Western Development Commission held an official launch in the office spaces above the Library on Society Street recently in Ballinasloe
by Donogh Moore
Picture L to R: Senator Maura Hopkins, Kevin Kelly CEO Galway County Council, Lyn Donnelly Manager Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre, Seamus Duffy Chairperson BACD, Tomas Ó Siochain CEO Western Development Commission, Dr. Deirdre Garvey Chairperson Western Development Commission, Minister of State at Department of Rural and Community Development, Sean Canney TD.
The Western Development Commission held an official launch in the office spaces above the Library on Society Street recently. The 2019 – 2024 strategy, titled “Work Smarter, Liver Better” is focused around growing and developing the Western regions of Ireland by investing in tech, connecting digital working hubs, and promoting the area’s unmatched quality of life. The strategy has three pillars: Regional Promotion, Regional Leadership and Sustainable Enterprise, with short-term, medium and long-term goals respectively. Regional Promotion will focus on the further development of the WDC’s jobs and lifestyle portal, called lookwest.ie, and engaging with communities in Clare, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.
Regional Leadership will see the continuation of WDC policy analysis, as well as supporting the WDC’s role as co-ordinating agency for the Atlantic Economic Corridor (AEC) project, as set out in Project Ireland 2040. The AEC covers the spine of Ireland’s western coast, and includes all the counties from Donegal to Kerry. BACD Manger Lynn Donnelly and Director Billy King are Ballinasloe’s representatives to this working group. The launch was attended by various members of Galway County Council, local politicians, members of the Western Development Commission, as well as members from the Ballinasloe Area Community Development ltd.
The plan seeks to maximise Ballinasloe Town as the County Town – as one of a key number of strategic investment locations. Under the strategy, almost €50 million in structured supports will be offered in investment and lending to companies and businesses, with a focus on innovative or tech businesses that are developing or have the potential to develop a global niche. Alongside this, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Sean Canney TD, also announced that €1m in Dormant Accounts Funding will be made available to create a network of Enterprise Hubs and Digital Spaces from Co Donegal to Co Kerry.
The Centres, powered by fibre broadband, will support the growing trend towards remote working, community hubs, and offer a lifeline for early stage rural-based companies and entrepreneurs, such as the likes of the Pulse Club and Grow Remote here in the locality. Senator Maura Hopkins, attending said “It is very positive to see the first client company operating from this space in recent weeks. This is a very good example of what can be achieved in our enterprise hubs. We need to see further hot desk facilities developed and this WDC strategy seeks to support such development."
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