15/01/2016

€40m Competitive Regional Jobs Fund Launched

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton, have announced a €40 million competitive regional jobs fund as part of the government's Regional Jobs Plan.

The Taoiseach announced the Enterprise Ireland fund ahead of a meeting with 20 business-people, who have been named 'Enterprise Champions', and will be responsible for helping to implement the Regional Jobs Plans in each area of the country.

Seven of the 8 Regional Jobs Plans have now been published, covering every area of the country except Dublin, with publication of the final Dublin plan scheduled for the coming weeks.

Together, the 8 jobs plans are aimed at creating 220,000 extra jobs across the country over the coming years, which specific targets for each region aimed at ensuring that the unemployment rate in every region is within 1% of the average across the State.

In order to win funding under the scheme, a project must involve collaboration from different players within each region – for example Local Authorities, education institutions, State Agencies, as well as private sector bodies like Chambers of Commerce. The thinking behind the €40million fund is that it will help incentivise these organisations to work together on a regional basis in the interests of job-creation.

This initiative will incentivise collaboration and innovation in each region. The Taoiseach and Minister Bruton will today encourage the Enterprise Champions (who will help drive the implementation of the regional jobs plans) to come back with innovative proposals to support job-creation in their regions, and to promote collaboration between the different stakeholders.

The €40 million fund will be rolled out on a phased basis, grouped under the following 5 themes:

• Regional Accelerator projects

• Opportunities to drive greater company/sector collaboration/clustering in the regions

• Driving procurement opportunities for start-ups and established small businesses

• Strengthening Third-level as a driver of regional enterprise

• Strengthening the Start-up ecosystem locally

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "I am delighted to be announcing this €40 million fund as part of the next stage in our Regional Jobs Plans roll-out.

"Our aim is to ensure that every region can achieve its economic potential and that the benefits of the recovery are felt in every region, county and community in the country. This competitive fund has at its heart one of the key elements of our Regional Jobs Strategy - maximising local strengths through a coordinated effort from all local stakeholders.

"Everyone has to pull together to foster enterprise and create jobs. The Government is determined to keep the recovery going and deliver sustainable full employment by 2020 and these Regional Jobs Plans are a significant milestone on the journey." 

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD added: "Jobs are growing in every region of the country – but they are growing faster in some regions than in others. Regional jobs growth is a key aim of the Government’s – not just because it is important in and of itself, but also because it is a crucial element of hitting our overall jobs targets. That is why we have put in place the Regional Jobs Plan process – to accelerate jobs growth in every region of the country, by bringing the different stakeholders together to work on common goals, and by building on the strengths of the region.

"This fund is a key part of that. It will incentivise collaboration by the stakeholders in each region, and reward the regions who come forward with the projects that have the greatest capacity to create jobs.

"I wish to pay tribute to the business leaders right across the country who have agreed to sit on the regional committees and drive the implementation of the plans in each area. The input of these experienced and successful industry leaders creates a real step-up in the level of innovation and jobs impact of this process. This is a genuine public service which will make a real impact to the regions in which they live and work".

(MH/CD)

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