A few weeks ago I interviewed Pat Daly from Limerick City and County’s Economic Development department. At the time, news had just broken of the creation of Troy Studios in Castletroy as well as the arrival of Uber, the world’s fastest growing company, into Limerick city.
Listening to Daly it was clear that a lot of work is being done behind the scenes to attract new investment into Limerick. Job creation is a key aspect of the Limerick 2030 plans and we have already seen the creation of in or around 1500 jobs for Limerick across a number of sectors over the past 18 months.
When speaking to Daly I was also delighted to see a specific focus being put on both the concept of Clustering and on the continued development of support services for SME’s and Limerick’s burgeoning Start-up community. You only have to look at recent success stories coming out of Nexus at the University of Limerick or the Hartnett Centre at LIT to see the potential of our indigenous start-up business.
From JP Hartigan’s Shadowman Sports to Rob Laffan’s autism communication app ‘Tippy Talk’ to Cathal Redmond’s lightweight underwater breathing system ‘Express Dive’, Limerick’s start-up and innovation community is thriving. The confidence that exists across various sectors in Limerick at present allows these companies to harness their ambition into tangible, confident products that can gain global recognition.
There are many reasons why doing business in Limerick works. Our quality of life, our education systems, our proximity to other major business hubs, our wide range of FDI investors, our diverse community. I believe that the most important reason for doing business in Limerick today is the fact that key stakeholders are now singing from the same hymnsheet.
We have a plan. We have a vision. From our local authority to our FDI community; our local Chamber to our transport hubs; our third level education providers to our SME business leaders – Limerick has a destination in mind and our stakeholders are willing to take the journey.
Just last evening we heard news of plans to create Ireland’s first ever sports business cluster in Limerick. The cluster has the potential to create 500 jobs over the next five years. This announcement comes as Limerick prepares to welcome some of the world’s leading experts at the International Cluster Conference in the Strand Hotel later this month.
The news of this sports cluster has come about because of a focus on the importance of clustering for sustained, successful economic development. The International Cluster Conference in Limerick later this month is the first time it will be held outside of Switzerland. The city will welcome many of the world’s leading experts on the area of clustering to the city in what should be a superb opportunity so showcase our potential as a solid cluster destination.
We must give credit to those who are working behind the scenes to create an environment where investment in Limerick is possible. The days of self-flagellation are over. Limerick is now on the cusp of something great.