A new ‘Alpha Innovation Centre’ – low carbon enterprise campus – is set to be built in Letterkenny as part of government plans to support Donegal’s business and enterprise sector after Brexit and Covid-19.
Details of a €4million Government support package for Donegal to mitigate against Brexit and other challenges have been announced by Minister Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD today.
Two projects will benefit from the major investment – with €3.7m granted to Donegal County Council to establish the Alpha Innovation Centre, offering a high-tech workspace hub in Letterkenny’s ‘Enterprise Quarter’ on Neil T Blaney Road.
The Letterkenny Enterprise Quarter is a Masterplan for the entire site adjacent to the existing Public Service Centre and
the Joe Bonnar Link Road.
ERNACT, based out of the CoLab in LYIT, secured €348,504 funding to drive SME engagement with disruptive technology like Internet of Things, 3D printing, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data.
“This is a real boost to our local economy, especially in such challenging times as we face Brexit and the Covid-19 crisis,” Minister McHugh said.
“The Alpha Innovation Centre will involve a newly built facility for entrepreneurs, start-ups, innovators and other companies to be based in the one place, to run their day to day business, to network, to collaborate and share concepts and to explore and develop the potential of new ideas.
“They will also be able to tap into support from the Council, Enterprise Ireland the Local Enterprise Office, LYIT/CoLab and the IDA.”
Full planning permission is in place for the Alpha Innovation Centre.
Minister McHugh said: “I understand the plan is for the Alpha centre to be based in rented space for the first year and after that the high-tech, brand new facility will be a reality.
“This project has the potential to really transform enterprise and is a massive symbol of Government supporting local business and regional development.
“Brexit will have a big impact on Donegal, but action like this is going to make sure we are ready to respond and set a new agenda for our local economy and jobs and business in the county.
“A big part of this plan is the way the Council is engaging with local businesses on the project and all those who are playing a part deserve huge credit for that, including Pramerica, Druva, Forward Emphasis, MRI, Cerebreon, Inishowen Engineering, ITUS Technology and Accubook.”
Minister McHugh also highlighted the innovation and forward thinking that drove the ERNACT protect.
“The non-profit ERNACT is working to maximise opportunities for successful transition to the digital economy,” Minister McHugh said.
“It will use this important funding to progress the new Innovation-as-a-Service idea to enable enterprise hubs to effectively manage the delivery of customised tech transfer solutions to their clients from universities and IoTs and businesses.
“This is a really new approach. It will connect border companies with disruptive technology – the newest technology – to help them innovate, grow and tap into new business.
“ERNACT will be able to link in with the 12 digital and enterprise hubs across the border, as well as the colleges in the region and the agencies like Enterprise Ireland, the Northern and Western Regional Assembly and Údarás na Gaeltachta.
“The message from those who know most about disruptive technology is that it will drive profitability. ERNACT will help businesses to see the way forward.”
The funding has been secured as part of the Border Enterprise Development Fund 2020, administered by Enterprise Ireland, on behalf of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.Tags: