Over 500 jobs will be created at the new AcademyWest at Galway Technology Centre (GTC), which will give a €62 million boost to the west of Ireland over the next five years.
GTC says AcademyWest will incorporate a 2,122 square metre extension and a range of supports to facilitate the rapid growth of tech companies across the region.
Planning permission for the new centre was finalised in August and it will become the largest of its type in the region.
Niamh Costello, General Manager, GTC explained: “AcademyWest will support the creation of 820 direct and indirect jobs in the first five years and create a national centre of excellence for scaling innovation-driven enterprises.
“Put simply, the region needs a global technology centre of this size and scope. There is a shortage of scale-up space in our region – we have had to turn companies away. In our role as regional enterprise leaders, we have assisted and mentored innovation hubs in the region to help build the kind of ecosystem that’s needed to sustain a world-class technology sector.”
Twenty five years ago, the problem was a shortage of employment as Digital, which employed 1200 people at peak production, shut its doors – but GTC’s 2,122 square metre extension will solve a different issue.
“Companies that start here in the west want to stay here. The talent is here, the ambition is here and we have world class third-level institutions.
That’s what has prompted us to create AcademyWest, which focuses solely on scaling innovation driven enterprises (IDE’s),” added Niamh.
Frank Greene, chairperson of the board of GTC said: “GTC is a social enterprise set up by the Digital Task Force in 1994 to support and develop an indigenous technology-based industry in Galway and across the region.
“The Task Force turned to Galway Chamber of Commerce, Westbic and Forbairt (now Enterprise Ireland) to realise their GTC Vision and Mission. All three organisations contributed to achieving these goals.
“They were generously helped by the strong support received from public and private institutions and local personal voluntary donations. With this assistance, GTC gradually grew from a 6,000 sq. ft building to the current 50,000 sq. ft building.
“GTC is a key driver of the evolution of the Galway Innovation District that also includes NUIG Incubator, GMIT iHub and, more recently, the Portershed.
“It is now much more than a leader in Galway. It has also become a regional leader, and will expand on that by establishing AcademyWest.”