Minister Mitchell O’Connor announces €44m investment in early stage funding targeting high growth companies

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, has today announced that up to €44 million is being made available for co-investment in Seed and early stage growth companies, and through Enterprise Ireland has issued an open competitive call to fund managers to signal their interest in establishing Funds. This investment will leverage private sector funding to create a pool of capital to support the growth ambitions of high potential companies.

Enterprise Ireland is inviting expressions of interest from Funds to meet the venture capital demand from high potential start-ups. Funds that can demonstrate an ability to raise capital and support company growth are invited to make a submission under this call.

Enterprise Ireland is interested in Funds that will invest in areas that reflect its key strategic growth sectors to include food, software, fintech, General ICT, services, cleantech and lifesciences.

This is the third competitive call under the Seed & Venture Capital Scheme (2013-18). The launch of this call is a key action under the Action Plan for Jobs Programme to support Irish start-ups and complements the other funding initiatives that have been established by Government. In 2016, Enterprise Ireland client companies created 19,244 new jobs in Ireland. Continued support for these enterprises will underpin increased job creation in the future.

Today’s announcement marks the delivery of a key commitment under the Action Plan for Jobs. To date, €131 million of the total €175 million committed under the Seed & Venture Capital Scheme (2013-18) has been secured with several Funds having already successfully reached their funding targets.

Making the announcement, Minister Mitchell O’Connor TD, said: “It is well recognised that early stage, growth oriented companies create a significant proportion of the new jobs in the Irish economy, and that supporting this emerging cohort of companies requires a broad range of innovative initiatives. Today’s announcement of a further €44m in funding from Enterprise Ireland, to be leveraged by additional private sector funding, will assist with the development of the next generation of high potential companies emerging from Ireland, and complement all policies of investment in jobs by this Government.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said: “At Enterprise Ireland, we acknowledge the importance of a supportive investor landscape to create and scale businesses across a range of sectors. This landscape has been building through our Seed & Venture Capital Schemes over the last 20 years. To date, private sector sources have raised over three and half times the funding already secured through Enterprise Ireland under the current Seed & Venture Capital Scheme (2013-18) and this will ensure a healthy supply of investment capital for high potential start-up companies. These businesses will contribute significantly to the Irish economy through the creation of high value, sustainable jobs and global export growth.”


Alter Domus announces 60 new jobs and a second office in Ireland

Dublin & Luxembourg, March 2017 – Alter Domus, a leading provider of Fund and Corporate Services, dedicated to international private equity & infrastructure houses, real estate firms, private debt managers, multinationals, capital markets issuers and private clients, is pleased to announce that it has opened its second office in Ireland in Cork with 60 new jobs.

Alter Domus was established in Ireland in 2011 and in 2014 the firm acquired Services. The team was set up in Dublin to provide the full suite of corporate services with strong activity in aircraft leasing, private equity, real estate and debt.

Speaking at the launch event Minister Mary Mitchell O Connor said: “This is a great win for Ireland and for Cork and adds to the existing hub of financial services companies. Ireland remains a committed member of the EU, benefitting from the many advantages that EU membership brings, including bilateral trade agreements with 3rd countries providing market access opportunities and a common predictable legal and regulatory framework. I’m confident that you will have no difficulty sourcing the skills you require for your International Centre of Excellence and I look forward to watching you grow in the coming years.”

Minister of State for Financial Services, Eoghan Murphy said: “I welcome today’s announcement by Alter Domus, not only for choosing to increase their specialist operations in Ireland, but for their foresight to expand into Cork. It perfectly illustrates the IFS 2020 priority to highlight the added-value of distributing operations both in Dublin and regional locations. I look forward to continue working with the IDA to promote the talent, connectivity and competitive offering to be found in our regional financial services hubs.”James McEvoy, Country Executive Ireland commented. “Today, we are delighted to now be able to offer Fund Administration services specialising in private equity, real estate, infrastructure and debt and further, to announce the opening of our International Centre of Excellence in Cork with the creation of 60 new jobs, while we continue to expand our operations in Dublin providing Corporate and Fund Services.”

