News & Events

New Regional Enterprise Plan for the Mid-East

New Plan is one of nine Regional Enterprise Plans to be launched by Minister Humphreys to drive enterprise growth in the regions

Minister also turns sod on new MERITS enterprise hub development in Naas

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, today launched a new Regional Enterprise Plan for the Mid-East to support enterprise growth and job creation through collaborative initiatives. She was joined at the launch event by Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English TD.

The development of the Mid East Plan was overseen by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, working with stakeholders from the Mid-East region including counties Meath, Kildare and Wicklow through a committee chaired by Mr. Eamonn Sinnott, Vice President and General Manager of Intel Ireland. The Mid East Plan identifies four Strategic Objectives, with actions to: develop the Mid-East as a hub for the screen content creation sector; create a network of innovative co-working spaces; build an ecosystem framework to support the agri-food sector; and ensure the availability of skills and talent to realise the Mid-East’s future economic potential and address upskilling requirements

The Mid East Plan is one of nine Regional Enterprise Plans being launched by Minister Humphreys over coming weeks.

Speaking at Kildare Co. Council headquarters in Naas, the Minister also turned the sod on a new MERITS enterprise hub to be constructed on an adjacent site. The project is being supported by her Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund.

The Minister said:

“The collaboration in evidence here in Naas is a great example of what these new Regional Enterprise Plans are fundamentally about. The Regional Enterprise Plan for the Mid-East that I am launching today sets out a number of key strategic areas where regional stakeholders working together will provide a basis for future enterprise development and job creation that is sustainable in the longer term.

“I am pleased to note that jobs growth has been strong in all regions, including the Mid-East, since we launched our first regional jobs plans in early 2015. There are 32,200 more people at work in the Mid-East today, and the unemployment rate has reduced from 9.6 percent down to 5.8 percent.”

The Minister added:

“Notwithstanding this huge success, it is clear that there are new challenges emerging for enterprises in the external environment. Through this Regional Enterprise Plan, the region can adopt a leadership position through driving initiatives from the ground-up.

“As part of Project Ireland 2040, the Government has introduced a range of new funding streams such as the €1 billion Rural Regeneration Fund, the €2 billion Urban Development Fund, the €500 million Climate Action Fund and the €500m Disruptive Technologies Fund. These are in addition to other existing schemes such as my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

“Given the wide range of stakeholders involved, the Midlands Regional Enterprise Steering Committee is ideally placed to come up with innovative, collaborative projects of scale which can deliver real economic benefits for this region.”

Strengthening our regional enterprises is particularly important in the context of Brexit.

“Over the coming weeks, my Department will continue to highlight the key issues that businesses need to be aware of in the run up to Brexit, and the Government supports that are available to them to mitigate its impacts”, the Minister said.

Turning to the MERITS enterprise hub development in Naas, she added:

“I am delighted to be turning the sod on this exciting new development for the region here in Naas, which will provide an exciting opportunity to cluster Irish and international new-technology companies. Through the new digital hub, companies of all shapes and sizes will have a space where they can access expertise and knowledge, develop cutting edge technologies, become more innovative and resilient, and grow their business, creating new job opportunities in the region.”

The new Regional Enterprise Plans are the result of an extensive refresh of the original Regional Action Plans for Jobs (RAPJs) which ran from 2015 to 2017/8. The new Plans complement and add value to the ongoing work of the Enterprise Agencies, LEOs, Regional Skills Fora, and other bodies involved in supporting enterprise development in the regional setting. Minister Humphreys will launch all nine regional plans over the coming weeks.

Minister Humphreys added:

 “I want to thank Mr. Eamonn Sinnott, VP and General Manager of Intel Ireland who has brought this new Regional Enterprise Plan to fruition and who will oversee its implementation, working in collaboration with regional stakeholders, including the Local Authorities in Meath, Kildare and Wicklow, the Enterprise Agencies, the LEOs and others,”

Minister English said:

“I’m delighted that the new Mid East Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 is being launched here in Naas, where another critical piece of infrastructure to support innovation, business growth and jobs in the region is commencing construction. Last December I was pleased to be at the announcement in Navan of an allocation of over €1.5 million towards development of the Boyne Valley Food Innovation District also in this region. The Regional Enterprise Development Fund is backing projects that are emerging from the ground up, where local stakeholders themselves recognise the potential for economic growth.”

