The timing is right for the establishment of a new smart technology enterprise hub in Monksland, according to the backers of a plan to create 26 jobs in the Monksland area of Athlone that was launched yesterday. (Thursday).
The event heard from local TD, and member of the subcommittee behind the plan, Denis Naughten: “Many small and start-up businesses outside of the main towns are struggling to access quality broadband that can make their enterprise a success.
“With two privately owned fibre networks as well as four State owned fibre networks in the greater Monksland area, this potentially provides the location with huge capacity to capitalise on start-up, small business and individual workers who require high speed broadband access.”
The initiative, spearheaded by Athlone Chamber and supported by Roscommon LEADER Partnership, received very encouraging expressions of interest from both start-up and relocating knowledge based businesses. These included a cloud based video security storage company, three creative industry businesses, a customer support centre, a mobile device company and engineering.
Other high potential opportunities arising from the study included providing a permanent training base for a multinational company, which has a requirement for a permanent training space facilitating 18 people with associated support facilities, and an international financial business considering establishing in Athlone with the potential to create 10 jobs.
Dermot Horan of Athlone Chamber of Commerce told the gathering that based on our recent interactions with support agencies, we are hopeful that financial support will become available from Enterprise Ireland and LEADER over the coming months and that this enterprise hub is well on the way to securing both a site and funding for a centre that can not only support existing jobs but create new ones in a very short period of time.
Establishing such a centre will also attract other employers into the area, which could help to grow job prospects for those who are unemployed, commuting to cities or considering a return to Ireland from abroad.
Formally launching the study Tommy Ryan, Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council, stated that the Local Authority is fully behind this project and will ensure that all available enterprise tools will be provided to deliver on the plan.
He pointed out that the study recommended a two site strategy, with an enterprise centre to be established in Monksland & Roscommon Town sharing operational costs, and the Council will engage with both Athlone and Roscommon Chambers of Commerce to help achieve this objective.
The subcommittee behind the project is confident that the principle of a smart technology enterprise hub will be successful in both Monksland and Roscommon and is anxious to broaden its skill mix.
As a result, anyone with an interest in becoming involved in the development phase of the project or using the new facility, is encouraged to attend the next meeting of the group in the Athlone Springs Hotel on Thursday next 21st May at 5.30pm.