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Minister Humphreys announces €2.5 million in funding under LEO competitive fund 2019/2020

The Fund delivers projects aligned with the Regional Enterprise Plans and the whole-of-Government Strategy, Future Jobs Ireland

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD today announced the results of the new €2.5 million Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Competitive Fund. Sixteen projects have received funding.

Applications were open to individual LEOs; collaborative projects between two or more LEOs; and LEOs working with other local groups like Chambers, Community Enterprise Centres, Education or Training bodies, Local Authorities or colleges.

Announcing the successful applicants at a special event in the Council Chamber of Monaghan County Council, Minister Humphreys said:

The successful applicants demonstrated a real intent to collaborate, not only with neighbouring County LEOs but also with other stakeholders such as ITs, Innovation Centres, Local Authorities and others. So, while sixteen of the LEOs will lead on the projects, the vast majority of the LEOs throughout the country will also be part of these projects through collaboration.”

All projects are aligned with the strategic objectives in the Regional Enterprise Plans and the ambitions in Future Jobs Ireland.

Minister Humphreys launched the 9 Regional Enterprise Plans earlier this year. They were developed from the ground up with regional stakeholders working together to build on the strengths of their shared regions and address any vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Future Jobs Ireland is the Government’s strategy to drive Ireland’s development as a resilient, innovative, and globally connected economy, capable of coping with technological and other transformational changes ahead. It is based on five pillars – embracing innovation and technological changes; improving SME productivity; enhancing skills and developing and attracting talent; increasing participation in the labour force; and transitioning to a low carbon economy.

The Minister, in welcoming this particular policy focus, said:

There is a wonderful array of projects in the winning sixteen and they are spread right across the country.  I am particularly pleased to see projects in areas like digital technologies; green and environmental activities; e-commerce; and e-hubs and remote working. This is proof that our LEOs are looking to the future, and tackling the challenges of tomorrow, today.”

The successful applications were selected through a rigorous evaluation process based on criteria, which included economic impacts and value for money, collaboration and participation, Future Jobs orientation, collaboration and building regional strengths and viability and sustainability.  

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD said:

I very much welcome Minister Humphreys’ announcement today and want to commend all those who have participated in the competitive process. These successful projects will be rolled out through the Local Enterprise Offices, which are very well-placed to reach companies and entrepreneurs in even the most rural areas.  I particularly welcome the focus on collaboration and networking in support of regional and local micro-enterprise capability building, growth and job creation.

Through this funding and other funding initiatives such as the Regional Enterprise Development Fund and the Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund, the Government is, even with Brexit and other international challenges on the horizon, determined to plan ahead and to prepare for the future jobs of tomorrow.”

Mark Christal, Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland, said;

This is a significant investment by the Minister and her Department in the ideas and ability of the Local Enterprise Offices to deliver results across the country.  This will hugely benefit companies and the enterprise eco-system in all regions, an investment that will help to drive enterprise and support the business objectives of entrepreneurs and small businesses.  It shows that Local Enterprise Offices across the country are committed to improving the business environment and supports for their client companies and the entrepreneurs of the future and Enterprise Ireland will continue to work with them to support this aim.”   

Oisin Geoghegan, Chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said;

This announcement by Minister Humphreys is a great boost to Local Enterprise Offices across the country.  They have shown their creativity and innovation in proposing a range of projects that will solve a number of issues in their regions, whether it’s moving businesses towards a low carbon economy, boosting smart e-hub usage, increasing innovation or helping companies target new markets, they will all make a significant impact.  This funding highlights the impact that Local Enterprise Offices are making and shows that they continue to be best placed in driving innovation and enterprise in towns and villages across the country.”

Eamonn O’Sullivan, Chief Executive, Monaghan County Council congratulated the funding recipients on behalf of the local authority sector and said,

It is great to see local enterprise offices collaborating with each other on initiatives to strengthen enterprise in their regions. These innovative projects will be a huge boost to our economic development objectives to grow enterprise and boost employment locally and regionally.”


Notes to the Editor

Successful Applicants

The 16 successful applicants who will receive funding of €2.5m for their projects are as follows:          


Project Summary


Lead Local Enterprise Office


Local Enterprise Offices collaborating in the project?


Partners collaborating in the project.


Funding Approved


The Initium South East project is an innovative   series of start-up programmes led by the South East LEOs, Enterprise Ireland,   and the Ireland South East Office in partnership with South East BIC and IT   Carlow which aims to animate, develop and support the creation of 40 new   specialised Start Up companies in the South East.


Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Tipperary, Kilkenny.

Ireland South East Office, IT Carlow, South East   BIC


The Incrementum South East   project is a targeted business development programme for the LEO Portfolio of   clients over 10 employees which aims to increase their engagement in R&D   and Export Activity.


Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary

South East BIC, IT Carlow, Enterprise Ireland,

Ireland South East Office


The project aims to encourage technology   innovation and software driven start-ups in the Mid-West, particularly with   an emphasis on solutions that align to what has become known as Industry 4.0.  


Clare, Limerick



This project supports a cluster of 40 engineering   firms in North Cork East/ West Limerick working together to support best   practice sharing, develop linkages, improve productivity, develop   international markets.

