LUDGATE – Ireland’s first digital hub, based in Skibbereen – is now open to applications from entrepreneurs to avail of its €300,000 seed capital fund.
The fund, which was announced at last year’s National Digital Week, is open to any businesses locating at the hub which will shortly open on Skibbereen’s Townshend Street. Applicants must register interest in the fund by May 20th. The fund is designed to support start-up and early stage companies with job creation potential. It is joint-funded by Gain Line Capital Investments and the Sean & Rose O’Driscoll Family Investment Fund.
Sean O’Driscoll is chief executive of global giant Glen Dimplex and is also on the steering committee of Ludgate.
Tenants of the hub will experience one of the fastest internet connections in the country powered by an uncontested 1000MB ‘Siro’ connection with Vodafone being the business provider.
The 10,000 sq ft co-working space is the first of its kind in a non-urban area in Ireland and has al-ready attracted a wealth of digital innovators, start-ups and those working in creative industries.
Gain Line Capital Investments is managed by Timmy Healy a son of local businessman Maurice Healy, and it works with a wide range of companies.
Maurice Healy is chief executive of The Healy Group and said this week that it had been great to be involved from the grassroots with Ludgate. ‘It really is a amazing initiative that will give young businesses a great start. This is very close to my heart as the hub is in my home town and myself and my family are really looking forward to working with the next generation of entrepreneurs, with exciting times ahead.’
Grainne Dwyer of Ludgate told The Southern Star that there is no minimum or max allocation limit to the fund. ‘Companies could ask for €10,000 or €300,000, dependent on their pitch and their ability to demonstrate how it will contribute to job creation or retention,’ she said.
‘The seed fund comes at a welcome time for entrepreneurs, as 2015 saw a significant decline in availability of seed finance,’ she added.
Sean O’Driscoll said that for decades rural Ireland has been neglected. ‘Over the last decade many towns and villages in West Cork have been devastated. The Ludgate Digital Hub combined with the arrival of 1,000MBps of broadband to Skibbereen opens up enormous new opportunities for West Cork. This new Digital age will make the impossible possible and consign geographic disad-vantages to history and reinvigorate West Cork.’
‘The fund is allocated on a competitive basis - all persons shortlisted will meet with the investments team to discuss their business/idea and make a pitch to the fund,’ added Ms Dwyer.
Interested parties can find out more information by visiting http://www.ludgate.ie/seed-funding/ or email [email protected] by 5pm Friday May 20th.