A new Regional Enterprise Plan for the Mid-West to support enterprise growth and job creation through collaborative initiatives has been launched by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD.
Minister Humphreys was joined at the event by Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, TD; Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, TD; and Minister of State at the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, Patrick O’Donovan, TD.
The development of the Mid-West Plan, incorporating counties Tipperary, Clare and Limerick was overseen by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, working with stakeholders from the Mid-West region, through a committee chaired by Mr. Barry O’Sullivan, Global Manufacturing Platform Lead, Johnson & Johnson Vision Inc.
The Mid-West Plan identifies five Strategic Objectives, with actions to: enable a Digital Economy and make the Mid-West Ireland’s leading Smart City-Region; achieve a step-change in progress toward a Low Carbon Economy in the region; continue to develop workforce skills and talent and enhance the attractiveness of living and working in the Mid-West; develop the Region’s capacity to deliver economic growth; and build a coordinated Regional messaging brand for consistent communication.
The Mid-West Plan is one of nine Regional Enterprise Plans being launched by Minister Humphreys in the coming weeks.
Speaking at the location for the development of a National Bioeconomy Innovation and Piloting Facility in Lisheen, Co. Tipperary, a project being supported by her Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund to the tune of €4.6m, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said:
“The collaboration in evidence here at Lisheen is a great example of what these new Regional Enterprise Plans are fundamentally about. The Plan for the Mid-West that I am launching today sets out a number of key strategic areas where regional stakeholders working together will provide a basis for future enterprise development and job creation that is sustainable in the longer term.
“I am pleased to note that jobs growth has been strong in all regions, including the Mid-West. There are over 14,700 more people at work in the Mid-West today than at the beginning of 2015, when the Government first launched regional jobs plans, and the unemployment rate has reduced significantly from 12 percent in 2015 down to 5.6 percent.
“Notwithstanding this huge success, it is clear that there are new challenges emerging for enterprises in the external environment. Through this Regional Enterprise Plan, the region can adopt a leadership position through driving initiatives from the ground-up.
“As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has introduced a range of new funding streams such as the €1 billion Rural Regeneration Fund, the €2 billion Urban Development Fund, the €500 million Climate Action Fund and the €500m Disruptive Technologies Fund. These are in addition to other existing schemes such as my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
“Given the wide range of stakeholders involved, the Regional Enterprise Steering Committee for the Mid-West is ideally placed to come up with innovative, collaborative projects of scale which can deliver real economic benefits for this region.”
Strengthening our regional enterprises is particularly important in the context of Brexit.
“Whether a business is a construction company, local beauty salon, bakery or even an Irish base of a multinational medical device company, it is crucial that they check their supply chains for vulnerabilities to Brexit impacts.”, the Minister said.
The nine new Regional Enterprise Plans being launched by Minister Humphreys are the result of an extensive refresh of the original Regional Action Plans for Jobs (RAPJs) which ran from 2015 to 2017/8. The new Plans complement and add value to the ongoing work of the Enterprise Agencies, LEOs, Regional Skills Fora, and other bodies involved in supporting enterprise development in the regional setting. The remaining four regional plans will be launched over the coming weeks.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Pat Breen TD said: “I’m delighted to welcome the launch of the new Mid-West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020., Given its emphasis on future enterprise development, it is fitting that we find ourselves here in Lisheen – in a setting where another critical piece of infrastructure to support innovation, business growth and jobs in the region is being developed with support of over €4.6 million from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund.
In addition to this project, the REDF will also provide funding to the Emerald Aerocluster, the Clare Marine Economic Zone, the B-Nest Social Initiative and Innovate Limerick. Overall, funding of over €9.5 million is being invested into the region. The new Mid-West Regional Enterprise Plan provides a focus for further economic development in the region and I look forward to seeing more collaborative initiatives emerging as a result.”