What Are Local Enterprise Offices?
The government launched its new nationwide system of 31 local enterprise offices (LEO) today, replacing the county enterprise board (CEB) system.
The LEO network aims to deliver an improved system of local enterprise supports to startups and small businesses, thanks to additional staff, more funding and the provision of more services.
The LEOs will provide those thinking of starting a business with the full range of state supports available to them from the various government departments in a one-stop shop set-up. The offices themselves will be run through the various local authorities.
Around 170 staff will man the LEO offices, supplemented by local authority staff and eventual graduate recruits. A new website, www.localenterprise.ie, has also been launched to provide information about the national and local supports and events for local businesses.
The LEOs will also fill a gap previously found in the CEB system, where companies that weren't exporting but were too big to turn to the CEBs for help fell through the cracks between different agencies. A budget allocation of €3.5m has been set aside for the LEOs in 2014.
Other changes in the new system sees each LEO develop a local enterprise plan for small and micro businesses. A youth entrepreneurship competition will also be organised by the LEOs.
Launching the LEOs, jobs minister Richard Bruton said: “The LEOs will deliver more services and better services to the startups and small businesses across the country that we rely on to create the jobs we need.”
What supports and services do LEOs provide?
+ Direct financial supports to micro businesses. Micro Enterprises are businesses with 10 or less employees.
+ Advice on a range of alternative funding options available.
+ Business information, advisory services and enterprise support.
+ Training to meet the needs of your business including; Start Your Own Business, Managing Your Business e.g. Marketing, Sales, Financial Management, Strategy and Business Planning.
+ Mentoring for business with experienced experts.
+ Advice on local authority regulations, planning, accessibility, environment, procurement, and other issues affecting your business.
+ Connect businesses with appropriate State resources for your business, including relevant agencies, such as:
– Department of Social Protection: Enterprise Supports
– Microfinance Ireland: Business Loans
– Revenue: Seed Capital Schemes
– Education and Training Boards: Business Courses
– Skillnets' Training: Networks and Courses
– Credit Review Office: when your bank has refused credit
+ Progression pathways for high-potential companies to Enterprise Ireland.
+ Advice on local property solutions for start-ups and business expansions.
Who Can Get Help?
Anyone with a business idea or who already has an established business that is looking for information, advice, referral to other supports, guidance on 'how to start your own business' – or maybe needs training, mentoring or financial assistance. The Local Enterprise Office is for anybody interested in starting up a new business, or already in business, including; first time or young entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, start-ups and micro and small businesses looking to expand. (May 2014)