Government announces €45m boost for regional development

24 Jun 2019

From left: Julie Sinnamon and Minister Heather Humphreys, TD. Image: Shane O’Neill/SON Photographic

Three streams of funding are available under the Government’s latest call for regional development initiatives.

The Irish Government today (24 June) announced a further €45m in funding for regional business development.

This third call under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) invites applicants under three possible streams with varying investment levels.

Funding of up to €5m per project is available for Strategic Change Projects, which are classed as major collaborative initiatives that can have a high impact on regional development.

Successful Regional Strengthening Projects can receive up to €500,000 per project. Projects under this stream will address identified gaps in the enterprise ecosystem with a local, community-based or regional initiative.

Finally, there’s up to €350,000 per project available to Enterprise Clustering Projects, which should support the further growth of established industry clusters regionally, by sector and nationally.

A Feasibility Fund of up to €15,000 per eligible project was also launched to support the development of these projects, particularly the high-calibre applications encouraged for Strategic Change and Regional Strengthening Projects.

The call for applications is open now until 25 September 2019, and awardees can expect to be notified before the end of the year.

€60m awarded to date

The REDF is aligned with the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland plan but is a direct initiative of Project Ireland 2040, a long-term strategy to support business and communities across all of Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon lauded the previous success of the REDF as “an effective mechanism of supporting regional development”, citing a total of €60m in funding awarded to 38 feasibility projects and 42 large-scale projects across the country through the first and second call.

Past funded projects include an extension to the successful PorterShed incubation centre in Galway, an expansion of the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, the Boyne Valley Food Hub in Navan, the Irish bioeconomy pilot facility in Lisheen that became a €28m research campus, and the Emerald Aero Cluster for aerospace manufacturing established in Clare and Limerick.

“We again anticipate strong interest in this third call and look forward to working with regional stakeholders on innovative proposals to build scale at a regional level,” said Sinnamon.

Powering the Regions

The announcement was made at the recently opened Cavan Digital Hub, a development the REDF supported. Along with the funding call, Enterprise Ireland also published its regional plan for growth, titled ‘Powering the Regions’.

This publication pulls together nine Regional Enterprise Plans under an overarching national plan. The ultimate goals are to grow and sustain jobs, and to expand the reach of the Enterprise Ireland client base in every county in Ireland.

Six new national initiatives are proposed to drive new entrepreneurship, develop urban centres of growth, support the expansion of scaling companies into the regions and attract foreign direct investment in the food sector.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.