Ireland’s newest start-up centre unveiled at Shannon Airport House

10 Nov 2017

From left: Minister of State Pat Breen, TD; Shannon Group chair Rose Hynes; and Shannon Commercial Properties managing director Ray O’Driscoll at the launch of the Shannon Gateway Hub. Image: Arthur Ellis

A boost for the mid-west as Shannon Free Zone incubation facility officially launches.

Yesterday (9 November), Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen, TD, launched the Gateway Hub at Shannon Airport House.

The facility is earmarked to become an exciting incubation hub for start-ups in the mid-west of the country.

The Gateway Hub is a 6,000 sq ft enterprise space, which will be located in the original home of the late Ryanair founder Tony Ryan’s Guinness Peat Aviation business.

A major business centre

Yesterday’s launch event was the first official opening of a facility at the Gateway West section of the Shannon Free Zone, currently undergoing a €25m phase one redevelopment.

The Shannon Free Zone is already a well-established business centre, home to more than 150 companies and thousands of employees.

The Gateway Hub will transform the ground floor of Airport House – recently renovated at a cost of €1m – into an enterprise and incubation space for start-up businesses from different sectors.

There will be about 17 serviced offices and hotdesks available at the centre, which will also include a networking space and shared conference, meeting and training rooms, with a reception and business support resource.

Propeller Shannon Programme for Irish start-ups

The first round of the Propeller Shannon start-up programme companies will be housed at the Gateway Hub.

The Propeller Shannon programme is a partnership between the DCU Ryan Academy, Shannon Group’s International Aviation Services Centre (IASC), Boeing and Datalex, and is supported by Enterprise Ireland.

It hopes to drive the development of innovative Irish and international start-up companies in the aviation sector by tapping into the unique aerospace ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

Minister Breen said yesterday that these businesses, together with companies from other sectors, have the perfect environment to develop into internationally trading operations.

He added: “The work that Shannon Group, and its property company Shannon Commercial Properties, have done in regenerating the Shannon Free Zone for future entrepreneurs and FDI companies is to be commended.

“The Gateway Hub is another strong statement of the ambition and confidence that they, and all the partners involved in the Propeller Shannon programme, have for the region and for the companies who will use this space.”

An incredible business legacy

Shannon Group CEO Matthew Thomas described the legacy of innovation across the Shannon Free Zone as “incredible”, and discussed intentions to grow businesses into the future and foster a thriving start-up culture.

Ray O’Driscoll, Shannon Commercial Properties managing director, said the launch was “a significant moment for us in our redevelopment of the Shannon Free Zone”.

He continued, explaining why the Gateway Hub was a major pillar of the development plans: “We are just over two years into the first phase of the programme and have completed a huge amount of work, mostly for large multinational and indigenous employers.

“However, this is a very important project to us, as the Gateway Hub is all about nurturing businesses from start-up through to growth phase, and hopefully to build long-term sustainable businesses in the mid-west.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects