11 border county projects from the North East and North West of the country have been approved to share in the €17m Border Enterprise Development Fund 2020.

The government fund, which is administered by Enterprise Ireland was launched in January and will provide support for collaborative projects, to advance entrepreneurship, productivity and innovation in the border region.

Nineteen applications were received from project groups in Counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth with 11 projects selected for funding following a rigorous evaluation process.

Four of the approved projects will be based in Louth, two in Monaghan, two in Donegal, one in Cavan, one in Sligo and one in Leitrim.

Among those selected is the establishment of an advanced manufacturing and technology training centre in Dundalk, Co. Louth and a project in Donegal which aims to accelerate the uptake of disruptive technology solutions by SMEs.

Speaking at the announcement this morning, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys said the fund is designed to ensure that businesses in the region are supported by Government in responding to the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead.

"This is the first time that my Department has provided targeted, ring-fenced funding to a specific region, which represents a strong statement of our commitment to the Border area. Through this Fund, I want to make businesses in the border region more resilient, more innovative and more competitive so that we can stimulate enhanced economic activity in the region," she said.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland added that collaboration is key.

"Enhancing collaboration is a central element to driving the innovative capabilities of indigenous enterprise and this is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland's 'Powering the Regions’ strategy. The 11 successful projects announced today illustrate the power of collaboration and will enhance productivity of SMEs to build scale at a regional level," she said.