business. With advice and guidance from their mentor, businesses develop strategies that are more robust, which address issues and maximise potential opportunities around Brexit.

- Prepare Your Business for Customs is a one-day interactive workshop, run regionally by Local Enterprise Offices, which provides businesses with a better understanding of the potential impacts, formalities and procedures to be adopted when trading with a country which is outside the Single Market and Custom Unions. Open to all businesses, these workshops cover areas such as what export and import procedures apply, how tariffs work and how to correctly classify goods.

- Customs Insights course from Enterprise Ireland which helps businesses understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to move goods from, to and through the UK. The online course, which is open to companies of all sizes, provides learners with a firm understanding of the customs implications for their business and the options from Revenue to make this process more efficient.

- LEAN for Micro which has been adapted by Enterprise Ireland for Local Enterprise Office clients to help small businesses boost competitiveness, increase performance and profitability as well as building resilience within their companies. Under this programme, clients can avail of five days of consultancy with a Lean Expert (a qualified practitioner), who will work with the company to introduce lean principles, undertake a specific cost reduction project and assist the company in benchmarking its performance.

- Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters (TAME) Grant supports clients to explore and develop new export market opportunities, such as participation in international trade fairs and development of export related marketing and websites. With a focus on helping companies to diversify, this scheme is a match-funding opportunity with up to €2,500 available.

- The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) which is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises that have international growth ambitions. The EEN is active in more than 60 countries around the globe, bringing 3,000 experts together from more than 600-member organisations. Through the Local Enterprise Offices, the EEN can help small businesses get expert advice, source technologies and identify trusted business partners.

- Be Prepared Grant, launched in June 2017 by Enterprise Ireland, supports the costs of SME clients in preparing a plan to mitigate risks and optimise opportunities arising from Brexit. This grant support, of up to €5,000, can be used to help cover consultancy, travel and out of pocket expenses associated with researching the direction of their Brexit action plan.