Thursday, 12 December 2019

Questions (146)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

146. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the assistance available to a new startup company (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52424/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

The Local Enterprise Offices are the ‘First Stop Shop’ for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland. The Local Enterprise Office provides advice, information and support to anyone starting up or growing their business. With 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices offer you a wide range of experience, skills and services.

The LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service in relation to all relevant State supports available through agencies such as Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland. The LEOs can also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.

The LEOs can offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (up to 10 employees) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEOs can provide financial assistance within three main categories

- Feasibility Grants (investigating the potential of a business idea)

- Priming Grants (to part-fund a start-up)

- Business Development grants for existing businesses that want to expand.

Companies may also avail of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme which is administered by the LEOs on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE). An initiative under the Government’s National Digital Strategy, eligible businesses can apply for a voucher of up to €2,500 matched by own funding. The Scheme helps small businesses trade more online to boost their sales and reach new markets. Funding can be used towards eligible costs such as digital marketing strategies, e-commerce websites or app development.

The LEOs may be able to offer ‘soft’ support in the form of training or provide a mentor to work with the business which include courses such as:

- The Mentor Programme is designed to match up the knowledge, skills, insights and entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small business owner/ managers who need practical and strategic one to one advice and guidance.

- The LEO Management Development programmes provide the owner-manager with the management, leadership, business skills and knowledge to achieve sustainability and growth in their business.

- LEAN for Micro is a targeted programme for Local Enterprise Office clients to help small businesses boost competitiveness, increase performance and profitability as well as building resilience within their companies.

I am confident that over the coming year the LEO network will continue their robust and meaningful engagement with their many clients and will remain an integral component in the Government’s toolkit to prepare our SME sector to face any challenges they face by assisting Start-ups and Small enterprises throughout the country. I would strongly suggest that any new Start-up should contact their Local Enterprise Office, which can be found on the LEO Website (www.localenterprise.ie) and enquire as to what supports are available to them.