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Written Answers - Enterprise Support Services

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 126.  Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey  asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  the progress that has been made to recommence the enterprise platform programme; the new format that it will take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3018/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Sean Sherlock): Information on Sean Sherlock Zoom on Sean Sherlock The Enterprise Platform Programme (EPP) comprises a suite of entrepreneurship development courses operated by the Institutes of Technology (IoTs). The Programme has become an established mechanism for the development of entrepreneurs and the creation of start-up businesses across the regions. The Programme was funded until mid-2010 by the Higher Education Authority at which point budgetary responsibility transferred to Enterprise Ireland.

During 2011 Enterprise Ireland and the IoTs conducted a review of the current programme, with the objective of improving programme performance and increasing value for money. Arising from this review the operation of the programme has been redesigned in an effort to ensure increased value for money through more competitive operating costs, greater economies of scale through, for example, partnerships and consortia of IoTs, higher standards of entry and progression, and more focus on output metrics. The overarching aim of the programme is to accelerate the development of sustainable new businesses which have strong employment and export potential. The enterprises developed on the programme will be primarily based on a technology or innovative business application. Enterprise Ireland anticipates that approximately 100 business starts of varying scale will emerge from the programme annually and that of these a significant proportion will evolve to become HPSUs.

The revised EPP will operate as an intensive programme focusing on developing the entrepreneur’s skills and the business concept. It will be targeted at scaleable businesses based on innovative or knowledge intensive product or service and will seek high-quality potential entrepreneurs who show both the commitment and the capability to develop sustainable businesses.

The following IoTs will operate the programme and are currently phasing in the new programme.

[345] Waterford IT in partnership with IT Carlow

Cork IT

Limerick IT in partnership with IT Tralee

Galway Mayo IT

IT Sligo in partnership with Letterkenny IT

Dundalk IT

IT Tallaght in partnership with IT Blanchardstown

Dublin IT

Athlone IT

Enterprise Ireland will provide expertise and support to the IoTs and will engage in promotion of the programme both nationally and overseas to high-quality potential entrepreneurs.

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