- Local Enterprise Offices will be the “first-stop-shop” for micro and small businesses for Brexit guidance and supports
- Minister Breen urges LEO clients to be Brexit ready and announces suite of Brexit supports for micro and small businesses totalling €3.4 million
Minister of State for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen T.D. has urged micro and small businesses to prepare for Brexit and to talk to their Local Enterprise Office (LEO) about the range of LEO supports now available.
The Minister was in LEO Dublin City at the Dublin City Council Civic Offices, Wood Quay to announce a suite of Brexit supports totalling €3.4 million, now available to micro and small businesses through the 31 LEOs nationwide. These include:
· Access to the ‘Brexit SME Scorecard’ online tool where micro and smaller businesses can self-diagnose their readiness for Brexit;
· A ‘Technical Assistance for Micro-enterprises’ grant to help LEO clients to find new markets and exports;
· Rollout of ‘Lean for Micro’ nationwide which will make small businesses more efficient and competitive;
· A ‘LEO Innovation and Investment Fund’ pilot programme to support innovation in micro-enterprises and get them investor ready to scale their businesses;
· Tailored mentoring to address Brexit related business challenges;
· Training on specific Brexit challenges, including financial aspects; and
· Continued information, advice and guidance across all 31 LEOs and regionally.
Speaking at the announcement, which was attended by a number of LEO client companies Minister Breen said “I am delighted to announce this suite of important Brexit supports which will be available for small and medium enterprises. These are important resources as SME’s have fewer internal resources to draw on in meeting the challenges posed by Brexit.
It is imperative that micro and small businesses have the tools and supports needed to navigate through what is uncharted territory. This is part of the Government’s Brexit planning and I am very pleased that my Department through Enterprise Ireland has been able to accelerate the rollout of these new LEO offerings worth up to €3.4 million, and I urge small and micro business owners to get in touch with their LEO to see how they can help.” he said.
Also at the announcement, Brendan Flood, Divisional Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland said: “All companies large and small will be affected by Brexit, and there are both opportunities and challenges arising. Preparation is crucial. The LEO supports being announced by the Minister today will help to build resilience in micro and small enterprises so that they can better cope with the challenges that are ahead. We are particularly pleased to be able to offer the Enterprise Ireland online Brexit SME Scorecard to the micro and small enterprise sector today. The scorecard will enable these companies to take a first step in preparing for Brexit by conducting their own assessment of areas of potential risk and opportunity, and to then to develop a plan of action in response.”
Speaking on behalf of the LEOs, Sheelagh Daly, Chairperson of the Network of LEOs commented: “We are very pleased to be able to offer these Brexit supports to micro and small companies through every Local Enterprise Office nationwide. The Local Enterprise Offices are the first stop shop for anyone wishing to start or grow their business. If you are a start-up, micro or small enterprise, make your Local Enterprise Office the first port of call for Brexit support and advice”.
Also in attendance at this morning’s announcement representing the County and City Management Association (CCMA) was Anna Marie Delaney, Chief Executive of Offaly Co. Council who commented: “We very much welcome the Minister’s announcement this morning of the full suite of supports available from the LEOs to help local enterprises prepare for Brexit. The Local Enterprise Offices are readily accessible in every Local Authority in the country so Brexit advice and supports are very close at hand wherever your business is located.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The 31 Local Enterprise Offices located in the Local Authorities nationwide are the first stop shop for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and other supports anyone seeking to start or grow their own business.
The additional Brexit supports on offer through the LEOs are focused on capability building, market diversification, driving increased competitiveness, and promoting innovation so that LEO client companies can better cope with the challenges arising on foot of Brexit and to explore any opportunities presented.
The LEO Brexit supports are funded through the 22 percent increase in funding to the LEOs provided for in Budget 2017, and total up to €3.4 million.
Details of the supports on offer to the LEOs:
· The Brexit SME Scorecard online tool has been designed to stimulate companies into thinking about the key areas that may be impacted in their business because of Brexit and to self-assess their level of preparedness.
By completing a series of questions online under six key business pillars a comprehensive report is automatically generated which serves as a prompt and discussion document for clients to consider as part of their planning for Brexit. The report provides companies with a benchmark in terms of their level of preparedness against best practice and signposts them to a range of supports, resources and information available via Local Enterprise Offices.
