LEO was established in 1990 when a group of concerned individuals came together in an effort to address the high levels of local unemployment and the lack of support for local enterprise. It was believed that if an appropriate business environment and culture could be maintained this would result in business creation and local economic development leading to sustainable job opportunities.
In 1991, some 25,000 sq ft of business incubator workspace was built. This has been added to several times over the last decade and the total property portfolio now stands in excess of 80,000 sq ft. Initially in 1991, there were 13 businesses on site employing 75 people. Currently there are almost 100 companies employing some 450 people in 124 units, which range in size from 200 to 3,000 sq ft.
Over the years, the portfolio of services offered to businesses on site has evolved to include training, mentoring, consultancy, information provision and financial support. LEO’s focus is not only on business creation but also business development at both a strategic and operational level.
The Organisation benefits from a dedicated Board of Directors representing public and private sector interests. This voluntary Board has committed over 20,000 hours over the past twenty years.
Partnership is a key priority of the Organisation and strong working relationships exist with Lisburn City Council, South Eastern Regional College, Enterprise Northern Ireland, Princes Trust and Advantage NI.