Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan Launched

Wicklow will capitalise on the strengths and opportunities presented by the new Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan which was launched in Wicklow on Thursday by Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English.

Speaking at the event in County Buildings, the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Shay Cullen said he was delighted to join Minister English in the launch of “this very ambitious enterprise plan which sets out our economic development plans throughout the region. The Plan is the culmination of an intensive period of consultation over the past numbers of month with the various stakeholders within the Mid-East Enterprise Steering Committee.”

He added:  “There was considerable engagement between the respective local authorities and the various stakeholders through the Steering Committee, which is chaired by Owen Brennan, Executive Chairman of Devenish, and has resulted in the publication of an ambitious plan which consists of five strategic objectives for the region that will be met through the delivery of a number of defined actions up to the end of 2024.”

At local level in Wicklow he said “we look forward to driving these actions and seizing the various opportunities for the local economy, and position the Mid-East region as a desirable location to live, work invest and continue to learn.”

The Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, Mr Brian Gleeson stated: “The new Regional Enterprise Plan has been an excellent framework for regional co-operation at local authority level through Wicklow, Kildare and Meath County Councils and at an enterprise level between the public sector and private enterprise With continued regional collaboration, knowledge sharing and a solution mindset, I am confident that the actions within the plan will facilitate the continued economic development, especially by reversing commuting through remote working solutions through a network of remote working hubs.”

He said they would be supporting transition to a climate neutral economy through renewable energy and green technology opportunities such as the offshore wind parks adding: “We will build on the  development of a maritime enterprise cluster and training facility together with our training and industry partners.

“We intend to continue to capitalise on the strengths of the Mid East region, and I’m particularly thinking of the consolidation of the thriving screen and content creation cluster that is responding to the global demand for content and also the related training and skills development. In addition, through Wicklow Naturally we will highlight and promote our top quality local food producers and move to realise a food incubation Hub.”

Minister English said the Mid-East Plan, covering counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow was one of nine new enterprise plans throughout the country which will be funded by up to €180m. This funding will drive the implementation of the plans which will develop and implement collaborative and innovation enterprise projects in the regions and support sustainable jobs.

The REPs have been developed using a ‘bottom up’ approach by people who have a real stake in their community. This model made the Plan unique and responsive to the opportunities and needs of the region, with a focus on regional collaboration.

Minister English stated: “Across counties Meath, Wicklow and Kildare an enormous effort was made by our Enterprise Agencies, Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices, Local Authorities, Regional Assemblies, higher and further education bodies and the private sector in delivering this new Regional Enterprise Plan for the Mid-East.

“Throughout 2021, I had the pleasure of working with the entire Mid-East Committee during the development of the plan. I want to congratulate and thank Owen Brennan, Chair of the Mid-East Steering Committee, Eamonn Sinnott, Chair before him, Conor Sweeney, Mid-East Programme Manager, and everyone involved across the three counties for their work in producing this new and ambitious plan to help develop and grow enterprise across the region.

“The Mid-East Plan contains five agreed ‘Strategic Objectives’ for enterprise development, accompanied by time-bound actions that deliver the objectives. The objectives focus on the regions areas of strength including on agri-food, screen content creation, equine sector, the regions acceleration to low-carbon and ensuring the enterprise ecosystem in the region is strong.

“The competitive funding available will allow the region to pursue their ambitious plan and I look forward to working with Owen and the Steering Committee through to 2024 in delivering growth in this thriving region.”

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Mr Simon Harris, also welcomed the plan, saying:  “The Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan will help to drive regional growth and create new opportunities for people and businesses right across this region.  Importantly, these Plans will build on the successes already created and ensure they go from strength to strength.

“From my Department’s perspective, our skills agenda will act as a key driver and enabler for growth in the region. I am pleased to see the Regional Skills Forum has been at the heart of bringing this plan to completion.”

Mr Owen Brennan, Chair of the Mid-East Regional Steering Committee , commented: “I am really pleased that Minister English is here today to launch the Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan. By focusing on the five strategic objectives across agri-food, screen content, equine, a low carbon economy and a positive enterprise ecosystem, the steering committee are putting in place projects and initiatives that ensures the Mid-East realise that sustained growth and employment creation for the longer-term. We believe these objectives will act as key differentiators for the region.”

Details of the Plan are here: Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024

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