The Irish Government is swooping in on the aviation sector with the launch of a €375,000 Competitive Feasibility Fund that will be delivered by Enterprise Ireland. Applications are now open for the fund, which will target stimulating new start-ups or expanding existing business activity in the Irish aviation sector.
The Government is also targeting the setting up of an "aviation centre of excellence" in the Shannon region of Ireland.
Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton, TD, announced details of the Competitive Feasibility Fund earlier today. Successful applications will avail of up to €25,000 per project. Enterprise Ireland will be accepting applications until 16 September 2013.
Bruton said that today’s announcement marks the delivery of a key measure under the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs as it is aimed at meeting the needs of the aviation industry and supporting the growth of international aviation companies in Ireland.
Encouraging aviation start-ups
The initiative also follows the Government’s publication of the Shannon Aviation Business Development Task Force Final Report. This report has zeroed in on building an environment which will encourage and support entrepreneurship and business expansion in the aviation sector.
The Competitive Feasibility Fund will support new start-up companies or individual entrepreneurs to investigate the viability of a new significant growth-oriented business or proposition in the aviation sector.
It will also support established companies or groups of businesses to examine the potential for expansion, diversification or spinning out of a new enterprise in the industry.
According to Enterprise Ireland, the funding will enable those behind aviation projects to reach firm conclusions regarding the project’s viability and strategies for developing and commercialising the innovative product or service in international markets.
Who is eligible to apply?
The fund is open to applications from the aviation sphere, including financial services associated with the sector, aircraft and engine leasing, aviation software and IT, travel-related software and related services.
Companies or researchers operating in the areas of small aircraft assembly, aircraft dismantle, maintenance repair operations airframe and components, composite repair, parts manufacture, aviation services and other engineering and technical activities will also be eligible to apply.
Nurturing Ireland’s sectoral strengths
Making the announcement, Bruton said that the aviation sector is one of the areas where Ireland has developed strengths.
"We already have in place a world-class aviation ecosystem, which offers tremendous potential for new and exciting businesses to carve out opportunities for innovative products and services.
"In particular, as part of our plans for the Shannon region, we are targeting the establishment of an international aviation centre of excellence to support growth and jobs in the region.
"Today’s announcement of a new €375,000 Enterprise Ireland Competitive Feasibility Fund is a part of this plan, and will help provide support to innovative companies seeking to grow and create jobs in the sector."
Aviation centre for Shannon region
Rose Hynes, chair of the Aviation Business Development Task Force, said the mandate was to seek out new opportunities for an autonomous Shannon Airport and to evaluate the feasibility of creating an international aviation centre of excellence in Shannon.
"I welcome this Enterprise Ireland aviation initiative today, as a key support to help achieve these objectives. I look forward to working closely with Enterprise Ireland, prospective clients and other relevant agencies in promoting aviation sector growth opportunities," she said.
Jerry Moloney, Enterprise Ireland’s regional director for the mid-west region, has been tasked tasked with managing this initiative.
"I urge all those in the aviation sector to utilise this unique sector-specific offering to explore the feasibility of any new business growth opportunities open to them," he said.