February 6, 2014
- New Local Enterprise Office (LEO) expected to be up and running from April.
- A one stop shop for business supports currently delivered by County Enterprise Boards and Local Authorities.
The new system of LEOs will completely streamline the supports on offer to local businesses in Cork. The LEO in Cork will develop a plan for boosting local enterprise, setting targets for job creation and new business start-ups. This represents a radical overhaul of how supports are delivered, and will ensure that the system is local, targeted and effective.
An extra €3.5 million is being allocated to support the new LEO structure this year. There will be 170 dedicated staff across 31 LEOs; these employees will receive specified training to ensure they can deliver services to local businesses in the best possible way.
The Government is focused on supporting small enterprises, which employ more than 650,000 people across the country. Through the new LEOs, national enterprise policy will feed down to local level, allowing both Cork City and County Councils to strengthen its direct engagement with local businesses.
The Cork LEO’s office will act as a hub for enterprise support. It will provide a huge range of supports, including mentoring and training on how to start your own business and advice on how to draw up a business plan. The LEO will be able to refer clients directly onto Enterprise Ireland, Microfinance Ireland and Loan Guarantee Schemes.
As part of the LEO set up, a new Entrepreneurship Fund is being established, which will directly target start-ups by under 25s. A Graduate Recruitment Programme is also being implemented, which will allow business graduates to be employed by LEOs.
The establishment of LEOs around the country is a key element of the Action Plan for Jobs, being driven by Minister Richard Bruton TD. Last year, an additional 58,000 people joined the workforce; proof that the Government’s jobs strategy is working. We are determined to build on this progress this year, and I am sure that the establishment of the new LEO in Cork will help drive business innovation and job creation locally.