Guinness Enterprise Centre expansion to support 150 companies in Dublin

10 Nov 2021

A corridor in Guinness Enterprise Centre. Image: GEC

The centre, which is aiming to be a ‘global entrepreneurial super hub’, has already committed 80pc of its additional capacity to start-ups.

The Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) has unveiled a new 100,000 sq ft space following a €10m investment and committed a further €1m to its expansion project.

The Dublin centre, which provides space for start-ups and scaling companies, announced the expansion in 2019. The new facility consists of two additional floors at the GEC’s home in the Liberties area of Dublin 8.

The extension has provided a 75pc increase in net floor space and will be able support 150 resident companies – up from 85. It can also accommodate 220 co-working companies, up from 160.

Resident companies will be able to avail of the GEC’s start-up and scaling programmes. These include its CoConnect partnership with more than 50 regional and international hubs; the Prosper Programme, which introduces entrepreneurs to key local decision-makers; and the University Programme, which gives start-ups access to MBA business executives in 35 Irish and international business universities.

Due to high demand, the GEC has already committed 80pc of its additional capacity to start-ups and expects to be at full capacity by early 2022.

It has also announced an additional investment of €1m today (10 November), bringing the total cost of the project to €11m. The GEC’s expansion is being funded by the centre with support from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Dublin City Council, Diageo, Dublin BIC and Enterprise Ireland.

Enterprise Ireland contributed €3.8m from its Regional Enterprise Development Fund and the Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme. “This collective investment will enable the GEC to further advance entrepreneurship, productivity and innovation, supporting the creation of the next generation of global companies out of Ireland,” said Mark Christal from Enterprise Ireland.

Four people stand in a corridor at the Guinness Enterprise Centre.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar at the Guinness Enterprise Centre expansion launch, with GEC centre manager Eamonn Sayers, GEC operations manager Linda Mooney, and GEC chair David Varian. Image: Keith Arkins Media

Commenting on the opening of the new space, GEC chair David Varian said that it would give more entrepreneurs “access to the supports, networks, learning and investment funds they need to scale globally”.

“We are creating a global entrepreneurial super hub that will give our start-ups every opportunity to become world industry disruptors,” he added.

Varian also said that these entrepreneurs would create more jobs in the local community and contribute significantly to Ireland’s economic growth.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, added that the expansion is “fantastic news” for entrepreneurship in Dublin and a “real boost to those already putting their ideas into action”.

“By providing the space and network for start-ups to thrive, we are bringing entrepreneurship and innovation into the heart of the city and providing the right environment for the creation of world-leading Irish companies.”

Varadkar said the GEC was “one of the top incubators in the world”. In 2019, it was named by UBI Global as one of the world’s top private business incubators.

According to the CEO and co-founder of one of the businesses availing of the GEC’s services, the centre’s support has been vital in the scaling of her business. Sonia Neary, CEO of online health portal Wellola, said the centre has given her team access to investors, business advisers and learning opportunities, “along with office space in a supportive business ecosystem”.

The GEC was established in 2000 by founding partners Diageo, Dublin BIC, Dublin City Council, Dublin City Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland. It is managed by Dublin BIC.

Updated, 6.15pm, 11 November 2021: This article has been updated to clarify the funding contributed by Enterprise Ireland.

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