The country's Local Enterprise Offices supported 7,400 client companies last year, with more than €20m invested. 

These companies employed more than 38,500 people, an increase of almost 3,150 year on year. 

The figures were released to mark the start of Local Enterprise Week, which will see a series of events taking place around the country from today.

From March 2 to March 6, over 300 events will take place run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) across the country.  

These will focus on everything from starting your own business and financial planning to how to make  businesses more sustainable and how to pitch for funding, aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to start and grow. 

LEOs saw increases across all supports last year including training, mentoring and funding. 

The number of those trained through LEOs last year was up 6.4% last year with 37,306 availing of training.

There was also an 10.5% increase in mentoring assignments completed, with 10,756 clients benefiting from such mentoring. 

Oisin Geoghegan, chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices said, today's figures continue to emphasise the impact the Local Enterprise Offices are having on indigenous Irish businesses across the country. 

"Our expertise and experience is the bedrock of our ability to help businesses and this week, Local Enterprise Week, helps us highlight the range of support on offer," Mr Geoghegan said. 

"We would encourage any small business owners, or budding entrepreneurs to get out there, sample some of the events and see how we can help your company," he added.