– Local Enterprise Office launch campaign celebrating inspirational entrepreneurs in South Dublin network –
Disruption to day-to-day trade, cashflow issues, cutbacks and managing capacity are amongst the challenges faced by businesses in South Dublin as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s according to the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) for South Dublin, which today (16.09.20) launched a campaign highlighting local inspirational entrepreneurs and the supports available to help businesses overcome Covid-19.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, a range of business supports and grants have been made available to entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs through Local Enterprise Offices, including the Business Continuity Voucher, the Trading Online Voucher and the Restart Grant for Small Businesses. In addition to these initiatives, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, has also announced the Micro-Enterprise Assistance Fund which will support small businesses to adapt and rebuild their businesses through grants of up to €1,000.
Speaking at today’s campaign launch, Tom Rooney, Head of Enterprise at LEO South Dublin, said: “There is no doubt that many firms have been experiencing difficulty over the past few months, particularly around the availability of cash to reopen their businesses and sustain themselves while operating on a reduced turnover.
“With so many concerns to juggle, we want entrepreneurs and business owners to know that our team at the Local Enterprise Office are here to help them get through the current crisis. Whatever product you sell or service you provide, we can deliver the support you need to bring your business to the next level, even in these challenging times.
“We can help businesses not only to overcome challenges but also to seize any opportunities that may arise in the current circumstances as has been the case for some of our existing client base. The ‘Inspiring Entrepreneurs’ who feature in our new campaign highlight that.”
LEO South Dublin’s ‘Inspiring Entrepreneurs’
One South Dublin business that has thrived during the Covid-19 crisis is Fetch, a technology company that operates a logistics service, specialising in same-day delivery to e-businesses and corporations.
Speaking at today’s launch, James Redmond, CEO and co-founder of Fetch, said: “Our business grew by 450% between April and August and, now, we’re readying ourselves for the Christmas tidal wave. The LEO’s Trading Online Voucher was vital to help us attract new clients and roll on new delivery drivers to meet the demand.
“When I first had the idea for Fetch, I was an electrician. I had no business experience, but the support from LEO South Dublin was instrumental to getting us started with a Priming Grant and mentoring sessions. That took us from a small start-up to thinking much bigger.”
Also at today’s launch was Jessica Conlon, Director and Co-Founder of the award-winning Twigs, a specialised afterschool care service for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which launched in 2019.
Ms. Conlon said: “We started with an idea in September 2018. A year later, we were opening the doors to a fully functional, first-of-its-kind assisted afterschool service. I don’t think we could have done that without LEO South Dublin. We simply couldn’t have made the progress we did without their support propping us up in the background.
“Our mentor and business advisor are always on the other end of the phone for support and advice and they know us so well. Our business advisor puts us down for every training opportunity he thinks will help us expand our skillset and business knowhow.”
Providing essential supports beyond the Covid-19 crisis
In addition to the supports and grants delivered by LEO South Dublin, many of the Inspirational Entrepreneurs featuring in the new campaign have found business opportunities and collaborations through the wider LEO South Dublin client network. Twigs’ bespoke Covid-19 partitions were created by fellow Inspirational Entrepreneur Gary Byrne at Custom Wood Design, for example, while and Fetch are exploring how they can provide logistical support to other businesses in the network.
Networking events and business mentoring, which have long been a pillar of LEO South Dublin’s supports, have moved online as a result of Covid-19 and, according to the LEO’s Tom Rooney, they became even more important during lockdown “as many small business owners experienced loneliness and uncertainty while unable to network in their usual fashion.
“It’s important to remember, particularly as we face more uncertainty over Brexit, that your Local Enterprise Office is here for life, not just for Covid-19, so any start-up or budding entrepreneur with a new business idea will find the support they need here – whether that’s mentoring, a feasibility study, expanding your team, investing in new equipment or premises, – we are here and we’re more than happy to help,” he said.
LEO South Dublin will launch the Brexit-focused ‘Custom Ready’ workshop series on Wednesday, 23rd September, with further workshops planned for October. These workshops will be free but with limited spaces available. For information on these workshops, COVID Supports and all business start-up supports and training please visit: https://www.localenterprise.ie/SouthDublin/.