Tuesday, 2 November 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Enterprise Support Services
I thank Deputy Flaherty for raising this matter. We focused on the IDA Ireland element in an earlier question. The Department and its agencies provide assistance to businesses in all regions of Ireland, including County Longford, to help them prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the future economy. The Department's core budget increased by €103 million, or 13.2%, in budget 2022. This will significantly assist us in helping businesses rebuild and grow after the pandemic and deal with the impact of Brexit and other challenges.
Enterprise Ireland assists companies in every county of Ireland to start and scale, innovate and remain competitive in international markets. There are 45 Enterprise lreland client companies in Longford, employing 2,959 people in a range of sectors, from consumer foods to digital technologies, and 190 new jobs were created by these companies in 2020. Between 2018 and 2020, Enterprise lreland provided €8.2 million to companies in Longford, including more than €2 million for two infrastructural projects under the regional enterprise development fund to encourage growth and back ambition.
The local enterprise office in Longford continues to be a "first-stop shop" for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and other measures for those wishing to start or grow their own business and acts as a sign-posting service for all Government assistance available to the SME sector. I compliment the work of the local enterprise offices throughout the past 18 months in helping many companies, including companies new to those local enterprise offices, to manage their businesses through Covid-19 and avail of many business schemes, such as the business continuity voucher and online trading voucher. Many other soft supports were put in place through the local enterprise offices. I am trying to visit as many of those offices as I can to see the work they have done but also to compliment them on the different initiatives they have implemented.
The local enterprise network will receive an additional €2 million in budget 2022 to focus on the dual challenges and opportunities of digitalisation and transitioning to a low-carbon sustainable economy for micro and small companies. The Tánaiste referred earlier to the number of IDA Ireland client companies in the region, at 44. They, too, provide great schemes.