Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Community Enterprise Centres

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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203. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the reason for the delay in funding a new round of the Business Development Management Programme funded by Enterprise Ireland for Community Enterprise Centres in view of the fact that previous funding contracts ceased in June 2014; and if he will ensure that the new programme commences without any further delay and before the end of 2014. [46786/14]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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I understand from Enterprise Ireland that since the launch of the first Community Enterprise Centre scheme in 1989, Enterprise Ireland has approved €64 million for the development of Community Enterprise Centres in towns and villages across the country. There are currently 117 such centres across the country. There is no new Community Enterprise Centre Scheme to fund Business Development Management in 2014. The last scheme rolled out was in 2012 and 2013 when Enterprise Ireland provided funding of €2 million to support the recruitment of a total of 46 Business Development Managers. That programme included funding to support the employment of 9 Business Development Managers for a two year period in 2013-2015.

On the wider issue of the Centres, the success levels, occupancy levels and sustainability of jobs at the Centres varies and therefore I have asked Enterprise Ireland to review the operations of the Community Enterprise Centres in the context of regional enterprise development and how the Community Enterprise Centres and the Local Enterprise Offices might work more closely in support of business start-ups before giving further consideration to the matter.

There are a number of dimensions to this issue such as the role of other players such as the Local Authorities, private sector involvement and the level of supply and demand for business space in the locality.

The Action Plan for Jobs 2014 includes a commitment to develop a framework for Regional Enterprise Strategies that will enable us to better integrate the efforts of the enterprise development agencies and other regional stakeholders, including Community Enterprise Centres, in supporting enterprise growth and jobs in the regions. While there is already a significant amount of practical cooperation taking place at local and regional levels between many public bodies, developing a framework in which cooperation can be improved, is timely.

I have been actively working on a template for the development of Regional Enterprise Strategies and it is my intention that this framework will be applied initially on a pilot basis to produce action-oriented plans to support enterprise growth and jobs in the Midlands region and the South East region. These pilots will inform any adaptations that might need to be made prior to the framework being applied to other regions. I fully expect that the existing network of Community Enterprise Centres will have a role to play in the creation and implementation of enterprise strategies in their regions.


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