A NEW centre for start-up companies in the heart of Newcastle West can help transform the local business landscape, the various groups behind the project believe.
The Red Door business incubation centre in the old ACC bank premises in The Square is offering budding entrepreneurs all the tools they need to get up and running, including high speed broadband, workstations, a business address and access to expertise at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT).
The centre, which has been set up by the Newcastle West and District Chamber of Commerce and West Limerick Resources, was officially opened by Minister for Environment Phil Hogan last week.
Ann Liston, president of the Newcastle West chamber, said that they had previously been approached by a number of people who had good business ideas, but did not have the right tools to execute them.
“The centre will offer the entrepreneur a business address, high speed broadband, a website, a fully equipped work station with desktop PC, wifi on each floor and a top class business telephone system.
“It will also provide a networking environment, including full support and back up in all the appropriate areas.”
Last year, members from the chamber reached an agreement with LIT about replicating its Hartnett enterprise acceleration centre in Moylish, Limerick in Newcastle West. Local development company West Limerick Resources was then approached to provide funding to refurbish the first and second floors of the Red Door space in The Square, above the Red Door gallery.
A grant of nearly €80,000 was provided from WLR’s rural development programme towards the project. The centre is now taking applications from entrepreneurs and graduates seeking to take part in a six week training programme, after which eight individuals will be offered a place in the incubation unit.
Each placement at the centre will last for one year, during which time mentoring, technical support and other services will be available to the budding entrepreneurs.
Joan Casey of West Limerick Resources said that the incubation unit will be “an innovative way” to help start ups overcome some of the early challenges they will face.
“This is the first venture of its kind for West Limerick and will offer all the facilities of a fully developed organization to individuals who are only getting their feet on the first rung of the business ladder.
“West Limerick Resources are delighted to be in a position to support the chamber of commerce in this initiative, and believe that this centre has the potential to make a positive impact on local employment opportunities. From our on-going work with business start-ups we are keenly aware of the challenges posed by lack of enterprise development experience, suitable premises, on-going advice and guidance.
“The Red Door business incubation centre is an innovative way to address these issues and help young graduates, and individuals, turn their ideas into reality.”
For more information on the centre, visit its website at reddoorbic.ie.