The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Cavan, located at Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre, Dublin Road, Cavan, is your 'first-stop shop' for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and 'soft' supports in the form of training and mentoring to anyone wishing to start or grow a business. The LEO Cavan is contactable at: 049 437 7200, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the first instance, the LEO can 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, Credit Review Office, and Microfinance Ireland. The LEO can also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.
The LEO can offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEO 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); and Business Development Grants for existing businesses that want to expand. (It should be noted that the LEO does not provide direct grant-aid to areas such as retail, personal services, local professional services, construction/local building services, as it may give rise to the displacement of existing businesses). In addition, there is a Technical Assistance Grant available for eligible micro-exporter applicants who are seeking to explore alternative markets for their product or service.
For anyone interested in starting or growing a business, the LEO may be able to offer 'soft' support in the form of training (e.g. a Start Your Own Business course); a mentor to work with the business proposer; or targeted programmes such as Lean for Micro (to help boost business productivity and competitiveness).
Micro-enterprises may also avail of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme (TOVS) from the LEO. The Scheme offers the opportunity for businesses to develop their website or digital marketing strategy by availing of vouchers of up to €2,500 or 50% of eligible expenditure.
Anyone with a viable business proposal can also use the LEO to make an application to Microfinance Ireland, which offers support in the form of loans of up to €25,000 to start-ups with viable business propositions that do not meet the conventional risk criteria applied by the banks. Successful applicants can avail of a more favourable interest rate from MFI if they make their application through the LEO.
I should also draw your attention to the 'Supporting SMEs' Online Tool, which is a cross-governmental initiative to help start-ups navigate the range of Government business supports for which they could be eligible. The tool is available at www.supportingsmes.ie. By answering the eight questions in the Online Tool, a small business will, in one location, be able to:
- find out which of the over 170 Government business supports from 27 different Government Departments, Agencies and Initiatives are available to them;
- obtain information on the range of Government supports for accessing credit;
- identify their nearest Local Enterprise Office where they can discuss the outcomes of the guide further;
- download all these filtered results into a document for their further use.