Focus of Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme is to accelerate economic growth and sustainable job creation.
A new fund of €145m has been created to build capacity and encourage innovation across all regions of Ireland.
The Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme is aimed at accelerating economic growth and sustainable job creation.
“There is €35m available under this call which will support innovative clusters, local infrastructure projects and feasibility and priming funding for early-stage project development”
The Scheme will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and is already open for applications. Co-funded by the Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the funding will capitalise on existing regional enterprise partnerships and complement priorities set out in the nine Regional Enterprise Plans.
Empowering smart regions
“I am delighted that the first call for the €145m ‘Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme’ is open for applications through Enterprise Ireland,” said the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Simon Coveney, TD.
“There is €35m available under this call which will support innovative clusters, local infrastructure projects and feasibility and priming funding for early-stage project development. This funding will further build capacity and encourage innovation in the regions and will ensure that we continue to create employment and opportunities all over the country.”
The overall objective of the Scheme is to drive job creation and enterprise development in each region throughout Ireland.
Smart Regions funding will support the micro and SME client base in strategic regional locations by addressing deficits in key infrastructure.
Successful projects will be collaborative in nature, innovative, financially viable, sustainable and will support existing regional infrastructure.
“The EU is committed to an innovation driven, green and digital transition,” said Carol Gibbons, divisional manager for Regions and Local Enterprise at Enterprise Ireland.
“The Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme is co-financed through the European Regional Development Fund, reflecting the partnership principle for sustainable growth. Enterprise Ireland, in partnership with the Regional Assemblies, and other regional stakeholders, have developed a scheme that will support regionally based companies achieve their ambitions.”
The first call for the Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme is open for applications and closes on 31 March 2024. Under a competitive process, applications are now sought for funding under four streams, with varying investment levels, up to €10m in:
- Local infrastructure projects
- Innovation clusters and consortia
- Services to SMEs to drive Innovative Solutions
- Feasibility & Priming Grants
The Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme falls under the Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) for Ireland, covering the period to 2027.
Smart Regions funding is targeted at strategic locations regionally where an identifiable deficit exists in key infrastructure, which is necessary to support the micro and SME client base.
These projects shall be:-
- Collaborative in nature,
- Financially viable, (must be profitable business propositions in the case of Infrastructure projects)
- Focused on delivering metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) which provide additionality to the existing regional infrastructure.
Call for applications
The first tranche of funding under the Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme is now available with a budget of up to €35m and a call close of 31 March 2024. Eligible promoters may apply for funding under the scheme providing they meet the defined evaluation criteria for support.
It is envisaged that up to four calls with specific budget allocations will be announced with any unallocated funds on a call being rolled forward to inclusion in a subsequent call. Eligible promoters may apply for funding under the scheme providing they meet the defined evaluation criteria for support.
Details of the competitive process are available on Enterprise Ireland’s website: Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme – Enterprise Ireland (enterprise-ireland.com)
Enterprise Ireland will be hosting its first information webinar on the Scheme on Tuesday, 14 November 2023.
To learn more, contact email@example.com