An additional €3.3m of funding is to be allocated to the country's network of city and county enterprise boards (CEBs) in a move which it is claimed will create more than 450 jobs.
The funds, to be paid out before the end of the year, will help new businesses get off the ground and support existing ones in creating and protecting jobs.
The move as announced today by Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe on board Cadhla - a 60ft barge business operated by City Canal Cruises which has received funding from Dublin City Enterprise Board.
The Taoiseach said the extra money announced today would support new business projects this year and create hundreds of jobs.
"Jobs are the central priority of Government policy and the CEBs create and protect jobs in communities throughout the country," Mr Cowen said.
"The stimulus measure announced today will support more projects and create new jobs at the frontline of local enterprise in cities, towns and villages across the country."
The country’s network of 35 CEBs supports micro-enterprises employing 10 or fewer workers in the start-up and expansion phases.
They provide business development grants, training and mentoring to small businesses to stimulate local economic activity and entrepreneurship.
The €3.3 million capital allocation is in addition to the €15m already provided this year to the CEBs whose services have been in increased demand since the economic downturn began.
Minister O’Keeffe said the CEBs play a pivotal role in stimulating local economic development by sustaining and growing the micro-enterprise sector.
The announcement was welcomed by the Small Firms' Association (SFA).
“Small businesses are both different and important they are different because they are managed by people who take risks and important because they create jobs," said SFA director Avine McNally.
"This funding acknowledges that small business throughout Ireland are the engines of recovery and recognizes the important role they play in leading our return to economic growth and job creation.
"However, Government must also offer even more support by taking action to address competitiveness, ensuring a flow of credit, maintaining supportive tax measures and reducing the regulatory burden for small businesses.”