The former OPW building at Cecil Street, which will be home to a new digital centre PICTURE: ADRIAN BUTLER
A GROUNDBREAKING new ‘Digital Collaboration Centre’ is to be built at the former Cecil Street Office of Public Works building.
The first of its kind in Ireland, the project was given a boost this Monday after the Minister for Business, Enterprise and innovation Heather Humphreys announced a grant of €2.2m to make the plan a reality.
The centre, news of which was exclusively revealed by the Limerick Leader back in February, will be located at 29 to 30 Cecil Street, right beside the existing Engine building, which rose from the ashes of the Dominican Biblical Institute.
It will work with multi-national firms, small to medium sized enterprises, start-up companies and third-level institutions.
It’s been hailed as “a game changer for Limerick businesses” by the chief executive of the body which runs Engine, Innovate’s Mike Cantwell.
It will focus on business process improvement, rather than new technology development, and has been hailed as “proof Limerick is a city and region on the rise” by Mayor James Collins.
We are delighted with this morning's announcement that Innovate Limerick will receive €2.27million for a Digital Collaboration Centre under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund.#REDF @Entirl @LimerickCouncil pic.twitter.com/3XIxuMpTlH— Innovate Limerick (@innovatelmk) December 3, 2018
Also receiving a boost this Monday was the BNest social entrepreneurship centre, based at the University of Limerick, which secured a grant of €603,400 under the €29m Regional Enterprise Fund.
Speaking about the new digital centre, Mayor Collins, who is a board member of Innovate, added: “It is a perfect example of how large multi-national companies and small firms are being provided with the best opportunities to do business and grow in this region. This project aims to position the Mid-West region as a hub of applied disruptive technology innovation.”
Mr Cantwell added: “As the first of its kind in the country it will narrow the innovation-adoption gap for global and indigenous companies across the region through regional collaborative disruptive technology applications in services and business processes, which will support start-ups, scaling, high-potential start-up growth and talent attraction. This is a very exciting time for all of us involved in building a brighter and prosperous future for Limerick.”
Limerick council chief executive Conn Murray said: “We’ve made huge strides since we launched Innovate Limerick, which has been a major stimulant for employment and innovation in Limerick. This news is the latest positive development in what is a great period for Limerick. This reaffirms our status as a digital and technical hub and, thereby, strengthening Limerick’s profile as a great place to do business even further. A huge amount has gone into getting us to where we are today.”
Monday’s announcement follows the award of €30.5m in financial support to 21 applicants for enterprise and capacity development projects during the first call for funding, released this time last year.