Small manufacturing businesses are being offered a chance to cut emissions and make energy savings under a new Green for Micro programme in the southeast.

The scheme is an Enterprise Ireland initiative aimed at manufacturers with fewer than ten employees and could end up being rolled out nationally to help businesses move to a low-carbon economic model.

Local Enterprise Offices based in council headquarters in Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, and Tipperary are pooling their resources, talents and skills to provide the programme while hands-on tips and mentoring will come from project collaborators, the 3 Counties Energy Agency (3cea).

This independent, not-for-profit team of engineers will help participating enterprises examine their energy, waste, water, procurement and transport needs to make more informed, environmentally-friendly choices.

Enterprise Ireland regional executive Brian Fives said micro enterprises across the region are eager to play their part in developing a low-carbon economy.

"Green for Micro shows them the way. Auditing their energy consumption, mapping the results and monitoring their transition will provide an invaluable insight into how every enterprise can play its part in Ireland meeting its 2030 climate targets," said Mr Fives.

A series of free breakfast briefings explaining the project to industry starts on Tuesday of next week, 28 January, at the Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford 

This continues with briefing sessions in the Tower Hotel in Waterford on 11 February, Kilkenny's Newpark Hotel on 13 February, Horse and Jockey in Tipperary on 18 February, and the Woodford Dolmen Hotel in Carlow on 20 February. All the sessions run from 8am to 9.30am.

Phase two of the project will then involve energy audits carried out on ten micro, manufacturing businesses - two in each of the five participating counties. The results of their findings will be showcased at a conference as part of phase three of the initiative. The final phase of the Enterprise Ireland-funded programme will see monitoring equipment installed at various enterprises.

Aileen McGrath of Kilkenny Local Enterprise Office urged qualifying micro-businesses to attend the no obligation breakfast briefing, pick up an expression of interest form and see how small changes in their manufacturing processes and general business decisions can make a difference.

"While our primary target is manufacturing, micro enterprises in other sectors may also qualify and we encourage them to attend," said McGrath.

Engineer with 3 CEA Energy, Shane Faulkner, said each participating enterprise will be given up to nine days of expert help including audits, reports and mentoring. "The level of buy-in from manufacturers in the region is extremely encouraging and are really looking forward to playing our part," said Mr Faulkner.

Green for Micro is one of three projects grant-aided to the tune of €345,000 by the Government and led by Local Enterprise Offices across the region.

Others include Initial South East and Incrementum South East, which are aimed at supporting the creation of new start-up companies and also encouraging businesses to increase their research and development and export activity.