Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen said he is looking forward to seeing the next wave of exciting and innovative initiatives that will be supported by the Regional Enterprise Development Fund and drive employment creation in the regions.
The minister of state was speaking at the launch of the second call for proposals under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) which is worth a further €30 million.
Last December €30.5m was awarded to 21 collaborative projects right across the country under phase one of REDF.
Minister Breen said, “The Regional Action Plans for Jobs have provided a structure for collaboration so that individual counties can work together, harness collective abilities to support enterprise growth, and respond to economic challenges. The €60 million Regional Enterprise Development Fund builds on and supports this structure. It puts regional investment into the hands of local stakeholders, and encourages local groups to develop and drive enterprise growth and employment opportunities in their own communities.”
“In other words the Regional Enterprise Development Fund will help to drive employment and enterprise opportunity in our regions. All too often the challenge of growing employment is simplified as how to attract a large multinational company. While that is part of the picture for many places, in order to develop a sustainable enterprise and employment environment particularly in rural areas we must work to support our indigenous enterprise base and develop a strong entrepreneurial culture,” he said.
We acknowledge that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t effective. Instead, through the Regional Action Plans we are looking to each regions’ own unique strengths as the means to drive employment and add value to our regional economies.” “For example in the Mid West, we have a strong aviation sector, snd I was delighted to see that under the first Regional Fund call Emerald Aero Cluster, a Shannon based project to develop the aerospace sector, was awarded funding,” added Minister Breen.
“This project is an excellent example of an initiative that will build on the assets and strengths of the Mid West to create competitive advantage for the region and for Ireland.
“That project would not be possible without companies coming together and pooling their expertise, knowledge and resources to develop an entity that will benefit not just those businesses, but the local area as well.”
“With the Regional Fund we aim to build on and support these kinds of collaborative local structures putting regional investment into the hands of local stakeholders encouraging local groups to develop and drive enterprise growth and employment opportunities in their own communities,” said the Minister of State.
“I look forward to seeing the next round of projects to come through the Regional Competitive Fund, and I wish those of you who are applying every success.”
Under this Fund, each region will secure a minimum of €2 million once projects meet the required standard.