Government approves drafting of legislation to dissolve CEBs and create new and enhanced support model for small business

Ministers Bruton and Perry launch 4 week public consultation on
reforms, seek views of small business

The Government this week gave the go-ahead to begin drafting primary
legislation to dissolve the existing County & City Enterprise Boards
and create an enhanced national micro enterprise support model,
delivered through Local Enterprise Offices to be established in each
Local Authority office, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Richard Bruton TD announced.

Minister Bruton together with the Minister of State for Small
Business, John Perry TD, also launched a four week public consultation
on the Government’s reforms of supports for the micro-enterprise and
small business sector, and sought the views of all stakeholders, in
particular small businesspeople and small business representative
groups, to the plans.

The key elements included in this reform programme are:

· Establish a Centre of Excellence for micro and small business
supports within Enterprise Ireland
· Establish a network of Local Enterprise Offices in Local
Authorities incorporating the enterprise-centric focus of the City &
County Enterprise Boards following their dissolution. These Offices
will operate under a robust Service Level Agreement with Enterprise
Ireland
· Create the best possible local environment for small business
by combining enterprise support for business at local level with the
business support service and expertise of Local Authorities
· Develop a strong network for entrepreneurship by working with
local business and the wider community

Specific targets will be set for the new structures to deliver, including on:
· Increasing the number of and 5-year survival of new start-ups
· Increasing the number of start-ups by women
· Increasing exports from microbusiness and small business
· Increasing job-creation and innovation in the sector

The structure of the new service was laid out by the Government
decision of early 2012, based on proposals developed by Minister
Bruton and Minister Hogan. The consultation paper sets out further
detail on the reform process and Ministers Bruton and Perry are keen
to receive the opinions from the micro & small business sector across
Ireland on how the changes to be brought about can best provide
support to the right people, at the right time and at the right level.
Views are also sought on the details of the implementation as well as
any innovative ideas for better supports to the sector and better
customer service delivery.

Responses to the consultation process will be considered by the
Implementation Working Group, which will report to Minister Bruton
after the end of the consultation process. Other measures due to be
delivered in the coming months include:
· Early December – establishment of Micro and Small Business
Division in Enterprise Ireland to develop a Centre of Excellence
· January 2013 – launch advance Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs)
· April 2013 – establish all LEOs on an administrative basis
· Summer 2013 – enact enabling legislation

Minister Bruton said:

“Micro and small businesses are the backbone of the Irish economy, and
employ over a third of all people working in Ireland today. If we are
going to create the jobs and growth we need we must provide better
supports to this sector so that more of these businesses can start-up,
grow, export, and create the jobs we need. That is why as part of the
Action Plan for Jobs we have introduced a range of new measures aimed
at micro and small businesses, including the €90million microfinance
scheme and the €450million credit guarantee scheme.

“A key part of this plan is ensuring that micro and small businesses
throughout the country have access to the best possible range of
supports at all stages of their developments. That is why the
Government decided earlier this year on a package of reforms which
will ensure that this can be delivered, by creating a Centre of
Excellence in Enterprise Ireland to develop best practice in small
business support, and a network of Local Enterprise Offices in Local
Authorities responsible for delivering these supports across the
country.

“Today I am happy to announce that, after substantial work by my
Department, Minister Hogan’s Department and all other stakeholders, I
have secured Government approval to draft legislation to give effect
to these changes. It is also important that all affected parties have
the opportunity to have their voices heard on these changes, and I
urge people to participate in the consultation process”.

Minister Perry said:

“As Minister for Small Business I am acutely aware, along with my
Government colleagues, how important the small business sector is to
Ireland and the country’s economic recovery. Government does not
create jobs, people and businesses do. The role of Government, and the
centrepiece of our plan, is to make it easier for businesses to
start-up, expand, succeed, and create jobs.

“This is why as part of the Action Plan for Jobs we are restructuring
enterprise supports for the micro and small business sector and more
closely aligning the services currently provided by the CEBs and Local
Authorities. The new Local Enterprise Offices will act as a
first-stop-shop facility for small business at local level and will
incorporate the successful CEB model of supporting enterprise, but
will also allow the provision of an enhanced role by Enterprise
Ireland and the Local Authorities for the wider small business sector.

“It is important that the Government hear directly from people in the
small business sector and I would ask people to engage in this
important consultative process.”

Written submissions should be submitted by 19th December 2012 to mepu@djei.ie.