Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) has launched a programme to help entrepreneurs in the early stages of developing their business, with the first round to begin in March of next year.
Called LEAP – short for Limerick Enterprise Acceleration Platform – the 12-month programme is designed to assist people with business ideas for a product, technology or service with export potential, who plan to start a new company in 2007.
According to Donncha Hughes, manager of the Enterprise Acceleration Centre, the intention is to recruit 10 people who want to set up their own business by next February. The following month, the LEAP participants will take up free residence in the Enterprise Acceleration Centre and begin a full-time 12-month programme.
The programme offers a range of supports that cover strategic planning and practical business set-up. These include management training, business coaching, mentoring and consultancy. “These supports work together to challenge and guide the participants during year-long programme to develop an investor-ready business plan, while also challenging them to win the sales that will make their business profitable,” said Hughes.
Participants in the scheme can also avail of financial supports offered as part of the programme. There is no fee to join and all participants will receive €550 per month, tax free, from LIT – equivalent to €6,600 per year. Enterprise Ireland may also provide further funding to participants under the CORD Programme, in the form of a total package of 50pc of previous year’s verifiable salary up to a maximum of €38,000 for one year.
Part of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy involves increasing the number of High Potential Start-Ups in the region and Hughes pointed out that a similar initiative, called Genesis, has been running in Cork for 10 years and has led to the creation of over 120 companies in that time.
The closing date for applications to join the LEAP scheme is 26 January and more information is available at www.lit.ie/leap.
By Gordon Smith