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More gains in regional employment possible – Minister Humphreys

1.5 million outside of Dublin now in employment

Minister Humphreys announces second call for proposals under €60 million Regional Enterprise Development Fund

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today announced that she would be making a further €30 million available through a Second Call for Proposals under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF).

As announced at the recent launch of Project Ireland 2040, the Fund will now operate on a rolling basis through the National Development Plan. It is administered for Minister Humphreys’ Department by the State Agency, Enterprise Ireland.

The announcement was made by Minister Humphreys at Farmleigh House, Dublin where she met with the Chairpersons and representatives from the Regional Action Plan for Jobs Implementation Committees to discuss new priority initiatives for the Regional Action Plans over the period to 2020.

Minister Humphreys praised the significant contribution each Regional Committee has made to date, as well as their ongoing commitment to the Regional Action Plan for Jobs initiative:

“The Regional Action Plans for Jobs have made real progress and there has been significant improvement in regional employment levels since 2015. Collaboration between the private and the public sector has been key, and I want to thank the Committees and their Chairpersons for their invaluable work and service.

“We have done a lot but working together we can achieve more. Today marks the start of our ‘refresh and refocus’ of the Regional Action Plans, as we bring together key figures from industry and the public sector to share their ideas on the strategic regional priorities we should now focus on to 2020.”

Announcing the opening of the Second Call under the €60 million Regional Enterprise Development Fund, the Minister added:

“In December, I was delighted to announce the award of €30.5m to 21 collaborative projects right across the country. Now that the Second Call is open, I look forward to seeing many more exciting, innovative initiatives to drive employment creation in our regions.

“Under this Fund, each region will secure a minimum of €2 million once projects meet the required standard. There is an opportunity here for regional stakeholders, both public and private sector, to work together and bring forward initiatives that build on each region’s unique strengths. This is all with a view to enhancing the enterprise and job creation potential in their region.”

Also addressing the event, the Minister State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, said:

“The Regional Action Plans for Jobs have provided a structure for collaboration so that individual Counties can work together, harness collective abilities to support enterprise growth, and respond to economic challenges. The €60 million Regional Enterprise Development Fund builds on and supports this structure. It puts regional investment into the hands of local stakeholders, and encourages local groups to develop and drive enterprise growth and employment opportunities in their own communities.”

Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD, said:

“When the Regional Action Plan for Jobs was launched, we strengthened our commitment to improving employment opportunities in all areas of the country by making substantial additional funds available through the enterprise agencies out to 2020. This Fund will support industry clustering, which will enable knowledge transfer, innovation and collaboration among organisations, and ultimately create more job opportunities in the regions”.

CEO of Enterprise Ireland Julie Sinnamon said:

“The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is an effective mechanism for supporting regional development and the regional business eco-system, helping to create and sustain jobs in the regions.  The first call stimulated more than 75 applications, from which 21 regional projects were awarded competitive funding totalling €30.5 million, following a rigorous evaluation process. We anticipate a similar level of interest in this second call and look forward to working with regional stakeholders on more innovative proposals to build scale at regional level, which is a key priority for Enterprise Ireland. The call opens for applications on 16th April and closes on 28th June 2018.”


For more information please contact: or Ph. (01) 6312200

Photographs to be distributed by Fennell Photography.

Notes to editors:

  • The REDF announcement was made in the presence of 90 private and public sector figures who have been instrumental in the implementation of the Regional Action Plans for Jobs process across all areas of the country.
  • Attendees included key industry representatives such as Caroline Keeling (Chief Executive, Keelings), Eamonn Sinnott (VP and GM, Intel Ireland), Richard Hanlon (SVP, Vesta Payment Solutions), Gerry Kilcommins (VP Global Operations, Medtronic), and Frank O’Regan (former VP Global Operations, Bausch & Lomb).
  • Minister Humphreys heard from each Regional Action Plan Implementation Committee Chairperson on the key achievements of the Plans to date, as well as their thoughts on the key areas of potential for each region towards 2020.
  • The meeting marks the start of a process to ‘refresh and refocus’ each of the Regional Action Plans out to 2020.
  • The aim of the Regional Action Plan for Jobs is to create an additional 200,000 jobs, of which 135,000 are outside the Dublin region, by 2020, with the unemployment rate of each region within one percentage point of the national average.
  • Since the launch of the first Regional Action Plans for Jobs in 2015, 167,000 more people are now in employment across the country, with over 70% of this increase in the counties outside Dublin (CSO Labour Force Survey to Q2 2017)[1].
  • In addition to the €60m in competitive funding delivered through Enterprise Ireland, an additional €150m has also been made available to the IDA to support its Regional Property Programme and drive job creation in the multi-national sector.


