Over 3,500 local jobs created by Local Enterprise Offices in 2015

Over 3,500 local jobs created by Local Enterprise Offices in 2015 - Minister Mitchell O’Connor

Small businesses supported by the LEOs show jobs growth throughout the country, including Westmeath.

A net total of 3,533 new full and part-time jobs were delivered in 2015 by the 6,500 small businesses from across the country that have been supported by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), according to the results of the latest LEO annual jobs survey published by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D.

The results, compiled by Enterprise Ireland, show that overall in 2015 a total of 7,122 new full and part time jobs were created in gross terms. The numbers employed in LEO supported small businesses currently stand at 32,592 overall. The 31 LEOs, including Local Enterprise Office Westmeath provide a ‘first stop shop’ for supports and signposting to start-ups, micro enterprises and small businesses nationwide in one easily accessible place.

Commenting on the 2015 results, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said, “The creation of 3,533 net new jobs in 2015 by clients of the Local Enterprise Offices is a remarkable achievement and testament to the hard work and personal sacrifices being made by entrepreneurs in local communities all around the country. I am very much focussed on ensuring jobs are created in every region in Ireland and the LEOs are playing an important role in this. Ensuring that we have the right environment for job growth is at the heart of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs and I will be ensuring that these Regional Action Plans are implemented right across the country.”

“These figures show a high level of performance which is very encouraging and demonstrates that the local enterprise support structures that we put in place two years ago are producing real results. Great credit is due to the staff in all 31 LEOs for their achievements in this regard and to Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities for their role” she said.

The annual jobs survey monitors the employment performance amongst micro enterprises employing 10 people or less that have received direct financial assistance through the LEOs. In 2015, 984 business projects around the country were directly supported by the LEOs to the value of €10 million. A total of 23 eligible high performing LEO client companies transferred to Enterprise Ireland during the year under an agreed progression protocol with the LEOs representing a further positive outcome of LEO investment and support.

Welcoming the publication of the 2015 results, Christine Charlton of Local Enterprise Office Westmeath said: "The strength of Local Enterprise Offices lies in their local knowledge, their expertise and their accessibility for small businesses throughout the Local Authorities Network. The results from the annual employment survey are a great achievement for the team here in LEO Westmeath and reflect the hard work and commitment to entrepreneurship and job creation.  Working in close partnership with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, the Local Authorities and our colleagues across other LEOs, Government Departments, state agencies and bodies, we want to encourage even more start-ups and small businesses to knock on the door of their Local Enterprise Office.”

LEOs also supported budding entrepreneurs and small businesses with training and mentoring aimed at developing business ideas and building company capacity. Local entrepreneurship and job creation potential are further boosted by other LEO driven initiatives. Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition generated 1,400 applicants in 2015. There were 200 successful loan applications to Micro Finance Ireland (MFI) that were referred through the LEOs nationally. Almost 1,700 small businesses availed of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme through the LEOs last year, which helps to support internet based sales. Details on all the supports available for small businesses and microenterprises through the 31 LEOs are available at www.localenterprise.ie.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, commented: “Under the ‘first stop shop’ business support model, Local Enterprise Offices are delivering services and supports to an increasing number of start-ups, micro-enterprises and small businesses throughout the local authority network, under the guidance of the Centre of Excellence at Enterprise Ireland. As the results from 2015 demonstrate, this partnership approach is working, resulting in over 3,500 new jobs last year. A priority for Enterprise Ireland and Local Enterprise Offices is to help more Irish entrepreneurs and companies start-up and grow, creating more jobs locally. Together with LEOs and local authorities, we are working hard to achieve this, helping more local businesses reach their growth potential.”

Speaking on behalf of Local Authorities, Fingal Chief Executive and Chair of the CCMA Committee on Economic Development & Enterprise Paul Reid said “The LEO jobs performance underlines the potential for creating jobs at local level. It is critical that the infrastructure and supports are in place to stimulate local business development and encourage local entrepreneurs. Working as part of the wider economic remit of the Local Authorities, the LEOs are the launch pad for new enterprises, business growth and job creation in every county”.

Over 3,500 local jobs created by Local Enterprise Offices in 2015


For all media queries, please contact your Local Enterprise Office.


Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs)

As part of a range of reforms carried out by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) in recent years, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) were established 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, DJEI 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.

LEO employment results 2015

The LEO employment results for 2015, which were compiled by the Enterprise Ireland Centre of Excellence, using the same systems as applied to the Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland annual surveys, show that overall in 2015:


  • a total of 7,122 new jobs (full- and part-time) were created in gross terms.
  • taking into account losses, there was a net increase of 3,533 all jobs (full- and part-time)
  • overall at the end of 2015, total direct employment among 6,573 LEO client companies stood at 32,592 (of which 23,641 were full-time and 8,951 were part-time).


The detailed results at LEO level are available from your Local Enterprise Office.


The LEOs provided a range of development supports aimed at building company capacity and performance among the micro-enterprise sector; in 2015 they:

  • paid out direct financial assistance to 984 business projects, to the value of €10m.
  • of these, 400 were priming grants for start-up companies.


In addition to direct financial assistance, the LEOs supported an even wider cohort of entrepreneurs and small businesses in 2015 through:


  • 1,896 training programmes involving 27,185 participants;
  • provision of one-to-one mentoring support to 8,175 participants;
  • 399 referrals to Micro Finance Ireland of which 200 were approved; and
  • promoting the Trading Online Voucher Scheme with almost 1,700 businesses participating (https://www.localenterprise.ie/Discover-Business-Supports/Trading-Online-Voucher-Scheme-/.


Strengthening the pipeline of new business start-ups nationwide, the LEOs ran Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition for the second year in 2015 which generated just under 1,400 applicants from young people around the country.


All of these initiatives are expected to make a contribution to the creation and maintenance of jobs in local communities all over the country in addition to those reported in the survey results.