Wicklow County Council voted unanimously to accept the proposals contained in the County Wicklow Economic Think Tank (CWETT) action plan which was prepared in partnership between business leaders throughout Wicklow and the County Council.
The plan has recommended the establishment of a new business brand for the county and a major communications plan which will turn wicklow.ie into a portal that will provide a 'one stop shop' for businesses in the county. Under the plan, the chief executive of the council will now be meeting with business leaders twice a year to understand and address issues faced by businesses.
The plan which has been in development for over 16 months also sets a series of 6 strategic objectives including supports for the film industry in the county.
Councillors had set aside €100k in the budget and provided an additional €100k from monies raised through the non principal private residence charge to resource the implementation of identified actions from the plan.
Cllr John Ryan who is Leas-Cathaoirleach of Wicklow praised all the business community for their input and in particular the chairs of the sub committees, John Hannigan, Dick Lenehan, Kilian McGreal and Declan O'Neill. "We have a plan that has zoned in on areas of opportunity, now we need to put actions in place to make Wicklow more attractive to attract and grow business and we need to prioritise the actions that will have the biggest impact in creating jobs for the people of County Wicklow.”
The CWETT, which is comprised of business people from County Wicklow, was formed in late 2013 following widespread consultation with the business community in the county. The aim of the CWETT was to develop a practical Action Plan that would be used to drive and maintain economic activity and led to increased employment in County Wicklow.
The actions proposed in the plan are those identified by the business community to be the strategic priorities for economic development in County Wicklow, and were welcomed and endorsed by all Councillors at the meeting on Monday.
The Action Plan has two key elements, “The Big Idea” intended to capture the imagination and enthusiasm of the businesses and the community, and six strategic objectives each of which addresses specific areas of economic opportunity for the County.
The underlying concept of the Big Idea is to build a strong brand for County Wicklow. This brand is to encapsulate what County Wicklow has to offer across multiple dimensions including business potential, investment potential, tourism, lifestyle and commerce.
The six strategic objectives are:
There are numerous detailed actions underlying each of the objectives. The next steps will be to prioritise the actions proposed and identify the resources required and available. This will be followed by a timeline for implementation and a method for measuring progress. It is expected that a number of key actions will be completed in 2015.
- Ensure Wicklow is ‘Open for Business’
- Facilitate maximum economic return for the Retail Sector
- Maximise the value of Wicklow’s status as ‘The Garden County’.
- Capitalise on the immediate economic opportunity of the film industry.
- Sustain, and where possible grow, the traditional sectors in County Wicklow.
- Be alert to new economic opportunities.