Minister Richard Bruton visits ‘Enterprise Zone’ to meet LEO craft and design companies

The network of Local Enterprise Offices has welcomed the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr. Richard Bruton T.D. to the ‘Enterprise Zone’ at Showcase in Dublin, where the Minister met nearly a hundred small design and craft businesses, all ready to break into new markets.

Showcase is the first major trade event of the year and runs until Wednesday (January 27th) at the R.D.S; it’s organised by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland and promoted internationally by Enterprise Ireland.

Co-ordinated by the network of Local Enterprise Offices, the dedicated Enterprise Zone on the balcony area is the home for emerging designers and craftspeople, with 59 small companies exhibiting for the first time at the trade event.

The craft and design businesses are from 22 counties and have all been supported by their Local Enterprise Office, making it possible for them to meet international buyers and secure orders in countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, the UK and Italy.

Showcase collage 2016

On a visit to Showcase in the R.D.S. today, Minister Bruton said: “Since their establishment in April 2014, the LEOs have been a great addition to the suite of supports for start-ups and small businesses in Ireland. Helping micro and small craft and design companies take part in major trade events like Showcase, is just one of the supports available to the sector through the Local Enterprise Offices.


 “From my meetings with buyers here at Showcase, it is clear that there is a strong appetite internationally for the work of Irish designers and makers, especially following the year-long Irish Design 2015 initiative. Our design and craft sector is innovative and creative, and its contribution to jobs, exports, and tourism is very significant. This annual trade show plays a crucial role in helping Irish companies develop their business and expand their client base, particularly in the export market, which is a central tenet of our Action Plan for Jobs. Since the first Action Plan was launched, more than 135,000 extra people are at work, hitting our target 21 months ahead of schedule. With a strong implementation of our solid plan, we can see a continuation of the progress we have seen and keep the recovery going.”


Fashion, knitwear, toys, jewellery, interiors and food are just some of the sectors represented in the Enterprise Zone.  Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices in the Local Authorities Network said that helping small businesses and start-ups reach international markets was crucial to further growth and job creation. Welcoming Minister Bruton to the Enterprise Zone, she said:  “Showcase is an ideal marketplace where buyers of Irish-made design and craft from around the world can meet the creators and designers in person. For smaller craft companies and new start-ups in the Enterprise Zone, they can secure orders that will help them make that important break-through into new markets.”

Karen Hennessy, Chief Executive of the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be working once again with the Local Enterprise Offices in introducing buyers to the latest work from emerging Irish designers and makers.  The Enterprise Zone at Showcase plays a critical role in helping up-and-coming Irish entrepreneurs develop their business and expand their client base.”


The Enterprise Zone is located in the Balcony Area of the RDS Main Hall at Showcase, which is open to trade buyers until Wednesday, January 27th. Further information around the Enterprise Zone at Showcase is available through or by searching #enterprisezone on social media.