Regional Enterprise Development Fund – What you need to know?

Jun 1, 2017

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation this week announced a €60 million investment in a new Enterprise Ireland led competitive funding stream to support regional enterprise and job creation.  

The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is designed to support the objectives already outlined by Government in the Regional Action Plan for Jobs and in the Action Plan for Rural Development. The Fund will allocate money to regional applicants that will drive business growth and innovation through encouraging collaborative initiatives that support enterprise and job creation. It is an opportunity to drive interesting projects across the country and to give an injection of support funding to areas that need the boost.

The regional nature of the competitive fund shows commitment by Government to support regional and rural job creation. While recent CSO figures have shown that unemployment is continuing to drop in all regions with April’s Live Register results showed that the biggest fall took place in the mid-east region followed by the south-west region, there is still more to do. With the economy currently in a growth phase it is not the time to become complacent about rural Ireland and delivering regional employment. Investment in infrastructure along with such types of enterprise supports are essential to encourage and drive economic growth across the country.

There is also a Brexit related aspect to the Fund with a stated objective being to strengthen the regional ability to adjust and cope with the potential effects of international economic changes that may impact on regions or sectors performance nationally.

How will the funding be allocated?  

The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is now open for applications across four streams. The funding can be maximum of 80% of project with minimum 20% can be from the private, community or public sector. Projects must be impactful, with the principal impact being jobs.  

The Four Streams:

  1. Major change projects – €2m to €5m

This is the largest grant available and is applicable for major initiatives with high impact on enterprise development and ability to create jobs.

Examples of initiatives include: Specialised Incubators and Hubs in various specific sectors such as Fintech or Food, etc. 

  1. Regionally significant projects – €250,000 to €2m

This grant is aimed at projects that have high impact at regional/multi-regional level.

Examples include: Projects to accelerate start ups, development of SME outreach as 3rd level

  1. Local and community enterprise development projects – €50,000 to €250,000

In order to grow and sustain jobs in the area/county/region this grant is aimed at projects that can stimulate the development of community based enterprises.

Examples include: Start Up/Scaling Academies, Local Networks to deliver sectoral growth

  1. Industry clusters – €50,000 to €250,000

Industry clusters are defined as structures of at least 5 independent parties designed to stimulate innovative activity through promotion, sharing of facilities and exchange of knowledge. The grant available for industry clusters are available to maximise the benefits of collaboration through such types of structures.


The funding provides an opportunity for regions across Ireland to work together to create incubation hubs and thriving eco-systems for enterprise and to grow a culture that fosters enterprise and innovation. 

The first call for applications is now open until 18th August 2017. The second scheme will then open in January 2018.  Visit Enterprise Ireland website to find out more and get applications in before the deadline.

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