Tipperary launches new digital media corridor between Clonmel and Thurles

Tipperary launches new digital media corridor between Clonmel and Thurles

John Hanafin, Limerick Institute of Technology, showing Joe MacGrath, CEO, Tipp Co Council and Pat Slattery, Tipperary Co Council, the new state of the art equipment in BuzzQuarter.

Tipperary Local Enterprise Office has announced it is embarking on an exciting new partnership with Limerick Institute of Technology, Tipperary County Council and Enterprise Ireland to deliver a unique enterprise facility for digital media related enterprises.

A vision of Tipperary County Council is to establish a digital media corridor between Thurles & Clonmel in order to contribute to the economic life of the county and to benefit in a practical and positive way from the graduates in the gaming, multimedia and animation areas who are emerging from Limerick Institute of Technology in both towns. 

To deliver on this vision, BuzzQuarter was established. BuzzQuarter is the first step in a series of initiatives that will be undertaken to stimulate and support digital entrepreneurs, early stage companies and existing creatives looking for a second centre location.

The studio will be the nucleus for a cluster of expertise, knowledge, talent and resources, identifying County Tipperary as a centre of excellence in the digital media space.

BuzzQuarter aims to support the creation and development of an ecosystem that comprises differentiated, but potentially complementary operators in the creative and  digital media sector.

 Ideally such an ecosystem would comprise of start-up studios, satellite studios from existing sector specific firms in Ireland right through to appropriately-scaled, FDI supported international players looking to establish in Ireland.

 Any development will seek to engage pro-actively with recent and emerging graduates from the relevant Limerick Institute of Technology programmes in Clonmel and Thurles in order to encourage and facilitate them in establishing or becoming involved in a digital business in Tipperary.

 BuzzQuarter, which is located in Questum, an LIT acceleration & research centre in Clonmel, will offer digital space for fledgling micro-enterprises and established organisations within the gaming, digital media, creative media and animation sectors.

The state-of-the-art facilities have been modelled on similar world-class digital centres both in Ireland and abroad, with the result that start-ups and companies who choose to locate in BuzzQuarter can enjoy services such as desk space, specialist hardware and software, meeting spaces, skills development, public relations opportunities, industry links, and high-speed broadband within a unique co-working environment.

“Digital creative industries are growing at a phenomenal rate worldwide” said Rita Guinan, Head of Enterprise of LEO Tipperary. “BuzzQuarter is the first step in a range of initiatives to build capacity and to facilitate the development of a regional cluster in this sector. 

“The creative digital sector in Tipperary is one that has huge potential to grow, generating world-class enterprises, while creating highly skilled jobs.” Through the partnership, Tipperary Local Enterprise Office will provide a suite of supports to BuzzQuarter including a Digital Enterprise Officer, expert business mentoring, information and advice, business skills training and management development. Rita told the group at the launch that “We’re delighted to be open for business and will be aggressively promoting the facility.”

John Hannafin from Limerick Institute of Technology showcased the state of the art hardware and software available at BuzzQuarter and talked about how the gaming industry is just starting to kick off in Ireland and how Irish companies are generating such world class exciting animation. 

“There is a real need for digital art skill sets in Ireland and that’s why BuzzQuarter is such an exciting venture to tap into this growing industry.”

Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council said -  “today is the culmination of much work which has gone into research in Ireland and the UK, stakeholder engagement with industry and academia, sourcing the appropriate equipment and software, developing a brand and identity.  BuzzQuarter is not merely a physical space with high-quality technology but also provides services, skills, connectivity, technical backup, access to finance and supports. 

By pooling resources and expertise from across our organisations, we can deliver a suite of supports to start-up and growing digital creative enterprises unrivalled by anything currently on offer in Ireland. All of us are committed to making BuzzQuarter an exciting and successful space to grow global digital enterprises and really believe that it has great potential.” 

Speaking on behalf of Limerick Institute of Technology, Dr. Liam Brown, Vice President for Research Enterprise & Development said, “With the large number of highly skilled digital graduates coming out of our Thurles and Clonmel campuses, Tipperary is perfectly placed to take advantage of this new and upcoming creative sector that is expanding within the digital economy. 

“We’re very optimistic about the success of BuzzQuarter and are ready to welcome occupants with open arms”. Dr. Brown thanked the Steering Committee and praised them for their work on this project.  

He mentioned Gillian Barry, LIT, Derek Blackweir, Manager of the Questum Acceleration Centre, Catherine Hogan, Enterprise Ireland, James Greenslade, LIT, John Hannafin, LIT, Sinead Carr, Director of Services with Tipperary County Council, Kathleen Prendergast and Rita Guinan, Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office Tipperary who had all been involved throughout the research and pilot project implementation phase.

The project was funded under the Local Enterprise Office Competitive Fund Scheme 2015 – 2017. Research was undertaken in 2017 by Ciaran Lynch, Community Engagement Partners, Tipperary County Council and Local Enterprise staff who identified the opportunity to create a digital hub and corridor between Clonmel and Thurles. Similar sites were visited throughout Ireland and the UK and it was felt that the vision had real potential and was a very good fit for Tipperary.

 For anyone interested in taking a space or learning more about this new facility, visit www.buzzquarter.ie for details.