News & Events

New Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-West

• New Plan is one of nine Regional Enterprise Plans being launched by Minister Humphreys to drive enterprise growth in the regions
• Minister also announces results of the first round of her Department’s new Online Retail Scheme

Skibbereen, Co.Cork, Friday 1 March 2019

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, today launched a new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-West to support enterprise growth and job creation through collaborative initiatives.

The development of the South-West Plan, incorporating counties Cork and Kerry, was overseen by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, working with stakeholders from the South-West region, through a regional stakeholder Committee chaired by Dr. Adrienne Harrington, Chief Executive, the Ludgate Hub.

The South-West Plan identifies six Strategic Objectives, with actions to: build capability and resilience in the region’s enterprise base; develop the region’s enterprise hubs; leverage opportunities through business clustering and internationalisation; increase the capacity of the tourism sector; support growth in the region’s marine and maritime sector; and ensure the availability of skills and talent to underpin growth potential.
The South-West Plan is one of nine Regional Enterprise Plans being launched by Minister Humphreys currently.

Speaking at the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen, which was recently approved almost €2 million in funding under her Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said:

“The collaboration in evidence here at the Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen is a superb example of what these new Regional Enterprise Plans are fundamentally about. The Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-West that I am launching today sets out a number of key strategic areas where regional stakeholders working together will provide a basis for future enterprise development and job creation that is sustainable in the longer term.

“I am pleased to note that jobs growth has been strong in all regions, including the South-West. There are 29,800 more people at work today in counties Cork and Kerry than at the beginning of 2015, when the Government first launched regional jobs plans, and the unemployment rate has almost halved, reducing from 10.5 percent down to 5.3 percent today.

“Notwithstanding this huge success, it is clear that there are new challenges emerging for enterprises in the external environment. Through this Regional Enterprise Plan, the region can adopt a leadership position through driving initiatives from the ground-up.

“As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has introduced a range of new funding streams such as the €1 billion Rural Regeneration Fund, the €2 billion Urban Development Fund, the €500 million Climate Action Fund and the €500m Disruptive Technologies Fund. These are in addition to other existing schemes such as my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

“Given the wide range of stakeholders involved, the Regional Enterprise Steering Committee for the South-West is ideally placed to come up with innovative, collaborative projects of scale which can deliver real economic benefits for this region.”

Turning to the Ludgate Hub expansion in Skibbereen, the Minister added:

“In December 2018, I was delighted to announce that the Ludgate Hub was being allocated nearly €2 million under my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund. This funding will enable an expansion of Ludgate’s activities, providing more space for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, as well as supporting services. I am really looking forward to seeing those plans coming to fruition over the months ahead.”

The nine new Regional Enterprise Plans being launched by Minister Humphreys are the result of an extensive refresh of the original Regional Action Plans for Jobs (RAPJs) which ran from 2015 to 2017/8. The new Plans complement and add value to the ongoing core work of the Enterprise Agencies, LEOs, Regional Skills Fora, and other bodies involved in supporting enterprise development in the regional setting.

Minister Humphreys added:

“I want to thank Dr. Adrienne Harrington, Chief Executive of the Ludgate Hub and Chair of the Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committee for the South-West, who will oversee the implementation of the new Plan and all of the regional stakeholders who have contributed to its development. I also want to pay tribute to Mr Bob Savage, Dell EMC former Chair of the Regional Committee, for his work on leading implementation of the previous Plan for the South-West region.”

Strengthening our regional enterprises is particularly important in the context of Brexit.

“Over the coming weeks, my Department will continue to highlight the key issues that businesses need to be aware of in the run up to Brexit, and the Government supports that are available to them to mitigate its impacts”, the Minister said.

While in Skibbereen, the Minister also announced the recipients of the first call of the Government’s new Online Retail Scheme. Eleven retailers were awarded funding as part of the new €1.25m fund, which is targeted at online retailers to strengthen their online offering to enable them to reach a wider customer base. The scheme recipients were announced by the Minister at CH Marine, a marine supply store based in Skibbereen, and one of the 11 successful recipients under the fund.

Minister Humphreys said: “The evolution of digital technologies has had a transformative effect on retail today. Supporting the retail sector in a changing world is critical to sustaining a robust regional economy, and I would like to congratulate CH Marine and the other recipients of the Fund for standing ready to embrace change.”

Welcoming the launch of the new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-West, the Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD said:

“It is clear that there are new challenges emerging for enterprises and the agri-economy in rural Ireland, whether it is Brexit or the transition to a low carbon economy. It is critical that as a Government we do all in our power to support resilience in the businesses that we have and ensure that there is a pipeline of new opportunities so that regions and rural communities can positively cope with changes that lie ahead. As Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, I am particularly pleased to see that one of the South-West region’s great strengths, indeed one of Ireland’s great strengths, the marine and maritime sector, is a key focus of this Regional Enterprise Plan for South-West to 2020.
I also want to welcome the initiative shown here in Skibbereen to develop and now expand a successful enterprise hub that is playing a strong role in securing the economic future of this town, offering new employment opportunities for people in this area.”

The Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly, TD was also in Skibbereen for the launch of the new Regional Enterprise Plan.

Minister Daly said:

“I’m delighted that this new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South West is being launched here in Skibbereen at the Ludgate Hub which will shortly commence an expansion of its activities and footprint with the approval of almost €2 million under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. The Ludgate’s success is a proven example of how rural Ireland can be the locus and launchpad for new innovative start-ups that provide quality employment opportunities.”

The Minister added:

“Through Project Ireland 2040 this Government is making a significant investment in place-making so that the regions such as the South-West offer attractive locations to live, work and invest over the longer term. I’m delighted that this region will benefit from almost €12 million in co-funding under the Project Ireland 2040 Urban and Rural Regeneration and Development Funds.”

Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, Ms Julie Sinnamon said:

“I am delighted to be here at Ludgate to launch the new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-West with Minister Humphreys. Regional enterprise is a critical component of a robust economy and Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting regionally-based businesses to build scale and expand reach. Public and private partnerships like Ludgate convert regional plans into actions. We know that the South-West boasts excellent examples of innovative businesses with global ambition, and we are particularly pleased to see that the six strategic objectives outlined in this new plan will support these companies and entrepreneurs in the region to innovate and become more competitive, which is particularly important for growth in the context of current business challenges.”

The Chair of the South-West Regional Steering Committee, Dr. Adrienne Harrington, Chief Executive, the Ludgate Hub said:

“As Chair of the South-West Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committee, I’m delighted to see our plan launched today by Minister Humphreys. The Plan is the result of a collaborative effort on behalf of the members of the Steering Committee, and I’d like to thank them again for their work in bringing this together.

“Our new Plan reflects our vision for the region, building on and strengthening the culture of enterprise development in the South-West that is key to ensuring vibrant and sustainable communities, and complements the work being undertaken across the region by the local authorities and the enterprise agencies.

“We offer a wonderful place to live, work and visit, of which we are justifiably proud, and I hope that this Plan will play its part in enhancing the region over the coming years.”


For further information, contact:
Press Office, Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, 01-6312200 or 0871255572


Regional Enterprise Plans:

• The South-West Regional Enterprise Plan contains the following Strategic Objectives and specific actions have been set out under each area:
o Strategic Objective 1: Build capability and resilience in the region’s enterprise base

o Strategic Objective 2: Develop the region’s enterprise hubs

o Strategic Objective 3: Leverage the opportunities offered through business clustering to drive enterprise performance and resilience in the South-West (including a focus on building internationalisation capability among indigenous companies)

o Strategic Objective 4: Increase the capacity of the tourism sector through skills development and seasonal expansion, and ensure that the region’s natural heritage, culture and living landscapes are appropriately managed and protected.

o Strategic Objective 5: Support the growth in the region’s marine and maritime sector

o Strategic Objective 6: Ensure the availability of skills and talent to underpin the region’s economic growth potential

• Co-ordinated by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, nine Regional Enterprise Plans have been developed for: Midlands, South-East, South-West, Mid-West, West, North-West, North-East, Mid-East and Dublin.

• Launches by Minister Humphreys are taking place in the following locations:

Midlands 6th February Mountmellick, Laois
Mid-East 7th February Naas, Kildare
West 11th February Galway City, Galway
Dublin 13th February Dublin City, Dublin
Mid-West 20th February Lisheen, Tipperary
North-West 25th February Leitrim
North-East 25th February Cootehill, Cavan
South-West 1st March Skibbereen, Cork
South-East 22nd March Waterford City

• In developing the Regional Enterprise Plans, each individual Regional Implementation Committee was asked by Minister Humphreys to take into consideration their work to date on the original Regional Action Plans for Jobs (RAPJs), the new challenges, strengths and opportunities that the region currently faces, and to strategically elevate areas where they could support enterprise development in their region through collaborative actions.

• The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Heather Humphreys TD met with the Chairs of the RAPJ Committees and up to 100 regional stakeholders in Farmleigh in April 2018 to commence the process.

• The Strategic Objectives and actions in each of the new Regional Enterprise Plans are set out alongside the Enterprise Agencies’ (EI, IDA, LEOs) core activities. The Plans therefore are aimed at adding value to what the Agencies are doing on the ground, through collaborative actions.

