Your Local Enterprise Office provides small businesses with the support they need to start, run and expand their business. There are 31 Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities all over the country, with dedicated teams on hand to help.
Acting Head of Enterprise, Jacqui Gaule is looking forward to the year ahead, “This is always an exciting time of year. We’ve completed our planning and are starting to roll out the training, mentoring and the first of the year’s events. It’s going to be a very busy year for our new team but we’re looking forward to meeting and helping new businesses and welcoming our old clients back in 2023.”
The Local Enterprise Office has many services, none more popular than its mentoring. The Mentor programme has been designed to give you the benefit of an expert business practitioner’s experience. You’ll be matched with a mentor who can provide both practical and strategic advice to help with decision making.
Your Local Enterprise Office provides plenty of opportunities for training and learning. Its training supports are tailored to meet specific business requirements – and your Local Enterprise Office will be able to inform you of specific upcoming training opportunities. Two vital courses the Office runs each year are, Start Your Own Business Programme – this programme takes you through considering entrepreneurship; validating your business idea; to planning and preparing to get a new business off the ground. It also offers a Management Development Programme – the aim of this programme is to provide you with the management, leadership and business skills to help you grow your business.
Energy use, environmental impact and sustainability are all growing in importance, both in business and the world around us. Developing a ‘green’ policy can help deliver cost savings, improve efficiency and make your business more competitive. Green for Micro is a free programme that helps you take the first steps towards becoming more sustainable.
LEAN practices help businesses understand where they can identify and reduce waste within their processes. This could be waste when it comes to time, resources or money. The LEANer your business is, the more efficient it is – it’s about working smarter, not just harder. Our expert LEAN consultants will visit your business, evaluate your processes and speak with your managers.
Between social media, content, posting and payment processing platforms, taking the step from bricks and mortar trading to online commerce can open up a whole new set of customers. The Trading Online Voucher Scheme provides both financial and training support, so you’re ready to take the next step. Companies who have already availed of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme are also eligible to apply a second time to continue to enhance their online presence.
The Local Enterprise Office also provides many financial supports, such as the Agile Innovation Fund. Innovation is the beating heart of any business – to continue to be successful you have to be looking for new or improved products, services or processes. The Agile Innovation Fund provides fast-tracked funding specifically for R&D projects and Business Process Innovation projects.
Understanding the potential market and likely success of your new business, product, or service is a vital step in the development of a business. Feasibility Study Grants are intended to help you with the costs and take you from market research to technical development.
Getting your new business up and running can require substantial investment from you or your backers. The Priming Grant is intended to help you off set some of those costs – from salary to capital expenditure – with a non-repayable grant. Moving from start-up into a growth phase can be an exciting time and bring many new opportunities. Business Expansion Grants help you to safely steer your business through this new phase.
Taking the step from the Irish market to looking towards international markets requires a lot of research and leg work. You may need to attend or exhibit at trade fairs or rework your promotional material for your new markets. Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters (TAME) aims to help you off set some of those costs.
Each year the Local Enterprise Office run a series of programmes and events to promote entrepreneurship across all sectors and regions. These include, Local Enterprise Week Local Enterprise Week, the National Enterprise Awards, National Women’s Enterprise Day, Local Enterprise Village at the National Ploughing Championships, Local enterprise opportunities at Showcase and the Student Enterprise Programme.
If you’re unsure which support best suits your business, just call your Local Enterprise Office (see localenterprise.ie/waterford) and they’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction. Setting up or running a small business can be a daunting task, but with the right support, advice and experience, we can make it happen for you.