Enterprise Ireland has launched a €200K pilot competitive feasibility fund targeted towards counties Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny and south Tipperary in the southeast of Ireland. The aim is to nurture indigenous start-ups in the ICT, industrial and food sectors and to help such companies to get off the ground and create jobs, particularly since the region has been plunged into a deep unemployment crisis of late.
Waterford, in particular, has taken a big hit, especially with the closure of the Talk Talk call centre plant and the scaling back of jobs at the pharmaceutical firm Teva, as well as at healthcare giant GlaxoSmithKline and the iconic Waterford Crystal of late. Another county that has been struggling with high unemployment, particularly with Greencore’s closure of the sugar beet factory there in 2005, is Carlow.
But the Government is now hoping that this fund will encourage indigenous start-ups to scale up and create jobs in the region. Funding of up to €25,000 will be provided to start-up companies that are seen to have the potential to create jobs in the southeast.
Richard Bruton, TD, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, launched the start-up fund today. It was previously announced as part of the South East Employment Action Plan, published by the minister last month.
Enterprise Ireland says the purpose of the fund will be to accelerate the growth of start-up companies in the ICT, industrial and food sectors that have the capability to succeed in global markets.
However, the closing date for applications is not too long away: start-ups or solo entrepreneurs have until 30 January 2012 to submit their applications.
Speaking this morning, Bruton alluded to the southeast’s region’s ongoing high rates of unemployment in comparison to the rest of Ireland.
He said the fund would aim to help indigenous businesses that will be in a position to create jobs.
He urged businesses in the southeast to apply for the funds available.
“In this way we can create high-growth, job-creating businesses in the region and finally make a start at addressing the serious problems it faces,” said Bruton said.