The Clustering Programme is a pilot programme which aims to support industry led groups to maximise the benefits of collaborative opportunities including, but not limited to:
- enhanced productivity and income
- increased market share
- increased innovation and knowledge transfer
- enhanced capability
Clustering can be defined as a group of companies with limited membership who have agreed to collaborate in some way to achieve specific business objectives through finite projects and programmes that are likely to result in enhanced competitive advantage and/or mutual financial gain.
The goal of this programme to support time limited collaborative projects that will achieve measurable benefits to members of the group by addressing the needs of participant companies e.g. sectoral/sub-sectoral development initiatives, supply-chain optimisation, realising economies of scale, exploring export market opportunities and potential convergence opportunities.
A clustering initiative must be proposed by a group of firms:
- with specific membership
- who have agreed to collaborate in some way
- to achieve specific business objectives that are likely to result in enhanced competitive advantage and/or mutual financial gain
- in addition, established networks or trade/business associations may also apply by submitting an application to this call.
Eligible projects must:
- Include at least five companies that are clients of an enterprise development agency (i.e. Enterprise Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, IDA Ireland, and/or City/County Enterprise Boards).
- Applicants are encouraged to include “affiliate” enterprises (e.g. companies based in other jurisdictions including those based in Northern Ireland, global corporations with presences in Ireland, companies not clients of an enterprise development agency, networks, trade/business associations, academia, suppliers etc.) in their project proposals as participants/contributors to the project.
- Be additional to the activities currently being undertaken by an already established network or trade/business association and additional to activities currently funded by the State to them.
STRUCTURE OF THE PROGRAMME
Funding support will be offered in two distinct non-competitive phases:
- Phase 1 – Feasibility/Scoping Study Phase
- Phase 2 – Facilitation Phase
Companies may apply to Enterprise Ireland by submitting an application form. Applicants should ensure that all members are listed, including all affiliate members from the extended value chain.
Already established networks may apply to Enterprise Ireland for funding support using the same application forms. The collaborative activity being proposed for funding, must be additional to the activities currently being undertaken by that network.
For clustering projects approved in the pilot phase, funding will be provided under De Minimis Aid, and when granted, will be divided and recorded against those clients of enterprise development agencies in the Republic of Ireland.
ELIGIBLE COSTS & PHASES
Financial support is available in two phases and Groups need not apply for Phase 1 support to avail of Phase 2 support:
Phase 1: Feasibility/Scoping Study Phase
- Provides funding for groups to undertake a feasibility study to scope out and define a clustering opportunity and a proposed project plan
- Project should typically be completed within a 4-6 month time frame from date of approval
- Funding available up to a maximum of 70% of the total eligible feasibility study costs or €20,000 (whichever is the lesser).
Phase 2: Facilitation Phase
- Provides funding for groups to undertake clustering projects which are industry-led and involve businesses collaborating for specific purposes where the results of the activity will have some identifiable and measurable impact on their business.
- Projects may be up to 2 years in duration from date of approval
- Funding available up to a maximum of 50% of eligible costs or €100,000 (whichever is the lesser).
- Interested parties should refer to Reference Document for more detailed information on eligible expenditure.
CALL CLOSE DATES
The call for applications will remain open until Tuesday 18th September 2012.