Laurent Vanderweyen, CEO of Alter Domus commented “Ireland is an attractive jurisdiction for Alter Domus to further expand, Dublin already being a popular investment structuring destination for non-European fund managers, particularly from the US, looking for an entry point into the European market. Alter Domus, as a well-established provider in the alternatives domain across continental Europe, recognises the strategic importance of further building its presence in Ireland as this jurisdiction continues to attract interest from our clients in North America, the United Kingdom and beyond.”

Welcoming the announcement CEO of IDA Ireland Martin Shanahan said: “It is fantastic to see Alter Domus expanding its footprint in Ireland with the opening a second office in Cork. As a committed member of the EU, Ireland has a lot to offer with a proven track record with international financial services and a strong commitment to the single market. We look forward to working closely with the Alter Domus as they continue to grow their business in Ireland.”

Minister for Jobs updates Employment Permit Regulations

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., has signed the Employment Permit Regulations 2017. Employment Permit Regulations are also now consolidated into a single set of regulations which makes them easier to understand and easier to use.

The Irish employment permits system is intended to act as a conduit for key skills which are required to develop enterprise in the State for the benefit of our economy, while simultaneously protecting the balance of the labour market. The system is by design, affected by the economy, expanding and contracting in tandem with its inherent fluctuations.

Lists of employments which identify critical skills in high demand in the economy, and skills for which there is ample capacity already in the resident labour market, are reviewed twice yearly using an evidence based process.

Following a review of the lists earlier this year, and which included a public consultation, the following changes have been approved by the Minister and have been given legal effect in the 2017 Regulations which will come into effect on 3 April:

· HGV drivers are removed from the ineligible list on a temporary basis and subject to a maximum quota of 120 General Employment Permits;

· Meat deboners remain off the ineligible list subject to a further maximum quota of 160 General Employment Permits bringing the total to 360, as 200 permits were made available under the 2015 Amendment Regulations.

· Level 10 (PhD) academics in designated Universities and Institutes of Technologies are added to the highly skilled list in order to help fulfil their obligations to hire the best staff available within the resources available to them. This change will provide for the recruitment of a very specific skill set while entry level academic appointments remain oriented to the Irish/EEA labour market.

The Minister stated “It is important that we monitor these regulations in order to keep up with the pace of our economy. Our willingness to connect to the global marketplace, and that includes the global exchange of skills, has facilitated Ireland’s ongoing recovery from recession. Our economic migration policy accommodates and reflects the increasingly global nature of enterprises. There are also broad horizons on offer in Ireland to highly skilled individuals from all over the world. Our migration policy allows that preference should be given, wherever possible, to Irish and European Economic Area nationals in the awarding of contracts of employment.”

The Minister continued “The arrival of non-EEA nationals to fill capacity gaps in the short to medium term is to be welcomed. I also recognise that there will always be a cohort of knowledge leaders, or those with novel or combination skill sets, which it would be advantageous to attract to work in Irish based enterprises.

However, in the longer term, I expect to see the demand for HGV drivers and meat deboners being met from a steady supply in the Irish labour market. An integrated approach is required to address these skills shortages and my Department has been working with the relevant Government Departments on developing such an approach. It has already produced tangible results in the meat processing sector.”



The Irish State’s general policy is to promote the sourcing of labour and skills needs from within the workforce of Ireland, the European Union and other EEA states. Policy in relation to applications for employment permits remains focused on facilitating the recruitment from outside the EEA of highly skilled personnel, where the requisite skills cannot be met by normal recruitment or by training. Employment permit policy is part of the response to addressing skills deficits which exist and are likely to continue into the medium term, but it is not intended over the longer term to act as a substitute for meeting the challenge of up-skilling the State’s resident workforce, with an emphasis on the process of lifelong learning, and on maximising the potential of EEA nationals to fill our skills deficits.

The employment permits system is ordered through a list structure: the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List, which lists occupations in high demand in the Irish labour market and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List, which lists occupations for which there is ample capacity already in the Irish/EEA labour market. An evidence-based review of these lists is conducted by the Department twice a year in order to keep the orientation of economic migration firmly in step with the precise needs of the labour market. The next review is due to commence in April with the public consultation process on

Ireland operates a vacancy-driven employment permits system. Where specific skills prove difficult to source within the EEA, an employment permit may be sought in respect of a non-EEA national who possesses those skills. Non-EEA nationals who work in Ireland on the basis of employment permits are subject to the same protections under Irish employment law as any other worker in the State.

