Minister Coveney visits construction site of new Creative Enterprise Hub (CREW) at ATU
Building a vision for innovative creative technology companies in the west of Ireland
Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, yesterday (Thursday 20 April 2023) placed a ceremonial brick to officially mark the construction of the CREW Creative Enterprise Hub located at ATU’s Galway City (Wellpark Road) campus.
The state-of-the-art CREW Creative Enterprise Hub is the first hub in the West Region focused on the development of start-up and early-stage companies in the Creative Industries. The CREW Hub will provide shared and own-door enterprise space, collaboration areas and event space. The Hub will be home to 150 Creative Technology and Creative Digital entrepreneurs in areas such as game development, animation, immersive technology, content creation and digital design.
CREW was founded by Atlantic Technological University Galway City (Wellpark Road), the Western Development Commission and Ardán.
The CREW Creative Enterprise Hub will serve as a regional centre for the Creative Industries, delivering programmes and masterclasses in entrepreneurship to founders from the West Region. The hub will also provide meetup spaces and innovation areas for the Creative Industries welcoming industry experts, hosting meetups and networking events.
CREW, which secured over €3.2 million from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund, is an integral part of the West Regional Enterprise Plan and has a lead role in implementing the strategic objective to strengthen and harness the cultural and creative sector to attract new investment, commercialisation, and collaboration opportunities.
Construction of the new facility by Burns Construction is expected to be completed by the end of this year. As well as providing expanded resources for the creative industries in the west the CREW Hub will be a significant addition to the region's cultural and economic landscape.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Coveney said he was delighted to be in Galway to take part in the brick laying ceremony and to see, using Virtual Reality, the completed state-of-art CREW Creative Enterprise Hub.
“Today is an important day for Galway which further enhances the West of Ireland’s reputation for creativity coupled with innovation. Creative Technology is emerging as a key area of opportunity, with the convergence of art, design, and technology opening new possibilities for businesses and entrepreneurs in the region to drive economic growth. Congratulationsto all at CREW on their achievements to date.
The acceleration and development of Irish companies through facilities like this is supported by my Department through Enterprise Ireland and I would like to congratulate Atlantic Technological University Galway City, the Western Development Commission, Ardán and Enterprise Ireland on this achievement and look forward to my return visit when the hub opens its doors.”
Meabh Conaghan, Regional Director, West and Northwest, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Supporting innovative regional start-ups is a huge focus for Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Enterprise Development Fund is an effective mechanism of supporting balanced regional development. We are delighted to support the development of CREW as a state-of the-art centre here in Galway from which the creative sector can operate, develop, and thrive. By bringing together a diverse range of skills, knowledge and resources, CREW will enable real collaboration to take place and accelerate the growth of the creative sector, along the Western seaboard. We look forward to working with the entrepreneurs that will nurture and develop their business ideas as they come through this new collaboration hub at CREW.”
Bernard Kirk, Chair of CREW, added “Today marks a key milestone in the realisation of our vision, and we couldn't be more excited about the possibilities that the new CREW Creative Enterprise Hub will bring. This state-of-the-art facility will be a cornerstone in building a strong and supportive community of creative entrepreneurs. As a board we are committed to ensuring that it serves as a catalyst for growth and success in the region and beyond. On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the founders and Enterprise Ireland for their unwavering vision and support and also recognise the leadership of our CEO Niamh Costello.”
Dr Orla Flynn, President of Atlantic Technological University (ATU are founding members of CREW and have provided the site for the CREW Creative Enterprise Hub), added that “ATU is committed to supporting the growth and development of the creative industries, which play a vital role in driving innovation and economic growth across the wider region. The CREW project aligns perfectly with developments in ATU’s creative programmes in Film & Documentary, Design, Animation & Game Design, and Creative Media. ATU recognizes the potential of these industries and is committed to providing a supportive environment for startups to thrive, enabling them to contribute to the growth and dynamism of the sector. The construction of the new on-campus CREW Creative Enterprise Hub reflects this commitment and represents an exciting opportunity for graduates, entrepreneurs, researchers, students, and corporate teams to innovate and develop new approaches to growing the Creative Industries in the region”.
The Western Development Commission are key partners in the project and speaking at the event. Allan Mulrooney, Interim CEO, said “The Western Development Commission has long been a champion of the Creative Industries Sector in the Western Region of Ireland, and we are thrilled to partner with CREW on this exciting project. The opening of the CREW Creative Enterprise Hub will have a significant impact on the region, both socially and economically. The Creative Industries sector is a vital component of the regional economy, stimulating innovation and creating opportunities for talented individuals to thrive. We look forward to working with CREW to support this sector and the people who work in it, and to seeing the positive impact that the CREW Creative Enterprise Hub will have on the region as a whole."
Alan Duggan, CEO of Ardán, who, along with Atlantic Technological University and The Western Development Commission are one of CREW’s three founding partners, added “The CREW Creative Enterprise Hub represents a significant investment in the screen industries in the West of Ireland and has the potential to become a key driver of economic growth and job creation in the region. By bringing together creative talent, innovative technologies, and a supportive business environment, we believe that this world-class centre can help to establish the West of Ireland as a leading global location for CreaTech companies in areas such as games and animation and immersive tech."
The CREW Creative Enterprise Hub is scheduled to open in late 2023. For more information see https://crewdigital.ie/.
About CREW – Creative Enterprise West
Comhoibriú CLG (T/a CREW) is an initiative of Atlantic Technological University Galway City (Wellpark Road), The Western Development Commission and Ardán and has been significantly funded through the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment under Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF),the Western Development Commission through the Western Investment Fund and the provision of the CREW site from ATU.
The CREW Creative Enterprise Hub is due to open in late 2023 and is also supported by SIRO / Vodafone, TG4 and Údarás na Gaeltachta with further partners to be announced.
CREW’s board of directors include co-founders Dr Paddy Tobin, Head of ATU’s School of Design and Creative Arts and Gillian Buckley, Investment Manager at the Western Development Commission, along with Alan Duggan CEO of Ardán, TG4’s Director General Alan Esslemont, Martina Earley, CEO Roscommon LEADER Partnership, Miriam Ní Neill from Údarás na Gaeltachta, Florita Dolly, PwC and is chaired by Bernard Kirk, CEO, Camden Education Trust.
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Photos by Andrew Downes.