West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024
The West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024 was launched by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on 4 March 2022 in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.
The plan includes projects and initiatives across the three West counties (Galway, Mayo, Roscommon), under the auspices of four Local Authorities – Galway City Council and County Councils Mayo, Galway and Roscommon.
Stakeholder consultation sessions attracted over 100 participants from across industry, public sector, and higher education sectors from within the region. High-level of collaboration and ambition that exists within the region was demonstrated, despite some regional challenges. Seven key strategic objectives were agreed, with discrete actions developed for each.
The Seven Strategic Objectives
Advance the development of the regional Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem
The objective covers availability of incubation, acceleration, and sector- specific start-up infrastructure and programmes, access to early stage and scaling capital, people and skills, harnessing the Connected Hubs and Grow Remote initiatives to support placemaking and talent retention, enterprise strategy for the Strategic Development Zone at the Ireland West Airport Knock and gender equality, inclusivity and diversity in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Strengthen and harness the Cultural and Creative Sector to attract new investment, commercialisation, and collaboration opportunities.
This objective includes scaling of CREW REDF project, to act as hub and spoke across the region, developing creative centres of excellence such as An Bealach, Roscommon, develop clustering of the creative and cultural sector to capitalise on emerging development in immersive technology and animation, collaboration between the industry, academia and researchers, supporting commercial exploitation of creative/cultural IP.
Realise the Atlantic West region’s potential for enterprise and job creation in the Renewable Energy Sector
Inter-regional collaboration for development of the supply-chain and upskilling programmes, smart specialisation of the region in the field of renewable energy, linked to natural and physical assets, for example, AMETS, including green hydrogen. Task force to support development and remove barriers to progress critical infrastructure.
Drive the Global Competitiveness of the Life Sciences sector underpinned by an expanded regional footprint and coordination
Further develop coordination activities and integration of the diverse support elements and actors in the ecosystem and scale and diversify sector specialisms and specialism-specific supports across the region, including access to necessary infrastructure in liaison with strategic objective 1.
Grow the AgTech and Food sector in the West, underpinned by an integrated innovation network, facilitating the transition towards a sustainable Bioeconomy
Utilise BIA Innovator Campus for development of agri-food and ag-tech, integrated regional platform for innovation. Encourage FDI in the sector to support clustering and intra- company collaboration. Expand opportunities for AgTech. Develop industry-HEI collaboration and research to facilitate transition to circular bioeconomy and development of the Blue Bioeconomy.
Expand prospects for sustainable entrepreneurship, employment and upskilling in Tourism
Develop a pilot accelerator programme focused on experience economy and build out integrated, networked approaches for smarter, greener, connected and a more sustainable tourism offering (harnessing, for example, Hidden Heartlands initiative).
Facilitate an equitable digital and green transformation in the West
Develop European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH) to progress adaptation of AI, HPC and cybersecurity tech. Develop initiative to encourage emergence of ‘born sustainable, born circular’ start-ups. Further capacity to stimulate circular economy adaptation by enterprise.
Develop the region as a ‘Living Lab’ to help address challenges associated with the Digital and Green Transformation + a shared regional enterprise strategy to harness the potential of Decarbonising Zones.
Evelyn O’Toole (CEO of Complete Laboratory Solutions) chairs the new plan for the West, with support from Programme Manager Helena Deane, whose role is hosted by The Western Development Commission.