• As a ‘bottom-up’ initiative, the Plans complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the ‘top-down’ and in particular, there is strong alignment with Ireland’s recently national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and the forthcoming Future Jobs Ireland initiative.

• The Regional Enterprise Plans are two-year focused plans to end 2020 and they are also ‘live’ documents, with the expectation that new initiatives can be taken on during their operation by the regional stakeholders working together.

• The 2020 targets initially set out under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs (RAPJ) 2015 – 2017/8 remain in place – that is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020, with the aim of having the unemployment rate of each region within one percentage point of the State average. The new Plans are also seeking to generate enterprise growth and resilience, and to enable the creation of employment that is of good quality and sustainable over the longer term.

• While the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and its agencies are facilitating and supporting the renewal of the regional Plans, if they are to be successful, they need to be owned and delivered by the key stakeholders of the region, with significant private sector involvement continuing to be a critical part of the framework.

• ‘Enterprise Champions’ will continue to be a central part of the leadership in each region to help drive the process forward, and the Steering Committees charged with implementing the Plans are chaired by senior business people.

• The actions set out in the Regional Enterprise Plans include timelines for delivery, with responsibility allocated to the relevant parties. The intention is that each Plan will be monitored at regional level to ensure local responsibility for delivery, with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation overseeing the process and progress at the national level.

• The Regional Enterprise Plans have a strong complementary role to play in the context of Project Ireland 2040, and more specifically in the implementation of the National Planning Framework and its constituent Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSESs) at NUTS 2 (Regional Assembly) level.

The Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF):
The REDF is a €60m competitive fund introduced by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and administered by Enterprise Ireland. It is aimed at supporting collaborative and innovative projects that can help to sustain and add to employment at a national, regional and county level.

In total, 42 projects have been awarded funding over two completed Calls worth a total of €60m, with projects supported in every region.
The South-West Region has secured total funding of over €10.8 million across ten projects under the two completed REDF Calls:

Agritech Centre of Excellence Kerry
Cork Urban Enterprises North Cork City
KerrySciTech Kerry
Sneem Innovation & Tech Services Kerry
CIT Consortium Projects DAC Cork, Kerry
Ludgate Operations CLG Cork
Vista Agri 4.0 Hub CLG Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Tipperary

• RDI Hub CLG: RDI Hub will develop a sustainable pioneering world-class Digital Innovation Hub and Living Lab ecosystem to forge new paths for economic growth and accelerated job creation. It will build on South-West’s strengths to establish its USP as a globally connected Financial Services, Innovation enterprise and skills hotspot.

• Agritech Centre of Excellence: The development of a Global AgriTech Centre of Excellence which has the objective of positioning Ireland at the forefront of the international AgriTech Industry.

• Cork Urban Enterprises CLG: The project will develop the Northside for Business Campus to become the driving centre for enterprise growth and enhance the capacity of the Northside for Business Initiative to build enterprise capacity across the north side of Cork City, the greater metropolitan area and region.

• Sneem Innovation & Tech Services: This project entails the re-purposing of an old dance hall in Sneem village, Co Kerry to a Digital Hub which will facilitate home and hub working, Innovation and hot-desking as well as support for start-ups and microenterprises in the area.

• MOL TEIC: A Community Enterprise job creation initiative with three main pillars: Internet of Things, Animation and Film/Music with an ambition to create 200+ jobs in Dingle in the next 5 years.

• IT@Cork: IT@Cork is a cluster development initiative for the ICT sector in Cork. A cluster manager will steward IT@Cork’s member companies to foster collaboration between companies and organisations and increase participation with one another and the broader region as a whole. There are over 200-member companies from a variety of sectors including companies from the hardware and software sectors, customer support companies, financial institutions consultancy firms, state promotion agencies, local government and academia.

• Kerry SciTech: This industry led project will develop a catalytic enterprise cluster to support the growth of science and technology jobs in Kerry and the wider region.

• CIT Consortium Projects DAC: This project aims to increase the number of start-ups coming from the undergraduate student population of the three third level colleges in the South West Region by extending a current programme which will be coordinated by a full-time Programme Manager.

• Ludgate Operations CLG: The project will build on the success of the Ludgate Hub and proposes the establishment of a Ludgate Innovation Centre and a series of enterprise supports, including a start-up campus, an education innovation centre and a food tech/agritech innovation centre, located in Skibbereen.

• Visa Agri 4.0 Hub CLG: The project will develop an enterprise hub that will empower the next generation of agri-tech entrepreneurs and escalate the growth path of industry disruptors with a single access source of agri-tech technical and entrepreneurial innovation, targeting the creation of 190 new jobs in 40+ businesses, 150 new/improved agri-tech products, and almost €30m per annum in new exports.


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 also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For more information please contact or ph: (01) 6312200
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