Ongoing plans to encourage, assist and develop small and microenterprises in Donegal are the central theme to the county’s new Local Enterprise Development Plan 2017-2020 set to be launched in Letterkenny next week by Local Enterprise Office, Donegal.
The plan will be formally unveiled by Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Gerry McMonagle at a lunch-time function in the Public Service Centre on Tuesday November 7th.
According to Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, the ambitious plan sets out strategic objectives for the Local Enterprise Office in Donegal for the four year period 2017 -2020 and establishes clear actions, activities and outputs for 2017.
“These are all set within the context of the vision statement and mission of the Local Enterprise Office and while they will certainly be challenging, they are nonetheless achievable.”
Mr. Tunney explained that the Plan sets out the LEO’s vision and mission and the strategic and operational objectives it hopes to achieve during the life of the plan.
“It also identifies Key Upgrade Goals – goals that require either a new approach or collective engagement. These goals and the operational objectives for 2017 have clearly defined timescales, outcomes and outputs and will be the core areas of delivery of the LEO on an annual basis.”
Collective engagement, he added, will be a vital ingredient in making the delivery of the aims and objectives of the plan a reality.
“The Local Enterprise Office Donegal acknowledges that – while it is the designated primary agency for promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and the small and microbusiness sector at local level – it cannot fulfil this role without the co-operation and support of the other enterprise agencies, both local and national, and with the integrated support of the other sections within Donegal County Council.”
Donegal County Council’s Chief Executive, Seamus Neely, said the plan demonstrates the increasingly important role the Local Enterprise Office will play in the direction and
delivery of economic development in the county.
“The Service Level Agreement between Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authority identifies the potential role the LEO can play in the broader economic development of the county and the integration of enterprise development within the broader local authority system.
Through the synergies which this model can facilitate, the Local Enterprise Office Donegal will have an increasingly important role in the direction and delivery of economic development, as well as enterprise promotion, support and development in the county.”
As well as opportunities, the Plan to be published next week also outlines some of the challenges the LEO believes currently face the business community within the county.
“More than 95% of the businesses in the county are micro businesses and it is incumbent on all the enterprise development agencies to keep in mind the critical role these businesses play at local level in providing employment and in sustaining local communities,” Michael Tunney said.
He cited Brexit as an example of a potential threat that would need careful consideration, action and support over the months and years ahead.
“The full impact and challenges arising from the decision of the UK government to leave the EU are likely to be known and active during the lifetime of this plan. As of December 2016, 76% of the grant aided clients (183 firms) of the Donegal LEO were exporting and 93% of these were exporting exclusively to the UK.
There is no doubt that the risks and potential adverse consequences for our local firms in Donegal are significant and require immediate actions to support them reduce this dependency in the short term and increase their resilience.”
Tuesday’s launch will focus on the positive and the ongoing aspiration to help Donegal businesses overcome obstacles to grow onto the global stage.
With that in mind Rick LeVert from Kinnegar Brewing will be in attendance to tell the Kinnegar story and how they availed of a range of Local Enterprise Office supports and services as the business grew and developed.
“The Local Enterprise Office will work with organisations to maximise the potential of the small and micro business sector in the county. Over the four year period of the plan we will seek to increase the number of local businesses looking to increase their management capability, strengthen their sustainability and to enter export markets,” Mr Tunney concluded.
To find out more about the range of supports and services on offer to small businesses at the Local Enterprise Office log on to the website localenterprise.ie/Donegal or contact the office on 0749160735Tags: