Economic Development, Enterprise Development and Job Creation focuses on driving continued local economic and enterprise development, including the diversification of the rural economy and creation of employment opportunities for the local communities, including those from disadvantaged groups.
There are 4 sub-themes associated with this main LEADER Theme you can see an overview of each below.
1 - Rural Tourism
Rural tourism provides a stimulus for enterprise and job creation. Tourism tends to exploit particular assets that are generally place-specific, for example, landscape and history.
Accordingly, it offers significant potential, even in peripheral areas. Interventions under this sub-theme will focus on projects that have the potential to make the area more attractive for local, national and foreign visitors.
Examples of projects that maybe supported include:
- feasibility studies to explore the tourism potential of an area;
- marketing initiatives;
- the creation of tourism hubs to facilitate a multi-sectoral approach,
- activities that centre on the development and renovation of infrastructure, which contribute to historic and heritage based tourism. In exceptional circumstances, and in consultation with the Department, this may include private dwellings where this can be shown to contribute to historic and heritage based tourism;
- actions that promote the development of cultural/heritage infrastructure of local significance and arts-based activities and events; and
- the provision of amenity and leisure facilities, which can support adventure/eco-based tourism.
LEADER supported tourism projects must comply with relevant Fáilte Ireland or other sectoral standards.
2 - Enterprise Development
LEADER can support micro, small and medium enterprises as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC. Further guidance is available at – ec.europa.eu
Louth Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) have primary responsibility for micro-enterprise in County Louth. LEADER must complement rather than compete with LEO activity; effective systems of collaboration and consultation are required to ensure a co-ordinated and effective allocation of resources.
The respective areas of LEO and LEADER enterprise activity are outlined in the protocol between the Department and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. This protocol applies nationally, but allows sufficient flexibility at a local level to facilitate project referral from LEOs to LAGs as appropriate.
Areas that might benefit most from LEADER support:
- Artisan and other food businesses;
- Renewable Energy;
- Agri diversification;
- Marine diversification (to complement support provided by Fisheries LAGs funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund);
- Social Enterprises; and
- Creative Industries, such as traditional crafts, new media and design.
Supported projects might include investment support or sector-specific training programmes for aspiring entrepreneurs, early stage promoters, social enterprises, start-ups and established SMEs. In the context of LEADER, developing inclusive models of business support will be key to realising the potential of groups who are underrepresented in enterprise, e.g. women, young people and people with disabilities.
3 - Rural Towns
This sub-theme supports the regeneration of rural towns. It seeks to promote them as attractive places to visit, live and do business in. LEADER is particularly suited to revitalising rural towns through co-ordination of integrated approaches that build on the economic strengths and infrastructure of the area whilst addressing the key challenges for business, community and recreation.
Projects to support the regeneration of rural towns might include:
- Town renewal schemes that renovate derelict buildings in order to attract business to vacant properties;
- The building or refurbishment of community buildings also provides a multifunctional infrastructure for social, cultural and sporting activities and training for the local community; and
- Developing and promoting unique social events and activities can provide an important stimulus to rural towns.
LEADER projects in this area should complement and add value to other national supports for rural towns
4 - Broadband
Projects that may include:
- Basic ICT training to priority groups, for example, to enable older people and young people to stay connected;
- Skills development for installing broadband;
- Feasibility studies in relation to community broadband;
- Small scale equipment (such as boosters); and
- Small scale infrastructure to allow local businesses access broadband.
Funding in excess of €10,000 cannot be provided for broadband equipment or infrastructure.