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Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) all over Ireland are hosting more than 380 inspiring events for an estimated 14,500 start-ups, entrepreneurs and business owners during Local Enterprise Week 2017.

Local Enterprise Week, which runs until this Friday (March 10th), aims to increase awareness of the range of supports and services available to micro and small enterprises from the 31 LEO offices in every local authority area.

The week began with the naming of 26-year-old Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical as ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ (IBYE) by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., at the national IBYE competition final which took place in Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin yesterday. Ciara is behind an app that is helping manage symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease for people all over the world.

Welcoming the extensive calendar of events hosted by the LEOs for Local Enterprise Week, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. said: “It takes courage to start a business and a huge commitment. And it is so important that we encourage and support more and more people to choose entrepreneurship as their career. The new start-ups of today are the employers of the future and we need to ensure as many as possible succeed. That is why the LEOs in every county in Ireland are on hand to support people embarking on their business journey. “

“Local Enterprise Week is a reminder of the wide range of services and supports that exist for small businesses through the LEOs and other providers. I would urge anyone who has a business idea to avail of the many events happening this week and talk to your Local Enterprise Office about the supports that are available to you” the Minister added.

Minister Breen said“The LEO ‘first stop shop’ service is a key part of the Government’s job creation strategy and central to delivering on the ambition of helping people to help themselves, building a culture of entrepreneurship and enterprise, delivering jobs in every county in Ireland.

I believe that this concentrated week of events provides an ideal platform for raising awareness of the LEO services to businesses. I am delighted to see the collaboration between the LEOs, local business communities and other State support agencies to make this week of fantastic events a reality all over the country. My message to anyone thinking of starting a business, or seeking to expand, is to take the time out and visit an event in your local area this week.”

During Local Enterprise Week, more than 380 workshops, seminars, advice clinics and mentoring sessions are planned on every aspect of business, including starting a business, idea generation, trading on-line, finance, tendering, cross-border trade, cyber security, patenting and being Brexit-ready.

The week will also see many LEOs stage local student enterprise finals for secondary schools and county enterprise award finals for small business owners.

For International Women’s Day (March 8th) there will be special talks and workshops organised in several regions aimed at supporting women in business and encouraging more women to start their own businesses.

Geared towards small businesses, Local Enterprise Week is collaboration between LEOs, local business communities, Government Departments, other units within Local Authorities, and State support agencies, according to Kieran Comerford of the Local Enterprise Offices. He said: “Whether it is advice on finance, help with developing a business plan, training around marketing or financial assistance for trading online, the LEOs are the first-stop-shop in every local authority area. During Local Enterprise Week, every aspect of business is covered through more than 380 events countrywide. For small business owners and start-ups, this is the ideal week to find out what supports are out there for entrepreneurs right now.”

Event listings for Local Enterprise Week, which runs until March 10th, are available from www.localenterprise.ie and by searching #localenterprise on social media.