12,500 new tech jobs planned for the West of Ireland

To mark 25 years of the Galway Technology Centre, the new AcademyWest expansion will generate thousands of new jobs and €1.4bn investment for the West of Ireland.

The expansion of Galway Technology Centre’s AcademyWest has the potential to generate 12,500 new jobs for the West of Ireland over the next 15 years.

AcademyWest has also the potential to generate investment of €1.4bn across the region.

“The scope and benefits of this project will be felt across Galway and throughout the entire region”

The expansion project is being strongly facilitated by Enterprise Ireland, which provides ongoing support to Galway Technology Centre. The centre is a social enterprise jointly owned by Galway Chamber and WestBIC.

The plans will be revealed today during a special anniversary event celebrating over 25 years of GTC.

Focus on rapid scaling

The AcademyWest project will have a particular focus on facilitating rapid scaling for start ups and other innovation driven enterprises, as well as growing ICT businesses in need of second sites.

“Galway Technology Centre is proof that when social enterprises profit, society profits”

The 22,000 square foot expansion will see the total floor area of GTC extend to 72,000 square feet, with the number of floors in the facility growing from two to four.

The project will also include dedicated conferencing and meeting space and will address a critical capacity barrier in the existing centre. When complete the development will enable GTC to become an even greater focal point for the expanding tech cluster throughout Galway and the west of Ireland.

Economic impact

The impact of the expansion is expected to see 828 new jobs and €62.4m in investment generated per annum by Year 5, growing to 1,689 new jobs and €127.3m per annum by Year 10 and on to 2,517 new jobs and €189.7m per annum by Year 15.

This will bring the cumulative total to over 12,500 jobs and €1.4 billion over the next 15 years. 

Currently GTC is home to 41 companies, with 326 people employed directly on site. A social enterprise, it provides scale up space and supports to meet the needs of innovative ICT startups and entrepreneurs. Working in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, GTC has hosted a range of successful Irish and international companies – including Storm Technology, Blue Tree Systems, Siren, PlanNet 21, 9th Impact, Ex Ordo, Action Point, Electronic Arts (EA), SAP, Wayfair and many others. 

The first tech innovation centre in Ireland

GTC was the first technology innovation centre in Ireland, originally founded in the mid-1990s following the closure of Digital Equipment Corporation’s Galway facility.

At that time, Digital had been Galway’s largest employer. In response to that closure a special Government Task Force was established that invited Galway Chamber, WestBIC and An Forbairt to realise their vision of an indigenous ICT cluster in the west of Ireland. This led to the formation of GTC. 

“We are tremendously proud of all that Galway Technology Centre has achieved over the last 25+ years,” said Frank Greene, GTC Chairman.

“The original centre comprised a total of eight individual units filled by 7 start-ups, all founded by former Digital staff. From those humble beginnings the centre has become a modern, dynamic facility and social enterprise which has had a major impact on Galway and throughout the West.

“Anyone who was involved in the early days would be deeply impressed to see how the centre has gone on to flourish and would be amazed at the broader impact it has made on the regional ICT sector.

“Galway Technology Centre is proof that when social enterprises profit, society profits. Those benefits are being felt by ICT enterprises and innovative businesses in Galway and across the West to this day and with our AcademeyWest expansion we aim to make sure that continues for a very long time to come,” Mr. Greene said.

Over the last 25 years GTC has housed more than 300 different companies who have created over 3,000 jobs.

“The AcademyWest expansion represents a significant new phase in the life of Galway Technology Centre,” said Noreen Conway, Acting Manager of GTC.

“It will drive substantial employment growth, while expanding the technology cluster and knowledge economy throughout Galway and the West over the coming years. This enhanced modern facility will have a further transformative effect on the regional ICT ecosystem. It will help attract and retain dynamic high performance start-ups who wish to scale their enterprise and also act as a second site for growing, innovative companies.

City of the tech tribes

“Once the AcademyWest expansion is complete it will facilitate businesses who are expected to generate over 12,500 jobs and €1.4 billion investment on a cumulative basis over the next 15 years.

“The scope and benefits of this project will be felt across Galway and throughout the entire region. It will make Galway Technology Centre a beacon for innovation across the west of Ireland.

“On a day when we celebrate the history of Galway Technology Centre, we are excited to be firmly placing a foot towards our dynamic future,” Conway said.

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 23 April 2021