South-east’s start-up surge to be boosted by €2.5m ArcLabs expansion

7 Apr 2016

The €2.5m expansion of Arclabs in Waterford will boost efforts to increase the number of south-east start-ups by 30pc in the next few years

Enterprise Ireland has invested €2.5m in ArcLabs at Waterford Institute of Technology in a move that will double the capacity of the incubation hub.

Specifically, the investment will support a 1,000sqm extension to the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) campus at Carriganore.

ArcLabs was established 10 years ago and more than 60 companies, including FeedHenry and NearForm, have passed through the incubator since then.

Currently, 27 companies are based in ArcLabs Waterford and Kilkenny, employing more than 190 staff.

“Through this €2.5m expansion, we are doubling our capacity to attract entrepreneurs and start-ups to Waterford and the south-east,” said Kathryn Kiely, manager of Industry Services at WIT.

“At ArcLabs, we support and develop the transformation of ideas and early-stage technology into scalable, sustainable businesses.

“Over the past decade we have created an ideas, innovation and technology hub that offers an environment in which entrepreneurs, businesses and researchers can collaborate.”

30pc projected increase in south-east start-ups


Pictured: Paul Quirke, Capital Projects, WIT; WIT Governing Body Chairman Mr Dick Langford; Brian Fives, South East Regional Development Executive, Enterprise Ireland; Kathryn Kiely, Manager of Industry Services at WIT and a member of the ArcLabs Advisory Board; Prof Willie Donnelly, President of WIT

The expansion of ArcLabs’ incubation facilities will significantly contribute to achieving the target of the 30pc increase in the number of start-ups in the south-east, said Declan Lyons, manager of Technology Infrastructure Programmes at Enterprise Ireland.

The hub benefits from the close-knit community of entrepreneurs and its close proximity to the Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) where more than 250 scientists, engineers and tech professionals work on one site.

“Globally the emergence of the internet of things as a platform for the next generation of ICT companies provides a major opportunity for the south-east,” explained Prof Willie Donnelly, president of WIT.

Through the expansion of ArcLabs in Waterford and its presence in Kilkenny, the region will be better positioned to build on the existing mobile services cluster and to exploit new growth opportunities in areas such as agritech.

“This success is an important next step in the Institute’s plans for establishing an entrepreneurial platform which will accelerate the regional economic development as a global leader in the digital economy,” concluded Donnelly.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years