Industry & Business

South East Business Expo Coincides With New Regional Enterprise Plan

South East Business Expo Coincides With New Regional Enterprise Plan

South East Business Expo Coincides With New Regional Enterprise Plan
April 08
14:57 2019

More than 450 people visited the recent South East Business Expo, which was held at the WIT Arena in Waterford on 3rd April 2019. The event was timely, following shortly after the Government’s launch of the New Regional Enterprise Plan for the South East.

Featuring 60 exhibitors, the South East Business Expo was designed to bring together the key stakeholders from business, industry, academia and Government to discuss and debate the key issues facing the region. The economy of the South East region is now recovering strongly from the lows of 2012 and there has been strong and sustained GDP growth and declines in unemployment. There are currently 18,500 more people at work in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford than at the beginning of 2015, when the Government first launched its regional jobs plans, and the unemployment rate has reduced significantly, from 11.7% down to 7.7%.

The New Regional Enterprise Plan for the South East is one of nine Regional Enterprise Plans introduced across Ireland to drive enterprise growth in the regions.

The South East Plan identifies five Strategic Objectives, with actions to: enhance the existing environment for enterprise activity and growth, while building greater resilience; establish the South East as a place of choice for talent and investment; develop a regional engagement strategy to highlight critical infrastructure developments; make the South East a ‘learning’ region; and to develop the region’s tourism offering. Indeed, the South East will benefit from more than €18million in co-funding under the Project Ireland 2040 Urban Regeneration and Development Fund.

Organised with the aim of providing a forum for those involved in the sustainable development of the South East region, the South East Business Expo featured an impressive array of keynote speakers. For example, Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Waterford City & County Council, provided an update on strategic development in Waterford in the coming years, while other speakers highlighted how the South East ports hold the key to Irish exporters’ European supply chains.

Rob Cass, Director of Falcon Real Estate, examined the potential of the North Quays in Waterford as a catalyst of growth for the South East region. Joy Redmond, Head of Research at Sonru, told her audience that existing tech companies and potential new entrants, whether start-ups, scale-ups or international firms, will provide some of the best-paid employment and opportunities in the South East. As tech permeates every industry, she examined what can be done to set the South East apart to grow and attract the best.

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