Thomas McEvoy (Head of Enterprise, Louth Co Co)

The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Louth was established to support the needs of local business and help drive job creation and growth in the region. The recent year-end figures published by the Local Enterprise Office, part of Louth County Council, reveals that enterprise and job creation in Louth are performing well.

 Head of Enterprise, Thomas McEvoy explains, “199 new jobs were created in 2019 by LEO supported companies. This figure has increased substantially over the past 5 years ago. These are real jobs that already exist, not projected figures, and are a really good indicator of growth in the county.”

 The Local Enterprise Office Louth has 240 grant aided clients with over 970 employees between them. One of the aims of the Local Enterprise Office is to provide support to companies that can scale up, thus helping to create strong employment growth in Louth.

 4 companies progressed from being Local Enterprise Office Louth clients to Enterprise Ireland clients in 2019. These local companies have the potential for strong national and international growth. Enterprise Ireland will work intensively with them to achieve that potential.

 The future is looking bright for new business in the county. “Last year over 150 participants completed 9 Start Your Own Business courses across the county. Many of these will go on to create new businesses which will be able to access training, advice and support from the LEO team as they grow. Interestingly, almost 60% of the participants in LEO training in 2019 were female, with many new female entrepreneurs starting their own business.”

 There has been significant growth in training in Louth in the last year. Thomas continues “In 2019, 1,195 people took part in LEO training events. Our team work hard to ensure that our training and management development programmes constantly adapt to the changing needs of business.”

 Business advice is a very important service offered to clients by the Local Enterprise Office. “Last year, we provided over 390 mentoring sessions to business owners. Business advice clinics give them the chance to talk about opportunities or challenges with an expert, who helps them develop robust plans.

 Student Enterprise is going from strength-to-strength. In 2019, over 1,100 pupils from every secondary school across the county took part in the 2019 Student Enterprise Programme. This teaches local young people valuable life-skills and opens their eyes to entrepreneurship as a future career opportunity.

 Two young entrepreneurs from Louth made it to the final 24 of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. Dundalk’s Conor Kerley of Setanta Nutrition Science was a finalist in the Best Idea category. Drogheda’s Orla Stafford of Izmoo, who had started her first business back in TY, was one of the top 8 in the Best Start-Up Business category.

 Thomas concludes “Strong 2019 results are no excuse to rest on our laurels this year. Supporting entrepreneurs as they establish, develop and grow their business is crucial to the health of our local economy and creation of high quality jobs. The greatest challenge facing many local businesses in the year ahead is BREXIT. Next month we will launch a range of new supports to help business prepare for the true impact of BREXIT. These will include specialist supports around exporting, retail, innovation, green enterprise and financial management. We will continue to help businesses to drive efficiency and profitability through our Lean Programmes. Stay up to date with all the latest supports available from the Local Enterprise Office Louth by visiting www.LocalEnterprise.ie/Louth. Our team are here to provide that support to your business, every step of the way.”