Guinness Enterprise Centre ‘super hub’ targets 3,000 new jobs

Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin city has revealed a new 100,000 sq ft expansion following €10m of investment. It projects 3,000 new jobs led by entrepreneurs in the next five years.

A further €1m phase 2 has been announced and will commence immediately.

Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) said that due to strong demand, it has already committed 80pc of its additional capacity to start-ups and expects to be at full capacity by early 2022.

“We are creating a global entrepreneurial super hub that will give our start-ups every opportunity to become world industry disrupters”

Representing €11m in total investment, the expansion was funded by the GEC; Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF);) the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) administered by Enterprise Ireland; Dublin City Council; Diageo; and Dublin BIC. It consists of two additional floors at the GEC’s home in Dublin’s Liberties and is enabling a 75pc increase in net floor space with capacity for 762 start-up employees.

Global entrepreneurial mindset

From left: Eamonn Sayers, GEC  manager; Linda Mooney, GEC operations manager; and David Varian, GEC chair.

“This expansion project was completed during a global pandemic that brought challenges including construction shut-downs, escalating building costs and reduced operating income due to public health restrictions,” said David Varian, chair of Guinness Enterprise Centre. “Surmounting these obstacles is testament to the resolve and vision of all partners involved.

“The newly-expanded space will give more entrepreneurs access to the supports, networks, learning and investment funds they need to scale globally. They will be creating more jobs in the local community and contribute significantly to Ireland’s economic growth. In the next five years, they will return almost €77m to the exchequer. We are creating a global entrepreneurial super hub that will give our start-ups every opportunity to become world industry disrupters.”

The 3,000 targeted jobs will include 1,500 direct jobs and 1,500 indirect jobs. The additional jobs will bring the total number of direct jobs supported by the GEC to 5,000 by 2026.

“This expansion is fantastic news for the future of entrepreneurship in Dublin City and a real boost to those already putting their ideas into action,” said Leo Varadkar, TD, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

“By providing the space and network for start-ups to thrive, we are bringing entrepreneurship and innovation into the heart of the city and providing the right environment for the creation of world-leading Irish companies. The Guinness Enterprise Centre is one of the top incubators in the world. This investment will support 3,000 more jobs over the next five years. I’m excited to hear about the success of the companies who originated here in the future and I want to pay tribute to the GEC team for their vision and dedication in bringing the Centre to the next level.”

Collectively, the investment will enable the GEC to support 150 resident companies – up from 85. The facility can accommodate 220 co-working companies, up from 160.

“This project is an excellent example of ISIF’s double bottom line mandate in action – a commercial investment underpinned by the GEC’s successful track record which is now set to deliver significant and ongoing economic impact,” said Donal Murphy, senior investment director with ISIF.

“The transformation of the GEC into a top-class enterprise centre of scale will help Irish businesses to collaborate, grow and create employment into the future. The successful completion of the project, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, speaks volumes for the GEC team’s professionalism and resilience. ISIF welcomes this official opening as the start of many successful years ahead for the GEC.” 

Resident companies will benefit from the GEC’s start-up and scaling ecosystem, which includes CoConnect – the GEC’s partnership with more than 50 regional and international hubs – the Prosper Programme, which introduces CXOs to key local decision-makers; and the University Programme, which gives start-ups access to MBA business executives in 35 top Irish and international business universities. In 2019, the GEC was named by UBI Global as a World Top Private Business Incubator.

GEC graduate companies include cyber telecoms security company, AdaptiveMobile Security, which was acquired for €45M this year; cryptocurrency start-up, Circle, which was recently valued at almost $3BN; and cloud software company, Qualio, which raised $50M in funding earlier this year. Current residents include gaming studio, Black Shamrock, which now employs more than 80 people; and digital health software company, Wellola, whose co-founder Sonia Neary was a finalist in the global Women in Tech Awards in Paris in 2019. Others include Selio Medical, Volograms, Benetel, Examfly, Kinia and Amnexis Digital Solutions.

“The GEC has provided us with vital supports for starting and scaling Wellola,” said Wellola co-founder and CEO Sonia Neary.

“It has given us access to investors, business advisors and learning opportunities, along with office space in a supportive business ecosystem. Choosing the GEC was a no-brainer; it’s where everything we need is.”

Main image at top: Eamonn Sayers, GEC  manager; Linda Mooney, GEC operations manager; and David Varian, GEC chair.

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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