The Guinness Enterprise Centre has today unveiled an ambitious development plan for its landmark building on Taylor’s Lane in Dublin 8. Planning permission for the €10m redevelopment and expansion was lodged this week with Dublin City Council. 1,500 direct jobs are forecast for the next five years, while the Exchequer will also benefit from a €75m boost.
The Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC) opened for business in 2000 with the ambition of providing the environment and all the necessary supports to enable early stage business’s to grow and prosper. It has been the launch pad for hundreds of successful start-ups in Ireland, many of which now have a global footprint. It is currently home to 85 companies with more than 400 employees on-site. Once completed, the expanded development will see the GEC as home to 160 companies with more than 750 employees and a further 220 co-working companies.
Subject to receiving planning approval, construction will begin later this year and the two additional floors in the building are expected to be completed before the end of 2020.
Speaking at the announcement, Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring said: “This expansion of the Guinness Enterprise Centre was made possible by Dublin City Council’s agreement to guarantee this refurbishment & expansion funding. We were pleased to do so in order that the GEC, which has been offering supports and affordable working spaces to start-ups and scaling micro enterprises since 1999, will develop further innovation at the heart of Dublin City.”
The importance of the GEC, not just to the locality in Dublin 8, but nationally and globally – was recognised with the naming of the GEC as the Number 1 Business Incubator in the World (Collaborating with Universities) at the World Incubation Summit in Toronto in Feb 2018.
Chairman of the GEC David Varian said: “Building on our success to date this expansion enables us to deliver on our vision to scale the GEC to be a global entrepreneurial super-hub, interconnecting the regional centres in Ireland with our global university partners and thereby supporting the creation of world leading companies out of Ireland. The model of open innovation, interconnecting government supports, industry, academia and citizens is at the core of the new GEC and we look forward to the re-imagined GEC playing a catalytic role in the continued re-development of D8 and the promotion of Ireland as a place for entrepreneurial business growth”.
The GEC has partnered with more than 40 regional hubs in Ireland through its innovative CoConnect programme where regional start-ups can utilise the GEC when they are in Dublin. In addition, the centre has partnered with more than 30 of the leading university Business Schools across the world giving entrepreneurs, both in the GEC and the regions, the opportunity to work with the universities on their strategic business challenges.
Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said: “Supporting enterprises to build scale and expand reach is a key focus of Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Enterprise Action Plan for Dublin announced by the Minister today, helps us to further drive growth in key sectors. The funding provided to the Guinness Enterprise Centre through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund plays a vital role in strengthening the conditions for businesses to start, grow and succeed. Today 85 innovative companies are growing and excelling at the centre and we look forward to supporting almost double that number as part of the overall expansion and redevelopment.”
Mark Sandys, Global Head of Beer, Baileys & Smirnoff at Diageo, another of the GEC founding partners said: “Everyone at Diageo is so proud to be associated with the Guinness Enterprise Centre and its success over the past 20 years. This started as a way of Guinness, as a company, contributing to entrepreneurship and jobs in Ireland all those years ago and the leadership of GEC, Enterprise Ireland and DCC has done so much to create generations of new Irish companies. Arthur Guinness created a legacy of innovation that we are very proud of and the GEC is a great example of the power of entrepreneurship and the impact that it can have on the community, which benefits everyone.”
The GEC expansion is supported by the GEC founding partners and the Dept. of Business Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland via the Regional Enterprise Development Fund 2017-2020. The GEC works in close partnership with Enterprise Ireland, Dublin City LEO and with the broader start-up ecosystem throughout Ireland. The GEC is managed by Dublin Business Innovation Centre. In its near 20 year history the Guinness Enterprise Centre has been home to hundreds of successful start-ups, among them Jam Media, Adaptive Mobile, Black Shamrock, Openjaw Technologies, Boulder Media, Effective Software, Swiftcomply and Extreme Ireland as well as current residents Research & Markets, Benetel and Infinite Software. Current and former GEC clients have created over 4,500 jobs.
Olivier Masclef, CEO, Black Shamrock and a GEC client from 2016-2018 said: “We arrived in Ireland in March 2016 as a 2 person company and expect to employ over 100 (currently 65+) by the end of this year. We found the GEC as a fantastic place with a great community of like-minded people, with great facilities and top class staff. It is a great place to work, find inspiration and to share experiences with fellow early stage entrepreneurs”.