Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen said increased investment in the Local Enterprise Offices is paying off particularly in county Clare.
The total number of people employed in LEO supported small businesses now stands at 1,110.
Minster Breen, who is directly responsible for LEOs, added that it is a credit to the entrepreneurship of his fellow county men and women that the number of people employed by LEO supported business grew by 173 in 2016, the fourth highest increase among the country’s 31 local authorities.
“There are currently 197 LEO supported companies in Clare. Having secured a further 22% increase in funding for Local Enterprise Offices in this year’s budget I hope to see even more entrepreneurs availing of LEO support in 2017, and perhaps some of our LEO supported companies transferring to Enterprise Ireland in 2017,” said Minister Breen.
“The results, compiled by Enterprise Ireland, show that overall in 2016 a total of 40 LEO client companies became eligible for transfer to the Enterprise Ireland portfolio, representing a further positive outcome of LEO investment and support. The total number of people employed nationally in LEO supported small businesses stood at 34,634 at the end of 2016 according to the survey,” added the Clare Minister of State.
“I very much welcome the creation of 3,679 net new jobs in LEO supported companies during 2016. The strong jobs performance by LEO clients last year is a testament to the can-do attitude in entrepreneurs up and down the country, and here is County Clare. Small, home grown businesses, like those supported by LEO, provide sustainable employment in our towns and villages as well as rural Ireland and we must continue to encourage and assist these entrepreneurs and business people,” said Minister Breen.
“It is a challenging external environment at present and we cannot afford to stand still. We must continue to support our start-ups and micro companies in becoming more competitive and agile. Under the Action Plan for Jobs this year, the LEOs will roll out a Lean for Micro programme and new supports aimed at helping micro enterprises respond to emerging pressures such as the challenges posed by Brexit,” he concluded.
The 31 LEOs nationwide, who are run in partnership by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities, provide a ‘first stop shop’ for enterprise supports and sign-posting to start-ups, micro enterprises and small businesses locally in one easily accessible place.