In July of this year I blogged about an announcement that 20 million euro would be allocated to job creation for ex-Dell workers (and other people who have recently become un-employed) in the Limerick region. As I was looking to raise funding to kick-start the Greenhouse Incubator I discussed this funding with a few ministers. What I wanted to know is if a relatively small amount of this funding could be made available to the Greenhouse incubator. I had been working on getting the Greenhouse off the ground since January this year and had everything arranged bar the funding. I had a large office (rent-free) I had mentors, sponsors, service provider, a knowledge network, atop-class board of advisors etc. All I needed was just a little bit of funding to pay for the operational costs and I would be able to create 15-20 jobs within the first 6 months with a forecasted net job creation of 100-ish jobs every 12 months.
A study released last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, in partnership with consulting firm Grant Thornton LLP, found that supporting business incubators, including those multi-dimensional support programs that help scientists with innovative ideas turn them into successful companies, is one of the most efficient and effective way to create jobs.
I was disgusted to hear that ALL this money would be allocated to FAS and would only be spent on public sector “job creation” projects. This is simply unacceptable as FAS has been proven over the last year to be corrupt & incompetent. It is simply unacceptable that in a period in which the public sector has been proven again & again to be either unable to perform its task or is staffed by a large number of civil servants who only interested in serving themselves.
At the time I blogged about it, spoke once or twice on the radio on the topic but I also emailed a number of ministers as well as Vladimir Spidla, the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. A few of the ministers replied letting me know that there wasn’t really anything they could do for me however what disgusted me most is that I received a so-called “read confirmation” from Vladimir Spidla’s office but NEVER RECEIVED A REPLY!! So not only does the Irish government not give a damn about actually being credible and trying to solve the employment crisis, the EU commissioner in charge of allocating a large chunk of this funding also does not think he needs to at least have someone in his office reply to a valid query. This puts the whole Lisbon Treaty in perspective also.
We are now 4 months on from my original blogpost and what has been done in the public sector regarding job creation? Nada, nothing, zilch, niks, niets! There have been meeting after meeting of taskforces, committees & working groups and enough discussion has taken place that if words were water the plains of the Irish MidWest would have been flooded from Portloaise right up to Ennis…But has all this created a single job or stimulated a single unemployed person to start their own business venture? NOT A SINGLE ONE!
We are in a situation where brilliant entrepreneurs can’t even get help in raising 20k to go a Superstar event in the US to promote & kick-off their new venture. We live in a country where the best thing in start-up support is entrepreneurs themselves chipping in 50 euro each into a fund for new ventures. We live in a country where the only support I can get for organising a series of 5 Business Camps comes from the private sector and individuals (and is barely enough to cover the costs). We live in a country were the government is time after time proven to be unwilling to find any meaningful solutions for the current economic crisis.
We need to make clear to the people running this country that efficiency is not measured in money spent or money saved. Efficiency is measured by result. If we let this 20 million be gobbled up by FAS (with the predictable negligible results) the government will parade it around the halls off the Dail as a great effort because they “invested 20 million euro in job creation”…
We need to demand that at least half of this funding is spent on private sector run projects or we might as well take all this money and use it to stoke the hearths in our houses while the dwindling light of the Irish economy slowly but surely fizzles out…
I for one will not stand by and let that happen!