I think we can all agree that the final confirmation about the university is good news and will lead to opportunities for sustainable growth in the area. It will develop enterprise in the local area in combination with our education system.
Delivering balanced regional recovery is identified as a priority within the Government's national economic recovery plan. As part of Enterprise Ireland's regional strategy, Powering the Regions, Enterprise Ireland has committed to building on the south east's regional strengths working with partners such as the local enterprise offices, the south-east business innovation centre, BIC, and the New Frontiers programme in Institute of Technology Carlow, to deliver initiatives that assist entrepreneurship and foster an exciting new generation of innovative and ambitious start-ups in Carlow and the south east.
In addition, my Department and Enterprise Ireland are actively collaborating with local stakeholders to identify gaps in the south east's enterprise ecosystem and to plan and help fund enterprise-enabling infrastructure aligned to regional enterprise plans out to 2024. In 2020, a total of 3,171 people were employed across 89 Enterprise Ireland client companies in County Carlow, which demonstrates the resilience of export-led industry in Carlow in an incredibly challenging year.
Under the regional enterprise development fund to date, over €4 million has been approved for four projects in County Carlow, namely, Insurtech network centre, Crystal Valley Tech, Incupharm and the National Design Innovation Hub. This will assist new collaborative and innovative initiatives that can make a significant impact on enterprise development in the region and nationally.
In September 2021, two pre-accelerator projects were also launched in the south east to assist promoters validate business propositions and which will run until December 2021. A further €377,520 was approved for Institute of Technology Carlow under the regional technology clustering fund to assist the development of an industry-led engineering cluster to expand capability and competitiveness in the south east.
In response to Covid-19, the enterprise centres scheme was launched in August 2020 for both profit and not-for-profit enterprise centres. Two enterprise centres in Carlow were approved to receive €128,478 under this scheme.
I assure the Deputy that as we transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy and accelerate the pace of the digital transformation, this Department, working with our agencies, will continue to assist enterprise development and job growth in all regions, making them more resilient to these challenges.