LEO Clients can access the Scorecard at www.localenterprise.ie from Tuesday 30/05/17.
· The Technical Assistance for Micro-enterprises grant is designed to support qualifying businesses to diversify into new markets, enabling companies to explore and develop new market opportunities.
Under this initiative businesses can be part-funded towards the costs incurred in investigating and researching export markets, e.g. exhibiting at Trade Fairs, preparing marketing material, and developing websites specifically targeting overseas markets. The grant covers 50% of eligible costs (net of vat) to a max of €2,500.
· The Lean for Micro Programme was piloted in 2016 with 23 participating companies. With an additional budget of €800,000 from DJEI the programme has now been rolled out across the entire LEO Network. The Local Enterprise Office's in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland offer clients the opportunity to adopt Lean business principles into their organisation to increase performance and effectiveness. Lean will assist companies to address competitiveness issues, building the capability of their people to identify issues and improve their operations, increasing capacity as they improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Under the programme companies can avail of 5 days’ consultancy from a Lean Expert (Qualified Practitioner) from the EI approved lean consultancy panel who will work with the company to introduce lean principles, undertake a specific cost reduction project and assist the company in benchmarking performance.
· The LEO Innovation and Investment Fund (LIIF) is a new pilot initiative to support innovative developments in micro-enterprises by getting them investor ready and through the provision of grant funding help, implement their development plans. The programme will initially target existing LEO clients in the manufacturing or traded services sectors who wish to start, grow or develop innovative micro businesses.
The LIFF has an overall investment fund of €1.5 million available which is allocated across the country in 8 regions. Applicants for funding will apply online and some will be selected to participate on an Investor Ready Programme, complete an investor ready plan and will then be entitled to pitch to an investor panel to secure a grant investment of up to €25k from their local LEO via a competitive process. In addition to the LEO funding offer participants will also receive valuable feedback and possible support from other potential investors including Enterprise Ireland, MFI and HBAN.
· Local Enterprise Offices offer Mentor Programmes through which businesses can access Mentors including those on the Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network. Mentors provide tailored advice, guidance and support, to help accelerate growth, build management capability and address Brexit related business challenges.
The Mentor Programme is designed to match up the knowledge, skills, insights and entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small business owner/ managers who need practical and strategic one to one advice and guidance. The mentor contributes independent, informed observation and advice to aid decision making.
All applications for mentor assistance are dealt with individually and are preceded by a business needs analysis to assess the key needs of the business and determine the most imperative mentoring objectives.
· To assist the small business community in meeting the challenges of Brexit, LEOs provide a wide range of high-quality training supports which are tailored to meet specific business requirements including those around finance. Training initiatives designed to support owner/ managers to address the impacts on currency, pricing, cashflow and funding are being rolled out. Additionally, across the Country, Export Growth Programmes are being delivered providing participants with both the skills and confidence to go after new sales opportunities in markets outside Ireland. Clients are also being signposted to Enterprise Ireland led programmes such as the Excel at Export Selling Workshops.
· The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) provide a confidential advisory service open to those operating a business. Businesses can access information, advice and guidance from Business Advisors and will be signposted to the supports most relevant to them.
· The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). In Ireland services are delivered in a partnership between Enterprise Ireland, the 31 Local Enterprise Offices and the Chambers of Commerce in Dublin and Cork. Through the network Irish companies have free access to Europe’s largest database listing up to 10,000 new business and technology opportunities in the EU and other major global markets.
Businesses are assisted to grow through tailored support, new business and technology partnerships, commercial opportunities, licensing deals, and partner searches for EU funded R&D. Companies can get advice on EU funding and support to bring their innovative products and technologies to a global audience.
The four LEO Dublin City client companies in attendance at the Press event in Wood Quay are as follows:
Ikydz is an Irish based company located in Parkwest, Dublin. The company supplies a unique parental control device that allows parents manage their children’s WIFI access within the Home. It allows parents control the access and the sites visited from any location in the world. This is done by way of a simple App on the parents’ phone. Ikydz has sold to 28 different countries worldwide since its’ commercial launch in 2016.
