Written answers

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Co-operative Sector

Photo of Brian StanleyBrian Stanley (Laois, Sinn Fein)
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316. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the State financial and technical supports available to start-up co-operatives and existing co-operatives. [42230/19]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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My Department supports co-operatives in the same way as it supports other enterprises. My Department provides a range of grants and funding streams for ambitious start-ups, principally through the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).  The 31 LEOs are located throughout the country and provide a range of supports for the micro and small business sector. As the “first-stop-shop” for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports to those wishing to start or grow their own business, the LEOs:

- provide a sign-posting service to all relevant State supports;

- 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;

- offer “soft” supports in the form of training and mentoring; and,

- assist with loan applications to Micro Finance Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland have a number of targeted supports for start-ups, including co-operative start-ups, that have global ambition, the potential to scale and meet Enterprise Ireland’s eligibility criteria. The agency supports enterprises in regional and rural areas to start, innovate and remain competitive in international markets, now and into the future. Supports include competitive start funding, mentoring grants and innovation vouchers.

During the period 2015 to 2018, Enterprise Ireland paid approximately €16.1m in funding to 7 co-operatives.  Regarding the Local Enterprise Offices, they approved €28,550 in funding to 4 co-operatives during the same period.


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