Ten companies employing more than 30 people, have already based themselves at the PorterShed, an AIB-backed initiative to support start-ups and SMEs which officially opened in Galway yesterday. Located in the heart of Galway City Centre just off Eyre Square, the PorterShed is the first phase in the development of an innovation hub that supports high potential start-ups and SMEs in the West of Ireland. The companies span various fields including software, film development, customer service, language education, contactless payment, fashion and training.

One of the largest companies is Altocloud, which was launched in 2014 and now has over 15 employees. Speaking at the launch of the PorterShed, Altocloud CEO and Dragons Den star Barry O’Sullivan said: “It is an extremely exciting time for the start-up community in Galway and the West of Ireland. We are proud to take our place in the PorterShed and look forward to working with the companies surrounding us. The opening of the PorterShed sets the bar for what’s to come for the start-up community here in Galway.”

Other companies based at the PorterShed include LingoHost, Addvance IT, Ragsbox, Earthbound Films, Irish Apps, Privity, ClearBookings, PayWear and QA Services.

The PorterShed building now stands at the centre of Galway’s ‘Innovation District’ and has been transformed into a modern, world class workspace, while still maintaining some original features.

AIB CEO Bernard Byrne said: “Today we see that the vision for a Galway City Innovation District, an innovative hub located in the heart of the city, is taking major steps toward becoming a reality. AIB pledged to stand fully behind this project and I am delighted to see how rapidly the concept has developed with the clear promise of expansion to follow.’’

“The PorterShed not only provides an innovative work space for regional companies, it is an important landing spot for FDI companies and investors visiting Galway. Galway Chamber, with our partners, is proud to be an initiator of the Galway City Innovation District” noted Conor O’Dowd, President of the Galway Chamber of Commerce.

Galway City Innovation District Chairman Maurice O’Gorman said: “The opening of the PorterShed, our first building, is a significant milestone in the implementation of our vision for a downtown city innovation hub. The clustering of entrepreneurs, high potential start-ups, SME’s and an accelerator nurtures innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing. We are delighted with AIB’s backing of the Galway City Innovation District, supporting job creation in Galway and the West of Ireland.”

The PorterShed provides a professional working space, areas to host workshops and seminars along with hot desk facilities, for both locals and visitors to Galway. An in-house AIB customer service team will be located in the PorterShed to give advice on business and personal finance.

In April 2016, Mary Rodgers was appointed PorterShed Community Manager, and brings years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive manager and advisor to the innovation hub. Mary will support all companies with their day-to-day needs and will act as a liaison for visitors to Galway looking for a space to network and work during their stay.

The ‘Innovation District’ is set to expand over the coming years with additional buildings due to open over time and it is envisaged that this area could eventually support up to 20,000 workers.

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