3,700 new jobs created by LEO-supported companies in 2017

3,700 new jobs created in 2017 by Local Enterprise Office-supported companies with 15,000 jobs now created since 2014

Preliminary jobs figures for 2017 welcomed by Minister Humphreys and Minister Breen at the Annual Local Enterprise Office and Local Authority Forum in Athlone today

Forum also hears of the need for LEO supported companies to be ready for the General Data Protection Regulation which becomes law in May 2018

A net total of 3,700 new jobs were delivered in 2017 by start-ups and small businesses from across the country that have been supported by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).

This brings the total number of new jobs created by LEO-backed companies to 15,000 since the LEOs were set up in 2014.

Minister Humphries

The jobs results by the LEOs were welcomed by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D. and the Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D, as they opened the annual LEO Forum in Athlone today.

The 31 LEOs nationwide, run in partnership by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities, provide a ‘first stop shop’ for the supports available to entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses.

Commenting on the 2017 LEO results, Minister Humphreys said: “Creating more and better jobs in regional and rural Ireland is a priority for the Government. As the Government rolls out its plans for balanced economic development over the next ten years, I believe the LEOs will have a major role in supporting entrepreneurs to start and stay locally”.

Minister Breen also welcomed the jobs figures, saying: “In a challenging environment LEO clients have contributed substantially to economic development up and down the country, especially outside of the main urban centres. I would encourage the Local Authorities and Enterprise Ireland to maximize the job creation potential that exists at local level”.

Minister Breen

Representing the Local Enterprise Offices, Sheelagh Daly said: “These jobs figures are a testament to the determination of local entrepreneurs who are growing their own businesses with the help of their Local Enterprise Office.  Every day, thousands of small businesses are accessing a range of supports through LEOs, such as training, mentoring, grants and microfinance loans.”

Brendan Flood, Divisional Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland said; “I strongly welcome these excellent performance figures from the Local Enterprise Offices. During 2017, more than 80 companies progressed from the LEOs into the Enterprise Ireland portfolio, to help them achieve their global ambition. Enterprise Ireland will continue to work closely with the LEOs and our Local Authority partners to achieve balanced growth throughout every region.”

Speaking on behalf of Local Authorities, Anna-Marie Delaney, Offaly Local Authority Chief Executive and Chair of the CCMA Committee on Economic Development & Enterprise said: “As these results for 2017 clearly demonstrate, the LEOs are playing a pivotal role in local job creation nationwide. I believe that the work of the LEOs complements and enhances the broader economic development remit of the Local Authorities.”


Conference Athlone Minister Breen 2

The forum also highlighted the need for LEO companies to prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which becomes law in May 2018. 

Minster Breen said: “There is a range of information available to assist LEO companies in complying with their GDPR obligations.  As a first step, I would encourage them to visit GDPRandyou.ie which is an excellent source of guidance provided by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Don’t leave it until the last minute, now is the time to think about data protection measures.”

Peter Carey, Chair of the City and County Managers’ Association, welcomed Minister Humphreys and Minister Breen and conference delegates to Athlone. Speakers included Caoimhe Gavin of the Brexit Unit of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Geraldine Larkin, CEO of the National Standards Authority of Ireland, John Keyes, Assistant Commissioner at the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and Eamonn Sayers, Manager of the Guinness Enterprise Centre.

Other speakers included Anna-Marie Delaney, Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Richard Murphy, Manager of the LEO Centre of Excellence Unit with Enterprise Ireland and Sheelagh Daly, Head of Enterprise, LEO Wicklow.

Details on all the supports available for small businesses and microenterprises through the Local Enterprise Offices are available through www.localenterprise.ie.

LEO Annual Employment Data

The preliminary jobs figures come from the LEO Annual Employment Survey, which is due to be published in full in March. The survey monitors employment performance amongst micro enterprises employing 10 people or less that have received direct financial assistance through the LEOs.

Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) The 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) were established in 2014 to provide a ‘first-stop shop’ system of enterprise supports to start-ups and small businesses across the country. Located in the Local Authorities, the LEOs are operated on a partnership basis by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities and their parent Departments - the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The LEOs provide funding for projects primarily in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which over time have the potential to develop into strong export entities. There are three main categories of grant under which direct financial assistance is provided – Priming, Feasibility and Business Expansion. The LEOs also provide training and mentoring support to entrepreneurs and businesses to assist business development and performance. The LEOs through appropriate referral also ensure that people thinking of starting or expanding a business in every part of the country are able to access the full range of State supports provided by different Government bodies – for example Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, the Credit Review Office, Education and Training Boards etc, – in one easily accessible location within the Local Authority. Details on all the supports available for small businesses and microenterprises through the 31 LEOs are available at www.localenterprise.ie.


 The GDPR will set out in detail the responsibilities and obligations on those that collect, use and store personal data. These obligations will include the carrying out of data protection impact assessments before new types of forms of data processing are undertaken, and the notification of data breaches to the Data Protection Commission and the individuals whose personal data have been disclosed, destroyed or lost. Supervision and enforcement activity will also increase with the conferral of new functions and far-reaching powers of the Data Protection Commission.        

Data Protection Commissioner guidance on GDPR


 EU Commission website guidance on GDPR: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/priorities/justice-and-fundamental-rights/data-protection/2018-reform-eu-data-protection-rules_en#abouttheregulationanddataprotection