Overview of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF):

The REDF is aimed at accelerating economic recovery in every part of the country by delivering on the potential of local and regional strengths. The funding is provided by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, through Enterprise Ireland under the National Development Plan. It is a key action to support the Regional Action Plan for Jobs and the Action Plan for Rural Development.

Funding of up to €60m is being made available over a period of four years to 2020 over two competitive calls for proposals.

The first call under the Fund was announced in May 2017, with the results released in December. Twenty-one applicants representing all regions of the country secured a total of up to €30.5m in financial support for a range of enterprise and capability development projects.

Details of these projects can be found here

This Second Call announced by the Minister today will fund projects with the balance of the €60m remaining under the REDF. The Call will close on June 28th, 2018.

For further information in relation to the REDF, contact – Conor O’ Donovan, Communications Officer, Enterprise Ireland 01-7272000.

Web Link to EI Scheme Documentation:

REDF Fund details:

A maximum of up to 80% is available for projects, with the balance to be leveraged from the private, community or public sector.

The Fund will support major new collaborative and innovative initiatives that can make a significant impact on enterprise development in the region/across regions or nationally to build the unique USP capabilities to grow the regions. This will be achieved by co-financing the development and implementation of collaborative and innovative projects that can sustain and add to employment at a national; regional, county and community level.

The overarching aim of the Fund is to drive enterprise development and job creation in each region throughout Ireland. Projects must be impactful, with the principal impact being jobs.

The Applicant will be not for profit entities that have already, or propose to, set up a distinct legal entity that comprise national/regional, county and local stakeholders, with a purpose of benefiting the wider needs of the community and region/nation as defined in the four streams outlined below.

Applicants can be promoted by private or public organisations, which for example might include:

  • Higher Education Institutes
  • Semi State Commercial bodies
  • Local Enterprise Development Groups
  • Local Authorities

Composition of Fund:

The fund will consist of 4 streams, as follows:

Stream 1: Major Regional Change Projects

Investment of €2m up to €5m per project (min of 20% to be leveraged from the private, community or public sector) for major initiatives with high impact on enterprise development of the region and ability to create jobs e.g.

  • Specialised Incubators,
  • Hubs in Design; Med Devices; Fintech, Agri-tech; Food; etc.

Stream 2: Regionally Significant Change Projects

Investment of €250,000 up to €2m per project (min. of 20% to be leveraged from the private, community or public sector) for initiatives with high impact at regional/multi-regional level; e.g.

  • Developing e-working centres;
  • Stimulating the development of SME outreach from 3rd level;
  • Projects to accelerate start ups

Stream 3: Local & Community Enterprise Development Initiative

Investment of €50,000 up to €250,000 per project (min of 20% to be leveraged from the private, community or public sector) to stimulate the development of community based enterprises & networks that can grow and sustain jobs in their area/county/region. E.g.

  • Start Up/Scaling Academies
  • Local Networks/ Consortia to deliver sectoral growth
  • Addressing sectoral challenges around Green, Energy, Digital, Innovation

Stream 4: Industry Clusters

Investment of €50,000 up to €250,000 per project (min of 50% to be leveraged from the private, community or public sector) to maximize the benefits of collaborative opportunities through industry clusters (both established and new).

Industry Clusters initiatives are defined as structures or organised groups of independent parties (at least five companies) designed to stimulate innovative activity through promotion, sharing of facilities and exchange of knowledge and expertise and by contributing effectively to knowledge transfer, networking, information dissemination and collaboration among the undertakings and other organisations in the industry cluster.

[1] Note: the introduction of a new methodology for calculating labour market statistics by the CSO in Q3 2017 has resulted in a “break” in the series, such that previous quarters are not comparable over time with the most recent Q4 results. Q2 2017 and previous quarters are therefore used to describe longer term trends at regional level.

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