Leitrim Local Enterprise Office project secures allocation from €2.5million competitive fund


 Competitive Fund

Oisin Geoghegan, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices; Geraldine Reynolds, Senior Enterprise Development Officer, Leitrim LEO; Minister Heather Humphries, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation; Rebecca Farrell, Economic Regeneration Officer, Leitrim County Council; Mark Christal, Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD announced the results of the new €2.5 million Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Competitive Fund. Sixteen projects have received funding.  Among those receiving funding was Leitrim, Local Enterprise Office who are leading on a project with the Local Enterprise Offices from Cavan, Roscommon and Longford.


The project will establish a Mobile Fabrication Laboratory that will provide access for SMEs, enterprise & innovation hubs and schools to digital fabrication technologies that will allow them to increase their level of innovation and technical skills, develop new ideas and increase the skill set of employees. The project has secured over €140,000.


Applications were open to individual LEOs; collaborative projects between two or more LEOs; and LEOs working with other local groups like Chambers, Community Enterprise Centres, Education or Training bodies, Local Authorities or colleges.


Speaking about the announcement Head of Enterprise for Leitrim Joe Lowe said that “Users of the mobile lab will have the opportunity to access state of the art digital tools on an unprecedented level. By creating a fabrication lab environment in any setting there will be huge potential for large scale user engagement with the availability of services coming to enterprises, hubs, schools and libraries. This will also foster innovation, education and new business development and connect entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, innovators and developers with resources for prototyping, product development and manufacturing”


Announcing the successful applicants at a special event in the Council Chamber of Monaghan County Council, Minister Humphreys said: “The successful applicants demonstrated a real intent to collaborate, not only with neighbouring County LEOs but also with other stakeholders such as ITs, Innovation Centres, Local Authorities and others. So, while sixteen of the LEOs will lead on the projects, the vast majority of the LEOs throughout the country will also be part of these projects through collaboration.”


There is a wonderful array of projects in the winning sixteen and they are spread right across the country.  I am particularly pleased to see projects in areas like digital technologies; green and environmental activities; e-commerce; and e-hubs and remote working. This is proof that our LEOs are looking to the future, and tackling the challenges of tomorrow, today.”


The successful applications were selected through a rigorous evaluation process based on criteria, which included economic impacts and value for money, collaboration and participation, Future Jobs orientation, collaboration and building regional strengths and viability and sustainability.


Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD said: “I very much welcome Minister Humphreys’ announcement and want to commend all those who have participated in the competitive process. These successful projects will be rolled out through the Local Enterprise Offices, which are very well-placed to reach companies and entrepreneurs in even the most rural areas. I particularly welcome the focus on collaboration and networking in support of regional and local micro-enterprise capability building, growth and job creation.


Through this funding and other funding initiatives such as the Regional Enterprise Development Fund and the Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund, the Government is, even with Brexit and other international challenges on the horizon, determined to plan ahead and to prepare for the future jobs of tomorrow.”


Mark Christal, Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland, said; “This is a significant investment by the Minister and her Department in the ideas and ability of the Local Enterprise Offices to deliver results across the country. This will hugely benefit companies and the enterprise eco-system in all regions, an investment that will help to drive enterprise and support the business objectives of entrepreneurs and small businesses. It shows that Local Enterprise Offices across the country are committed to improving the business environment and supports for their client companies and the entrepreneurs of the future and Enterprise Ireland will continue to work with them to support this aim.”


Oisin Geoghegan, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “This announcement by Minister Humphreys is a great boost to Local Enterprise Offices across the country. They have shown their creativity and innovation in proposing a range of projects that will solve a number of issues in their regions, whether it’s moving businesses towards a low carbon economy, boosting smart e-hub usage, increasing innovation or helping companies target new markets, they will all make a significant impact. This funding highlights the impact that Local Enterprise Offices are making and shows that they continue to be best placed in driving innovation and enterprise in towns and villages across the country.”