The role of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) is to be expanded to allow them to provide grant support to businesses with more than 10 employees.

There are 31 LEO teams across the local authority network in Ireland.

They provide advice and financial support to 'micro businesses', which are enterprises with 10 or less employees.

The current Programme for Government contains a commitment to expand the role of the Local Enterprise Offices "so they can go further in supporting local job creation and allow them to provide direct grant support to businesses with more than 10 employees."

The programme also states that the Government will "put in place the structures to enable a seamless transition from LEO to Enterprise Ireland, so that ambitious and high-performing companies, regardless of size, are supported in scaling and achieving their potential."

Approval in principle has now been granted for a framework to be put in place to extend the mandate of LEOs to allow them to support clients employing more than 10 full time employees who are manufacturing and internationally traded services companies.

The proposal is expected to go before a meeting of the Cabinet next week.

If final approval is granted, it is expected that the framework expanding the remit of the Local Enterprise Offices would be rolled out on a pilot basis next year.