DESPITE the challenges created by the Covid pandemic, there was a net gain of 179 jobs in the 298 small businesses supported by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Limerick last year.
Although 148 jobs were lost throughout the year, 327 new jobs brought the overall employment level in LEO supported Limerick companies to 1,825 by the end of December.
Fine Gael Senator Maria Byrne said that the increase in job numbers was hugely positive news in a very difficult year for many small businesses.
“With a total of 298 clients, the Limerick LEO provides vital support to many of our local businesses, offering advice, mentoring and training, and providing much needed financial backing with programmes such as the Trading Online Voucher, Lean for Micro and Green for Micro.
“This support proved particularly valuable over the past two years as many businesses were forced to pivot their offerings online or adapt their services to make it through the pandemic. I want to pay tribute to these Limerick businesses which have persevered through some of the most difficult times and continued to provide jobs and contribute to our local economy and community, ” Senator Byrne added.
Announcing the results, Tánaiste and Employment Minister Leo Varadkar said that LEO supported companies created 7,440 jobs around the country in 2021, with the vast majority of those jobs outside of Dublin.
“Over 35,000 people employed in small businesses around the country have been helped in some way by our Local Enterprise Offices. They are at the heart of communities in every county, and have proved invaluable throughout the pandemic, during which a huge amount of people relied on their local LEO office.
“Last year, businesses supported by LEOs created nearly 3,000 net new jobs, which is remarkable given the year we just had. I’m really pleased to see that 85 per cent of these jobs were outside of Dublin, indicating the Government’s focus on balanced regional development is working.