A unique pilot scheme aimed at attracting new business to Limerick city centre is being rolled out in County Limerick’s principal towns. Limerick City and County Councils say that the Business and Retail Incentive Scheme, which sees qualifying businesses and retailers receive grant aid is now being made available in Kilmallock, Newcastle West and Rathkeale.

The scheme, which will run until the end of 2014, has already attracted a number of new retail and business developments in Limerick city and was a factor in Worldwide Tech Services’ announcement last month to establish their European headquarters in Limerick city centre.

“This scheme is designed to attract retailers and business into Limerick city centre and the county’s larger towns in a pro-active effort to address vacancy rates, improve streetscapes and support the business community,” explained Paul Foley of the Council’s Economic Development and Planning Department.

The Business and Retail Incentive Scheme provides for grant aid worth up to 50% of rates outlay in the first year for qualifying applicants, and up to 25% of rates outlay in the second year, subject to matching expenditure in fit-out costs in properties that have been vacant for more than a month. Tom Enright, Director of Economic Development and Planning stated: “This is a grant for new retail or business to set up or expand in Kilmallock, Newcastle West and Rathkeale which is dependent on the amount of expenditure incurred on fit-out costs. It helps to get people started. Staff in the Council’s Economic Development Unit will give assistance to anyone who would like to enquire about taking up the scheme.”