NACEC Chairman Press Statement
Community Enterprise Centres Receive National Recognition
The role that Community Enterprise Centres (CEC’s) are playing in helping those with ideas to start or develop a business is receiving increased national recognition, says Joe Kelly, Chairman of the National Association of Community Enterprise Centres (NACEC). The decision by the recently appointed Minister for Business and Development, Mr. Ged Nash, T.D., to invite NACEC to become part of a distinguished membership of the newly convened Advisory Group on Small Business, is indicative of NACEC’s expanding role. The frequent and significant mentions that Community Enterprise Centres received in the newly launched Government Policy Statement on “Entrepreneurship in Ireland” is further proof of NACEC’s increasing impact, Joe Kelly adds.
Speaking after Minister Nash had chaired the first meeting of the Government’s Advisory Group on Small Business, Joe Kelly expressed his satisfaction at the significant roles now being played by CEC’s. “It is clear that Government and the job-creating agencies are recognising the role that CEC’s can play in local job creation. This is particularly so in areas, both rural and urban, where the local economy has had historical difficulty in combating unemployment and creating sustainable local jobs.” Joe Kelly said.
He went on to say that the recent comprehensive national survey, undertaken by NACEC and Enterprise Ireland, clearly indicated the extensive and emphatic role played by CEC’s in getting Ireland back to work. The survey showed that almost 4000 jobs were being facilitated in CEC’s and that almost 400 new businesses were started in CEC’s during the three years of the worst economic conditions that the country has ever seen. Joe also stated that the survey identified what can be done when a properly supported environment is put in place for the benefit of those with business ideas and ambitions.
Joe Kelly believes that the newly expanded role also brings huge responsibilities and challenges to CEC’s in every county around the country. “We are being given a recognised role in assisting small business but there is also a challenge and a responsibility to ensure that each CEC gets the maximum out of its limited resources to ensure that every potential business and job in its area gets the support needed.”
He also stated that CEC members are very much looking forward to working shoulder to shoulder with Government and all the agencies that have a role in job creation at local level. This includes Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO’s), among others. “CEC’s can really bring a benefit to these agencies by being their hands and eyes at local level, provided that the potential that lies within the CEC sector is fully recognised, and we all engage in a spirit of teamwork for the benefit of client businesses and job creation” concluded the NACEC Chairman.
NACEC Chairman Joe Kelly took the opportunity to address the Action Plan for Jobs Forum at the Ballina Manor Hotel on Friday last, 30.01.2015. Both the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Richard Bruton, T.D., listened intently and took careful notes (as can be seen from the photo below) as Joe outlined the key role played by CECs and NACEC in job creation across the regions. Joe also emphasised the importance of the BDM programme in allowing the CEC sector to continue its work and contribute effectively to the Action Plan for Jobs.
Creating Supportive Enterprise Eco-Systems: Enterprise Centres & Local Enterprise Offices National Agreement to Benefit Clients.
The National Association of Community Enterprise Centres (NACEC) has signed a formal agreement with Enterprise Ireland aimed at streamlining the first stop services between the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and the Enterprise Centres nationally.
Local Enterprise Offices are the ‘first stop shop’ for people interested in starting up a new business or already in business including entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, start-ups and small business looking to expand. The LEOs provide advice, information and support in starting up or growing a business, including referring interested parties to other agencies where relevant.
The 117 Community Enterprise Centres located throughout the country provide low cost workspace with an array of services often including centralised reception, messaging, broadband, training and so on. Moreover, they provide a supported environment to assist a business at any stage of development. The array of supports, and the linkages they can create with the agencies, gives all businesses, particularly those in the startup phase, the best possible chance of surviving and prospering.
The services of the Local Enterprise Office and the Community Enterprise Centres therefore complement each other and the new agreement will help bring the best benefits of both to the client.
The new arrangement aims to:
- Increase awareness of Community Enterprise Centres & LEO Services.
- Increase awareness of resources available to Start Up & Developing Companies from Community Enterprise Centres.
- Create Opportunities for joint programmes.
Speaking about the agreement, Chairman of NACEC, Joe Kelly, said he was delighted that the new arrangement was now in place. “We expect the real winners here to be the clients we serve. Those with ideas for start-up, those with plans to develop an existing business and indeed, those who are going through difficult times and perhaps need a shoulder to lean on to protect the business and jobs, can all make contact with either their local CEC or LEO and they will have access to the best of the services offered by both, delivered in a fashion that suits the client. What’s most important is that we get the maximum output in terms of jobs, whether that’s by way of new businesses or sustaining and developing existing businesses.”
Speaking about the protocol Kieran Comerford, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices said “The LEOs are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for business advice, information and referrals to other appropriate business support bodies and agencies. This protocol represents another good example of a co-ordinated and integrated support system to the business community throughout the country. .”