(Dingle, Friday 28th April 2017) Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD attended the official opening of the Dingle Creativity and Innovation Hub (The Dingle Hub) today. The new facility provides state-of-the-art services for start-up companies to establish, expand and collaborate with other businesses, not just in Dingle but across Ireland and internationally. The Hub plans to support the creation of over 100 full time jobs in five years.
The Dingle Hub is a community enterprise initiative supported by a range of significant partners including eir, Dingle Business Chamber, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Kerry County Council and Net Feasa. Focusing on three key areas – Music/Film-making, Animation and Internet of Things (IoT), the Hub will place a significant emphasis on creativity and the role it can play in supporting and developing businesses.
eir is providing an extensive and scalable communications infrastructure which includes a 1 Gigabit dedicated fibre connection, hosted voice services and Wi-Fi. Having access to high-speed internet connectivity in a remote rural setting will be a gamechanger for Dingle. The community can retain local skills, knowledge and talent, compete on a level playing field with national and international organisations and attract new enterprises providing job creation and stimulus to the local economy.
Commenting, Jim Garvey, The Garvey Group and Spokesperson for the Hub said, “Our facility will enable a new generation of people to work and live in Dingle, doing work that was not previously possible. Dingle will continue to be a vibrant place in which to live and, though remote physically, it is now fully connected to the world beyond, so there is no limitation to the type of work that can be carried out in such a beautiful surrounding that inspires creativity and draws deeply from the local traditions and culture”.
Commenting at the launch, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in bringing this initiative to fruition. There is no disputing the significant economic and social benefits that such facilities bring to rural communities across Ireland. Dingle is a place of beauty and has a strong international reputation, not only for its entrepreneurial spirit but also its creative acumen. It is reassuring to see eir play such a pivotal role in rural regeneration. The 1GB connectivity will give users of the Hub access to a best in class network that will allow them to confidently conduct business on a local, national and global scale”.
Emphasising the key role that high speed connectivity plays in supporting such initiatives, Bill Archer, Managing Director, eir Business said “We are undertaking the largest high speed rollout programme in Ireland and a key priority for us, as part of that rollout, is to play a hands on role in the revitalisation of rural communities across Ireland. Reliable, scalable and accessible communications infrastructures are vital to realising that objective. Dingle now has access to broadband speeds that are on a par with leading European cities. This is extremely positive for local business people, entrepreneurs, start ups and visitors to the region. It means they can live, work and visit Dingle and be able to connect on a national and global scale. Our ambition is to replicate what we have delivered in Dingle to communities across Ireland – thereby creating and securing significant job opportunities”.
Working closely with Udaras na Gaeltacta and Kerry County Council, the Hub will also provide a comprehensive support and mentoring mechanism for entrepreneurs, SMEs and start ups.
Uniquely, the Hub will have two Test and Trial Networks – one for Wi-Fi and one for Internet of Things. These will enable businesses based in the Hub to test their products and services in real world situations and to bring customers to view the systems operating in such environments. While Dingle has a resident population of approximately 1,700 people, it has over 1 million visitors per annum, so there are opportunities for testing and trialing products and services at scale.
Finally, recognising the importance of education and the need to provide the educational skills and knowledge to enable people to prosper and thrive in what is now being called the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (i.e. the interconnected world of people and things and the growing importance of data), it is planned to develop an educational programme about the issues involved in such a transformation and that will be based in Dingle.