Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Local Enterprise Offices
The Local Enterprise Offices are the ‘First Stop Shop’ for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland. Located in the 31 Local Authorities Offices nationwide, 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.
It should be noted that the LEOs do 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. For further information on eligibility criteria see the LEOs Website www.localenterprise.ie.
I am informed that there has been engagement with Mr. McGregor by his local LEO in Limerick in respect to his query.
The LEO in Limerick has recommended the Start Your Own Business Programmes/Courses to Mr. McGregor together with advice on a number of training and mentoring programmes.
Start Your Own Business Programmes/Courses
The programme will guide an entrepreneur through the various aspects of business and business planning. The objective is to assist people in assessing their idea, its viability and to decide if they should proceed or take a step back. The following is the typical content and breakdown of a Start your own Business training programme.
- Identifying, understanding and researching your target market
- Tax, law and insurance
- Financial planning (pricing, costing)
- Sources of funding
- Promoting your business
- Sales and service
- Basic bookkeeping
- Developing your Business Plan.
All LEOs also offer a number of ‘soft’ supports in the form of training or mentoring such as:
- The Mentor Programmewhich 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 programmeswhich provide the owner-manager with the management, leadership, business skills and knowledge to achieve sustainability and growth in their business.
- LEAN for Microwhich 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.
Further to this, if a potential business is not eligible for direct grant aid, an entrepreneur with a viable business proposal can also use their 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 favorable interest rate from MFI of 6.8% if they make their application through the LEOs.
I would also suggest the ‘Supporting SMEs’ Online Toolwhich 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; and,
- download all these filtered results into a document for their further use.
Further information on all the services available from the LEOs can be accessed at www.localenterprise.ie or at Local Enterprise Office Limerick
444. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if funding will be provided for a local enterprise office for Drogheda and east County Meath to assist Drogheda to deal with the effects of each possible Brexit scenario; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2783/20]
The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports for anyone intending to start or grow a business.
My Department, through the LEOs, has continued to develop a range of supports to help local businesses in preparation for the challenges of Brexit
In that regard, both the Louth and Meath LEOs encourage a strong spirit of enterprise throughout their respective County areas and ensure that all micro-businesses in the Counties are supported on the basis of needs and qualifying criteria equally. Notwithstanding that the offices of LEO Louth are located in the County Council Offices in Dundalk, I am assured that the full range of programmes and activities that it delivers are dispersed evenly throughout the County. Similarly, LEO Meath provides the same business supports throughout the County including the Laytown/Bettystown Municipal District having engaged in numerous mentor assignments and training programmes for LEO clients based in East Meath.
I note that you have inquired about funding for a new LEO to cover the Drogheda and East Meath region. You will be aware that when the LEO network was instituted under the County Enterprise Boards (Dissolution) Act, 2014, a LEO was established on the basis of the functional area of the 31 County and City Councils in Ireland. This model, in operation for over 5 years, has been the platform for ongoing and incremental success in terms of client engagement and strong local jobs growth.
There are a wide range of Brexit supports available to further strengthen the capacity of our microenterprise sector such as:
- The Brexit Mentor Programmewas developed for businesses to work with an experienced mentor on a one-to-one basis to identify key areas of exposure within their business and to maximise potential opportunities arising from Brexit.
- Prepare Your Business for Customsis a one-day interactive workshop, run regionally by Local Enterprise Offices, which provides all 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.
- LEAN for Microis 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.
- 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.
- Research and Development Tax creditaimed at small and micro firms, who will be able to claim a higher rate of credit of 30% and will have improved options with regards to claiming the payable credit. These firms will also be able to claim the credit for expenditure incurred in advance of commencing to trade.
Finally, in addition, as part of the €28 million Border Enterprise Development Fund which I announced on the 3rd January last, I have provided an additional €3 million for the six Local Enterprise Offices in the border Counties of Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim for capability development programmes for micro and small firms with ambition. This will enable them to pilot a series of mentoring programmes for businesses focused on boosting exports, embracing innovation and improving management and financial skills capability.