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Breaking New Ground for Innovative Tech Start-ups in Galway
An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment will turn the sod on a €1.6m Regional Enterprise Development funded Innovation Hub, supported by Enterprise Ireland in Galway today. The Bowling Green project is located in downtown Galway City Centre and will be the home to 130 globally ambitious tech innovators and entrepreneurs from across the west of Ireland. The project sponsor is The Galway City Innovation District, the team behind The PorterShed tech hub in Galway’s Eyre Square.
The Bowling Green development is the first of two new developments by GCID funded by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment through Enterprise Ireland. The next building at the Connacht Tribune will begin construction shortly and is expected to open in mid-2022.
The Bowling Green site will also serve as a regional centre of excellence, delivering programmes for founders from the West and Northwest, as well welcoming experts and innovators from further afield.
The PorterShed, the first building of Galway City Innovation District (GCID), opened in 2016 and quickly became the home of tech in Galway, opening its doors to the wider tech industry through talks, programmes, meetups and networking events. In just five years. GCID has supported the creation of more than 720 jobs in Galway and its members have had investments of over €35m.
Building on the success of the PorterShed, the new GCID location at Bowling Green will continue to build globally scalable tech start-ups and serve as an innovation space for the wider tech community. GCID is expanding its footprint in response to the high demand for city-centre locations for tech start- ups, which in just five years has outgrown the original PorterShed’s footprint.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said: “Today is an important day for Galway which will further enhance the West of Ireland’s reputation as a technology hub. The PorterShed’s expansion with these two new GCID buildings is highly anticipated by the tech community in Galway. Innovation hubs offer much more than desk space. They provide a supportive environment, mentoring, and programmes to start and scale innovative tech businesses. The start-up journey comes with all the usual challenges of starting a business, as well as the uncertainty of launching something totally new. The PorterShed community also gives start-ups access to other founders who have been on this journey and can lend their support. I congratulate GCID and Enterprise Ireland on this achievement and look forward to my return visit when the hub opens its doors.”
Mark Christal, Divisional Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland said: “Supporting innovative regional start-ups is a huge focus for Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Enterprise Development Fund is an effective mechanism of supporting regional development. We were delighted to support the development of the Bowling Green site as a state-of the-art technology innovation hub here in the heart of Galway city from which start-ups can operate, develop and thrive. We look forward to working with the entrepreneurs and businesses that will nurture and develop their business ideas as they come through this new collaboration hub with the possibility of one day becoming High Potential Start-Ups.”
GCID is also a regional delivery partner of the NDRC, providing early stage supports to founders in the West and North West. GCID works closely with other stakeholders in the start-up ecosystem, including New Frontiers, GMIT, NUI Galway.
Key sponsors of the GCID initiative include AIB who have backed GCID since its inception in 2016. Mary Whitelaw, Director of Corporate Affairs, Strategy & Sustainability comments “Our investment in the PorterShed demonstrates the role that AIB can play in supporting innovation and opportunity in our local communities and creating a sustainable future for new enterprises”. Other sponsors involved in the new development include KPMG, SIRO Vodafone with more announcements expected in the coming months.
Maurice O’Gorman Chair of Galway City Innovation District added ‘This is a key milestone in the long term strategy of Galway City Innovation District, the creation of high value sustainable jobs in the West of Ireland is fundamental to the growth of the region, we very much look forward to opening the Bowling Green site and expanding our footprint in Galway. The PorterShed was never just a building, it has always been about building a community facilitating innovation and creating world class companies in the West of Ireland.”
Notes to the Editor
About Galway City Innovation District
The Galway City Innovation District (GCID) was formed in July 2015 as a CLG, not-for-profit. Its purpose is to attract creators, innovators and entrepreneurs who wish to work in close proximity to others in a supportive and connected environment, as well as young technology companies with strong growth potential and, eventually, larger companies and multinationals.
The overriding goal of the GCID is job creation, by boosting the existing innovation, entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem and supporting a geographically balanced and integrated approach to economic and social development.
The GCID at the PorterShed currently supports export oriented fast-growth tech companies by giving access to funding, mentoring, education, customers, talent and infrastructure. Importantly, the GCID has nurtured a culture of peer to peer support (a community much broader than the residents within the PorterShed) and fostered links with funding agencies, venture capitalists and innovation hubs globally. Through the provision of access to mentors, a dynamic workspace, a packed events calendar and best-in-class facilities, we help businesses achieve scale.
About The Portershed, Galway
The PorterShed is the first building in the Galway City Innovation District and is considered one of Ireland’s top regional startup innovation hubs. A mix of entrepreneurs, startups and growth companies, it is lauded as a beacon showcasing Galway’s vibrant tech ecosystem. Supported by Galway Chamber, State Agencies and AIB, the PorterShed is home to 42 innovation-driven enterprises. The PorterShed Founding Board members include Maurice O'Gorman Chair of Galway City Innovation District and Chair of The Port of Galway, and Professor John Breslin of NUI Galway