For occupations that are not on the ineligible list and are not on the highly skilled list, an employment permit may be sought subject to a labour market needs test being conducted. All applications are processed in accordance with the Employment Permits Act 2006, as amended and are dependent on a specific job offer.

The employment permits regime is underpinned by the Employment Permits Acts 2003 -2014. The Employment Permits (Amendment) Act 2014 reflects policy and economic developments since 2007, providing for more flexibility and targeted instruments in support of the economy’s evolving skills needs which often require rapid response and provides for a robust employment permits regime with greater clarity.

Regulations under the Employment Permits Acts prescribe specific criteria for the grant and renewal of employment permits including documentation requirements, remuneration levels, registration requirements, and lists of highly skilled and ineligible employments.

Since their commencement in October 2014, the Employment Permit Regulations (SI No. 432 of 2014) have been amended four times. In addition, the Trusted Partner Regulations (SI No. 172 of 2015), which commenced in May 2015, have also been since amended once. These regulations provide for the Trusted Partner Initiative which is designed to ease the administrative burden on employers in expansion mode and to remove the requirement that they replicate the same employer information in respect of each employment permit application made for grant or renewal.

The rate at which the principal regulations have been amended since 2014 demonstrates a dynamic employment permit regime that is responding to an ever-evolving labour market. However, the secondary legislation has become increasingly difficult to navigate. Thus, it was decided all employment permit regulations from 2014 to date be consolidated into a single set.

The 2017 Regulations provide not only for a consolidation of all employment permit regulations since 2014, but also for the revised highly skilled list and ineligible employments list. The revised lists are set out in Schedules 3 and 4 of the Regulations. Occupations on the highly skilled list include professional positions in medicine, ICT, sciences, finance and business. Occupations on the ineligible list are largely but not exclusively lower skilled occupations. Occupations not included on either list are considered eligible occupations for a General Employment Permit.

The principal changes to the lists are:

· Level 10 (PhD) academics in designated Universities and Institutes of Technologies are added to the highly skilled list. To fulfil national social and economic goals in terms of quality education and enterprise competitiveness, these third level institutions are obligated to hire the best staff available within the resources available to them. Mobility is a key part of the academic career structure and global academic labour market. Irish academics benefit from spending part of their careers abroad, as do international staff working in Ireland. In order to balance commitments to prioritising the resident and EEA labour market where this is appropriate while acknowledging the highly specialised nature of academic labour even within disciplines, the highly skilled list will provide for the recruitment of very specific skill set while entry level academic appointments remain oriented to the Irish/EEA labour market.

· HGV drivers with CE or C1E driving licences are removed from the ineligible list on a temporary basis and subject to a maximum quota of 120 permits. The Minister has written to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport advising him of the decision to remove HGV drivers on a temporary basis. His Department will lead an integrated approach to meeting the long term demand for HGV drivers and which is being driven by growing levels of trade in exports and imports.

· Meat deboners remain off the ineligible list subject to a further maximum quota of 160 General Employment Permits, bringing the total to 360. In May 2015 the then Minister approved the temporary removal of meat deboners from the ineligible list subject to an initial quota of 200. The potential release of a second tranche of 160 permits was conditional on progress being reported by the sector on training/upskilling and the creation of additional employments.

The highly skilled and ineligible lists are reviewed on a bi-annual basis, using the research of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) as well as a consultation process which includes considerations of submissions made by any interested party. The next review of the lists will commence shortly, and submissions will be invited at

The demand for employment permits in 2016 was 13,371 which was an increase of 13% on 2015 (11,783). The total number of employment permits issued in 2016 (9,383) was up 29% compared to 2015 (7,265).

Full information on the employment permits system can be found on the Department’s website at

Minister for Jobs travels to Copenhagen to discuss Brexit and the Single Market

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, today acknowledged the triggering of Article 50 by the British Government and the clarity brought to the Brexit process today.

The Minister noted that “Today represents a key step for both the EU and the UK, and enables the start of exit negotiations. Ireland has been preparing intensively and extensively for these negotiations”.

“Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is central to this planning. We are ready for the negotiations and will negotiate from a position of strength as an integral part of the EU team. Since the result of the referendum was known, we have made clear our priorities – minimising impact on trade and the economy, protecting the Northern Ireland Peace Process, maintaining the Common Travel Area and Influencing the future of the European Union. Through extensive consultation and dialogue, we have ensured that these priorities are recognised at the highest level in the EU and amongst other member states.”

The Minister was speaking from Copenhagen where she is meeting her Danish counterpart, Minister Brian Mikkelsen, Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, as part of her ongoing programme of engagement with EU political counterparts on the trade, enterprise and Brexit agenda.
This meeting affords Minister Mitchell O’Connor an opportunity to set out the significance of the impact on Ireland and our unique concerns arising from Brexit.

Noting that the EU27 leaders will now meet to agree and adopt guidelines defining the framework for the negotiations, the Minister concluded “It is clear that the UK wants a close, friction-free, trading relationship with the EU. That’s a goal we share. It is in all our interests that the UK should maintain the closest possible links to the EU. We must, however, remain focused on protecting and advancing Ireland’s interests at every turn. We must also look to the future of the EU as a fully committed member of the EU 27. With this in mind, our engagement and consultation work will continue in the coming weeks and months.”

Dun Laoghaire to get 14,800 new homes, 5,000 before 2021

Dun Laoghaire Fine Gael TD, and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomes Government funding that will deliver 14,800 new homes to the area.

The €40 million in funding for Dun Laoghaire represents Fine Gael’s commitment in the Programme for Government to increase access to public infrastructure and enable more housing to be developed.

Some 5,000 houses will be built in the area by 2021, with the potential for 14,800 houses to be built here in total in the long term.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “This funding will help deliver a strong mix of private, rental and social housing delivery at appropriate locations and create new and attractive local communities to live in at affordable prices and rents.”

“In recent months I have been at a number of significant jobs announcements in the constituency, most recently Microsoft, where 600 additional jobs will be created. I am acutely aware of the importance of quality housing stock in attracting companies and workers to the area and this funding will help to significantly increase the number of homes being built.

“These homes are important; we know there are housing and accommodation shortages in certain areas. Fine Gael is dedicated to improving the lives of families and children. Everyone has a right to a home and we are ensuring this is possible. We will continue this work throughout the 32nd Dáil” the Minister added.

“Together with other targeted and complementary measures under the Government’s Action Plan for Housing, the delivery of this housing in the next four years will have an extremely positive impact on the availability of housing in the short to medium term.”

“Through the work undertaken, we are now making progress in recalibrating a sector that has faced enormous challenges in recent years.

“Today’s announcement of the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation projects signals what can be achieved from a collaborative approach involving local authorities, public bodies and housing providers, working together to maximize the impact on housing development and delivery from the focussed use of available public funds.”

The Minister went on to say that Dun Laoghaire’s new funding represents an effective use of targeted funding to achieve real results for ordinary citizens, adding that the announcement will lead to the delivery of 23,000 housing units nationally by 2021 and an overall figure of over 69,000 housing units in the next ten to fifteen years in areas where the shortage of supply is critical.

“Through the projects announced today under LIHAF, together with the completion of our review of the Government’s Capital Plan and the development of a new National Planning Framework later this year, we will see further sustainable progress being made to address our housing needs and accelerate our economic and social recovery”.

This is a great example of ‘joined-up Government’ and has acted as the trigger to draw both public and private partners together to leverage much wider public and private sector investment.,” The Minister concluded.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor encourages parties to make submissions on ticket resale issue before the fast approaching deadline

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has today (Monday, March 27th 2017) reminded interested parties that the deadline for submissions to the public consultation on ticket resale is only 5 days away.

The public consultation paper sets out, and seeks views, on a number of possible measures that might be taken by the parties involved in the organisation of entertainment and sporting events and in the primary and secondary ticket markets, and by Government, to ensure that fans who wish to attend major entertainment or sporting events do not have to pay exorbitant prices to do so.

The Minister stated that: “This is an important consultation process which seeks to address the concern and frustration being expressed by the public in relation to ticket resale. I would encourage all interested parties to make their submissions by the deadline of 31st March. It is important that Government, in considering what possible measures might be taken, has the fullest information about the important aspects of the practice, including its incidence, the sources of tickets put up for resale, and the prices achieved, as opposed to advertised, on the secondary ticket market.”

Do you need to renew your passport?

