Eleven Institutes of Technology are to receive €24m from the Government to build business incubation centres under an initiative managed by Enterprise Ireland, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has announced.
Speaking at the IT&T 2002 conference at the Waterford Institute of Technology, Mary Harney TD, said: “Employment and wealth generation in the regions are clearly dependent on growing the number of new technology start-up companies and Enterprise Ireland is putting in place a strategy to build regional innovation centres through the Institutes of Technology (IoTs). The establishment of the incubation centres is a central part of this strategy. Incubation centres on college campuses provide space and business development supports for early stage high-tech companies. The campus location and the supports provided ensure a high success rate for start-up companies.”
Businesses locating in the centres will come from different sources. Some will be started by college staff or students as a result of R&D work. Others will come from entrepreneurs outside the college who want to tap into the specialist staff and facilities that the college can provide.
Responding to the announcement, the chairman of the Council of Directors of the Institutes of Technology, Professor Ciaran O’Cathain, said that the Tánaiste’s decision to commit this funding underscored the IoTs’ role in generating local employment and industry as well as the continuous demand from the business community for services from our sector.
Building work on the centres will start early next year. By the end of 2004 most IoTs in Ireland will have an incubation centre.
By Brian Skelly