Smart technology Centre plan for Athlone launched

In Business & Jobs, South Roscommon by Denis Naughten

Enterprise hub has potential to create 26 jobs in first year

ATTTDQQKA plan to create 26 jobs in the Monksland area of Athlone will be launched this week with the publication of a report on the establishment of a Smart Technology Enterprise Hub.   

The initiative, spearheaded by Athlone Chamber, outlines a plan for a new enterprise incubation hub in the industrial heartland of in Monksland, Co. Roscommon, that would focus on high tech/digital micro enterprises in the IT, creative industries and smart technology sector.  

John McGrath, Chamber President, outlined that the “smart technology community enterprise centre will provide a co-working space for indigenous, start-up, innovators; developing businesses; and software developers; while facilitating local entrepreneurs and freelancersnational and international companies and visiting business people, with serviced office space, training workshops and meeting rooms.

“The study confidently predicts that the project could attract 26 new jobs to the Monksland community within the first year of establishment which would be a powerful intervention.”

Athlone Chamber secured feasibility study funding with the assistance of Roscommon LEADER Partnership and it was commissioned by Momentum Consulting.

Tommy Ryan, CEO of Roscommon County Council, will launch the report on Thursday next 7th May at 5.30pmin the Athlone Springs Hoteland anyone with an interest in becoming involved in the development phase of the project or using the new facility is encouraged to attend.

Mr. Ryan added that as part of the new Roscommon Innovation Strategy the digital economy will be a key priority for the county. He said: “Economic growth and technology are inextricably linked. Improving economic conditions justify investment in technology as this in turn fuels growth.”

Momentum Consulting, which conducted the study, received encouraging expressions of interest from start up and relocating knowledge-based businesses, including a cloud based video security storage solution company, a customer support centre, a mobile device company and a number of IT/software companies. Other high potential opportunities which came through the study included the need for a permanent training base for a multinational company to facilitate its international training programme.   

The Chamber now believes that the time is opportune to partner with the key stakeholders to make the project a reality.  John McGrath explained: “When we started the study in 2012, the economic environment was just not right.  We now feel we have a formula that will work and with the support of the very encouraging development bodies in Roscommon and nationally, we can make this a reality.  Public funding will be vital so the hub will be established as a high potential social enterprise/community project.”

Denis Naughten TD, a member of the subcommittee that has worked on the project for three years said that the origin of this plan was the fact that many start-up businesses in rural County Roscommon & Westmeath are struggling to access broadband. “So rather than waiting for broadband to come to them, we looked at other ways to make high speed broadband available in the local town of Monksland,” he explained.

“As a committee we are absolutely convinced that the principle of a smart technology enterprise hub will be very successful in Monksland, with a dedicated focus on the digital/ IT/smart technology/creative sector and the superior broadband connectivity available in Monksland.

“We believe that the timing of this plan is opportune with the new LEADER programme coming on stream in mid 2015 and the imminent reopening of the Enterprise Ireland Community Enterprise Centre scheme. Financial projections indicate that the project as formatted will be sustainable well into the future” concluded Denis Naughten.

Contact Denis on 086 1708800