What does the future hold for Ireland’s Local Enterprise Offices?

New direction of Local Enterprise Offices to focus on decarbonisation, digitalisation, increasing exports, advising businesses and boosting innovation.

A new vision for the future of Ireland’s Local Enterprise Offices has been revealed.

Peter Burke TD, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, today (23 May 2024) published the first ever Local Enterprise Offices Policy Statement 2024-2030 ahead of the annual National Enterprise Awards at the Mansion House later this evening.

“Over 370,000 businesses are eligible for some type of support from the LEOs”

“Today we provide clarity and certainty on the way in which our LEOs will continue to be the first stop shop for businesses,” Minister Burke said.

“Their doors are always open and over 370,000 businesses are eligible for some type of support from the LEOs, such as assistance in starting and growing a business, as well as expert guidance on how to save time, money and energy, mentoring, training and general business advice.

“At a time of continued pressure on small enterprises, the LEO Policy Statement follows on from the range of measures approved by the Government last week with the aim of reducing costs for small and medium sized businesses.

“A number of these measures will now be actioned by the LEOs – including increasing the Energy Efficiency Grant, opening up grants to help more businesses to digitalise, and launching Ireland’s Best Emerging Entrepreneur Programme.”

Core pillars of the Local Enterprise Offices

LEO Policy Statement is anchored on four core pillars:

  • Enabling Entrepreneurship: with LEOs committed to creating an enterprise environment where entrepreneurship can flourish, by offering support for entrepreneurs to succeed.
  • Offering Business Advice: LEOs continuing to be the first stop shop for businesses locally, using their experience, local knowledge and expertise to engage directly with any business on the ground, supported and enhanced by the forthcoming new National Enterprise Hub (NEH).
  • Providing Enterprise Supports: Focusing on business advice, training and mentoring, digital, green and lean supports for all businesses regardless of size, and direct financial grant aid for businesses in manufacturing and/or internationally traded services.
  • Supporting Local Economic Development: contributing to business development and employment creation in every community, village, town and city in the country. Providing this essential building block in economic development, thereby creating attractive, vibrant and resilient communities.

The Policy Statement addresses the key White Paper on Enterprise priorities that are most relevant to LEOs namely: decarbonisation, digitalisation, increasing exports, helping locally traded businesses, and innovation.

It has 12 actions for implementation between now and 2030 and was developed in collaboration with other Government departments, Enterprise Ireland, the Local Authorities, the LEO Network and in consultation with the SME and Entrepreneurship Taskforce.

Among the policy developments being introduced are:

  1. Climate focused assessment criteria for capital grants for manufacturing and internationally traded services businesses.
  2. Ex-post measurement of the impact of climate related supports.
  3. Changes to the digitalisation offering to ensure consistency and greater eligibility.
  4. Greater emphasis on the role of the forthcoming National Enterprise Hub and its signposting service.
  5. Introduction of a new export accelerator through the LEOs and Enterprise Ireland.
  6. Commitment to deliver the LEO Customer Relationship Management System digitalisation project. 

“Our relationship with the Local Authorities over the last 10 years has proven to be a successful demonstration of partnership which has yielded significant economic benefit to small businesses and Ireland,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy.

“LEOs will be central to leading the charge in supporting small businesses to embrace digital transformation and become more sustainable. We will also make it easier for businesses of all sectors and sizes to understand what supports are available to them from across Government through the new National Enterprise Hub (NEH).

“We in Enterprise Ireland are looking forward to continuing to support our colleagues in LEOs as they expand their reach and service to all small businesses.”

Main image at top:

  • Bank of Ireland is welcoming new customers every day – funding investments, working capital and expansions across multiple sectors. To learn more, click here

ThinkBusiness.ie, powered by Bank of Ireland, has been created for Irish business owners and managers who are seeking information, resources and help on a range of business topics. It provides practical, actionable information and guidance on starting, growing and running a business.