Published 15 April 2019
Hub network a flagship project in the Western Development Commission’s new five-year Strategy
Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Seán Canney TD, today (15 April 2019) announced that €1 million in funding will be made available to create a network of Enterprise Hubs and Digital Spaces along the western seaboard, from Kerry to Donegal. This area forms the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) region which combines the economic hubs and catchments of the region to attract investment, support job creation and improve the quality of life for those who live there.
Speaking at the launch of the Western Development Commission’s (WDC) new five year Strategic Plan ‘Work Smarter, Live Better’ in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, Minister Canney said:
“Through Project Ireland 2040, the Government has set out targets for regional population and jobs growth to ensure that our national development is more evenly balanced throughout the country.
“The €1 million in funding which I am announcing today for a network of enterprise hubs and digital working spaces along the Atlantic Economic Corridor will help to drive economic development and contribute to our regional development goals. The initiative will help to attract more people and more investment to the western part of Ireland, which is a vibrant area of innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as being a great place to live.”
The Minister continued: “I have asked the Western Development Commission to take the lead in developing the Hub network. This project builds on the excellent work already being carried out in the region by enterprise and innovation hubs in the private, public and social enterprise sectors. I am pleased to see that the initiative is reflected as a flagship project in the WDC’s new five-year strategy launched today.
“The funding being provided will allow existing and emerging hubs to work together to form a collaborative network, with the assistance of the Western Development Commission. The initiative will support business development, job creation and economic growth in the AEC region and will have tremendous benefits for people who want to live and work in the West of Ireland.
“The hub network will also provide a social dividend by making the hubs available to communities and those who may be economically, socially or educationally disadvantaged. The funding is being made available through the Dormant Accounts Fund.”
The €1 million in funding for the Hub Network is in addition to additional funding of €500,000 provided by the Department of Rural and Community Development to the WDC this year to enhance their capacity to support innovative and strategic regional development initiatives in the West.
Congratulating the WDC on publishing its new five-year strategy for the period 2019-2014, Minister Canney said: “The Western Development Commission has been dynamic and innovative in responding to the changing needs of the region. By supporting Government policy in developing the region, and through the focus of their new Strategy, the WDC will contribute to leading and enhancing the sustainability of the Western region over the next 5 years and beyond.”
“The Western Region can provide an unrivalled quality of life, opportunities for innovation and enterprise, and can compete on the national and international stage. This is an exciting time to live and work in the West of Ireland.”
Notes for Editors:
The Atlantic Economic Corridor
The Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) is the term applied to a “linear” region along the Western seaboard, stretching from Kerry to Donegal. The objective of the AEC project is to maximise the region’s assets and connect the economic hubs, clusters and catchments of the region to generate a value proposition of scale which will attract investment and support job creation and an improved quality of life for those who live in the regions.
The counties covered by AEC project are: Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, and Kerry.
Further information can be found at: www.atlanticeconomiccorridor.ie
Background to the WDC
The Western Development Commission (WDC) was established following the Western Development Commission Act 1998 as a Government response to the severe population decline of the Western Region. The WDC is a non-commercial State body under the aegis of the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The aim of the WDC is to promote, foster and encourage economic and social development in the Western Region, which covers counties Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare.
The WDC has an important role to play in supporting the Government’s objectives for more effective regional development through initiatives such as the National Planning Framework, the Regional Action Plans for Jobs and the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) initiative. It supports micro-enterprises and SMEs through the Western Investment Fund.
For more information, see: www.wdc.ie.