He added:
“Under Project Ireland 2040 Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, the Mid East will benefit from more than €13million in co-funding to drive projects in the towns of Bray, Naas, Arklow, Wicklow, Ashbourne, and Navan. These developments will have a transformative effect in this region.”

Minister Ring said:

“Regional and rural job creation is at the core of this Government’s mission. Through initiatives such as the Regional Enterprise Plans, the Regional Enterprise Development Fund we are supporting the creation of more jobs in our regions. My Department’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will invest €315 million in rural communities over the next four years as part of the roll out of Project Ireland 2040. By investing in regional jobs and rural communities we can ensure there is a sustainable future for rural communities in this region and throughout Ireland.”

Minister Creed said:

“It is clear that there are new challenges emerging for enterprises and the agri-economy in rural Ireland, whether it is Brexit or the transition to a low carbon economy. It is critical that as a Government we do all in our power to support resilience in the businesses that we have and ensure that there is a pipeline of new opportunities so that regions and rural communities can positively cope with changes that lie ahead. I want to welcome the initiative shown here in Co. Kildare to develop a facility that will play its part in securing the economic future of the Mid East region and offer new employment opportunities for people in this area.

Eamonn Sinnott, Chair of the Mid East Steering Committee, said:

“The Mid East Regional Enterprise Plan is the product of a period of positive and productive collaboration with key stakeholders of the Implementation Committee, through which we have achieved a much more strategic approach that focuses on core, ‘game-changing’ projects for the region.
Overall, it reflects a vision for Kildare, Meath and Wicklow that is not just about delivering the four core objectives identified in the Plan, but setting out an ongoing legacy and culture of enterprise development in the Mid-East that revitalises and sustains our communities. The achievement of these objectives will be met through the delivery of defined actions, outlined in the Plan. The willingness and buy-in from all local stakeholders to collaborate regionally will be essential to the success of the Plan”

Frank Curran, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, added:

“The development of the Content Creation Enterprise Hub at Wicklow County Campus, Wicklow County Council will provide specialised and customised, sector specific business supports for start-ups and established businesses in the content creation/film sector, thus promoting growth, job creation and internationalisation and the positioning of Ireland as a global leader in content creation and resulting in a strong regional screen enterprise ecosystem”

Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council said:

“The objectives and actions set out in the Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan very much align with our economic strategy. The opportunity to collaborate with Kildare and Wicklow County Councils and the other stakeholders through the steering committee will assist greatly in delivering upon the strategic objectives in the plan. The recently funded Boyne Valley Food Innovation Hub provides us with an excellent opportunity to bring world class facilities and initiatives to the region and we look forward to working closely with all partners in the region to make this a great success.”

Speaking after the launch, CE for Kildare County Council, Peter Carey stated: “Our direction has been influenced by the increased demand on the Mid East Local Enterprise Offices from the emerging technology sector for support in their development, the increase in demand from small businesses for support in innovation and the growing needs of remote workers for professional co working spaces "

“In collaboration with Maynooth University and a number of other agencies we want to continue to develop Kildare as a digital/innovative economy hub and a leadership “hot spot” by building on an existing critical mass in the IT and digital/tech sector and attracting further investment into the County. The Mid East Enterprise plan and in particular the development of the Innovation Network provides immense opportunity to deliver on this,” Peter Carey concluded.


Mid-East Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020

For further information, contact:

Press Office, Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, 01-6312200 or 0871255572


Regional Enterprise Plans:
• The Mid East Regional Enterprise Plan contains the following Strategic Objectives and specific actions have been set out under each area:
o Strategic Objective 1: Develop the Mid-East as a hub for the screen content creation sector
o Strategic Objective 2: Develop a network of innovative co-working spaces
o Strategic Objective 3: Build an ecosystem framework to support the agri-food sector in the Boyne Valley
o Strategic Objective 4: Ensure the availability of skills and talent to realise the Mid-East’s future economic potential and address upskilling requirements

• Co-ordinated by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, nine Regional Enterprise Plans have been developed for: Midlands, South-East, South-West, Mid-West, West, North-West, North-East, Mid-East and Dublin.

