Shannon Development owns and manages 55 technology parks, industrial estates and business parks around the Shannon Region as part of its role of priming the area as an investment location. Among these are its Knowledge Network of five business and technology parks - the Information Age Park in Ennis, Co. Clare; the National Technology Park (NTP) in Limerick; Birr Technology Centre in Co. Offaly; Kerry Technology Park in Tralee and Tipperary Technology Park (TTP) in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
“We are delighted that Shannon Development Knowledge Network business parks around the Region welcomed 30 new start-up businesses during 2010, an encouraging sign for the future and a testament to the relentless spirit of entrepreneurship that abounds in Ireland. We are about to launch an exciting new initiative for entrepreneurs this year. Working with Clare local authorities and two universities on the west coast of Ireland, we will shortly launch a new Regional Innovation Centre at our Information Age Park in Ennis. The aim of this initiative is to create unique links between businesses and top research facilities at NUI Galway and the University of Limerick, “said Dr. Cunnane.
In its role of providing property solutions to attract entrepreneurs, Shannon Development completed investments of over €7.5 million in a range of property solutions for foreign and indigenous companies in 2010. Among these was a major €3.6 million expansion at Tipperary Technology Park which was opened in June 2010. The new building, Innovation Works 3, brings total investment by Shannon Development at the Park to €7.4 million.
To raise the profile of the Shannon Region internationally Shannon Development worked actively, against international competition, to secure two top awards for the Region. As a result Kerry was named European Entrepreneurial Region of the Year 2011, and Limerick won the title of European City of Sport for 2011.
Reporting on the results of these two initiatives to-date Dr. Cunnane said: “Our work in securing the prestigious 2011 European Entrepreneurial Region Award for Kerry is yielding dividends. Since the Award was granted, the pace of development of Kerry’s Entrepreneurship initiatives - all of which are founded and operated by Shannon Development, IT Tralee and entrepreneur Jerry Kennelly - have accelerated considerably.
‘For example the new re-modelled Endeavour Programme launched last January is now recognised as one of the most sought after national accelerator programmes for entrepreneurs in the Country. Over 120 budding entrepreneurs completed the introductory phase of the programme and 14 start-up companies have just been selected to complete the 2011 programme.
The programme will offer mentoring from some of Ireland’s top professionals in the fields of finance, legal and communications as well as incubation space at Shannon Development’s Kerry Technology Park. Mentors from New York, Silicon Valley and Asia have also been encapsulated into the programme to aid the start-ups on the road to success. A new junior Entrepreneur Programme was rolled out to 700 pupils in 21 primary schools in Co. Kerry.
‘It is heartening to note that 100 entrepreneurs – ranging from Kerry business people to internationally successful entrepreneurs from all parts of the country have mentored on a voluntary basis across all of the programmes,” said Dr. Cunnane.