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NDRC has launched its first regional accelerator programme

It will cater for up to 10 young firms based in the Galway area.

Image: Phalinn Ooi/Flickr

THE STATE-BACKED organisation that invests in young digital companies has launched its first regional accelerator programme.

Together with Enterprise Ireland, NDRC announced today that it will run an “intensive” programme to coach firms based in Galway and the Western region.

There will be up to 10 places available on the programme, which is being run in conjunction with the Portershed co-working space – already home to 22 companies – and Galway City Innovation District, a non-profit founded by the local chamber of commerce.

NDRC chief executive Ben Hurley said “there is an active tech ecosystem” in Galway, but the county “is missing an accelerator as a generator of high-potential startups”.

“The Portershed is an ideal location,” he said.

ben hurley NDRC's Ben Hurley

Set up 10 years ago this year, NDRC – or the National Digital Research Centre – has invested in more than 200 companies to date.

According to figures supplied by the organisation, the companies it has backed have a combined market value of more than €400 million and employ about 600 people.

Roughly half of the startups it has invested in have secured later-stage investment.

It has backed the likes of Logentries – which sold for €63 million in 2015 – and Boxever, which has raised more than $22 million from investors.

Other companies in NDRC’s portfolio include SilverCloud Health and Bizimply, the workforce management software firm that was co-founded by Bono’s brother, Norman Hewson.

FDI dependence

In an interview with Fora earlier this year, Ben Hurley said Irish entrepreneurs should help wean the Republic off its reliance on long-established industries and overseas investment to deliver jobs.

“As an economy, we can’t rely alone on either existing Irish companies continuing to do great forever or on FDI (foreign direct investment),” he said at the time. “We need to have that new generation of entrepreneurs coming through.

“We have been largely driven by FDI and producers in areas like food and tech manufacturing. As a country with an innate entrepreneurial spirit, we need to figure out how we make it possible for more of those entrepreneurs to start scalable stuff at early stages.”

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Written by Conor McMahon and posted on Fora.ie

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