GMIT Galway Innovation Hub Extension

Monday, January 15, 2018 Press Office
Press Release

Major boost for Galway Start-Ups

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) established two Innovation Hubs (iHubs) at its Galway and Mayo campuses in 2005 and 2006 respectively with support from Enterprise Ireland. These iHubs provide a range of start-up spaces and a portfolio of Business Development Supports to start-up enterprises. The iHubs also provide a number of Entrepreneur Development Programmes including ‘New Frontiers’ (Enterprise Ireland’s national entrepreneur development programme for innovative, early stage start-ups), and ‘Empower’ - a dedicated entrepreneurship programme for women, sponsored by the European Social Fund and Department of Justice and Equality. 

GMIT’s Innovation Hubs have contributed significantly to the economic and social development of the region. The iHubs have supported the creation of 550 new jobs, 32 High Growth Start Ups, 42 client companies re-locating to the regions, and €138m raised in investment funding for products and services that can compete on a global scale. In addition, the iHubs provide collaborative opportunities for GMIT students and staff to support research & innovation projects, student projects and work placements with client companies in the innovation hubs. 12 GMIT graduates have obtained full time positions with these start-up companies, following their initial engagement on student projects.

The iHubs provide an entrepreneurship eco-system for 79 enterprises - 14 start-ups on the New Frontiers programme, 32 participants on the Empower Start and Growth programmes, 17 incubation enterprises, 9 start-ups at Concept Desk stage and 7 in Virtual Incubation. The Galway and Mayo iHubs also support GMIT graduate entrepreneurs and student entrepreneurs - winners of local and regional innovation awards.

Client companies currently occupying the iHubs include Marvao Medical, OneTouch Telecare, Capsos Medical, Rockfield Medical, BlueDrop Medical, Kite Medical, Cloud Strong, Allergy Lifestyle, Tr3Dent and Happy Media to name a few. Relocated client companies from the iHubs include Novate Medical, Veryan Medical, NeoSurgical, Nortev, TradeCert, Horizon, TruckScience, Chipright, CGA Technology, Hillwalk Tours and Game Golf.

James Byrne, CEO Hillwalk Tours – provider of self-guided hiking tours in Ireland and the UK including six different regions along the Wild Atlantic Way, who re-located from the iHub Galway after four years of incubation and start-up support, says:

“During our time at the GMIT Innovation Hub, Hillwalk Tours transformed from a tiny start-up of just two people to an award-winning organisation employing 16 people. This was no coincidence. The combination of working in an environment with other export-driven, like-minded entrepreneurs and the support and mentoring we received from George McCourt and his team have helped to drive us forward to achieve our potential.”

GMIT is planning to double the size of its iHub building at the Galway campus following successful funding approval from Enterprise Ireland, which was officially announced in May of 2017. Enterprise Ireland will contribute €3m towards the total project cost of the building extension of circa €3.7m.

GMIT appointed a Design Team for the project in August 2017 and a planning application was submitted in December 2017 to Galway City Council. Timely approval of GMIT’s planning application will facilitate construction work commencing in Q3 2018, and completion of the building extension in Q4 2019.

David Lee, Manager of Buildings and Estates  says:

”I am very pleased with the exciting  design outcome of this proposed extension, resulting  from the collaborative work of the GMIT Client team and the Design team appointed by GMIT, on a high profile south facing site on GMIT’s Galway City campus. It has been designed to provide high quality building infrastructure to further support enterprises and business startups in the West of Ireland”

The proposed extension will increase the floor space of the iHub to circa 2,400 square metres from its current 1,150 square metres. The extended Galway iHub will provide space for over 40 incubation start-ups including dedicated space for MedTech enterprises, Digital Tech start-ups, a co-working space, an Entrepreneurship Hub,  social and events space. 

Three dimensional representational images of the extension and how it integrates with the existing building are shown below.

Barry Egan, Regional Director, West Region, Enterprise Ireland said:

“A priority for Enterprise Ireland is to help Irish entrepreneurs and companies to start and we are delighted to support the expansion of the Innovation Hub at GMIT which will greatly contribute to the growing eco-system for start-ups in the west of Ireland. The Innovation Hub will become the space for start-ups in the Galway region and will further support the growth of a new wave of technology companies. Working with GMIT and the Innovation Hub, Enterprise Ireland will continue to leverage our strong international reputation as a first-class technology base with a world-class start-up ecosystem to allow ambitious entrepreneurs to start, scale and succeed in Ireland - providing valuable and highly skilled jobs here into the future.”

George McCourt, Head of Innovation & Enterprise, says:

“We are delighted with this Campus Incubation Extension funding approval from Enterprise Ireland. This additional incubation capacity will enable GMIT iHubs to build on the successful start-up and enterprise support eco-system in place and expand our range of start-up services across the West Region”.