A NEW grant scheme, worth €8,000, that is aimed at encouraging the development of collective enterprises in the areas of food, green energy production, tourism related activities and services has been launched by South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd.
The scheme will see successful applicant collective enterprises receive up to 65% in grant aid for approved costs associated with the start up of the collective enterprise.
The initiative to launch this new grant aid for collective enterprise start ups comes about as a result of the major downturn that has taken place in traditional employment areas such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing and it is hoped it will lead to the development of sustainable jobs for those involved. It calls for the coming together of underemployed people and smallholders to develop the collective enterprises in the target areas. This will lead to an additional source of income for those involved.
SKDP's Agricultural Development Manager Joseph McCrohan said that this grant scheme will encourage the sharing of knowledge, resources and skills amongst the people involved in setting up these new collective enterprises.
"By working together, the initial investment required and the risks associated with setting up a new business are shared and thus reduced for all involved," he said.
He added that, in addition to the assistance available under this new scheme, the collective enterprises will also get advice and assistance from all of the other programmes run by SKDP including the Rural Development (LEADER) Programme, Skillnets and the LCDP. "Many Coops have been set up previously in times of recession and have proven to be hugely successful so there is no reason this cannot be repeated" he said.
Where necessary and appropriate, the collective business groups will also be referred to other state agencies for further advice and possible additional grant aid.
Chairman of the Agricultural Working Group of SKDP Pat O'Driscoll said that this initiative could provide the catalyst for groups who have a business idea but lack the resources to get it up and running to take the first steps to successfully developing a collective enterprise. "This grant scheme has the potential to bring much needed economic development and employment into the most disadvantaged areas of South Kerry" Mr O'Driscoll said.
The closing date for receipt of completed application forms is Friday the August 24. Theforms and additional information are available from either Joseph McCrohan in Cahersiveen on 066 9472724 or Patricia Dean in Killorglin on 066 9761615.
All of the grant aid awarded must be spent in full by the 1st of November this year. The decision on the awarding of the grants will be made by the Agricultural Working Group and Board of South Kerry Development Partnership Ltd.