A TOTAL of 67 new jobs were created by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Laois last year. That information was announced this week by Heather Humphreys, minister for business, enterprise and innovation – a 12% increase since 2017.
This is the fifth year of employment growth for the Local Enterprise Offices, with 3,656 net jobs created nationwide in 2018.
Since the LEOs were established in 2014 their clients have created more than 18,000 jobs in small businesses across the country and they also approved €18.2million worth of financial assistance to 1,259 projects.
In 2018, the LEOs worked successfully with 171 of their client companies to help them transfer to Enterprise Ireland along with 796 associated jobs, up from 60 companies making the transition in 2017.
Last year was particularly good for the Laois LEO, which was recognised by the European Commission for its innovative work on enterprise promotion, when it finished in the runner-up spot at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Graz, Austria.
“The Local Enterprise Offices are a hugely important part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in this country and do Trojan work in every county across the country and these 2018 job figures highlight the significant contribution they make to the economy as a whole,’ said minister Humphreys.
“I was delighted to allocate them an additional €5m in budget 2019 to further support their invaluable work on the ground.”
“Last year alone, 171 LEO businesses transferred to Enterprise Ireland because they have the potential to become internationally-trading companies.”
The LEOs are the first engagement any entrepreneur or small business owner should have when they want to develop or grow their idea or company.
Every day, they help small businesses to get off the ground, overcome challenges, hire new staff, fund innovation, prepare for Brexit and plan for the future.
The range of supports on offer from the Local Enterprise Office will help anyone seeking to start or grow a small business through highly practical services such as professional business and management training, mentoring, networking opportunities, finance and much more.”
The role that LEOs play in this is getting more and more crucial, as many of these companies with global ambition look to build scale and expand reach.
The Local Enterprise Offices have played a key role in preparing small businesses for Brexit, including mentoring, technical assistance for micro-exporting grants and looking to diversify into new markets.