Troy meets chair of Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to discuss progress
Minister visits Low Carbon Centre of Excellence and Business Hub supported by Enterprise Ireland
Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, has met Dr Anne Cusack, CEO of Critical Healthcare and chair of the Midland Regional Enterprise Plan steering committee, to discuss progress on the development of the new Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024.
The plan is one of nine new being developed across the country, to build on the strengths and opportunities unique to each region, address ecosystem gaps, and complement and reinforce the ongoing work of the department’s enterprise agencies and other development bodies.
The development of the new Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024 involves collaboration between Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices, local authorities, higher and further education bodies, businesses and others in the region.
During his visit to Laois, Minister Troy said: “I am pleased to be here today to meet Anne Cusack and representatives from the Midland Regional Enterprise Plan Office. Collaboration is a key element to the success of these new plans, and I am delighted with the progress that is being made by regional stakeholders on the development of the new Midland Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024.”
The meeting was held on Tuesday September 14 at the Beale Centre in Mountmellick, a centre for business excellence which provides open-plan hot desks, office pods, meeting and teleconferencing rooms as well as commercial kitchens to businesses in the area.
The centre was developed with the support of Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF).
The minister also had the opportunity to meet local businesses supported by Laois Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland to see first-hand the work that is being done to support enterprise development.
He continued his visit in Portlaoise to visit the CUBE, a developing multi-point incubation hub and Low Carbon Centre of Excellence also supported under Enterprise Ireland’s REDF.
Speaking at the CUBE, Minister Troy added: “The Regional Enterprise Development Fund was introduced to strengthen the potential for enterprise growth and job creation in Ireland’s regions. The CUBE has come into being because of this funding and is addressing a need for an incubation hub for low carbon businesses in the Midlands, enabling access to facilities and supports with which to start a new low carbon business or indeed to grow an existing one.”
John Mulholland, chief executive of Laois County Council, said: “The council has been strong and steadfast in its support for the development of the Beale Centre and The Kitchens in Mountmellick, and the CUBE in Portlaoise town. The Beale Centre provides remote working and meeting facilities as a member of both the Laois Hub Collective and the Midlands Network of Co-Working Facilities (MNCF).
“Importantly it also provides a state-of-the-art alternative to a commute to work or from your own home.
“The CUBE also seeks to distinguish itself as a low carbon centre of excellence in the region and position the midlands as a destination of choice in which to develop a low carbon business with excellent linkages to research, development and innovation networks across Ireland and further afield.
“In the short term, it will develop strong synergies with the Portlaoise Low Carbon Town Project, the local business community and will strive to act as an example for other towns across the country.”
Dr Cusack said: “It is a pleasure as always to meet Minister Troy, along with Sarah Morgan, programme manager for the Midlands REP, and members of the steering committee to advise of progress in development of the Plans to 2024.
“This plan seeks to nurture resilience and recovery, create jobs, and realise opportunities presented by climate action in the transition to a zero-carbon economy, digitalisation and smart specialisation, and placemaking, and will promote the midlands as a community in which to live, create, study, work, visit, and invest.
“It is important to note that we will build on the successes to date, achieved under the two former enterprise plans, which have resulted in the unemployment rate of the region decreasing from 14.8% to 6% or an additional 31,200 people at work in the region.
“This has been achieved through collaboration of the local authorities, regional stakeholders, enterprise agencies and private industry. I look forward to launching the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024 in the coming months.”
Finally, while in Portlaoise Minister Troy took the opportunity to visit the Vision 85 Business Hub, one of many hubs supported by the Enterprise Ireland, Enterprise Centres Fund in November 2020.