Fine Gael Cllr Gabrielle McFadden has said that Westmeath will benefit from the new Local Enterprise Office (LEO) officially opened today in Mullingar by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny; An Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore; Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton and Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan.
The new LEO based at the County Buildings in Mullingar will act as a one stop shop for all government supports for small business in the county. Today’s event marks the opening of 31 Local Enterprise Offices, based in every county. 35 independent State agencies previously providing services in this area are now abolished.
“The Westmeath LEO office and its staff will provide a huge range of supports, including mentoring and training on how to start your own business and advice on how to draw up a business plan. The LEO will be able to refer clients directly onto Enterprise Ireland, Microfinance Ireland and the Loan Guarantee scheme, all of which provide advice and funding support.
“The Government is focussed on supporting small enterprises, which employ more than 650,000 people across the country. Through the new LEOs, national enterprise policy will feed down to local level, allowing Westmeath County Council to strengthen its direct engagement with local businesses.
“The establishment of LEOs around the country is a key element of the Action Plan for Jobs, being driven by Minister Richard Bruton and these offices represent a radical overhaul of how supports are delivered, ensuring that the system is local, targeted and effective.
“Last year, an additional 58,000 people joined the workforce; proof that the Government’s jobs strategy is working. Fine Gael is determined to build on this progress this year, and I am sure that the establishment of the new LEO in Westmeath will help drive business innovation and job creation locally.”