Scheme offers €2m for business clusters


MINISTER FOR Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton yesterday announced a €2 million initiative aimed at increasing co-operation between businesses as part of a so-called “clustering programme”.

As part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2012, launched earlier this year, the development of “clusters of strength” is aimed at replicating Ireland’s success in the pharmaceutical industry and the medical devices sector.

Projects will need to involve at least five companies to be approved for funding of up to €100,000.

“If we are to see the jobs recovery we so badly need, we must be more innovative in the ways we seek to move the performance of our industries to the next level,” Mr Bruton said.

“Some of Ireland’s major success stories are based on clusters – for example, the medical devices cluster, which is recognised internationally as one of the best in the world. Part of the Government’s plan for jobs and growth is to seek to replicate this across the economy and ensure that Ireland can become a world leader in a range of sectors, whether it be digital games, cloud computing, or anything else,” he said.

The programme is supported by Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta and the City and County Enterprise Boards.

Jean Mullen, managing the programme for Enterprise Ireland, described the initiative as a “pilot programme”, and said that no particular sector had been singled out: “For example, it could be a group of architects looking at opportunities in the Middle East who would position themselves together in a marketing sense.”