2020 BEDF Project to Develop a New Centre in Dundalk

Barry Kennedy with Heather Humphreys at funding announcement for Border Enterprise Development Fund

2020 BEDF Project to Develop a New Centre in Dundalk

A project to develop a new Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Training Centre of Excellence in Dundalk has been named as one of 11 successful border county projects from the North East and North West of the country approved to share in the €17m Border Enterprise Development Fund 2020, an initiative of the Government of Ireland administered by Enterprise Ireland.

Nineteen applications were received from project groups in Counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth with 11 projects selected for funding following a rigorous evaluation process. Four of the finalist projects will be based in Louth, two in Monaghan, two in Donegal, one in Cavan, one in Sligo and one in Leitrim.

The Border Enterprise Development Fund, which was launched in January, will provide support for collaborative, enterprise capability building projects, to advance entrepreneurship, productivity and innovation in the Border Region.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said, “I am delighted to announce the very impressive projects that have been successful in receiving funding under the Border Enterprise Development Fund. This fund is part of a €28m economic stimulus package, which I announced for the Border Region earlier this year. It’s designed to foster collaboration while helping to make businesses more resilient, more innovative and more competitive.

“All of the research shows that the Border region is most exposed to the impact of Brexit, and obviously the situation is even more difficult now with the COVID-19 challenge. That’s why I want to ensure that businesses in the region are supported by Government in responding to the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead.

“This is the first time that my Department has provided targeted, ringfenced funding to a specific region, which represents a strong statement of our commitment to the Border area. Through this Fund, I want to make businesses in the border region more resilient, more innovative and more competitive so that we can stimulate enhanced economic activity in the region.”

Chief Executive with Irish Manufacturing Research (IMR), Barry Kennedy said, “IMR is delighted that LMETB has received support to develop an Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence and we are pleased to be a strategic partner in its development. At this time, upskilling our manufacturing organisations to be able to integrate emerging technologies such as collaborative robotics will be key to enabling manufacturing in Ireland to successfully push through the challenges of working in a post Covid-19 world and continue to enable Ireland to be competitive on the world stage.”

Enterprise Ireland Regional Director in the North-East and North-West, Aidan McKenna said, “Enhancing collaboration is a central element to driving the innovative capabilities of indigenous enterprise and this is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Powering the Regions’ strategy. The 11 successful projects announced today including the Training Centre of Excellence in Dundalk, illustrate the power of collaboration and will enhance the productivity of SMEs to build scale at a regional level.

“Our aim is to improve the international competitiveness of enterprise in the Border Region in the context of Brexit and other market challenges, which now also include COVID-19 and to help increase the number of exporters, win business in global markets and provide sustainable employment opportunities in the Border Region.”

Martin O’Brien, CEO, Louth and Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) added, “Brexit, and more recently COVID-19, has shone a light on manufacturing in Ireland which is reaching a critical point and needs to change. To successfully compete in the global market, Irish industry must employ Advanced Manufacturing techniques.

“This Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Centre of Excellence here in Dundalk will empower Irish industry to make that move and open up opportunities for higher paid employment. LMETB is delighted to lead this national initiative in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and SOLAS.”

Brendan Mackin, Chairperson of the Portview Enterprise Centre, East Belfast concluded, “The all-Ireland dimension to this project will make a significant contribution to the economic and community recovery of all on the island of Ireland. On behalf of the Portview Enterprise Centre Board, we are delighted to be part of this innovative initiative and we wish the LMETB team every success with the project.”