Sligo’s star is rising, becoming a go-to location for local entrepreneurs and overseas firms to start up and scale up.
A new start-up hub in Sligo called the Building Block has the potential to help generate 200 new jobs in the next two years.
The new 20,000 sq ft co-working space will be home to start-ups, established companies and incoming multinationals.
‘Sligo or the north-west has never had such a facility’
– DENISE RUSHE
The Building Block has signed a deal with Eir to connect the building to 1Gbps fibre broadband.
The objective is to have local start-ups and entrepreneurs rubbing shoulders with global IDA Ireland-supported multinationals, explained Building Block co-founder Denise Rushe.
“We are also collaborating with the local IT Sligo as well as the Local Enterprise Office,” she told Siliconrepublic.com.
Rushe said that just like the Ludgate Hub in Skibberreen in Cork, which plans to generate 500 jobs in its region, the focus is on developing a sense of community.
“Sligo or the north-west has never had such a facility,” she said.
The landmark four-storey building, located in the centre of Sligo town, had lain empty for 10 years. It has now been transformed into a dynamic centre for people to work, hold events, network and collaborate.
The venue has held events for KPMG and Bank of Ireland, while upcoming events will be hosted by Sustainable Nation Ireland and Eir.
The building is themed around the distinctive Sligo coastline, including meeting rooms shaped like beach huts.
The ground floor focuses on attracting start-ups and scale-ups in the areas of design, digital media, marketing and e-commerce. The second and third floors will facilitate the support of established companies and multinationals with closed-off offices.
The return of the natives
Rushe said that the Sligo start-up scene is being given extra impetus by the return of many young people who have lived and worked abroad or elsewhere in Ireland, but now want to pursue a better quality of life for their families.
“The key here is to create employment opportunities. Our objectives are complemented by the work of the Innovation Centre at Sligo IT, and there are new companies emerging locally in areas like SaaS and cloud services.”
She said that the Building Block will be a kind of foundation stone for the regeneration of Sligo.
New tenants of the building include Ox Business Systems and StoryLab, while the region’s technology profile is being boosted by the growth of local tech company House Edit, mobile software player Wobego at IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre, and Groupmail in Strandhill.
“Working in Sligo gives us access to some great people,” said Des McFadden, CEO of Wobego.
“Graduates, links to successful and supportive entrepreneurs, events like the Theentrepreneurexchange.ie, but also the energy and creativity that is all around us in Sligo on the wild Atlantic coast is empowering.
“We have great LEO and Enterprise Ireland teams around who are accessible and supportive, which is critical whether in the start-up or growth phase of a business.”
In conclusion, Rushe said that the plan is to build a dynamic digital hub in the heart of Sligo town. “We are in the centre of the town, five minutes from the train station, 10 minutes from the local Institute of Technology.
“The key now is to be a jobs generator by creating the space for entrepreneurs to start up and then scale up.”