As we approach the busy holiday times of Easter and summer, it is important to make sure your passport is in date if you plan to travel abroad. Please check your passport, and the passports of anyone that may be travelling with you, especially children.

At this time of year there is always a seasonal increase in the demand for passports. Added to that, we have a significant increase in applications for Irish passports from the UK, with Brexit on the horizon. Extra staff have been recruited by the Passport Office but delays remain likely.

As of today, the turnaround times from Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for applications from Ireland are:

Passport Card: 5 working days

Passport Express: 16 working days

FIRST/Lost/Stolen/Damaged passport: 23 working days

It is important to note that applications for a first passport take significantly longer than renewals due to additional security measures.

The turnaround times are changing on a regular basis so the DFA advises allowing at least six weeks for your passport application. Delays are often encountered when forms are incorrectly completed and the six week recommendation allows time for any issues to be resolved.

For genuine emergencies there is a Rapid Renewal Service. Certain specific documentation is required for this and candidates need to make an appointment with the Passport Office on Lower Mount Street. There are limitations to this service, so it’s best to check your passport sooner rather than later and get your application in on time.

The Department of Foreign Affairs offer a reminder service whereby you can register the date of your passport expiry and an email address and they will send you an email when your passport is due for renewal. This is a very useful tool and can be found on

Fenergo to Deliver 200 New Jobs to Support Global Growth

Fenergo, the leading provider of Client Lifecycle Management software solutions for investment, corporate and private banks, has today announced the creation of 200 new jobs due to rapid global expansion, bringing its total global employee base to 500.

The new positions, supported by the Department of Jobs through Enterprise Ireland, are across many areas of the business – Product Management, Software Engineering, Implementation, Consulting and Marketing. Recruitment will begin immediately with all positions to be filled over the next 12 to 18 months.

Speaking at the jobs announcement event held in its global headquarters in Dublin’s Docklands, Marc Murphy, CEO, Fenergo, said, “I am delighted to announce the creation of 200 new high value jobs for the Irish economy. The demand for Fenergo’s Client Lifecycle Management technology solutions is global and immediate, driven by regulatory change and banks’ desires to be able to comply fully with new and enhanced regulations, whilst achieving operational cost efficiencies and delivering superior client experiences. We anticipate continued significant growth across all of the regions we serve – Americas, Europe, UK, APAC and the Middle East – over the next 36 months.

“To help us meet this global demand, we are looking for the smartest, most dedicated and talented people to join the team to help us continue to improve this world-class business that we have built. By joining the Fenergo team, this new talent will be part of a journey to build a global Irish technology company that is at the forefront of developments in robotics and artificial intelligence for financial technology.”

With ambitions to IPO the company by 2020, Fenergo is well on its way to achieve this given its considerable growth over the last five years, averaging over 100% year-on-year. During this time, Fenergo has signed significant new named deals with world-leading financial institutions, including HSBC, UBS, BNY Mellon, Scotiabank, Bank of Montreal, BBVA, Westpac, RBS, RBC, SunTrust and Nikko Americas. The company is also expecting another stellar sales performance this year.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD added:
“I am delighted to join the Fenergo team today in its new global headquarters in Dublin to celebrate the announcement of 200 new high tech and professional jobs. Over the last five years, Fenergo has become an indigenous Irish success story, achieving phenomenal global sales success and putting Irish Fintech and RegTech firmly on the global map. With the support of my Department through Enterprise Ireland, the new jobs created marks a new wave of momentum and growth in the company’s future. The Government through Enterprise Ireland looks forward to continued engagement with Fenergo to support their growth and business development.”

Today’s announcement follows the rapid growth in employee numbers over the last few years. In January 2013, Fenergo employed 36 people. This will increase to 500 with the new job creation. The company has also opened six new offices across the world including New York, Boston, Sydney, Singapore, Japan and Abu Dhabi and relocated its Dublin, London and Boston headquarters to cater for its growing number of personnel. Most recently, the company took up residence in a 21,000 sq feet building in Dublin’s Point Village.

