Wednesday 12 December 2018

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Ludgate Centre and new agri hub secure over €3.8m in funding

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 4:43pm

The Ludgate Centre in Skibbereen was one of the big winners this week when €29m worth of funding was handed out as part of the second round of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund.

Twenty-one successful applicants representing all regions of the country have secured just over €29m for their projects in the second call for proposals under the competitive Fund. Initially allocated €60m for two rounds of funding, the Fund will now operate on a rolling basis as part of Project Ireland 2040.

The Ludgate Centre has secured €1.99m in funding which will lead to 390 new jobs in West Cork. The funding will help to establish 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. It will be housed in a former convent building in Skibbereen.

Other Cork-related projects to get funding include a new agri-innovation hub called Vista Agri 4.0 Hub, which secured €1.865m in funding. Based in Kilworth, it was described as a “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”.

CIT Consortium Projects DAC secured €336,360 for a project that aims to increase the number of start-ups coming from the undergraduate student population of the three third level colleges in the Cork and Kerry region by extending a current programme which will be coordinated by a full-time programme manager.

Details of the funding, which is administered for the Government by Enterprise Ireland, was revealed by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys on Monday.

“The Irish economy has had a remarkable turnaround in recent years, but we cannot become complacent. Although we have made a lot of progress with three out of five jobs created outside Dublin since we launched the Regional Action Plan for Jobs, some parts of the country are not recovering as quickly as others.

“The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is about supporting every region to build on its unique strengths and ultimately create sustainable jobs. Collaboration is at its core – among the public and private sectors, within and across regions. The projects we are funding are at the cutting edge of innovation.”

The funding winners were selected through a rigorous evaluation process based on criteria which included impacts and value for money, collaboration and participation, viability and sustainability, building regional strengths and significance for innovation.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said: “Supporting enterprises to build scale and expand reach is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Enterprise Development Fund helps us to further drive growth in key sectors in counties across the country, particularly in the context of Brexit.

“This second call which was launched in May attracted very strong interest, receiving a total of 77 applications. The successful applicants represent a broad range of projects across a variety of sectors including food, agri-tech and lifesciences. Our aim is to build on a strong regional ecosystem to include a variety of companies and sectoral clusters with best in class physical and digital infrastructure and appropriate research and technology capability.”

This week’s announcement follows the award of €30.5million in financial support to 21 applicants for a range of enterprise and capability development projects during the first call, released in December 2017. The awardees of the Second Call announced by the Minister today will fund projects with the remaining balance of the €60m under the REDF.

Details of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund are on Enterprise Ireland’s website www.enterprise-ireland.com/REDF.

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