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Minister Coughlan highlights potential for local enterprises under Community Enterprises Centre Scheme - 2006

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, highlighted the potential for developing local enterprises in areas such as food, for example, in Enterprise Ireland's new Community Enterprise Centre Scheme, details of which were published this week.

The Minister said that "the increasing variety of produce on sale at farmers markets and in speciality outlets countrywide indicated that there was demand for food products offering quality and local authenticity".

Testing out ideas for food production could be an expensive business and a Community Enterprise Centre could provide a partnership framework to assist entrepreneurs through the initial stage of establishing the commercial viability of a food idea.

The Minister said that she was committed to promoting local and regional enterprise, innovation and prosperity. Initiatives involving small food producers and local agencies such as the North West Food Forum held in Killybegs on 4th November for counties Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo would be further developed in 2006.

19 January, 2006

Note for Editors

The Enterprise Ireland Community Enterprise Centre Scheme is aimed at promoting community enterprise in areas that lack existing enterprise space, have experienced significant job losses, or have a poor history of enterprise development. The budget for the period 2006 - 2008 is €7 million. See www.enterprise-ireland.com/CEC.

The closing date for receipt of applications under the scheme is 27th April.

The North-West Food Forum brought together the development agencies and food companies for showcasing of local produce, networking, presentation of recent market research and a company case history. It covered Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo and will be followed in 2006 by events in other regions.

Date Released: 19 January 2006