The Government is tackling unemployment generally through the twin strategies of the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work. The aim of the Action Plan for Jobs is to support the creation of 100,000 net new jobs by 2016, while the objective of Pathways to Work is to provide those who are unemployed with the appropriate training and skills to avail of the job opportunities which will arise as the economy recovers. Both of these strategies are whole of Government, national strategies aimed at creating and sustaining jobs across all regions of the State.
I have met with the representatives of small business in North Dublin and recently held a public meeting with small businesses on the Northside to discuss the Action Plan for Jobs. The concerns raised included access to finance, competitiveness of costs and rates, prompt payments, VAT thresholds, enterprise supports, regulatory burdens, employer costs and sectoral opportunities.
The Action Plan for Jobs addresses many of these concerns of small business with specific initiatives. They are currently in the course of implementation and will benefit small businesses on the Northside. A key measure in the Action Plan for Jobs is to facilitate the development by Dublin City University of the vacant former Enterprise Ireland site in Glasnevin into an internationally recognised "Innovation Campus", involving a partnership of education and research institutions, enterprises and the semi-state sector. Its focus will be on research-active Cleantech firms.
The Agencies under my Department are also rolling out their plans of support for businesses on the Northside. Enterprise Ireland is actively promoting entrepreneurship in Dublin and provides a range of enterprise programmes and other initiatives to approximately 500 companies on the Northside ensure that emerging technologies and business ideas with export potential are supported to become a commercial reality.
There are currently 1,290 Enterprise Ireland client companies in Dublin City and Fingal County, employing over 27,000 people in full time employment and almost 5,600 people in contract or part time jobs. In 2011, Enterprise Ireland paid out €21.5m in funding to client companies in Dublin City and €4.6m to companies in Fingal. To date in 2012, the agency has paid out more than €7m to companies in the areas covered by Dublin City and Fingal.
In February this year, Enterprise Ireland launched a new Community Enterprise Centre (CEC) Programme for the maintenance or establishment of a strong business development function in Community Enterprise Centres funded by the agency. Since the foundation of the first CEC Programme in 1989, Enterprise Ireland has paid out more than €2.4m in funding to six Community Enterprise Centres on the Northside of Dublin, two of which are based in Coolock and Darndale. Dublin City Enterprise Board and Fingal County Enterprise Board support enterprise development and job creation throughout the Northside of Dublin, through the provision of both direct and indirect assistance for small business. Hundreds of companies will benefit from start-up grants, mentoring and management development training.