The LEO was set up in 2014 to replace the former County Enterprise Board and the support services it provides are now a very important function of the Council. The Council used to be the place where business people only went to seek advice on rates, planning permissions, roads, waste permits and so on. However, I am delighted that through the LEO, the County Council now takes a much more proactive role in helping small businesses to start, to develop and to grow.
I firmly believe we need to provide every support we can to encourage as many entrepreneurs as possible to start new businesses to create the jobs we need for our young people. This review of activity provides a summary of the supports the LEO is providing to do just that. The main message I want to convey is that if you are in business or thinking of starting one, then you should contact the LEO to see how they can help you.
Cllr Mary Hilda Cavanagh, Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council
The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) operates under the terms of a service level agreement between Kilkenny County Council and Enterprise Ireland. The LEO is required to develop and implement an annual action plan setting out the key services, actions, projects, programmes and targets it intends to deliver each year.
In 2015, I am pleased to confirm that LEO Kilkenny achieved, and in many cases exceeded all of the key targets set out in its annual action plan for the year. In particular, I can confirm €430,000 in grant-aid was approved to 23 business projects. These projects combined will create at least 43 new full-time jobs at a cost per job of just under €10,000 in addition to sustaining existing jobs. I am also delighted that Kilkenny entrepreneurs lifted national titles this year at the National Enterprise Awards, the Student Enterprise Awards and at Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) Finals. This review of activity will give you a flavour of the work of the LEO in 2015 and the support services that it provides.
Chief Executive, Kilkenny County Council
National Enterprise Award Winner
LEO Kilkenny client Linda Nolan of MyBio Ltd won the overall title at the National Enterprise Awards held last June. The National Enterprise Awards celebrate the achievements of
the 24,000 micro-enterprises from all over the country that have been supported by the LEOs over the past 20 years. MyBio was founded by Linda Nolan in 2009 to supply research products and services to companies in the life sciences industry. Having spent 10 years in the research industry,Linda, identified an opportunity to establish her own company supplying specialist products and services to a wide range of customers including: pharmaceutical companies, contract research organisations, third level colleges, diagnostics and forensics.
MyBio is based in the Kilkenny Research and Innovation Centre in St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny and is now one of the country’s most proactive supplier of research products. The company currently employs 4 people. LEO Kilkenny provided financial support and mentoring assistance to Linda to establish and expand her company. To find out more about the range of supports available from the LEO visit: www.localenterprise.ie/kilkenny
Ireland’s Best Business Idea
24-year-old Blaine Doyle of GlowDx won the ‘Best Business Idea’ Award at the National Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) Competition last December. The IBYE Competition is organised by the national network of LEOs, and aims to find the country’s best entrepreneur under the age of 30.
A total of 1,400 entrepreneurs nationwide entered the competition in 2015. Blaine has developed an accessible diagnostic platform using unique molecular science to provide a more economical method of diagnosing Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), such as Dengue fever. NTDs affect more than a billion people worldwide each year, mainly in developing countries. Most of the methods currently used for diagnosing NTDs are costly and as a result are not commonly used in developing countries.
Blaine’s idea is to deliver a more user friendly and more cost effective test kit that can be used by front line medical personnel, replacing the more expensive long term diagnostic methods.
At the county stages of the IBYE Competition, Blaine was joined by Graham Comerford and Martin Reilly based in Kilkenny City and Jack Hahessy Madigan from Windgap, who won the ‘Best Start-Up’ and ‘Best Established Business’ Categories of the the Competition for their respective businesses. If you would like to find out more about the IBYE visit: www.ibye.ie
Success in Croke Park for Young Entrepreneur
Mya Russell won the Junior Category “Intellectual Property Awareness Award” at the National Student Enterprise Award (SEA) Finals held in Croke Park last April. Mya, a student from Coláiste Pobail Osraí, creates her own range of wool felt handbags with Japanese cartoon characters exclusively designed under her business name Chibi Chic.
Each bag features one of the cartoon characters with a small story/introduction to the character on the swing tags. She has also developed a website www.chibi-chic.com to sell her bags. Mya was presented with the Intellectual Property Awareness Award, supported by the Irish Patents Office, for her knowledge and understanding of copyright issues.
Each year over 17,000 second level students nationally take part in the SEA Competition. It is the biggest competition run in second level schools in Ireland. It helps give students the full range of skills needed to run a real enterprise including coming up with a business idea, carrying out market research, writing a business plan, working as part of a team and managing production and finances.
