Only 45 mins from Dublin Airport, 50 mins from Dublin Port and an average of 45 minutes from 8 of the country’s leading Universities, Kells is an ideal location to start and scale a business.

Following 24 months of research, planning and development, the new Kells Tech Hub was officially launched by the Cathaoirleach Meath Co Co Cllr Gerry O’Connor last Friday. The Kells Tech Hub is a world class regional enterprise development facility that will, through collaboration, clustering and creative thinking, help to support, promote and develop a culture of entrepreneurship in Kells, throughout Meath and across the wider region.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Gary O’Meara, CEO of Meath Enterprise and Project Director of the Kells Tech Hub said “that this is a very unique project that seeks to support startups and SME’s to scale and go global by providing direct access to world class entrepreneurship training and development programmes and facilitating collaboration across a full spectrum of national and international government and state agencies, academic institutions and business leaders. Meath County Council is being proactive in its approach to supporting entrepreneurs and the Kells Tech Hub another step towards establishing Meath as Europe’s Business Ready Region.”

The Kells Tech Hub offers high quality, modern, fully serviced and affordable accommodation to startups and SME’s such as offices, co-working space’s, hot desks and meeting rooms to help them to start, scale and go global. There is also a mini conference and expo centre and several flexible training spaces to support entrepreneurship education and the delivery or world class enterprise training and innovation programmes that can help Irish Startups and SME’s to Scale and go Global.

The Kells Tech Hub will strive to:

· Support the development of new and existing businesses in the region,
· Foster collaboration and shared learning between the state agencies, universities, multi-nationals and indigenous businesses,
· Provide alternative flexible workspace options for those who want to avoid the long commutes to Dublin on a daily basis,
· Act as a landing hub for foreign businesses looking to set up an Irish or European base,
· Develop world class Innovation and Scaling Programmes that will help Irish startups and SME’s to ‘Scale and go Global’
· Provide access to national and international networks that can facilitate access to global market opportunities,
· Become a Centre of Excellence for scaling startups and SME’s.

The project leverages the vast experience of Meath Enterprise and Meath County Council who have track record in establishing and developing the Enterprise and Incubation Centres, Programmes and Initiatives in Meath. Overall the Kells Tech Hub will seek to drive business momentum in the region in order to facilitate regional economic and enterprise development while ultimately supporting the development of long term sustainable jobs in Kells and across the North East.

Minister McEntee warmly welcomed the official launch of the Kells Tech Hub saying,”the Kells Tech Hub is a highly innovative facility that will prove to be a sterling asset to SME’s as they begin on their business journeys. The services and facilities being provided by the Tech Hub are not only state of the art but are also a vital life line that will help nurture and develop start up’s during the crucial first 6 months in business. I have no doubt that this venture will be a resounding success and I would expect to see similar projects replicated across the Country”.

The Kells Tech Hub project was funded through the ‘Rural Economic Development Zone’ (REDZ) initiative in late 2015 and again in 2016 (€275,000 in total) and is located at the Kells Enterprise and Technology Centre. The purpose of the project, which was developed by Meath Enterprise and co-funded by Meath County Council (over €120k), is to provide premium quality high tech workspace and training facilities to start-ups and SME’s at affordable prices.

The 2016 REDZ initiative is part of the Government’s programme for Rural Development. Other initiatives recently introduced by Government as part of this programme include the new €10 million Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the approval of almost €7.5 million to support rural recreation infrastructure, the establishment of a National Taskforce to identify practical measures which can be taken in the short-term to improve Broadband and Mobile Phone Coverage in rural areas, and the establishment of two Regional Broadband Action Groups to prepare for the roll-out of broadband under the National Broadband Plan.

Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ)
Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) are functional, rather than administrative geographic, areas that reflect the spatial patterns of local economic activities and development processes. They are, in effect, the sub-county zones within which most people live and work.

The central objective of the REDZ model is to utilise the synergies and interdependencies between rural towns and their hinterlands to generate economic activity in the local area. The involvement of local communities, including the business community, is a key element in the REDZ model.

Collaboration between Local Authorities, local communities and business interests will be an essential part of the scheme and the involvement of other State agencies, Regional Skills Fora, etc., is also encouraged where they have a role in supporting local economic development.


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