To complement the Regional Enterprise Plans and the previous Regional Action Plans for Jobs, my Department’s €60m Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) was rolled out by Enterprise Ireland with calls in 2017 and 2018. The Fund was introduced to support the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative projects that can help to sustain and add to employment at county, regional and national level.
To date, 42 projects have been awarded funding over the two completed calls, worth a total of almost €60m, with collaborative projects supported in every region.
On Monday 24 June 2019, I announced the €45m Call 3 of the REDF. This call continues to support the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative projects that can make a significant impact on enterprise development in the regions. It will also support ongoing implementation of the Department’s Regional Enterprise Plans while referencing Enterprise Ireland’s newly launched regional strategy ‘Powering the Regions’ and the Future Jobs Ireland initiative. The Scheme is also aimed at supporting the development of initiatives that can help to strengthen the regional ability to adjust and cope with the potential effects of international economic changes that may impact on regions or sectors' performance nationally.
The objectives of the Scheme will achieved by co-financing the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative projects that can sustain and add to employment at a national, regional and county level. This will be accommodated by supporting 'Strategic Change Projects' under Stream one; 'Regional Strengthening Projects' under Stream two; and stimulating 'Enterprise Clustering Initiatives' under Stream three. Enterprise clustering under the REDF will be focused on supporting industry-led groups to maximise the benefits of collaborative opportunities where the results of the activity will have identifiable and measurable impacts on the participant businesses.
The third call is now open for applications and closes on 25 September 2019 with a view to successful projects being announced before the end of the year. Priority will be given to projects which are shovel ready and which can clearly demonstrate an ability to draw down funding within set timeframes.
Finally, the Regional Enterprise Development Fund also sits alongside and is complementary to the funding opportunities under Project Ireland 2040 (the Rural and Urban Regeneration and Development Funds; Climate Action; and Disruptive Technologies) which collectively provide an opportunity to strengthen the regional enterprise ecosystem throughout Ireland.