I propose to take Questions Nos. 98 and 99 together.
The latest data from the CSO shows that in the year to September 2013, there was an increase of 3.2%, or 58,000 people, in employment. Unemployment has fallen from 13.6% to 12.8%, and youth unemployment has decreased from 31.1% to 26.5% over the year to September 2013.
In terms of indigenous industry, Enterprise Ireland recognises the significant unemployment challenge facing communities throughout Ireland. Enterprise Ireland works with its clients throughout the country to help to drive employment creation. Enterprise Ireland employs a holistic, developmental approach and engages client companies across all aspects of the value chain. Enterprise Ireland works with clients on business development, sales and marketing capabilities, innovation and R&D activity, technology development, continuous competitiveness and lean improvements, on-going leadership and management development, and access to finance.
In 2012, total employment in Enterprise Ireland’s client companies increased to 169,451, made up of 145,460 in full time jobs and 23,991 in part-time positions. This positive performance by Irish companies was achieved notwithstanding the continuing economic challenges at home and abroad. The total direct and indirect employment impact associated with Enterprise Ireland client companies is estimated to total more than 300,000 jobs.
The companies that Enterprise Ireland works with are a vital source of employment in every county in Ireland; in 2012 almost two-thirds of jobs in Enterprise Ireland assisted companies were outside of Dublin. In December 2011 Forfás published the South East Employment Action Plan to help address the high unemployment rate facing that region. This was followed by the development of an action plan for the Mid-West region following the decision to restructure the tourism and enterprise support agencies in the region. Enterprise Ireland is targeting the creation of 12,000 new jobs in 2014.
The Foreign Direct Investment sector is a major contributor to the Irish economy, with 1,000+ companies, employing over 150,000 people and generating €122bn in exports per annum. In addition, because Irelands FDI focus and competitive advantage is concentrated on high technology sectors requiring high education and skill levels, a high proportion of FDI employment and new employee take up is from young people with third level education qualifications.
In addition to the direct employment impact of FDI, it also generates a substantial downstream spill over employment impact, via employment in construction, facility maintenance, services suppliers, and the spending of wages/salaries and tax revenues in the economy. A study by Indecon consultants in 2010 for Forfas estimated this indirect employment impact to be about 70% of the direct employment impact. Again a significant amount of this indirect employment contributes to reducing youth unemployment in the economy.
The FDI sector also impacts very positively on the Irish economy via the large amount of R&D being carried out by IDA Ireland client companies, with wide ranging positive effects on employment across the economy, much of it highly qualified young people. IDA Ireland is targeting the creation of 12,000 new jobs in 2014.
Despite the significant job losses in manufacturing up to 2010, there are now 205,700 people directly employed in the sector in Ireland, and a similar number of people employed indirectly: the total supported within the sector is therefore just over 400,000. In 2012, in order to build on the potential for this sector I asked Forfás to undertake an analysis of Manufacturing in Ireland and the resultant Strategy, which I launched earlier this year, sets a comprehensive suite of recommendations to develop the sector, which are now being progressed. The Strategy identifies that an additional 20,000 jobs can be created in Manufacturing by 2016. The tide is already turning, as in the years 2011 and 2012 there was a net increase of 3,700 jobs in the Manufacturing sector. Some of the other more detailed statistics requested by the Deputy are not readily available.
A particularly attractive feature of manufacturing in Ireland is the fact that many of the present jobs are not in the main urban areas, but dispersed into regional locations, thereby providing a valuable employment focus in areas where alternative jobs are scarce. The further development of the sector will, of course, build on this key feature. In addition, the wider economic indicators are now looking quite positive. The Private Sector is creating an overall 3,000 jobs every month as our competitiveness improves and consumer confidence slowly returns. This is a dramatic recovery from the position of a few years ago.
The role of the County Enterprise Boards is to promote entrepreneurship, company start-ups and expansion, and job creation at local level. In 2012 the 35 County and City Enterprise Boards created 4,858 new full time jobs, and are expecting to create a similar number in 2013 and 2014.
The Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, together with the Enterprise Ireland, is also examining options for CEB-led initiatives aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship, including a mix of financial supports for business start-ups, feasibility studies and mentoring.
Programmes aimed at youth & regional entrepreneurship
Enterprise Ireland Graduate Programmes
Enterprise Ireland currently has two graduate development programmes which are primarily focussed at the under 25 age group (less than 2 years post graduation) – The Innovate Programme delivered by WIT and the Graduates 4 International Growth Programme (G4IG). These posts are targeted at graduates with a 2.2 or higher grade average and less than 2 years post graduation experience. The programmes provide a company with a capable graduate to work in their business (International Markets or R&D) while getting a graduate development post grad qualification at the IMI/NUIC or WIT. The graduate’s employment costs are subsidised for up to 18 months.
