New offices to assist entrepreneurs

Thursday 06 February 2014 15.20
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Richard Bruton held a press conference on the initiative this morning
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Richard Bruton held a press conference on the initiative this morning

The Government is to establish a new network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in each local authority area to assist in job creation.

The move was approved at today's special Cabinet meeting on jobs.

It will see extra funding of €3.5m going to the scheme, which will involve additional services including a young entrepreneurship fund and credit guarantees.

Each office will be embedded in a local authority and will develop an area plan for boosting enterprise and encouraging start ups.

There will be 31 Local Enterprise Offices with 170 dedicated staff across the country.

The Government hopes it will provide a first stop shop for local entrepreneurs.

The offices will deliver the grants, mentoring and training formerly administered by county enterprise boards.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said the changes represented a radical overhaul of the disparate system of support for small businesses, which the Government inherited.

He said it would provide a single point in each county where entrepreneurs could access support for small business.

Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on jobs said that Government policies are "strangling the domestic economy".

In a statement, Dara Calleary said: "The two measures the Government could take to make a real difference are to fix the banks and stop taking money out of pockets of low and middle income families."

He said that 50% of viable businesses with good opportunities are still being turned down for loans.

"Lending to SMEs is the bread and butter activity of banks, yet they are still failing to fulfill this basic obligation," he said.