Enterprise Ireland has been allocated €7m to invest in high potential start-up companies located in areas that have experienced significant job losses or have a poor history of enterprise development.
The funds have been allocated by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin TD under the Community Enterprise Centre (CEC) scheme. Minister Martin described the development as being “aimed at meeting the needs of communities to grow local enterprises”.
The scheme was first implemented in 2002 and access to the latest tranche of funding will be through a public call for proposals to be advertised nationally.
Referring to the Enterprise Ireland Strategy document published last year, Minister Martin said that the establishment and development of high potential start-up companies is a major objective for achieving regional balance in Ireland.
He said: “Ensuring the provision of essential business infrastructure such as incubation space is a practical measure to support this objective. Enterprise Ireland encourages entrepreneurship at grass root level through its support for Community Enterprise Centres. These centres provide a supportive environment for budding entrepreneurs and serve to help the development of entrepreneurship at the local level.”
The Minister said that the scheme aims to enhance the development of an enterprise climate in areas where it may be lacking or under-developed. To date Enterprise Ireland has approved more than €34m and paid out over €22m for some 137 CEC projects including new CECs (107) and expansions to existing CECs (30).
“Of the 137 projects: 20 are at various stages of planning or construction; 112 are located outside Dublin city; eight projects were completed in the regions in 2004 and three have been completed in 2005 to date,” Minister Martin added.