Ireland invests €2.75m to power regional tech clusters

Ireland’s Government has launched a new Regional Technology Clustering Fund that will be administered through Enterprise Ireland.

This fund is an initiative of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation under Project Ireland 2040 and aligns with the Department’s Future Jobs Ireland, and with Enterprise Ireland’s new regional plan ‘Powering the Regions’ to build scale and expand the reach of Irish exporting businesses.

The launch of the multi-annual competitive Regional Technology Clustering Fund took place at Dundalk Institute of Technology in Co Louth with an initial budget of €2.75m.

“Developing and supporting regional businesses to build scale and expand reach is a key objective for Enterprise Ireland, particularly with challenges such as Brexit on the horizon”

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, said the fund will support enterprises in the regions.

“Many EU countries have already developed cluster policies to strengthen co-operation between industry and research,” Humphreys said.

“They have proven to be very successful, so the Government wants to strengthen our activity in this space. Having visited businesses and communities all over the country, I firmly believe that collaboration is the new competitive advantage, so I hope to see plenty of new relationships developing between Higher Education Institutions and businesses through this Fund.”

The new fund comes on the heels of the Irish Government making a further €45m available under the its Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) strategy.

Powering the regions

Open for applications to Institutes of Technology (IoTs) and Technological Universities (TUs), the fund aims to increase engagement between enterprise and regionally-based knowledge providers, such as the IoTs and TUs, in order to drive productivity and competitiveness in and across the regions.

The fund will be comprised of two streams relating to new enterprise clustering and existing enterprise clustering. The closing date for applications is 11 September 2019.

“Enterprise Ireland’s new ‘Powering the Regions’ plan places significant emphasis on collaboration which is reflected in the Regional Technology Clustering Fund being announced today,” explained Mark Christal, manager Regions and Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland.

“The fund aims to encourage collaboration between IOTs, industry and wider academic and enterprise partners in the regions. IOTs also have an important role to play in helping companies to respond to the skills challenges faced by SMEs and to assist companies to enhance their capability to win business in international markets.

“Developing and supporting regional businesses to build scale and expand reach is a key objective for Enterprise Ireland, particularly with challenges such as Brexit on the horizon,” Christal said.

Written by John Kennedy

Published 2 July 2019