Minister of State for Financial Services, Eoghan Murphy TD, who was also in attendance at Dublin’s headquarters, said:
“An overarching objective of the Government’s IFS 2020 Strategy is to strengthen our indigenous Fintech sector as a source of high-value job creation. Approximately one-quarter of 2017 actions target this area. Fenergo is a great example of Enterprise Ireland’s policy of strategic investment, targeting areas such as RegTech. I have had the opportunity, across Asia and more recently in North America, to support Fenergo’s ambitious expansion plans. Today’s announcement is proof positive that an Irish company can compete and succeed on the global stage.”

Fenergo’s success and growth comes on the back of significant inward investment into the company. In August 2015, Insight Venture Partners and Aquiline Capital Partners together invested €85m in Fenergo. Fenergo is using this investment to expand its global footprint by opening new offices and increasing employee numbers across all regions, invest in its product and technology R&D and create a global partner enablement programme.
The company has also invested in creating a community of banks, with which it collaborates to align its regulatory and product roadmaps, and develop solutions that can transform compliance, data and client management operations into real, value-added processes.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said:
“We have been working with Marc and the team in Fenergo since 2009. Fenergo is fast becoming the industry standard for Client Lifecycle Management solutions for banks across the world and is a great example of an Irish Fintech company with global ambition. Our ambition is to help more Irish companies like Fenergo to compete and win sustained business in overseas markets. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with Fenergo to continue to support their growth ambitions as they expand their reach even further in global markets, strengthening their customer base internationally and continuing to create jobs here in Ireland.”

Almost 3,700 new jobs created in businesses supported by the Local Enterprise Offices in 2016

A net total of 3,679 new full and part-time jobs were delivered in 2016 by the 6,846 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 today by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D.

The results, compiled by Enterprise Ireland, show that overall in 2016 a total of 7,883 new full and part time jobs were created in gross terms amongst LEO supported companies. A total of 40 LEO client companies became eligible for transfer to the Enterprise Ireland portfolio during 2016, representing a further positive outcome of LEO investment and support. The total number of people employed in LEO supported small businesses stood at 34,634 at the end of 2016 according to the survey.

The 31 LEOs nationwide, who are run in partnership by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities, provide a ‘first stop shop’ for enterprise supports and sign-posting to start-ups, micro enterprises and small businesses locally in one easily accessible place.

Commenting on the 2016 LEO results, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said “I very much welcome the creation of 3,679 net new jobs in LEO supported companies during 2016. The LEOs have established themselves as a strong force in job creation in the regions with 10 new jobs created every day on average over the past three years in LEO client companies. That is a remarkable performance and is a clear indication of the strong job creation potential that exists in new start-ups and smaller companies right around the country. It also demonstrates that the supports structure for enterprise development at local level delivered through the LEOs is making a real difference. I want to pay tribute in particular to the people working in the 31 LEOs for their hard work in supporting their clients.”

The Minister added, “The LEOs are a key element of the Government focus on driving economic development in the regions. As the first-stop-shop for enterprise development in each Local Authority area, the LEOs are ideally placed to support entrepreneurship and job creation in every county. All micro and small businesses are operating in a challenging environment so I would urge them, and any budding entrepreneurs, to make contact with their LEO to explore the full range of supports on offer.”

Pat Breen, T.D., Minister for Employment and Small Business also welcomed the results and said. “The strong jobs performance by LEO clients last year is extremely welcome and testament to the can-do attitude in entrepreneurs up and down the country. In a challenging external environment at the present time we cannot afford to stand still and we must continue to support our start-ups and micro companies in becoming more competitive and agile. Under the Action Plan for Jobs this year the LEOs will roll out a Lean for Micro programme and new supports aimed at helping micro enterprises respond to emerging pressures such as the challenges posed by Brexit.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland, commented “Enterprise Ireland’s ambition is to help all regions to grow to the maximum potential based on their strengths and capabilities and the Local Enterprise Offices are vital in delivering on this ambition. In the 3 years since the LEOs were established, more than 10,500 net new jobs have been created by LEO client companies. I am also delighted to see that during 2016, 40 companies progressed from the LEOs into the Enterprise Ireland portfolio, demonstrating their ambition and potential to ‘Build Scale, Expand Reach’ into global markets, the key strategic priority for Enterprise Ireland.”

