Reflecting its peripheral geographical location and largely rural nature, the North West region is currently facing a number of key structural economic problems. Compared to the rest of Ireland and the UK, the region relies more heavily on manual and lower skilled employment and has a particular over dependence on the public sector, agriculture and traditional manufacturing.
In light of increasing competitive pressures, this position is not sustainable, pointing to a need to develop a more diverse and dynamic economy. Developing entrepreneurial activity and innovation, business start ups and growth in small firms and the social economy, however, can be highlighted as an area for potential development to strengthen the economy and improve competitiveness.
The North West Region Cross Border Group completed a programme of consultation with key stakeholders from the North West Region comprising local authorities, social partners and statutory agencies to identify and prioritise an enterprise investment programme for the Region – to form the basis of a bid for INTERREG IVA Programme funding under Priority 1.1, Enterprise Operation for the 2008 – 2013 period.
The basis of our Enterprise bid had three key areas of support:
Business support:to provide assistance to new and existing businesses that will promote innovation and creative activities that will have the potential to grow nationally and internationally.
Investment in business infrastructure: to support the development of business infrastructure necessary for the emergence of a strong innovative regional economy. Investment will focus on particular areas such as incubator units for business starts, provision of high quality workspace, and investments in specific sectors such as creative industries,
Networking: promoting the development of a stronger business and entrepreneurial environment by supporting clusters and networks that will encourage programme collaboration between businesses.
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