Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
80. Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the policy directives given to enterprise support services under the auspices of his Department, with reference to the possible need to encourage enterprise in provincial towns across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35988/11]
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): Job creation is at the core of Government policy and the creation and retention of sustainable jobs is central to the work of the enterprise development agencies — Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the County and City Enterprise Boards. Enterprise Ireland’s primary objective is to drive the growth of Irish-owned companies in overseas markets. In so doing, jobs will be created and additional spend will be generated in their localities. Company growth means economic growth throughout all the regions. With well over half of the agency’s client companies located outside the major urban centres of Dublin, Cork and Galway, working directly with new and established companies based in provincial towns and surrounding areas is a fundamental aspect of Enterprise Ireland’s work.
Currently, EI client companies employ around 137,000 people and half are employed outside Dublin, Cork and Galway. Around €420 million, or 63%, of all funding allocated for “direct company development projects” since 2008 has been approved to companies outside the Dublin region. Enterprise Ireland also supports the Community Enterprise Centres (CECs) throughout the regions which provide a range of facilities that enable entrepreneurs to establish new businesses and provide employment in local and rural communities. Since the first CEC development scheme in 1989, €61.4 million has been approved for the building and expansion of 134 centres across the country. An estimated 4,300 are employed in these Centres.
The County and City Enterprise Boards have an excellent track record in tapping into local entrepreneurial potential and they currently support more than 38,000 jobs across the regions. Their focus has increasingly been on the development of sustainable growth-orientated local enterprise, which can deliver high quality job creation without displacement or deadweight. Through the provision of both financial and non-financial support the Boards have assisted many micro-enterprises in developing their growth and export potential right around the country.
At present, 45% of IDA Ireland client employment of over 125,000 is outside of the key urban centres of Dublin and Cork. The agency’s strategy, “Horizon 2020” has set specific regional goals of securing 50% of all investments into locations outside of Dublin and Cork. The Government’s Capital Investment Framework 2012-2016 announced on the 10th November last provides €2.334 billion for jobs, enterprise and innovation over the period. This investment will assist enterprises across the regions and deliver much needed jobs to the economy as a whole.
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