Midlands SMEs are being invited to apply for grants for projects that create new job opportunities and/or increase the sustainability of existing jobs.

Minister Eamon Ryan said the €5m funding call is being financed under the European Union Just Transition Fund (EUJFT) for SMEs and local community organisations.

The EUJTF Community and Enterprise Grants scheme, administered by Pobal, aims to provide communities in the wider Midlands area formerly dependent on peat production with the capacity to develop employment opportunities in the low-carbon economy.

Funding of up to €300,000 is available for projects, and applications are being accepted until 22 February 2024.

The programme supports projects in the EU Just Transition Fund Territory, consisting of Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath, Roscommon counties, and the municipal districts of Ballinasloe (Co Galway), Athy, Clane-Maynooth, (Co Kildare) and Carrick-on-Suir and Thurles (Co Tipperary).

The scheme is open for micro and small enterprises, community and voluntary organisations, not-for-profit organisations, and social enterprises

Minster Ryan said the funding call will support the following types of projects:

• Technical and project management supports for energy and resource efficiency, building retrofits and renewable energy
• Circular economy and bioeconomy initiatives
• Projects that support digitalisation and connectivity to open up new employment options in the area
• Supports for new projects, processes and organisational innovation in the low-carbon sector
• Projects that support education, skills training and social inclusion
• Projects that contribute to nature restoration and regeneration
• Heat network feasibility studies (district heating systems and communal heating systems) that utilise renewable energy and/or waste heat energy sources.

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