07 Mar 2018 | 03.21 pm
LEO Companies Added Net 3,760 Jobs
7,135 jobs created, 3,375 jobs lost in 2017
07 Mar 2018 | 03.21 pm
Employment in businesses supported by Local Enterprise Offices rose by a total of 3,760 jobs in 2017, according to an Enterprise Ireland survey, with 7,135 jobs created overall and 3,375 being lost in the course of the year.
The government’s Annual Employment Survey shows that there are now 37,485 people employed by 7,180 small businesses and startups that have received support from the LEO network. The survey monitors employment performance among micro-enterprises that have received direct financial assistance through the LEOs, but the data are self-reported and not audited.
Other highlights from the survey indicate that 30,370 people participated in business training programmes, 8,390 mentoring assignments were provided to give guidance and advice around key business issues, and 1,180 business projects received direct financial assistance.
The 31 LEOs, run in partnership by EI and the local authorities, provide a ‘first-stop shop’ for supports to entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. They have been hosting more than 300 events during Local Enterprise Week, which ends on March 9.
LEO network chairwoman Sheelagh Daly said: “These jobs figures are a testament to the determination of local entrepreneurs who are growing their own businesses with the help of their Local Enterprise Office. Every day, thousands of small businesses are accessing a range of supports through LEOs, such as training, mentoring, grants and microfinance loans.”
The LEO network provides supports such as advice, training and mentoring, as well as direct grant aid to eligible projects. Funding includes feasibility study grants, business expansion grants and vouchers of up to €2,500 to help businesses trade online.
Mentoring provision is another popular service provided to entrepreneurs through LEOs, said Daly. “Most micro-enterprises do not have the type of management structures typically found in larger SMEs, so it is critical for them to be able to engage with a trusted, confidential and objective adviser.
“The LEO mentor scheme can be used to develop business strategy or to address specific business issues or opportunities that arise. In the LEO network, we are particularly keen to encourage businesses to engage with us on assessing their exposure to Brexit and putting in place plans to address it.
“For this year, we are seeing increased levels of investment in business development and expansion, including taking on employees, and an outward-looking approach to increasing sales and exploring new markets.”
Photo (l-r): Neil Wisdom of Intellicom, Kelda Clermont of Urban Artisan, Patrick McLaughlin of Silver Strand Rope Works and Alan Jackson of Qualitas Electronics. (Pic: Mark Stedman)