Effective One-Stop-Shop Innovation Hub providing serviced office space and supports in prime city location targeting knowledge enterprises with growth potential
Galway Technology Centre (GTC) is a major part of National and Regional policy in the West Region of Ireland of investing in hard incubation & innovation infrastructure and the necessary collaborative services to support the anchoring and clustering of Knowledge-based Start-Ups. In this way, it is consistent with the `one-stop shop` system as a managed service with in house business innovation expertise provided by the accredited EU-BIC for the Region along with specialist services on-site such as Finance, IP, Legal and Tax.
Led by Galway Chamber of Commerce and WestBIC, GTC emerged following the collapse of major IT business – Digital Equipment Corporation in 1993 that employed 1,200 staff at its peak. This challenge also led to opportunities for those who used the knowledge and experience they gained at Digital to launch their own successful ICT and knowledge businesses.
From a regional and national policy perspective, the modern 50,000sq ft. centre was supported by the National Community Enterprise Centre Support Scheme through previous Regional Operational programmes.
As part of the Regional eco-system, it has evolved to become the HQ of ICT Start-Up activity and the `go-to` resource for emerging ICT and knowledge businesses. It is supported through the National Action Plan for Jobs and is a component of National FDI Policy of attracting FDI companies who want to `soft land` in the EU by basing themselves in the Irish Market through the GTC model to establish and grow.

Resources needed

Private sector support required plus accredited Innovation partner– in this case WestBIC the EU-BIC for the region
€5m capital costs (1999) – 50,000 sq ft. renovation of existing building/space
Annual capital investment commitment: €100,000
Annual personnel/admin costs: c.€150,000, with 3 staff

Evidence of success

Since 1994, GTC has supported 150 enterprises creating 2500 high-value ICT jobs in the region. Currently, 42 start-ups /growth companies employing 250 employees. Key to this outstanding success has been the collaborative effort of Stakeholders, allowing GTC to operate as a seamless one-stop-shop which is a major differentiator and is very ‘pro-start-up’, whilst investing annually in latest hardware, connectivity and systems, providing rapid and low-cost entry for new start-ups/growth enterprise

Difficulties encountered

Raising finance at the outset, involved risk taking to develop this visionary project
Developing the critical mass to establish a successful clustering effect, requiring constant promotion
Bringing collaborative partners together and maintaining commitment to this seamless co-operative approach

Potential for learning or transfer

The successful GTC model has transfer potential to other regions. Key elements for success are:
High collaboration levels between Public and Private sectors and stakeholders – In this case Galway Chamber provides Private Sector Support and WestBIC provides the best practice in Incubation Systems and company support. Additionally, several other supporters are involved in the consortium and through delivery of specific enterprise supports, training etc., including Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Office and HP Enterprises.
The effective and seamless one-stop shop system that is “pro-enterprise”.
Ensuring the Support Systems are of an Internationally Accredited/Global Standard, with a flexible, advanced, technology offering
Mixed usage allowing graduation from desk incubation to small and bigger units with flexible cost plans.
Model has been successfully adapted to conditions in other parts of Ireland and other EU, European and MENA countries including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

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Project
Main institution
WestBIC
Location
Border, Midland and Western, Ireland (Éire)
Start Date
September 1994
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

James Donlon Please login to contact the author.