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Local Enterprise Week set to inspire and motivate thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners nationwide

14,500 small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs expected to attend over 380 events during Local Enterprise Week in March

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’ Connor TD, has welcomed plans by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) to host more than 380 inspiring events around the country for an estimated 14,500 start-ups, aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners during Local Enterprise Week 2017. The focus of Local Enterprise Week is to increase awareness of the range of LEO supports and services available to micro and small enterprises.

Running from March 5th to 10th, all 31 LEOs will be celebrating Local Enterprise Week with a range of events for start-ups, aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses in their area.

Entrepreneurs of all ages will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, seminars, advice clinics and one-to-one mentoring on every aspect of business, including starting a business, trading on-line, finance, tendering, growing a business through digital marketing, cyber security, intellectual property, and being Brexit-ready.

Local Enterprise Week officially kicks-off on Sunday, March 5th with the national final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition in Google Headquarters in Dublin. IBYE, which is an initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, achieved an unprecedented number of entries across all 31 LEOs with more than 1,800 young people competing for the €2 million IBYE investment fund.

Welcoming the extensive range of events planned by the LEOs for Local Enterprise Week, Minister Mitchell O’ Connor said: “I am very impressed with the comprehensive programme of events organised by the LEOs for Local Enterprise Week 2017. I would encourage every start-up and small business owner to make it their business to check out and participate in the events taking place in their locality. It is important that anyone starting or growing a business is fully aware of the extensive range of enterprise supports that are available to them. As set out in the Action Plan for Jobs, 2017, I also want to encourage more micro and small businesses to grow international sales and diversify into Europe and beyond. The LEOs are the first-stop-shop on hand to help entrepreneurs and small business owners embark on this journey.”

Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices said that Local Enterprise Week was the ideal ‘shop window’ to show the wide range of supports on offer to start-ups, sole traders and small businesses. He said: “Local Enterprise Week, which takes place from March 5th to 10th, is a collaboration on a national scale between LEOs, local business communities, Government Departments, other units within Local Authorities, and State support agencies. We urge those in business or anyone thinking of starting a business to find out what events are taking place in their locality. We hope these events will inspire and motivate thousands of entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs across every region. Small businesses continue to be the backbone of the Irish economy, with huge potential to grow and create jobs.”

At the programme launch in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation on Kildare Street in Dublin, the Minister met with successful entrepreneurs, including Jeanne Mahony of Hope Beer in Fingal, Diarmuid Byrne of EquiRatings in Carlow, Lisa Johnston of Cillian Johnston Cabinet Makers in Wicklow, and Ian Dunne of Dunne Eco in Offaly. All four have benefitted from training, mentoring and financial assistance from their LEO.


The Minister was joined at the launch by Greg Swift, Head of Enterprise, LEO Dublin City representing the LEOs; Paul Reid, Chief Executive, Fingal County Council, representing the County and City Management Association (CCMA) Economic, Enterprise, Community and Culture Committee; and Mark Christal, Enterprise Ireland.

Event listings for Local Enterprise Week (March 5th to 10th 2017) are available from and by searching #localenterprise on social media.



For all media queries, please contact Engage Ireland Sarah Bohan on Tel: 01 427 8388 / 087 65 39936/

Photography note: High-resolution images taken by Leon Farrell, reproduction free, are available for this Local Enterprise Week announcement by contacting either Photocall Ireland (Tel: 01 679 2681) or Engage Ireland (Tel: 01 427 8388/087 65 39936).

Notes to Editor

Local Enterprise Week (#localenterprise) is organised by the Local Enterprise Offices and runs from March 5th to 10th 2017, with events throughout every local authority area.

View events here:


Entrepreneurs that attended launch of Local Enterprise Week 2017

Jeanne Mahony, Co-Founder of Hope Beer, Fingal, Co. Dublin Hope Beer was set up in 2015 by husband-and-wife team, Wim de Jongh and Jeanne Mahony. They established their own craft brewery in June 2016 and employ five people thanks to a priming grant they received from Local Enterprise Office Fingal. They brew pale ales, lager, sours and stout, named after adventurous characters from the past. Their niche in the drinks sector is beer and food pairing. Their primary target is the dining market, including social clubs and restaurants. Website:

Diarmuid Byrne, CEO of EquiRatings, Carlow EquiRatings is a sports data and analytics company bringing performance, safety and entertainment services to the equestrian sports of eventing, jumping, dressage and endurance. The company has clients in more than six countries and received feasibility study financial assistance from Local Enterprise Carlow in 2016. Their clients include National and International federations and Olympic teams around the world, who use EquiRatings’ platforms to manage and analyse equestrian data. Employing four people, the company won a regional award at the National Enterprise Awards in 2016 and Diarmuid Byrne reached the final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition in 2015.Website:

Lisa Johnston, Co-Founder and Director of Cillian Johnston Cabinet Makers, Wicklow Cillian Johnston Cabinet Makers have been manufacturing luxury furniture in their Wicklow workshop since 2001. They work exclusively with interior designers, architects and specifiers both throughout Ireland and the UK. Synonymous with quality craftsmanship, their wide-ranging projects span from private residences to corporate developments. The company’s ethos is to manufacture high quality, beautifully designed and wonderfully comfortable furniture in Ireland. With a staff of seven, the company has been supported by Local Enterprise Office Wicklow through mentoring, training and management development and a Business Expansion Grant. Website:

Ian Dunne, Founder of Dunne Ecofit Ltd (Dunne Eco) in Offaly Dunne Eco, established in 2015, operates in the sustainable housing sector, providing high quality, affordable products and services to conserve energy and reduce energy bills. They provide insulation options for existing homes, such as solar panels and spray-foam insulation. They also manufacture secondary glazed windows in their Tullamore workshop. The start-up provides services to home-owners, looking to build Eco-Houses or extensions, which are more environmentally-friendly to build and to heat. Dunne Eco, which employs four members of staff, received a business priming grant from Local Enterprise Office Offaly in 2016, to help fund new machinery to manufacture secondary glazed windows. Ian Dunne, the founder, is a pro-active member of Offaly’s Network of Entrepreneurs, which is managed by LEO Offaly. Website: