Caroline Cawley, head of Galway tech sector body ITAG, explains why sci-tech in the west of Ireland makes her optimistic about the future.
Galway and the surrounding ‘Atlantech Way’ has established itself as a leading technology hub and is well-poised for future tech success.
Technology is the fastest-growing sector in the west of Ireland. Many of the leading world companies in medtech, fntech and engineering are represented in the region. HPE, Fidelity Investments, Cisco, Boston Scientific, SAP, Valeo and MetLife are among the global giants firmly established here. In addition, there is a thriving entrepreneurial sector, with an abundance of budding innovative start-ups.
Events, education and employment
Established more than 20 years ago, the Information Technology Association Galway (ITAG) had as its mission to support and maximise the growth potential of its member companies and to improve the overall success rate of the local tech industry. Today, ITAG provides unique networking opportunities for its member companies through flagship events such as the annual ITAG Excellence Awards, where success is showcased and employees acknowledged and awarded.
The annual AtlanTec Festival incorporates a one-day conference providing international keynote experts and panel guests. Typical topics include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, cybersecurity, robotics, medtech, music technology, teens and tech programmes, design thinking and ‘digital women’ events.
‘In 2019, 106 tech companies in the region availed of ITAG Skillnet training including more than 80 courses and 1,050 trainees’
ITAG has long-established and hugely successful collaborations with local higher education institutions NUI Galway and GMIT to ensure graduates have the relevant innovative education, which provides member companies with candidates who have in-demand and emerging technology skills.
ITAG Skillnet provides subsidised training for our members, with access to sustainable training and upskilling courses for their employees. To date in 2019, 106 tech companies in the region availed of ITAG Skillnet training including more than 80 courses and 1,050 trainees.
Other initiatives include the Cyber Returners Programme in association with HPE, a return-to-work programme with a difference in that it provides on-the-job training and work experience in cybersecurity, the latest cutting-edge sector. The Software Testing Returns Programme is also available in association with Avaya.
ITAG members enjoy a strong collaborative culture with numerous meet-ups throughout the year covering current hot topics including AI, machine learning, DevOps, Agile software development and more.
All of ITAG’s events successfully connect the tech community in the region and deepen relationships. Members’ feedback tells us they enjoy the opportunity to collaborate and expand their professional networks.
ITAG has strong links with other regional organisations including Local Enterprise Offices, Portershed (a Galway city co-working space for start-ups), NUI Galway, GMIT, Galway Technology Centre and Galway Chamber of Commerce.
The future for Galway and the ‘Atlantech Way’ as a leading tech location is exciting. Overall, there is a thriving tech ecosystem in the region, with strong connections between tech businesses (from multinationals to SMEs to start-ups), the various clusters (tech, medtech, fintech) and academia.
ITAG looks forward to continuing to drive the success of its members and of the region. In uncertain times, we will continue to ensure that Galway and the ‘Atlantech Way’ remain a leading global destination for innovative technology.
Caroline Cawley has been the CEO of ITAG since 2002. She is also co-founder of the AtlanTec Festival. ITAG is a business and technology forum that represents technology companies in the west of Ireland, engaging thought leaders to discuss and debate, inform and educate, forecast and evaluate.