- To date 119 companies have hired 127 graduates with support from Enterprise Ireland in identifying, employing and training graduates in Internationalisation.
- The G4IG 2013 programme is currently open for recruitment. Approximately 300 recent graduates are currently registered for the programme which has 35 companies approved with 46 positions.
- Eight companies employing eight graduates are taking part in the pilot technovation graduate programme in Waterford IT.
Other programmes with a youth focus
Nurturing tomorrow’s entrepreneurs Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship and exposing students to the fundamentals of business is an integral part of promoting an entrepreneurial culture. Enterprise Ireland coordinated and supported a number of the initiatives in 2012 to promote youth entrepreneurship and engagement in the world of hi-tech. These included CoderDojo, an Irish-led movement that is teaching kids globally to code, and our annual Think Outside the Box awards, which aim to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship among third level students
Competitive Start Fund
The purpose of the Competitive Start Fund is to accelerate the growth of start-up companies that have the capability to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable those companies reach key commercial and technical milestones, for example:
- Evaluate overseas market opportunities and reach firm conclusions regarding the viability of the proposed business.
- Build a prototype.
- Secure a reference site.
- Develop a market entry plan for exploiting international opportunities.
- Secure partnership deal or strategic alliance.
- Identify suitable channels to international markets.
- Secure third party investment e.g. business angel, Venture Capital.
The CSF is open to entrepreneurs establishing early-stage businesses in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. As with all EI supports, there are no set age limits, and there is a modest level of investment from the promoter required to avail of EI funding. As such, the CSF can represent an opportunity for youth entrepreneurs to avail of seed funding where the proposed project has international potential.
Think Outside The Box Awards
The Think Outside the Box Awards is aimed at third level students with a novel idea for a new business. Focusing on the development of business ideas with real commercial potential the provides cash prizes and the opportunity to avail of €30,000 worth of specialist advice and assistance to potentially help turn the enterprise idea into a business reality. The awards are sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, Intel, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Grant Thornton. The Think Outside The Box Awards have an exclusive focus on third level students, from all academic disciplines and courses of study, and offer the opportunity to realise entrepreneurial ambitions.
Be part of Ireland getting back on its feet and help to drive the economy by commercialising your business ideas and considering starting your own business as a viable career option. Submissions for the awards are accepted all year round and both Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI business mentors are available to help to develop the business idea.
Given the focus of the Awards (3rd level), a significant number of the participants are in the youth entrepreneur cohort. Former winners have gone on to participate in business start-ups, and have availed of EI support.
New Frontiers is Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme that is delivered at a local level by the Institutes of Technology. For those with an innovative business idea and planning to establish and run your own company, the New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme can provide a package of supports to help accelerate business development and to equip entrepreneurs with the skills and contacts needed to successfully start and grow your company.
New Frontiers provides Entrepreneurs with:
- Training in all areas of business including financial management, market research & validation, business process, patenting, product development, sales training.
- Mentoring from experienced business advisers and practitioners.
- Office and other business incubation facilities.
- €15,000 scholarship to cover full-time participation in the six month course.
- Networking with other entrepreneurs and business development agencies.
- Introductions to seed and early stage capital investment networks.
- Access to entrepreneurship best practice, both national and international.
- Peer-group learning from participants in the region and across the country.
- Access to the expertise in Enterprise Ireland through our Market Research Centre.
- Expertise from the Institutes of Technology and the supportive environment of their business incubation centres.
Launched in February 2012, the New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme aims to support the creation of 100 high value, knowledge based, Irish owned businesses, each year. The programme can represent a good avenue for youth entrepreneurs with an innovative business idea to develop and hone their plans and develop an investor ready proposition.
Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc are working together on a food sector entrepneurship programme which offers access to a range of supports including assistance in developing the business proposition, market research, and advice on business financing and supplier development.
The County Enterprise Boards (CEBs) throughout the country provide supports, both financial and non-financial or "soft" supports, to all micro-enterprises in the start-up or expansion phase in manufacturing and services, subject to certain conditions. The soft supports include the provision of business advice, training and mentoring to all clients. The aim is to develop indigenous enterprise potential, stimulate economic activity at local level and promote the establishment of micro-enterprises within their administrative area. These supports are available to everyone, regardless of age.
IDA Ireland is also actively supporting the recent Pathways to Work initiative and in this regard:
- Has recently agreed a protocol with DSP to enhance cooperation on increasing the possibilities for unemployed persons to take up job opportunities in FDI companies
- Is actively using the DSP unemployment databases for marketing to clients in relation to specific projects. Over the last four months IDA Ireland has requested DSP data in relation to five individual projects.
- Is liaising closely with FAS/Solas on putting in place focused training initiatives that can effectively and quickly bridge any skills gaps remaining among unemployed persons identified using DSP data bases.
- Is actively marketing JobBridge internships and the recently introduced JobsPlus incentives to client companies.