• Launches by Minister Humphreys will take place in the following locations:

Midlands6th FebruaryMountmellick, Laois
Mid-East7th FebruaryNaas, Kildare
West11th FebruaryGalway City, Galway
Dublin13th FebruaryDublin City, Dublin
Mid-West20th FebruaryLisheen, Tipperary
North-West25th FebruaryLeitrim
North-East25th FebruaryCavan
South-West1st MarchSkibbereen, Cork
South-East22nd MarchWaterford City

• In developing the Regional Enterprise Plans, each individual Regional Implementation Committee was asked by Minister Humphreys to take into consideration their work to date on the original Regional Action Plans for Jobs (RAPJs), the new challenges, strengths and opportunities that the region currently faces, and to strategically elevate areas where they could support enterprise development in their region through collaborative actions.

• The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms Heather Humphreys TD met with the Chairs of the RAPJ Committees and up to 100 regional stakeholders in Farmleigh in April 2018 to commence the process.

• The Strategic Objectives and actions in each of the new Regional Enterprise Plans are set out alongside the Enterprise Agencies’ (EI, IDA, LEOs) core activities. The Plans therefore are aimed at adding value to what the Agencies are doing on the ground, through collaborative actions.

• As a ‘bottom-up’ initiative, the Plans complement national level policies and programmes emanating from the ‘top-down’ and in particular, there is strong alignment with Ireland’s recently national enterprise policy, Enterprise 2025 Renewed and the forthcoming Future Jobs Ireland initiative.

• The Regional Enterprise Plans are two-year focused plans to end 2020 and they are also ‘live’ documents, with the expectation that new initiatives can be taken on during their operation by the regional stakeholders working together.

• The 2020 targets initially set out under the Regional Action Plan for Jobs (RAPJ) 2015 – 2017/8 remain in place – that is to have a further 10 to 15 per cent at work in each region by 2020, with the aim of having the unemployment rate of each region within one percentage point of the State average. The new Plans are also seeking to generate enterprise growth and resilience, and to enable the creation of employment that is of good quality and sustainable over the longer term.

• While the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and its agencies are facilitating and supporting the renewal of the regional Plans, if they are to be successful, they need to be owned and delivered by the key stakeholders of the region, with significant private sector involvement continuing to be a critical part of the framework.

• ‘Enterprise Champions’ will continue to be a central part of the leadership in each region to help drive the process forward, and the Steering Committees charged with implementing the Plans are chaired by senior business people.

• The actions set out in the Regional Enterprise Plans include timelines for delivery, with responsibility allocated to the relevant parties. The intention is that each Plan will be monitored at regional level to ensure local responsibility for delivery, with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation overseeing the process and progress at the national level.

• The Regional Enterprise Plans have a strong complementary role to play in the context of Project Ireland 2040, and more specifically in the implementation of the National Planning Framework and its constituent Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSESs) at NUTS 2 (Regional Assembly) level.

The Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF):
The REDF is a €60m competitive fund introduced by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and administered by Enterprise Ireland. It is aimed at supporting collaborative and innovative projects that can help to sustain and add to employment at a national, regional and county level.
In total, 42 projects have been awarded funding over two completed Calls worth a total of €60m, with projects supported in every region.
Today’s launch of the Regional Enterprise Plan coincided with a sod turning by Minister Humphreys at the development of a new Mid East Regional Innovation Think Space (MERITS), which received over €1.9m in grant support under the REDF. The funding was announced in December 2017 under Call 1 of the REDF. MERITS is a new build project to cluster Irish and international new-technology companies, drive innovation, and provide mentorship and support, located in Naas County Kildare. The project is being led by County Kildare Community Network Company.
The Mid East secured and additional €1.5 million in REDF under the Second Call of the REDF to develop the Boyne Valley Food Innovation District (BVID). The project aims to deliver smart specialisation through an innovation-rich building and accompanying stimulus project for the Mid and North East regions which will empower food and drink entrepreneurs, escalate their growth and provide the economic, physical, and networking assets to create impact of 250 new jobs, 50 new and expanding food businesses, 200 new/improved food and drink products, €25m per annum in new export sales, 900 entrepreneurs and learners with increased competencies and 60 interns delivering fresh talent and innovation.


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

For more information please contact or ph: (01) 6312200

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