Catherine Buggy founded Boutique Bake in June 2013 and began trading in farmers as a way to test out her idea for a gourmet range of easy-to-use baking mixes. She secured Boutique Bake's first supermarket listing in June 2014. Since then, the number of stores stocking her range has grown to 350, including SuperValu, Dunnes Stores & Tesco, all around Ireland. The product range can also be found in the UK, France, Germany, and even Australia. But this is just the beginning for Boutique Bake, they are on a mission to bring back home baking and make it fun and accessible for everyone!
Jando are printmakers based in Smithfield, Dublin founded in 2015 by husband and wife team, Julie and Owen McLoughlin. What began as a small business based out of Julie and Owen’s 1-bedroom apartment, has quickly grown into one of Ireland’s leading design brands. They create a series of contemporary, architectural inspired prints and greeting cards featuring bold colours to compose a style that feels both exciting and modern. Their ‘Liberty Moon’ print featuring the iconic Liberty Hall in Dublin, recently won the Best Product Highly Commended Award at Showcase 2017 in the RDS.
Stonechat Jewellers is a refreshing alternative to traditional jewellery stores offering contemporary handmade jewellery with an extra emphasis on craftsmanship and exceptional Irish jewellery design. The company has a retail presence in Dublin’s Westbury Mall and also ships internationally.
Selection of LEO client testimonials from around the country:
“The Brexit Seminars organised by LEO Wicklow in March of this year, were timely and gave an excellent, practical insight into both the risks and opportunities that Brexit presents for our business”
Tadgh Henderson, Profit Expert Ltd, www.profitsflow.com, LEO Wicklow client
“The support we have received to date from LEO Westmeath has been a key part in establishing solid foundations to build a successful business online and to Irish and Global retailers.”
Brendan McEvoy, My Name is TED Ltd., mynameisted.ie, LEO Westmeath client
“What we did was have the processes mapped from collection through production and dispatch to customers. … Lean resulted in us being able to eliminate double handling, reduced downtime and resulted in a 15% increase in output.” -
Niall Gannon, Gannon Eco, www.gannoneco.ie, LEO Westmeath client
“The Technical Assistance for Micro Enterprises grant and mentoring support by LEO Wicklow are key supports to help me secure my UK business in the face of the risks posed by Brexit”
Willemien Rust, Miena’s, www.mienas.ie, LEO Wicklow client
"With such a large proportion of our market UK based, we shifted some focus to the US market to prepare for the impact of Brexit. With the aid of a Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters Grant from LEO Roscommon we attended our first US trade show this March, and as a result have secured a very large North American buyer for our high quality, uniquely designed children's tights."
Kathleen Redmond, Slugs & Snails, www.slugsandsnails.ie, LEO Roscommon client
“As a small business owner, I find the support of my LEO invaluable. I have attended several of their workshops and business advice clinics. I was proud to be chosen by LEO Fingal to represent them at Showcase Ireland in 2017, within their Enterprise Zone. As a result, I secured several new stockists for my product line throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. This year, with their help, I will begin to export to the mainland Europe and the UK.”
Lorna Venton, Berry Be Beauty, www.berry-be-beauty.ie, LEO Fingal client
“[Lean for Micro] has made our organisation more profitable by reducing distribution costs, increasing production efficiency and personally showed me how to protect my profit margin by better tracking our raw material cost, the largest cost in our business”.
Eamon Crowley, West Cork Veg Solutions Ltd., www.wcvs.ie, LEO Cork North & West client
“Being involved with the Local Enterprise Offices and access to the Lean pilot programme has transformed Unison from mainly a service and single unit manufacturing company to a company now exporting to over twelve countries worldwide with the possibility to doubling our turnover next year.”
Paul Sheehan, Unison Engineering Services Ltd, www.unisonengineering.ie, LEO Limerick client
“[With Lean for Micro]… not alone did we improve productivity and quality, but the consultants worked with the management team to develop a long-term vision for the company and helped us implement a process to achieve our 90-day goals in the context of this vision.”
Pat O'Meara RTR Electronics Ltd, www.rtrelec.com, LEO Limerick client
“It is thanks to the help of the Clare Local Enterprise Office that I could afford to bring [my company] to Showcase 2017 and what a success story that has turned out to be.
I came away from Showcase with a total of 11 orders”
Raquel Walton, Creative Clay, www.creativeclayireland.com, LEO Clare client