A total of €13.5m in funding has been approved for the development of local enterprises, according to the National Rural Network (NRN). 

The funds, announced during Local Enterprise Week, have been approved through the current LEADER Programme for enterprise development in Ireland.

A total of 338 projects nationally - from sectors such as tourism, engineering, social enterprise, creative industries, food and drink - will benefit from the new funding.

The funding can be used for equipment, capital works, training, feasibility studies, branding and e-commerce development.

Examples of rural enterprises that have benefited from the LEADER Enterprise Development funds include Mid Ireland Adventure - a Co Offaly based start-up set up to address the growing demand for adventure sport activities in rural locations - and Coillte Sláintiúil - a Co Sligo-based start-up which provides a range of woodland conservation solutions.

The NRN is a membership network for anyone interested in rural development. 

It provides the latest information, case studies, seminars and conferences to maximise the beneficial outcomes the country's Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 for rural stakeholders. 

Since it was set up in 1991, LEADER has provided grants to rural projects for economic and social development through community-led local development. 

Funded through the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020, a total of 1,711 projects with a value of €58.7m have been completed. 

A further 61 projects with a value of €1.26m have been approved for projects under the Co-operation and Food Initiative themes.