9th November 2021
Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English TD, visited the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) in Cork City today as part of a series of visits by the Minister, who is keen to engage with the LEO teams and their client companies throughout the country.
The Minister said:
“I am delighted to be in Cork City and to meet the local LEO team. The importance of the LEO network has never been more apparent than in the last nineteen months or so. They have been a lifeline to many businesses during the pandemic and their support through mentoring, upskilling, training and other practical assistance has been invaluable. Now as we are in the recovery phase the LEOs will again play a crucial role by supporting local businesses as they stabilise and return to growth.”
Minister English began the day with a visit to the Northside for Business Campus. The campus was launched in January 2017 to support enterprise on the north side of Cork City and has received funding from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) and Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme (RETS). Manager JJ O’Connell briefed the Minister on developments at the campus, which is a significant hub for social and community enterprise development as well as private enterprise investment.
The Minister was also introduced to two LEO clients who are based at the campus. Tim Mulcahy is a third-generation family trader with Chicken Inn, a business based in the English Market, which operate a food production unit at the Northside. The Minister also spoke to Phil Cone of Academy Crests, which specialises in promotional and embroidered clothing.
Minister English then travelled to Cork City Hall, where he was greeted by the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Colm Kelleher, Council CEO Ann Doherty, and Director of Services, Fearghal Reidy. The Minister met with the Local Enterprise Office Team and was given a presentation on their current activities and future plans.
The Minister’s final engagement was a visit to Benchspace, a creative hub in the Docklands. The hub was established to provide affordable access to workbenches and professional standard machinery to hobbyists, learners, makers and designers and has been actively supported by Cork LEO and the City Council since its inception. The project received Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) and continues to develop and expand.
Minister English met with a number of LEO clients based at Benchspace, including Alex Thiel, a goldsmith who specialises in jewellery-making, Jan Lojack, whose business Chop It creates handmade wooden products such as chopping boards and kitchen utensils using locally sourced materials, and Sara Leslie of Mori Art, who specialises in woodwork, printmaking, and graphic design.
On the conclusion of his engagements Minister English said:
“I am always impressed by the creativity in our entrepreneurial community and here in Cork I have met innovative businesses working with wood, with metal and with fabric. Places like Northside for Business and Benchspace are hugely important in providing outlets for this creativity to flow and flourish. They provide workspace, benches, machinery but also support and mentorship for these businesses and I am also delighted the Government plays a key role by providing crucial funding through schemes like the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. With this backing these businesses can continue to grow and create jobs, which will have a hugely positive impact on the local economy and beyond.”
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