Wednesday, 18 February 2015
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Action Plan for Jobs
68. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the person with overall responsibility for managing the regional Action Plan for Jobs when it commences shortly in the midlands region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7381/15]
Last week, the Government announced details of a comprehensive new strategy to support enterprise growth and job creation at regional level through Action Plans for Jobs-Regional. This initiative seeks to build on the success of the annual Action Plan for Jobs process by developing locally driven plans that can build on the strengths and opportunities identified in each region.
Eight Regional Action Plans will be published, commencing with the Midlands region. This Plan is currently being finalised following a series of engagements with key stakeholders in the Midlands. It will include a series of actions for delivery by the enterprise development agencies (Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices), Local Authorities, other public sector bodies, and the private sector to support enterprise growth and job creation in the region.
As is the case with the national Action Plan process, the cumulative effect of these measures will make a real and lasting impact on improving the business environment in the region. The Regional Action Plans will be flexible and dynamic to allow additional actions and ideas to be added as they emerge. In this context, it is important that the Plans and their implementation are monitored and reviewed on a regular basis.
Precise details for monitoring the implementation of the actions will be set out in the Regional Action Plan for the Midlands when it is published. My objective is to ensure that these processes complement any arrangements that might be put in place for the monitoring of the regional Spatial and Economic Strategies to be developed by the new Regional Assemblies under the terms of the Local Government Reform Act, 2014.
69. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation when the Enterprise Ireland €100 million funding programme, as part for Action Plan for Jobs regional, will be open for applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7382/15]
The Action Plan for Jobs – Regional - is based on the principle that the best way to support job-creation in towns and villages across the country is to support agencies and organisations within 8 regions, to build on the particular strengths and assets of their area and drive new job-creation strategies and projects.
This five year strategy will be based on the successful Action Plan for Jobs model of setting out lists of actions with timelines and responsibility allocated, and then monitoring implementation. As Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, I will lead the initiative.
Each of the 8 regions will develop its own Action Plan. It is my intention that all regional plans will be published or in development by July 2015.
Under the strategy, Enterprise Ireland will launch a series of new competitive funding initiatives in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation, enterprise infrastructure and job creation. The objective is to bring forward fresh collaborative initiatives to boost enterprise and job creation in the region. An initial fund of €50 million is to be made available for three competitive calls.
The first of these competitive calls, with a budget of €5 million, will focus on community-driven enterprise initiatives and how all the local players, public and private, can work together to maximise job creation.
The Community Enterprise Initiatives Fund call will be open to existing Community Enterprise Centres (CECs) and also to any other organisation or groups of organisations with innovative ideas to create jobs, promote entrepreneurship, boost innovation or enhance exports. It should be open to any credible and novel approach rather than simply replicating what has been done before.
Criteria in any such competition will be announced by Enterprise Ireland, but the typical criteria will include:
- Promoting a culture of entrepreneurship locally and regionally;
- Developing capacity to start up and scale companies; filling gaps in enterprise facilities;
- Building on existing strengths or opportunities, e.g. developing a sectoral opportunity where there is a competitive advantage
- Devising a credible plan to deliver added value in jobs and start-ups and increased level of exporting/potential exporters
- Commitment of matching finance
- Bringing originality in approach, objectives, leverage of other stakeholders
- Leveraging off other enterprise support (Mentoring, funding, networks)
- Promoting public and private partnership, e.g. alignment/collaboration with others players (e.g. LEO, ETB, HEIs, Chambers etc.)
A second call, also with a budget of €5 million will focus on Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and how innovative new ideas or plans to support job creation in the region can receive additional funding. A third, broader, competitive regional call of up to €40 million will support significant projects or initiatives to improve or leverage identified enterprise capability in the region.
The first two calls will be made at the end of March 2015.