Remote working hubs and a centre for new enterprise were on the itinerary of a Minister of State on a visit to Laois last week.
Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, met with Dr Anne Cusack, CEO of Critical Healthcare and chair of the Midland Regional Enterprise Plan steering committee, to discuss progress on the development of the new Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024.
The new Plan for the Midlands is one of nine new Plans being developed across the country. The plans hope to build on the strengths and opportunities unique to each region, address ecosystem gaps, and complement and reinforce the ongoing work of the Department’s enterprise agencies and other development bodies in the region.
The development of the new Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024 involves collaboration between Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices, Local Authorities, higher and further education bodies, businesses and others in the region.
Speaking during his visit to Laois, Minister Troy said he was very pleased to be here today to meet with Anne Cusack and representatives from the Midland Regional Enterprise Plan Office.
"Collaboration is a key element to the success of these new Regional Enterprise Plans, and I am delighted with the progress that is being made by regional stakeholders on the development of the new Midland Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024,” he said.
The meeting was held on Tuesday 14 September at the Beale Centre in Mountmellick, a centre for business excellence, which provides open-plan hot desks, office pods, meeting and teleconferencing rooms as well as state-of-the-art commercial kitchens to businesses in the area. The centre was developed with the support of Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF).
The Minister also met with local businesses supported by Laois Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland to see first-hand the work that is being done to support enterprise development on the ground. He continued his visit of Co. Laois, stopping in Portlaoise to visit the CUBE, a developing multi-point incubation hub and Low Carbon Centre of Excellence also supported under Enterprise Ireland’s REDF.
Speaking at the CUBE, the Minister said the Regional Enterprise Development Fund was introduced to strengthen the potential for enterprise growth and job creation in Ireland’s regions.
"The CUBE has come into being because of this funding and is addressing a need for an incubation hub for low carbon businesses in the Midlands, enabling access to facilities and supports with which to start a new low carbon business or indeed to grow an existing one,” said the Longford Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD.
John Mulholland, Chief Executive of Laois County Council, said the Council was delighted to welcome Minister Troy on his visit to a number of local businesses and projects that have benefitted from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund.
“The council has been strong and steadfast in its support for the development of the Beale Centre & The Kitchens in Mountmellick, and the CUBE in Portlaoise town. The Beale Centre provides remote working and meeting facilities as a member of both the Laois Hub Collective and the Midlands Network of Co-Working Facilities (MNCF). Importantly it also provides a state-of-the-art alternative to a commute to work or from your own home.
“The CUBE also seeks to distinguish itself as a low carbon centre of excellence in the region and position the Midlands as a destination of choice in which to develop a low carbon business with excellent linkages to research, development and innovation networks across Ireland and further afield. In the short term it will develop strong synergies with the Portlaoise Low Carbon Town Project, the local business community and will strive to act as an example for other towns across the country,” she said.
Dr. Anne Cusack, Chair of the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan, said it was a pleasure as always to meet Minister Troy along with Sarah Morgan, Programme Manager for the Midlands REP and members of the steering committee to advise of progress in development of the Plans to 2024.
"This plan seeks to nurture resilience and recovery, create jobs, and realise opportunities presented by Climate Action in the transition to a zero-carbon economy, digitalisation and smart specialisation, and placemaking, and will promote the Midlands as a community in which to live, create, study, work, visit, and invest.
“It is very important to note that we will build on the successes to date, achieved under the two former enterprise plans, which have resulted in the unemployment rate of the region decreasing from 14.8% to 6% or an additional 31,200 people at work in the region. This has been achieved through collaboration of the Local Authorities, regional stakeholders, enterprise agencies and private industry. I look forward to launching the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024 in the coming months,” said Dr Cusack.
Finally, while in Portlaoise the Minister also took the opportunity to visit the Vision 85 Business Hub, one of many hubs supported by the Enterprise Ireland, Enterprise Centres Fund in November 2020.
The nine Regional Steering Committees established by DETE are at present drafting new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2024. The Plans will be structured around a small number of agreed longer term ‘Strategic Objectives’ for enterprise development for their region, together with a three-year work programme to progress actions which deliver to the objectives.
Progress Reports on implementation of the previous Regional Enterprise Plans to 2020 are available on the Department’s website at https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/ Publications
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