 “The Enterprise Ireland Centre of Excellence will continue to work closely with the LEOs and our Local Authority partners to ensure a continuation of this strong performance. Local enterprise development is an important activity to cultivate and nurture the next wave of successful indigenous Irish companies. It is important that all local and regional development partners including the LEOs, the enterprise agencies, the Local Authorities, education and training providers, Local Action Groups, Community Enterprise Centres etc. work ever more closely together to ensure that the local potential for entrepreneurship and job creation is realised,” she added.

Speaking on behalf of the LEOs, Mr Kieran Comerford, Head of Enterprise, LEO Carlow and Chairperson of the LEO Network said “The strong results across the range of LEO performance metrics is a clear indication that the LEOs are very much open for business and delivering a high-quality service for their clients. The results demonstrate that the LEO supports are making a significant impact in maximising the potential of fledgling or developing micro and small businesses. So, whether you need access to finance, core business training or advice and guidance on overcoming the challenges that all businesses face, drop into the Local Enterprise Office for your area where you can access the support you need”.

Speaking on behalf of Local Authorities, Anna-Marie Delaney, Offaly Local Authority Chief Executive and Chair of the CCMA Committee on Economic Development & Enterprise said “The LEOs are playing a central role in local job creation nationwide as these results for 2016 clearly demonstrate. The suite of enterprise supports available to small and microenterprises and start-ups in every county provided through the LEOs complements the broader local economic development remit of the Local Authorities. I believe that with the LEOs in place, the Local Authorities are now better placed to encourage and support enterprise development.”

The LEO annual jobs survey monitors employment performance amongst micro enterprises employing 10 people or less that have received direct financial assistance through the LEOs. In 2016, 1,040 business projects around the country were directly supported by the LEOs to the value of €11.4 million.

A total of 40 LEO client companies transferred to the Enterprise Ireland portfolio during 2016, of which 32 were HPSU clients, representing a further positive outcome of LEO investment and support.

Alongside direct grant support, LEOs also supported hundreds of entrepreneurs and small businesses with training, mentoring and referral during 2016, aimed at developing business ideas and building company capacity. More than 27,600 people availed of training programmes facilitated by the LEOs nationwide, while almost 7,500 people benefited from one-to-one business mentoring.

During 2016, the LEOs were again to the forefront in supporting youth entrepreneurship, access to finance initiatives and getting more microenterprises doing business online. A record number of 1,842 young entrepreneurs participated in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) investment programme in 2016; the LEOs guided 208 of their clients nationally in securing successful loan applications from Micro Finance Ireland (MFI); while a total of 1,161 micro businesses availed of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme through the LEOs last year.

Details on all the supports available for small businesses and microenterprises through the 31 LEOs are available at

Minister for Jobs concludes trip to the American Mid-West as part of St. Patrick’s Day engagements


Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor today (16th March 2017) concluded her trip to the American Mid-West as part of the Government’s St. Patrick’s Day schedule.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor visited St. Louis and Chicago as part of an extensive enterprise, political, press and community and cultural engagements itinerary. The Minister’s planned trip to New York was not possible due to prevailing poor weather conditions.

As part of the visit the Minister met with IDA and Enterprise Ireland clients and with firms that the IDA and EI are in exploratory talks with regarding establishing in Ireland.

In St. Louis the Minister addressed a roundtable meeting with St. Louis firms, met with Honorary Consul Joe McGlynn and attended a reception in honour of former US Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, hosted by the Mayor of St. Louis, Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger.

In Chicago the Minister met with community and business leaders and attended and made an address at the Chicago Irish Fellowship Dinner, the largest annual social and networking event of the Irish community in Chicago. She met Senator George Mitchell, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel and Senator Billy Lawless among a large number of other politicians and key dignitaries at a number of events during her trip. The Minister also met with key people involved in immigration issues. She visited the offices of the Consulate General to hear of the work being done there.

Speaking from Chicago at the end of her trip, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “St. Patrick’s Day is a wonderful and unique opportunity for a small country like Ireland to market our great nation abroad. I’m delighted with how successful this trip has been. I met with many companies interested in setting up businesses in Ireland. My message to them was clear; ‘Ireland is open for business and our value proposition is stronger than ever. We are a committed member of the EU with all of the benefits that brings.’ I pointed out the benefits and made a strong case for companies to establish in regional locations in Ireland. I also met with a number of Irish companies interested in doing business with American companies. I am confident that we will see future jobs in Ireland as a result of this engagement.”