The centre forecasts up to 1,500 direct jobs in the next five years and a €75m boost to Ireland’s exchequer.

The GEC was established in 1999 to help early-stage businesses to grow, and opened its doors in 2000. Many of its alumni are now global players.

The GEC expansion is supported by the GEC founding partners as well as €3.2m from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation as well as Enterprise Ireland through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund 2017-2020. The founding partners of the GEC are Diageo, Dublin Business Innovation Centre, Dublin City Council, Dublin City Local Enterprise Office, Enterprise Ireland and the Guinness Workers Enterprise Fund.

It is currently home to 85 companies with more than 400 employees on-site. Once completed, the expanded development will see the GEC become home to 160 companies with more than 750 employees and a further 220 co-working companies.

GEC was named Business Incubator in the World (Collaborating with Universities) at the World Incubation Summit in Toronto in February 2018.

“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,” said GEC chair David Varian.

“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 reimagined GEC playing a catalytic role in the continued redevelopment of D8 and the promotion of Ireland as a place for entrepreneurial business growth,” Varian said.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, said that the GEC is an important part of the new Regional Enterprise Plan for Dublin, one of nine countrywide.

“The collaboration in evidence here at the GEC in Dublin is a great example of what these new Regional Enterprise Plans are fundamentally about,” Humphreys said.

Uniting the regions

The GEC also has a nationwide perspective on what is happening with entrepreneurs and a desire among multinational staff to work in locations that offer a better work-life balance.

The GEC has partnered with more than 40 regional hubs in Ireland through its innovative CoConnect programme whereby regional start-ups can utilise the GEC when they are in Dublin.

“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,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon.

“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.”

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.

“Everyone at Diageo is so proud to be associated with the Guinness Enterprise Centre and its success over the past 20 years,” said Mark Sandys, global head of beer, Baileys and Smirnoff at Diageo.

“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.”

John Kennedy

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