Dáil Éireann - Volume 598 - 24 February, 2005
Written Answers. - Job Creation.
Mr. Stanton Mr. Stanton
120. Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the way in which entrepreneurship in Ireland is supported and encouraged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6378/05]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin:Entrepreneurship in Ireland is supported and encouraged by the constant pursuit and promotion by the Government of an economic environment supportive of entrepreneurial activity combined with a wide range of targeted interventions by various State enterprise development agencies.
Ireland’s extraordinary success over the past decade has been built on key competitive strengths such as having one of the lowest taxation regimes in Europe, access to the EU’s Internal Market, a well educated and skilled workforce and a history of pursuing Government policies that are pro business and provide a benign business environment. The Government is committed to the continued support and development of these strengths.
The Government also supports the relevant State agencies in the delivery of a wide range of interventions that are designed to encourage and support entrepreneurs. Examples include the training and mentoring provided to new entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises by the network of  35 city and county enterprise boards. The boards also promote entrepreneurship within schools through their schools enterprise programmes including the annual student enterprise awards scheme.
Enterprise Ireland is responsible for helping and supporting the development of new Irish enterprises, built on successfully harnessing the creativity and innovation of home grown entrepreneurs. Examples of the programmes run by Enterprise Ireland include the enterprise platform programme, a one-year rapid incubation programme designed to provide hands-on support and management development for entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business. The State, through Enterprise Ireland, is also actively engaged in supporting the establishment of the necessary physical infrastructure to facilitate new and emerging innovative businesses.
Enterprise Ireland is working with third level institutes of technology to develop on-campus incubation centres to facilitate the generation of new, high growth companies. A new initiative has been put in place which will see the institutes of technology receive up to €30 million for the establishment of business incubation centres. It is expected that by the end of 2005 all institutes of technology will have their own incubation centre.
In the mid-west region, Shannon Development’s new business department is based in the Limerick InnovationWorks facility on the National Technology Park, Limerick. InnovationWorks is part of the Shannon Development knowledge network which has delivered a number of world class locations across the region for living and working in the knowledge age.
Shannon Development’s venture development process is the engine by which high potential entrepreneurs and firms are supported at each stage in their growth and development cycle. An important module in that process is the venture start one programme, designed for people considering a career move and the entrepreneurship option. It offers them an opportunity to explore the entrepreneurship process, what it involves and helps them to determine if entrepreneurship is the route that they should take.
The national training and employment authority, FÁS, organises a range of courses aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and business formation. These include courses in assessing business opportunities to provide the participants with the skills and related knowledge that will enable them to assess business opportunities; business appraisal training programme to develop and appraise the participants’ enterprise skills; provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge required to assess the feasibility of business projects; help them identify any further action/training required to set up in business and prepare a business plan outlining the viability of  the project. Other courses include start your own business which provides participants with the knowledge and skills to understand the key elements/processes required in starting a business and to conduct a personal assessment and to conduct a business assessment.
The critical role of entrepreneurship is fully recognised by the Government and the actions being taken are achieving the objective of ensuring that we have an entrepreneurial society. The 2004 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, the premier cross-national assessment of entrepreneurship, shows Ireland performing extremely well in entrepreneurship activity; Ireland is second in total entrepreneurial activity among EU member states.
Question No. 121 answered with Question No. 11.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
122. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of jobs likely to be created in County Kildare in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6455/05]
Mr. Martin Mr. Martin
Mr. Martin:Support for job creation and investment in individual counties is a day-to-day operational matter for the development agencies. IDA Ireland has responsibility for foreign direct investment. Enterprise Ireland concentrates on the indigenous sector and the county enterprise boards have primary responsibility for the promotion of indigenous industry in the micro-enterprise sector. While the agencies caution that decisions regarding investments and job creation are ultimately a matter for individual investors, they are optimistic in regard to job creation from new and expansion projects in 2005.
Enterprise Ireland is actively involved in assisting Kildare-based client companies to grow and develop their businesses, with a view to facilitating the creation of new jobs and the retention of existing jobs. Over the past three years the agency has approved €9.3 million in support to companies to help them grow their sales and exports and improve innovation and new product development to compete on world markets. Enterprise Ireland is supporting the development of community enterprise centres in County Kildare at Allenwood, Clane and Athy, which when fully operational, are expected to significantly contribute to further job creation.
One main sector of indigenous industry in County Kildare is food and consumer products. This sector accounts for a major part of the employment growth within the county. Green Isle Foods in Naas, for example, has already announced expansion plans which are expected to create 130 jobs.
IDA Ireland advises that significant developments in overseas investment were announced  for the county in 2004, such as the largest ever ICT investment in the country by Intel of €1.6 billion and a €21.4 million technology development centre by Hewlett Packard. County Kildare has benefited from a significant investment in recent years in technological infrastructure in the National University Ireland, Maynooth. This will be the key to ensuring that County Kildare is an attractive location for knowledge-based industry in future years.
While it is difficult to predict foreign direct investment in 2005, the agency expects employment trends to continue, with overseas companies in the county such as Wyeth Medica, Oral B, Tegral Products, IFS, all continuing to provide solid job opportunities.
One of the main priorities for the Kildare County Enterprise Board in 2005 will be to continue to meet with existing and potential entrepreneurs who are starting or growing their business. In 2004 the board paid out over €341,457 in grant assistance to micro-enterprises in the region. The board advises that they will be making every effort to ensure that available funds in 2005 are targeted to maximise entrepreneurial development in the county, thereby continuing to deliver on their record of employment development in the area.
The latest live register figures show that unemployment in the county has decreased from 4,921 in January 2004 to 4,430 in January 2005, a decrease of almost 10%. This data indicates that any job losses that may have occurred in the county are being offset by employment opportunities in other sectors.
The strategies and policies being pursued by the development agencies, together with the ongoing commitment of Government to regional development, 750 public servants are to be relocated in the county, will continue to bear fruit in terms of additional sustainable investment and jobs for County Kildare in 2005.
Question No. 123 answered with Question No. 48.
Question No. 124 answered with Question No. 26.
Dáil Éireann 598 Written Answers. Job Creation.