Ireland to spend €514m in 2012 to generate new jobs

10 Nov 2011

Minister Richard Bruton TD

In the highest capital budget in Irish State history, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation will be allocated €514m to generate jobs. The investment includes new cloud technology centres, support for venture capital and the protection of both IDA and Enterprise Ireland’s budgets.

The IDA’s 2012 allocation of €86m is the same as its 2011 allocation and the Department said that the IDA budget will be “fully protected” in order to meet targets of 105,000 new jobs via 640 investments by 2014.

Enterprise Ireland’s budget has been marginally increased to €132m from €131m last year in order to help it increase the number of HPSUs (high potential start-ups) from 85 last year to 95 in 2012 and 100 in 2013. Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said: “HPSUs are the source of potential star performers of the future.”

The Enterprise Ireland budget will allow it to maintain the Innovation Voucher Programme at its current level.

“I will continue to roll out the new Technology Centre Programme to include centres for Cloud, E-learning and Financial Services,” Bruton promised.

Under the budget plans Science Foundation Ireland’s budget will be reduced from €161m in 2011 to €156m in 2012. “The 2012 capital allocation to SFI is marginally reduced but will allow SFI to continue to fund enterprise facing research teams and major research centres working with over 500 industry partners,” the Minister explained. “In 2012, this will allow SFI maintain its support to its current funded research community of 3,000 or so researchers.”

As well as maintaining its 28 top class CSETS (Centres for Science, Engineering, Technology and Strategic Research), 2012 will see SFI move more in the direction of applied research and increase commercialisation activities.

The third level sector via the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) will be allocated €27m.

“The €27m capital investment in PRTLI Cycle 5 will, in 2012, continue to address serious deficits in a sector that underpins and sustains Ireland’s knowledge economy as part of the economic recovery effort. Amongst the areas being supported under this capital investment Energy, the Biosciences, Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Medicine, Pharmaceuticals, food and health, and there are several others.

“Construction is underway or close to completion in 7 large-scale infrastructural projects where direct construction jobs are being supported now and which are EU co-fundable. Another 11 projects have also initiated since beginning of 2011.”

A further €80.5m will be allocated to various enterprise supports including the Job Expansion Programme, the Going Global Fund and Management Development Programmes like the excellent Leadership for Growth programme.

This includes a “second call under the Innovation Fund to continue to attract significant venture capital players to Ireland and to provide an increase in the availability of ‘smart capital’ for Irish companies.”

The Minister said that the design phase of a Temporary Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme is nearly complete and legislation is being prepared.

“The Scheme will provide a level of guarantee to banks against losses on qualifying loans to job-creating firms to get banks lending again to industry and entrepreneurs.

Bruton said the Scheme will be closely targeted at commercially viable, well performing companies that have a solid business plan and a defined market for their products or services which can demonstrate repayment capacity for the additional credit facilities but which cannot secure credit facilities due to the following two market failures:

·         Insufficient collateral for the additional facilities or,

·         Growth / expansionary SMEs which due to their sectors, markets or business model are perceived higher risk

Other funding allocations went to: the County Enterprise Boards €15million (2011 €15million); InterTradeIreland €6million (2011 €6million); Tyndall Institute €3million (2011 €3million); Shannon Development €5million (2011 €3.6million); Interreg €3million (2011 €2million) and the NSAI €500,000 (2011 €500,000).

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years