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€3m of productivity funding unlocked to Local Enterprise Offices

The Irish government has announced two new funds to support a key new policy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worth a combined €3m.

At a press conference, designed to outline a draft roadmap for SME and entrepreneurship policy, Heather Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation confirmed new funding to enhance the productivity of small firms across the country.

The draft policy, which was designed in consultation with the OECD, was revealed to an audience of small business owners, policymakers, programme providers and a host of overseas experts.

Improving the productivity of indigenous small firms throughout Ireland has long been the priority of the Future Jobs Ireland programme. The two new funds, worth €2.5m and €500,000 respectively, will be unleashed via the country’s network of Local Enterprise Offices.

The Competitive Fund

The first of the two productivity funds is worth €2.5m for small indigenous firms. Local Enterprise Offices will be required to compete for this funding on behalf of their regional clients, either individually or in collaboration with other offices.

The Productivity Challenge Fund

Up to €500,000 has been made available by the government to businesses that are not clients of Local Enterprise Offices.

This funding is designed to address productivity gaps, whilst helping small firms to implement lean business practices. It is also hoped to create more business opportunities in Ireland’s green economy.

“As we work to boost productivity levels in our enterprise base, these new funds, combined with existing supports, will ensure that we can reach even the smallest business in the most rural area,” said Humphreys.

“Supporting micro-businesses right across the country will be central to our success.”

Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, who was also present at this press conference, said: “70% of people at work in Ireland work for an SME.

“Small and medium enterprises are the backbone of our local communities, providing jobs and prosperity across the country.

“Through Future Jobs, the government wants to nurture entrepreneurship and do what we can to assist small businesses and help them adapt to the needs of the future.”

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