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New innovation hub to foster entrepreneurs

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The new Innovation Hub located in a CIE building behind Ceannt Station is hoping to open its doors by the end of September, bringing a range of services to entrepreneurs around the city.

The Galway City Innovation District will be a cluster of Galway City’s entrepreneurs, start-ups, accelerators and incubators and will be close to public transportation and wired for high speed internet, supporting mixed-use development, and nurturing collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

The project is called the PorterShed and will be based in the former Guinness storehouse at the back of the station. Currently the PorterShed team are finalising the lease for the building which will have room for about 85 people, including growth companies with 15 people or more and new companies with only two or three people.

“It’s a very collaborative space, so the idea is that the entrepreneurs will work together, will share, collaborate, helping each other to grow their companies as quickly as possible,” said Maurice O’Gorman of the Galway Chamber of Commerce, who is heavily involved with the project.

“Within that space, there’ll be a lot of services offered to them for free. For example, KPMG will have a business advisor there one day a week. And FOD, the law firm, will have somebody there to help new companies and talk to them about legal structures and give them legal advice.”

Advice on R&D tax credits, banking issues and funding will be readily available in the hub, as well as venture capital funds and angel investors who will be invited to meet the companies based in the PorterShed.

“There’ll be a mentoring service as well, so we’ll be mentoring the companies as they go through. The idea, again, is to get them up and growing as quickly as possible. Also, what we’re trying to do is create an environment where you can get lots of companies establishing in Galway and getting them to grow as quickly as possible,” Mr O’Gorman explained.

A number of organisations, including the Galway Chamber of Commerce, Galway Harbour, Startup Galway, WestBIC and NUI Galway have come together to kick-start the new innovation hub.

The plan is to start with one building – the PorterShed – and then expand to a cluster of many more to create the Galway Innovation District which will include weekly events, coffee with founders, designed workspaces, meeting rooms, hot desks, high speed internet, private phone kiosks and plenty more.

As well as Mr O’Gorman, the project is run by Paul Killoran of Ex Ordo, Michael Fitzgerald of OnePageCRM, John Breslin of NUI Galway and Dave Cunningham of StartX6 – a group of people who are passionate about making Galway an even better city for business.

“But we don’t want the PorterShed or the Galway City Innovation District to just be about Galway City. So what we’re doing is we’re reaching out to the innovation hubs in towns throughout Galway and the idea is that if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re based in Oughterard, for example, you can come and attend all these events that happen in PorterShed. We’ll be streaming them as well so people can see them wherever they are,” Mr O’Gorman explained.

“But also, if you want to come in to the PorterShed and meet the business partners in there, you can come in from Oughterard and book a desk for the day and book your appointments with KPMG and FOD and other people. And you can come in and do that and meet the other entrepreneurs as well.

“So we’re reserving desks for people who are living outside of the city in the rural areas, to integrate them into what’s happening in the city.”

The benefits to the city are endless, according to Mr O’Gorman who says the Innovation Hub would not only bring jobs to the city, but increase the need for services, and in turn increase employment figures in Galway.

“A long-term aim – I mean long-term – between the harbour and the CIE site, you could envisage about 10,000 jobs coming into the city. There are developers who are interested in doing stuff in the city as well now, because obviously this shows that we can bring footfall into the city,” he said.

“So it’ll take time, but hopefully it will grow.”

■ For more information on the PorterShed, visit  www.portershed.com

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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