The Economic Development SPC (Strategic Policy Committee) of Cork County Council, chaired by Cllr Gerard Murphy, in the latter end of 2010 and the first half of 2011 developed the policy on how the Council's Economic Development Fund (EDF) could be best used to support the creation and expansion of sustainable enterprises in the micro and SME sectors of the Cork economy. The objective being to create an environment in which these enterprises and economic activity in general would flourish and grow.
Cork County Council adopted the Economic Development Fund and initial allocation on the 11th of July 2011. The initial fund in the sum of €1.25m targets a number of key sectors to support, and has allocated a specific sum to each of these areas.
The Council is actively working with the existing Development Agencies and applications are only being accepted through these agencies as they have the expertise to assess in the first instance if the project is viable and to assist the applicants in developing their product and business plan. This also minimises the bureaucracy involved for both the applicant and the agencies, and eliminates duplication and waste of scarce resources. The Councils view is that if the existing Agencies are able to assist then there is no need for the Council to be involved. The Councils aim is to assist in filling the gaps which exist in existing funding streams to particular sectors or activities.
Since being adopted an Evaluation Committee has been established by the Council to assess applications and offers of assistance have been made to a number of companies and programmes.
The areas of support are:
- Capital Funding
- Loan Guarantee Scheme
- Enterprise Partnerships with 3rd Level Institutions
- Development of Enterprise Centres/Hot Desking facilities
- Promotion of Festivals and Conferences
- Joint Initiatives with Cork City Council/Cork Chamber
- Business Events and Brand Development
The general objectives of the scheme as approved by the Council are:
- Employment creation or sustainment
- Assist projects that might not otherwise get funding under existing programmes
- Reward innovative thinking
- Assist in the promotion of Cork Produce, including exports and import substitution
- Enhance competitiveness of Cork.
- Assist in the development of clusters of excellence in a particular field, including establishing new clusters or enterprises where Cork can develop a competitive advantage.
These criteria will be used to adjudicate between projects should the need arise.