Cork North & West


Limerick IT,

Cork IT, Regional Skills Forums,

University of Limerick.


The overall objective of the Food Coast project   is to increase the number, ambition of added value food producers in Donegal,   enhance their competitiveness, sustainability and increase their employment   creation potential.



Letterkenny IT,

Udaras na Gaeltachts, Enterprise Ireland,

Failte Ireland, Donegal County Council, BIM,


This project is targeted at established SME   Client base to train the management of these companies to be able to conduct   an ‘Innovation Audit’ of their respective companies.

Dublin City


South Dublin,

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown,

Dublin Business Innovation Centre; Guinness   Enterprise Centre,

Futurescope Innovation Conference; Trinity   Research and Innovation,

Dublin City University


The South West Food Experience project targets   support of the food sector. It will review food megatrends, map supports both   high level research and practical supports, identification of export   opportunities and added value, product innovation and research, green and environmental packaging, waste management and capacity building.


South Cork, Cork North & West.

South Kerry Development Partnership

North and East Kerry Development,   IRD Duhallow Kerry/Cork LAG and LCDC,

IT Tralee, University College Cork,

Cork IT.


The Green for Micro project aims to assist   enterprises incorporate sustainable practices to assist them in transitioning   to a Low Carbon Economy focused on water, energy, waste, procurement and   transport.


Carlow, Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary.

3 Counties Energy Agency


The Midlands Artisan Food & Drinks Producers   project aims to strengthen the capacity of the sector to create additional   employment and support the progress of some of the participants to become   client businesses of Enterprise Ireland. It will encourage networking and   collaboration between businesses on a regional basis and encourage business   expansion through a process of innovation.


Offaly, Westmeath,

IT Carlow


This project will establish   a Mobile Fabrication Laboratory for SMEs, enterprise hubs and schools to   access digital technologies and design methodologies to increase innovation,   develop products and increase skills.


Longford, Roscommon Cavan,.

Leitrim, Roscommon Longford and Cavan County   Councils, Digital and Enterprise Hubs across the four counties, Manorhamilton FabLab


The project will manage and promote in a   collaborative and collective manner the existing network of Smart e-hubs across   Limerick, Clare and Tipperary. It aims to create a strategy to increase the   utilisation of these existing facilities by entrepreneurs, start-ups and   remote workers, thereby attracting and retaining workers to the regional   villages across the region.




Innovate Limerick,

Mid-West Regional Enterprise plan,

Kantoher Development Group, Croom   Enterprise Centre, Clare County Council, Limerick City and County Council,   Tipperary County Council, HQ Tralee


The Going Green project aims to educate, advise   and support small businesses in the Midland’s region in their adoption of   environmentally positive actions and demonstrate the commitment of small   firms to sustainability. By becoming exemplar businesses, they can act as   positive role models to other small firms and gain competitive advantage as   the consumer becomes more discerning in relation to dealing with   environmentally conscious firms





Local Authorities in the four Counties


This project seeks to address the challenges of   moving micro-enterprises to more sustainable and lower carbon operations. It   aims to intensively engage with micro-enterprises to develop a tailored   Carbon Impact Assessment which will identify opportunities to both increase   competitiveness and introduce new processes and technologies, thus driving an   innovation agenda.



IT Sligo


The E-Commerce Cluster project will bring online   retailers together, to share experience, best practice, access online   expertise and support members to develop and grow their online business   domestically and internationally. The cluster will be established to help   local businesses that have been trading online for at least the past 12 months   get to the next level of online sales, increase turnover and profit. Its   objective is to support and educate online retailers in the region.


Monaghan, Cavan, Louth and Meath



The Engenuity Engineering Midlands project will   power the next level of development for a cluster of engineering companies in   the midland’s region. It aims to

  • enhance the competitiveness and resilience        of member companies to respond to changing market challenges and        opportunities arising from Brexit.
  • To deliver business development and        marketing research and subsequent collaboration to identify and        capitalise on domestic and international opportunities, B2B and supply        chain opportunities within the network including joint tendering and        enhancing competitive advantage within the region through the network        co-ordinator and the proposed steering group members.
  • Deliver R&D collaboration between        cluster members, education institutions and support agencies in the        region, utilising the advantage of the Irish Manufacturing Research        (IMR) and Athlone IT.


Longford, Offaly and Laois

ETB's, Regional Skills Forum, Enterprise Ireland,  

Athlone IT,

Irish Manufacturing Research Centre,

Irish Centre for Robotics Mullingar,

National Cleanroom Training Centre, Offaly.


The First Time Exporters project aims to assist   high potential micro enterprises expand into international markets for the   first time. Through a specially designed programme of expert advice and   support, practical workshops and masterclasses, exporting clinics with   specialists and networking opportunities; micro businesses will be equipped   to maximise their full potential in appropriate international markets.


Longford, Offaly,

Enterprise Ireland,

Bord Bia, European Enterprise Network, National   Cobotics Skillnet, Regional Skills Forum.



Future Jobs Ireland

More information is available here: Future Jobs Ireland

Regional Enterprise Plans

More information is available here: Regional Enterprise Plans


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

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