Another Win for Galway as it Showcases its Strengths in Enterprise Incubation

Pictured at the InBIA meeting are l-r: Dr Rick Officer, GMIT Vice President for Research and Innovation, Dr Chris Coughlan, WestBIC Chair and NUI Galway Adjunct Professor, Fiona Neary, NUI Galway Business and Innovation Office, Kirstie Chadwick, President and CEO of InBIA and Joe Greaney, Director of WestBIC Ireland. Photo NUI Galway
Sep 21 2017 Posted: 09:50 IST

NUI Galway, WestBIC and GMIT recently welcomed InBIA to Galway to share knowledge and explore opportunities for collaboration. InBIA is among the world’s largest member-based entrepreneurial support network and a leader in building thriving, sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems, and supporting programs across a wide range of industrial sectors. In over 62 countries it represents 2,200 businesses, co-working spaces and entrepreneurship support organisations who are dedicated to encourage unique start-ups in their communities.

InBIA is interested in integrating Galway’s dynamic start-up ecosystem with its international network of entrepreneurial supports. The meeting in Galway identified reciprocal opportunities for ‘soft-landing’ supports by facilitating west of Ireland early-stage companies to enter the US and other international markets, and for InBIA’s global network of companies to enter the EU through Galway’s start-up ecosystem.

Fiona Neary, Innovation Manager at NUI Galway’s Business and Innovation Centre, said: “The region already has a strong brand globally in Research Development and Industry support, so we must continue to put the structures in place to ensure we are the go-to location for start-up supports, accelerator programmes, co-working spaces and other entrepreneurial supports committed to nurturing start-ups in the community.”

InBIA’s visit was a timely follow-up to a recent report by WestBIC and Galway City Council on Enterprise and Incubation supports in Galway. An inadequate pipeline of suitable enterprise development space was identified as a key deficiency. The report also identified a key opportunity for greater co-operation between the key institutions supporting the region’s enterprise development ecosystem.

As long-established key innovation enablers within this ecosystem, NUI Galway, GMIT and WestBIC deliver a closely aligned and complimentary portfolio of support measures for the start-up community. The meeting with InBIA explored further opportunities to combine these resources to enhance the participation of the west region in growing knowledge-based jobs, and accelerate regional enterprise creation.

These supports are delivered from four Business Innovation Centers (covering over 120,000 square feet) including co-working space, company offices, labs, training, and innovation space. Collectively these facilities house over 160 innovative start-up companies, employ hundreds of staff, and offer enterprise supports and many regional initiatives such as; BioInnovate, Halo Business Angel programme, Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme, Blackstone LaunchPad, TechInnovate, Accelerator programmes, and the Empower Women’s Entrepreneurship programme.

Chris Coughlan, Chair of WestBIC, says: “This opportunity could facilitate Galway to compete globally with the east coast not to mention other countries also trying to attract such start-ups to their market. By the reciprocal nature of such an arrangement, West of Ireland companies looking to enter the US market could avail of low cost support partners on the ground brokering more accurate targeting of relevant supports, plus supply of services as well as networking opportunity this brings to everyone.”

“The opportunities for new business development in Galway and the West of Ireland are really exciting”, said Rick Officer, GMIT Vice President for Research and Innovation. “We look forward to working collaboratively with InBIA and our regional partners to resource and deliver even better enterprise supports. Together we can make Galway an internationally recognised hub for enterprise creation and incubation.”


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