Throughout history Irish people have been known for their entrepreneurial spirit - forging new paths and working hard to reach their goals.


This ethos still continues today - and proving the point are the thousands of new start-ups established each year in Ireland year and over 4,000 budding entrepreneurs taking part in Start Your Own Business programmes in 2022.


But while financial support is crucial and there is a wealth of innovation and vision around the country, sometimes a little guidance is needed in order for people to get their businesses off the ground.


To assist with this, the Local Enterprise Offices work with various experts and training companies to deliver business programmes to businesses at all stages of development.


The Entrepreneurs Academy is one such company, who have, to date, trained over 80,000 people across the country.


“Entrepreneurship is the driving force behind economic growth and job creation,” said Noel Davidson, Director of Training. “It is an exciting and challenging journey which requires a combination of creativity, hard work, and determination - and we have built a strong reputation for delivering training and mentoring programmes successfully for start-ups, micro-enterprises and SMEs. We have also worked on behalf of the government, multinationals, and a host of agencies nationwide.


“We are passionate about what we do and started working with the Local Enterprise Offices over 25 years ago, delivering Start Your Own Business programmes. Since then, we have continued with training, mentoring, coaching and networking, along with driving participants forward in accelerate-type programmes.


One of the largest initiatives delivered by the Local Enterprise Offices was the Trading Online Voucher and during the pandemic, over 20,000 participants attended their online training and information session prior to applying for the grant.  This enabled many businesses to keep virtual doors open when physical ones had to shut. 


In addition to training, LEOs also offer mentoring from experienced business leaders and entrepreneurs, which is tailored to individual needs and can cover areas such as strategy, marketing, and fundraising.


Davidson is one of those mentors, whose career has afforded him a wealth of experience in different backgrounds and says benefits include ‘increased knowledge and skills, improved business planning and execution, and access to a network of experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders’.


He believes that one of the first things to consider when starting a business is how you can ‘identify a problem or need in the market which your business can solve’.


“By developing a clear and realistic business plan, along with considering funding options and financial projections, entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success,” he said. “Researching your competition is also important in order to understand what sets your business apart and to identify any gaps in the market. This will help you to identify your key objectives, milestones, and financial projections. Your business plan should also include a marketing and sales strategy, as well as a plan for managing risks and contingencies.

“Also, building a strong team is vital to the success of any business. This includes outsourcing some tasks, hiring the right people and developing a positive company culture.”

The Entrepreneurs Academy is just one of the training providers involved in this year’s Local Enterprise Week which take place from March 6th to 11th 2023, and Davidson says their purpose is to ‘inspire and equip people to start, run and grow their enterprise and build sustainable futures’. 

“If you have an idea for a business, or if you are looking to take your existing business to the next level, Local Enterprise Week is the perfect opportunity to gain inspiration, knowledge, and support,” said the lead trainer. “Accessing funding and support is crucial for any new or existing business and this week long event offers a range of funding and mentoring opportunities, including the Local Enterprise Office's Start Your Own Business Programme and the Microfinance Ireland loan scheme.


“Additionally, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from experts and successful business leaders, to network with other entrepreneurs, and to gain access to funding and mentoring opportunities.


“But the first point of contact is always your Local Enterprise Office, who will provide advice on programmes and supports available for those who would like to start, or grow a business or get information and advice on the most relevant supports. And while Local Enterprise Week is an example of some of the supports available, it is showcased into one week and these supports are available all year round.”

Five Top Tips from Noel Davidson, Director of Training at The Entrepreneurs Academy on how to put your business plan into action:

  1. Identify a problem or need in the market which your business can solve - ideally based around your passions or area of expertise.
  2. Research your target market and competition.
  3. Consider a Start Your Own Business course from the Local Enterprise Office - Develop a clear and realistic business plan.
  4. Consider your funding options and financial projections - research financial supports.
  5. Establish a strong, experienced team to support you in your venture. Business Advice Clinics and Mentoring are available through the Local Enterprise offices.

Local Enterprise Week takes place from the 6th – 10th March with over 300 events nationwide including 5 National Online Spotlight events that are free to all.  For more information go to