Official Launch of North West Regional Science Park at CoLab
Innovative Start-ups, Employment for Graduates, Knowledge-based Businesses - the Vision for the North West Regional Science Park
Forty (40) start-up companies, over 140 graduate-level employees, and an entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports businesses in the knowledge economy is a statement more synonymous with Dublin or Belfast Innovation Centres; however, this testimonial describes the newly completed EU INTERREG IVA funded North West Regional Science Park (NWRSP) extension to the CoLab at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
The Park was officially opened by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD to coincide with the publication of the North East/North West Action Plan for Jobs, targeting a 10-15% growth in employment across the region in the coming years. The NWRSP provides a flagship hub for all that is innovative, creative and knowledge based in the North West of Ireland. The newly extended CoLab comprises 45,000 square ft. incubation centre, and is an economic driver for regional development embedded in the heart of higher education in the North West. Situated at the Letterkenny Institute of Technology campus, the location provides a setting which enables all aspects of the NWRSP vision to be achieved, as it provides a well-educated, dynamic work-force, keen to create start-ups, explore possibilities and to become leaders of the future.
When Minister Bruton last visited the Letterkenny Institute of Technology campus in May, 2014, the Minister spoke about supporting job-creation across all regions of Ireland, paying particular attention to the boost that the development of the North West Regional Science Park would have on this region. Eighteen months later, Minister Bruton today returned to the LYIT campus and added: “When I visited the LYIT campus 18 months ago I spoke about the importance of innovation in supporting jobs growth across the regions. Since then, 10,000 jobs have been added in the North East/North West region but we must do more if we are to deliver the living standards that we are targeting for people across the country. That is why we are today launching a new jobs plan for the entire region, with innovation at its very heart. The official opening of the North West Regional Science Park will play a major role in supporting new innovation and R&D in companies and education institutions right across the region. My Department have made a direct financial contribution of just over €1m toward the construction costs of this project, thereby providing a permanent long term resource for start ups in the North West. I congratulate Paul and the entire team and wish them every success with this project”.
Paul Hannigan, President, LYIT added that: “Letterkenny Institute of Technology has provided an employment pool for multi-national companies and SMEs in the North West for many years. The launch of the North West Regional Science Park ignites a new energy for undergraduates and postgraduates of the Institute. The innovation centre is now employing over 100 graduates of the Institute, many of whom have created new start-ups and are on the cusp of innovation, with bright futures ahead. We are proud to be able to provide ‘the right people, at the right time’ and the opening of NWRSP is another welcomed step in the ‘right direction’ for the Institute.”
The project has been achieved through a unique cross-border partnership involving Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) and LYIT, and is being led by the North West Cross Border Group, which comprises of the five councils of Derry, Donegal, Limavady, Strabane and Magherafelt. The NWRSP has been built upon the best practice and momentum of NISP and it seeks to extend the activities and assets of NISP into the North West Cross Border region. The main aim of NWRSP is to stimulate the establishment and development of high-quality technology and knowledge-based businesses in the North West of Ireland. Speaking on behalf of NISP, Dr Norman Apsley, OBE, said: “This project has been a pleasure to work on from the very beginning. With our excellent partners listed above and all their stakeholders, we celebrate the end of the first phase, getting our buildings up on time and to budget and filling them with quality tenants, full of potential for growth and jobs for the region. We do recognise, however, that the real job is only beginning now, creating a sustainable culture of knowledge based enterprise. To that end we welcome the interest in our work that has been shown by the schools and teachers of the region. Clearly, the basic ingredients are assembling and we look forward to making it happen.”
The Chairman of NWRCBG, Councillor Paul Fleming, commended the partners who were involved in the delivery of the project. He also thanked SEUPB, the INTERREG programme management body, and the Governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland, without whose financial support and endorsement such true cross border projects could not be developed, and highlighted the importance of maintaining relationships and partnerships through on-going cross border collaboration.
The project is funded by the European Union through the INTERREG IVA programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Match-funding for the project has also been provided by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in Ireland and the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland. Speaking on behalf of the SEUPB, Programme Manager Paul Boylan, said: “In receipt of £12 million worth of funding from the EU’s INTERREG IVA Programme, the project was one of the largest to be supported during the last programming period. This high level of investment is reflective of the strength of the original project application and also the commitment of the European Union to developing a stronger entrepreneurial culture, on a cross-border basis. I am very impressed by what I see and I am encouraged to hear about the impact that the project will have in enhancing the R&D capacity of local businesses, right across the North West.”
The opening of the NWRSP has now firmly positioned Letterkenny and the North West as a key destination for innovation, creativity and inward investment. If any business would like to learn more about availing space at the North West Regional Science Park please contact Patsy Donaghy, Co-Lab Manager, on 074 9186703 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tue, 01 Dec 2015 12:20:00 GMT