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A startup incubator is coming to Shannon as part of the government's plan for rural Ireland

Ministers have promised to deliver 135,000 jobs to regional areas by 2020.

Image: Leo Daly/Flickr

SHANNON GROUP WILL open an incubation space for startups and rural entrepreneurs by the end of this year.

The measure was announced today as part of the government’s action plan for improving living and working standards in remote areas.

Shannon Group, the semi-state company that oversees the region’s airport and business development in the west of Ireland, will open the facility by the final quarter of this year ”to encourage startup businesses and rural entrepreneurs”.

An incubator is a work space made available for low rent to new, small businesses. It is not clear where exactly the Shannon incubator will be located.

Fora contacted Shannon Group for comment, but did not receive a response by the time of publishing.

matthew thomas Shannon Group CEO Matthew Thomas Source: Shannon Group

Commercial property rates

Elsewhere in the rural action plan, the Department of Justice and Equality has been tasked with expanding the revaluation of commercial properties in nine rural counties. This move is being made to “ensure fairness and equity” in the commercial property rates paid by rural businesses.

Commercial rates, a type of property tax for businesses, are calculated using a multiplier set by the relevant local council to a value for the property determined by the Commissioner of Valuation.

Last year, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald outlined that the commissioner will revalue properties in Kildare, Leitrim, Longford, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath. The results for properties in those counties are expected early this year.

Revaluations have already been completed in Waterford and Limerick, as well as Dublin.

Annual cross border organised crime seminar Justice minister Frances Fitzgerald Source: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

The ongoing national revaluation programme involves the valuation of 146,000 properties.

The measure was included in the rural action plan today with “a view to rolling out to further counties in 2017″.

Rural action plan

Rural development was a key issue for independent TDs during negotiations on entering government.

Some of the proposals revealed today had been previously announced as individual schemes.

The plan promised to deliver 135,000 jobs to rural areas by 2020 with an investment of €50 million. The money will be spread across areas like infrastructure, education and tourism.

action plan Source: Department of Rural Affairs

The government has also committed to increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) in regional areas by up to 40%.

Other measures include a €21 million investment over five years in providing new and upgraded properties to “attract FDI and indigenous Irish industries to locate in the mid-west region”.

There is also a goal to increase tourist numbers to “rural Ireland” by 12% by 2019 and develop a potential marketing initiative for what has been dubbed ‘Ireland’s Lakelands’. This is a corridor of land that falls outside the current Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East propositions.

The government has also committed to:

  • Conduct a review of the credit application process with a focus on the administrative burden for SMEs and the time costs to them
  • Approve a minimum of 1,000 ‘Trading Online Vouchers’ – a grant of up to €2,500 each year for small businesses to encourage them to sell online
  • Improve rural transport links through a review of services, support for our regional airports and investment in rural infrastructure.

The action plan was welcomed by ISME, the group that represents small- and medium-sized businesses.

The organisation’s chief executive Neil McDonnell said it was “a step in the right direction for rural Ireland” and that it would inject a “much-needed boost to our towns and villages”.

Written by Conor McMahon and posted on Fora.ie

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