LEO firms created 7,400 jobs in 2021

Local Enterprise Office-supported companies created 7,440 jobs in 2021. This figure was up significantly from the 5,585 that were created by LEO client companies in 2020.

The Local Enterprise Offices located in the local authorities and funded through Enterprise Ireland support over 7,158 small Irish businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide.

Since their establishment in 2014 they have been for the first stop shop for entrepreneurs and small businesses and providing a range of supports including financial, mentoring, training and sector specific expertise to help guide businesses at any stage of their development.

“We are seeing new opportunities for Irish businesses here and as always with tough economic periods we see new ideas and companies emerge and flourish”

The net jobs created by Local Enterprise Office supported clients in 2021 was 2,999, which takes into account companies that amalgamated, ceased trading and those that transferred on to Enterprise Ireland. In 2021 there were 131 transfers by Local Enterprise Office companies to Enterprise Ireland.

When the going gets tough …

“The results announced today are a testament to Ireland’s small business community.  When faced with adversity, they have adapted, pivoted, upskilled and did whatever it took to sustain themselves,” said Padraic McElwee, chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices.

“The figures show that companies have seen the opportunities in the challenging trading conditions they have faced.  The Local Enterprise Offices across the country have gone above and beyond in their support of small businesses but there is renewed optimism.  We are seeing new opportunities for Irish businesses here and as always with tough economic periods we see new ideas and companies emerge and flourish. 

“This year will be no different and as we continue to work closely with Enterprise Ireland and the local authorities to ensure our small businesses get the best possible supports there are certainly green shoots emerging across the country,” McElwee said.

The new figures show that the LEOs financially supported 7,158 small businesses in their portfolio across the country these companies in turn employ 35,729 people. From those figures, 85% of those employed in LEO supported companies are outside the Dublin region.

“Over 35,000 people employed in small businesses around the country have been helped in some way by our Local Enterprise Offices,” Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, explained.

“They are at the heart of communities in every county, always on hand to provide advice, training or financial backing and have proved invaluable throughout the pandemic, during which I know a huge amount of people relied on their local office.

“Last year, businesses supported by LEOs created nearly 3,000 net new jobs, which is remarkable given the year we just had. I’m really pleased to see that 85% of these jobs were outside of Dublin, indicating the Government’s focus on balanced regional development is working.

“These numbers a real boost today and will contribute to our overall target of having 2.5m people in work by 2024. Thank you to all our LEO staff for your phenomenal work over the past year.”

… the tough get going

Group of people on lawn at RDS Dublin.

Pictured (from left): Emmet Bosonnet, Founder, Kopper Kreation, Leo Clancy CEO Enterprise Ireland, Pamela Laird, Founder, Moxi Loves,Padraic McElwee, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices,AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council and Chair of the CCMA Business, Enterprise, Innovation, Urban/Town Economic Renewal (BEIUER) and Sharon Keegan, Founder, Peachy Lean

The LEOs also provide substantial funded supports to thousands of other small businesses across the country with programmes such as the Trading Online Voucher, Lean for Micro and Green for Micro along with training and mentoring.

“2021 was another very positive year for job creation in companies supported by the Local Enterprise Offices,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy.

“Companies supported by the Local Enterprise Offices are creating good quality employment across the country and play a vital role in vibrant local economies.

“Enterprise Ireland’s new strategy ‘Leading in a Changing World’ will see the Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland continue to work closely together over the next three years to ensure that companies of all sizes have the best possible support to back their growth and development.”

The Local Enterprise Offices were to the fore in supporting small businesses across the country in 2021, helping thousands to pivot online or adapt their products and services through a large suite of supports. The Local Enterprise Offices offer training and mentoring in a range of areas from financial skills and product innovation to starting your own business and maximising your presence online.

“Local Enterprise Offices play a key strategic role in local authority work to support and sustain enterprise and economic development in their areas,” said AnnMarie Farrelly, CEO of Fingal County Council and chair of the CCMA Business Committee.

“The supports and advice LEOs offer make a real difference to the thousands of businesses that avail of them. In turn, those businesses make a real difference to their localities in terms of job creation and economic activity, as today’s figures show. It is great to see jobs growth continue and to recognise that this growth is happening right across the country.”

Main image at top: An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment with Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, Padraic McElwee, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices and AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council and Chair of the CCMABusiness, Enterprise, Innovation, Urban/Town Economic Renewal (BEIUER)Committee

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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