Cork City needs its own ‘Digital Quarter’, urge tech leaders

10 Apr 2014

The City of Cork, which has a long-standing heritage in the global technology industry, needs to create its own Digital Quarter in order to foster innovation and create jobs, according to a think tank.

The call for a Digital Quarter for Cork was led by Denis Collins of IBM, who is also chairman of the board of it@Cork and European Tech Cluster during a meeting of key leaders in the region, convened through the EU-funded BeWiser project.

The meeting was driven by the triple helix represented by Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), the South Western Regional Authority and the it@cork European Tech Cluster, which aims to advance the development of such an ICT cluster in the region.

The well-attended event attracted leading figures from industry, the public sector and academia and was timely given the Irish Government’s recent ICT Action Plan announcement to fill 44,500 jobs for ICT professionals by 2018.

The think tank gathering focused on harvesting recommendations to increase digital literacy, expand ICT education and attract new business, thereby stimulating dynamic focused economic growth in the area.

The time to act is now

The group believes the cluster has the potential to create a measurable competitive advantage for the region and that the time to act is now.

“Cork has made huge strides in the development of its ICT sector but needs to continuously work at enhancing its cluster status to optimise its job creation capacity in a rapidly expanding market,” the BeWiser co-ordinator for the region Dr. John Hobbs of CIT said.

The call for a digital quarter is timely considering Dublin has its Digital Hub district in Dublin 8 as well as a cluster of global tech giants including Facebook, Twitter, Google and Airbnb in and around Dublin 2, not mention various tech companies spread all across the city.

Cork, which has been home to Apple since 1981, has been a crucial hub for a myriad of tech companies that have made a home in Cork including EMC, VMware, Flextronics, IBM, Qualcomm and many others – not to mention a thriving start-up scene involving players like Trustev.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years