A net total of 3,533 new full and part-time jobs were delivered in 2015 by the 6,500 small businesses from across the country that have been supported by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), according to Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor.
The results, compiled by Enterprise Ireland following a survey, show that overall in 2015 a total of 7,122 new full and part time jobs were created in gross terms. The numbers employed in LEO supported small businesses currently stand at 32,592 overall. The 31 LEOs provide a ‘first stop shop’ for supports and signposting to start-ups, micro enterprises and small businesses nationwide in one easily accessible place.
Commenting on the 2015 results, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said, “The creation of 3,533 net new jobs in 2015 by clients of the Local Enterprise Offices is a remarkable achievement and testament to the hard work and personal sacrifices being made by entrepreneurs in local communities all around the country. I am very much focussed on ensuring jobs are created in every region in Ireland and the LEOs are playing an important role in this. Ensuring that we have the right environment for job growth is at the heart of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs and I will be ensuring that these Regional Action Plans are implemented right across the country.”
“These figures show a high level of performance, which is very encouraging and demonstrates that the local enterprise support structures that we put in place two years ago are producing real results. Great credit is due to the staff in all 31 LEOs for their achievements in this regard and to Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities for their role” she said.
The annual jobs survey monitors the employment performance amongst micro enterprises employing 10 people or less that have received direct financial assistance through the LEOs. In 2015, 984 business projects around the country were directly supported by the LEOs to the value of €10 million. A total of 23 eligible high performing LEO client companies transferred to Enterprise Ireland during the year under an agreed progression protocol with the LEOs representing a further positive outcome of LEO investment and support.
LEOs also supported budding entrepreneurs and small businesses with training and mentoring aimed at developing business ideas and building company capacity. Local entrepreneurship and job creation potential are further boosted by other LEO driven initiatives. Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition generated 1,400 applicants in 2015. There were 200 successful loan applications to Micro Finance Ireland (MFI) that were referred through the LEOs nationally. Almost 1,700 small businesses availed of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme through the LEOs last year, which helps to support internet based sales. Details on all the supports available for small businesses and microenterprises through the 31 LEOs are available at www.localenterprise.ie.
Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, commented, “Under the ‘first stop shop’ business support model, Local Enterprise Offices are delivering services and supports to an increasing number of start-ups, micro-enterprises and small businesses throughout the local authority network, under the guidance of the Centre of Excellence at Enterprise Ireland. As the results from 2015 demonstrate, this partnership approach is working, resulting in over 3,500 new jobs last year.