The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, today announced €8.24m in grants for 95 Enterprise Centres around the country under Enterprise Ireland’s Enterprise Centres Fund.
Under the Powering the Regions – Enterprise Centre Scheme, Wexford Enterprise Centre received €144,395 in funding. This Fund, which was launched in August, was open to both not-for-profit and for-profit enterprise centres which have seen their income significantly impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic we eligible to apply for grants ranging from €10k to €150k.
The funding announced today through Enterprise Ireland will ensure that the enterprise centres, many of whom have been negatively impacted by Covid-19, can sustain their businesses, pivot and further develop their services to support the next wave of Irish start-up companies.
Wexford Enterprise Centre, an independent, not-for-profit organisation, is home to 32 startups and SMEs. The grant will used for capital improvements to the building, a business support plan and a health and well-being programme for the resident businesses and their employees. Wexford Enterprise Centre will also invest an additional €36,000 to meet the cost of the plan.
Under the strategy, measures to increase the health and safety features in the building include the installation of ‘touchless’ facilities on all doors and taps and the construction of a high-tech studio to facilitate online meetings and conferences.
An extensive business support plan is also in progress and encompasses three components: a ‘triage’ programme, to identify and provide support to businesses at risk of not making it through the crisis by identifying their needs and then providing them with a team of specialists to help them recover from the brink; a ‘Pro-Team’ project, which pairs relatively new Entrepreneurs with older, more experienced business leaders to mentor and take an active role within the start-up companies; the third programme, the ‘Ark Sessions’ is a series of forums for additional training and development purposes. A health and well-being programme will also be established to form a holistic approach.
Enterprise Centres are embedded in communities in every county in the country. They provide space and training for entrepreneurs, allowing them to work remotely, access training and advice, and network with other business leaders. Wexford Enterprise Centre, which officially opened its doors in 1989, was the first of its kind in Ireland and is recognised as pioneers in the field of social enterprise.
Welcoming this announcement, Chief Executive of Wexford Enterprise Centre, Brendan Ennis said, “Small businesses by their nature combat challenges on a daily basis, so in many ways they are best placed to tackle the challenges this pandemic brings. But to do this, they need support, guidance and time. This grant enables us to provide those businesses located here at Wexford Enterprise Centre with that opportunity and we are grateful to Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for their robust support for the SME and start-up sector in response to the Covid-19 crisis. In particular, I wish to thank Enterprise Ireland, who throughout the years of various economic ups and downs, has helped to establish, develop and nurture an environment for enterprise centres across Ireland to thrive.”