Supporting new and existing indigenous and foreign-owned businesses, across all regions, is central to our plans for recovery, growth and jobs. The Action Plan for Jobs contains a number of measures which are aimed specifically at the facilitation and incentivisation of national enterprise development from start-ups to growth companies. It also sets out measures that will enhance linkages between foreign owned multi-national and indigenous Irish companies through for example, enhanced sub-supply opportunities.
The Plan is a whole Government plan with a national focus across all regions. In addition to a continued focus on supporting and growing enterprise, the Action Plan for Jobs sets out an ambitious plan for developing employment initiatives within communities. The range of actions set out in the plan recognises that while it is Government who will create the right operating environment for business growth and job creation, it is the local entrepreneurs who will create the jobs.
The Enterprise Development agencies will be at the forefront of implementing the Action Plan for Jobs across all regions and will ensure that local enterprises can maximise their contribution to economic and jobs growth. In terms of the specific supports delivered, a total of €15m was approved to indigenous companies in the Midland and Western Regions in 2011, supporting more than 18,000 jobs. Additionally, IDA-supported companies employed over 17,500 people between the two regions.
From the beginning of 2011 to date, IDA Ireland has announced the creation of more than 1,200 jobs across the two regions in locations including Galway, Tullamore, Athlone and Castlerea Co. Roscommon. Of the 92 High Potential Start-ups assisted by Enterprise Ireland throughout the country in 2011, four are based in the Midlands region and eight in the West. In addition, Enterprise Ireland hosted Exporting Awareness Events last March and May in Athlone and Galway respectively, attracting over 160 attendees between them who were either first time or early stage exporters. EI funding for Innovation Partnership and Research Funding to the Third Level Sector in the Midlands Region in 2011 amounted to €854,796 for eight projects.