Government sets up new online tool to support small business

The Minister for Finance, Mr Michael Noonan T.D. has officially launched a Supporting SMEs Online Tool at the opening of the Limerick Local Enterprise Office.

This online tool is a cross-governmental initiative to help Irish start-ups and small businesses navigate the range of Government business supports that they could be eligible for.

There are currently over 80 Government business supports – totalling over €2bn available – to SMEs. A specially commissioned survey of nearly 2,000 SMEs has shown a lack of awareness of these supports amongst Irish businesses, with 98% of respondents admitting they had a low awareness of public supports available to them.

This tool aims to address this problem. By answering 8 questions, a small business will, in one location:
· Find out which of the over 80 Government business supports from 27 different Government Departments, Agencies and Initiatives are available to them
· Get information on the range of Government supports for accessing credit
· Be told their nearest Local Enterprise Office to discuss the outcomes of the guide further
· Be able to download all these filtered results into a document for their further use

Speaking at the launch of the Supporting SME Online Tool in Limerick, Minister Noonan stated: “In my Budget 2014 speech I announced an information campaign to increase the level of information available to SMEs. This online search tool is a central element of this campaign and helps SMEs to access information on the over 80 Government supports currently available. Over the past number of months we have collaborated with over 100 small businesses on this project and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive”.

Alongside the national launch of the Supporting SME Online Tool in Limerick, the Tanaiste and Government Ministers are officially opening the following Local Enterprise Offices today and launching the Online Tool in the following areas:
Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore LEO Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
Minsters Bruton, Hayes & Rabbitte LEO Dublin South
Minister Perry LEO Roscommon
Minister Sherlock LEO Cork North & West

The greatest advantage of the Supporting SMEs Online Tool is its ease of use and the co-ordinated results which cover a broad range of Government departments and agencies. There are currently supports from over 27 Government Departments and agencies housed in the online guide with an ability to host more.
The Supporting SMEs Online Tool is now available at the Local Enterprise Office website and through a range of other Government websites that are linking to the Online Tool. The guide can also be embedded in any website to further increase access.

www.localenterprise.ie/smeonlinetool/ #allaboutjobs

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