My Department and its agencies are providing extensive supports, schemes and advice to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and the practical preparatory actions to be taken over the coming weeks.
We are active in the Getting Ireland Brexit Ready public information campaign, including a recent event held in Monaghan in October where I was delighted to welcome many businesses from the Border region. Officials from my Department and agencies also participated in the Getting Ireland Brexit Ready event in Letterkenny in Donegal on Friday, 30 November last year, which included Enterprise Ireland, EI, Industrial Development Authority Ireland, IDA, local enterprise offices, LEOs, National Standards Association of Ireland, NSAI, and the Health and Safety Authority, HSA. Last week, the Revenue Commissioners held a seminar in Dundalk. The seminar focused on customs requirements, procedures and operation of the UK landbridge and transit arrangements. This week the NSAI is hosting Brexit events in Cavan, Monaghan and Sligo and further events are being planned by my Department and agencies.
As part of budget 2019, I allocated an additional €1 million to InterTrade Ireland, ITI. The ITI Brexit advisory service provides a focal point for SMEs working to navigate any changes in cross-Border trading post-Brexit. ITI also offers a Brexit start to plan voucher scheme, worth up to €2,250, for professional advice on preparing for Brexit.
The LEOs in the Border regions are the first-stop-shop for anyone seeking guidance and support on starting or growing their business and preparing for Brexit. To date, 402 LEO clients have received one-to-one Brexit mentoring. I allocated an additional capital funding of €5 million in budget 2019 to the LEOs to step up their Brexit preparedness work.
In addition, the six LEOs in the Border region are working together with their Northern Ireland counterparts under the EU co-innovate programme, to help firms to innovate, differentiate and compete. I compliment the work being done by the LEOs. They are doing great work in the Border area in helping companies to prepare for Brexit. They are the first port of call, and can direct businesses to other places where they can receive further support.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
In December, I announced call two of the competitive regional enterprise development fund, REDF. Taking the first and second calls of the REDF together, the Border region had seven successful projects with a total funding allocation of more than €10.6 million.
As part of budget 2019, I allocated an additional €10 million to the IDA for the next phase of the region property programme. This programme will prioritise investment in the Border region with advanced units to be built in Dundalk, Monaghan and Sligo.
I will also shortly launch the refresh of the north west and the north east Action Plans for Jobs and Brexit will be an ongoing priority area for both committees.
The €300 million Brexit loan scheme provides working capital for up to three years to eligible businesses to adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. The Brexit future growth loan scheme was announced in budget 2019 and will provide a longer-term facility, eight to ten years, of up to €300 million to support strategic capital investment for a post-Brexit.
Last week, I announced the EI annual results where every region in Ireland recorded increases in employment, including a 9% increase in the north west and a 3% increase in the north east. More than 23,700 of those in employment in EI clients out of 215,207 are in the Border region. Some of the recent EI jobs announcements for the region have included 90 new jobs in E & I Engineering in Donegal and 200 new jobs in Combilift in County Monaghan.
EI also recently launched a new customs online training support to help all businesses understand how customs work.
We are also engaged in extensive communications to ensure that businesses, particularly those in the Border counties, know my Department and agencies are here to help with a range of practical supports and advice.