Limerick county and city are set to benefit from a new Local Enterprise Office (LEO), which is expected to be up and running from April. The new LEOs across the country, which will be embedded in the local authorities, will act as a one-stop-shop for the business supports currently delivered by County Enterprise Boards and by local authorities. The new system of LEOs will completely streamline the supports on offer to local businesses in Limerick. The LEO in Limerick will develop a plan for boosting local enterprise, setting targets for job creation and new business start-ups.

An extra €3.5 million is being allocated to support the new LEO structure this year. There will be 170 dedicated staff across 31 LEOs; these employees will receive specified training to ensure they can deliver services to local businesses in the best possible way.

The Limerick LEO office will act as a hub for enterprise support. It will provide a huge range of supports, including mentoring and training on how to start your own business and advice on how to draw up a business plan. The LEO will be able to refer clients directly on to Enterprise Ireland, Microfinance Ireland and Loan Guarantee Schemes. As part of the LEO set up, a new Entrepreneurship Fund is being established, which will directly target start-ups by under 25s. A Graduate Recruitment Programme is also being implemented, which will allow business graduates to be employed by LEOs.

The establishment of the new Local Enterprise Board has been welcomed by Patrick O’Donovan T.D.