Companies supported by Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) recorded a net job increase of almost 3,000 jobs last year following a heavy loss the year before, according to their annual results published today (Monday).
LEO supported companies created 7,440 jobs in 2021, which was up more than a third from the 5,585 that were created in 2020.
The net jobs created by LEO supported companies in 2021 was 2,999 compared with a net loss of 1,494 the year before.
Around 85 per cent of those employed in LEO supported companies are outside the Dublin region.
In Waterford 289 new jobs were created by businesses supported by the LEO last year. After job losses the net increase in the county was 108.
The LEOs also provide substantial funded supports to thousands of other small businesses across the country with programmes such as the Trading Online Voucher, Lean for Micro and Green for Micro, along with training and mentoring.
In Waterford the LEO approved €886,189 in financial grants to 32 applicants, with a further 95 businesses being approved Trading Online Vouchers to value of €192,609.
This was added to the 2,381 businesses who received training and mentoring in order to grow their business and increase employment in the county.
Manufacturing and technology were the biggest recipients with food manufacturing in particular a large growth area within the county, with 8 businesses receiving €231,174 in grant aid. This follows Waterford’s success in food production in recent years, with ten Waterford winners in the Blas na hEireann Awards in 2021.
The figures were announced by Senior Enterprise Development Officer with the LEO Waterford, Jacqui Gaule, who was joined by Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr. Joe Kelly.
Mayor Kelly elaborated on the wider importance of these grants, “Waterford City and County Council’s Local Enterprise Office has awarded significant financial aid over the years, but this has never been more important than in the last 12 months to growing businesses in our county in 2021. This level of investment is sure to support job creation in Waterford. I would encourage any business who hopes to grow in 2022 to engage with our Local Enterprise Office and avail of the supports which are available.”
Jacqui explained the importance of the grants for manufacturing and internationally traded services, “Waterford has developed its talent pool significantly over the past decade and not only created an environment for indigenous entrepreneurs, it is now also attracting talent from outside the region. We at the Local Enterprise Office are delighted to assist where we can, both financially and with our expert mentors. We’ve seen a particular growth in businesses seeking support for manufacturing and internationally traded services.”
Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar said: “Over 35,000 people employed in small businesses around the country have been helped in some way by our Local Enterprise Offices.
“They are at the heart of communities in every county, always on hand to provide advice, training or financial backing and have proved invaluable throughout the pandemic, during which I know a huge amount of people relied on their local office.
“Last year, businesses supported by LEOs created nearly 3,000 net new jobs, which is remarkable given the year we just had. I’m really pleased to see that 85 per cent of these jobs were outside of Dublin.”