Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Enterprise Support Services
1. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of business innovation districts in place; and if the take-up of this opportunity has matched expectations for the initiative. [59575/21]
Business innovation districts are a novel initiative supported by my Department through our agency Enterprise Ireland (EI). Details of some projects which are currently underway and are at varying stages of development include, for example, Ghala Project, sponsored by Trinity College Dublin and also funded by Government under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF). This was to be the initial project in the development of an Innovation district in the Grand Canal Quay and Pearse Street area of Dublin. Following refurbishment difficulties with the listed Tower Building, Ghala has now acquired two adjacent buildings in the past few months. It has obtained planning permission and has gone to tender for the development of these buildings. This will be the first steps in the delivery of this Innovation District. Ghala has also had initial pre-planning discussions on the delivery of another phase of this initiative which will commence in the next few years.
In Galway, the Chamber of Commerce has developed a subsidiary company called the Galway City Innovation District (GCID) which operates the PorterShed facility since 2016. There are early stage plans to align and collaborate with other incubation, scaling and research facilities in the city and to be the driver/innovation district for enterprise in the West. These include Galway Technology Centre; GMIT and NUIG. My Department, through Enterprise Ireland, approved grant aid to develop a scaling space for projects which are progressing out of PorterShed and other incubation facilities in Galway and the West.
Regional Enterprise Development funding was also approved to relocate the PorterShed itself to the new Bowling Green facility. The contractors are currently on-site in this building with an expected completion timeframe of July/August 2022.
At present the Midlands Innovation District in Athlone is progressing by way of a feasibility study from the National Just Transition Fund. It is envisaged that this study will be completed by year end 2021.
The Boyne Valley Innovation District was also approved funding under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund and thus far has progressed to the design stage.