LEO Wicklow 'Making it Happen' for 5 Years

“Making it Happen” 5 years of the Local Enterprise Office Network 


Minister Humphreys & Minister Breen announce Local Enterprise Office figures from first 5 years


With the help of Local Enterprise Office Wicklow:LEOs 5 Years Group

  • 350 net jobs created
  • €2,616,714 in grants approved
  • 4,478 trained
  • Over 487 projects approved    

Since the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) were established in 2014 they have supported the creation of over 18,600 jobs nationwide with 144,830 entrepreneurs and business people trained in a range of skills over the five years. The figures were announced by Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Pat Breen T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection at an event in Russborough House in Wicklow to celebrate 5 Years of the Local Enterprise Offices.

Local Enterprise Office Wicklow have made a huge impact locally with €2,616,714 in grants approved and over 4,000 clients trained.

Amongst the clients that have started and grown with Local Enterprise Office Wicklow are Stephen and David Flynn, owners of The Happy Pear in Greystones. Now a household name in Ireland when it comes to fresh, organic, locally sourced food. The Local Enterprise Office Wicklow with its range of business skills training courses and business advice were always there to help them, when they were at the start of their business journey.

Another example are Tadgh and Louise Henderson, creators of Profitsflow. With the help of the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow this company has come through the some of the toughest times that Ireland has seen in recent history. Through training courses (SYOB, MDP), seminars, priming grant, employment grants and business expansion grants, they have grown steadily, which earned them the nomination to represent Wicklow at the 2019 National Enterprise Awards.   

James Keogh of Rathwood near the border with Carlow is a national entertainment destination with people travelling from all over the country for the Christmas “Santa Train”, the “Easter Train”, “Teddy Bears Picnic”, and many more events. With all of these events Rathwood provides many local people employment and brings more than 250,000 visitors to the area every year. We here in the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow supported James on his business journey through our supports which resulted in him winning not only the County Final but the National Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2015.

Since 2014 the Local Enterprise Offices across the country have approved and contributed funding to over 5,000 business and entrepreneurial projects. The LEOs have distributed €81.5million worth of direct financial assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs, stimulating job creation in communities across the country. In those 5 years, 40,577 people have received mentoring support through the LEO network, while over 17,500 have taken a Start Your Own Business course.  

Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., said; “Since their inception in 2014, the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) have played a hugely significant role in generating indigenous employment across the country.  There are now over 36,000 people employed by LEO-supported companies, small Irish businesses that are creating jobs in their own towns and villages. Supporting regional enterprise is a big priority of mine as Minister and it’s for this reason that I allocated an additional €5 million to the LEOs in Budget 2019.

Turning to Future Jobs Ireland, the new whole-of-Government plan to secure the country’s economic success, the Minister said:“A range of measures in Future Jobs Ireland 2019 support balanced regional development and the LEOs will play a central role in the success of the initiative. For 2019, the focus will be on strengthening the capacity of LEOs to provide a comprehensive suite of supports to indigenous Irish businesses and entrepreneurs. We are also working to increase the take-up of LEO productivity supports in particular. Our entrepreneurs are central to ensuring balanced regional development into the future, and I have no doubt the LEOs will continue the success of the past five years in the next five and beyond.”   

Minister Pat Breen, T.D., said; “Small businesses are the heartbeat of the Irish economy and they make a huge impact to local economies across the country. The Local Enterprise Offices have become the most important resource for any entrepreneur or small business looking for support or training. With over 144,000 trained and 40,000 receiving specialist mentoring, the LEOs are providing these businesses with the skills and knowledge to start and grow, to create jobs and generate significant revenue for the Irish economy.”

Established in 2014 by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide are operated in a partnership between Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities. Devised as a “first stop shop” for those looking to start a business or for small businesses looking for support, the Local Enterprise Offices are now a significant source of job creation and a hub of entrepreneurship across the country.

Some of the successful companies who have been supported by the Local Enterprise Offices across the country include; Th Happy Pear (Wicklow), Simtech Aviation (Fingal), Irish Fairy Door Company (South Dublin), Beats Medical (Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown), Blacks of Kinsale (Cork North & West), Pip & Pear (Waterford), GloFox (Dun-Laoghaire Rathdown), Neurant Medical (Galway), Keoghs Crisps (Fingal) and Strong Roots (Dublin City)

Vibeke Delahunt, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, said; “The figures really do speak for themselves when you look across the 5 years of the Local Enterprise Offices. The Local Enterprise Office Wicklowhas played a key role in fostering entrepreneurship in the area and is very much at the fulcrum of the local business community. That positioning has come through trust, expertise and the ability to help businesses over the toughest of hurdles because we have the resources to do so. Looking to the future, we are at the forefront of microenterprise and we have an opportunity to help shape policy and supports that we believe will only increase these impressive figures in the next 5 years and give our entrepreneurs and small businesses an even greater advantage in the market.”  

Mark Christal, Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland said;The Local Enterprise Offices have been a significant success story for Irish small businesses. The LEO’s have played a critical role for regional development, making a significant contribution to ensuring that small businesses receive the very best advice and support to assist in overcoming the challenges they may encounter.  This is reflected in the growing number of LEO client companies that are now transferring to Enterprise Ireland who have the global ambition to scale and expand the reach of their businesses overseas.  Our partnership with the Local Authorities is critical, and our working together with the LEOs has ensured Irish small businesses have the very best support and every opportunity of making an impact on the world stage.”

LEOs offer a comprehensive range of supports from mentoring and training to financial assistance and Brexit planning, to entrepreneurs and small businesses alike to help them to plan, start and grow. The Local Enterprise Offices also run some significant programmes to increase engagement and draw entrepreneurs and small businesses into the business support eco-system. These include Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE), the National Enterprise Awards, Food Academy, the Student Enterprise Programme and Local Enterprise Week.   

Local Enterprise Office Wicklow Figures – 2014 to 2019

350– Jobs created by Local Enterprise Office supported clients

152 – Projects approved for funding by the Local Enterprise Offices

€2,502,966 – Direct financial assistance to Local Enterprise Office clients

390 – Taken Start Your Own Business with their Local Enterprise Office

4,478 – Engaged in training with their Local Enterprise Office

268 – Entrants to Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE)

31 – Availed of a Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters (TAME) grant

2,348 – Availed of Business Advice and Mentoring through their Local Enterprise Office

304 – Received Trading Online Voucher

850 – Average yearly entrants to the Student Enterprise Programme

21– Approved applications for Microfinance Ireland loans

25 – Availed of LEAN Consultancy through their Local Enterprise Office

LEOs 5 Years Wicklow

Pat Breen TD, Minister of Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Frank Curran, Chief Executive Wicklow County Council, Vibeke Delahunt, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, Mark Crystal, Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland