EU fund to help former Dell staff creates 250 jobs

AN EU fund allocated to Ireland for the first time has resulted in 250 jobs being created by workers affected by the closure of Dell’s manufacturing operation in Limerick in January 2009.

Up to 1,900 Dell workers and a further 7,000 working in supply companies lost their jobs.

The new jobs have been created in firms set up with the support of enterprise boards through funding from the European Globalisation Fund (EGF), the first time such funding has been made available in Ireland.

Enterprise boards in the mid-west dealt with 410 applications for EGF grants to assist with enterprise creation. A total of 239 projects were approved, and 195 of those started businesses with the creation of 245 jobs. Limerick City and County supported the creation of 202 new jobs, Tipperary North and South 22 jobs and Clare 21 jobs.

The Dell European Globalisation Fund was the first successful application here and the largest successful EGF application to date, with a total fund of €22.8 million, of which €14.8m came from the EU and €8m from the Government. The fund was for retraining, upskilling and providing educational and enterprise creation supports for almost 2,500 people in the mid-west who lost jobs.

Originally, €1.4m was made available by the fund for enterprise creation, but this was revised upwards to €3.42m due to demand. A total of €2.83m (over 80%) was paid directly to individuals in grant aid, averaging at €14,500 per project. A further €585,000 was paid for training and mentoring. There was no cost for administering the EGF by the enterprise boards.

“We were delighted to be able to play our part in helping these businesses to get off the ground,” said Eamon Ryan, chief executive of Limerick City Enterprise Board, yesterday. “The level of interest was phenomenal and the businesses, which range from software development to entertainment services, showed a huge determination to succeed.

“The whole process was very encouraging and we are hopeful it will lead to the possibility of further indigenous jobs,” he said.

City Enterprise Boards were established by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to promote enterprise through training, mentoring and financial assistance. The boards provide direct grant support to new and existing enterprises.

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