Enterprise Ireland awards €30.5m in funding to 21 regional projects

11 Dec 2017

From left: Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD; Barry Kennedy, CEO, Irish Manufacturing Research; and Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland. Image: Fennells

A brilliant boost for regional development in Ireland as first round of Enterprise Ireland funding is awarded.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, today (11 December) announced the results of the first round of the new €60m competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund with Enterprise Ireland.

21 successful applicants representing all regions of the country have secured €30.5m for their projects in the first competitive call. The southern region of Ireland received more than €14m, while the eastern and midlands regions secured more than €11m. More than €5m was approved for the northern and western regions, subject to grant conditions.

The fund is an open, national competitive call, created to support the Regional Action Plan for Jobs and the Action Plan for Rural Development. Announcing the successful applicants at Irish Manufacturing Research in Mullingar today, Humphreys said that it had been the aim of the Government to focus on rural and regional economic growth, hence the creation of the new fund.

She continued: “Our aim was to provide financial support for organisations set up specifically to bring together stakeholders on projects that will benefit the local community, the region or nationally.

“The successful applicants include an exciting range of projects, which will develop strong entrepreneurial or innovation ecosystems, encourage clusters of similar businesses, or develop specific sectors where there is the potential for competitive advantage.”

She added: “This fund allows us to support the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, helping to drive growth in key sectors or geographies across the country, particularly in the context of Brexit.

“We are backing local and regional stakeholders to drive the future of their own communities by supporting their innovative proposals, which will help to deliver job creation and sustainable employment.”

Four application streams

There applications were sought under four streams:

  • The first are known as Major Change Projects, which would receive €2m to €5m per project.
  • The second stream, under the banner of Regionally Specific Projects, would receive €250,000 to €2m per project.
  • The third stream was Local and Community Enterprise Development Projects, securing between €50,000 and €250,000 per project.
  • The undertakings within the fourth stream, Industry Clusters, would also receive between €50,000 and €250,000 per project.

14 projects were funded successfully under Stream One and Two, with the remaining seven spread across Stream Three and Four.

The success stories

Successful Stream One projects were: Irish Manufacturing Research, RDI Hub Company, Dublin Enterprise and Technology Centre, ApriTech Centre of Excellence, Bia Innovator Campus, Irish Bioeconomy Foundation, and Ghala.

Stream Two projects included Three-D, Donegal Digital Innovation Company, Insurtech Network Centre, Leitrim County Enterprise Fund, Cork Urban Enterprises, Co Kildare Community Network, and Social and Local Enterprise Alliance.

Stream Three projects that secured funding include: Monaghan County Enterprise Fund Food, Sneem Innovation and Technology Services, and Mol Teic.

The four successful projects for Stream Four are: Emerald Aero Cluster, IT@Cork, KerrySciTech and BPO Cluster Ireland.

Creating jobs outside of urban areas

Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring, TD, said: “As a Government, we need to continually challenge ourselves on how to create jobs outside of the main cities.

“That’s exactly what this fund does. It will directly support innovative projects in our regions and, in doing so, help to create rural jobs. By creating jobs in rural Ireland, we can convince young people to live in rural areas.”

CEO of Enterprise Ireland, Julie Sinnamon, said: “Supporting regional enterprise development and working with businesses to achieve their global ambition is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland.

“This competitive fund was launched at the end of May and attracted very strong interest. The winners were selected through a stringent evaluation process based on criteria, which included impacts and value for money, collaboration, and participation, viability and sustainability, building regional strengths and significance for innovation.”

The second call opens for March 2018, with a similar standard of applicants expected.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects