News & Events

New Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-East

New Plan is one of nine Regional Enterprise Plans being launched by Minister Humphreys to drive enterprise growth in the regions

Minister marks 10th anniversary of the South Eastern Applied Materials (SEAM) Research Centre

Minister opens 3DWIT project, funded under Regional Enterprise Development Fund

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, was in Waterford today to launch a new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-East to support enterprise growth and job creation through collaborative initiatives. The Minister was joined at the launch by Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan, TD and Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with special responsibility for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan, TD.

The launch took place at the South-Eastern Applied Materials (SEAM) Research Centre at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), which is celebrating ten years of services to industry.

The development of the South-East Plan, incorporating counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford, was overseen by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, working with stakeholders from the South-East region, through a regional stakeholder Committee chaired by Frank O’Regan.

The South-East Plan identifies five Strategic Objectives, with actions to: enhance the existing environment for enterprise activity and growth, while building greater resilience; establish the South-East as a place of choice for talent and investment; develop a regional engagement strategy to highlight critical infrastructure developments; make the South-East a ‘learning’ region; and the develop the region’s tourism offering.

The South-East Plan is the final one of nine Regional Enterprise Plans launched by Minister Humphreys in recent weeks.

Speaking at SEAM, where she also officially opened the new 3DWIT additive manufacturing project, which received grant funding of over €1.3 million under her Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said:

“The collaboration in evidence here at SEAM is a superb example of what these new Regional Enterprise Plans are fundamentally about. The Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-East 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-East. There are 18,500 more people at work today in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford than at the beginning of 2015, when the Government first launched regional jobs plans, and the unemployment rate has reduced significantly, from 11.7 percent down to 7.7 percent today.”

Turning to the 3DWIT opening, the Minister added:

“In December 2017, I was delighted to announce that 3DWIT was being allocated just over €1.3 million under my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund. This funding has supported the creation of the 3DWIT manufacturing facility in the South-East. It is a tremendous asset for the region and will support industry needs in the high potential and fast-growing field of Additive Manufacturing.  3DWIT will give manufacturing companies in the South-East a competitive edge, and in turn will help to create jobs in many industrial sectors from biomedical devices to precision engineering and micro-electronics.”

Dr Ramesh Raghavendra, SEAM Centre Director said: “Launching 3DWIT and celebrating SEAM’s 10th birthday on the same day as the South East Regional Enterprise Plan launch highlights how WIT is at the cutting edge of industry-relevant innovation. SEAM constantly strives to advance the cutting edge of innovation by bringing novel technologies with a view to transferring the knowledge acquired to Irish based industries.”

WIT President, Prof Willie Donnelly said: “Today we are celebrating 10 years of SEAM and the launch of the 3DWIT which is funded by Enterprise Ireland under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. 3DWIT was set up for the support and education of industry needs in the high potential and fast-growing field of Additive Manufacturing (AM).  The relationship between SEAM and the regional manufacturing sector has been instrumental in the transformation of Waterford as one of Irelands leading advance manufacturing region. However, SEAM’s impact has been felt throughout Ireland as SEAM has become the partner of choice for the advance manufacturing industry irrespective of choice. The establishment of 3DWIT establishes SEAM as Ireland’s centre for 3D printing, one of the most exciting and transformative technologies at the very heart of the 21st century manufacturing.”

3DWIT will work closely with WIT SEAM Research Centre and will also collaborate with the Engineering Materials Design (EMD) cluster in the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network and the Irish Manufacturing Research Technology Centre (IMR).

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 Frank O’Regan, Chair of the Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committee for the South-East who will oversee the implementation of the new Plan and all of the regional stakeholders who have contributed to its development.

“As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has introduced a range of new funding streams such as the €1Billion Rural Regeneration Fund, the €2Billion Urban Development Fund, the €500m Disruptive Technologies Fund and the €500million Climate Action 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 Plan Committee for the South-East is ideally placed to come up with innovative, collaborative projects of scale which can deliver real economic benefits for this region. That process will be streamlined further by the establishment of the new Ireland South-East Development Office which is a wonderful initiative by the Local Authorities in Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and Tipperary. Indeed, it is a model I would like to see replicated in other parts of the country to drive the delivery of strong, cross-county, collaborative projects which can benefit entire regions”

Welcoming the launch of the new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-East, the Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan, TD, said:

“I would like to especially congratulate Waterford Institute of Technology, and SEAM which is led by Dr Ramesh Raghavendra, on their continued success.  SEAM has provided 10 years of valued service to industry in the South East and has executed over 800 direct-funded industry projects spanning more than 90 countries since its launch in 2009.

“Recent achievements include being the lead partner in a consortium that has been awarded almost €2 million under the Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. The successful outcome of this project will help position Ireland as a key global driver in the development of medical device technologies. Initiatives like SEAM are the future of innovation, research and development in Waterford and the South East.”

Also attending the launch of the new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South-East, the Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with special responsibility for Local Government and Electoral Reform, John Paul Phelan, TD said:

“I welcome today’s launch of the South-East Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 and I look forward to seeing more collaborative initiatives emerging as a result of this new Plan.

“Through Project Ireland 2040 we will make sustained investments in place-making so that Ireland remains an attractive place to live, work and invest over the longer term.

“I’m delighted that the South-East will benefit from more than €18million in co-funding under the Project Ireland 2040 thought my Department’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.

“I also want to commend the five Local Authorities for their vision and commitment to enterprise in the region by supporting the newly established Ireland South-East Development Office”.

The Chair of the South-East Regional Steering Committee, Frank O’Regan said:

“We are excited to launch the new Regional Enterprise Plan for the South East. The plan really encapsulates the spirit of collaboration and innovation we’ve seen from the region over the past number of years.

The initiatives outlined bring together regional stakeholders to tackle challenges across key strategic areas and enhance the environment for economic growth and sustainable job creation.”


South-East Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020

For further information, contact:

Press Office, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, 01-6312200 or 0877844800


Regional Enterprise Plans:

The South-East Regional Enterprise Plan which encompasses counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford and Tipperary, contains the following Strategic Objectives and specific actions have been set out under each area:

  • Strategic Objective 1: Enhance the existing environment for enterprise activity and company growth; and build greater resilience in the South-East economy
  • Strategic Objective 2: Establish the South-East as a place of choice for talent and investment and market the region as such
  • Strategic Objective 3: Develop a regional engagement strategy that aligns with the Regional Assembly’s Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy and highlights the critical infrastructural developments required to enhance the economic potential in the South East
  • Strategic Objective 4: Make the South-East a ‘learning region’ with education, knowledge generation and exchange, and innovation as central activities that allow all to play a role in the economic, social and cultural development of the region
  • Strategic Objective 5: Develop the South-East as a region that is attractive to both domestic and international visitors with a sense of place and connected tourist amenities
  • 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 of the Regional Enterprise Plans by Minister Humphreys have taken place in the following locations:





6th   February

Mountmellick,   Laois


7th   February

Naas,   Kildare


11th   February

Galway   City, Galway


13th   February

Dublin   City, Dublin


20th   February

Lisheen,   Tipperary


25th   February



25th   February

Cootehill,   Cavan


1st   March

Skibbereen,   Cork


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 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-East region has secured total funding of over €10 million across six projects under the two completed REDF Calls:


Insurtech Network Centre 


ThreeD (Design Develop Disseminate)


Irish Bioeconomy Foundation


Crystal Valley Tech


Incupharm DAC


National Design Innovation Hub



  • Insurtech Network Centre (Carlow):  A sector specific enterprise development centre that will provide business development services to support the creation and commercialisation of technology solutions to the global insurance services sector including the delivery of business development programmes, technology transfer services and providing work spaces for entrepreneurs and related services. 
  • ThreeD (Design Develop Disseminate) (Waterford): An initiative to create a 3D Manufacturing facility in the South East that will provide: advanced manufacturing training to industry employees, advanced manufacturing exposure to undergraduate students, develop standards for additive manufacturing and provide product development support to industry.
  • Irish Bioeconomy Foundation (Lisheen, Tipperary): Development of a state-of-the-art National Bioeconomy Innovation and Piloting Facility encompassing flexible, modular, pilot-scale multi-purpose chemical and biological infrastructure to promote the conversion of Ireland’s natural land and sea resources to high value products.
  • Crystal Valley Tech (Waterford/South-East): A cluster development project to support the growth of the ICT Sector in the South-East region, focusing on tech recruitment, business and third level institute collaboration and attraction of new investment to the region.
  • National Design Innovation Hub (Carlow/Kilkenny): Project to develop a design innovation hub that will enable companies to conceptualise, innovate, build and test new products and services through critical problem-solving methodologies and the standardisation of the design process as a commercial enabler.
  • Incupharm DAC (Waterford): Project to provide a comprehensive incubation offering to laboratory based, life sciences start-ups in the South East providing access to a range of business and technical supports available in the region to help maximise the prospects of success for these companies.


About 3DWIT

Funded under Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) 3DWIT, has been set up for the support and education of industry needs in the high potential and fast-growing field of Additive Manufacturing (AM).

3DWIT activities include training, development of standards for AM and provide product/prototype development services for the manufacturing sector across the south east region and beyond. 


About SEAM

SEAM, formally launched in February 2009 at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), is now the leading Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Centre in the country providing innovative materials science and engineering solutions for industries seeking assistance on materials related issues that cannot be solved by utilising their onsite resources.  SEAM which currently assists over 180 Irish based industries from wide ranging sectors, hold impeccable track record of executing over 2000 direct funded industry projects, numerous Innovation Partnership type programmes with industries etc., since its launch in 2009.

SEAM led consortium comprising two SMEs Schivo Medical & Graph Engineering, MNC Stryker Ireland and CREST-DIT was also successful in securing €1.9m funding for its project E-Bambi (Enhanced Biocompatibility of Additively Manufactured Biomedical implants for Improved Clinical outcomes) from the Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund (DTIF) administered by Project Ireland 2040.  


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