Relaunched Platform94 wants to be ‘engine of growth’ for west’s scale-ups

24 May 2023

From left: Brian Muldoon, Tara Lane, Noreen Conway and Thomas Fisher, Platform94. Image: Sean Lydon

Oliver Daniels, CEO of innovation hub Platform94, said it will build on the work done by Galway Technology Centre over the last 30 years.

Galway Technology Centre (GTC) has been working on expansion plans for some time now, and it has today (24 May) relaunched with a new name, Platform94.

GTC, now Platform94, first said it was expanding in 2021 with the aim to create an “innovation beacon” in the west of Ireland.

Like its predecessor, Platform94’s goal is to help more businesses and founders based in the west of Ireland to scale their ideas. GTC was originally set up in 1994 to facilitate emerging ICT businesses in the west as they grew their operations.

The new brand, Platform94, will provide similar supports while also helping the west’s tech entrepreneurs set their sights on global markets. Its tagline is ‘global ambition, local support’.

Platform94’s headquarters remains in IDA Ireland’s Mervue Business Park in Galway. The existing building is soon to be joined by another hub that will open its doors to entrepreneurs from the Atlantic Corridor counties.

Building work on the expansion got underway last October. Once completed, the 15,500 sq ft addition means the overall area of the premises will cover more than 65,000 sq ft.

As well as assisting companies scaling in global and domestic markets, Platform94 provides a base for companies coming into the west of Ireland to grow their operations there.

It works closely with local start-ups and scale-ups as well as other business support organisations based in the west, such as the Portershed, ITAG and CREW.

It is owned by non-profits Galway Chamber and WestBIC, and has developed key partnerships with Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices and IDA Ireland.

Job creation

Currently, the centre employs six people. Since its establishment, it has supported more than 300 companies and facilitated 3,000 jobs. It aims to assist in the creation of 505 direct and 323 indirect jobs over the next five years. Over the next 15 years, it is expected to facilitate the creation of more than 2,500 jobs directly and indirectly.

Platform94’s launch was celebrated today in Galway at an event that was attended by many of the service’s users. The event featured a panel discussion with several people who work in tech and business. They reflected on GTC’s legacy and Platform94’s future targets.

Entrepreneur and radio presenter Bobby Kerr led the panel, which included: Finian Nally, head of Microsoft cloud solutions at ActionPoint; Denise Tormey, president and co-founder of PlanNet21 Communications; and Mike Conroy, director of the European Digital Innovation Hub at Atlantic Technological University.

Speaking at this morning’s rebrand event, Platform94 CEO and entrepreneur Oliver Daniels said the organisation was “building on the great work that has been done over the last 30 years” and expanding its reach across the counties to include Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal.

“We want to spread the word that Platform94 is the centre of excellence for scaling business in the west of Ireland, and a place where businesses can access expertise and supports to help them scale effectively and create more high skilled jobs within the entire region. We are excited to support the next generation of tech businesses as they launch themselves on a global stage,” Daniels added.

Brendan McCormack, senior executive manager, regional funds, Enterprise Ireland, described Platform94 as an “engine of growth” for the region.

“It provides a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and businesses with global ambition to nurture, navigate and scale their business ideas. Platform94’s commitment to fostering innovation and growth in the west region is unwavering, and Enterprise Ireland believes that Platform94 will play a pivotal role in helping to scale technology businesses in today’s changing world.”

Current members include SourceDogg, Aptarus, Axis Consulting and PlanNet21 Communications. Several notable companies are growing their businesses from the centre, such as animation company Triggerfish, which recently released a short film on Disney Plus.

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