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For Written Answer on : 07/02/2024
Question Number(s): 139 Question Reference(s): 5193/24
Department: Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the supports, if any, available to persons who plan to set up counselling services; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The Deputy will be aware of the excellent advice and support offered by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) as the first stop shop for anyone looking for general business advice including on starting a business. 

Based within the 31 Local Authorities, they provide a signposting service for all Government supports available to SMEs. They provide businesses with information and advice, deliver enterprise and entrepreneurship assistance, and support local economic development.

The LEOs offer a broad suite of financial and business development supports to people in their locality who wish to start or grow their business.

For anyone who is considering exploring self-employment as a career choice, the LEO Start Your Own Business (SYOB) programme can guide entrepreneurs through the various aspects of business and business planning. The SYOB can assist clients in assessing their business idea, its viability and help them decide if they should proceed or take a step back.

The LEO Mentor Programme is also open to both new and existing businesses and is designed to match up the knowledge, skills, insights, and entrepreneurial capability of experienced business practitioners with small business owner/ managers who need practical and strategic one to one advice and guidance.

Mentors can assist new and existing entrepreneurs in navigating the potential pitfalls of starting and growing a small enterprise in Ireland and can offer invaluable experience and guidance to business owners to help them on their journey.

The LEOs can offer direct grant aid to small businesses operating in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector. However, it should be noted that they cannot provide direct grant-aid to areas such as retail, personal services, local professional services, construction/local building services, as it may give rise to the displacement of existing businesses in the locality.