Applications for a new investment fund are open to small businesses at start up or growth stage. The fund is open to “innovative” businesses with up to 10 staff that have previously availed of LEO Fingal services. The closing date for online applications is 31st July and the LEOs expect strong take-up in the scheme. A maximum Grant Investment of €25,000 will be available to successful applicants. Providing details of the fund, Head of Enterprise in Fingal, Oisin Geoghegan explained how the new scheme works: “Applicants can apply online at the national website www.liif.ie and this process is quite straightforward. After the initial competitive application process, successful applicants will be selected to participate on a short (4 week) highly focused Investor Ready Programme, helping them to implement their innovative development plan.” “On completion of the Investor Ready Programme, clients will have the opportunity to make a formal pitch to an Investor Panel to secure a LEO Grant Investment of up to E25,000 to help fund their innovative business start-up or development,” he said. Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid, said “local authorities have a key role to play in economic development and this is happening in Fingal. I want our entrepreneurs and small business owners and managers to have every opportunity to grow their business in an encouraging, rewarding and business-friendly environment. Small business is the lifeblood of our local economy so the County Council, through our Local Enterprise Office, is working to ensure that those running or starting up small enterprises are given the support structure that they need to grow and develop”. The impending impact of Brexit on employment in businesses is of great concern to various government agencies and the LEOs have emphasised that small businesses will be particularly vulnerable if they do not prepare for Brexit. A new online “Brexit SME Scorecard” has been developed by the LEOs, whereby small businesses can self-diagnose their readiness for Brexit.