Gov’t to appoint business development managers at 37 community enterprise centres

14 Jun 2012

The Irish Government is to appoint business development managers in 37 centres across the country’s community enterprise centre network in a €1.6m funding move to help drive entrepreneurship in local communities and spawn 850 new jobs in businesses supported by these centres by 2014.

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, is officially announcing details of the community enterprise development programme this morning.

The announcement relates to a key commitment under Action Plan for Jobs 2012.

It means €1.6m of funding has been allocated to support the management infrastructure within the Enterprise Ireland-managed national community enterprise centre (CEC) network.

Apparently, the 37 centres that will benefit under today’s announcement were selected from applications received from community enterprise centres, after Enterprise Ireland made a call for proposals in March.

Targeting new jobs

Between them, the 37 centres are now forecasting that they will be able to help spawn a total increase of 848 employees in the businesses they support with the new business development managers who will work at each centre.

And the Government said today that a second call for proposals for a further €400,000 will be published in 2013.

The people appointed to these positions will be responsible for managing community enterprise centres, building business links and driving entrepreneurship locally.

The centres will be judged against a range of metrics in return for the funding.

Supporting local enterprises

As part of their remit, each of the centres will have to provide business-development programmes and training courses and help companies spin-out from the centre once their employment levels rise.

Each of the centres will also have to co-operate with other business development stakeholders locally, such as local entrepreneurs, third-level institutions, county/city enterprise boards, local authorities and chambers of commerce.

Supporting start-ups and SMEs

Since the Community Enterprise Centres Scheme was first set up in 1989, around €61.4m has been approved and 110 centres have been set up across the country.

Right now these centres, between them, house circa 800 companies, including budding start-ups, and support 5,000 jobs.

Speaking this morning, Bruton said that supporting enterprise in the community is a key part of the Government’s plan for sustainable jobs.

“In many cases, communities by coming together to focus on job creation can have a much greater impact on their local economy than Government ever could,” he said.

And Bruton added that more entrepreneurs in more communities will have more support as they seek to start businesses and create jobs as a result of today’s announcement.

Tom Hayes, Enterprise Ireland’s head of micro enterprise and small business, said the agency was “confident” that this funding and these appointments will have a significant impact at local level in driving the community enterprise centres.

He said Enterprise Ireland would be encouraging CECs to grow local enterprise with the implementation of this scheme in all regions of Ireland.

Entrepreneurship word-mash image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic