State development agency IDA Ireland has unveiled a new blueprint called ‘Horizon 2020’ aimed at creating 105,000 new jobs by 2014, the lynchpin of which will be social and economic regeneration of cities, towns and regions.
IDA Ireland said the plan to create 105,000 new jobs will be delivered via 640 investments, more than half of which will be located outside of Dublin and Cork. Some 20pc of the investments will be Greenfield.
The agency said it is targeting an annual spend from the investments in excess of €1.7 billion by 2014.
The role of ‘Horizon 2020’ within the smart economy
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan, TD, said the initiative is an integral part of the Government’s smart economy policy.
“Within the Irish economy, foreign direct investment has been, and will continue to be, a catalyst for our national prosperity. FDI companies create hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs, both for the employees of the investing companies and in the firms, including indigenous firms, that provide them with goods and services,” Coughlan said.
“Securing such investments can also play a pivotal role in rejuvenating part of a city, a town or region were employment opportunities are limited.”
Coughlan said that the continued attraction of sustainable foreign direct investment is critical to ensuring Ireland’s economic recovery and that ‘Horizon 2020’ sets out a compelling argument for the need for ongoing "transformation" in our approach to secure leading FDI here.
The impact of FDI so far has been 140,000 direct jobs supporting 240,000 jobs in the economy, culminating in €19 billion in expenditure in the local economy and a €7-billion payroll.
IDA-supported companies currently account for 70pc of all exports and 73pc of all business research, development and innovation.
“This strategy document articulates our view of the next decade’s significant future changes. It outlines the results of a detailed analysis of global mega trends, economic geopolitical changes and technology road maps from which we have outlined the goals Ireland needs to set to capitalise on the opportunities that they represent,” said Barry O’Leary CEO, IDA Ireland.
O’Leary said that companies and countries best able to continuously adapt and renew themselves will harness those opportunities.
“Ireland can win new investments that will create thousands of high-quality jobs across the country,” he went on. “These investments will come from the development of existing client companies, industries and markets. They will also originate from new types of companies, in new areas and from new markets.
“’Horizon 2020’ sets out a road map of what is needed to fuel Ireland’s future success with leading global corporations over the coming decade. Significantly, it also outlines a series of impactful short-term goals, including an ambitious target for job creation.
For his part O’Leary said that new business models are emerging, enabled by cloud computing and new technologies focused on driving higher productivity and energy efficiency.
‘Ten Steps of Transformation’
The foundation for the strategy outlined within ‘Horizon 2020’ includes a series of new initiatives called the ‘Ten Steps of Transformation’:
- 1. Drive company transformation
- 2. Win employment-intensive services investments
- 3. Win new forms of foreign investments
- 4. Support regional economic development
- 5. Increase investment from new and emerging high-growth markets
- 6. Target new and emerging and small technology companies
- 7. Enhance Ireland’s brand and reputation overseas
- 8. Embrace ‘Open Innovation’ philosophy
- 9. Strengthen Ireland’s value proposition
- 10. Increase collaboration within Team Ireland
The ‘Horizon 2020’ strategy concludes with a series of six Team Ireland policy enablers necessary to enhance our world-class environment to continue to attract overseas investment in the future:
- – Improve our competitiveness to ensure that our work practices and cost base make us a highly attractive location for a variety of employment-intensive projects with multinational companies.
- – Ensure our tax regime remains compelling when compared to those in other locations.
- – Ensure that we quickly enhance our broadband infrastructure and deploy next-generation networks that enable the most advanced uses of cloud computing technology – all across Ireland.
- – Ensure that Ireland’s energy infrastructure delivers world-class networks and energy at a competitive price.
- – Continually enhance our education system and training programmes to ensure we have a workforce with relevant skills and that supports advanced RD&I activities.
- – Ensure that the regulatory environment of Ireland is fit for purpose.
- – Regulation must be strong, credible and flexible to adapt to changing conditions to maximise the opportunities for job creation, innovation and the emergence of new sectors.