The Economic Development Fund (EDF) was introduced in 2010 to promote economic development and job creation opportunities in the County. Funding priorities were identified, the application procedure was set out and the Council agreed to allocate 1% of Commercial Rates income annually to the Fund.
Initially, the EDF considered applications under the following headings;
- Capital Funding,
- Loan Guarantee Scheme,
- Part fund Enterprise Projects with Third Level Educational bodies in the area of business development and support,
- Promote and develop Enterprise Centres in towns including hot desking,
- Promote Festivals and Conferences,
- Jointly fund initiatives with Cork City Council and Cork Chamber,
- Fund Council organised business events and the development of a brand for the programme.
Since the EDF became available, the Local Government Reform Act 2014, the County Enterprise Boards (Dissolution) Act 2014 and other legislative changes have been enacted; creating a profound change in the role of Local Authorities in the promotion of Economic Development.
These changes in the Council’s role and the improvement in our economy led the Council to reviewing the funding priorities of the EDF. Demand for Capital Funding and Loan Guarantees to enterprise have reduced significantly. The demand for mentoring, soft supports, enterprise space and partnership projects continues to grow. An increased focus on the promotion of FDI and indigenous enterprise and the place branding and marketing of the county and its products has been highlighted as the key areas requiring support at this time.
Consequently, the Council adopted a revised EDF in 2015 with the following new funding priority areas;
- Strategic Marketing and Tourism
- Partnerships with Local and Regional Stakeholders
- Town / Retail Development
- Development of Food Production and Export Supports
- Co-funding Initiatives
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