No matter what product or service they provide, businesses across every sector can find ways in which to improve - whether they take steps to become more sustainable, adhere to the Lean principles of maximising value while minimising waste or optimise their offering with the latest technology, there is always room for an upgrade.


To enable businesses all over Ireland to improve in these areas, Local Enterprise Offices have a range of Green, Lean and Digital supports which will help companies to cut costs, improve productivity and become more sustainable, which will in turn give them more of a competitive edge.


Leo Clancy, Enterprise Ireland CEO says that ‘competitiveness is a live issue for every business in Ireland’.


“Ensuring your product or service has that critical edge over competitors and that your cost base is controlled is vital to business success,” he said.” In our recent client survey businesses told us that they want practical, expert advice on key business issues and this series of webinars is just one of the actions we’re taking to address that demand.”


To this end, the Local Enterprise Offices are launching their Productivity & Competitiveness Campaign – “All In a Day’s Work” - which, with the help of expert consultants, will help businesses to reach their maximum potential.


Business Coach, Stuart Nelson, is one of the main experts involved in helping the Local Enterprise Offices deliver these supports and through Jigsaw Better Business, the organisation he founded in 2017 with Allyson English, he and his team of award winning coaches and trainers, aim to give clients every tool they need to succeed.


“As a Lean Coach I am a ‘student of the process’ and am here to learn and to see if any of the work that the client is doing could be avoided, helping them to save time, money and to make work and life simpler,” he said.


“Our approach to working with clients is not of an expert coming to tell them what to do, as most people know what should change. Instead, it’s about a collaboration, to find out what is stopping us from changing or what is holding us back.  Lean get a bad rep and for many is it difficult to understand, but put simply, it is about problem solving and innovation in your business.  Its about taking what you do and finding ways to do it better.  That’s our motto, ‘Helping Great Businesses, Be Better’.”


Leonie Lynch, founder of Juspy, a collagen and protein superfood blend, can attest to this as she has received a lot of support in this area from her Local Enterprise Office.


“When you’re a founder, working on your own there is so much to do and so many hats to wear on a daily basis, so things can quickly become overwhelming,” she said. “You can end up wasting time, energy and emotion getting completely frazzled with to-do lists - but by approaching the business with the lean mindset, time is saved, stress levels come down and you feel capable, which is the most important thing; particularly as, doing this job, we all suffer so much from impostor syndrome. For me, the Lean Programme is about achieving breathing space so that I can continue to put out fires on a daily business and at the same time keeping an eye on the bigger picture of growth.


“To this end, LEO Limerick has been a huge support, and dealing with them has allowed me to test the market, with what feels like the support of family - also, their grants and mentor programmes have been invaluable in scaling my business.” 


The Limerick based entrepreneur has availed of a number of different grants and supports from her Local Enterprise Office - including the Green for Business Programme, the Digital for Business Programme and she is currently on the Lean for Business Programme


“The most beneficial to me so far has been the Digital for Business Programme where I implemented the UX (user experience) on my website based on potential customer feedback and introduced a sample pouch of my product from that research.


“I have just started the Lean For Business programme and I am super excited, because it is going to streamline my processes. Even though it’s just me in the business right now, it is so important to lay a good systems foundation before I start to build out my team.” 


Georgia Quealy and Daniel Linehan of Bon Chocolatiers in Athlone have also been involved in several of the programmes, which they say were hugely beneficial.


“We met each other in college seven years ago, while studying to become chefs, and have both worked in some of Ireland's best restaurants, so our shared passion for food and creativity has led us into this journey we are on today,” said Georgia Quealy. “While always dreaming of having a business together, Covid was the real kick starter to our future plans and we established it in Athlone during the pandemic while the country was shut down when we began producing handmade, hand-painted chocolate bonbons from Beans and Leaves cafe, which is run by Daniels parents.


“We were so lucky to have had this opportunity to experiment with the idea and have the time to make a business plan before jumping in head first. But we soon decided to set up our own chocolate factory and in November 2021, thanks to the help of our Local Enterprise Office, we were able to do so.”

“There has been much support available to us since starting our business, from the back to basic start your own business course and financial mentoring to other mentoring in sections vital to our business such as marketing and social media courses,” she said. “We were given a wonderful mentor for the Lean For Business programme which put systems in place for us to run our business in a more economical way. We are grateful for the many employment initiatives which are hugely beneficial to small businesses with a growing team like ours.”