Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (40)

Brian Stanley

Question:

35 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to develop the micro enterprise incubation units over the coming four years. [4136/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

The Campus Incubation Centre Programme is delivered by Enterprise Ireland and supports the development of projects at the micro-enterprise stage. Over the last 15 years, funding of approximately €55 million has been provided through the Enterprise Ireland programme for the establishment of business incubation centres on higher education campuses throughout Ireland. The programme has fostered the development and expansion of small companies on campus, has supported the commercialisation of research carried out in the third level sector, and has made a contribution to more balanced regional development.

A total of 22 facilities are now operational in the campuses of Universities and Institutes of Technology and about 300 new companies are currently in Incubation Units employing over 1,300 people. These start-up enterprises are operating in a wide range of sectors, including digital media, environmental technologies and medical devices. The provision of a new Incubation Centre at NUI Maynooth is about to get underway and it is anticipated that this investment will be completed over the next two years.

With the establishment phase of the programme, which has involved significant infrastructural investment, now largely completed, the priority moves to ensuring that a maximisation of economic activity, in terms of business and job creation potential, will come through the Incubation Centres. The emphasis will be sweating the assets created by the investment, in terms of economic output, and of ensuring that there is coherence between these facilities and the delivery of two allied programmes, the Business Partners Programme and the Enterprise Platform Programme. Enterprise Ireland will promote its Business Partners Initiative to drive the commercialisation of emerging research in Universities by way of start-up firms and also, in collaboration with the Institutes of Technology, Enterprise Ireland will shortly be rolling out a significantly revised Enterprise Platform Programme, which is an intensive entrepreneurship development programme.

Funding of just over €1 million was provided from this Department's Vote through Enterprise Ireland for this incubation programme in 2011 and it is projected that €2m will be provided in 2012.

Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 34.