The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) 2018 jobs figures, announced by Heather Humphreys T.D. Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Pat Breen T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, show that 36,666 people are employed by 7,164 Local Enterprise Office supported companies.
This is the fifth year of employment growth for the Local Enterprise Offices, with 3,656 net jobs created in 2018. There has been an 11% jobs creation increase in current companies within the LEO portfolio since 2017. Since the LEOs were established in 2014 their clients have created over 18,000 jobs in small businesses across the country. The Local Enterprise Offices also approved €18.2million worth of financial assistance to 1,259 projects.
In 2018 the Local Enterprise Offices worked successfully with 171 of their client companies to help them transfer to Enterprise Ireland along with 796 associated jobs. This was up from 60 companies making the transition in 2017.
The 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, an initiative of the Government of Ireland, are operated in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities. They provide expert training, mentoring and financial assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses who may want to start, develop or grow their company.
The Local Enterprise Offices have played a key role in preparing small businesses in Ireland for Brexit. This includes Brexit Mentoring, Technical Assistance for Micro Exporting grants for small businesses looking to diversify into new markets, the Brexit SME Scorecard, the Trading Online Voucher Scheme for those selling online internationally and LEAN for Micro enabling small companies to trade more effectively and competitively.
The Local Enterprise Offices will also roll out the Brexit Customs Training across the country beginning in February which will enable any small business to learn about the customs import and export procedures that will be required post-Brexit to ensure they can continue to trade effectively with a country outside the single market.
Minister Humphreys T.D. said; “The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are a hugely important part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in this country. They do Trojan work in every county right across the country and these 2018 jobs figures highlight the significant contribution they make to the economy as a whole. This is the 5th year in a row of employment growth for the LEOs, which support our indigenous businesses to create jobs locally. Not only are they helping small businesses to plan, start and grow, but they are also working closely with their 7,164 client companies to minimise their Brexit exposure. The LEOs will continue to play a key role in 2019 and beyond, ensuring that every small business has access to the support it needs. I was delighted to allocate them an additional €5m in Budget 2019 to further support their invaluable work on the ground.”
Oisin Geoghegan, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “These figures highlight the important role that the Local Enterprise Offices are playing in creating jobs and sustaining small businesses all over Ireland. The LEOs are the first engagement any entrepreneur or small business owner should have when they want to develop or grow their idea or company. Every day Local Enterprise Offices help small businesses to get off the ground, overcome challenges, hire new staff, fund innovation, prepare for Brexit and plan for the future. The range of supports on offer from the Local Enterprise Office will help anyone seeking to start or grow a small business through highly practical services such as professional business and management training, mentoring, networking opportunities, finance and much more.”
Paul Reid, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council on behalf of the CCMA said; “Local Enterprise Offices play a fundamental part in local authority efforts to support economic development in our areas. The LEOs translate policy into practice and delivery on the ground. Their impact is very clear on days like today when we step back and take stock of the very strong employment they help to create. But it is evident also on a daily basis, when talking to entrepreneurs and businesses around the country who are benefiting from LEO support and gaining the increased confidence needed to grow their businesses.”