Making it Happen - 5 years of the Local Enterprise Office Network

Since the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) were established in 2014 they have supported the creation of over 18,600 jobs nationwide with 144,830 entrepreneurs and business people trained in a range of skills over the five years.

Since 2014 the Local Enterprise Offices across the country have approved and contributed funding to over 5,000 business and entrepreneurial projects.

The LEOs have distributed €81.5 million worth of direct financial assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs, stimulating job creation in communities across the country.

In those 5 years, 40,577 people have received mentoring support through the LEO network, while over 17,500 have taken a Start Your Own Business course.

Read a full report on the impact LEOs have made over the last five years here

Speaking at an event to mark the anniversary, Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., said; “Since their inception in 2014, the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) have played a hugely significant role in generating indigenous employment across the country. There are now over 36,000 people employed by LEO-supported companies, small Irish businesses that are creating jobs in their own towns and villages. Supporting regional enterprise is a big priority of mine as Minister and it’s for this reason that I allocated an additional €5 million to the LEOs in Budget 2019.

Minister Pat Breen, T.D., said; “Small businesses are the heartbeat of the Irish economy and they make a huge impact to local economies across the country. The Local Enterprise Offices have become the most important resource for any entrepreneur or small business looking for support or training. With over 144,000 trained and 40,000 receiving specialist mentoring, the LEOs are providing these businesses with the skills and knowledge to start and grow, to create jobs and generate significant revenue for the Irish economy.”

Representing the local authority sector, Lar Power, Leitrim County Council Chief Executive said: "Local Enterprise Offices have played a huge part in supporting business development across the country over the last five years. Local authorities are delighted to partner with Enterprise Ireland to facilitate the LEOs in providing practical, direct supports that make a huge difference to businesses as they develop. The positive impact LEOs have is felt not only by those individual businesses but also more broadly across our areas, supporting local authorities’ economic development ambitions through employment growth, increased business activity, and enhanced entrepreneurial spirit within our communities."

What are the LEOs?

Established in 2014 by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide are operated in a partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities. Devised as a “first stop shop” for those looking to start a business or for small businesses looking for support, the Local Enterprise Offices are now a significant source of job creation and a hub of entrepreneurship across the country.

Some of the successful companies who have been supported by the Local Enterprise Offices across the country include; Simtech Aviation (Fingal), Irish Fairy Door Company (South Dublin), Beats Medical (Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown), Blacks of Kinsale (Cork North & West), Pip & Pear (Waterford), GloFox (Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown), Neurant Medical (Galway), Keoghs Crisps (Fingal) and Strong Roots (Dublin City)

LEOs offer a comprehensive range of supports from mentoring and training to financial assistance and Brexit planning, to entrepreneurs and small businesses alike to help them to plan, start and grow. The Local Enterprise Offices also run some significant programmes to increase engagement and draw entrepreneurs and small businesses into the business support eco-system. These include Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE), the National Enterprise Awards, Food Academy, the Student Enterprise Programme and Local Enterprise Week.