Galway Technology Centre targets 500 jobs

Over 500 new jobs are envisaged by innovation driven enterprises at the new AcademyWest at Galway Technology Centre (GTC), new plans reveal.

This will result in a €62m annual boost to the west of Ireland over the next five years – and the facility is poised to act as a driver of regional growth in the technology sector.

In major expansion plans, GTC says AcademyWest will incorporate a 2,122 square metre extension and a range of supports to address a critical capacity barrier and facilitate rapid scaling of tech companies across the region.

“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”

Twenty-five years after being founded in response to the closure of Digital with the loss of 760 jobs, GTC will expand on its regional leadership role with this ‘flight centre for scaling innovation-driven global technology companies’.

“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,” explained Niamh Costello, general manager, GTC.

“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”.

A phoenix rose from Digital’s ashes

In 1994, the problem was a shortage of employment in Galway as Digital, which employed 1,200 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.

“A key part of this project will involve delivering a range of specific supports to companies at a vital stage of their growth. These supports will include, for example, strategic connections with venture capitalists and other key players, multi-agency collaboration, tailored information and training programmes and professional assistance with national and international recruitment.

“In this regard, AcademyWest is much more than just a building – it is a dynamic ecosystem where we create an environment that enables companies to scale. It will be a flight centre for scaling innovation-driven global technology companies.

“The entire offering – the building and the supports – will be of enormous benefit to technology companies just about to take off.”

Planning permission for the new centre was finalised in August. It will be the largest of its type in the region. GTC are now pursuing various funding and support options.

GTC: The numbers

Number of companies currently in GTC: 40

Number of current jobs: 326

Number of companies based there since 1994: Over 300

Number of direct jobs created: 3,000

Value to the economy in direct salaries since 1994: €1.3bn

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 29 October, 2019