News & Events

New Regional Enterprise Plan for the West

  • Minister announces 45 new Jobs at Joulica

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

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, today launched the West Regional Enterprise Plan, the third of nine Enterprise Plans, to support enterprise growth and job creation in the region through collaborative initiatives. She was joined at the launch event by Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne TD.

The Regional Enterprise Plan for the West is focused around six Strategic Objectives that build on the region’s strengths and address vulnerabilities; these include achieving further development and growth in life sciences, agri-tech, tourism and the creative sector, as well as strengthening the regional ecosystem in relation to skills availability and enterprise space.

Speaking at the Portershed, Galway City, which through Galway Innovation District CLG was a recently successful applicant under her Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, the Minister said:

“The collaboration in evidence here at the Portershed in Galway is a great example of what these new Regional Enterprise Plans are fundamentally about. The Regional Enterprise Plan for the West 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 West. There are 28,400 more people at work in the West today than at the beginning of 2015, when the Government first launched regional jobs plans, and the unemployment rate has reduced significantly from almost 12.6 percent in 2015 down to 6.6 percent.”

“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 Regional Enterprise Steering Committee for the West 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.
  • As part of her visit to Galway, Minister Humphreys also announces the creation of 45 new jobs at Joulica:

“Today I am also making a significant announcement of new jobs for the West and Galway, where Joulica will be expanding their operation to support the expansion of their business internationally. This is excellent news for Galway and is testament to the hard work and determination of the management and employees at Joulica. It is also a clear vote of confidence in Galway and the West as a top-class business location”

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. The development of the Plans was overseen by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, working with regional stakeholders. Minister Humphreys will launch all nine regional plans over the coming weeks.

Minister Humphreys added:

“I want to thank Gerry Kilcommins of Medtronic, Chair of the Regional Enterprise Plan Steering Committee for the West and who will oversee the implementation of the new Plan, and to thank him also for his previous work as Committee Chair for the 2015-2017 Plan.”

Minister Kyne said:

“I’m delighted that the new West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 is being launched here today in Portershed, Galway.  The Portershed is a launch-pad for new businesses who, as a result of its expansion supported by almost €2.5 million in REDF funding, will become a truly top-class facility serving this region.”

“I am also pleased that three other projects in the West have been supported under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund; in particular the Connemara Gaeltacht based MIDC Páirc na Mara marine innovation centre; and also the BIA Innovator Campus in Athenry and Burren Lowlands rural enterprise project.

“Through Project Ireland 2040 we will make sustained investments so that Ireland remains an attractive place to live, work and invest over the longer term.  I’m delighted that the West will benefit from more than €15.5 million in co-funding under the Project Ireland 2040 Urban and Rural Regeneration and Development Funds.” he said.

Minister Humphreys and Minister Kyne also travelled to the Teagasc Rural Economy Research Centre, Athenry, Co. Galway to meet with the project team and partners involved in the development of a dynamic food and drink ‘BIA Innovator’ centre, at the Teagasc research campus in Athenry, which was awarded just under €2.5 million under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund.

Minister Humphreys said:

“This ‘BIA Innovator’ project is an exciting development for Athenry and will result in a step-change in the food entrepreneurship landscape in the West of Ireland. I want to congratulate the partners involved on their success under my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, administered by Enterprise Ireland; particularly Galway County Council and Teagasc, who are demonstrating the benefits of local collaboration for the betterment of this region”

Speaking at the Teagasc Rural Economy Research Centre in Athenry, Cllr. Peter Feeney, Chair of the BIA INNOVATOR CAMPUS CLG said:

“The BIA INNOVATOR CAMPUS CLG is a significant step change project which will address challenges facing the food sector through the provision of a number of supports and essential infrastructure. The project could not have been achieved without the hard work and input from the co-founders Galway County Council & Teagasc, many stakeholders and the EI Regional Enterprise Development Fund. This is an excellent example of how collaborative working adds value in achieving shared objectives. We look forward to moving on to the delivery stage and in creating key jobs for the West of Ireland. This is also a key legacy project for the Galway & West of Ireland European Region of Gastronomy designation for 2018.”


West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020

For further information, contact:

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


Regional Enterprise Plans:

  • The West Regional Enterprise Plan contains the following Strategic Objectives and specific actions have been set out under each area:
  • Strategic Objective 1: Build greater capability within the life sciences sector to meet its future needs
  • Strategic Objective 2: Ensure the continued sustainable growth of tourism in the West, including maximising the opportunities for the growth of      Business Tourism
  • Strategic Objective 3: Build on the West’s unique creative assets to realise increased employment and investment in the sector
  • Strategic Objective 4: Enhance the growth potential of Ag Tech in the West
  • Strategic Objective 5: Align training provision to local current and future skills needs
  • Strategic Objective 6: Enhance the quality and availability of enterprise space in the West


  • 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.
  • The launch schedule for the Regional Enterprise Plans by Minister Humphreys is as follows:






6th February

Mountmellick, Laois


7th February

Naas, Kildare


11th February

Galway City, Galway


13th February

Dublin City, Dublin


20th February

Lisheen, Tipperary


25th February



25th February



1st March

Skibbereen, Cork


22nd March

Waterford 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.

The West Region has secured total funding of over €7.1 million across four projects under the two completed REDF Calls:

  • BIA Innovator Campus CLG [Athenry, Co Galway]: a step change project aimed at transforming the food entrepreneurship landscape in the West of Ireland by realising a dynamic food and drink innovation centre creating 360 jobs within 3 years in 40+ businesses while unlocking far reaching innovation ecosystem benefits.       
  • Galway City Innovation District [Portershed, Galway City]: A project to support the refurbishment of an existing building and construct on the site three new floors to provide coworking space, private office space and event space for scaleup companies. It will also act as a soft-landing site for FDI companies. The project enhances the existing innovation, entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem and supports a geographically balanced and integrated approach to economic and social development.
  • MIDC Páirc na Mara [Cill Chiaráin, County Galway]: development of a market‐focused Marine Innovation and Development Centre (MIDC) at the Páirc na Mara, which is a dedicated marine development campus, at Cill Chiaráin, County Galway. The project will provide 1,800 sq. metres of enterprise and incubation space for marine enterprises.Through collaboration with regional stakeholders and the HEIs, the project will provide specialist training and business development supports. MIDC is being championed by Údarás na Gaeltachta.
  • The Burren Lowlands CLG [Co. Galway, Co. Clare]: A project that will develop an enterprise platform which will, for the first time, create a focus point for the development of activities to create and attract additional jobs to this cross-border area. The project aims to: deliver initiatives for migrants living in the area; network existing businesses; provide remote working opportunities, and support entrepreneurship amongst the farming community; under three pillars of Enterprise, Community, and Tourism.