Written answers

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Enterprise Support Services

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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218. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the degree to which his Department continues to support enterprise given the needs arising in the aftermath of Covid-19 and Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30419/21]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The financial support the Government is providing businesses and workers affected by the pandemic is unprecedented.

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices continue to offer support and guidance to entrepreneurs nationwide by providing direct grant aid to microenterprises (up to 10 employees) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector.

They also offer ‘soft supports’ to entrepreneurs targeted at developing entrepreneurial capability through mentoring, training and development programmes. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEOs can provide direct financial assistance within four main Categories, further details can be found at: Financial Supports - Local Enterprise Office.

The LEOs also offer a Trading Online Voucher Scheme worth up to €2,500 (50% co-funded by the recipient) to assist businesses in developing their online trading capability and includes training sessions covering topics such as Website development, digital marketing, social media and search engine optimisation.

Enterprise Ireland assistance and support to enterprise including, the COVID-19 Business Financial Planning Grant, a €5,000Grant to provide a strategic intervention to clients to work with third party consultants to prepare detailed financial plans. To date 1,082 applications have been received with 1,046 approvals to the value of €5.18m.

The Sustaining Enterprise Fund -available to EI and IDA. To date 830 Applications forms have been issued with 633 applications received and 492 approved to the value of €166.20 m.

The Sustaining Enterprise Fund - Small Enterprise grant, to date 55 applications have been received with 46 approved to the value of €1.93m and the Sustaining Enterprise Fund – HPSU Scheme to date 129 Application forms issued have been issued with 122 applications received and 122 approved to the value of €8.9m.

The Online Retail Scheme Call 3 is a€5m third Competitive call targeted at Irish-based retailers with a physical store and a pre-existing online presence to enable them to enhance their digital capability and to develop a more competitive online offer.

Successful applicants will receive a grant ranging from €10,000 to a maximum of €40,000 - covering up to 80% of project costs. Scheme closed for applications on the 25thMay 2021.

An €9m Ready for Customs Grant to enable companies build Customs Clearing Capacity to help SMEs involved in exporting and importing with the UK and further afield to put in place the staff, software and IT systems to be ready for new customs arrangements from 1 January 2021. 1,062 Applications received to date with 941approvals to the value of €13.06m.

An Online Customs Insights Course: 40-minute online course on key customs concepts, documentation and processes. 2,924 registrations to date.

Overseen by my Department, nine new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2024 are currently being developed by regional stakeholders which will identify growth opportunities, recognise vulnerabilities, and in response, strengthen the regional enterprise ecosystem to enable job creation in the regions.

The Regional Enterprise Plans complement and reinforce ongoing activities of the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs and the wider range of State Bodies directly involved in supporting enterprise development in the regions. Each Plan is overseen and monitored by a Regional Steering Committee made up of regional stakeholders and chaired by an industry leader within the region. The new Plans to 2024 are expected to be completed in Quarter 3 this year.

InterTradeIreland’s (ITI) Brexit Advisory Service offers a focal point for businesses working to navigate changes in cross-border trading relationships as a result of Brexit. The Brexit Advisory Service has proved popular for SMEs and over 17,411SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory.

ITI’s Brexit Planning Voucher, worth up to €2,250 each, enables eligible businesses to seek professional advice on how best to plan and prepare for Brexit including advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, and regulatory and customs issues. To date there have been 3,668 applications, with 3,209 approved.

ITI also has a number of specific Covid-19 programme supports, including the Emergency Business Solutions and E-Merge programmes, as well as a series of online webinars and a business collaboration platform.

The Government and my Department’s focus is on ensuring that our businesses and jobs remain viable for the future.


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