Brian Fives, Enterprise Ireland; Claire McInerney, KIDCo; Minister John Halligan, Minister of State, CEO of Kilkenny County Council, Colette Byrne and Vice-President of Carlow IT, Declan Daly
Funding of €1.8 million under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) has been announced by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys towards the National Design Innovation Hub which will be based in Kilkenny.
It is hoped that the centre will form a core part of the Abbey Quarter in the long term but it will have to be accommodated elsewhere in the short term.
The Hub will trade as the Centre for Design (C4D) will be the first dedicated centre to promote design and design thinking concepts in the country and will create 250 new jobs over the next five years. C4D will be developed in Kilkenny for companies in all sectors who want to conceptualise, innovate and build new products and services.
Chairman of Kilkenny County Council, Eamon Aylward remarked that the Marble City is ‘the ideal location’ for the new centre.
“Kilkenny having been the home of the Kilkenny Design Workshops from the 1960s to the 1980s is the ideal location for the new Centre for Design (C4D).”
Declan Doyle, Vice President for Development and Research, Institute of Technology Carlow said the hub will ‘foster and promote a design-led approach to enterprise innovation bringing significant opportunities for businesses within Ireland’.
“Working with strategic partners in the Institute of Technology Carlow, Kilkenny County Council, KIDCO, Cartoon Saloon and Glanbia, it is envisaged that C4D will be responsible for establishing and supporting 160 jobs by its third year, and no less than 250 by its fifth year.
“It will also contribute to the creation of new businesses capable of exporting products and services into overseas markets. The Enterprise Ireland REDF and the funding from the strategic partners will act as a catalyst for the creation of high economic value jobs through business development, research and talent generation,” he added.
The partners that have been working to develop the C4D over the past 12-months are the Institute of Technology Carlow (ITC), Kilkenny County Council (KCC), The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), the Kilkenny Industrial Development Company (KIDCo) and the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership (KLP).
The Regional Enterprise Development Funding is an important initiative that supports every region to build on its unique strengths.
The funding supports collaborative projects that are emerging from the ground-up and is helping regional stakeholders to safeguard the future of their own communities.
The fund, which is administered for the Government by Enterprise Ireland, will operate on a rolling basis as part of Project Ireland 2040. 21 successful applicants were approved the offer of funding totalling just over €29 million.
The winners were selected through a rigorous evaluation process based on criteria which included impacts and value for money, collaboration and participation, viabilty and sustainability, building regional strengths and significance for innovation.