Brexit SME Scorecard now available for LEO clients - Minister Breen

Brexit SME Scordecard

‘Brexit SME Scorecard’ now available for LEO clients– Minister Breen Local Enterprise Offices will be the “first-stop-shop” for micro and small businesses for Brexit guidance and supports Minister Breen urges LEO clients to be Brexit ready and announces suite of Brexit supports for micro and small businesses totalling €3.4 million

30th May, 2017

Minister of State for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen T.D. has urged micro and small businesses to prepare for Brexit and to talk to their Local Enterprise Office (LEO) about the range of LEO supports now available. The Minister was in LEO Dublin City at the Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay to announce a suite of Brexit supports totalling €3.4 million, now available to micro and small businesses through the 31 LEOs nationwide. These include: ·        Access to the  ‘Brexit SME Scorecard’ online tool where micro and smaller businesses can self-diagnose their readiness for Brexit; ·        A ‘Technical Assistance for Micro-enterprises’ grant to help LEO clients to find new markets and exports; ·        Rollout of ‘Lean for Micro’ nationwide which will make small businesses more efficient and competitive; ·        A ‘LEO Innovation and Investment Fund’ pilot programme to support innovation  in micro-enterprises and get them investor ready to scale their businesses; ·        Tailored mentoring to address Brexit related business challenges; ·        Training on specific Brexit challenges, including financial aspects; and ·        Continued information, advice and guidance across all 31 LEOs and regionally. Speaking at the announcement, which was attended by a number of LEO client companies Minister Breen said “I am delighted to announce this suite of important Brexit supports which will be available for small and medium enterprises.  These are important resources as SME’s have fewer internal resources to draw on in meeting the challenges posed by Brexit. It is imperative that micro and small businesses have the tools and supports needed to navigate through what is uncharted territory. This is part of the Government’s Brexit planning and I am very pleased that my Department through Enterprise Ireland has been able to accelerate the rollout of these new LEO offerings worth up to €3.4 million, and I urge small and micro business owners to get in touch with their LEO to see how they can help.” he said. Also at the announcement, Brendan Flood, Divisional Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland said: “All companies large and small will be affected by Brexit, and there are both opportunities and challenges arising. Preparation is crucial. The LEO supports being announced by the Minister today will help to build resilience in micro and small enterprises so that they can better cope with the challenges that are ahead. We are particularly pleased to be able to offer the Enterprise Ireland online Brexit SME Scorecard to the micro and small enterprise sector today. The scorecard will enable these companies to take a first step in preparing for Brexit by conducting their own assessment of areas of potential risk and opportunity, and to then to develop a plan of action in response.” Speaking on behalf of the LEOs, Sheelagh Daly, Chairperson of the Network of LEOs commented: “We are very pleased to be able to offer these Brexit supports to micro and small companies through every Local Enterprise Office nationwide. The Local Enterprise Offices are the first stop shop for anyone wishing to start or grow their business. If you are a start-up, micro or small enterprise, make your Local Enterprise Office the first port of call for Brexit support and advice”. Also in attendance at this morning’s announcement representing the County and City Management Association (CCMA) was Anna Marie Delaney, Chief Executive of Offaly Co. Council who commented: “We very much welcome the Minister’s announcement this morning of the full suite of supports available from the LEOs to help local enterprises prepare for Brexit. The Local Enterprise Offices are readily accessible in every Local Authority in the country so Brexit advice and supports are very close at hand wherever your business is located.”

Details of the supports on offer to the LEOs: ·        

The Brexit SME Scorecard online tool has been designed to stimulate companies into thinking about the key areas that may be impacted in their business because of Brexit and to self-assess their level of preparedness. By completing a series of questions online under six key business pillars a comprehensive report is automatically generated which serves as a prompt and discussion document for clients to consider as part of their planning for Brexit. The report provides companies with a benchmark in terms of their level of preparedness against best practice and signposts them to a range of supports, resources and information available via Local Enterprise Offices. LEO Clients can access the Scorecard at from Tuesday 30/05/17. ·        

The Technical Assistance for Micro-enterprises grant is designed to support qualifying businesses to diversify into new markets, enabling companies to explore and develop new market opportunities. Under this initiative businesses can be part-funded towards the costs incurred in investigating and researching export markets, e.g. exhibiting at Trade Fairs, preparing marketing material, and developing websites specifically targeting overseas markets. The grant covers 50% of eligible costs (net of vat) to a max of €2,500.   ·    

The Lean for Micro Programme was piloted in 2016 with 23 participating companies. With an additional budget of €800,000 from DJEI the programme has now been rolled out across the entire LEO Network. The Local Enterprise Office's in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland offer clients the opportunity to adopt Lean business principles into their organisation to increase performance and effectiveness.  Lean will assist companies to address competitiveness issues, building the capability of their people to identify issues and improve their operations, increasing capacity as they improve efficiency and effectiveness. Under the programme companies can avail of 5 days’ consultancy from a Lean Expert (Qualified Practitioner) from the EI approved lean consultancy panel who will work with the company to introduce lean principles, undertake a specific cost reduction project and assist the company in benchmarking performance.   ·        

The LEO Innovation and Investment Fund (LIIF) is a new pilot initiative to support innovative developments in micro-enterprises by getting them investor ready and through the provision of grant funding help, implement their development plans. The programme will initially target existing LEO clients in the manufacturing or traded services sectors who wish to start, grow or develop innovative micro businesses. The LIFF has an overall investment fund of €1.5 million available which is allocated across the country in 8 regions.  Applicants for funding will apply online and some will be selected to participate on an Investor Ready Programme, complete an investor ready plan and will then be entitled to pitch to an investor panel to secure a grant investment of up to €25k from their local LEO via a competitive process. In addition to the LEO funding offer participants will also receive valuable feedback and possible support from other potential investors including Enterprise Ireland, MFI and HBAN. ·      

Local Enterprise Offices offer Mentor Programmes through which businesses can access Mentors including those on the Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network. Mentors provide tailored advice, guidance and support, to help accelerate growth, build management capability and address Brexit related business challenges. The Mentor Programme is designed to match up the knowledge, skills, insights and entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small business owner/ managers who need practical and strategic one to one advice and guidance. The mentor contributes independent, informed observation and advice to aid decision making.

All applications for mentor assistance are dealt with individually and are preceded by a business needs analysis to assess the key needs of the business and determine the most imperative mentoring objectives.

  •      To assist the small business community in meeting the challenges of Brexit, LEOs provide a wide range of high-quality training supports which are tailored to meet specific business requirements including those around finance. Training initiatives designed to support owner/ managers to address the impacts on currency, pricing, cashflow and funding are being rolled out. Additionally, across the Country, Export Growth Programmes are being delivered providing participants with both the skills and confidence to go after new sales opportunities in markets outside Ireland. Clients are also being signposted to Enterprise Ireland led programmes such as the Excel at Export Selling Workshops.  
  •      The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) provide a confidential advisory service open to those operating a business. Businesses can access information, advice and guidance from Business Advisors and will be signposted to the supports most relevant to them.
  •      The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). In Ireland services are delivered in a partnership between Enterprise Ireland, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices and the Chambers of Commerce in Dublin and Cork. Through the network Irish companies have free access to Europe’s largest database listing up to 10,000 new business and technology opportunities in the EU and other major global markets.

Businesses are assisted to grow through tailored support, new business and technology partnerships, commercial opportunities, licensing deals, and partner searches for EU funded R&D.  Companies can get advice on EU funding and support to bring their innovative products and technologies to a global audience.