Monday, July 15, 2024

Galway’s creative enterprise hub gives valuable space for start-ups to blossom

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With access to enterprise space and a vibrant like-minded community, CREW is an innovation centre dedicated to helping entrepreneurs grow their start-ups and scale their businesses.

Supported by €3.3m from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) through Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the hub brings to life the vision of its co-founders to develop the western region as a leader in the creative industries sector.

In 2022, Ireland’s creative industries employed 59,000 people

CREW partners with its co-founders at the Atlantic Technological University (ATU), the Western Development Commission (WDC) and Ardán, along with Enterprise Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Galways City Local Enterprise Office and TG4.

With a highly motivated team led by CEO Niamh Costello, CREW aims to be at the centre of the creative technology sector. It supports entrepreneurs working in game design, animation, immersive technologies, digital design, film and TV production and content creation.

The hub offers hot desking facilities, collaborative workspaces and offices for 150 people along with meeting rooms, event space and a podcast studio.

It’s co-located on the school of design and creative arts at ATU, enabling entrepreneurs access to a pipeline of students and additional on-campus resources.

CREW is also home to Ardán, a platform for creative talent, and Screen Ireland, the development agency for the screen industry.

The sector has an overall economic impact reckoned in excess of €4.5bn a year

The hub has already onboarded five firms, including Éiru Films, a live action production company, and animation outfit ­Electric Storm. It has also attracted several start-ups to its co-working space, including eight games developers.

In collaboration with ATU, the hub is now in its third incubation cycle, nurturing talent through its postgrad certificate programme in creative enterprise and entrepreneurship development.

CREW also has a range of national and international collaborations via Shared Island- and EU-funded programmes.

In 2022, there were 59,000 people working in Ireland’s creative industries, with an overall economic impact of €4.5bn, according to a Grant Thornton report for the Design and Craft Council of Ireland. The creative industries account for 8.9pc of employment in Ireland, the second highest in Europe.

Dara Calleary, junior minister at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, officially opened the hub earlier this month. The investment in CREW, a burgeoning creative tech space, will help entrepreneurs create more jobs, intellectual property and reach new markets.

Infrastructure plays a crucial role in fostering enterprise development, and CREW is a promising addition to the existing innovation hubs in the west.

Earlier this year, the BIA Innovator Campus launched in Athenry, focusing on supporting food entrepreneurs, while the AIM high-tech centre opened its doors in Sligo, aimed at helping manufacturers in the region.

To learn more about CREW, you can visit CrewDigital.ie.

Majella Maher is the senior regional executive for the west region at Enterprise Ireland

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