A NEW Enterprise Ireland €375,000 Competitive Feasibility Fund, aimed at stimulating new start-ups or the expansion of existing business activity in the aviation sector, was launched by Minister Richard Bruton on Monday in Shannon.
Making the announcement the minister said, “A key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is targeting specific sectors where we have established strengths, and supporting growth and expansion in those areas to create jobs. Aviation is one such sector – we already have in place a world class aviation ecosystem, which offers tremendous potential for new and exciting businesses to carve out opportunities for innovative products and services. In particular, as part of our plans for the Shannon region, we are targeting the establishment of an international aviation centre of excellence to support growth and jobs in the region.”
Speaking to The Clare Champion he acknowledged the funding isn’t specifically for potential business in Shannon. “It’s for the aviation sector but, obviously, Shannon is a key player here.”
When the Government decided to separate Shannon from the DAA, it appointed a taskforce to look at business opportunities, not just with airlines but also with aviation-related industries, which may be interested in basing themselves close to the airport.
The taskforce projected the creation of a huge amount of jobs and, on Monday, Minister Bruton said work has to be done to make sure the projections are realised.
“The business taskforce analysed the potential and they saw the possibility of three to five thousand jobs in this sector. Obviously they don’t just drop from trees, you have to build the structure to support them and I think that is being built. It is a time when there’s a little bit of reticence on investment in many sectors, so we have to work harder to win that but that’s what we’re doing.”
Shannon Airport Authority chairperson Rose Hynes said the fund will be a help and the aviation industry is open to finding new solutions and opportunities.
“Shannon welcomes the scheme and we’re going to give every help and support that we can to Enterprise Ireland and the prospective clients to make it a success. Last year, when we talked to companies right across the aviation industry, we were struck by the importance of innovation and of finding new ways to do things, of challenging processes and of finding ways of working that haven’t been tried, finding ways of working with modern technology that haven’t been tried.
“Airlines, maintenance providers and other aviation firms are under pressure as never before to reduce costs and increase efficiency, so they are open to finding new opportunities and working with new suppliers and changing the status quo,” she said.