ALMOST 1,800 people in Laois are employed by companies supported by Enterprise Ireland funding, according to the latest figures.
Results released last week show there was a 9% increase in the number of Laois- based jobs created by Enterprise Ireland-supported companies last year. The increase brings the total number of such jobs in the county to 1,769.
As the government agency responsible for developing Irish business globally, Enterprise Ireland reported that 1,769 people are employed in companies supported by the agency in Laois. Supports include business expansion grants, management advice, research and innovation assistance and start-up grants.
The results were described as positive by Enterprise Ireland midlands regional director Michael Brougham, who said: “These companies make a significant contribution to the local economy. Helping more local businesses to create sustainable regional jobs for the future, through innovation and competitiveness, is the objective for the year to come.”
A breakdown of jobs created last year shows there was a 9% rise in roles in the clean-tech sector and a 6% increase in life sciences and fin-tech jobs. There was also a 5% jump in employment in the electronics sector, while ICT and international services industries saw a 4% rise.
Enterprise Ireland also announced a new action plan for women in business last week, to help increase the number of businesses in which women either lead or play key roles. The initiative provides special grants and training.
According to Enterprise Ireland, the average cost to the agency in creating and sustaining a job is about €3,400. It supported 126 new start-ups with funding nationally last year, including 38 companies led by women.
Mr Brougham added that while Brexit and other global trading factors presented challenges and concerns for businesses in the midlands, there are still opportunities for indigenous companies to expand their reach and grow exports in markets overseas.
Many companies are trying to reduce their reliance on the British market by exploring new opportunities in the euro zone, North America and Asia Pacific.
Mr Brougham said the midlands regional response team aimed to achieve an even greater boost in employment in 2020. He said: “We are committed to helping Irish companies through a wide range of funding and advisory supports to build scale domestically and compete internationally, with the view of creating and sustaining high-skilled employment in the midlands.”