Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (33)

Gerry Adams


31 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation when the financial support will be available to allow the small and medium-sized enterprises to access cloud computing. [33851/12]

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

There are various supports currently available to businesses which may wish to operate from a cloud computing platform. Enterprise Ireland proactively supports the development of its client companies in meeting the challenges posed by Cloud Computing through the application of a range of existing financial supports including:

Feasibility study grants to investigate business opportunities;

R&D grants to support the development of new products and processes;

Support for LEAN initiatives aimed at productivity improvement and the development of new business models;

Investment in HPSUs with Cloud based technologies and services (Specifically through the Innovative Start-up, Overseas Entrepreneur, Competitive Start and iGAP programmes); and

Innovation Vouchers/Partnerships to support Industry/Third Level collaboration.

In addition to this Enterprise Ireland is engaged in a range of activities with client companies to promote Cloud opportunities and advise companies on what they need to know to take advantage of the Cloud, including an awareness campaign and transitional support. Under the Technology Centres programme, EI and IDA have jointly supported a Cloud Technology centre which will conduct research aimed at producing technologies for use by both SME's and larger companies in exploiting Cloud computing opportunities.

A key part of our Action Plan for Jobs is to ensure that we have more businesses establishing, succeeding, investing, expanding, and creating employment. To achieve this, we are implementing a series of targeted initiatives to make it easier for small businesses to access credit. The Microenterprise Loan Fund Scheme, which is expected to be operational from early autumn, will facilitate up to €40million in additional lending to microenterprises over the next five years. I am also in the process of introducing the Temporary Partial Loan Guarantee Scheme for SME's who, because of lack of collateral or because of the sector they operate in, face difficulties in accessing traditional bank credit.

These initiatives coupled with existing actions in respect of the Innovation Fund and the Development Capital Scheme will strongly contribute to addressing the credit needs of business and facilitate business modernisation and expansion, and the creation and maintenance of jobs.