My Department and its agencies are actively engaged in the development of regional digital hubs / ehubs and enterprise centres which enable and support new business development, provide the opportunity for business relocation, and for full-time or part-time remote working from regional locations. A number of projects which have been offered funding under, for example, the competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), are already prototype ehubs and should develop over time into more sustainable ehubs in their own right.
In the context of the further development of ehubs, as envisaged in Project Ireland 2040, in support of efforts to expand entrepreneurship and start-ups in every region, Enterprise Ireland is addressing the need to expand and further develop co-working initiatives including through existing community enterprise centres as set out in their recently launched regional strategy ‘Powering the Regions’.
The relevant projects funded as part of the first and second Calls of the REDF that I announced in December 2017 and December 2018 are set out in the tables below. In June 2019 I announced a further €45m to be made available under this Fund and this third call for applications closed on 25th September 2019. It is expected that the successful projects in the third call will be announced in early January 2020.
Funding approved is delivered via grant support. Successful applicants in receipt of grant support must spend money upfront and then claim for eligible expense incurred from Enterprise Ireland. Enterprise Ireland inspects all grant claims to ensure all expenses are eligible for payment before the grant is paid. This process creates a time lag between the date of the Letter of Offer and the claiming of the grant by the successful applicant.
The successful applicants have 5 years to claim eligible expenses, in line with the agreed letter of offer.
Many of the projects approved under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund are new builds. These projects require approximately 18 to 24 months to go through the planning, procurement and build stages of the project.
A breakdown of REDF funding approved for eHubs, Enterprise Spaces, Incubation/Food-Hubs, Co-Working and annual year to date funding drawn down is attached in Table 1 below.
Funding - Table 1 and 2