Plans to attract 90 new companies to Kerry announced

Plans to attract 90 new companies to Kerry announced County Kerry finalising action plan to capitalise on EU Entrepreneurial Region of the Year status for 2011

Entrepreneurs from County Kerry, representatives from the Institute of Technology Tralee, Shannon Development, and Kerry County Council, this week met with EU representatives from the European Entrepreneurial Region Award Committee to help County Kerry capitalise on a successful pitch which earlier this year saw the County awarded the prestigious status of European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) of the Year for 2011.

The successful submission that won Kerry the coveted title was made jointly by Shannon Development and the Institute of Technology, with support from Kerry County Council. County Kerry was selected based on the quality, efficacy and long-term success of its entrepreneurial vision.

County Kerryâ¿¿s strong focus on entrepreneurship, in particular the Young Entrepreneur and Endeavour Programmes and the successful model for the integration of business and education demonstrated by Shannon Development at Kerry Technology Park and the Institute of Technology Tralee, were key factors in securing the Award for Kerry.

Speaking about the significance of the Award Dr. Vincent Cunnane, Chief Executive, Shannon Development said: ⿿This Award provides an opportunity to re-position Kerry in the minds of the Irish and international business community as a European leader in entrepreneurship. It also presents a significant marketing opportunity to increase the County⿿s prospects of attracting mobile investment ⿿ particularly small to medium sized entrepreneurial companies from all over Europe and beyond.⿝

The title of European Entrepreneurial Region is designed to identify and reward EU regions with outstanding entrepreneurial vision. Kerry was one of just three regions in all 27 EU states to receive this accolade for 2011, along with Brandenburg in Germany and Murcia in Spain.
Members of the EER Jury committee were in Kerry this week to assist with the planning and preparation by Kerry to take full advantage of this prestigious accolade. 

Michael Carmody, President of the Institute of Technology, Tralee in welcoming the EER Jury Delegation outlined the importance of the award as a stimulus in driving the entrepreneurship agenda of the county forward. He outlined the role of the Institute of Technology, Tralee in the embedding of entrepreneurship as a core element of Institute activities, stating that he believed the future of the region will depend on creating and supporting entrepreneurs who can develop new and innovative enterprises operating within a global economy.

⿿The IT, Tralee through a suite of initiatives aims to support and enhance entrepreneurial activity in the county. A significant number of students at the Institute study entrepreneurship as an education broadening module and the ITT also aims to create a culture of entrepreneurship among second level students though the very successful Young Entrepreneur Programme (YEP),⿝ he said.

A full programme was devised for them by the Institute of Technology Tralee, Shannon Development and Kerry County Council, starting with a Mayoral welcome reception by the Mayor of Kerry Councillor. Pat Leahy.

Highlighting the importance partnerships plays in County Kerry, the Deputy Mayor of Kerry Cllr. Marie Moloney said: ⿿As a Local Authority we take great pride in Kerry being named as one of only three European Entrepreneurial Regions for 2011. We in Kerry are hugely fortunate to have a superb support network with the County Development Board, County Enterprise Board, Shannon Development through the Kerry Technology Park, Institute of Technology, Tralee, partnership group and many more all lending their expertise.⿝

During their visit the Jury had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Shannon Development, Institute of Technology Tralee, Kerry County Council, Kerry County Enterprise Board, IDA Ireland, Leader, Enterprise Ireland, Kerry Education Service and Udarás na Gaeltachta. The delegation visited Shannon Developmentâ¿¿s Kerry Technology Park and participated in a roundtable event with local business entrepreneurs. They also attended a Seminar on â¿¿encouraging entrepreneurship at regional levelâ¿¿ organised by the Institute of Technology, Tralee.

Plans are being finalised to ensure that County Kerry capitalises on the status of being named European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year for 2011.  Among the ambitious targets being set to grow entrepreneurship in Co. Kerry, is an acceleration of the Young Entrepreneur Programme has attracted 2,000 students to-date. By the end of 2013, the Institute of Technology Tralee, Shannon Development and entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly, who manage the programme, will have attracted an additional 2,000 students to the programme. By 2020 there will be 7,000 Young Entrepreneur Programme Alumni, 4,000 of whom will have completed their primary degree and will thus be at a critical juncture in their career paths.

Similar targets are being set for the successful inaugural Endeavour Programme which this year saw 13 companies complete the programme. By 2013, the target is to have sixty fledgling companies complete the Endeavour programme; with the figure rising to 250 by 2020. This represents a key source of new business start-ups for Kerry Technology Park.

⿿If the plan is successful we hope to have over 90 new companies established by 2020, which have the potential impact of providing sustainable, high-value-added employment for people living and working in County Kerry,⿝ says Dr. Vincent Cunnane.

Speaking during his visit to Kerry, Luc Van den Brande, Chairman of the EER Jury, and former President of the Committee of the Regions who organised the Award scheme said: "One of the main aims of the EER scheme is to help encourage regions to play their part in implementing and promoting the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA), in turn creating a more dynamic, competitive and sustainable Europe. Although the EER project was not initially intended as a response to the current economic crisis, the aim is that it will stimulate local and regional authorities to look at new ways of generating long-term economic growth through entrepreneurship."

â¿¿The EER Award recognised that 98% of small and medium sized enterprises, which are sources of growth, jobs and innovation, have very strong socio-economic attachments to their local area.  We want to encourage entrepreneurship at local level, to strengthen their economics and create much needed jobs. County Kerry was selected on its approach to implementing and promoting the Small Business Act for Europe. Their proposals for working with other EU regions, the impressive variety of different activities related to the promotion of entrepreneurship and clustering support developing public private partnerships, and encouraging a sustainable low carbon economy, were the other decisive parameters,⿝ he added.

EER representatives logos