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Donegal Local Enterprise Office is open for business

Donegal Local Enterprise Office is open for business


New Office will provide improved services to start-ups and small businesses across the county


Start-ups create two-thirds of all new jobs across the economy


2nd May 2014




The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation today [Thursday] officially launched the Donegal Local Enterprise Office (LEO).



The Donegal LEO is part of a network of 31 LEOs which will deliver an improved system of local enterprise supports to start-ups and small businesses across the country – with more staff, more funding, and more services being provided.



Today’s announcement means that from today, people thinking of starting or expanding a business in every part of Donegal will be able to access the full range of State supports provided by different Government bodies – for example Donegal County Council, Enterprise Ireland, Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, the Credit Review Office, training bodies – in one easily accessible location within the local authority.



The establishment of the LEOs will mean that all categories of business – including sole traders, micro businesses and small and medium sized companies – will have access to Government supports and advice. Previously some businesses – for example, companies who were too large to access CEB supports, but were not exporting and therefore did not qualify for Enterprise Ireland supports – fell through the cracks between different agencies.



The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said:



“The Donegal Local Enterprise Office will deliver more services and better services to the start-ups and small businesses across the county that we rely on to create the jobs we need – with more staff and more funding.

Today is a good day for business in Donegal”.



“A key part of our Action Plan for Jobs is supporting job-creation across every region of the country. Donegal was hit hard by the collapse in employment across the country between 2008-2010, with more than 10,000 people joining the live register. Across the Border region more than 30,000 jobs were lost. It is encouraging that over the past three years we have seen real progress in Donegal, with 2,000 people leaving the live register and for example 500 additional people working in IDA companies in the county. Across the border region more than 14,000 jobs have been added over the past year. However we must do more to make the recovery local, and that is why were are making changes like – establishing the Donegal LEO, building advance IDA facilities in Letterkenny and a new competition to find the best  young entrepreneur in Donegal.”



“I am convinced that with the right support by Government, we can build on the progress we have made and help create the jobs we need in Donegal”.



For further information contact:


Press Office, DJEI, Tel: 01 631 2200, email:






Key points:


   ·            31 offices focused on local enterprise development



   ·            The LEO combines the expertise of EnterpriseIreland with the broad

      reach of Local Authorities



   ·            170 dedicated staff across the LEOs system, supplemented by a new

      Graduate Recruitment Programme to take place shortly and supported by

      a further 40 Local Authority staff



   ·   is the new client-focused website providing

      information about all national and local supports and events for

      local business



   ·            Single point of access to ALL local and national enterprise supports

      and services



   ·            All small businesses supported or advised, both exporting and

      domestically trading – under the previous system some business fell

      through the cracks between different agencies



   ·            As businesses grow and develop, seamless progression through the

      ranks of supports from EnterpriseIreland



   ·            Customer Charter and staff training by EnterpriseIreland



   ·            Increased budget allocation of €3.5m (20%) in 2014



   ·            New Youth Entrepreneurship Competition



   ·            Access to Microfinance and Loan Guarantee schemes



   ·            Network supported and managed by National Centre of Excellence in




   ·            Service delivery protocols in place between LEOs and key Government

      bodies to ensure business-people can access all relevant services

      from LEOs – Revenue, Dept of Social Protection, Education and

      Training Boards, Skillnets, Microfinance Ireland, Credit Review




   ·            LEOs will each develop a local enterprise plan putting micro and

      small business at the heart of job-creation locally



   ·            EnterpriseIreland has established a new Centre of Excellence for

      small business supports, to develop international best practice in

      this area and roll it out in LEOs across the country



   ·            Each LEO, embedded in a local authority, will develop a local plan

      for boosting enterprise, with targets including new business

      start-ups, business expansions and jobs created or sustained as well

      as wider economic impacts such as exports, mentoring, training and

      enterprise promotion. This represents a fundamental reform of local

      government so that services are delivered and decisions made closer

      to the people



   ·            New training programmes for all staff in customer support, and a new

      customer service charter which will include targets for levels of

      service delivery.


 What supports and services do LEOs provide?


   ·            We provide direct financial supports to micro businesses.   Micro

      Enterprises are businesses with 10 or less employees.



   ·            We advise on a range of alternative funding options available.



   ·            We offer business information, advisory services and enterprise




   ·            We deliver high-quality 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




   ·            We mentor you and your business with experienced experts.



   ·            We guide you to the services most relevant to support the growth and

      development of your business.



   ·            We give you advice on local authority regulations, planning,

      accessibility, environment, procurement, and other issues affecting

      your business.



   ·            We connect you 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



   ·            We create progression pathways for high-potential companies to




   ·            We advise on local property solutions for start-ups and business




   ·            We organise key enterprise events.



   ·            We facilitate effective business networking.



   ·            We promote entrepreneurship education in the local community.



   ·            Our website gives you access to online

                 information about our supports and services.


Who Can We 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.



   ·            With a customer charter, dedicated training new web materials and

      service protocols with other agencies, we will be the first stop shop

      for anyone with a business idea.



   ·            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.



   ·            The Local Enterprise Office will encourage people to think positively

      about starting and growing a business locally, in particular

      motivating young people locally to start their own business.


What’s on Offer?


   ·            Our Mission is to promote entrepreneurship, foster business start-ups

      and develop existing micro and small businesses to drive job creation

      and to provide accessible high quality supports for your business




   ·            Small businesses face a host of barriers to success, including: not

      knowing where to find information and resources; weak management,

      access to finance or lack of marketing and business planning skills.

      Helping to overcome these challenges are among the many ways that

      Local Enterprise Offices will serve the practical needs of people in




   ·            We will provide strategic, administrative, technical and financial

      support and services to start, grow and develop micro and small

      business in each local area.



   ·            With 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in

      Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices offer a wide range of experience,

      skills and services to turn your business idea into a business.



   ·            Through its information and advice service, including its new

      website, the Local Enterprise Office will connect people to all the

      appropriate information available in the State that they need to

      start grow and succeed in business.



   ·            We will continue to provide grants to those with the potential to




   ·            The Local Enterprise Offices have access to the full range of

      expertise in EnterpriseIreland with the establishment of a new

      Centre of Excellence to guarantee ‘best practice’ service and staff

      training nationally.



   ·            We can provide access to the specialist expertise in Enterprise

      Ireland for businesses in a particular sector, or with innovation and

      export potential.



   ·            We will provide access to the full range of financial supports

      available to business in the State including direct referral to the

      Microfinance Ireland loan scheme for businesses that have been turned

      down by the banks.



   ·            As well as advice and direct supports, the Local Enterprise Office

      will promote a pro-enterprise culture locally, by organising

      enterprise events, supporting local business networks and working

      with local Chambers and other organisations, schools etc.



   ·            We will be to the forefront in promoting entrepreneurship through the

      schools as well as through the National Enterprise Awards



   ·            We will help existing businesses tap in to their potential to expand

      their business through mentoring, training, advice, information and

      where eligible, direct financial aid.





Press Office

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

23 Kildare Street

Dublin 2

Tel: 01 631 2200/Fax: 01 631 2828





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