Call for Pilot Clustering Programme 2016


The Pilot Clustering Programme 2016 aims to support industry-led groups to maximise the benefits of collaborative opportunities. Collaborating with other companies provides the opportunity to access customers, research facilities, technical knowledge and markets that would be outside the capability or scope of a business working alone. The potential benefits to companies expected from involving themselves in industry-led clustering activities includes, but is not limited to:

  • increased productivity and company income
  • increased market share
  • increased innovation and knowledge transfer
  • enhanced capability

The pilot programme provides businesses with the opportunity to undertake time limited clustering initiatives whilst enabling them to leverage external expertise, share knowledge, resources and risk, and build capability and capacity.


Who is eligible to apply?

A clustering initiative must be proposed by:

 (a) a group of firms

(b) with specific membership

(c) who have agreed to collaborate in some way (compatible with competition law)

(d) to achieve specific business objectives that are likely to result in enhanced competitive advantage and/or mutual financial gain.


Call Close Date

The call for expressions of interest opens on the 29th February, 2016 and closes on 7th March 2016.

The Expression of Interest form can be downloaded here and once completed needs to be emailed before the 7th March to: for the attention of Wesley McGrath, Clustering Programme Manager. 

Members of interested clusters will be invited to attend an information workshop on either the 11th or 14th March to explain the development pathways most successful clusters take, the workshop will also explain the formal application process for the clustering funding programme administered by Enterprise Ireland. 

Funding Support

  • To provide funding for groups to undertake clustering projects which are industry-led and involve businesses collaborating for specific purposes, where the results of the activity will have some identifiable and measurable impact on their business.
  • Projects may be up to 2 years in duration from date of approval.
  • Funding available up to a maximum of 50% of eligible costs or €100,000 (whichever is the lesser). 

Note: For State aid purposes, funding will be provided under De Minimis Aid, and when granted, will be divided equally among the participating companies.


Eligibility Criteria for Projects:

For the purpose of this pilot, eligible projects must: 

  • Include at least five companies that are clients of an enterprise development agency (i.e. including Enterprise Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, IDA Ireland, and/or Local Enterprise Offices). 

In addition, applicants are encouraged to include “affiliate” enterprises (e.g. companies based in other jurisdictions including those based in Northern Ireland, global corporations with presences in Ireland, companies not clients of an enterprise development agency, network or trade/business associations, academia, suppliers etc.) in their project proposals as participants/contributors to the project.

  • Projects must be additional to the activities currently being undertaken by already established network and trade/business associations and additional to activities currently funded by the State to them.
  • Indicate timescale to completion. The maximum length of time for clustering projects will be 24 months from the date of approval. 
  • It is essential that one company is nominated as the Lead Company so that funds can be paid through them for the benefit of the group.  If an already established organisation or network is involved in the group, that organisation or network can be the lead, if appropriate to the project.
  • The lead company/organisation or network will also prepare and submit the claim for payment or this may be coordinated by an appointed consultant to the project (Refer Section 8).
  • Applications must provide details of how the Group is proposing to match Enterprise Ireland funding contribution (employee time and cash contributions).


Ineligible projects include:

  • Existing operational activities and processes of group members.
  • Existing activities of already established networks and trade/business associations, including administration costs associated with managing these organisations.
  • Projects that are already in receipt of public funding.
  • Once off events and seminars.
  • Projects serving individual client needs rather than encouraging collaborative activities.
  • Projects that include activities that involve gambling or "gaming" as defined in the Gaming & Lotteries Act 1956.
  • Projects that involve direct selling/export selling activities.
  • Projects that involve lobbying activities.


Expected Outputs/Impacts

  • Submission of interim and final reports detailing:
    • Detailed overview of the clustering project including SMART objectives identified from the outset.
    • Activities and work undertaken by the group.
    • Outcomes/findings of this work.
  • Clear evidence of:
    • Enhanced productivity and income.
    • Increased market share.
    • Increased innovation and knowledge transfer.
    • Enhanced capability.
    • Other evidence (relative to the focus of the clustering project).



Further information is available from:

Wesley McGrath
Capability & Mentoring Department
Enterprise Ireland

Tel: +353 1 727 2317