Brexit: €28m stimulus package for Irish border region

Business Minister Heather Humphreys, TD, has revealed details of a special €28m economic stimulus package for the Irish border region.

The package, which applies to counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth, is designed to drive economic activity in the region and ensure that businesses have additional support in mitigating the impact of Brexit.

The Border Economic Stimulus Package includes €3m for the six Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in the border counties for capability development programmes for micro and small firms with ambition.

“This is a golden opportunity for businesses in the border region and I want to ensure that they get the maximum benefit out of this funding”

The package includes an €8.5m Brexit Transformation Fund to enable firms to transform their businesses and diversify markets.

A further €1.5m is being committed for Industry Fellowships targeted at businesses located in Border counties, administered by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

The remaining €15m is being pledged for a competitive Border Enterprise Development Fund, administered by Enterprise Ireland.

To help stakeholders investigate the viability of potential projects and prepare final submissions for consideration for the €15m Border Enterprise Development Fund, Competitive Feasibility Funding is also available. This will be a grant of €15,000 or 50pc of eligible costs, whichever is lesser, available to eligible applicants.

The Minister also announced that as part of the next phase of the IDA’s Regional Property Programme, three new Advanced Technology Buildings will be built in Dundalk, Monaghan and Sligo in 2020. These buildings will be critical as the IDA seek to attract more Foreign Direct Investment to the Border region.

Making an economic difference

“The funding I am announcing today is in addition to all of the existing Brexit supports which are already available nationwide,” Humphreys said. “This is a series of bespoke, targeted initiatives designed to deliver maximum impact for the Border region.

“This additional €3m for the LEOs in the border counties will enable them to pilot a series of mentoring programmes for businesses focused on boosting exports, embracing innovation and improving management and financial skills capability.

“The €8.5m Brexit Transformation fund will enable Enterprise Ireland to support individual company capital projects to build Brexit resilience through transformation initiatives and diversification of product and markets.

“The €1.5m in funding for Research Fellowships will see researchers take up placements in industry bringing new energy and specialist expertise to businesses in the Border region.

“I am also introducing a €15m Competitive Border Enterprise Development Fund. This Fund will have a ground-up approach so that we can support national/regional, county and local stakeholders who come up with exciting, innovative and collaborative proposals which will make a positive economic impact in the Border region.

Finally, Minister Humphreys announced that a series of workshops with representatives from her Department’s enterprise agencies (Enterprise Ireland, the LEOs, SFI and IDA Ireland) will take place in each of the six border counties in the coming weeks to raise awareness of the various strands of the funding package.

“This is a golden opportunity for businesses in the border region and I want to ensure that they get the maximum benefit out of this funding. I would therefore encourage companies to attend these workshops, details of which will be announced shortly, so that they can hear directly from our enterprise agencies about what’s involved. I want to see strong, innovative, industry-led proposals coming forward which will make a real and lasting difference to the region.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 3 January, 2020