The EU Investment Plan – an opportunity for local businesses in Waterford

The EU Investment Plan – an opportunity for local businesses

Last Wednesday (27th September) over 50 entrepreneurs gathered at Boxworks Co-working space in Waterford’s City Centre to discuss the European Investment Plan and its relevance to the south-east region.  The event was organised by the Europe Direct Information Centre which is based at Central Library in Lady Lane.

The expert panel of Dr. Mary Murphy, Department of Government, University College Cork, Emma Kerins, Internatiaonal Affairs Executive, Chambers Ireland and June Fardey, Waterford Small Business and Agri Lending Manager for Bank of Ireland was chaired by Eugene Crehan, Director of Programmes, CEDRE School of Business, Waterford Institute of Technology.

The panelists gave the background to the Investment Plan and its impact to date and discussed how it can apply to businesses in Waterford. They also covered the practicalities of funding applications and each attendee received a pack containing details of the potential funding streams and the contact details of the financial intermediaries in Waterford.

The Investment Plan for Europe aims to generate at least €315 billion of funding for projects in key strategic areas to get more people back to work and stimulate economic growth. In Ireland the total financing provided to date is about €750 million Euros which is expected to trigger up to €3.5 billion extra in private sector investment. The fund targets three types of companies; Research-based and innovative SMEs and Small Mid-caps (InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility), SMEs and Small Mid-Caps who need a kick start to launch and expand their businesses (RSI) and Micro or Social-enterprises who may be having difficulty in accessing credit from other commercial lending providers (EaSI).

Event organiser, Executive Librarian Sinead O’Higgins said after the discussion; “Our panellists p  ut current EU financial policy in context for a Waterford audience, explaining how for the European Investment Plan to succeed it is in its interest to engage with SMEs and businesses. To date it seems that the take-up in Ireland has been small from the SME sector, we hope that those attending our event will have a better understanding of how to access funds, the rules attached and mentoring and other supports available locally”.

The Europe Direct Information Centre based in Central Library, Waterford City, is one of a network of local contact points that serve as the direct link between you and the EU Institutions. The centre offers information on all sorts of subjects related to the EU including your rights and opportunities as an EU citizen and how to take advantage of them. It can provide direct responses to general inquiries and, if you have more detailed questions, signpost you to the best source of information and advice at EU, national, regional and local levels. For more information you can contact europedirect@waterfordcouncil.ie.]