What we do

The Western Development Commission (WDC) is a statutory body that was established in 1997 to promote social and economic development in the Western Region (the counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare).

It has a statutory obligation to advise the government on issues that impact on the Western Region and to promote government policy directed at improving social and economic standards here. It manages the WDC Investment Fund, which provides loans and equity to businesses and local communities in the region.

Our work is outlined in our ‘Work Smarter, Live Better’ strategy. Published in 2019 it sets out the roadmap of the organisation for the following five years. The strategy is built on three pillars: regional promotion; regional leadership; and sustainable enterprise, reflecting the organisation’s strategic goals in the short, medium and long terms.

Regional promotion

In the short term, our focus is to raise the profile of the region and tell our story to a wider audience, particularly those seeking to live or work here. The western region is an area of remarkable physical beauty, situated on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, Europe’s western edge and a natural entry point from the US, Canada and the Americas.

Regional leadership

This includes our medium-term goals to build cohesion across the region, through significant projects such as the Atlantic Economic Corridor. It also shows our support of the shift to remote and distributed work, which offers significant scope for rural and regional growth. This pillar of our strategy also covers both national and EU projects that explore and assess new ways of working and collaborating and provide the platform for forward thinking and regional resilience.

Sustainable enterprise

This is the long-term view to build on the success of our evergreen Investment Fund, valued at €72m, which is more than twice the original investment allocated to the WDC. Our goal in the next five years is to extend our investment and lending and to create a platform to develop a global competitive advantage for the region in key areas, but to do so in a way that protects the natural beauty and resources of our region and improves the quality of life for those who live here.

 

Work smarter

Connectivity and sustainability are key drivers, supporting and creating sustainable business that supports communities across the Western Region, in a way that protects our unique environment. Working collaboratively with others, we will support and create opportunities that balance the needs of our region, its people and future, building on existing and emerging sectoral and indigenous strengths.

Our vision

Work collaboratively to promote our region at a global level and to identify, analyse and seek to mitigate and overcome the challenges at a regional level to ensure vibrant, connected communities.

 

Live better

We will promote the Western Region as a globally competitive area with an exceptional work-life balance. We will work to mitigate regional disparity, both within the region and with other regions, and lead in offering a balance of smarter working opportunities and equality of opportunity and access to state supports for all citizens across our region.

 

We recognise that

Despite significant, and on-going, social environmental and technological change, the Western Region of Ireland offers a work-life balance and personal and professional opportunities to progress that are among the best in the world.

Our region

Situated along the leading edge of Europe, Ireland’s Western Region is an area of outstanding physical beauty. It is a region of contrasts, home to a global med-tech hub, an acknowledged industrial expertise in sensors and mobility and a burgeoning creative economy.

Since its establishment, the Western Development Commission has played a significant role in the economic growth of the region, investing €56.6m in 187 SMEs, micro and social enterprises, directly creating 2,500 jobs and generating an annual spend of €24m on research and development.

In 2016 there were 54,410 enterprises registered in the Western Region which makes it home to 17.4% of all of the enterprises in Ireland. The majority of these are micro-enterprises – 92.7% in the Western Region compared with 91.6% in the rest of the state. Roscommon (94.6%) and Leitrim (94.4%) have the highest shares of micro-enterprises in Ireland.

The Western Region is comprised of the counties of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare and is a largely rural region and includes some of the most remote parts of the country. In fact, 64.7% in of the population live outside of towns of 1,500 or more and that’s why the WDC has a particular focus on the needs of, and opportunities for, more rural and peripheral areas.