Through the SEA Competition, the LEO is working with teachers to help foster a more enterprising culture in the classroom and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. If you would like to find out more about the SEA Competition then visit: www.studententerprise.ie
Mya Russell, Colaiste Pobail Osraí who won the Junior Category “Intellectual Property Awareness Award” at the National Student Enterprise Awards.
Kilkenny based food and drink producers who came together to participate in the Food Academy Start Programme run by LEO Kilkenny in 2015, also established the umbrella #tastekilkenny promotional initiative. The participants included some well-established artisan food and drink producers, namely Goatsbridge Trout Farm, The Little Mill Company and Highbank Orchard, along with relatively newcomers: Mooncoin Home Preserves, Bernie’s Farmhouse Desserts, Made in Heaven, Inistioge Food Company and Costello’s Brewing Company.
The participants who successfully completed the programme decided to establish #tastekilkenny to exhibit in the Local Enterprise Village at the National Ploughing Championships held in Ratheniska, Co. Laois.
Following on from the success of the Ploughing, the group also exhibited at Savour Kilkenny and BITE 2015.
If you would like to find out more about the Food Academy Start Programme or would like to know more about the #tastekilkenny initiative, please contact us at: 056 775 2662
Trading On-Line Vouchers
While there is currently an increasing trend in online spending, it is estimated that only 23% of small businesses in Ireland have an eCommerce capability. Furthermore, it is estimated that of all online purchases made in Ireland 70% are done in overseas markets. The Government introduced the Trading On-Line Voucher (TOV)
Scheme operated through the LEO network to address this situation and to support more small businesses to develop their ecommerce presence. The TOV Scheme offers small businesses a voucher of 50% of eligible expenditure up to a maximum of €2,500. LEO Kilkenny awarded a total of 42 vouchers to Kilkenny based businesses in 2015.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny presented the 1,000th national Trading Online Voucher to John Lawton from JL Intelligent Cooling Systems Ltd. in July 2015. The company sells portable cooling and heating systems and had an existing website which was very comprehensive.
However, there was no online trading facility so John availed of a TOV Voucher from LEO Kilkenny to develop a
full eCommerce website selling the full range of coolers heaters and other related products. Further details of the TOV Scheme including
eligibility criteria and how to make an application are available at:
L-R: Sean McKeown, Head of Enterprise, LEO Kilkenny; Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD; Alex White, TD, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources; and John Lawton, JL Intelligent Cooling Systems Ltd.
SmartOption Business Loans
LEO Kilkenny has partnered with St. Canice’s Kilkenny Credit Union to promote the SmartOption Business Loan. This new loan
product provides a flexible and convenient source of credit for those looking to set-up or expand their business. Since the loan scheme was originally launched in July 2009, LEO Kilkenny and the Credit Union have developed a successful partnership, with approximately 80 businesses approved loan finance of almost €2 million. Many of these businesses were unable to access credit from the mainstream banks.
Applicants to the loan scheme must be eligible for membership of St. Canice’s Kilkenny Credit Union (i.e. they must be living, working or operating a business within the common bond area of St Canice’s).
Details of the loan available are as follows:• Loans from €10,000 up to a maximum of €50,000;
- • Loan term of up to 5 years;
- • Interest Rate currently at 6.4% APR variable.
- * For a €20,000 variable interest rate loan with 60 monthly repayments of €396.02, at an interest rate of 6.4%, the total amount payable would be €23,761.20.
LEO Kilkenny assist the Credit Union undertake due diligence and to evaluate all loan applications. The LEO also assist the applicants
prepare their application, including preparing evidence of potential customers and sales, as well as financial projections. As part of the scheme all successful loan applicants are appointed a mentor to assist them implement their plans and achieve the targets they set.
For more information, please contact St. Canice’s Kilkenny Credit Union: Tel: 056 7722042.
Business Advice at Your Local Library
Starting a business is often a daunting experience. An entrepreneur can often feel isolated and lonely, so it is good to know that there is help available. LEO Kilkenny in conjunction with Kilkenny County Council Library Services, will run regular Business Advisory Clinics in the County Library Network. The initiative is aimed at improving access to the wide range of support services available from the LEO, in particular business information and advice on the full spectrum of issues that business owners face.
The confidential service is completely FREE and the dates for the next round of one-to-one business advisory clinics in the County have been confirmed for 2016. If you are in business or thinking of starting a business, book an appointment to meet our Business Advisor at your local library. For further details or to make an appointment visit: www.localenterprise.ie/kilkenny or www.kilkennylibrary.ie