Kerry’s new RDI Hub is seeking applications from start-ups, entrepreneurs, SMEs, academics, local authorities and public sector bodies.
On Tuesday (1 October), a new technology and research hub backed by Fexco, IT Tralee and Kerry County Council, announced that it has opened applications for members and is seeking at least 10 companies in its first year.
The RDI Hub is opening applications to companies and individuals ahead of its official opening in January 2020. The hub, which is a non-profit, public-private partnership, will drive design-led innovation, facilitate research and development, and nurture entrepreneurs with big ambitions in the financial technology sector.
The facility, which is spread over 20,000 sq ft in Killorglin, can currently accommodate 80 people. The premises has been donated by Fexco and is within easy reach of both Cork and Shannon airports, and less than 25 minutes’ drive from Kerry Airport in Farranfore.
Fexco CEO Denis McCarthy said: “The RDI Hub is an excellent example of Government, higher education and private enterprise working together to drive job creation and economic growth.
“We are proud to support the initiative and look forward to seeing members of the hub thrive. As we have demonstrated at Fexco, Kerry can be the base from which you can build an internationally successful fintech business.”
How to apply
In a statement, the RDI Hub said that applications are expected from both domestic and international high-potential start-ups, entrepreneurs, SMEs, academics, local authorities and public sector bodies. Applications will close on 25 October 2019.
It added that the hub will help members scale their businesses through new product development, increased innovation and finding new market opportunities.
The “competitive” application process will evaluate a range of criteria including the applicant’s demonstrable ambition for expansion, ability to create high-skill jobs and the potential to develop fintech and ICT talent in the south-west region.
Applicants with significant customer validation already, as well as those with the ability to create a competitive advantage through their product or business model, will be well-placed to succeed, the group said. Applications can be made through the RDI Hub website.
RDI Hub chief executive Liam Cronin said: “Since joining as CEO over the summer, we have been busy getting ready to launch the application process which we hope will attract a high level of interest from companies and entrepreneurs attracted by the high performance and innovation culture we are creating at RDI Hub.
“The south-west region is already synonymous with entrepreneurship and technology, particularly focused on the fintech sector, and we are confident that the calibre of applications we receive will be extremely high.”
Kerry’s RDI Hub will run a range of innovation and globalisation programmes for residents, focusing on areas such as AI, sales and securing EU Horizon 2020 funding. The facility will have a 1Gb broadband connection, as well as an auditorium and a number of collaboration spaces.
The hub will also have conference rooms, prototype rooms, an onsite canteen, and it will host community events such as workshops and meetups. It will be housed in the former Liebig factory just outside of Killorglin, which is currently undergoing redevelopment.
The building will be renamed after Stanford University computer scientist John McCarthy, one of the founders of AI, whose father was born in Cromane in Kerry.
Dr Brendan O’Donnell, acting president of IT Tralee, said: “We look forward to forging a close working relationship with RDI Hub and believe that it can provide an excellent forum for the commercialisation of the work of our students and researchers.
“At IT Tralee, we have a proven track record of excellence in the areas of education, entrepreneurship and technology, which will make a valuable contribution to the hub’s success.”