Two south-west clusters sign deal to boost sci-tech in Kerry and Cork

11 Jul 2022

Gillian Bergin, chairperson, IT@Cork; Juliette Crowley, cluster manager, IT@Cork; Manjit Gill, chairperson, KerrySciTech; Aoife O’Brien, cluster manager, KerrySciTech; Donagh Kiernan, vice-chairperson, IT@Cork. Image: Valerie O'Sullivan

IT@Cork has more than 200 members while KerrySciTech has 70. Representatives from both clusters said the collaboration makes ‘strategic sense’.

Two of the south-west’s technology clusters have agreed to collaborate to strengthen the sci-tech ecosystem in Kerry and Cork.

IT@Cork and KerrySciTech have signed a detailed memorandum of understanding (MOU), which has been in the works for several months. It will formalise the collaboration between the two clusters as they help sci-tech businesses in the region to scale.

The clusters have a combined membership of almost 300 businesses, making the collaboration one of the largest member-led tech clusters in Ireland.

Over the summer, the two organisations will work to build a new overarching umbrella brand for the collaboration. The new brand is anticipated to be in place in September 2022.

IT@Cork has been operating since 1997. It currently represents more than 200 tech and tech-enabled companies in the south-west of Ireland. It also works with academia, industry, local government and State agencies to provide networking, upskilling and collaboration opportunities, and is a member of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform.

According to Gillian Bergin, chair of IT@Cork, “the timing felt right to combine resources and deliver services in a better-together model by building on the shared experience of our teams to scale up our existing services and design new ones in response to changing needs”.

“By consolidating our offerings, we can ensure efforts are optimised for maximum impact,” she added. “Our goal is to create a vibrant business ecosystem and propel the entire region into the global ranks of top places to live, work, innovate and thrive.”

KerrySciTech’s membership includes 70 start-ups, SMEs, multinationals, incubation centres and digital hubs. It has a number of strategic alliances with academia, education and training organisations and local government leaders. The cluster helps its member companies to attract and retain talent, fostering collaboration across members.

“This MOU reflects the ongoing commitment of both associations to deliver the highest level of value to members and the wider STEM and business community in our region,” said Manjit Gill, chair of KerrySciTech.

“In the new world we now operate, this union makes strategic sense for the region. By building something powerful together we can capitalise on future opportunities and play a pivotal role in driving the long-term sustainable growth of the region.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.