Powering the Regions - Enterprise Centre Scheme

Background

The role of an Enterprise Centre?

Enterprise centres nationally support start-ups, micro-enterprises and small business by providing physical accommodation to companies plus delivery of capability building supports to their tenants, and their local business community, through the provision of structured enterprise training courses. These centres also provide physical space for future work initiatives, such as, remote working. In providing these services, enterprise centres are critical regional infrastructures supporting entrepreneurship, start-up companies and small enterprise to grow and scale.

Enterprise Centres are operated both as not-for-profit and for-profit entities. Enterprise Ireland has invested over €160 million in not-for-profit Enterprise Centres under several schemes, including the Regional Enterprise Development Fund, the Border Enterprise Development Fund, the Community Enterprise Centre Schemes and the Community Enterprise Initiative Scheme since 1999.

Defining the Impact of COVID-19 on Enterprise Centres

Enterprise centres derive income not alone from renting accommodation space to companies but also by delivering their core activities in the form of co-working facilities, training programmes, hot desking, coaching/mentoring and other business-related activities/events. According to the National Association of Community Enterprise Centres’ COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Survey, 87% of member centres have reported a drop in income of between 21% – 80%. In addition, 33% of tenants in member centres have closed permanently.

The impact of reduced income for enterprise centres has been exacerbated further by increased operational costs.

Rationale for State Intervention to Support Enterprise Centres

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, enterprise centres will continue to have a key role in supporting enterprise and contributing to economic recovery at a regional level. Their reduced income and increased operational costs resulting from Covid 19, for most centres, impacts their ability to deliver on this. Without financial support many of these centres will not be in a position to support companies rebuild and recover after the impact of COVID-19, or to face the challenges and opportunities emerging from Brexit and transition to a low carbon economy.

Summary of the Powering the Regions – Enterprise Centre Fund

Purpose: The purpose of the Powering the Regions – Enterprise Centres Fund is to provide financial support to eligible enterprise centres who have been impacted by COVID-19 as follows:

  • evidence of a minimum net loss of 15 per cent to the business of the applicant entity between 2019 and 2020.

Objective: The objective of the Powering the Regions – Enterprise Centres Fund is to provide eligible enterprise centres with financial support for the implementation of a 6 to 12 - month Recovery Plan. This plan should have the objective of strengthening the underlying viability of the centre to enable it to continue to deliver value added supports to their client companies.

The 6 to 12 - month Recovery Plan should detail:

  • The funding assistance sought;
  • The expenditure for which the financial support is required;
  • How the funding support will underpin the centres return to viability over the next 12 to 24 months; and
  • How the Recovery Plan will support the enterprise centres’ client companies to recover and rebuild.

Funding available

Eligible enterprise centres can apply for funding of a minimum amount of €10,000 and up to a maximum amount of €150,000. Funding will be administered in the form of grant aid of up to 80 per cent of eligible costs detailed in the Recovery Plan. Applicants for funding will need to demonstrate the ability to finance the balance of funding required to implement the Recovery Plan. The required balanced of funding can take the form of revenue generated through the centres core activities over the duration of the plan. Applicants will be required to demonstrate the ability to raise this funding as part of their application.

Eligible applicants

Eligible applicants for funding under this fund are enterprise centres that:

  • Are for-profit limited companies or not-for-profit DAC or CLG enterprises or Campus Incubation Centres that were in existence and operational in 2019.
  • Are headquartered in Ireland.
  • Provide both rented accommodation space to enterprise plus capability building supports and services through the delivery of structured programmes.
  • Have a track record of the delivery of a suite of development programmes to start-ups in 2019. The delivery of capability building services must be a critical part of the enterprise centre’s business model.
  • Can demonstrate that the centre requires funding to cover operational costs over the next 6 -12 months.

Administration of the fund

The €12 million Powering the Regions: Enterprise Centre Fund is open to not-for-profit and for-profit enterprise centres or Campus Incubation Centres. The terms and conditions of funding for both cohorts are the same. However, applications for funding from eligible for-profit enterprise centres will  be subject to a competitive process for the award of funding of up to €2.5 million. Applications for  funding from not-for profit enterprise centres will be submitted as part of an open call. Up to €9.5 million is available for not for-profit enterprise centres under this fund.

A detailed reference document for the scheme is available here.

How do I apply? How are applications assessed?

Click on the Apply Now button below to download the application form

Apply Now

Note: only applications submitted on the official application form will be considered.

Eligible applications will be evaluated and approved by the Enterprise Ireland Board or a decision-making committee appointed by the Enterprise Ireland Board. Where the number of suitable applications exceeds the available funding, those ranked highest will be supported.

An Evaluation Group will be set up comprised of nominees from Enterprise Ireland, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and relevant public and private bodies will be set up to evaluate eligible projects.

Full details on how applications are assessed are available by downloading the “Powering the Regions – Enterprise Centre SchemeReference Document.

Call Close/Closing Date

Completed applications for the Competitive Call (from For Profit applicants) must be received by 12.00 PM on Wednesday 30th September 2020 at the latest.

Applications received after 12.00 PM on the date of the call close will be considered ineligible.

Completed application forms must be sent to the following email address: GA-ECS@enterprise-ireland.com

Applications from Not for Profit Centres may be submitted following consultation with your Regional Development Executive at any point up to the 30th September 2020

Contact

For further information, please contact:

ECSadmin@enterprise-ireland.com

Or alternatively, contact the following Enterprise Ireland Regional Executives based in your location:

Mid-West & Kerry

Jerry Moloney +353 61 777 018
Catherine Hogan +353 61 777 009
Harriet Cotter +353 61 777 015

North West

Aidan McKenna +353 42 935 4420
Carole Brenan +353 71 915 9726
Joan Mullen +353 71 915 9732

North-East

Aidan McKenna +353 42 935 4420
Deirdre Craven +353 42 935 4426

Dublin

Eoghan Hanrahan +353 1 727 2289
Deirdre O'Neill +353 1 727 2145
Ena Coleman +353 1 727 2787

South-East

Martin Corkery +353 21 480 0229
Brian Fives +353 51 333 537

Midlands and Mid-East

Michael Brougham +353 90 648 7121
James Maloney +353 90 648 7125
Mark Atterbury +353 90 648 7128
Ena Coleman +353 1 727 2787

South

Martin Corkery +353 21 480 0229
Ciara Concannon +353 21 480 0231
Jacqui Norton +353 21 480 0228

West

Burga Fullam +353 91 735 929
Margaret Charleton +353 91 735 946

Or contact your local Enterprise Ireland Regional office