Companies being supported by the country's Local Enterprise Offices created 7,440 new jobs last year, a 9% increase on the figure in 2020.
It brought to 35,729 the total employed by LEO-supported firms at the end of last year, and marks an eighth successive year of employment growth.
The vast majority - 85% - of those jobs are based outside of Dublin.
Employment in LEO client companies increased by a net 2,999 last year, according to the network of Local Enterprise Offices.
That includes jobs lost in the 12 months, as well as the impact of some companies being transferred to Enterprise Ireland.
Last year 131 companies transferred from LEOs to Enterprise Ireland.
The network also said it provided training and mentoring to thousands of other firms, as well as supports like the Trading Online Voucher and the 'Green for Micro' programme, which encourages businesses to become more sustainable.
"When faced with adversity, they have adapted, pivoted, upskilled and did whatever it took to sustain themselves," said Padraic McElwee, chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices.
"The figures show that companies have seen the opportunities in the challenging trading conditions they have faced," he added.
"We are seeing new opportunities for Irish businesses here and as always with tough economic periods we see new ideas and companies emerge and flourish," Mr McElwee said.
This year will be no different and as we continue to work closely with Enterprise Ireland and the local authorities to ensure our small businesses get the best possible supports there are certainly green shoots emerging across the country," he stated. "LEOs are at the heart of communities in every county, always on hand to provide advice, training or financial backing and have proved invaluable throughout the pandemic, during which I know a huge amount of people relied on their local office," said Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar. "These numbers a real boost today and will contribute to our overall target of having 2.5m people in work by 2024."