First Progress Report
First Progress Report
The South East APJ submitted its first progress report covering the period from the launch of the Plan (in September 2015) to the end of September, 2016 to Minister Mitchell O’Connor recently. The report highlights the various actions undertaken by the wide range of stakeholders to date to stimulate economic development, enterprise and job creation in the region.
The positive employment trends in the south east region over the past 12-months are very encouraging. There is little doubt that the South East APJ is helping to make a difference. The Chairman of the South East APJ Implementation Committee, Frank O’Regan presented Minister Mitchell O’Connor with the Committee’s first progress report at the end of October, 2016. The Minister was attending the Implementation Committee meeting held in the WIT Arena, Waterford. The progress report confirms that all of the actions scheduled for delivery at this stage of the 3-year plan are either on track or have been completed. Frank O’Regan said:
“We have got off to a really good start with some early wins. We are united in our purpose to ensure the potential of the south east as a great place to live, invest and to do business is maximised and that we develop the right environment to create the jobs the region needs.”
Among the actions that have been progressed to date are:
- the development of a smart specialisation strategy for the region, looking at ways to maximise the use of ICT in particular in: Agriculture, Digital Media, Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical Industries, Advanced Manufacturing and Tourism;
- Recognised leaders, innovators and influencers of the food and hospitality sector have been appointed as Food Ambassadors to help spread the vision of Irish Food Tourism among visitors, media, food tourism business and other stakeholders in Ireland’s Ancient East. The food champions from the south east include: Anthony O’Toole (Culinarian Press) Wexford; and Claire Dalton (Dungarvan Brew Co) Waterford;
- the development of a new technology gateway – DESIGN+ (at IT Carlow) to complement the existing gateways (i.e. SEAM; PMBRC; and TSSG at WIT) that will provide industry with a mix of design and technical expertise to help prototype and implement new products, as well as help upgrade the industrial strengths of the region;
- a comprehensive programme of enterprise training, management development programmes and financial support (have been provided by the LEOs in the region), aimed at assisting over 4,000 entrepreneurs to either start or develop and grow their business;
- Enterprise Ireland approved investment of almost €2.8Mn towards the New Frontiers Programme over the next 5 years. The Programme is jointly run by IT Carlow and WIT and supports high potential start-up (HPSU) companies. We have had some great HPSUs in the region in recent years (e.g. Eirgen Pharma; Near Form and FeedHenry), we just do not have enough of them and the investment in the New Frontiers Programme will help generate additional HPSUs in the years ahead ;
- the IDA have successfully attracted a wide spectrum of inward investment projects in the past year that will create significant jobs over the next 3-5 years, including: The Packaging Hub (40 new jobs); Se2 (65 new jobs); Sanofi (40 new jobs); Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories (165 new jobs); Opko (200 new jobs); MSD (200 new jobs); Technopath Clinical Diagnostics (60 new jobs); First Data (300 new jobs); Eishtec (200 new jobs); Bluefin (40 new jobs); CipherTechs (36 new jobs);
- the preparation of an application on behalf of the region by WIT, IT Carlow, SEBIC and the 5 local authorities, under the Accelerator Development Scheme competitive call for funding, aimed at providing an intensive range of supports accelerating the number of quality start-ups in the region;
- the HEA has approved funding of €1.5Mn to support WIT and IT Carlow to develop and implement an action plan to lead to Technological University for the south east. The two Institutes are committed to delivering a university of international standing for the region; and
- approval of 4 community enterprise centre initiatives from the region (out of a national total of 32 initiatives), and approval of 6 projects involving LEOs from the region under the LEO Competitive Fund (out of 16 projects approved nationally).