John Magee - Head of Enterprise records Inc60 podcast


John has recorded a podcast with Inc60 outlining what supports are available and how to qualify.

Each Local Authority – 31 in total – has a dedicated team ready to help anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland. Their mandate covers businesses with fewer than 10 employees and a turnover less than €2 million.

LEO provides assistance with mentoring, training, website development and trade show attendance to all businesses but it should be noted that grant aid is subject to the following criteria:

· The enterprise must be in manufacturing or Internationally Traded Services Sectors;
· The enterprise must be in the commercial sphere;
· The enterprise must demonstrate a market for the product/service;
· The enterprise must have a capacity for growth and new job creation.
· The enterprise must not employ more than 10 people.

In past years, people may have arrived at their local LEO needing to start something as there were no other options during the recession. Today, there is less risk or pressure relative to a couple of years ago but the Local Enterprise Offices are busier than ever.

John says that the person, rather than his or her idea, is often the differentiator when starting a business. Consequently much of LEOs work is centred on supporting their entrepreneurial business traits.

Although he feels it’s one of the greatest clichés, John says that people learn more from their failures than their successes. LEO staff concentrate on building up a relationship and an ongoing conversation. There are no timescale for how quickly things should move forward but LEO have a broad range of support options available along the way.

Financial support certainly isn’t everything. Sometimes the right connection or course can be just as helpful. LEO offers courses such as Start Your Own Business. These can make a big difference when starting out as they help people understand if entrepreneurship is right for them.

Staff at Local Enterprise Offices can refer businesses to their panel of about 40 mentors to help tackle specific problems. Barriers and challenges faced by entrepreneurs might require technical assistance or advice in accessing export markets. Enterprise Ireland has a larger mentor panel with about 350 members, which is also available to start-ups on a case-by-case basis.

In light of the above, John concludes by saying that there has never been a better time to start a business in Ireland – and those considering such a move should visit their Local Enterprise Office.

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