Michael Cantwell, head of Innovate Limerick
CORK may claim to be the real capital but when it comes to sport Limerick is the beating heart.
And it hopes to capitalise on that national standing in a bid to establish a sports cluster in the region.
It follows the announcement of a €60m Enterprise Ireland Competitive Regional Enterprise Development Fund, which aims to support major new collaborative and innovative initiatives that can make a “significant impact on enterprise development across regions or nationally to build the unique capabilities to grow the regions”.
Michael Cantwell, head of Innovate Limerick, said we are uniquely placed in Ireland to co-locate athletes and performance related activities with sports tech businesses and research.
“This high impact enterprise initiative will support sports related job creation and will operate out of ‘The Engine’, the new name for the former Biblical Centre on Dominic Street in the heart of the city centre. We have engaged with Kernel Capital as a private equity partner and look forward to welcoming the first cohort of companies this September,” said Mr Cantwell.
The project has been in the pipeline for almost two years. It aims to capitalise on the various elite sporting facilities and assets already in the region including UL’s sports campus and research facilities; LIT’s Sportslab, Europe’s leading strength and conditioning centre, in Thurles, as well as a range of companies involved in other sports-related activities, from sports technology to nutrition companies.
If successful it will enhance the city and county’s reputation at the very forefront of sports innovation and initiatives.
“This is a strategic initiative to developing Ireland’s growing sports industry which will also provide a fast landing facility for international companies looking to scale into Europe and provide a location for the organic development of sports entrepreneurs and sport research. This development will provide a coherent approach to sport participation, performance, business, research, development and education,” said Mr Cantwell.
Innovate Limerick, along with the Regeneration Office of Limerick City and County Council, has been working closely with UL, LIT, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Limerick Sports Partnership, Sporting Limerick and the Mid-West Action Plan for Jobs Programme Manager to develop this collaborative initiative.