Businesses in Kerry’s coastal communities are being encouraged to apply for the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, with funding of up to €200,000 available per capital project.
The aim of the Scheme is to stimulate growth in rural coastal communities post-Brexit, with funding available to businesses operating within 10 kilometres of the coastline and involved in the blue economy.
The blue economy covers a wide range of economic activities within coastal communities such as seafood, coastal tourism, boat building and maintenance, marine recreation, and renewable energy initiatives.
The Scheme, the largest of its kind ever, is open to three streams of projects: Capital Investment, Business Mentoring & Capacity Development, and Upskilling & Training.
A €25 million budget is available in 2022 and 2023, funded under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve. The Scheme is an initiative of the Government of Ireland and is being administered by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).
Paul Downes, regional officer at BIM, said the Scheme, which opened in June of this year, has already received many promising and innovative proposals.
“We’re delighted with the quality of the applications that have come in to date, covering a wide breadth of blue economy businesses – from seafood companies to charter boat businesses, marine engineering companies to coastal tourism enterprises.
“We’re eager to encourage more businesses, particularly for the capital investment stream, to submit an application for funding. Brexit has brought challenges to coastal communities and this unique funding opportunity has the ability to deliver real benefits to those communities and to individual businesses that are part of the blue economy. These investments will enable innovation, diversification, value-adding, and will support business growth and increased employment.”
The Scheme is being delivered through Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) which uniquely focus local development funding specifically for areas and communities within 10 kilometres of the sea around the entire coast.
Capital project initiatives proposed by applicants must be located within 10km of the coastline and must be within one of the following blue economy sectors:• Small Non-Commercial Harbour/Pier Activities• Boat Building and Repair• Coastal Tourism• Marine Leisure and Sport• Seafood• Renewable Energy Initiatives supporting the Blue Economy
The applicant must be a micro or small enterprise and projects must be completed by 30 September 2023. The other two streams for funding are Business Mentoring & Capacity Development, and Upskilling & Training.