A new Irish initiative to promote digital media in the east border region has been unveiled today. Called Midas, the scheme is intended to foster small and medium enterprises which focus on creative and digital media technology and to encourage cross-border co-operation between them.
The Midas Project is a joint initiative by the Dundalk Institute of Technology, University of Ulster and Dream Ireland Ltd. It is expected to create 45 jobs and is backed by a fund of €2.3m. The funding comes from a variety of sources including the EU’s INTERREG IIIA Programme, the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and the private sector.
The purpose of the scheme is to put in place support structures for small businesses and to develop a cluster environment of new creative and digital media companies. The key business areas that the project will aim to develop will be interactive leisure software and gaming software; film and video technology; animation and 3D modelling, music technology, digital design and production.
Other aims of the plan include the creation of new cross-border business-to-business linkages among creative and digital media SMEs as well as developing of cross-border, joint marketing initiatives for participating companies. The scheme also contains provisions for applied research and development projects between businesses and third-level institutions.
The focus on the international market is an important aspect of the project. Participants will be given access to the necessary hardware and software to develop product ideas that will enable them to compete successfully in the international market.
As part of the project, the Dundalk Institute of Technology is developing a digital and animation studio that will provide teaching, research and enterprise support to the creative and digital media companies. The project will recruit 20 existing companies and create 10 new businesses, both North and South.
At this morning’s launch of Midas, International Fund for Ireland Board Member Carmel Lynch spoke of the importance of the initiative to the East Border Region. “With Ireland at the forefront of the global information technology revolution, we are able to further assist the North East in developing its capacity in this field. The cross border co-operation and quality job creation aspects fit exactly with our objectives,” she said.
Jack O’Connor, Director of Community Initiatives (SEUPB) which manages the INTERREG IIIA Programme added: “Midas represents one of the most exciting aspects of INTERREG IIIA, fulfilling our objectives for the promotion of a knowledge economy. Midas and projects like it will ensure that citizens of the border region do not become casualties of the ‘digital divide’, but rather work together to invest in a prosperous and secure future.”
By Gordon Smith