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  • Local Enterprise Office Supports

    Fáilte Ireland has signed a formal agreement with Enterprise Ireland whereby all tourism businesses can now avail of the supports and services offered by Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide.  
    Local Enterprise Offices act as a ‘first stop shop’ for people interested in starting up a new business or already in business including entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, start-ups and small business looking to expand.  The LEOs provide advice, information and support in starting up or growing a business, referring interested parties to other agencies where relevant. 
    With 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices offer a wide range of experience, skills and services including business development advice, mentoring, advice on accessing finance, and guidance on local authority regulations and planning, and other issues affecting your business. Provision of these supports and services may be based on eligibility criteria and will be at the discretion of the Local Enterprise Office.

    • 1. What is the agreement that was put in place?

    • A ‘Memo of Understanding’ (MOU) or ‘protocol’ document has been put in place between Fáilte Ireland and Enterprise Ireland on behalf of the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) to formalise how we will work together, and how support will be provided to small and micro enterprises in the tourism sector country-wide.
    • 2. Why was it put in place?

    • The MOU was put in place for a number of reasons:

      • The remit of Local Enterprise Offices is to support start-ups and small and micro businesses across all sectors on a one-to-one basis. While County Enterprise Boards (in place before the LEOs) supported tourism enterprises on an ad hoc basis, we felt there was a need to formalise the support provided in order to ensure that support was offered regardless of the location of the tourism business. 

      • LEOs will provide generic business supports and training – where relevant, Fáilte Ireland will provide tourism-specific information to these businesses. • Part of the ‘Action Plan for Jobs 2014’, this agreement formalises the role of Local Enterprise Offices in supporting local tourism businesses and forms part of the work being done to streamline access to government and agency supports for small and micro enterprises.

    • 3. What is a Local Enterprise Office (LEO)?

    • ‘Local Enterprise Office’ is the new name for the County and City Enterprise Boards, staffed with professional people with business training, to assist budding entrepreneurs and existing businesses in every county in Ireland.

      LEOs offer an enhanced enterprise support model with emphasis on delivery at local level, combining the expertise of Enterprise Ireland with the broad reach of the Local Authority. There are 31 dedicated teams across the Local Authority network in Ireland.

      The primary objectives of the LEO are:

      • to facilitate access to enterprise services
      • to promote and support enterprise at local level, in particular for micro-enterprises.

      Their mission is to promote entrepreneurship, foster business start-ups and develop existing micro and small businesses to drive job creation and to provide accessible high quality supports for business ideas. 

      Supports provided by Local Enterprise Offices include business development advice, mentoring, advice on accessing finance, and guidance on local authority regulations, planning, accessibility, environment, procurement and other issues affecting your business.  Provision of these supports and services may be based on eligibility criteria and will be at the discretion of the Local Enterprise Office.

      As well as advice and direct supports, the Local Enterprise Office will promote a pro-enterprise culture locally, by organising enterprise events, supporting local business networks and working with local Chambers and other organisations, schools etc.

      Local Enterprise Offices have access to the full range of expertise in Enterprise Ireland with the establishment of a new Centre of Excellence to guarantee ‘best practice’ service and staff training nationally. The Local Enterprise Office is the ‘First Stop Shop’ for anyone seeking information and support on starting or growing a business in Ireland.

    • 4. What does it mean for existing tourism businesses?

    • LEOs will offer one-to-one support to existing tourism businesses as well as start-ups, and provide a range of services to existing small businesses which are specifically tailored to help businesses grow.  Details of the supports available can be found by contacting the local LEO.

      Existing businesses can also find details of over 80 different Government supports for Irish start-ups and small businesses on the Supporting SMEs Online Tool.

      Businesses which are already in operation may receive supports from Fáilte Ireland as part of our key programmes or as part of initiatives that are being completed with specialist groups or representative bodies.

    • 5. What does this mean for tourism start-ups?

    • Local Enterprise Offices (on behalf of the Local Authorities and Enterprise Ireland) will now support tourism start-ups in the same way as they support all other sectors.  The supports available will range from one-to-one meetings, guidance on business planning or advice on sourcing finance to attending the ‘Start Your Own Business Programme’. 

      Tourism-specific research, insights and business templates and guides which will assist in planning and marketing can be accessed on the Fáilte Ireland website.

      They can also find details of over 80 different Government supports for Irish start-ups and small businesses on the Supporting SMEs Online Tool.

    • 6. Are all businesses eligible for LEO support?

    • Local Enterprise Offices are the official ‘first stop shop’ for all sectors, and for both start-ups and existing businesses looking to expand. Their supports are offered based on established criteria, which may vary according to the type of support and demand in any particular location.

      As the LEOs are ultimately responsible for deciding which supports are offered to which businesses, please contact your Local Enterprise Office directly with any queries on specific supports.

    • 7. What type of support will tourism businesses be offered?

    • This will be determined by the Local Enterprise Offices in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland. There may be some variance based on demand and location.

      The supports offered by LEOs may include:
      • Guidance on developing business plans
      • Training on topics such as ‘Start your own Business’, ‘Managing your Business’ e.g. marketing, sales, financial management, strategy and business planning
      • Advice on accessing finance
      • Mentoring
      • Advice on local authority regulations, planning, accessibility, environment and procurement
      • Connections to state agencies and their supports
      • Facilitating business networking

        For full details, check the Local Enterprise Office official website or the individual website of your county LEO.  
    • 8. Will LEOs provide funding?

      Local Enterprise Offices have clear eligibility criteria for their funding opportunities, details of which can either be found on the Local Enterprise website or obtained directly from the relevant LEO.  Tourism businesses should check directly with their local LEO to determine what supports and/or funding can be offered to them.
      Decisions to grant funding are at the discretion of the individual LEO – Fáilte Ireland is not involved in this process.
      As well as providing some direct funding, LEOs can also advise on a range of alternative financing options available e.g. under a partnership between Microfinance Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices, business loans are now available through the Local Enterprise Office with a reduced interest rate for LEO clients.

    • 9. Where is my Local Enterprise Office?

    • Local Enterprise Offices operate on a similar geographical basis to the Local Authorities and are, in fact, based within their offices. Find your Local Enterprise Office.