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Major change for small companies in Laois will encourage international growth says Laois TD

Portlaoise Enterprise Office

Small companies in Laois will benefit from a huge change which will make more companies eligible for Government export grants, according to Fine Gael TD Charlie Flanagan.

Deputy Flanagan was speaking after Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, announced the transformative move which extends the mandate of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) to target new exporters.

Flanagan said: “Fine Gael is backing business and helping companies deal with cost-of-living challenges.

“This change will significantly strengthen small companies in Laois who want to grow internationally and evolve their business.

“Local Enterprise Offices are a crucial network and will now target new exporters by providing direct grants to firms who employ more than ten people and are operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors.

“The move announced by my Fine Gael colleague and Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, aims to develop the range of advisory services available to all companies with up to 50 employees, including those operating in the locally traded sector.

“Last year, 7,440 new jobs were created by LEO-backed client companies. Furthermore, 35,729 people were employed by 7,158 small businesses and start-ups that had received financial assistance from LEOs.

“LEOs and Enterprise Ireland are committed to working with companies of all sizes to assist them on their journey and further our regional growth her in Laois.”

Tánaiste Varadkar said: “This extension of the LEO mandate will fill a gap in state supports for those businesses with greater than ten employees.

“Working closely with Enterprise Ireland, it will allow the LEOs to provide grants to help firms to have the ambition to export.

“Our broader vision is to further expand the advisory role of the LEOs in a way that gives them a consistently broader reach into the business community across all regions and this will be reflected in our White Paper on Enterprise Policy.

“Since 2014 the network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices has grown and they are now well established as the first stop shop for all businesses and entrepreneurs.

“They have evolved in the provision of services including direct grant aid to microenterprises that wanted to grow internationally and training and advisory programmes to a broader cohort of companies including those trading locally.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.