Innovation and increased Government support for entrepreneurs are key elements in County Clare and the nation’s future economy, according to Clare Fianna Fail General Election Candidate Dr. John Hillery.
Dr. Hillery explained that Ireland is the best place in Ireland to turn research and knowledge into jobs, products and services, pointing to the existence of regional development agencies, Third Level Institutions, Shannon International Airport and a strong track record of innovation and entrepreneurship in the County.
He noted however that the system of financial and technical supports available to start ups must be fast tracked and that the bureaucratic red tape that discourages entrepreneurial activity should be removed.
The Fianna Fáil candidate continued: “Deficiencies exist within state support agencies regarding turn around times for entrepreneurs seeking financial and technical support. If an idea is developed and as assessment of the potential is required then it is imperative that professional advice is both accessible and immediate. Furthermore embryonic ideas that have been advanced to delivery stage must not be restricted from expanding and generating jobs. A prime local example of this would be the Mount Callan co-operative wind farm project in West Clare which may be put on hold for another five years due to the waiting times for securing connection to the ESB grid. Despite having received planning approval and being located less than 1km from the grid, bureaucratic red tape is denying County Clare valuable jobs and a substantial move towards establishing a low carbon economy.
“There have been some success stories in Clare including Clare Wood Chip in Flagmount and Clare Springwater in Lissycasey where technical and financial supports were made available by the likes of Clare Local Development Company, formerly known as Rural Resource Development, the Clare County Enterprise Board and Teagasc. These enterprises illustrate that good ideas do create jobs but only when the necessary supports are put in place.
“Fianna Fail recognises the importance of the role of entrepreneurial activity as well as small and medium sized enterprises in Ireland’s economy. In our budget plan we have provided for investments in small firms in their earliest stages of development via Enterprise Ireland’s €175 million seed and venture capital programme and through the €500m Innovation Fund. Furthermore, we have identified that enterprise agencies should work with SMEs to improve performance, productivity and competitiveness, as well as a need for Enterprise Ireland to introduce a new approach to providing seed capital and other supports to innovative start-ups to assist them in developing their products and services. In addition a simple and efficient certification process will be introduced to reduce the red tape which is stifling the capacity of start-ups to explore the potential of their business idea.
“Co Clare always has possessed a strong entrepreneurial spirit and with an abundance of great ideas that are given ample technical and financial support, the County can guide the wider region on a more sustainable path to economic recovery”, concluded Dr. Hillery