CE of Kildare County Council, Peter Carey and Mayor of Naas, Cllr Rob Power are amongst those who’ve welcomed the approval of Enterprise Ireland's funding for a new digital hub in Naas, to be located at lands adjacent.
The Mid East Regional Innovation Think Space (MERITS) is a new build project that will cluster Irish and international new technology companies in a collaborative space in Naas town centre.
Cllr Robert Power, Mayor of Naas
“I’m absolutely thrilled that we’ve secured the funding for this project. Establishing a Digital Hub in the town not only secures short and long-term employment in the local area but puts Naas on the map internationally as a place to start and grow a digital business" said Mayor Power.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD announced the results of the first round of the new €60m competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund earlier this week with 21 successful applicants across the country securing up to €30.5m for their projects in the first competitive call.
MERITS will provide incubation space for new indigenous enterprise and spin-out companies of Maynooth University with the New Build to be developed on lands adjacent to Áras Chill Dara in Naas.
Co Kildare will serve the emerging technology sector by connecting organisations and people, building market relevant solutions in addition to acting as a centre of excellence in supporting innovation within the small businesses across the region.
Enterprise Ireland has granted €2m toward the Digital Hub which will be matched by Kildare County Council. According to the application which was drawn up by the Kildare Local Enterprise Office, the project is expected to pay for itself within three years.
Peter Carey (right) with Mayor of Kildare, Cllr Martin Miley and Santa at last week's Food & Gift Fair in Áras Chill Dara.
Speaking after the announcement, CE for Kildare County Council, Peter Carey stated: “Our direction has been influenced by the increased demand on the Mid East Local Enterprise Offices from the emerging technology sector for support in their development, the increase in demand from small businesses for support in innovation, the success of Maynooth Works and a number of actions laid out in the Mid-East Action Plan for Jobs in the Kildare County Plan 2017 - 2023.
“In collaboration with Maynooth University and a number of other agencies we want to continue to develop Kildare as a digital/innovative economy hub and a leadership “hot spot” by building on an existing critical mass in the IT and digital/tech sector, and attracting further investment into the County. This announcement provides immense opportunity to deliver on this,” Peter Carey concluded.
Mayor Power is optimistic about what the Digital Hub means for Naas:
“Ten to 14 years ago, the Irish tech sector was a very niche industry confined to Dublin. But as the industry matures, so too does the workforce. Where once companies worried about locating in the city centre to attract younger workers, the sector is now witnessing an increasing demand for housing and quality of life for families. Over the next decade, I’m confident that Naas can take on any town in the country in this respect - and win.”
“I’ve been calling for a project like this since 2015 when I wrote a proposal to establish funding for hubs in every county across the country. That proposal was subsequently included in the Fianna Fáil election manifesto in 2016.”
In March this year, Cllr Power called on Kildare County Council to begin the process of seeking funding for a Digital Hub in Naas. “I congratulate Kildare County Council CEO Peter Carey, Head of Kildare LEO Jacqui McNabb and their teams for the outstanding work to date on this project. The ambition they’ve shown in identifying Naas as a regional leader in digital enterprise will play a vital part in the town’s future.”
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