CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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The Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Dara Calleary, TD, has officially opened the CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub, marking a significant milestone for creative entrepreneurs and innovators in the west of Ireland.

Funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment through Enterprise Ireland’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) initiative, CREW represents the first innovation hub in the West dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurs in the creative industries. With over €3.2 million in funding, this initiative underscores the government’s commitment to fostering innovation and economic growth in the region’s creative industries sector.

The CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub is poised to become the epicentre for CreaTech entrepreneurship, providing a dynamic environment for startups to innovate, collaborate, and grow. Equipped with collaborative workspaces, podcast studio, meeting rooms, and boardroom, CREW offers a comprehensive suite of amenities tailored to the needs of creative entrepreneurs.

On behalf of CREW, Niamh Costello, CEO, stated, “We are thrilled to officially open CREW, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs in the creative industries to start, innovate, and grow. Through community, educational opportunities, and access to mentors, advisors, and investors via our partners, CREW is fostering a dynamic environment for the development and acceleration of its members. We are grateful for the support of Enterprise Ireland, who have been pivotal partners and funders of CREW.”

Officially opening CREW, Minister Calleary, congratulated the team and remarked, “Today is an important day for Galway which further enhances the West of Ireland’s reputation for creativity coupled with innovation. In Ireland, the creative industries account for 8.9% of national employment, the 2nd highest in Europe as a proportion of overall employment and this will continue to grow as CreaTech and the the convergence of art, design, and technology is opening new possibilities for businesses and contributing to economic growth. 

The Programme for Government has recently committed to a Digital Creative Industries Roadmap with priorities for delivery across people, skills, business supports, Innovation and internationalisation. The acceleration and development of Irish companies through hubs like CREW is supported by my Department through Enterprise Ireland and I would like to congratulate ATU, the Western Development Commission, and Ardán on their considerable achievements. I wish the CREW team and all the entrepreneurs and innovators based here every success for the future.”

Anne Lanigan, Divisional Manager, Technology & Services, Enterprise Ireland said “Supporting innovative regional start-ups is a huge focus for Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Enterprise Development Fund is an effective mechanism of supporting balanced regional development. We are delighted to support the development of CREW as a state-of the-art centre here in Galway from which the creative technology sector can operate, develop, and thrive. By bringing together a diverse range of skills, knowledge and resources, CREW will enable real collaboration to take place and accelerate the growth of the CreaTech sector in the West.”

The CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub is a collaborative effort between Atlantic Technological University (ATU), the Western Development Commission (WDC), and Ardán, highlighting the power of partnerships in driving economic development and fostering innovation.

Dr. Orla Flynn, President of Atlantic Technological University (ATU are founding members of CREW and have provided the site for the CREW Creative Enterprise Hub), emphasized the university’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. “ATU is committed to supporting the growth and development of the creative industries, which play a vital role in driving innovation and economic growth across the Western and Northwestern region. The CREW project aligns perfectly with developments in ATU’s creative programmes in Film & Documentary, Design, Animation & Game Design, and Creative Media. ATU recognizes the potential of these industries and is delighted to see the emergence of the CREW facility as a supportive environment for startups, enabling them to thrive and contribute to the growth and dynamism of the sector. The CREW facility also represents an exciting opportunity for graduates, entrepreneurs, researchers, students, and corporate teams to innovate and develop new approaches to growing the Creative Industries in the region”.

The Western Development Commission are founding partners in the project and speaking at the event the CEO of the Western Development Commission, Allan Mulrooney, stated, “As the CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub reaches completion, it signifies not just a milestone, but a bridge between cultural and economic development. The creative industry holds the power to challenge societal norms, stimulate critical thinking, and drive social progress across the Western region. The WDC is proud to be part of the shift as we embrace the human factor of creativity, innovation, and cultural expression by investing in the development of the creative industry as a vital driver of economic development. We look forward to collaborating with CREW to empower this sector and its workforce, while witnessing the transformative impact across our region”. 

Alan Duggan, CEO of Ardán, said “The establishment of CREW as a creative enterprise and innovation hub in the West of Ireland has been long-awaited, and within this space’s brief time being open we have already witnessed its key role in fostering community, facilitating connections, and supporting innovation. It’s significance in promoting Galway and the West as a leading location for creative technologies business development cannot be underestimated. As a platform for talent working in film, TV, games, and animation – Ardán looks forward to working closely with CREW, entrepreneurs, and other enterprises from the screen industry to drive economic growth and sustainable job creation in the region.”

CREW is also supported by Community Finance Ireland and sponsors, Siro Vodafone, TG4, Local Enterprise Office Galway and Údarás na Gaeltachta, all whose contributions have helped make the creative industries startup innovation hub possible.

SIRO Director of Corporate Affairs Amanda Glancy noted “CREW is set to be a game-changer for the CreaTech sector in Galway and the West, fuelling innovation and creativity within the sector. SIRO is pleased to support CREW, through our Gigabit Hub Initiative in partnership with Vodafone. The Initiative provides digital hubs with trusted and future proofed connectivity, allowing hubs focus on their digital ambitions. 

Vodafone Ireland Network Director, Sheila Kavanagh said We are delighted to welcome the CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub in Galway to our Gigabit Hub Initiative. Under the initiative, hubs around Ireland can benefit from 2 years free SIRO connectivity. At Vodafone, we welcome the impact these hubs have had on creating jobs, ensuring a greater work life balance, and supporting regional economies.

With its official opening, the CREW Creative Enterprise and Innovation Hub is poised to become a catalyst for creativity, innovation, and economic prosperity in the west. Entrepreneurs and innovators are encouraged to explore the opportunities available at CREW and join the vibrant community of creators shaping the future of the creative industries.

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Steven Galvin

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