25th June 2020
First progress reports published on Regional Enterprise Plans as Regional Groups asked to bring forward pandemic response proposals
The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD has asked the Chairpersons of the nine Regional Enterprise Plan Committees to lead on bringing forward proposals that would help to address economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in their region.
Speaking to the Committee Chairpersons, enterprise agencies and representatives from around the country by conference call recently, the Minister noted the strong progress on the implementation of Regional Enterprise Plans since their launch last year and said the Plans now need to refocus on the new regional economic challenges presented by the pandemic.
Speaking on the call, the Minister stated:
The economic impacts of this pandemic have been sudden and severe, particularly for sectors like the hospitality and food sector, administrative and support services, large aspects of retailing, and a range of personal services. But no sector has been left unaffected. I’m acutely aware that parts of the country, because of their greater reliance in some of the harder hit sectors, will be feeling the effects more than others.”
Calling on the regional stakeholders to work together the Minister added:
Through the Regional Enterprise Plans and the Committees, we have laid the foundations for strong collaboration and partnership to face challenges together and be creative in our responses. Our Regional Enterprise Plans are live documents, and in that spirit, I want us to use our collective resources and expertise to work through the reopening of the economy; support economic recovery; and face the challenges together.”
The Minister thanked the Regional Chairpersons and Committee members for their work on implementation of the Regional Enterprise Plans so far. The first Progress Reports on the Plans covering the period to the end of 2019 have now been published on the Department’s website.
The Minister further commented:
I was delighted to receive the year one Progress Reports on the implementation of the Regional Enterprise Plans recently, and I think the progress made demonstrates that the collaborative will and the ability is there to realise the enterprise potential in each region. There are many challenges ahead, but this pandemic has also pointed to opportunities over the longer term that as a country we have the potential to embrace by working together – for example in greater adoption of digital technologies, and remote working.
The Regional Enterprise Plan Committees will convene in virtual format over the coming weeks to consider and develop actions to mitigate the economic impacts of Covid-19 in each region and are set to engage further with the Minister over the coming weeks.
Notes to Editor
Regional Enterprise Plans
The nine Regional Enterprise Plans are an integral part of Ireland’s enterprise policy, aimed at driving economic growth and sustaining better standards of living throughout Ireland. As a ‘bottom-up’ initiative, the Plans complement national level policies and programmes emanating from a ‘top-down’ such as Ireland’s national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and the Future Jobs Ireland initiative. The first set of Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 (REPs), which are currently in implementation, were launched in early 2019 and build on the success of the previous Regional Action Plans for Jobs which were in operation up to the end of 2018.The REPs provide perspective and ideas from the ‘bottom-up’. They are informed by an understanding of unique local strengths and assets and enable more effective translation of national policy into regional and local impact. Each Plan has been created by regional stakeholders who have collectively identified a number of Strategic Objectives for enterprise development for their region. The Plans complement and build on the existing activities being undertaken by the Enterprise Agencies, the LEOs and the wider range of State Bodies directly involved in supporting enterprise development in the regions, and as such, generate added value from regional and local actors working collaboratively. Nine Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committees, chaired by private sector business people and comprising representatives of the Local Authorities, LEOs, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Regional Skills Fora, Higher and Further Education Institutes, enterprise champions and others, oversee the implementation of the Plans. The Committees maintain the Plans as ‘live’ agendas which aim to be agile and responsive to both new opportunities and also new challenges, for example: Brexit, Climate Action, Digital Economy, and most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic economic impacts.
Regional Enterprise Plans and Covid-19
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is such that every sector and every region has been impacted to some degree. In her recent engagement with the Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committee Chairpersons, Minister Humphreys asked that the Steering Committees would bring forward proposals to help address the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in their region and to use their collective resources and expertise to work through the reopening of the economy and support economic recovery. Proposed actions that can be initiated in the near term and implemented quickly will be reflected within the Regional Enterprise Plans. In support of the process, regional programme managers have undertaken an initial review of the Regional Enterprise Plans to identify actions that might require re-prioritisation or modification in light of new challenges.
The nine Year 1 (to end 2019) Progress Reports on implementation of the Regional Enterprise Plans are available are here:
The nine Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 are here: Midlands | Mid-East | West | Dublin | Mid-West | North-West | North-East | South-West | South-East
Regional Enterprise Development Fund
The Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), administered by Enterprise Ireland and first introduced in 2017, complements the Regional Enterprise Plans by supporting collaborative projects that strengthen enterprise growth potential in the regions. To date, just over €100 million in funding for 68 projects has been approved over three competitive calls. On 22 June 2020 Minister Humphreys announced the results of a targeted Border Enterprise Development Fund which sees a further €17.4 million in funding approved for 11 enterprise ecosystem strengthening projects across the Border Region that are aimed at mitigating the challenges for businesses in that region in the face of Brexit. See here: dbei.gov.ie/en/News-And-Events/Department-News/2020/June/20200622.html
Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI)
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department has lead responsibility for Irish policy on global trade and inward investment and a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.
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