DAIL QUESTION NO.267
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No’s 292 of 20 May 2008, the conditions in place by CEBs to recover grant and aid allocated to businesses who then cease to operate; if all grants and aid are required to be refunded in such cases; if she will provide a breakdown of the amount of moneys recuperated by each of the CEBs each year respectively from 2003 to 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 4th June, 2008.
Ref No: 22051/08
R E P L Y
Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment (Ms Coughlan)
Procedures dealing with the recovery of grant aid form part of the terms and conditions included in the grant agreement between the Boards and relevant project promoters. Boards may revoke, cancel, recover or abate grant aid in the event of a number of scenarios including the cessation of business. In deciding what appropriate action should be taken to retrieve allocated monies from project promoters Boards would take due cognisance of any financial or legal considerations that may apply in individual cases and whether there is a realistic prospect of retrieving the funding.
It is a matter for individual Boards to satisfy themselves that appropriate mechanisms are in place to allow for the recovery of grant aid should the need arise. This is a day to day matter for the Boards and my Department does not collect or retain information on the amount of monies recuperated by CEBs arising from grant aid allocated to businesses who then cease to operate.
DAIL QUESTION NO.292
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the amount of funding allocated to each city and county enterprise board each year for the past five years respectively; the amount of same which was used by the boards for administration purposes; the amount used for grant aid to businesses and projects; the number of projects which received funding from each board each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton.
* For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 20th May, 2008.
Ref No: 19589/08
R E P L Y
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Coughlan)
The 35 County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) were set up in 1993 to provide support for micro-enterprises in the start-up and expansion phases, to promote and develop indigenous micro-enterprise potential and to stimulate economic activity and entrepreneurship at local level. The CEBs deliver a series of Programmes to underpin this role and they can provide both financial and non-financial assistance to a project promoter.
The Boards are widely dispersed geographically and provide a single point of contact at local level for new and established small businesses. All areas of the country are served by and benefit from, the full range of Enterprise Board grant supports and entrepreneurial development programmes. Subject to certain eligibility criteria enterprises may access assistance and support from the CEBs. The forms of financial assistance which are available, subject to certain restrictions, include Capital Grants, Employment Grants and Feasibility Study Grants. The provision of non-financial assistance can take the form of a wide range of business advice such as Programmes covering Business Management, Mentoring, E-commerce, Enterprise Education, and Women in Business networks.
The cost of administering the CEB network is primarily made up of payroll costs and associated expenditure – travel costs, office accommodation, etc. Typically, each CEB would have between 4 and 5 staff. The total number of staff employed by the CEBs nationally is about 150, a figure that has been broadly constant for several years. The focus of CEB activity has been increasingly on the provision of “soft” supports – management training, mentoring, advisory and information services, etc. A significant allocation is made to the CEBs each year for the provision of these soft support or Measure 2 activities. These activities are considerably more labour intensive than processing grant applications. While the direct costs of training, mentoring, etc are borne by the programme budget (€11.2 million in 2007), a very significant portion of CEB staff time is taken up with the organisation and delivery of such activities. In addition, CEB staff would be engaged on a daily basis in the provision of an informal information and advisory service to local entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.
In 2008 the Capital allocation for the 35 CEBs stands at over €20m. This will enable the Boards to continue to be actively involved in the area of economic development and will ensure that available funds are targeted to maximise entrepreneurial development. This will be done not just by direct grant aid to businesses and project promoters but also through the provision of a range of other important business supports such as mentoring, business training and business advice all of which help to stimulate indigenous enterprise creation.
The precise statistical information sought by the Deputy is in tabular format below. Figures in relation to grant approvals and project approvals are collated on an annual basis at year-end. Accordingly 2008 figures are not yet available for these activities.