Collaborative working spaces known as digital hubs, or “eHubs”, are envisaged under Project Ireland 2040 as part of an ongoing suite of measures to encourage greater levels of collaboration between entrepreneurs in accessing available supports and assistance in helping to make their businesses grow. These future eHubs will play an important role in facilitating remote working which offers many benefits to businesses and to individuals while contributing to balanced regional employment. There are a number of cross-departmental efforts which will assist in the development of eHubs, including the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
I recently announced allocations under the second call of the REDF administered by Enterprise Ireland. A number of the projects that have been offered funding are already prototype digital Hubs and should develop throughout the duration of their project into sustainable eHubs.
As for the transfer of IDA properties to Enterprise Ireland, it is the case that the two Agencies already work very closely and effectively with one another on property-related matters. Whilst the IDA is primarily focused on helping find property solutions for overseas firms, it also supports EI clients seeking to identify an appropriate site or building. The IDA and EI will continue to cooperate on property issues into the future.
More broadly, I want to emphasise that creating jobs in the regions is a priority for both the IDA and my Department. I am focused on doing everything I can to deliver the fairest possible spread of investment across the country. The energy and resources we have invested into regional growth is, as the evidence illustrates, now helping produce results. In 2018, for example, the IDA delivered 113 regional investments with 56% of net new jobs created outside Dublin. The last four years have seen 44,500 new FDI jobs created outside the capital. We will continue to do our utmost to encourage further such job growth across all parts of Ireland in the time ahead.