New scheme to stimulate growth in rural coastal communities with €25 million in funding available
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, has announced the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme is officially open for applications for grant funding to enable coastal communities to restructure, reconfigure, retrain, and diversify post-Brexit.
An initiative of the Government of Ireland, and administered by BIM, the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme aims to counter the adverse economic and social consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on businesses operating in the blue economy and located in communities within 10km of the coastline.
The Scheme, the largest of its kind ever, will have a €25 million budget available for the years 2022 and 2023, funded under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
The Scheme will be delivered through the existing Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs). The Fisheries Local Action Groups uniquely focus local development funding specifically for areas within 10kms of the sea around the entire coast, precisely the communities that are most impacted by Brexit.
The Scheme is one of the recommendations of the Seafood Sector Taskforce, established by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. in March 2021 to mitigate against the impacts of Brexit on the wider Irish seafood industry and coastal communities.
Welcoming today’s announcement the Minister Charlie McConalogue said:
“The blue economy is the beating heart of Ireland’s rural coastal communities. This new Scheme is designed to help strengthen and rejuvenate those communities by giving businesses an opportunity to apply for funding for their blue economy activities in areas including seafood, coastal tourism, boat building and maintenance, marine recreation, and renewable energy initiatives.”
Stimulating entrepreneurial activity, providing mentoring to help businesses adapt and find new opportunities and helping people train or retrain to allow them to keep and use their marine skills within the blue economy will enhance the profitability and economic viability of these community’s post Brexit. Grants of up to €200,000 are available and can be used to cover capital investment projects, along with mentoring and training.
In Ireland, 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast and many communities along the Irish coast depend on industries including tourism, fishing and aquaculture. Launching the Scheme Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM, referred to the unique identity of Ireland’s coastal communities and how this latest scheme will help to stimulate already established businesses, and new business ideas, in these communities.
“The seafood sector is an important contributor to Ireland’s coastal communities and combined with other blue economy activities, gives Ireland’s coastal communities a unique and rich heritage – for those who live and work in them and for those who visit. This new scheme will help these communities adapt to new market realities in the post-Brexit landscape by stimulating further growth of the blue economy.”
Full details about the Brexit Blue Economy Enterprise Development Scheme, including how to apply can be found here.